Reality is difficult

Via Red Dog: who references this blog post of mine.

RealityIsDifficult

Thank you Red Dog.

It may be that we have another very public example of reality being really, really difficult to understand.

We have probably 100s of thousands of people protesting, getting all worked up, killing police officers, and doing 100s of millions of dollars worth of property damage over the death of George Floyd.

From every thing I know about the event it should be considered an unlawful death and those responsible should be prosecuted. I talked to a former cop about it and he said, paraphrasing, the head and neck action, in addition to being totally unnecessary, was extremely strongly “discouraged” (forbidden) since at least 1994 when he first went through training. He is also of the opinion that the other cops should be charge with participating in the illegal death of Floyd as well. I have no reason to disagree with his analysis.

That said, the theme of probably 99.9% of the protests and public discussion is about racism. But is it? What evidence do we have that this cop is a racist thug? It could be that he does this crap with people he arrests regardless of their race. There are supposedly has many prior complaints against him. It’s entirely possible that he is an equal opportunity thug. It’s even possible he gives white suspects rougher treatment than non-whites.

I’m really looking forward to the cops public trial(s). I want to know what is in those prior complaints about his behavior. My bet is that describing him as an equal opportunity thug is more accurate than as a racist thug.

The racist theme met the preconceived beliefs of the vast majority of people and that theme spread across the country at almost the speed of light. It infected far more people, far faster, than any viral pandemic. And yet, it may well be nothing but a delusion. A deadly delusion of massive proportions and consequences, but still a delusion.

While the belief may be true, until we know for certain, the focus of the demands for reform should be on that which we have evidence for:

  • The handling of a person in restraints does not require pressure on their head, neck, or even chest. That the cop mistreated the suspect in this manner suggests he was inadequately trained and/or violated policies without being disciplined.
  • Police have qualified immunity which makes it far too difficult to punish bad behavior.

But that’s not my main point. My main point is that people believe things without evidence. Evidence is almost irrelevant to the beliefs of most people. And this tragic, almost for certain, illegal death is another example of why I believe rational thought is nothing but a thin veneer over the belief systems of the minority of the human population.

17 thoughts on “Reality is difficult

  1. I’m glad you caught this. The context is completely different, but the truth of the statement is durable.

    Thank you for the link, and your thoughts on the current situation in the world. When I initially scheduled this post (I usually choose my quotes about a week in advance) I was thinking of the lockdowns due to the virus. Yet another domain where reality is so hard to understand.

    With regards to your final paragraph, I know that I suffer from this tendency myself (as I am also human) but I don’t know how to identify where I am doing this, and force myself to reevaluate my thoughts and conclusions.

  2. “Evidence? This is too important to wait for evidence. We need action NOW!”

    Not that the evidence would be believed, or trusted, were it quickly available, because whatever the evidence is, it’ll be in conflict with preconceived beliefs and instantly judged to be unreliable.

    It’s anecdotal, and hence unreliable, but there are reports of multiple procedural violations over multiple years by this officer; If that’s the case then the problem lies up the command chain. It’s a given that in a world of 7 billion people there will be a certain percentage of Bad Apples; unfortunately, those Bad Apples are not all concentrated at the bottom, many find their way to positions of control and management at upper levels, in all sorts of organizations. It may be that the structure of police agencies aids and abets that – police work is very incestuous, fully dedicated to “promoting from within,” actively excluding any exterior influence and promoting exclusion of outsiders – or that the percentage of Bad Apples in police work is similar to that of other organizations and that police activity simply attracts more visibility and attention.

    Which brings us to the media which has adopted the position of “lighting the fuses for profit” in so many things.

  3. “The handling of a person in restraints does not require pressure on their head, neck, or even chest.”

    Usually. Until it suddenly does. Which happens with some regularity in vibrant communities.

    But you don’t need to keep somebody in a sleeper hold for 9 minutes.

    • The former Seattle police officer I talked to claimed it is never necessary for someone in cuffs. “There is a well known technique which any one of us could have used to have completely controlled him without touching his head or neck.”

      “Any one of us” included a female co-worker of average build.

