Worse than racism

Recently, in New York City, a man named Eric Garner was strangled to death on the street by police. It was all caught on video. It was a nightmare sequence that made me think of George Orwell’s description of the future in 1984: a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Eric Garner was black. The policeman who choked him to death was white.

Some people want to make this horror about race. I find myself wishing they were right – that just once, the racial grievance peddlers weren’t basically making up inflammatory crap that canonizes thug trash like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Because as bad as violent racism is, I’m afraid that what actually killed Eric Garner was something far worse.

The truly terrifying thing about Eric Garner’s death is that I don’t think the cops in that video hated anybody. They were just doing their job. And their job included strangling a man to death for having sold “loosies” – untaxed cigarettes. Something he wasn’t doing when he was killed; he had just broken up a fight that the police came to investigate.

Garner had just broken up a fight. The police hassled him, based on his record as a (gasp!) vendor of untaxed cigarettes, and when he protested the force of law came down on him and snuffed him.

In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a book called Democracy In America that has been justly celebrated for its perception about the young American republic ever since. In it, he warned of the dangers of what he called “soft despotism” – that “covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules”, all justified in soothing ways to achieve worthy objectives. Such as discouraging people from smoking by heavily taxing cigarettes.

Eric Garner died in a New York minute because “soft despotism” turned hard enough to kill him in cold blood. There was no anger there, no hate; the police simply failed to grasp the moral disproportion between the “crimes” he wasn’t even committing at the time and their use of force. And an investigating grand jury did no better.

Violent racists, as evil as they are, generally understand on some level that they’re doing wrong. That understanding is written all over the excuses they make. These cops didn’t need an excuse. They were doing their job. They were enforcing the law. The casual, dispassionate, machinelike brutality with which Garner was strangled reveals a moral vacuum more frightening than mere racism could ever be.

Every one of the soft despots who passed that law should be arraigned for the murder of Eric Garner. They directed the power of the state to frivolous ends, forgetting – or worse, probably not caring – that the enforcement of those “small complicated rules” depends on the gun, the truncheon, and the chokehold. In a truly just universe they would be strangled and their bodies buried under Garner’s, pour encourager les autres.

But we are all accessories before the fact. Because we elected them. We ceded them the power to pass oh, so many well-intentioned laws, criminalizing so much behavior that one prominent legal analyst has concluded the average American commits three inadvertent felonies a day.

That could be you on that New York sidewalk. De Tocqueville thought that what prevented soft despotism in America was “habits of the heart” – the dignified refusal of Americans to submit to petty tyrannies, and their vigilance against the habits of mind that lead to oppression.

Eric Garner’s death calls us to renew that vigilence. To demand that the force of law only be deployed against crimes that are actual crimes – that is, identifiable wrongs committed against identifiable victims, in which the moral costs and risks of enforcement are not greater than the harm.

326 thoughts on “Worse than racism

  1. Bravo, well said!

    And I would add that this problem is getting worse. Cancer accelerates in its latter stages.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, but want to insert one correction. Gardner was not strangled to death, he died later at a hospital from heart failure. He weighed 400 pounds. It’s true that the police should not have kept him in a prone position since that can prove fatal for people who are grossly overweight. A black female sergeant was supervising the arrest.

    I saw a law professor comment on this issue, he said that he tells his first year students to never support a law that they are not willing to kill for.

    Of course Gardner bears a lot of responsibility for his death, no matter how unjust an arrest is never fight the police. You will always lose.

  3. Eric, the central claim people are making in the Garner case isn’t that the police officers were racist, or that the killing of Garner was ‘racial violence’ in the very narrow sense you mean here. That really is not the tenor of the protests and the opinion pieces and news coverage. The claims are more like:

    1. It is a racist system if the people who are prosecuted and jailed for nonviolent drug crimes (which you call ‘crimes’) are overwhelmingly black. Indeed, the history of drug criminalization has many of its roots in racism against Mexican and South Asian immigrants. (see for example, Maccoun’s book ‘Drug War Heresies for a good account of the politics).

    2. It is a racist system if police get prosecuted and jailed for killing white people (whether they are guilty of crimes or resisting arrest, whatever) but never get prosecuted and jailed for killing black people.

    Unfortunately the kind of soft despotism you identify – whether expressed through jailing people for trivial ‘crimes’ or through killing people on the street – is not imposed on whites anywhere near as much as it is imposed on blacks. So regardless of whether police officers are racist, they are involved in a systemic form of racism.

    In the Ferguson case, I grant you that part of the narrative has been about the police officer’s fairly bizarre racially-charged testimony, and the question of whether the shooting was racially motivated. But what sparked national outrage in both these recent cases is the failure to indict, moreso than the killing itself, because it shows that the game is fixed.

    As usual, I’m not sure why I’m bothering. Your response to every single violent event in the USA or the middle-east is to claim that there is no racism involved, so it’s unlikely you will reason your way into a different view.

  4. Agreed a reminder that the nanny state is full of symbolic laws that kill just the same.

    Veering off topic there is the secondary issue of strangled as opposed to choked out on the carotids. Any opinions based on the (limited) public pictures and discussion?

    I’ve been choked out on the carotids myself but of course I was wearing a Judo gi (actually from the Kodokan and I was proud of that) and the technique was properly applied. See e.g. what Gabe Suarez has written on the specific topic and Garner. From the pictures I have seen the claimed technique was not performed – seems to me that if folks can’t do it right they shouldn’t do it at all? There seems to be an assumed license to do it wrong if it might be done properly but wasn’t? Another side of the argument against soft despotism and symbolic laws that kill. That is the rule might be not can it be done right but can it be done wrong.

  5. >Unfortunately the kind of soft despotism you identify – whether expressed through jailing people for trivial ‘crimes’ or through killing people on the street – is not imposed on whites anywhere near as much as it is imposed on blacks.

    Oh, really? How does your theory account for the fact that police are more likely to shoot white suspects than black ones?

  6. This is horrible. I’m one of those people who are saddened by how much the United States have deviated from the principles of the Founding Fathers. But then again, other countries–such as my own–have degenerated similarly.
    I didn’t know Tocqueville’s term, “soft despotism”, but I already opposed the mindset that empowers the State to allegedly save us from ourselves.

    >There was no anger there, no hate; […] [t]hey were doing their job.
    Hmm. From your portrayal of this tragedy, I think there was a second phenomenon at work here: what Arendt called “the banality of evil”.

  7. @ Agesilaus

    Of course Gardner bears a lot of responsibility for his death, no matter how unjust an arrest is never fight the police. You will always lose.

    One problem with air-block choke holds is that as the chokee’s brain stem becomes more and more desperate to breath, he gets a flood of adrelelin and involuntarily thrashes around, making the choker think that the chokee is still resisting arrest.

  8. >Oh, really? How does your theory account for the fact that police are more likely to shoot white suspects than black ones?

    Mull it over for a minute or two, you can figure it out.

  9. Sorry, Eric, but I gotta disagree on this one.

    There are two issues here, and they should not be conflated: the severity of the crime Garner was being arrested for, and the actions of the arresting officers.

    I’m frankly surprised that a martial artist like you can’t tell a chokehold from a submission hold. If you look, you’ll see that the officer’s arm is around his neck in such a way as to compress the carotids, with the crook of his elbow carefully clear of the trachea. This hold may well cause unconsciousness temporarily, but it does not choke the subject. Indeed Garner’s “I can’t breathe!” is a sign of difficulty breathing, but he was not choking: by definition, if you are choking, you cannot move air, and therefore can’t speak. This is the same reason that you only intervene when someone’s choking from food in the airway or some such if they canon speak or cough; if they can, they’ll clear the blockage more effectively without your help. (And never slap someone on the back! If you dislodge the obstruction, it will more than likely go farther down…)

    Garner was in complete control of the situation. All he had to do to get the cops to treat him better was to stop resisting. He set the tone for the encounter when he objected to being arrested and said “it ends here!”. Prophetic, indeed.

    You do not get to tell a cop not to arrest you, no matter what, and you do not get to resist even an illegal arrest. The cop will always win in the short term, even if you shred him in court later.

    As to the crime itself: I’m not all that comfortable with it myself. That seems just a bit too chickenshit. It’s designed to close a loophole by which people evade New York City’s outrageous $5.85 a pack tax on cigarettes – one leftists were overjoyed to see imposed with the goal of discouraging cigarette smoking, especially among kids. Those same leftists are now screaming over a predictable result of that law.

    With that said, though, enforcing that law is part of NYC’s “broken windows policing”. The concept is that ignoring minor lawbreaking teaches contempt for the law and results in increases in more serious crimes. It’s a concept first introduced during Rudy Giuliani’s administration and continued during Michael Bloomberg’s, and is generally credited with a precipitous drop in NYC’s crime rate – more than the national average. Bill de Blasio will almost certainly do away with it, and the result will more than likely be that NYC’s crime rate moves back up toward the bad old days of the 70s.

