This cartoon, by editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante of the Tulsa World, isn’t too far from the truth these days.


RIP: Philando Castile. Crime: Broken taillight, driving while black.
RIP: Alton B. Sterling. Crime: Selling CDs while black.

h/t: Jennifer Z.


  1. somer
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Philando Castile death: Aftermath of police shooting streamed live

  2. Rob Aron
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    This is why some people support a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment… the oppressed can defend themselves, in kind, against the oppressors.
    Or the oppressed could depend on the courts.

    • jwthomas
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      A “strict interpretation of the Second Amendment” would take guns out of the hands of everyone other than members of a “well regulated militia.”

      • Rob Aron
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        “The right of the people”
        You conservatives are all alike!👍

        • somer
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          the right to shoot and get shot in escalating numbers

      • larry sullivan
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        ah, the old “militia” ploy, sorry, but it doesn’t fly.
        the Efficiency of Militia Bill H.R. 11654, of June 28, 1902, and USC 10 paragraph 311
        along with the 14th amendment puts every one 17 and over in the militia. [that right , you are in the militia already.] they are to maintain in their place of residence at least one fire arm suitable for military service of a type in current use and enough ammunition to be effective in a conflict. this is the law.

        The Supreme Court has reviewed the prefatory clause, “[a] well regulated Militia,being necessary to the security of a free State,” and determined that while this clause announces a purpose for recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms, it does not limit the operative clause “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. The Court found that this language guarantees an individual right to possess and carry weapons.

        • colnago80
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          So anyone not owning a gun is subject to prosecution. Poppycock.

        • Scott Draper
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          “every one 17 and over in the militia”

          Looks like it’s only males, between 17 and 45. I see nothing about this act requiring the ownership of a gun. Can you quote the relevant sections of the act saying differently?

          (Apparently this Act is quite beloved by the pro-gun faction and they often make inaccurate claims about it.)

    • Scott Draper
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      “so the oppressed can defend themselves”

      Which is a ridiculous justification. That would only result in a greater ass-kicking by the authorities. The only help for the oppressed will come through political power.

      • Rob Aron
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        (((The only help for the oppressed will come through political power.)))

        Correction please; the only SOLUTION for the oppressed will come through political power. The problem is to survive until the oppressed can acquire political power.
        Survival is the key. In this case, the fitness landscape requires the weak to be stronger. Guns can provide the foundation for individual, kin and group fitness selection.
        There are other ways, of course. Less violent and less destructive ways. But they will never be explored unless you survive. And guns are not the preferred method of survival, but at times they may be necessary that the oppressed consider them.
        I sometimes use the Jewish situation in Europe during World War Two as instructive. They were oppressed and on their way to extinction when men with guns intervened and ensured their survival. I hope it doesn’t come to that dreadful alternative for blacks in the US.
        But of course, THAT could never happen HERE.

        • Scott Draper
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          “Guns can provide the foundation for individual, kin and group fitness selection.”

          No, they can’t. If black men started arming themselves in greater numbers, they would be slaughtered in greater numbers. There is no quantity of guns that can make things better for them.

          “men with guns intervened”

          No, ARMIES intervened. Individuals arming themselves will never be able to stand up to trained, well-supplied armies.

          • Rob Aron
            Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            I believe a couple thousand dead cops would result in an attitude adjustment. I prefer not to test my hypothesis, but there is evidence to confirm it in the revolutionary movements of the 20th century.
            I sense that emotions are escalating here so I will withdraw from the dialog. Have a safe life.

            • Scott Draper
              Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

              No, there is no evidence in revolutionary movements of what you describe. There are examples of a majority, with outside help (Soviets or US), overthrowing minority despotic rule. The percentage population of blacks in the US, last I checked, was around 13%, although regional percentages can be much higher.

              • Rob Aron
                Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

                P.s. Dallas. And so it begins?

            • Scott Draper
              Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

              “P.s. Dallas. And so it begins?”

              No. Are you so unaware of history? The “race war” has been predicted for probably at least 50 years by right wingers. It will not happen.

              If any significant number of cops are killed, the National Guard will likely get called in, as happened in the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

              • Adam M.
                Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:21 am | Permalink

                If the cop-killings are spread around the country, they’ll be much harder to stop, since the national guard can’t be in every city, and more effective, since it’ll be something that “could happen here”.

