METAPHORS AND FACTS: Once again, the Times tries to report!

MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2014

Part 1—Producing the same old crap: In our view, Van Jones has been terrific on CNN’s new version of Crossfire.

Jones is very smart—and he’s also comfortable being fair. He knows how to state his own view while letting others state theirs.

(Ironically, the new Crossfire features unusually long sound-bites, along with deliberate attempts to find the points on which the warring parties agree. For that reason, the program has produced zero buzz.)

Van Jones is very smart. For that reason, the fact that he made an apparent mistake seems especially noteworthy to us.

When did he make his apparent mistake? Last Wednesday, on CNN’s horrific New Day, he spoke with Christopher Cuomo.

The transcript has at least one typo. We highlight his apparent misstatement:
CUOMO (8/20/14): You're here on the ground [in Ferguson] and hear what the community leaders say that they want and what this community seems to need. Do you believe that Eric Holder coming here is important symbolically or important substantively?

JONES: More important symbolically. They already have 40 feds on the ground. Interviewing lots of people, but this is the top law enforcement agent in the country showing up in Ferguson. That sends a big signal. However, people on the ground say that's not enough. They actually want President Obama to come.

This is a traumatized community. You have people who saw a dead d [sic] laying in the street for hours and hours uncovered. You have grandmas that have been tear-gassed. If they can go to Newtown, they can come here.
There’s an obvious typo in the transcript. We can’t find the videotape to fact-check what Jones said. (Just a guess: Where the transcript says “dead d,” he may have said “dead kid.”)

Still, it seems clear that Jones said that Michael Brown’s body was “laying in the street for hours and hours uncovered.” Based upon yesterday’s New York Times, that claim, which has been fairly widespread, isn’t actually true.

That claim has been fairly widespread. It’s noteworthy that Jones—who’s very smart—had apparently come to believe it. Thanks to statements by people like Jones, many others believe it too.

How long did Michael Brown’s body lie uncovered that day? Yesterday, on its front page, the New York Times attempted to fact-check that question.

The paper seemed to end up saying that the body lay uncovered for something like 14 minutes, not “for hours and hours.” But as usual, the paper’s reporting was grossly incompetent.

A cynic would say the report was designed to reinforce the false impression which Jones and others had gained. Because we understand the Times’ lazy incompetence, we wouldn’t necessarily say that ourselves, though we also wouldn’t rule the possibility out.

How long did Michael Brown’s body lie uncovered? In yesterday’s front-page report, Julie Bosman seems to end up saying the answer is (something like) 14 minutes.

That said, you had to read all the way to paragraph 20 to get that (apparent) information. When combined with the photo the New York Times used, the start of Bosman’s report probably gave many readers a very different impression.

On the front page, the photograph showed Brown’s uncovered body lying in the street. Beneath that horrible photo, the news report started like this:
BOSMAN (8/24/14): Just after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer on Canfield Drive.

For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell.

Neighbors were horrified by the gruesome scene: Mr. Brown, 18, face down in the middle of the street, blood streaming from his head.
They ushered their children into rooms that faced away from Canfield Drive. They called friends and local news stations to tell them what had happened. They posted on Twitter and Facebook and recorded shaky cellphone videos that would soon make their way to the national news.

Mr. Brown probably could not have been revived, and the time that his body lay in the street may ultimately have no bearing on the investigations into whether the shooting was justified. But local officials say that the image of Mr. Brown’s corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America, and left some of the officials asking why.
That’s the way the news report began. It appeared beneath a photograph of Brown’s uncovered body.

If you read all the way to paragraph 20, you were finally introduced to the chief of emergency medical services at Christian Hospital, who “estimated that it had been around 12:15 when a sheet was retrieved from an ambulance and used to cover Mr. Brown.”

The shooting happened shortly after 12:01. That would mean the body lay uncovered for something like 14 minutes.

Is that estimate accurate? Bosman seems to have made no attempt to figure that out. She asks no one else for an estimate. She reports no public statements regarding this point.

Under the circumstances, fourteen minutes doesn’t seem horrifically long to us. Why wasn’t the body covered even sooner? Bosman describes difficulties with crowd control at the scene. Other than that, she makes no attempt to say.

Was the time lag really fourteen minutes, not “hours and hours?” If so, Bosman should have reported that fact right away, given the fact that many people have been otherwise misinformed.

Instead, she saved the one estimate she would provide for her twentieth paragraph! Before readers got there, she made them read this, in paragraphs 10-15:
BOSMAN: For part of the time, Mr. Brown’s body lay in the open, allowing people to record it on their cellphones. A white sheet was draped over Mr. Brown’s body, but his feet remained exposed and blood could still be seen. The police later shielded the body with a low, six-panel orange partition typically used for car crashes.

Experts in policing said there was no standard for how long a body should remain at a scene, but they expressed surprise at how Mr. Brown’s body had been allowed to remain in public view.

Asked to describe procedures in New York, Gerald Nelson, a chief who commands the patrol forces in much of Brooklyn, said that as soon as emergency medical workers have concluded that a victim is dead, “that body is immediately covered.”

“We make sure we give that body the dignity it deserves,” Chief Nelson said.

St. Louis County police officials acknowledged that they were uncomfortable with the time it took to shield Mr. Brown’s body and have it removed,
and that they were mindful of the shocked reaction from residents. But they also defended their work, saying that the time that elapsed in getting detectives to the scene was not out of the ordinary, and that conditions made it unusually difficult to do all that they needed.

“Michael Brown had one more voice after that shooting, and his voice was the detectives’ being able to do a comprehensive job,” said Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police Department.
In paragraph 10, readers receive their one murky warning—Brown’s body wasn’t uncovered the entire time. But before she explained how short the interval actually seems to have been, she quoted an “expert in policing” expressing surprise at the length of the delay.

Question: Did this expert—from Brooklyn, New York—actually know how long the delay had been? After all, if he has been watching cable news, he might have thought the body was uncovered “for hours and hours.”

Meanwhile, the expert was quoted saying this about police procedure in Brooklyn: As soon as emergency medical workers have concluded that a victim is dead, “that body is immediately covered.”