  4. 1. I have seen reports that the restraint is taught in the Minneapolis Police Academy. And that there have been more than 400 uses in recent years, resulting in 40+ cases of unconsciousness but no deaths. Does anyone know whether this is actually true. If so, it is going to be very difficult to convict the officer, though very easy to sue the city for a huge sum.
    2. Qualified immunity is a concept in civil suits. This, so far, is a criminal matter though I have no doubt a civil suit will be filed eventually.
    3. I have seen reports that the other three officers involved were black, Hispanic and Asian. True? One of the pictures did show an obviously Asian officer but I not seen confirmation on the other two. If so, it becomes hard to attribute the action to racism.
    4. Though protests, if not rioting, are protected by the 1A, the normal case when protests are called for is when the appropriate authorities do not respond. In this case, they did. And, of course, the authorities in LA, NYC, and DC, not to mention London had absolutely nothing to do with it. This tells me it is a larger political agenda that is being played out.
    5. One of the prior complaints against the officer involved the shooting of a man who was pointing a shotgun at police. Don’t know about the others.

  5. An arrest is by definition the application of force. If arrest is resisted, then there is much more force. Its pretty to think we can “policy” or “train” away all the potential consequences to the use of force but we can’t.

    I just about overdosed on irony earlier when I saw a post elsewhere, in the post the story was related about their acquaintances’ encounter with Nat Guard troops patrolling a neighborhood. The story was that the acquaintances were unhappy that they were treated far more rudely and rougher than ….

    Wait for it

    the local police force that they were protesting for excessive force would treat them.

  6. My lady brought up an interesting potential solution for dealing with abusive police officers. Require them to be insured the same way doctors are. While hospitals carry malpractice insurance (among other types), individual doctors do as well.

    If cops had to use their own insurance to defend against complaints, the insurance rates would go up as the number of complaints went up. The cost would self correct for most abuses.

      • The number of cases is irrelevant as to the concept of requiring individual insurance. It would, obviously, be very relevant to the cost of said insurance.

    • Well, not exactly. The problem is a legal doctrine called qualified immunity.

  7. There are a few other points I have seen mentioned.
    One is that unions work very hard to shield their members from any consequences of their actions. It may be time to abolish police unions, or at least abolish any influence they have on discipline.
    Another point, related to restraint, is that from what I’ve read the scene in the video occurred after Floyd was handcuffed, when the police had trouble putting him in the cruiser. Something about him claiming to be claustrophobic. One may argue about force needed to subdue an out of control person who needs to be handcuffed, but applying major force to one who has already been put in restraints is a different matter.

  8. According to a nightclub owner, that cop and his victim both worked for her as security for YEARS. The cop worked outside, and the black guy worked internal security. I’m wondering how that influenced this situation. For that matter, if his criminal background is truthful, why was he able to work such a job?

  9. Yes, reality is hard. To the point where when following a bad bit of instruction by my son’s teacher, I asked “Dr. Jen Rose (she, her) (Director of Teaching and Learning)” , the top dudette of curriculum, does factually accuracy actually matter as long as “standards are met.” I have to date received nothing but silence, strongly implying that objective facts about observable reality DO NOT MATTER IN LAKE WASHINGTON SD PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    And Lake Washington SD is supposed to be a good district.

    homeschool if you can.

  10. “The racist theme met the preconceived beliefs of the vast majority of people and that theme spread across the country at almost the speed of light. It (sic) infecting far more people, far faster, than any viral pandemic.”

    As I see it, the current racist meme, already established in the Middle East, started in America after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. King was a Republican, NRA member, and a Protestant, who quoted the Bible and the U.S. constitution. He was replaced by Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, who both took on the Democrat Party-assigned task of creating what we now have; a permanent, pissed-off underclass of mal-educated, misdirected, hopeless government dependents who vote 90+% Democrat.

    Don’t knock it; it worked! It succeeded where the KKK failed.

    Rolf touches on one of the main leverage points, or tactical assets, of the left; public education and its ability to churn out delusional ignoramuses (of all races) by the millions. Education should have been included in the first amendment along with speech, religion, assembly, redress and the press;
    “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of education, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    Also; George Soros and his (largely tax exempt) “network of associations” (anti-Western Civ. agitators and seditionists) remain at large and free of serious media scrutiny.

    For a somewhat excellent treatise on the subject of reality and the many perceptions thereof, see the Star Trek Voyager episode; “The Voyager Conspiracy”.

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