              • Scott Draper
                Posted July 8, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

                1. It won’t spread to every city, and 2) Every state has National Guard units, so they probably can be in every city of significant size. Texas, for instance, has close to 20,000 National Guardsmen.

                Seriously, this is like predicting the imminent approach of The Rapture, which has been going on for 2,000 years. Ain’t gonna happen. The world does not work the way you think it does.

              • Rob Aron
                Posted July 8, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

                It’s interesting that you see what’s happening as some sort of “race war.” It’s a characterization which I categorically deny and strongly disagree with you. I don’t see cops killing defenseless citizens, or citizens killing cops, as anything but what it is: a war between the priviledged and the marginalized, between the powerful and the powerless. That you try to co-opt it to your own agenda shows a remarkable lack of insight on your part.

              • Scott Draper
                Posted July 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

                I don’t have an agenda. But you just described a “race war”, given that the marginalized citizens are black and the oppressors are agents of the white cultural hegemony. But anyone that watches what goes on in the world will know that the relationship between black and white (marginalized and oppressors) isn’t going to change much in the short term, which excludes the possibility of any sort of war.

                What you describe reminds me a bit of the extreme right-wing, gun nut fantasy that the bulk of the citizenry is just waiting for someone to strike a blow against oppressive federal government that will spawn a national uprising to take back our government.

                In both cases, the number of people who are actually willing to commit this sort of violence is very small. While it’s possible that you might see a small increase in the violence towards police, it’s hard to tell at this point because the data is very noisy; you need many years to see if there is a trend. The peak occurred around 1975 and has been declining ever since.

      • steve
        Posted July 8, 2016 at 5:39 am | Permalink

        Rob Aron:

        Both shot and killed men were carrying guns. They were not able to protect themselves with them. Besides, by watching the videos it seems the fact that they were carrying guns led police to kill them.

        So much for “so the oppressed can defend themselves, in kind, against the oppressors”, unless you are suggesting that “some people” are in support of an armed insurrection by black people against police departments.

        • Rob Aron
          Posted July 8, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          I never said they should or could protect themselves with guns. Guns are offensive in nature and any resort to guns in a purely defensive posture is doomed. I did say gun are there to defend yourself. The character of that defense is fluid in nature. The recently murdered civilians in Baton Rouge and Minnesota clearly had one idea of defensive tactics using a weapon and while it was probably a legal and police approved method, it was also a deeply flawed concept. The gunmen in Dallas had another notion of defensive tactics; though clearly illegal and not at all police approved, the jury is still out on its efficacy.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      The oppressed can not depend on the courts.
      Especially against police.

  3. Dominic
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    No wonder black people are angry! Surely the police are there to protect the public, & rather than risk hurting a member of the public they should wait to be shot at before they shoot someone?

    • jwthomas
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      In a complex society like the one we live in the people we elect or hire to protect us are rarely competent enough to do their job correctly.

      • Bob MURRAY
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        By which logic, sort out your society as they are as culpable as the incompetents they hire. What an asinine statement!

        • jwthomas
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Thank you 🙂

        • Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          Who said society at large isn’t incompetent? There’s a lot of stupid out there. I really dislike being held hostage by a democracy that allows voting know-nothings to elect governing know-nothings.

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      No, they don’t need to wait until they get shot at. But they should at least wait until a suspect threatens somebody with a deadly weapon before shooting him.

      The repeated killings because “I thought he had a gun” or “I thought he might have a gun” or “I thought he might have been reaching for his waist band” or “I said ‘drop the weapon’ and he didn’t instantly comply” are unacceptable.

  4. Scott Draper
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Ouch, ouch, ouch.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    In a totally armed society, what else should we expect. Just compare us to any civilized place in the world. We are now spending masses of money attempting to make cars that drive themselves. I guess that would be to save lives so more people live to shoot each other.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Dumb cartoon.

    I won’t comment on these two particular cases, because all the facts aren’t out yet. I will say that sometimes mistakes are made by the cops and an innocent life is taken. This is actually a fairly rare occurrence considering the number of traffic stops and arrests made by the police each year (and yes, one is too many).

    Most of the cases that have been protested over the last year or so, have turned out to be justified shootings. The most famous of those was the Michael Brown shooting. It turned out that Mr. Brown attacked an officer and punched him in the face. He was shot while trying to get the officers gun. That’s it, end of story.