Nine paragraphs later, we seem to be told that that is precisely what happened in Ferguson! But before we’re told that, Bosman creates a world of confusion—for example, in this conflation of two separate questions:

“St. Louis County police officials acknowledged that they were uncomfortable with the time it took to shield Mr. Brown’s body and have it removed.”

Were those officials really uncomfortable with that 14-minute delay? As she continues, Bosman only shows them explaining the tardy arrival of the detectives.

To us, that 14-minute delay doesn’t seem huge, especially if there were problems with crowd control. But Bosman’s reporting is murky throughout on this important topic.

That said, every part of Bosman’s report is an example of pseudo-reporting. Fifteen days after the killing, Bosman penned a lazy Potemkin report, the kind of report which is quite common at this incompetent newspaper.

As presented, Bosman’s report seems lazyily indifferent to fact. (This may be her editor’s fault.) It tells us amazingly little about the two basic questions it pretends to address:

For how long was Brown’s body uncovered? Why did his body remain at the scene for four hours?

Fifteen days after the killing, Bosman provides amazingly little information about those questions. The basic layout of her report almost surely gave many readers a false impression about that first question. Meanwhile, she did an amazingly lazy job addressing the length of time Brown’s body remained at the scene.

Why did Brown’s body remain at the scene for four hours? In this passage, Bosman presents the tiny few facts she managed to turn up:
BOSMAN: Two weeks after Mr. Brown’s death, interviews with law enforcement officials and a review of police logs make clear that a combination of factors, some under police control and some not, contributed to the time lapse in removing his body.

The St. Louis County Police Department, which almost immediately took over the investigation, had officers on the scene quickly, but its homicide detectives were not called until about 40 minutes after the shooting, according to county police logs, and they arrived around 1:30 p.m. It was another hour before an investigator from the medical examiner’s office arrived.

[...]

St. Louis County police officials acknowledged that they were uncomfortable with the time it took to shield Mr. Brown’s body and have it removed, and that they were mindful of the shocked reaction from residents. But they also defended their work, saying that the time that elapsed in getting detectives to the scene was not out of the ordinary, and that conditions made it unusually difficult to do all that they needed.
According to Bosman, St. Louis County officials said the time that elapsed “was not out of the ordinary.” Bosman checks with no one else in an attempt to evaluate that claim.

Why weren’t homicide detectives called for 40 minutes? Bosman doesn’t say. Why did 50 more minutes pass before the detectives arrived? She doesn’t address that either.

Instead, Bosman turns to pointless testimony from officials in other jurisdictions. Below, you see a classic piece of what we’d call Slumbering New York Times Logic:
BOSMAN: The detectives arrived around 1:30, and an hour later, a forensic investigator, who gathers information for the pathologist who will conduct the autopsy, arrived from the medical examiner’s office, said Suzanne McCune, an administrator in that office.

Mr. Brown’s body had been in the street for more than two hours.

Francis G. Slay, the mayor of St. Louis, whose city did not have a role in the shooting or the investigation, said in an interview that his city had a “very specific policy” for handling such situations.

“About 80 percent of the time, the body is generally taken away immediately,” he said, and if the body remains at the scene, “we’ll block off the area.”

He continued: “We’ll cover the body appropriately with screening or tents, so it’s not exposed to the public.
We do the investigation as quickly as we can.”
What are we to gather from that? Consider:

According to Mayor Slay, the body isn’t “taken away immediately” in 20 percent of cases in St. Louis.

Would this perhaps be the type of case where the body isn’t taken away? Who knows? Bosman didn’t ask.

Also according to Mayor Slay, St. Louis police “cover the body with screening or tents so it’s not exposed to the public.” But that’s what was done with Michael Brown, though a reader might not realize that from reading Bosman’s murky report.

What accounted for the delay in the arrival of the homicide detectives? Bosman seems to have made no attempt to get an answer to this obvious question.

What would St. Louis police have done in the face of similar delays? There is no sign that she asked that question either.

That said, the most unfortunate part of this pseudo-report involved the question of the uncovered body. Here’s why:

Many people have received the impression that the body lay uncovered for as long as four hours. Many people have interpreted this (inaccurate) fact as a sign of police contempt.

You’d think Bosman would want to clarify this important point early in her piece. Instead, she piddled around until paragraph 20. Even then, she made no attempt to check the accuracy of the estimate from that chief of emergency medical services. She did no better in ascertaining why the homicide detectives were so slow to the scene.

This is lazy, incompetent work. It ranks as Potemkin reporting. It sat on page one of the New York Times—the Sunday Times, no less.

This morning, shortly after 6, Joe and Mika were using this piece to fuel their latest harangue.

Joe was enraged by what he read in Bosman’s report—though we’ll have to say it wasn’t real clear that he understood what he read. Mika pursed her lips and minced and posed, letting us know that she agreed with Joe this time.

In that report, and in those reactions, you see the standard work of an incompetent old journalistic order. They have been playing the game this way for a very long time.

This is the way of an old inept order. At present, though, two sources of new blood are entering the stream.

At a wide array of news orgs and sites, a group of very young reporter are being introduced into the mix. And at many news orgs, black and Hispanic voices are being more widely presented. Also, white progressives!

In each case, this may sound like a good idea. (In at least one case, we think it plainly is.) All week long, we’ll look at the work being done by these groups.

Way back when, Ray Charles shocked the world with his famous album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western. We’ve thought of Charles in recent weeks as we’ve reviewed the modern sounds in “journalism” now heard all over the press.

Tomorrow: Youth being served

152 comments:

  1. You've thought of Ray Charles's country album in recent weeks? Who has invaded your persona. One of Rachel's ghosts?

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    1. One can only marvel at the thought process that mocks the title of a 1960 Ray Charles album in order to launch a new series beginning with the critical question of how long Michael Brown's body lay in the street uncovered or covered.

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    2. Correction: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was released in 1962.

      Anything for a hook, right Bob?

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    3. Anything for a nitpick and negative poke, right 1:46? or was that 1:45?

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    4. Right. Bosman clearly states that the body was covered with a sheet at 12:15. Bob finds one guy who said nearly a week ago that the body laid in the street uncovered for four hours.