    No, Eric Garner didn’t need to die. I consider his death to be autodarwination, though. All he had to do was comply, instead of resist.

  10. >No, Eric Garner didn’t need to die. I consider his death to be autodarwination, though. All he had to do was comply, instead of resist.

    You disappoint me, Jay. That is the argument of a slave, and of one who desires others to be slaves.

  11. No, I don’t wish others to be slaves.

    But you have to be alive to fight despotism.

    Look at that scene from the viewpoint of a martial artist. It’s 7-on-1, and the 7 are equipped with weapons and Motorolas with which they can call in reinforcements. Is that a fight you can win, more than symbolically?

  12. >I think there was a second phenomenon at work here: what Arendt called “the banality of evil”.

    I came very close to using that phrase.

  13. @Bennett:

    If whites being shot more than blacks is evidence for racism, then if a study pointed out that actually blacks are shot more than whites, that would be evidence *against* racism.

  14. No, Lambert, Bennett’s theory is like CAGW: Racism explains absolutely everything. It’s unfalsifiable.

  15. >Is that a fight you can win, more than symbolically?

    No. But you’ve changed the subject. When you say “All he had to do was comply”, you’re not just making a statement about force ratios. You’re legitimizing what was done to him, as though his talking back to the police and resisting arrest somehow excused the murder.

    If you value liberty, you have to affirm the right of people like Eric Garner to reject injustice at every level. You have to be willing to entirely reject the claim that it was Garner’s responsibility to stop resisting.

  16. If Garner’s resistance was truly an act of civil disobedience, instead of simply not wanting to get arrested, then he would willingly accept the consequences. The whole point of rejecting injustice is to effect change. That means that you have to be willing to show that the consequences of your actions are disproportionate to the offense. That, in turn, means accepting the consequences in the first place so you can use them later.

    Garner wasn’t rejecting injustice. He just didn’t wanna go to jail today.

    To insist that he not accept responsibility for his own actions is to push us all toward the glorious socialist future. Is that the act of someone who loves freedom? I know you don’t think that, so what do you think?

    Don’t get me wrong. To the extent that the cops and paramedics didn’t help him once they had him under control, they were wrong and culpable. The paramedics, especially; when I was on the street, I treated more than a few criminals who’d been arrested, and always did so to the very best of my ability, just as I would anyone else – even if moments before they were trying very hard to beat my face in.

    But I wasn’t there, and don’t have all the facts, and refuse to second-guess based on 20/20 hindsight like so many are doing.

  17. It seems that most people want soft despotism, at least in relation to:

    – the things that other people do (like smoking)

    – to show that “Something Is Being Done”(TM) when some some bad luck (or lack of understanding) comes with a risk

  18. I also must object to your characterization of the actions of the arresting officers as murder. They did not set out to kill. They set out to do their job: to effect an arrest of a lawbreaker. The lawbreaker resisted arrest, and force was used, as permitted by law, to restrain him. That force resulted in the lawbreaker’s death.

    Murder is an intentional killing outside the law. You might be able to make a case for negligent manslaughter – killing someone through a negligent act or omission – but that’s about it. We don’t know if the DA presented negligent manslaughter (or whatever New York state calls that) to the grand jury, but we do know that no indictments were issued for it.

    And my discussion of force rations and such goes to the tactics of resisting injustice. You have to pick your battles, and pick the consequences. Picking a fight you’re going to lose badly may win you the war, but you’re still going to come out having lost the fight. Either accept it and quit whining or else don’t pick the fight.

  19. >I’m frankly surprised that a martial artist like you can’t tell a chokehold from a submission hold.

    I meant to clear that up. I learned how to do those when studying Mixed Martial Arts. That’s how I know that martial artists frequently refer to that kind of submission as a “blood choke” (as opposed to an “air choke”). In MMA usage either can be referred to as a “chokehold”, but only one is a submission hold; the other is illegal.

    I presume you learned your language among EMTs. It doesn’t surprise me that the terminology is a bit different; the concerns behind it aren’t the same.

  20. >Garner wasn’t rejecting injustice. He just didn’t wanna go to jail today.

    And there was no reason he should. He wasn’t committing any crime, not even selling loosies.

    You are perilously close to arguing that if you don’t willingly eat whatever abuse the police you hand out, you deserve what you get. I think you are arguing that. It’s shameful, and makes a mockery of your claim to love liberty.

  21. De Tocqueville was an insightful writer – he predicted the Civil War by some 25 years, noting that the Abolitionist movements in the North were not actually freeing slaves – the slaveholders of the North were selling their slaves to the Southern states. Doing this, and then refusing to allow Southerners to recover escaped slaves, as well as pushing harder and harder to make slavery illegal in the South as well just went to show the South that the idea was to destroy them – first by removing capital from the South in the form of money paid for the slaves, then moving to make the goods paid for with that capital worthless.

    Still, that’s a separate battle, and not one for this conversation. I just wanted to note that de Tocqueville was probably one of the most brilliant political historians ever.

  22. Jakub,

    Sure second hand smoke is a thing. But second hand smoke is tied to using cigarettes, not reselling them.

    Garner was selling unlit cigarettes, a perfectly legal thing for a person to own. The fact that he could not resell his property without violating the law is frankly, obscene. Second hand smoke is the cover the nanny state uses to get their grubby hands on extra money because cigarettes are “bad”.

    An when there’s money to be had for the government, force is what they use to get and to protect their special monopoly on cigarette taxes.

    I am also appalled by simpletons like Jon Stewart whose tiny little statist mind couldn’t connect to the idea that the prohibition of reselling cigarettes was what really killed Garner. In his mind nanny government is a benevolent force. But he’s so wrong, when the chips are down and the citizen is being called to account for violating the law (any petty law), the only force the government really has at its disposal is deadly force.

  23. @ Jay Maynard
    I hope I’m not misconstruing your position here…

    You appear to assume that Garner consciously chose to resist arrest. But what if he just panicked and acted without really thinking? I suspect staying calm in the face of arrest requires a degree of temperance not all people possess (I, for one, would probably panic).

  24. >They set out to do their job: to effect an arrest of a lawbreaker.

    Aaaaand…what law was he breaking at the time? Is it now illegal to talk back to a cop?

  25. @Agesilaus – said “Of course Gardner bears a lot of responsibility for his death, no matter how unjust an arrest is never fight the police. You will always lose.”

    Absolutely wrong on all counts. Mr Gardner bears absolutely no responsibility for his death whatsoever. He is a victim of police bruatility and a system that encourage such abuses. The laws themselves, the police unions, the bureaucracy, the courts, the DA’s office, the elected officials and we the voters all bear responsibility but not one ounce of responsibility is Mr Garners.

    He was NOT fighting the police. Have you even watched the video? He asked what any citizen has a right to ask for. He asked to be left alone, he asserted his right to be left alone and he stood up for what we all should fight for using assertive words and knowledge of our rights. When a police officer abuses their power they should be resisted. Mr Garner wasn’t very good at explaining his rights but he most certainly had every right to assert them in the way that he did – peacefully – and the officers violated those rights by pouncing on him. Six officers on one man is not a fight!

    It is terrible advise to teach that we should inculcate total passivity when faced with police officers that are abusing their power. Passive resistance to such abuse is necessary and MUST be taught to our children and to everyone. Obviously, there are risks associated with such passive resistance but resist we must or else we will be systematically abused as Mr Garner was.
    Understanding and learning your rights (esp. 4th, 5th and 6th amendments) and then EXERCISING those rights is the only way in which we as a nation we be able to KEEP those rights. No different to exercising the 1st and 2nd. Use it or lose it!

  26. The concerns behind the chokehold definitely do not apply to the submission hold; in particular, the submission hold does not risk damage to the trachea. It also does not result in dyspnea (the feeling of having difficulty breathing). Garner’s dyspnea was likely a result of his weight and prone position, and would likely have been corrected once restrained by sitting him up and giving him oxygen. (At least that’s the very first thing I would have done as a paramedic.)

    “You are perilously close to arguing that if you don’t willingly eat whatever abuse the police you hand out, you deserve what you get. I think you are arguing that. It’s shameful, and makes a mockery of your claim to love liberty.”

    My argument is that you have a choice: either accept it at that time (which is not the same as accepting it; you can always fight back later, in court, or the court of public opinion), or fight it and accept the consequences of that choice. The choice is entirely yours to make.

    But you cannot fight it right then and win. You will lose. If you are doing it intentionally, to martyr yourself for the cause, then that’s your choice to make – but remember that you’ll still be just as dead.