    As far as being shot for having your tail light out or jaywalking, that is almost always not the case. That may start the interaction with the LEO, but fighting with the cops is what gets you shot. Don’t fight with cops. If you feel you were unjustly stopped, file a complaint, get a lawyer, write a terse letter. Fighting with the cops never ends well. Just comply with the officer and you and he/she will both go home alive.
    Also, always keep your hands where they can be seen, especially if you have a gun…don’t go near it.

    • Marta
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I find your views . . . interesting, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • J. Quinton
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t understand why poor people complain about being hungry. I mean, why don’t they just get their butler to bring them some food?”

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        I also don’t understand why poor people can’t just get a lawyer.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Or eat cake.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Michael Brown, end of story.
      I don’t think so. There were still plenty of irregularities in the whole thing.
      including the whole prosecuting side being driven by vested interests.
      And, don’t forget that another inquiry found rampant violations by the in justice department there.
      The reputation was not for nothing.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Today’s shooting happened when the person was complying. I don’t think complying with an officer is always going to get you not shot and honestly, it shouldn’t come down to this. You should be able to expect not to get shot for being pulled over for a busted out light. It just isn’t right in a civilized society.

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, sometimes cops make deadly mistakes, and the public should probably be more understanding than they are.

      But sometimes cops commit brazen assault or murder. If a guy is lying face-down on the ground with his hands behind his back in surrender, there’s absolutely no possible justification for a cop running up and kicking him in the head or ribs, or punching him in the back of the head, or smashing his teeth against the ground, or anything of the sort. I’ve seen all of those things and more. They almost always get away with it, even when the video evidence is clear, and that needs to change.

      • steve
        Posted July 8, 2016 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Yes. To misquote Arnold in Kindergarten Cop, “Sometimes it IS a tumour.”

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “An armed society is a polite shoot-first society.”

  8. Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Profound incompetence percolating in an atmosphere of disproportionate paranoia.

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      You can say that again!

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Whose paranoia is disproportionate? I’d say a black person’s paranoia is justified, and I would say that it’s debatable whether “paranoia” is the best characterization of what drives the LEOs to use lethal force.

  9. Jonathan Smith
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink


    So the police are just law enforcement not to protect and serve? What ever they command you to do, even if it is clearly illegal, you comply. No matter if they are clearly violating your amendment rights you do as you are told because you are afraid that they are going to murder you? So that is your idea of a free society. I’m not suggesting fighting” with the police, however since when is standing up for your rights become illegal.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I don’t know mordacious1’s full views on these issues so can’t say whether or not I agree with him generally, but in his comment he did not say anything about the police being “just law enforcement not to protect and serve.” He or she also did not say anything about standing up for your rights being inappropriate or that he thought it should be.

      All he or she said was that some of the police shooting incidents that were, early on, claimed to be the result of improper conduct by LEOs turned out to not be. And that in the heat of the moment of being confronted by a LEO one should not assault the LEO or give the LEO good reason to believe you were about to assault them because you are risking being justifiably shot. He or she also said that if you felt you were unjustly treated that you should fight by filing a complaint and or get a lawyer.

      I am not sure how his or her comment differs in any significant way from your last sentence. I’d add that even if law enforcement were so bad in a society that one could reasonably argue that it was every citizens duty to resist it would still be foolish to assault a LEO in the heat of the moment, unless it was a situation where you were fairly sure you were about to die anyway. Much better to survive to fight another day and perhaps actually make a contribution instead of dying then and there.

      • mikeyc
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        If I may barge in… I understand this kind of thinking (always a bad idea to argue with cops or even TSA) but if it is true that these killings are the result of people not complying with LEO and NOT due to racial targeting, why is that in many places African Americans are much more likely to be the targets of LEO action? A recent study in Oakland, for example, showed that blacks were 10 times more likely to be pulled over and handcuffed than white people. That is a recipe for disaster.

        I think it is long past time to recognize we have a serious problem that is, in some ways, not unlike the interactions between Palestinians and Israelis. I don’t want to draw to much of a comparison, but in both dynamics there is such a long history of bad and violent relations between the two and it has gotten so bad that apportioning blame for the terrible situation overall is very difficult.