      That reminds him of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

      And I'm the one nitpicking.

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    5. Bob didn't find one guy saying that. It is all over the liberal media. It is today's rallying cry for the protesters. Who is Bosman?

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    6. Julie Bosman (U of Wisconsin).

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    7. Why six yers ago she was labeled a corporatist hack, Dowd protege, and right wing badgerette by Corrente Wire.

      http://www.correntewire.com/who_the_hell_is_julie_bosman

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    8. Hack means you don't have principles but write what you're told, for pay.

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  2. Not covered by Ray Charles:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na5Y9FxR0lg

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  3. Today the White House celebrates a bully who decided to get himself killed by attacking a cop. Because none of this bully's victims are known to be gay, libs have no sympathy for them.

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    1. Time for Bob to break his silence and demonstrate how to talk across tribal lines and speak to our commonality of interests.

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    2. Correction: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was released in 1962.

      Anything for a hook, right Bob?

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    3. Tell us more about the photos of that fractured eye socket. The ones which would have been released 15 days ago if they existed. The ones which, since they don't exist, should have sent you slinking away in red hot embarrassment - after admitting your error publicly and explaining how and why you were duped and what steps you'll be taking to ensure it doesn't happen again, of course. Personal responsibility and all that.

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    4. You have the wrong person. A fractured eye socket is of no importance to me. The store video is. Tell us more about how the violent bully paid for his merchandise and the 4'11" clerk tried to illegally obstruct his exit.

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    5. Times and comments like these cry out for journalism to answer these questions. It seems as if they never bother to ask.

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    6. How strange. Could have sworn I heard "attacking a cop" in there somewhere. Strange how your entire conception of this event is based on the only piece of information the police were eager to release, one which they were forced to admit had nothing to do with the incident.

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    7. The other piece of information (you ignore) is the statement of the police chief immediately after the shooting that the officer was injured. He stopped making statements after that but the police chief can be considered a knowledgeable and autoritative source. The policy of the police has clearly been to release nothing. That may be in part because the investigation was immediately transferred to the county, and then the FBI stepped in. Further, the officer has the right to remain silent in anticipation of being sued at some point. That may be part of why the police are not releasing statements.

      If the latter is true, then it illustrates the damage done by people like Trayvon Martin's parents, who were so eager for that civil judgment that they manipulated the press with false information in hopes of influencing a potential jury. It would not be surprising if the authorities in this situation wished to avoid that kind of circus, although someone seems to be doing his or her best to inflame public opinion anyway, using the absence of info itself as a source of injustice and false facts in the absence of released information.

      Steeve, it is unclear who you are addressing your comment to. Somerby has never talked about x-rays of Wilson's injury. Commenters did that.

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    8. Yes, it's the fault of the parents of another dead kid that the latest dead kid's body lay in the street for over four hours. (Shot at 12:04, checked into the morgue at 4:37).

      The Zimmerman Defense Team has lost its final shred of humanity.

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    9. Indirectly, maybe so. When the body cannot be released until both the city and county investigators have done their work and when the FBI also needs to do its thing, and when there is extra special need to be very careful and thorough because lawsuits will inevitably be filed, then yes, that is going to increase the time the body needs to be in place.

      What is humane about doing a rushed job of investigation? Do you imagine the body could feel the heat or cared where it was lying?

      Turning the desire to do a good job into something ugly, such as deliberate disrespect for the victim or his family, is unfair and ugly, in my opinion. It is using a sad event for personal gain and I don't think that was admirable in Trayvon Martin's parents, nor in Brown's case, where his father is now going around giving speeches with Martin's father, as if this were his moment in the spotlight and not a tragedy for his son. Where is the humanity in parents trying to make money off their dead children?

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    10. When was the FBI called in?

      And I am just amazed how many experts there are in correct police procedure in an Internet forum.

      Tell me, exactly how many homicide investigations have you been involved in? Because the people who seem to have expertise in this area says there was no reason whatsoever that it would take over four hours to remove Michael Brown's body.

      But then again, what do they know compared to some random guy on an Internet combox.

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    11. By the way, try discussing this case without bringing up Trayvon Martin.

      Betcha can't do it.

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    12. How long did it take them to run the forensics on the police car that was involved? How long did that sit on the street, while investigators from multiple teams did their thing?

      Berto

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    13. Your random people tell you what you want to hear and mine tell me something different.

      The best evidence of how long it takes to remove the body is how long it actually took under these particular circumstances. You have not suggested any plausible motive for leaving the body one second longer than the amount of time needed to do the job.

      You can google Ferguson timelines yourself to find out when the FBI was called in and when they arrived. Add to that, the amount of time needed to do whatever work they did at the scene. If someone took too long a coffee break there in the sun, with the body sweltering and all, please identify who it was so that person can be pilloried properly by protesters, tweeted for infamy's sake and have his or her life made miserable. Please, do us all that service.

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    14. Berto, elsewhere there are lengthy discussion about why the SUV was moved immediately and not left in place and whether those who moved it were destroying evidence and covering up for Wilson. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

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    15. "The policy of the police has clearly been to release nothing"

      No, the policy has been to release everything favorable to them and hide everything unfavorable. If they were locking everything down there'd be no store video. Can you seriously imagine the cops hiding something that clears them after witnessing this pattern? If it needs to be made more obvious to you, they ran to Hannity for comfort. Not an action consistent with a policy to keep everything internal during the investigation.

      (I wasn't addressing Somerby in any of this. There was an arrogant swine a couple posts back treating the fractured eye socket as fact. 1:05 displayed the same swagger.)

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    16. The discussion of the length of time a body lay in the road is a distraction from the fact that a video confirms in the minds of all thinking people that the deceased was known to be violent and aggressive moments before his death, therefore the information given by police and witnesses that this individual attacked Officer Wilson should be believed.

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    17. August 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM,
      Can you point me towards those discussions? Google isn't helping me find that info.
      Thanks,
      Berto

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    18. The cops say they released the video due to multiple press FOI requests. If it were immaterial to what happened next, as many have argued, all the more reason to release it. Someone who is dead does not have the same privacy rights as someone alive. It may be painful for the family but that is not a valid reason to withhold it.