    It’s not about ends, but tactics. I am not advocating that cops be granted the power to act as judge and jury; we need no Judge Dredds. What I am advocating is that people be realistic in their choices, and accept the consequences of those choices. We deal with the world as it is, and that world includes cops that will always win in the short term. You’re not going to change that by resisting; all you’ll do is get yourself hurt. Is it worth that to you? If so, fine, but don’t complain about it afterwards. There’s this concept called “personal responsibility”…we need more of it in our society, not less.

  27. This comment thread highlights why I think our culture is diseased.

    Arguing about the specifics of one tragic death is taking precedence over the bigger issue of creeping governmental over-reach and the systemic dysfunction that it is inducing.

    The outrage should not be over what the police or arrestee did, but rather what the politicians did. Without that recognition, there will be no corrective action.

  28. choke vs strangle…air vs blood

    I remember when these techniques were ‘outlawed’ in Judo. You have to be very damned careful with them. You also have to learn to read the physical responses of the target.

    I’m just spitballing here, but from what I could see, it looked like a hasty and poorly applied grapple around the man’s neck. Very dangerous to do if you are bringing a target down from vertical to horizontal – risk of cervical vertebrae damage and trachea collapse.

    Although he could speak the words “I can’t breathe”, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t choking. His voice sounded strained as if his airway was constricted.

    Whatever – I don’t currently see any reason to consider this as racially motivated or that the cop had murderous intent. Yet the ‘banality of evil’ (that quote leapt to my mind also) that enables cops to throw their fullest force behind the enforcement of ‘laws’ that serve to harangue us, without questioning the virtue of their duty, is extremely troubling to me.

    Many of these ‘laws’ are like pollen – always surrounding us and irritating, yet seemingly insignificant when viewed in isolation – yet they accrete and provide a fabric that cocoons us within a mesh of preposterous ‘justification’ for the use of state force.

    “It’s the law”…no further thought necessary. As soon as the state can get some magical words printed on paper, that’s all the excuse they then need to send its armed goons to prey upon us some more.

    We can argue about the strategy we should use, but the principal of individual resistance to such tyranny is solidly at the heart of all this.

  29. As I have been explaining to my statist friends, if you are not willing to accept a certain level of “bad stuff” in your society then you are no longer advocating for a free society. You are instead, advocating for authoritarian dictatorship by the state where everyone is by definition a criminal and the only difference between you and someone in prison is that you happen to be out at the moment and the prisoner is in jail because the prisoner was caught and imprisoned for something you don’t like and at any moment you may be caught and imprisoned for something else that your neighbor didn’t like. What I call, the salt, soda or sodomny effect.

  30. I think that Jay is absolutely right. If half a dozen large, armed men violate your rights by man-handling you, but you believe that they don’t intend to really hurt you, you pretty much have to go along with the program to avoid being hurt, maimed or killed.

    This will sound silly at this point, but it is the fact that the “attackers” were cops that gives a person the assurance (hopefully) that, if you do go along with the program, you will not be seriously hurt.

    You can’t fight cops on the street – you have to fight them in court.

  31. It doesn’t appear to me that Garner fought the cops, or did anything at all to them except keep talking. It also doesn’t appear to me that he did anything at all to justify arresting him.

    We have an established rule that killing someone, even accidentally, while committing a crime of violence is murder. If making the arrest was wrong, and it probably was, his death was murder. Badges don’t grant extra rights.

    But I don’t buy the “we are all accessories before the fact” bit at all. First show that all of us had the chance to vote for a New York City leadership that would have made those cops behave better. There are several impossible steps in that process.

  32. It’s worth remembering that this *did* go to court – namely, an indictment hearing. And the grand jury elected not to indict. Was there wrongdoing there? Was the jury rigged? What did they see in the way of evidence? What was their ultimate narrative? Was it “no crime; just extremely poor judgement by the police”? Was it “that guy had it coming to him”? …did they see the footage recorded by Garner’s friend? (Why is *that* guy indicted now?)

  33. …You can’t fight cops on the street…

    You damn well can…and we will if we have to…and we will win.

    They’re not Gods. They’re not bulletproof. They’re just mortal humans.

  34. Mr Garner did the best he could do with his 1st Amendment right to assert his 4th, 5th and 6th rights. The State is not supposed to abuse the rights of those who are clumsy or even totally incapable of using their 1st amendment right. Where does it say that the State can suspend the 4th, 5th and 6th because a person can’t successfully use their 1st right?

    For all of you people advocting for your day in court, you are the reason why police will become more and more brazen and indeed HAVE become more and more brazen in their over aggresiveness. And you all seem to have Polyanna syndrome if you think the court system is some omnipotent mechanism of fairness. Keep dreaming!

    Mr Garner was in no way fighting the police. He flailed his arms in disgust and attempted to WALK AWAY. In return for his passivitity – HE IS DEAD.

    And you all think that the courts can fix that if only he had done WHAT exactly?

  35. I don’t think you’re entirely wrong about this, but I also think that you’re overlooking the extent to which racism (and really, any other number of -isms) encourage police to do this sort of thing because they think they can get away with it. Not because they’re necessarily racist, but because they understand on some implicit level that our society very much is, and feel that people will believe a white cop over a black man (or asian woman, or whatever). Racism just gives their petty tyranny extra leverage. Regardless of all that, though, I’m glad to see libertarians jumping into this debate, because police abuses should very much be something they care about.

  36. The ONLY law that he was alleged to have broken was selling loosies. Except that selling loosies is an OFFENSE, not a CRIME; by definition of NY State Penal Law. NY Penal Law S 140.10.1 has a part A, that applies to offenses and part B which applies to crimes. The difference between offenses and crimes is defined in NY Penal Law by “actus reus, mens rea”, circumstances, and result. Selling loosies falls into the offenses category. It is not defined to be a crime. It’s an offense! Thus, part A applied to Mr Garner. Part B did NOT apply.

    As per the statute:
    “S 140.10 Arrest without a warrant; by police officer; when and where authorized.
    1. Subject to the provisions of subdivision two, a police officer may
    arrest a person for:
    (a) Any offense when he or she has reasonable cause to believe that
    such person has committed such offense in his or her presence; and
    (b) A crime when he or she has reasonable cause to believe that such person has committed such crime, whether in his or her presence or otherwise.”

    “in his or her presence” means the offense must be committed in the arresting officers presence but those particular cops were called to a fight which Mr Garner had helped to break up. They were not there with a warrant and they did not see Mr Garner selling contraband in their presence. They had the right to ask him questions, Mr Garner had the right to ask to be left alone. The police did NOT have the right to arrest him. The cops proceeded to jump him and used excessive force on a peaceful citizen who was exercising his 1st Amendment right. He was not in any way “resisting” arrest by using his 1st Amendment right to free speech. Once he was jumped by the cops he was unable to resist due to his physical size and unhealthy condition. He fell to the ground and had six police officers restraining him. All of that was illegal! And he died due to their illegal and unconstitutional actions.
    Mr Garner did the best he could do with his 1st Amendment right to assert his 4th, 5th and 6th rights. The State is not supposed to abuse the rights of those who are clumsy or even totally incapable of using their 1st amendment right. Where does it say that the State can suspend the 4th, 5th and 6th because a person can’t successfully use their 1st right?

  37. > We ceded them the power to pass oh, so many well-intentioned laws…

    What amazes me is every single one of these laws sounded like a good idea at the time.

    And people wonder why I’m so “paranoid about passing laws”. I wonder what it would take for some people to understand.

  38. patrioticduo, you are ignoring a single fact:

    You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

    Right or wrong, those cops were going to arrest Garner. Garner may disagree, but if he does not immediately comply, he is resisting, and the cops are authorized and expected to use as much force as necessary to effect the arrest.

    The thing to do is not to resist being arrested, but to fight the cops in court, where you actually have the ability to win.

  39. The cops were not abusing their powers. The government demands of them that they enforce the laws that the government has enacted. This is a bad law but the cops don’t get to decide that they don’t like a law and refuse to enforce. Tho there is the example of the Colorado Sheriffs.

    Your ire should be focused on the progressive liberal politicians who passed this law in order to squeeze a few more bucks out of the cigarette addicts. Arguably Gardner was not selling lawfully obtained merchandise. The cigarettes were (almost certainly) untaxed and illegal in NY. Made so by the same politicians mentioned above. Also there is apparently massive civil disobedience going on since estimates say the 65% of cigarettes sold there are untaxed.

    I’m not defending those laws, they are oppressive. But that is the environment that the police have to operate in.