        Although, as Mordacious points out, for purposes of criminal investigations each of these incidents ought to be considered independently of each other, there really can be no denying (IMO) that there is are deeply rooted systemic problems at play that go far beyond failure to comply with LEOs.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think there is any reasonable doubt that the incidence of incidents in which law enforcement actions in the US are racially motivated and unjustifiable is unacceptably high and a serious problem. No buts there. I think law enforcement has gotten way out of control in this country. I probably shouldn’t get started on that. Suffice to say that if I gave the impression that I thought stories of racially motivated abuse by LEOS were generally wrong or of little importance, I sure as hell didn’t mean to. I was merely trying to point out that several specific things that Jonathan Smith attributed to mordacious1 were not evident in mordacious1’s comment.

          Also, regarding whether or not one should assault LEOs, I was not talking about what is, or should be, ethically or legally correct, or even who should be blamed. I was talking about how best to survive in a certain kind of bad situation. As in, regardless of who is right or wrong, if you want to survive the situation don’t do something to increase your odds of becoming dead.

          It does seem to me that mordacious1 may be hinting in his comment that the rate of racially motivated and unjustified incidents by LEOS is not a serious problem. Like I said above, that isn’t my view. That is why my first sentence was a disclaimer.

          • nicky
            Posted July 8, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

            Regardless of race, I think that these murderers (or alleged murderers) as well as the assaulters (cf that video of a policeman brutally assaulting a schoolgirl in South Carolina last year) should be arrested immediately if there is prima facie evidence of murder or assault (as eg. recorded on these videos). They can then apply for bail like any other citizen.
            I think that would have more effect than putting them immediately on forced, but fully paid, leave.

            • darrelle
              Posted July 8, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

              I agree completely that LEOs should be treated, at the least, like the average citizen that has apparently committed a serious crime. I think a case can easily be made that it is much more important that LEOs don’t commit crimes compared to the average citizen.

              The system needs to account for the fact that LEOs, due to the nature of their job, are going to put into situations where mistakes made with no ill intention or motivation will have tragic consequences. But right now that really isn’t a problem. The problem is that LEOs that commit crimes are too well protected by the system. There are far too many LEOs that have no business being in law enforcement. In my opinion. Anyone who wants to be a LEO so that they can play Billy-Bad-Ass shouldn’t be a LEO. Anyone who wants to be a LEO so that they can play with guns shouldn’t be a LEO. Anyone who wants to be a LEO so that they can have authority over others shouldn’t be a LEO. Anyone who thinks it is OK to run up and kick a suspect in the head, who is lying on the ground incapacitated and in control, shouldn’t be a LEO. Anyone who thinks it is OK to go into a grade school classroom and forcibly remove a clearly emotionally disturbed young girl by force shouldn’t be a LEO. Anyone who likes to make a point of placing their gun in plain view on the table when they are off duty at a social event, so that everyone knows how awesome they are, shouldn’t be a LEO.

              As far as I can tell by my experiences there are far too many LEOs like those people I just described, and much worse, in law enforcement and we really need to do something about that. Law enforcement should not be a haven for gung-ho Rambo types, bully boys, racists and sociopaths. We need our law enforcement agencies to take “To Protect & Serve” very seriously. They are supposed to work for us.

  10. Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    if the CDs were being sold legally, that is one thing. If the man chose to sell them illegally, this put the chance of an interaction with law enforcement up, and he knew this. To bait a bear doesn’t make much sense.

    • Monika
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Illegal or not, it doesn’t warrant to be shot, apparently while already held down by 2 people.
      Would that have happened to a white person? I seriouly doubt it. The police, perhaps even society has a real problem with racism.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, there is due process in the US and a police officer doesn’t get to be judge, jury and executioner. You just can’t say “well you did something wrong so you bear responsibility for getting shot.” You do something wrong, you pay the price proportionately.

      • Posted July 8, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        I doubt it too. And no, it doesn’t warrant being shot. I never said that, and far too many people want to jump to that conclusion. I said that it makes no sense to do something that can lead to an encounter with the police when everyone knows that there is a possibility of things going very badly. And yes, there are instances where no one did anything wrong and things still went badly.

        And to claim that all police e.g “The police” have a problem with racism is making a false claim. They *all* don’t. We do know that some do. That is a terrible problem. There is also the fact that being in a situation like the various ones recently one doesn’t know how one would react in the police officers’ place. It’s very easy to be a armchair quarterback, and yes, I know, no one likes to be told that.