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    19. "You can google Ferguson timelines yourself to find out when the FBI was called in and when they arrived."

      OK. Holder announced the FBI investigation on Monday, Aug. 11, two days after the shooting. On Wednesday, 40 agents arrived in St. Louis.

      How sloppy of the Ferguson police to remove the body before the feds got there.

      By the way, do you really think the FBI is called to the scene at every officer-involved shooting?

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    20. "The cops say they released the video due to multiple press FOI requests."

      Well, if that's what they say, then it must be true!

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    21. By the way, these weren't "FOI" requests. But keep babbling. The law of averages says that eventually you'll get something right. Kinda like a roomfull of monkeys at a roomfull of keyboards. Eventually, one of them will tap out Hamlet.

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    22. The explanation for releasing them stated that they were FOI requests. If you were there and you know better, congrats, but I am not making this up.

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  4. An uncovered body is only one of many lies necessary for liberals to adopt into their story line that will allow them to indulge themselves in their fantasies about pre-civil rights and slavery eras they wish existed today.

    90% of interracial crimes are committed by blacks (14% of the population) against whites.

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    1. That one cop fired more bullets than the entire British police force this year. Unlinked stats are fun.

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    2. Welcome asshole from Stormfront.

      Please identify yourself so I can track you down and cock punch you.

      Yours in hugs and punches,

      S

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    3. No need to get ugly, Anon@2:32.

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    4. Yeah 2:32. Next time someone suggests liberals wish we still had slavery, don't get ugly. Do what all of us here do when the proprietor of this blog suggests liberals hate black children.

      Be like Mandela, and King. Black men saluted and honored
      by the authorities in their community for doing the right thing.

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    5. I don't think not caring much about black children is the same as hating them. Somerby accused liberals of being indifferent to what happens to black children in their schools, not of hating them. Be fair.

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    6. I'll be fair. Don't you be stupid.

      A BASIC LACK OF SKILL: Rachel and Lawrence hate black kids!

      FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011


      http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2011/11/basic-lack-of-skill-rachel-and-lawrence.html

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    7. And what did the rest of the post say? Somerby's headlines are often ironic or parodies. Did he really say anyone hates black kids? Again, be fair.

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    8. Lets face it, black kids test scores don't equal ratings. Lawrence and Rachel are interested primarily in pleasing their corporate masters.

      If both have been on the air for years and neither have addressed the issue, not even once, it would be difficult to argue that they do give a damn. Leave it to liberals to get butthurt indignant and insist it's all about their wonderful nobility coming under attack.

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    9. 4:18 and 4:48

      Perfect examples of those who believe everything Bob says except when shown what he said after they have previously announced he never said it.

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    10. 4:18, I don't consider an isolated headline to be an example of what Somerby said. As I stated above, they are often satirical, sarcastic, or parodies of things others have said (song titles, familiar phrases, famous quotes). Quote from the substance of his post or give up harrassing Somerby about this.

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    11. Sorry, this is in response to 5:57. I am 4:18.

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    12. "I don't consider an isolated headline to be an example of what Somerby said."

      The link was in the first comment chump. I'm not going to cut and paste it here for you.

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    13. A BASIC LACK OF SKILL: Why do we hate black kids so?

      TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011

      "What have black kids ever done to make us liberals hate them so? We can’t answer that question. But were the shoe on the other tribal foot, R- and B-bombs would fall on the land, causing vast destruction."

      http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2011/11/basic-lack-of-skill-why-do-we-hate.html

      We encourage you to read the comments. Troll free praise for Bob S. starting with David in Cal.

      Today his supporters deny he even said it.

      What maroons.

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    14. I see. Your problem is excessive literalism again. You think that by asking this question he is saying liberals hate black kids. He is asking why liberals neglect black kids, as if they hated them. There is a world of difference in this phrasing. I don't know if you truly cannot read or are willfully misunderstanding this.

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    15. Why do we liberals hate black kids so much? We often marvel at our cruelty.

      You really have to hate black kids to be willing to lie about them so much!

      And we still seem to despise our black kids; few things could be much more obvious.

      Watching the stars on liberal cable, who seem to hate black kids so much, you could almost think of what Gretta Conroy says to her husband near the end of The Dead, as Joyce’s Dubliners reaches its end:

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    16. Such statements are only effective if liberals care about black kids. Imagine saying this to a Republican or conservative audience or blog. Notice how it would change from being ironic to being a sincere and appropriate question. Somerby is saying that if you care about black kids, love them instead of hate them, you should care about reporting their test scores (accurately).

      Being a troll, you were absent on the day they discussed irony, sarcasm, metaphor, figurative language, in your classroom. You have done this repeatedly in the past -- presented something literal that was said figuratively.

      As I said at the time, being excessively literal is either a sign of mental illness or brain damage. It is also a sign of trollishness because it is a distracting way to try to discredit a blogger, waste everyone's time and pretend that a person is saying something they aren't, would not say, and in fact have said the opposite of, repeatedly.

      So go away and stop bothering people with this garbage. If anyone here but you thought Somerby was saying that darling Rachel hates black kids, they would have disagreed loudly. They haven't (other than you stupid troll(s)) becauses no one here thinks Somerby thinks Rachel hates black kids.

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  5. In watching the coverage, it seems to me that a new outrage is presented every couple of days. Before this one about the uncovered body lying in the sun, it was the incident report not filed quickly enough. Before that it was the DA's conflict of interest. Before that it was that the name of the cop not being released. A cynical person might suspect that these complaints are being doled out to the press piecemeal instead of all at once, to sustain national interest. I think this is part of an orchestrated campaign and the press is either being coopted or is complicit in it. That's why it cannot be reported that the body was actually covered and that there were actual reasons why it remained in place so long. Conflicts with the talking points about what a screw-up the police have made of the investigation, what screw-ups the cops are generally, and supports the claim that Brown was shot as the result of improper policing. Seems to me the press is helping the Brown family and working against fair evaluation of the facts by the grand jury and ultimately the public (when information is finally released).