  40. Finally, it’s not hard to predict how the prosecuting DA would have easily bamboozled the grand jury. All the DA would have had to do was to convince (aka: mislead) the jury members into thinking that the police knew that Mr Garner was selling loosies. That way, the jury can conclude that Mr Garner had engaged in an arrestable offense. So the DA would have laid out the case that Mr Garner was not there for any other reason than to sell loosies. Store front owners would have confirmed that is what he was doing that day. So the question of whether the arrest was justified all would have come down to the slim difference between “in their presence” or not. And for all of you out there that live in a bubble, that sort of distinction is how the cops abuse their power over and over and over when dealing with people like Mr Garner. But such hair splitting of the definition of an arrestable offense is still infuriating to most of us who have an ounce of humanity in us because even if their arrest was justified, the resulting death was not. But, with so many people willing to fall back onto “well the law is the law ya know”, it’s easy for the police to get away with such banal evil. And it is evil because if it were not the police that did it, someone would be locked up right now on murder charges, manslaughter at least. But as someone else posted, evil deeds become just “banal evil” when it’s the State doing the violence.

  41. “The cops were not abusing their powers. The government demands of them that they enforce the laws that the government has enacted. This is a bad law but the cops don’t get to decide that they don’t like a law and refuse to enforce. Tho there is the example of the Colorado Sheriffs.”

    Or Barack Obama.

  42. @ Dan

    …You can’t fight cops on the street…

    You damn well can…

    You are, or course, correct. However, as Jay pointed out, you have to pick your fights. Regardless of the details of this specific case, people should realize that if a cop is trying to exercise his/her power, through good intentions or bad, it is wise to show the cop basic respect. Being wrongly accused of selling “loosies” is not something over which you want to risk imprisonment or death.

    Very wise people know that, regardless of their personal feelings, if they have been stopped by a cop, particularly if they have been accused of something, the expected outcome is best if they act and speak with courtesy and call the cop “sir”.

    If a cop accuses me of something and I turn away, the cop will likely try to take control of the situation physically. This could cause me to flinch and resist a bit automatically, which causes the cop to grip harder and…. I may end up dead or in jail.

    Ultimately, unless you are actively trying overthrow the state, you treat cops with respect for the same reason you treat Hells Angels with respect – you don’t want to be stomped.

  43. Yes – you should not resist the police. It makes it that much easier for them to take you to the station, and then start telling everyone you’ve been released, or you were moved to another facility, or any one of a thousand other ways to violate habeas corpus. Alles in ordnung – and pick your fights carefully, citizen, as interfering with the police is a crime, as well. Photographs and recordings are not interference – yet – but we’ll go ahead and confiscate them for when it is, citizens, give us time.

  44. > you have to pick your fights.

    Sure.
    But I do find it rather worrying that when you encounter the people who are supposedly there to protect and serve, you better be on you’re best behaviour, or actually risk getting killed by those same “protectors”.

    I find it strange that so many people who can be so vocal about their freedom and their rights (speech, bare arms, stand ground, you name it) apparently are just fine with that. That they find it perfectly normal that cops can pick out a random citizen and “arrest” him, and that this citizen may very well die in the process if he’s not extemely carefull.

    Doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  45. Oh, good grief. The risk of getting killed during an arrest is minuscule, especially if you’re not resisting and therefore the cops don’t need to – and aren’t justified in – using force.

    People out there are painting the police as out-of-control crazies just looking to kill innocent people on the thinnest of excuses. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people who think that don’t know the average cop.

  46. Interesting to see ESR apparently taking the other side of the “abusing Alan Turing” argument this time around. Alan Turing should not have been obligated to keep quiet about his homosexuality, for the same reason Mr. Gardner should not have been obligated to keep quiet about his displeasure at being arrested.

  47. “There was no anger there, no hate; […] [t]hey were doing their job.”

    Don’t say that, Cops get pissed off at facing the same petty wise guys, day after day, that never seem to learn anything better. When one of those people (or anyone) questions their authority, the anger comes out.

    Don’t get bound up in arguments about the choke hold (blood or air). The cop wasn’t carefully applying a specific hold to gain a particular effect. In an arrest scuffle with a really big man like Mr. Garner, you don’t have time for such niceties. He was just trying to drag the man down to the sidewalk; Mr. Garner’s neck was the only handle he had available to him. (Note that the NYPD banned all choke holds several decades ago.

  48. This discussion leads into an issue of conflicting values which I’ve been struggling with for some time in terms of the role of the police.
    On one hand, “just following orders” is a maxim which was explicitly rejected as a result of the actions of the Nazis.
    On the other hand, the Rule Of Law is considered to be an essential good in a liberal society.
    So how do we address the role of the police officer? This leads to a case where we have laws on the books in regards to certain activities, in this case, cigarette taxes and associated enforcement. More commonly other “vice” crimes. The police either have to ensure the Rule of Law by Following Orders. Alternatively, they can uphold Just laws by not enforcing those crimes, resulting in a destruction of the Rule Of Law.

    Thoughts?

  49. We are a society of laws, not men. To the extent that that changes, or is damaged, our society is harmed.

  50. ESR:
    Tron Guy:
    > > No, Eric Garner didn’t need to die. I consider his death to be autodarwination, though.
    > > All he had to do was comply, instead of resist.

    > You disappoint me, Jay. That is the argument of a slave, and of one who desires
    > others to be slaves.

    Nonsense.

    In this country there is *supposed* to a process for resolving wether someone is guilty of a crime. That process does *not* involve resisting arrest. It does not involve getting in a verbal fight with the police. Now, one can argue this process is broken, but it’s not (usually[1]) the police that broke it, it’s broken from the other side.

    This process involves speaking in civil tones with the police, answering their questions[2], and when they wish to put you under arrest you *comply* and fight it in court.

    Resisting arrest is, in itself a crime, and you do not do it, not unless you’ve decided that your right to free commerce is the hill to die on, annd if you do, don’t show up to the fight 200 pounds overweight with a heart that’s been ruined by eating crap food from a bucket and watching *other* people exercise on TV.

    Garner was not killed by the choke hold. He was probably put into distress by the stress of being arrested AGAIN (he reportedly[3]) had 30 prior convictions for selling loose cigarettes). Garner was killed by his lifestyle. What the NYPD did to him *most* of the people reading this list could survive with no more than a few scrapes and maybe a headache.

    Much like the legal system in this country, we have a financial system that *finances* things like police, roads, firefighters and the welfare state. Eric, you and I would both like to see and end to the welfare state, you and I would both like to see a scaling back of the regulatory state, and I feel fairly safe in saying we both would like to see Government taxation and spending be more transparent honest and less.

    There are assertions that the police had been drawn to that location because a fight had started, and Garner had come to their attention because of that. Other sources have asserted that local bodega owners (more than one) had called in to complained that Garner was taking business from them *again*.

    No one seems to deny that Garner was committing a crime, the best they come up with is that it was not a big enough crime to deserve dying for. However the police didn’t *BEAT* him, they used (given the size disparity) a fairly reasonable take down. And yes, I’m aware of the “Eggshell Plaintiff doctrine”.

    I believe that you should be able to sell “loose” cigarettes. I believe that our tax and regulatory state is an extremely high burden. I abhor rent seeking and the Progressive Nanny state.

    But I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Mr. Garner was in anyway a fellow traveller in this. In fact he was taking advantage (near as I can tell) of that system to make cash for *himself*. He was a smuggler and a pirate., and as someone on Althouse noted yesterday:

    Our nation was founded by tax cheats and smugglers and they fought a war to made their enterprise legal.

    New York City was mostly on the other side during the war. They haven’t changed.

    He made his choices. Choices informed by his environment, choices (to an extent) dictated by his genetics.

    The law is the law, and should you choose to violate that law you are accepting the consequences of that. Engaging in civil disobedience is not exculpatory, it is proof that you KNEW you were breaking the law, and your time in jail/prison is part of the protest.

    Those who say that the crime Garner committed (at least 30 times, and may have committed that day) was not crime that one should be arrested for are, IMO correct.

    Those who say that the crime Garner committed shouldn’t be a crime are, IMO, correct, but then they have the burden of explaining at what level tax evasion becomes a crime, and how we’re going to keep collecting taxes to pay for everything the government does. There are, to my thinking, very good answers to that, but most people can’t get there from where they are.

    Those who say that the Police should not have arrested him because of these two statements are wrong. There was (allegedly) a crime committed. Local businesses who are (near as we can tell) following the law (allegedly) made complaints. The law, as written, is an arrestable offense–it’s written into the law. Garner was (as is clear from the video) known to the Police as a repeat offender of this law.

    [1] Yes, there are lots of stories of the police acting and judge and carrying out punishment. Those are wrong, but they are a minority of the cases in the US.
    [2] Answering their questions doesn’t mean to give them the information they way, sometimes it might be “At this time I think I need an attorney, or “None of your business Officer”, or even “I really would rather not say”, But you say it *politely* and he *probably* won’t use his stick.
    [3] I’ve not read authoritative sources on this case, and frankly I’ve heard so many different stories that I don’t know what is true.