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Even if someone was selling stolen CDs, does that by itself justify *killing them*??

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      This is the kind of comment that drives many people to anger.

      • Posted July 8, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        that is true. The problem is: is this anger justified? Does someone deserve to be killed for breaking the law? No. Does someone bear at least some responsibility if they choose to break the law and they put themselves at risk for an encounter with the police which we know can turn violent? It is my opinion that they do.

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, exactly. And why do people get upset about the government invading their privacy if they have nothing to hide?

      The cops seem to have become completely preoccupied with their own safety at the expense of public safety. Plus they insist on absolute respect, as if that is really the point. Anything short of complete submission is treated like an attack, so Eric Garner got taken to the sidewalk in a chokehold to death for being difficult, like this man in Baton Rouge.

      • Posted July 8, 2016 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        How can someone become “too preoccupied” with their own safety? I am curious, if you were in the same situation, what would you do?

        • Curt Nelson
          Posted July 8, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Upon seeing that I’d shot the guy I’d have made getting him medical attention the priority instead of continuing to point my gun because maybe he’d come back to life or maybe the woman with the cell phone would use the gun app on me, or the toddler in back….

          What are you thinking?

          • Posted July 8, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            nice armchair quarterbacking.

          • Posted July 8, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            Or put another way: if you’re a police officer, sometimes your safety is outweighed by that of bystanders, and even that of sometimes the folks you’re wanting to arrest or whatever. (Needless to say this is a normative not a descriptive remark!)

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Yes and Tamir Rice should have known not to “bait a bear” by carrying that toy gun. ‘Cause, you know, 12 year-olds never play around with toy guns.

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    As an outsider, I sometimes see a difference in the way black men in particular are reacted to by others. Some people read the body language of a black man differently and make different assumptions based on colour. For example, a white man is more likely to be assumed as reaching for his licence rather than a gun in a traffic stop situation.

    In NZ even if a police officer has racial prejudices (which is not as common here though does happen), they are still less likely to assume “gun” because people don’t routinely carry hand guns (even gang members), and police keep their guns locked in the boot (trunk) of the car.

    This comment obviously doesn’t help as USians do have guns and that’s not going to change. Perhaps we can hope for less racism in the future though. A change in attitudes would help I think.

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Ironically, it’s the anti-government militia fanatics (aka angry white patriots) that are more likely to engage in unrestrained gunfire with the police. Just ask David Burgert, Ammon Bundy, or Robert Jay Mathews.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I’ve actually advocated for Canadian police to keep their guns locked in their trunks and my very liberal, anti-gun friends were actually against that. I just can’t win.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        I suppose once they’re out, it’s hard to put them back. It’s not that long since our cops started routinely carrying tasers, and I mean probably less than two years. This is the sort of thing you see in NZ in relation to NZ:

        i.e. When tasers weren’t usual (2009) they helicoptered one from Auckland to Hamilton for a situation!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes, when I first went to NZ in the 90s, my cousin, who was a cop, did not carry a gun or have a taser or anything.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            My cousin’s husband is a cop in a small town and still doesn’t carry a taser regularly. He carries pepper spray, which is also a fairly recent thing, and illegal except for the police. (It’s considered a restricted weapon and can’t be imported.)

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              Yeah tasers and pepper spray are illegal in Canada here….but bear spray isn’t!

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

                Ha ha! Perhaps I could practice saying, “it’s for the tree bears, officer,” in an American accent, and point to a nearby car-squashed possum as proof of their existence! (There was an attempt to market possum fur as tree bear for a while.)

    • Scott Draper
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Off topic, but I noted that Maarten Boudry tweeted your Clinton article today. You’re getting famous!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Wow! Thanks Scott! It’s not even one I’m particularly proud of because it’s a bit partisan, though I stick by my support for Clinton of course.

        • Scott Draper
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

          Some of my own posts that I was most proud of evoked no response at all, and some of those that I tossed out without much thought have been highly popular. It’s enough to keep you humble….. 🙂

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            I know what you mean! 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 8, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Just remember us when you’re all famous and fancy! 🙂

  12. Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I am still trying to figure out the title of this entry: Retribution.