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    1. Naturally. They don't live in the neighborhoods endangered by violent menaces like Brown.

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    2. Under the circumstances, it would be better that we wait until the grand jury issues an indictment or no indictment after secret testimony and proceedings than to let new blood journalists piddle around the point we think they should have made. Until these youngsters and minorities can all practice civics textook journalism at times like these
      perhaps no coverage at all would be best.

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    3. Boobsum, if you are suggesting that letting a legal process involving the grand jury determine what happens next instead of trying the guy in the press, I agree. Never have liked vigilante or mob justice. Our legal system may be imperfect but it is better than either of those alternatives, in my opinion.

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    4. Yes, that is why the first amendment was quickly followed by the second. So if we are not happy with government denying information to the right journalists, or letting sloppy yung and minority journalists dribble it out to enflame the mobs, we can take armed action against tyranny. In either case as may be.

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    5. Is that what you think the looters were doing?

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    6. So you are saying it was wrong for Capt. Johnson's men to confiscate the two handguns, 3:07?

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  6. Come on Bob, methinks you're making a mountain range out of a molehill here. Could the NYT story have been better written? Sure. But you could say that about 90 percent of ALL news articles that are published in any newspaper. I read the same thing you did and at no point did I believe the reporter was actually trying to claim that Brown's body was left completely uncovered for four hours; only that it was a gruesome scene and that local residents were disturbed to have a corpse oozing blood all over the street for so long even after the cops draped a sheet over it. There's such a thing as being deliberately obtuse, but you are too smart of a media critic to really take everything you read so literally just so you can nitpick at it. At least I think that's the case.

    Better luck next time. Hey, I'll give you credit for this much: You do see how biased Lawrence and Rachel have been for years now, and call them out for their blatant dishonesty on a regular basis. That alone makes your column a breath of fresh air in an increasingly PC journalism landscape.

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    1. @ 1:29 you wrote "you are too smart of a media critic to really take everything you read so literally just so you can nitpick at it. At least I think that's the case."

      If you stated that orally, would you emphasis in the last sentence be " I think that...or would it be
      "I think that"

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    2. Protesters are making a big deal out of the supposed fact that the body sat exposed in the sun for 4 hours, and that IS being attributed to the racial insensitivity of the police force. So this is not a trivial matter. Reporters can feed or defuse such matters. This reporter, either intentionally or carelessly is feeding the complaints.

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    3. Yeah, there were absolutely no protests going on in Ferguson before Van Jones said -- last Wednesday -- the body laid uncovered

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    4. This story would fall off the front pages if there weren't a new complaint every day or so. If it falls off the front pages, how do you influence the potential jurors and sitting grand jury? How do you put pressure on them without ginning up enough public outrage to exert peer pressure? Van Jones is one of a legion of press people being fed this stuff. That the voices are so consistent suggests it is not arising naturally from circumstances.

      By the way, what are people protesting when they riot after a sporting event? All you have to do is announce the opportunity for looting and you will get plenty of "protesters." The press has always done that, especially before the advent of twitter.

      Delete
    5. This story didn't even reach the front pages beyond St. Louis until the following Wednesday, when the cops showed up with full military-grade weaponry pointed at the people protesting in the streets.

      Delete
    6. Right, no front page coverage without the protesters. No protesters without something for them to stay angry about.

      Delete
    7. I'm wondering where all the freedom-loving Clive Bundy fans have gone. Back then, it was OK for citizens to train their AK-47s on law enforcement officers. In fact, it was their patriotic duty.

      Delete
    8. So, you are suggesting that if Brown had an AK-47 trained on Wilson, he should have tolerated it? What would make Wilson's situation different than Bundy's, aside from the element of race? What else about the context of these two crimes was different?

      Delete
    9. What made them different? Nobody has thought about Ray Charles's C&W album when contemplating Clyde being back in the sadlle again.

      Delete
    10. Someone yesterday asked why cops spend hours trying to talk an armed person out of a suicide in some situations but in others seem to shoot almost immediately. They suggested the difference was race. That comparison seems similar to the Bundy analogy raised here. Why tolerate being under a gun in Bundy's case but shoot Brown.

      I think it depends on the assessment of the likelihood of shooting (violence), jeopardy for bystanders, and rationality of the suspect. Bundy was communicating not shooting, there were no innocent bystanders and the guns were judged to be posturing not an imminent threat. In Brown's case, the officer was attacked, meaning violence had already occurred and initial attempts to communicate had failed. He was in a residential neighborhood full of people who could be harmed by a violent man not amenable to reason. When mentally ill people are shot instead of persuaded, it made depend on how the respond to initial contact and how rational they appear, not solely how close they are or how big their knife. And it will depend on whether innocent bystanders could be harmed. The assessment of these factors will be different in each situation and the basis for the decision may not be obvious after the fact or to others not there.

      I frequently hear relatives of mentally ill people protest that they are not dangerous, but the people most often killed or injured by the mentally ill are relatives and mental health workers. They aren't violent until they are violent. Those who are violent are a very small percentage of those with serious mental illness.

      Delete
  7. The proportion of African Americans relative to the population (parity) is closest in St. Louis itself and in University Hills and generally low (Ferguson level) throughout the rest of the state. It may be that these are the areas where there is greater residential parity between the races so that racial representation can be achieved with a lower number of African American officers.

    Education doesn't seem to be keeping African Americans off the police forces. The chief in Ferguson has an AA degree and there is no college requirement generally. It may be that low high school graduation rates are reducing the pool of applicants. Having committed a felony would disqualify someone from being hired as an officer. The higher crime rates among African Americans would reduce the applicant pool. The distrust and poor community relations existing in cities like Ferguson would deter African Americans from seeking jobs as cops, both because of fear of hazing on the job but also because of peer pressure from friends and relatives. Being an officer is isolating even without racial differences. If there is little race-specific targeting and recruitment, little social support for African American officers and factors that would deter them from seeking employment, then it is no wonder there are too few African American police officers to achieve parity (or anything approaching it).