  51. esr :
    > > Garner wasn’t rejecting injustice. He just didn’t wanna go to jail today.
    > And there was no reason he should. He wasn’t committing any crime, not even selling loosies.

    How do you know that?

    In the video Garner asserts he wasn’t, he was just standing there “minding my business”. The cop asserts that he sold one to the “guy in the red shirt”, which Garner then denies.

    This is why we don’t fight with police in the street, we hire professionals (or have the appointed by the courts) to hassle these things out.

  52. > Dan on 2014-12-06 at 15:24:23 said:
    > > …You can’t fight cops on the street…
    > You damn well can…and we will if we have to…and we will win.
    > They’re not Gods. They’re not bulletproof. They’re just mortal humans.

    If “we” are shooting cops in the street we will not win. To wit the joke “The aftermath of the civil war would have been a lot better if the Civilians had won”.

  53. >Those who say that the crime Garner committed shouldn’t be a crime are, IMO, correct, but then they have the burden of explaining at what level tax evasion becomes a crime,

    If he bought the cigarettes in New York, then he paid the tax and did not evade it – even if he benefited from the tax stamp system that prevents legitimate retailers from selling cigarettes individually, that is not tax evasion. If he bought them elsewhere, then the system which purports to make importing goods from one region to another “tax evasion” without setting up customs stations at which to declare those goods and pay duties on them is unjust. And even that is putting aside that it is unconstitutional for states to collect duties on imports from other states.

    To characterize something morally as tax evasion, the tax must actually be payable – otherwise it is a prohibition and not a tax.

  54. > Resisting arrest is, in itself a crime

    That a “verbal fight” alone is considered to be “resisting arrest” is a blatant violation of the first amendment. The police have a right to control your hands, not your mouth.

  55. “The police have a right to control your hands, not your mouth.”

    You mean the hands that Garner was flailing around as he was objecting?

    Hint: Saying “you’re not going to arrest me” and then acting like that is a pretty good indicator you’re going to resist, if not resisting already.

  56. @Jay:
    >People out there are painting the police as out-of-control crazies just looking to kill innocent people on the thinnest of excuses. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people who think that don’t know the average cop.

    I certainly don’t think they’re out-of-control crazies. I do think that, even if they were perfectly justified in arresting Garner, the chokehold applied was a huge escalation. He hadn’t begun resisting to nearly the degree that would have justified that level of force, leaving aside the issue of whether that specific hold was allowed by NYPD policy, nor did they attempt any level of force between moving to grab his hands to cuff him and applying the chokehold and tackling him.

  57. At the most, Garner had committed an offense – and barely, but it was not a crime. If you don’t know the NY penal law then look it up for yourselves. Yet you people think that if you were issued a speeding ticket then it is AOK for six cops to take you down and cause your death for speeding. What is wrong with you people? I tell you what is wrong. You are no different to the Germans that allowed Nazism to rise and take control. Nazi Amerika is here. And you fools and fellow travellers that defend the cops in this situation are the reason why Amerikah happened. Wake up!

  58. Jay Maynard> Right or wrong, those cops were going to arrest Garner. Garner may disagree, but if he does not immediately comply, he is resisting, and the cops are authorized and expected to use as much force as necessary to effect the arrest.

    This is wrong twice over.
    (1) To effect an arrest, cops are neither authorized nor expected to use force unless they were authorized to even make an arrest. (Cops can’t arrest you just because they feel like it.) Given that Garner wasn’t committing any crime, nothing authorized the cops to arrest him, and he had no duty to comply.

    (2) Even if the cops were authorized to arrest Garner, they were not authorized to use “as much force as necessary”. In particular, NYPD policy explicitly barred the chokehold they applied.

  59. “The police either have to ensure the Rule of Law by Following Orders. Alternatively, they can uphold Just laws by not enforcing those crimes, resulting in a destruction of the Rule Of Law.

    Thoughts?”

    Life is a balancing act. Stay away from the extremes.

  60. Agesilaus on 2014-12-06 at 16:20:33 said:
    > The cops were not abusing their powers. The government demands of them that they
    > enforce the laws that the government has enacted. This is a bad law but the cops don’t
    > get to decide that they don’t like a law and refuse to enforce. Tho there is the example
    > of the Colorado Sheriffs.

    There are significant differences–the people deciding not to enforce the law are the CLEOs for their agencies, not the guys on the street[1], they are *not* enforcing the law against *everyone*, they claim (accurately) that the law is impossible to fairly enforce, and they are suing to get rid of the law. They lost the first round and are now taking it to the 10th District court.

  61. Let’s deal with the “chokehold” right now. Too many people are repeating the false meme that the cops arresting Garner used a chokehold, and that it was banned by the NYPD in 1993. Both halves of the are wrong.

    The problem with using the term “chokehold” is that it conveys the impression of having compromised Garner’s airway. This simply did not happen in Garner’s case. There was no airway compromise; the autopsy revealed no damage to the airway or the neck bones as would have been present had a true chokehold been used.

    While MMA fighters may well call it a “blood choke”, that terminology is hampering the debate over the facts. It was not a choke as people understand the term.

    The hold used was a submission hold, with the cop’s arm around the neck in such a way as to leave the airway clear and braced by his other arm behind the neck. Despite the ravings of the mob, this hold has neverbeen banned by NYPD:

    NYPD probers “are trying to determine whether it was technically “a chokehold or a submission hold” put on Garner — an important distinction, because chokeholds are specifically barred under department guidelines, a source said.
    The rules don’t refer to “submission holds,” which include headlocks, a common practice by city cops.

    (from the New York Post)

    As for there begin an intermediate level of force between trying to take him down and just grabbing his arms, tell me what you would have done – and without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight? The next thing a cop will do if you refuse to comply with an order is to get you on the ground, so he can gain control of a situation. If you get on the ground yourself, well and good; if not, you will be taken there. Garner was big enough that I can’t think of another technique that would have worked.

    And, patrioticduo, the propriety or lack thereof of the arrest does not in any way change the fact that Garner resisted. Resisting arrest is never a good idea unless you’re prepared to accept the consequences of doing so.

  62. RE: Rule of Law vs. Following Orders:

    There exists a reasonable compromise between the two. It’s called the Constitution, but it only works if it is enforced well.

  63. William O. B’Livion:

    > That process does *not* involve resisting arrest. It does not involve getting in a verbal fight with the police.

    In England it is lawful to resist arrest if the arrest is unlawful, or if you reasonably believe the arrest is unlawful. However very few people are aware of this – many people think as Mr O’B does. I very much doubt the situation is different in New York (IANAL, IANANYL).

    That said, it seems the arrest was not unlawful (the officer said he saw him sell a loosie to the guy in the red jacket), and it’s seems clear it is a good idea from a purely personal point of view to not resist arrest even if it is obviously unlawful.

    But for the sake of argument, suppose it was an unlawful arrest. It would probably be unwise to resist arrest. But would Mr Maynard really argue the consequences are his *fault* if he resists arrest as he would then have a legal right to do? If a man wanders into a bad part of town and get robbed, there is certainly a sense in which it is his fault, but there is a much larger and more important sense in which it is the fault of the robber. If he resists the robber and gets stabbed and dies, there is certainly a sense in which he “autodarwinated” (vile phrase, Mr Maynard) but there is a much more important and larger sense in which he was murdered.

    > You’re not going to change that by resisting; all you’ll do is get yourself hurt. Is it worth that to you? If so, fine, but don’t complain about it afterwards.

    Why? Why can’t you complain about it afterwards? If the arrest is unlawful and you lawfully resist it, and get hurt, you absolutely can and absolutely should complain about it afterwards.

  64. > (vile phrase, Mr Maynard)

    It’s ESR’s phrase originally, unless he picked it up from somewhere else.

  65. Ben – In the U.S., or at least in many U.S. jurisdictions, it is legal to resist a truly unlawful arrest. (I actually used this defense once, though unsuccessfully.) But the standard for a “lawful” arrest is very, very low. The officer simply needs “probable cause” (roughly, reasonable grounds to believe) that you committed a crime. You don’t have to be committing a crime right at the time of arrest or in sight of the officer, either.

    (There’s an even lower standard for a “Terry stop,” to stop someone, frisk for weapons, and ask questions, but this was an arrest.)

  66. @Joseph W, Thanks for confirming that, it’s pretty much the same as the rules in England.

  67. >[autodarwinated is] ESR’s phrase originally, unless he picked it up from somewhere else.

    I did, but I don’t remember where – possibly from the Darwin Awards. It’s a useful concept.