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I don’t get it either.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Retribution definition: punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.

      It’s meant to be ironic since the “criminal acts” shown on the tombstones are so minor, but the outcomes horrific and can be interpreted as a form of vengeance.

      Just my 2cents.

  13. josh
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Both persons were shot because the cop(s) believed they were reaching for a gun. In fact, the cops were confronting Anton Sterling because he had allegedly pulled a gun on someone who called it in. That doesn’t mean the shootings were justified, based on what I’ve seen they likely weren’t, but it’s important to get the facts right.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      “Both persons were shot because the cop(s) believed they were reaching for a gun. ”

      A magic escape clause, eh? Sort of like the regressive left’s shouts of “triggering” whenever something they don’t like passes their ears; a handy-dandy way of preemptively shutting off all debate.

      Judge; “Officer, please tell the court why you fired 4 or 5 shots point blank into the chest of a man you and your partner had pinned to the ground?”

      Officer; “I believed he was reaching for his gun.”

      Judge; “Right, ok, off you go then”.

      Since we’re both of us working on media reports, not facts…. there is no indication either man was reaching for his gun. Certainly the video of Mr Sterling’s murder shows he wasn’t. Anyway, neither man even got their weapons out of their pockets. Mr Sterling wasn’t the person “threatening” others with a gun – it was someone else not involved in the killing. Mr Sterling was just a black guy in the wrong place which is, apparently, anywhere outside in the U.S. Mr Castille *told* the officers that he had both a gun and a permit to carry it concealed, but was killed anyway.

      • josh
        Posted July 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        How can you fail to read a three sentence paragraph to the end? I didn’t say anything about a “magic escape clause”. It’s obviously possible for cops to be twitchy, to misjudge, to overreact etc. and I specifically said that from what I’ve seen that was probably the case in the Castille and Sterling shootings. Nonetheless, it is nonsense to say they were “executed for selling CDs” or “killed for a traffic violation” or any such inflammatory bull. It’s very clear in videos from both incidents that the cops were worried about a gun.

        In the Sterling case, the cops were there because he’d allegedly threatened a homeless man with his gun. After being taken down we can’t see his right arm and his gun was evidently in his right pocket. One cop yells “He’s got a gun.” The other pulls his in response and yells “Don’t fucking move. ” (I’m not checking the exact quotes here.) Sterling continues to struggle. We hear shots and the cop pinning his legs rolls or is tossed off, neither video shows this moment clearly. Then more shots are heard and Sterling is bleeding from the chest.

        In Castille’s case we only have the account of his girlfriend, who says he was only following the officer’s orders. Meanwhile we have the cop, clearly distraught, saying “I told him not to reach for it.”

        That’s all we know for now. I want a thorough investigation but prima facie it looks like twitchy cops. If so, they should be prosecuted and found guilty. However, this kind of thing is practically inevitable in a highly armed society. There is no evidence that race played a role except in getting these cases into the national spotlight.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I’ll reiterate the magic escape clause.
      Officer safety, no boo boo.whatever.

      It is standard goto claim by the cops.
      See Michael Hart, a cop smash a womens face to pulp. Then read that Michael Hart tried charge her with resisting a peace officer.
      He had to drop after video showed it was a lie.
      A lie! By cops to justify themselves? No!!

  14. Art
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that the Use of Force Continuum, which is taught in some variation to all police officers in America, is in need of constant reinforcement by supervisors and instructors, and daily pondering by patrol officers. There are tools available to handle violence, and not all of them are deadly.

  15. Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    In a society where a certain race disproportionately commits violent crimes they unsurprisingly will be the ones disproportionately having interactions with police, and therefor be disproportionately shot by the police. OH, but wait a minute that isn’t the case. You would expect since blacks commit 40% of violent crime, they would be shot by police 40% of the time, but it’s only 26% of the time.

    Could someone explain this to me? It seems like cops are bending over backwards to avoid shooting blacks?

    Now you can argue that cops are disproportionately, and unjustly targeting blacks for arrest, but that doesn’t explain these numbers. If blacks are being unjustly targeted, which is is the case in my opinion, you would need an even higher interaction rate between cops, and blacks to get a 40% arrest number, and that would make the shot by percentage even higher than 40%, not lower.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      “…since blacks commit 40% of violent crime, they would be shot by police 40% of the time, but it’s only 26% of the time.”