    It is easy to chalk this up to bigotry. That won't accomplish change. Change needs to happen by improving education for African American youth, addressing problems related to truancy, drug use and high crime rates among African American teens, and encouraging them to pursue difficult career paths with potential reward for themselves and their communities. Continuing to revile police officers in general will not make the job seem desirable to minority youth and that will not increase representation on local police forces. That is my take on this situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, black folks need to register and vote. No barriers should be raised against them in the name of virtually non-existent voter fraud.

      Delete
    2. Black folks need to up their armaments to a Bundy Ranch level. Because freedom!

      Delete
    3. Oh, I can guarantee you that the "black leadership" in that community that Somerby previously mocked are busy registering voters. The next Ferguson municipal election will be quite interesting.

      Delete
    4. I doubt it. Do you think this is the first time anyone in Ferguson has been told they should register and vote?

      Delete
    5. Suburban municipal elections have extremely low voter turnout everywhere, not just in Ferguson.

      I strongly suspect that the next time around, Ferguson voters will be turning out with a purpose in mind.

      Delete
    6. I would expect that in a short time the black majority in Ferguson will elect a city government to their liking. Let's hope it's more successful than Detroit and Chicago.

      Delete
    7. Good point, David. Chicago has had minority government and certainly plenty of minority officials without changing accusations of bigotry and abuse by their police force. Maybe people shouldn't be voting for candidates based on the color of anyone's skin but based on their proposals, their ability to enact change, or based on their desire to be fair to all residents of the city, or some such.

      Delete
    8. Here's a couple of clues for you David. Chicago is doing just fine.

      And the fate of Detroit has much more to do with the decisions of white men sitting in corporate board rooms than of black men sitting in city government.

      Delete
    9. And yet two black kids were shot in Chicago and racist policing is being blamed. How is that "doing fine?"

      Delete
    10. Your right. It must be the fault of their black mayor.

      Delete
    11. Rahm Emmanuel is not black.

      Delete
    12. Chicago is doing fine. We have a comic here.

      Delete
  8. At long last, can we end this fiction about such journalistic malpractice being the result of "laziness" or "incompetence?" Let's get real here. This Times piece was a classic example of intentionally burying the lede in order to advanced the preferred narrative. You can be sure that if the 14 minutes served that narrative, rather than opposing it, it would not have been buried in Paragraph 20 --rather, it would have been in the headline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this!

      Delete
    2. It's outrageous that Brown's body remained in a residential street on a Saturday afternoon for four hours, covered or uncovered.

      Why is that so hard to understand?

      Delete
    3. Because it isn't outrageous. When someone committed suicide on a public highway last month in the LA area, they had the entire freeway closed for that long.

      Why do you not understand that crime scenes need to be investigated, which includes having the investigators see the body in the context in which the crime occurred. Here, the investigators were not the first cops on the scene. They were detectives in (1) Ferguson police, (2) St. Louis County police, (3) FBI. Not all of them were immediately available and some came from long distances involving travel time. If you move the body, you make it more difficult for these people to do their work and potentially interfere with successful prosecution of whatever case reaches court. The desire to be compassionate to family conflicts with their right to a competent investigation and fair trial.

      You are not a child. Think about this.

      Delete
    4. "When someone committed suicide on a public highway last month in the LA area, they had the entire freeway closed for that long."

      WRONG! For God's sake man, don't reduce yourself to lying.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-5-freeway-closed-in-both-directions-in-east-los-angeles-20140725-story.html

      Delete
    5. How long did the police car involved sit on the street, while investigators from multiple teams did their thing?

      Berto

      Delete
    6. "Why do you not understand that crime scenes need to be investigated, which includes having the investigators see the body in the context in which the crime occurred. Here, the investigators were not the first cops on the scene. They were detectives in (1) Ferguson police, (2) St. Louis County police,..."

      Right, 4 hours of "investigation" produces 2 incident reports that are virtually blank.

      When was the FBI called in? Are you claiming they began collecting evidence while the body was still in the street?

      Delete
    7. The freeway was closed at 4:45 and reopened at 10 pm but the man threatened suicide, didn't commit it. I misremembered, perhaps because I don't avidly read every word of a suicide article. That isn't the same as lying, which involved intento to deceive and knowledge that the lie was incorrect.

      Delete
    8. The incident reports released to the public are bare bones and do not include all of the evidence collected via investigation. You know that.

      Of course they began collecting evidence while the body was still in the street. They began by securing the scene of the crime so that evidence would not be compromised. They had immediate difficulties with crowd control, including people who tried to force their way into contact with the body and had to be prevented from doing that because they would contaminate the scene. Detectives and other evidence collectors were called and arrived at various times. They then realized, due to the nature of the crime, that the St. Louis County police would have to be involved and called them (from a greater distance and arriving at different times). Once it was determined that Brown's wound was fatal, he was covered up. When other teams besides EMTs arrived, they placed a barrier around the body. Then it remained for the detectives and investigators to complete their evidence collection. That included finding cartridges and determining trajectories of shots, collecting blood splatter and physical evidence, and so on. So, yes, I am claiming that the physical appearance of the body on the street was part of the evidence (which is why it is photographed) and that seeing this first-hand is important to investigators. Because there were multiple detectives from different jurisdictions involved, they may have waited until those with responsibility for investigating had a chance to examine the body in the context in which the crime occurred, before removing it.

      If they had removed the body immediately, protesters would be claiming this was done hurriedly in order to conceal evidence of Brown's innocence and to protect the officer.

      Delete
    9. Next time, be more careful before you cite a case that has nothing to do with the point you are still failing to make -- that it is routine police procedure to leave a dead body to laying in a residential street for over four hours.

      Sorry, but the case of the guy threatening to jump on the freeway, thereby endangering his own life and that of some innocent passing motorists, is a deliberate attempt to deceive.

      That makes you a liar, bucko. Next time, make sure you know what you are talking about first.

      Delete
    10. It is routine procedure to leave it there as long as it takes to do the work.

      Delete
    11. Zimmerman Defense Team -- BUSTED!

      Delete
    12. What deviation from procedure do you think occurred and to serve what purpose? You are making the accusation, so back it up.