  68. Esr is spot on. Sadly, the discussion that should be taking place (in places other than here) has been coopted by the usual race pimps. That not only drowns out the legitimate libertarian analysis but makes many people who would otherwise agree with that analysis turn away in disgust and support the police because all the protesters are, once more, incorrectly portraying the incident as race inspired. Who would want to be associated with the race hustlers, after all?

  69. Ben:

    There are court precedents here in the US that say it is within your constitutional rights to resist an illegal arrest. The problem is, who decides *AT THE TIME OF THE ARREST* whether it’s a legitimate arrest or not?

    If the police kick in my door *I* know I’ve done nothing wrong, but have I done anything illegal? Who knows, but resistance ultimately is futile unless you’re willing to kill people.

    Because the state is certainly willing to kill you.

  70. > Let’s deal with the “chokehold” right now. Too many people are repeating the false meme that the cops arresting Garner used a chokehold, and that it was banned by the NYPD in 1993. Both halves of the are wrong.

    Regardless of if it’s a choke hold, a submission hold, or just grabbing a guy by the neck without it being any formal kind of hold, the fact is that they grabbed him by the neck, which they knew or should have known had a significant risk of killing him, and did not respond to the fact that he said he couldn’t breathe. At the very least it’s negligence.

  71. One of the guys I’ve taken more than a few firearms classes from used a term the other day I’d not heard before “Caught the Chain”. (here is the blog post. Note that if you’re not used to violence it could be a bit disturbing http://tiny.cc/i5biqx)

    Now from context one can *sort* of get the idea about what it means, but I went googling around to see if I could find either a definition or a more narrow context.

    I couldn’t find a definition or a discussion about it, but I found quite a few uses of it, particularly (and this is likely a symptom of both my search and hte people involved rather than any useful data) by women who’s men had either just “caught the chain” or were about to.

    When one is convicted and sentenced to prison one does not go straight from the court to the prison. With most classes of convicts one is returned to the jail, and at some later the transfer happens. It is this transfer that is referred to as “Catching the Chain”.

    This same instructor passes one principle and one set of rules for living a peaceful life that are relevant to this discussion:

    Principle: Distance from Disorder. In your personal and business life maintain as much distance from disorder, drama and such as is possible.

    The 4S rules: Don’t go stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things at stupid times.

    Garner and Brown didn’t just disregard these, they are the sorts of people for whom these were written. Brown’s juvenile record is still under seal, but we know Garner had at least 30 arrests going back over 34 years. Eight of this within the year previous to his death for exactly the crime he was being accused of.

    In general most of the people reading this blog *don’t* go stupid places at stupid times with stupid people, and we’re *generally* the sort that when we do (knowingly) break the law, we do so carefully. We don’t buy drugs or rent hookers on the street corner, we don’t do wheelies in front of the police station, we take care to carefully conceal our firearms if we don’t have a permit for the state we’re visiting. These are the ways “upper class” people break the law. Thoughtfully, with intent, but not blatantly. Sometimes “we” still get caught, but when we do our neighbors *genuinely* are surprised because we’re “just like them”.

    This is not the case for the poor of *all* races. There are at least as many poor whites in rural communities engaging in these sorts of behaviors (including crack and adding meth), but they do it where *they* live, and where the sorts of people who can bring political pressure to bear don’t see them.

    But it still happens *a lot*.

    Distance from disorder. 4 Ss.

    So I found a lot of hits for “Catching the Chain” on prisontalk.com. A “Prison Information and Support” community. Concentrated Disorder right there.

    I was really stunned (even with my cynical outlook and exposure to that side) just now *normal* going to jail (or in this case having a spouse or boyfriend going) was to these people. They were mostly upset than they would lose track of their SO for a few days while the prison system ingested him.

    ESR is making the assertion that it was “Soft Despotism” that killed Eric Garner, and while many of the facts in his article are either wrong–Garner was not strangled, and there’s a reason for the “The casual, dispassionate, machinelike brutality[1]” that ESR would understand if he analyzed it (sometimes it’s safest for everyone if you use immediate, overwhelming force), and yes, the “soft despotism” he decries *is* a problem.

    But that’s not what killed Garner, as I said before, what killed Garner in part was Garner’s life choices, and that’s true.

    Many years ago, so the memory is a bit foggy, I had some friends in the Silicon Valley area. He worked in the county jail there, and she was a computer tech. She was a bit deranged, but not outside reasonable parameters. One her idiosyncrasies was that she would occasionally glom on to one of her husband’s charges that wasn’t evil, merely stupid. One of these cases was this “boy”–Caucasian–who’d had several run-ins with the law over drugs. The one that brought him to Ms. Nutcase’s attention was when he’d had billing dispute with a “friend” and had stolen the “friends” father’s handgun. Mr. Dumb then realized he’d committed a serious felony and threw the firearm in the bay.

    Long story follows, Mr. Dumb gets GF preggers. Mr. Dumb gets a shitty job somewhere, spends money on dogs instead of business, Ms. Nutcase hires Dumb’s GF as a nanny (because she needs one, and it Does Good). Mr. Dumb gets caught holding Meth, goes to jail. Dumb’s GF looses her job (the job that lets her take care of her kid at the same time she’s taking care of the Nutcase’s kid) for spreading rumors that Nutcase is sexing up other friend while Hubby is out of the country.

    Distance from disorder.

    Another blog I read is Sarah Hoyt’s blog. Yesterday her post and the ensuing discussion was about Charities that do not discriminate on the basis of *why* you’re in need. We have among us the truly unfortunate, those with hard to handle mental illness, those who are much beloved by Murphy, those who have just had a single traumatic event and need help getting back up.

    But we also have many among us that simply make *bad* choices, and we now have an entire government, NGO, and religious charity infrastructure in place to facilitate these bad choices. We have programs that make no distinction between someone who has diabetes because they were born that way, and someone who’s got diabetes because they eat badly and drink constantly. They make no distinction between someone who *can’t* hold a job because they’re severely bi-polar and someone who just doesn’t want to.

    I’m not ranting here *just* about government programs, it’s about a societal notion that a lack of resources *alone* is the sole determinant of whether you should get aid, and that that aid should solely consist of handouts.

    Yes, I’ve heard from certain circles that folks like Goodwill and Salvation Army are “bad” because they focus on job training and breaking chemical dependency.

    WHAT???

    I could go on for hours about this, but what killed Eric Garner is not just the “soft despotism” of the progressive society that in NYC, and not just Eric Garner’s choices, it’s that our society has stopped judging and started accepting as “normal”–and in many ways even glorifying–people who lead the sorts of disorder lives that eventually bring them to the attention of the police or of other people who are even *less* restrained in their use of violence.

    Police kill a few hundred people each year, some of them are inadvertent like Garner, some are horribly wrong like Akai Gurley and that 12 year old in Cleveland, and others are deliberate and hard to avoid.

    But many people are killed by crime and the drug culture/trade in this country. Some of that is clearly the result of the “War On Drugs” driving up the cost and the potency.

    I would suggest that the meta-cause of Garner’s death is our tolerance of people who will not get their lives together and Do The Right Thing, but we’re not allowed to make those judgements any more.

  72. [1]This is also the dangling footnote from my previous post:

    Random832 on 2014-12-07 at 13:09:35 said:

    Regardless of if it’s a choke hold, a submission hold, or just grabbing a guy by the neck without it being any formal kind of hold, the fact is that they grabbed him by the neck, which they knew or should have known had a significant risk of killing him, and did not respond to the fact that he said he couldn’t breathe. At the very least it’s negligence.

    Go look at that tape again REALLY closely. If you’ve been any sort of serious student of violence, or had any experience in that are you can see what is happening.

    Most people are not sociopaths, and most people are not capable of instant violence–this is one thing that serious martial arts training will prepare you for, both on the receiving side, and on the ability to initiate violence more readily (and also the discipline not to and the judgement to decide when).

    What you can see in the video is consistent with a person working themselves into a mental state where violence is easier. I’m not saying that is what Garner is doing, we don’t know and can’t ask–he’s dead.

    But to someone who’s seen that dance a few hundred times–as those officers have if they’ve been on the force for any length of time–what is going to happen over the next few minutes is clear–if they don’t stop it relatively quickly Garner is going to initiate some sort of violent attack.

    Now, keep in mind the (probable) mental state of the officers here. They are dealing with someone they’ve arrested almost *routinely* before, who’s got a long arrest record, who was just involved in breaking up a fight (so he’s at least a little adrenalized already) and who is now working himself into a *more* agitated state.

    They believe that he has committed an infraction for which *their* rules and *their* orders say they need to arrest him (and if it was a offense he shouldn’t have been arrested for he seems savy enough to have gone to the ACLU over it).