      Citation please. Not trying to pick a fight, just want to see where these numbers come from.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree, it is not a black thing, lots of others get shot too except maybe some rare times. It is though, a thing.

      • Posted July 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        “It is though, a thing.”

        If I didn’t say that before then yes I agree it is a thing. Perhaps cops should be quicker to get people in cuffs, or use their tasers when they feel at risk, before a situation escalates to where they feel deadly force is their only option. If the cops had tased Sterling rather than wrestled with him when he wouldn’t comply with their orders, he might be alive today.

    • Scott Draper
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      “40% of violent crime, they would be shot by police 40% of the time, but it’s only 26% of the time.”

      The datasets aren’t directly comparable because they come from different sources, have different inclusion criteria, and categorize data differently. Your very counter-intuitive conclusion should have been a red flag.

      • Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        “Your very counter-intuitive conclusion should have been a red flag.”

        But is it counter-intuitive? I could imagine that first of all a cop might be more reluctant to shoot a black person, particularly unjustly, because they know in the current climate they are going to be headline news, and at best probably never going to be a cop again. Also a cop might be less cautious when dealing with a white person, and not react until deadly force is the only option. Whereas they might initially over-react when dealing with a black person, cuff him, or taze him, and never get to the point that deadly force becomes necessary.

        • Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          I think you give trigger-happy bigots too much credit. They are not thinking about their reputation. Their lizard brains have kicked in and the only thing that matters in the moment is tribalism.

          • Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            “I think you give trigger-happy bigots too much credit.”

            I suspect that’s true, but I can find no other explanation for the fact that 40% of violent crime arrests are blacks, but only 26% of deaths at the hands of cops are black. Add to that the fact that cops disproportionately harass blacks (pull them over because they are in the wrong neighborhood etc), and you would expect blacks to being killed at an even higher rate than 40%.

            • Posted July 8, 2016 at 12:39 am | Permalink

              As Scott said, those percentages don’t necessarily mean what you have concluded they mean. In any case my point doesn’t hinge on those percentages. I’m simply calling into question your scenario in which a cop might be more reluctant to shoot a black person, particularly unjustly, because they know in the current climate they are going to be headline news, and at best probably never going to be a cop again”.

        • Scott Draper
          Posted July 7, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          The fact that you can construct a narrative doesn’t mean that the conclusion isn’t counter-intuitive. You could easily build similar narratives to show how being black *might* be the route to success and fortune in our society, but empirical data shows that these narratives are usually untrue.

  16. J. Quinton
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Pffft. All of these people disobeyed the law in some fashion. You know who else disobeyed the law? Hitler. And everyone’s glad that he’s dead.

    • Gordon
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      In fact Hitler and his mates were very keen on ensuring they had a legal framework for pretty much everything they did.

      One can of course question whether this framework was “law: from a philosophical perspective but in the technical sense of a system of rules created through the correct formal channels it was law.

  17. Les Ivory
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    If you have any doubt how poorly trained and actually ignorant of the law many US police officers are, go on you tube and search. There are literally hundreds of videos showing how the police lie, bully, and threaten descent members of the public for no other reason but for their personal aggrandizement. I fear that this conduct has been prevalent for years; it’s only now being highlighted because almost everyone owns a recording device of some kind

  18. Kevin
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve a suggestion. If it’s after 23:00 and the police identify a drunk driver they should pull the person over otherwise, let all the maniacs, white and black do what they want…everyone else should just stay at home in bed.

  19. Posted July 15, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I wish to add a comment that has nothing to do with police, just with the perceived value of lives of black Americans. (BTW, I am not at all a supporter of Black Lives Matter and their agenda; I find them counter-productive and thuggish. I was almost banned from another blog after I defended Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown.)

    When we were discussing the killing of the gorilla Harambe, I said that I wonder why so many humans regard the life of a non-human more valuable than that of a human. At that time, I’d read few reports, most of them text-only. I had seen photos of Harambe but no image of the involved boy or his parents. Now, I have just found a repulsive “article” bashing the boy’s parents and detailing the criminal record of the father – who, as far as I know, wasn’t even present at the incident:

    From the photo, I see that the family is black. I cannot help wondering – of those who think that it would have been better to risk the boy’s life and spare Harambe, would all think the same if it had been a white child?

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