Rules and Reminders for Discussing Incidents where Police Kill Unarmed People

Hear ye! Hear ye! Here are the Official Rules and Reminders for Discussing Incidents where Police Kill Unarmed People:

  1. We are all operating with incomplete information. This is difficult and frustrating, because we’re eager to reach conclusions, but for the most part we have insufficient information for such conclusions.
  2. What a person does at certain moments is not the sum total of who they are. Whether discussing suspects or police officers, we should resist the temptation to demonize, angelify, and oversimplify.
  3. As delineated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person is “entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Every person is also “presumed innocent until proved guilty”.
  4. We all have a responsibility to speak honestly and listen carefully, to respond with more questions than accusations. The last thing we want is for dialogue to freeze under the weight of suspicion and fear.
  5. Everyone has the right to be wrong, provided the person is willing to listen in order to be corrected (and owns the error). Those who are correct shall refrain from imposing guilt trips or ridicule against those who err, once the mistake is clarified.
  6. Individual incidents must be judged on the specifics of their own events, but social patterns shall not be ignored. In his memoir “Jarhead”, Anthony Swafford writes: “Every war is different. Every war is the same.” This is true also about incidents where police officers kill unarmed people. (Elements of social identity like gender, race, class, and sexuality rarely surface in the 21st century through overt, explicit hostility. This makes them especially difficult to discuss.)
  7. Despite the differences in our political perspectives, ideological orientations, personal circumstances, ethnic backgrounds, religious affiliations, and levels of formal education, we are all people whose lives are precious and who deserve respect.
  8. As Radio Raheem says in “Do The Right Thing”: “Hate [is] KO’d by Love.”

John Oliver on Ferguson

Comedy News vet John Oliver does a superb job breaking down the insanity in Ferguson.

Eyewitness Report of the Murder of Michael Brown

USA TodayWitness to Michael Brown shooting comes forward

Dorian Johnson said he was standing inches from Brown when the shooting occurred around 1:40 p.m. Saturday. [...] ”The officer is approaching us and as he pulled up on the side of us, he didn’t say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime. He said, ‘Get the F on the sidewalk.’”

After Johnson said the officer thrust open the door of his patrol car, hitting the pair, Johnson said the officer grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for the officer’s weapon.

According to Johnson, the officer pursued Brown and fired another shot. which struck Brown in the back. He said Brown turned and faced the officer with his hands raised.

My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him),” Johnson said. “Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch.”

Didactic SynCast #74: Foxconn and the A-Bomb

This week we look at riots at Foxconn, the horrible reviews for Maggie Gyllenhall’s dumb new movie, and regrets of a-bomb scientists. Strap in and enjoy!

DS #74: Foxconn and the A-Bomb

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Sadat X: “Gamer”

Didactic SynCast #69: Algorithmic Terrorism

Back from the road trip and filled with invective! We got some good stuff this week; have a listen.

DS #69: Algorithmic Terrorism

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Jean Grae & 9th Wonder: “Don’t Rush Me”

Jean also did a song called “Taco Day” and it is deep. I don’t think this is an official video, but it’s very well done and obviously accompanies the lyrics perfectly. (Odd Future fans should note how she doesn’t simply begin and end with “I’m crazy and therefore I kill people” but rather works in some coherent sociology along the way.)