    So once they engage they *have* to follow through otherwise the PD will get the reputation of backing down, and there will be more and more people who try to use threatened aggression as a way to avoid getting arrested, which will, in the end cause MORE violence (they may not have thought this through, but they either know it instinctively or have been taught something along these lines).

    They are in a position where they have to do *something*, and there is no gentle way to arrest someone bent on resisting.

    If they’d have tasered him *and it worked* they would likely have triggered the heart attack anyway (note that the autopsy indicates the problems were not caused by the neck hold, but by him being places on his stomach and being, basically sat on.).

    Mace/Pepper spray? That stuff doesn’t work as well as folks would like you to believe, and you *still* have to get the person down on the ground and cuffed.

    ESR’s “casual, dispassionate, machinelike brutality” is casual, only because they’d rehearsed it 100s of times and done it 100s of times. It’s dispassionate because their is no particular enmity for Mr. Garner, and it’s machinelike because it is a practiced, coordinated move.

    But it’s only brutal by way of comparison to doing nothing at all. By way of most other options, it is a small brutality that prevents greater brutality.

    Speed, aggression and overwhelming force is sometimes the most gentle option because it prevents the sort of fighting back that causes more damage.

    To talk to your local PD. Go on a ridealong. Particularly on a Friday or Saturday night (and especially on the Friday or Saturday right after the beginning or middle of the month).

  73. Jay:
    > We are a society of laws, not men.

    We were trying to be. I think we’ve given that up.

  74. ESR, you are trying to use Eric Garner’s death to make a point that we should all be libertarians.

    But Eric Garner didn’t die because of statism. He died because he was an idealist in a practical world. Or, to put it more directly, he died because his social skills sucked.

    A police officer has the authority to arrest you for any reason they want. In most jurisdictions, they have to then charge you with a crime within some short time period. Resisting arrest is itself a crime, even if you were innocent of whatever other accusation the police were arresting you for.

    Eric Garner died partly because he chose the wrong venue to air his grievance. He should have gone to the court, not yelled at the cop. Yes, the police may have been apathetic and/or incompetent, and if that can be proven, then they should be punished under the law.

  75. He tells you in his own words: “I told you last time I wasn’t going to jail again!” He was arrested 8 times in 2014 for this same offense and he was just tired of being hauled down to the jailhouse. And we can assume the cops were even more tired of hauling him down there. He wasn’t making a liberatian statement he was just being stupidly obstinate and his luck ran out this time. Don’t try to read any high flown principals in this whole affair.

  76. “In England it is lawful to resist arrest if the arrest is unlawful, or if you reasonably believe the arrest is unlawful. However very few people are aware of this – many people think as Mr O’B does. I very much doubt the situation is different in New York…”

    It *is* different in New York. Back in 1958, there was a case where some people resisted an illegal arrest and the judge ruled in their favor. As soon as this happened, the legislature went into a panic and immediately changed the law. You may not resist arrest in New York State for any reason. If a New York cop says the magic words, shut up and submit.

  77. @ Shawn Yarbrough – “A police officer has the authority to arrest you for any reason they want.”

    What if a police officer uses his arrest authority to detain and rape a young at-risk adolescent. Are you still OK with the concept of unlimited arrest authority by the police. Or what if a nutjob gets through the screening process, becomes a cop, and then uses the threat of arrest in order to coerce blowjobs from terrified traffic offenders. Both of these have happened in real life.

    Your statement is wrong on its face, and no civilized society should ever accept such a situation, even if it was a pragmatic reality.

    If a rouge police officer showed up a your doorstep one night and was about to kill you because he thought you have been screwing his wife, are you just going to stand there and let him blow your head off.

    Police misconduct can, has, and will in the future occasionally exceed the bonds of passive acceptance.

  78. @Bennett

    >Oh, really? How does your theory account for the fact that police are more likely to shoot white suspects than black ones?

    >> Mull it over for a minute or two, you can figure it out.

    I’ve got to hand it to you: of all the antiempirical, self-obviating bullcrap I’ve heard Orwellian progressives churn out over the years, these thirteen words might take the cake. Don’t hold back, professor. Enlighten all us poor, benighted souls how the increased likelihood for police to shoot white suspects is evidence of anti-black racism.

    While you’re at it, please hold forth on how the relative movement of the heavens is evidence of geocentrism, how recombinant DNA proves the theory of spontaneous generation, and how gravitational forces cause cows to float up to the moon.

  79. Something else that disturbs me … the fact that there are people just standing around filming this with a dispassionate observance.

    We should be ready to assert force whenever we witness police thuggery. The individual victim cannot be expected to act in their own defense, due to the terrifying disparity of force.

    We should not cower back into Jay’s cowardly world. We should stand forthright and deliver deadly force where it is justified.

  80. Jay is absolutely correct. The police did not do anything wrong in enforcing the law – and there is existing evidence supporting the correctness of the ‘Broken Windows’ theory and associated police doctrine.

    With one exception- once you cuff it, it’s yours. As in, yours to look after, your responsibility. Not sitting him up and not giving any first aid is irresponsible, bordering on cruel, in this case bordering on negligent homicide. (NOT murder, for reasons already stated.)

    The problem, to get back on track, here is the law itself. We have too many laws, too many things criminalized, *especially* where egregious felonies are concerned.

    We delegate power to the police for the purpose of enforcing the law. We *expect* them to enforce the law, and criticize them harshly when they do not. It is the direct responsibility of our legislators (that what they’re FOR, it’s in the bloody name) to ensure that the laws they pass are reasonable and just, and indirectly the responsibility of every person who elects legislators to elect ones that, wait for it, pass laws that are reasonable and just.

    There’s creeping tyranny here, but it isn’t the cops. It’s the mindset of trying to create utopia on earth, if only you could pass enough laws.

  81. Just going to drop this here:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-transcript-december-7-2014-n263416

    ESAW SNIPES-GARNER:

    I feel that he was murdered unjustly. I don’t even feel like it’s a black and white thing, honestly, you know, in my opinion. I really don’t feel like it’s a black and white thing. I feel like it’s just something that he continued to do and the police knew. You know, they knew. It wasn’t like it was a shock. They knew. You know? They knew him by name.

    They harassed us. They said things to us. We would go shopping. You know? They, “Hi Cigarette Man. Hey Cigarette Man Wife.” You know? Stuff like that. And I would just say, “Eric, just keep walking. Don’t say anything. Don’t respond. You know? Don’t give them a reason to do anything to you.”

    And he just felt like, “But baby, they keep harassing me.” And I said, “Just ignore them, Eric.” And he said, “But how much can I ignore them?” And I would say, “Just stay away from the block. You know? Just find something else to do.” And he’s like, “What else can I do? I keep getting sick.” He tried working with the Parks Department. But he had asthma. You know? He had issues. You know? Heavy guy. And he was very lazy. You know? He didn’t like to do anything. He wasn’t used to it, so.

    H/T Althouse.

  82. Shawn Yarbrough A police officer has the authority to arrest you for any reason they want.

    No, they do not. They only have that authority when they have probable cause to believe that a suspect has actually committed an arrestable offense. The mere fact that a citizen does not wish to be arrested does not constitute probable cause to believe any such thing. What evidence do you allege gave the NYPD probable cause to arrest Eric Garner?

  83. “We should not cower back into Jay’s cowardly world. We should stand forthright and deliver deadly force where it is justified.”

    Sometimes you can judge a book by its Tron-suit.

  84. “There was no anger there, no hate; the police simply failed to grasp the moral disproportion ”

    I find that unlikely. The two things sure to send a cop into a fit of uncontrollable, murderous rage is (1) any hesitation in obeying any order they may shout, and (2) any hint that one views them with anything less than adoring admiration. Garner, under the misapprehension that he lived in a free country, triggered both of those “enemy, must destroy” buttons.

  85. There is no question. Garner was murdered, inadvertently perhaps, but murdered just the same.

    The police officers had no cause to arrest him. None. He broke up a fight, and even if selling “loosies” is a crime punishable by death, he wasn’t doing it at that time.

    Going along with bad police is what leads being led onto a train off for camps unknown. This is no exaggeration. This is the direct logical consequence of allowing this police behaviour.

  86. Garner came to the attention of the police this time because he broke up a fight. Contra O’Blivion, shouldn’t this make Garner one of the sheepdog good guys?

  87. I just watched the video again, and you know what the cops didn’t say before they started grabbing him?? Anything remotely resembling “you are under arrest”. It went from everyone standing apart, him saying to leave him alone, them touching him without warning, and nowhere in there were the fucking magic words “you are under arrest” uttered. They had no actual grounds to arrest him (didn’t witness the petty offense being committed), and never said he was under arrest before they grabbed him. There was no weapon, he wasn’t doing anything aside from being frustrated.

    He died because their petty bully egos got bruised by his lack of instant docility and compliance. It is indeed the worst sort of banal tyranny.