      Delete
    13. Well for one, incident reports are a matter of public record. Shouldn't take the threat of legal action to get them to release it a week later. Then you got the further problem that there was, in no real sense, any incident report at all for an officer-involved homicide. That seems to deviate from standard police procedure.

      As for what purpose? Sorry, I'm not like Bob. I don't pretend to know what "many people" are thinking, including those on the Ferguson force.

      But the aroma sure isn't pleasant.

      Delete
    14. An incident report will be used later during the trial (if there is one). It needs to be written carefully, not off the top of one's head, but with attention to detail and wording, especially when it concerns such a serious situation.

      I saw some people asking elsewhere why there was a gap of 40 minutes before Wilson phoned in. They wondered what he was doing during that time. I found that very odd. By all accounts, Wilson has never shot anyone before. Shooting someone isn't the way it is portrayed on TV, with no emotional or physical repercussions for the shooter. Someone who takes a human life is upset by it. They may be nauseated, in shock, numb or spaced out, they may cry uncontrollably or even faint. They may lose track of where they are or what they are doing. They generally need some counseling afterward and are traumatized by their action. Some quit their jobs or can never work in the field again. And yet people are asking why there was a delay after the shooting. On what planet do these people live? These are the same people who find it believable that someone would be eager to shoot African American kids out of bigotry. Only the very small percentage of people who are psychopaths can shoot someone in cold blood with no consequences. They are 3% of the population and there is no evidence Wilson was one -- and there would have been indications in his past behavior, if he were. So these questions and accusations seem particularly callous to me. That is where the bad smell is, in my opinion.

      Delete
    15. "I saw some people asking elsewhere . . ."

      Now THERE'S some real solid sourcing. Even better than Bob's "widespread" story that "many" believe.

      Delete
    16. "The incident reports released to the public are bare bones and do not include all of the evidence collected via investigation. You know that."

      Listen, you clown. I don't know where you live, but I live in the United States of America, and in the USA, when the state under the color of the law takes a life, We The People have a right to know, Who, What, Where, When and Why. This isn't some private little incident. The actions taken by the city since the killing have been bizarre to say the least.

      Delete
    17. Bizarre is putting it kindly.

      Lordy I wish the Internet experts would just shut up and stop pretending they know a single damn thing about proper police procedure. No, Incident reports are NOT "bare bones." In fact, it is very important for the department to get as much of the truth as they know it out FAST and FIRST before the rumors start flying.

      Good lordy, has anyone in Ferguson bothered to read the Kerner Commission Report?

      Delete
    18. Please post your training and qualifications for berating others about police procedure.

      Delete
    19. "An incident report will be used later during the trial (if there is one). It needs to be written carefully, not off the top of one's head, but with attention to detail and wording, especially when it concerns such a serious situation. "

      Yeah, if written off the top of the head, he wouldn't have known the jaywalker was accused of stealing swisher sweets, but by waiting and clearing his head he's sure that (and everything else learned since the incident) was exactly what he was concerned about.

      Delete
    20. So, you accuse Wilson of lying in his incident report? On what basis? Simply because he is a cop?

      Delete
    21. Can't say until Wilson fills one out. 2 weeks and counting.

      Berto

      Delete
  9. Leave it to the libs to worry about how long a dead body is in the street instead of how it got there. It got there because libs helped Brown's parents, teachers, community leaders, and president learn to teach Brown that he could rob stores and attack police officers because slavery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Y-O-U N-E-E-D H-E-L-P

      Delete
    2. And Dred Scott, and "separate but equal", and redlining, and the call for gun control during the Black Panther era, but not the Cliven Bundy era, and countless other instances of systemic racism.
      If you're going to play, play.

      Berto

      Delete
    3. When he robbed that store he should have been armed and so should the clerk because freedom!

      Delete
    4. The clerk should have been armed. He was the one violated. Violent criminal thugs, on the other hand, probably should not be armed. Fortunately Brown could not shoot the police officer while he attacked him although he tried.

      Delete
    5. Dredd Scott should have been armed.

      Delete
    6. Like John Brown?

      Delete
  10. Please note the following passages:

    "Based upon yesterday’s New York Times, that claim, which has been fairly widespread, isn’t actually true."

    "That claim has been fairly widespread. It’s noteworthy that Jones—who’s very smart—had apparently come to believe it. Thanks to statements by people like Jones, many others believe it too."

    "Was the time lag really fourteen minutes, not “hours and hours?” If so, Bosman should have reported that fact right away, given the fact that many people have been otherwise misinformed."

    "Many people have received the impression that the body lay uncovered for as long as four hours. Many people have interpreted this (inaccurate) fact as a sign of police contempt."

    And what evidence does Somerby present that the misinformation that Brown's body laid uncovered for four hours is "widespread" and "believed" by many?

    One sentence from Van Jones, who is both "smart" and "fair."







    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you disagree with the premise of the article, say so and move on. This is a blog about the liberal press. If you don't frequent it, you won't know what is being said. That's not your fault but neither does this blog have any responsibility to catch you up or fill you in.

      Delete
    2. Next you'll be asking Somerby to cite sources showing that Fox is conservative or Rush is an idiot.

      Delete
    3. "This is a blog about the liberal press."

      Finally, the truth emerges!

      Delete
    4. Yes, how rude to ask Somerby to cite sources to back up the narrative he wants to tell.

      Delete
    5. Try Huffington Post, Digby, Kos. I saw some extreme language at Sky Dancing. These places assume Brown was innocent and the cops are corrupt.

      Delete
    6. I'm asking for evidence that the story that Brown's body was uncovered for four hours was "widespread" and "many" believed it before Van Jones said it on Aug. 20.

      All I have been able to find is a handful of blogs, most of whom reported it AFTER Aug. 20. But then again, the blogosphere is a Tower of Babel where you can find any crackpot opinion imaginable.

      Exhibit A: The Daily Howler.

      Delete
    7. So once again this not about what the left blogosphere is saying but some obscure game of gotcha aimed at Somerby. Tiresome, you are.

      Delete
    8. Yes, pointing out that Bob routinely violates the sacred rules he sets for others is only some sort of "gotcha game."

      What a true Bobinista you are whose reaction to the news that his emperor stands before you once again buck naked is to feign fatigue.

      Delete
    9. Mistakes in 9:33's comment:

      1. Somerby is nobody's emperor here.
      2. We already recognize he is a human being, errors and all, and we don't care.

      Delete
  11. Dear John Eligon:

    You stink - go to hell!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Two more kids who were no angels were shot in Chicago today. They probably liked music, enjoyed their friends, had a good sense of humor, thought about finishing school, contemplated religion and the Bible -- all those things that Brown did, according to Eligon. Protesters are trying to focus attention on these shootings as examples of police misconduct like that in Ferguson. A kid shouldn't be shot because he runs around the city with a gun in hand and happens to aim it at an officer. That shouldn't be punishable by death.

    Like Brown, these kids threatened officers. Unlike Brown, they did it by pointing a gun at officers. In one case, the teen was standing over the body of someone else he had just shot, gun in hand when he turned the gun on the officer. Bystanders are claiming that the other teen (in a separate incident) was shot while fully complying with officers. The officer claims he was chasing him and the kid turned on him and pointed a gun at him, at which point the officer had no choice but to shoot him. The gun was found at the scene.

    Chicago is about 67% black (2010 census) and has a police force that is about 30% black. The race of the officers was not mentioned in news reports. Protesters are claiming that this was police misconduct, just like in Ferguson.

    On black call-in shows (like SXM's Urban View with Armstrong Williams, callers were attributing teen misbehavior to the absence of a male in the home, someone who would teach boys to respect authority. They said women are too emotional and they encourage boys to be too emotional (e.g., too angry). They said video games are also a negative factor because they teach a subconscious response to being attacked that may emerge in real situations. One caller said that smoking marijuana was converted into hormones (testosterone and estrogen) that caused excess emotionality that was difficult to control. They hustled him off the air quickly. I thought this was interesting because they were not blaming white racism and police brutality for the problems of black male teens, but seriously discussing the reactions of the kids to demands by cops.

    From liberals, I keep hearing the statement that stealing cigarillos does not deserve a death penalty. I suppose that is correct in the sense that no judge would impose such a sentence, but that isn't what is happening during an encounter on the street. There is uncertainty about what is happening and fear on both sides. The incident doesn't seem to be about cigarillos. I also find myself thinking about justice before the mid-1800's when teens started to be regarded as children and not adults, and when sociological causes of crime and the idea of rehabilitation were introduced. Up to that point, stealing was considered evil, a sign of bad character (which was considered inborn and immutable), a threat to the community. A person who stole was either killed (hung), branded or had a hand amputated (to warn others he was a thief), stoned in the city square (fatal, an example to others) or transported to another country (to make him someone else's problem). Prison was not an option. So, this idea that stealing is not serious and that death should not be a consequence of stealing is relatively new and not necessarily common sense. For myself, I find it hard to understand why someone 18 years old should be tolerated stealing and using violence against a clerk, as a matter of "boys will be boys" or "kids make mistakes." He is too old and the actions are too serious for that, in my mind. I see those as serious antisocial actions that require attention, right away. So excusing them is wrong, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You appear to be wrestling with the thorny issue of whether 18 year old thieves should be killed. Maybe you should have _solved_ the issue for yourself, _then_ come here and post what you discovered.

      Obviously it's common sense to not kill thieves. Even Zacchaeus merely paid back 4x what he took.

      You do realize that in between "nothing" and "executed" there are a whole range of punishments, right?

      Delete
    2. No, I am trying to point out the stupidity of saying an18 year old doesn't deserve execution for stealing cigars. Brown attacked an armed officer causing him to believe he and others were in danger. Brown was shot, not as punishment, but to prevent that harm. Framing this in a crime and punishment way is manipulative. I was pointing out that when stealing is perceived as more harmful it too is addressed with execution and similarly strong measures.

      Delete
    3. The only thing that's stupid here is you trying to sell the bullshit that it is proper police procedure to empty your service revolver on a residential street at noon on a Saturday.

      But you go ahead and tell yourself nice stories that make you sleep better at night.

      Delete
    4. Of course it's proper to do it any time a violent criminal attacks you, no matter what time of day, what kind of neighborhood, or whether you're a police officer or not.

      Delete
    5. They leave out Trayvon and Brown's violent attacks. They have to, you see.

      Delete
    6. You forgot Jordan Davis, who violently attacked Michael Dunn with loud music.

      Yes, indeed. Every unarmed black kid who gets killed is obviously a "violent thug."

      Delete
    7. "Of course it's proper to do it any time a violent criminal attacks you, no matter what time of day, what kind of neighborhood, or whether you're a police officer or not."

      Yep, always proper police procedure to empty your weapon on a residential street at a suspect running away. Then you ask questions later.

      I'm beginning to think this cop was as big a pussy as George Zimmerman.

      Delete
    8. I'd advise the chief, should Wilson be returned to duty, to give him one bullet and make him keep it in his shirt pocket for the protection of the citizenry of Ferguson.

      Delete
    9. I hate to join the Trayvon-Zimmerman debate, but there is no evidence, zero, of Trayvon's violent "attack."

      There is one eyewitness account of a brief protion of the struggle going on between the two which had Trayvon of top before the shooting. There is one self interested account from the killer that he was attacked. It is his word against the dead boy as to who attacked whom.

      Delete
    10. And there are his injuries and other physical evidence, like grass stains and bruises on Martin's hands.

      Delete
    11. Those are evidence there was a fight. They are not evidence of who started it.

      Delete
    12. Evidence of who started it is provided by Martin's friend, on the phone with him, who heard him decide not to stay in his home but seek out Zimmerman. That's if you don't accept Zimmerman's account of how Martin approached his truck to stare him down, hand in pants.

      Delete
  13. How much does Van Jones make? And he still doesn't know the difference between "lay" and "lie"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, but, but . . . he's "very smart" and "fair." Though apparently not smart enough that he can't be deceived by "widespread" stories that "many" believe.

      Delete
    2. Well he didn't really read the Truther petition. He never really signed it.

      Delete
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