  88. If smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are bad, why doesn’t the state just ban them instead of putting exorbitant taxes on their sale?

    I am not in favour of such a banning, since I think that the state is not justified in banning anything at all, except maybe rape and murder and theft. (Except then they’d have to ban themselves…)

    To treat a kid who breaks a window or a bloke who sells loose cigs the same as an armed robber is not justified, ever.

    This zero tolerance crap is just a way for bureaucrats to fuck up even more people’s lives.
    I am not a citizen of the USA, so I do not feel qualified to comment on the racism issue over there. It does seem to me, though, that race is a bit of an obsession over there.

    Here, in ex-Apartheid South Africa, most public discourse is poisoned by the issue of race.
    It is a subject which serves to distract people from the real causes of their problems, most of which stem from some people, whether black, white, yellow or green, who are too bloody greedy and corrupt to be part of a civilised society.

  89. There’s an awful lot of ‘assumes facts not in evidence’ going on in this thread.

  90. How can the rate of X be higher than Y, but Y is a bigger problem is not difficult to solve mathematically. I have not looked up the numbers, but if there are a significantly fewer numbers of whites being arrested compared with blacks AND if the number of shootings are somewhat higher among blacks, then the rate could be higher for whites, but the absolute number is higher for blacks.

    Not trying to make a statement one way or another, but it is feasible that the issue could be related to the population sizes and the rates within the subpopulations.

  91. I think the eggshell skull rule is applicable, such that if the submission hold triggered his underlying physical condition, the cop should still be liable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggshell_skull

    I think systemic criminalization of everyone is a real issue. It bugs me that when it’s brought up because it’s relevant, people like Rand Paul get accused of ignoring the direct harmful behavior.

    All interesting behavior is overdetermined. Recognizing one contributing factor does NOT mitigate other contributing factors.

  92. Pingback: The problem of policing | Something Fishy

  93. This is an issue subject to misunderstandings. It is not as complex as it sounds in one way. No matter what the law is, if one is aware of it, the simplest way to avoid trouble is to not break it. Of course that poses the question of whether such laws are just in the first place, sometimes even changing overnight.

    How many people were put in prison during prohibition when a week later one could have a public drink unmolested? How many people have served prison terms for weed? How many violent cartels formed around each? How much public treasure and human life was spent over essentially nothing?

    The problem with law is that even violations we agree need to be dealt with that have nothing to do with imminent violence can be met with the full force of the law if resisting an arrest comes out of it. If one tries to soften that by replacing the jail penalties with fines, people can be fined out of existence. And what if someone doesn’t pay; we’re back to arrest.

    Decriminalizing laws by ignoring them, sometimes because of an agenda like immigration or small amounts of weed because local culture decides it’s not worth an arrest is common in America.

    Big things come out of small beginnings, as Harlan Ellison hinted at in “Repent, Harlequin…” A butterfly flapped its wings in Tunisia by way of the minor humiliating fining of an illegal fruit vendor who commits suicide by self-immolation and the gov’t of Egypt falls and tens of thousands of people are slaughtered in Syria as a result. Following that result, ISIS gains traction as a virtual state, complete with shots to the head for the mere act of being the wrong religion. Unjust laws have consequences if there are seething and widespread resentments under the surface. Sometimes those resentments are imaginary, sometimes not.

    In the Garner case, I think we’re tracking a death backwards and forgetting a bizarre anomaly doesn’t in and of itself obviate tens of thousands of similar arrests across America we could equally say were over petty infractions and in which no one died. I’ve read some people say never pass a law one isn’t prepared to back up with enforcement up to and including death, but that is an empty aphorism that amounts to semantic gibberish. If we did that, speeding laws would either disappear of we’d have to allow any speeder to either not stop or simply drive off. In other words other than slight tweaks, there will be no wholesale changes, because the alternative is chaos.

  94. > If we did that, speeding laws would either disappear of we’d have to allow any speeder to either not stop or simply drive off.

    Boot their car.

  95. >How can the rate of X be higher than Y, but Y is a bigger problem is not difficult to solve mathematically. I have not looked up the numbers, but if there are a significantly fewer numbers of whites being arrested compared with blacks AND if the number of shootings are somewhat higher among blacks, then the rate could be higher for whites, but the absolute number is higher for blacks.

    Right. I think this is relatively likely. Thing is, “institutional racism”, if it’s a real problem, should show up as a difference in the conditional probability that you will be shot if you have an encounter with police. Because that’s frequency samples it should be, at least to first order, independent of the sizes of white population arrested vs. black population arrested.

  96. > Boot their car.

    I should clarify that I’m not necessarily advocating this specifically, just saying that there are non-lethal ways of enforcing fines, particularly on people who own cars and/or bank accounts, that don’t “naturally” escalate to being lethal.

  97. I took the “be prepared to back a law with lethal force” as meaning that, if you boot their car, or do something else similarly non-lethal, you would still need to be prepared for the case where they elect to remove the boot and drive anyway. Eventually you would have a situation where the only leverage you have against someone who removes boots faster than you can put them on is to resort to violence. Or so the argument goes, I imagine.

  98. Exactly Paul. I was not making a comment about speeding, but about 10,000 things.

  99. @ Dan

    We should be ready to assert force whenever we witness police thuggery. The individual victim cannot be expected to act in their own defense, due to the terrifying disparity of force.

    We should not cower back into Jay’s cowardly world. We should stand forthright and deliver deadly force where it is justified.

    If you are talking about seeing cops raping or torturing someone, and you think that you can improve the overall outcome (including what happens to you), sure. But, other than in a wider revolution, shooting cops rarely improves the overall outcome.

    Were you referring to the matter at hand? Suppose I stipulate that Garner was
    ‘t selling “loosies” and therefore should not have been arrested. Surely you are not suggesting that blowing those cops away would be a good plan.

    Once the cop began to arrest Garner, everything that happened after that was unfortunate, but the cops have to see it through.

  100. The idea that someone like Mr. Garner could reasonably expect justice for a wrongful arrest is simply delusional. The cop wasn’t prosecuted for _killing_ him; what makes you think he could have gotten anywhere had he simply been detained?

    No, if you life in a place where there is no check or balance on violent police, that is some scary shit, worthy, in my opinion, of demonstrations and passive resistance in the moment.

    Violence is almost always a road two people walk down together. From the video I saw, the cops were dragging and pushing Garner down that road the entire time, and that’s just wrong.

    Finally, to the safety of the choke hold; Yes, in the context of a training facility with co-operative partners and expert instruction, it’s quite safe. In the context of a competition between two athletes, with a referee and medics close by, it’s also quite safe. But out on the street? Against a person of unknown general health? Not safe. And the cops should have damn well known better.

  101. But it wasn’t an unlawful arrest. The law is unjust but that doesn’t make it permissible to break it at will. You still are pointing your finger at the wrong group. Point it at De Blasio and Cuomo. They are responsible for the law being enforced.

  102. > Eventually you would have a situation where the only leverage you have against someone who removes boots faster than you can put them on is to resort to violence. Or so the argument goes, I imagine.

    In 99% of cases, the boot has caused them enough inconvenience to serve the purpose of discouraging them from speeding and from not paying tickets.

  103. If smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are bad, why doesn’t the state just ban them instead of putting exorbitant taxes on their sale?

    That’s an easy one to answer. If they ban them they need to spend more money they don’t have on policing the ban. If they tax them then some money comes in without the need to police at all and so it becomes about whether it’s worth policing the tax. Also as taxes go, taxing something that can kill you is generally a relatively easy one to justify to the masses.

    Also you touch on another issue. Obviously IANAL (particularly a constitutional one), but a ban raises constitutional issues whereas a tax (even one designed to discourage commerce) is business as usual.

  104. Garner wasn’t the victim of racism per se. He was the victim of a system where police are given too many laws to enforce and too little resources to enforce them all. That enables police to pick and choose perpetrators and victims. THAT is what enables racist police to single out blacks. In a system with few enough laws that police have no alternative but to enforce them all on everybody, or a system of competitive police departments where the victim of the crime must be satisfied by the conduct of the policemen, THEN you will see a lack of racism. And not until.

  105. After watching the video, what was it that he did not do? He spoke back to the cops but was not physically aggressive, had no visible weapon and was not attempting to escape. I guess he did not kneel for them or put his hands on his head. I don’t know exactly what they wanted him to do to de-escalate the situation.

    Did they kill him? Yes. They were the proximal cause of his death. Were they planning on killing him. No. He was already physically compromised due to his weight. If you have a BMI of 40 or greater, you are constantly at risk. People like this die in car accidents that would otherwise be survivable. Managing an airway of someone this large can be tricky in controlled circumstances and potentially impossible emergently. There are a lot of morbidly obese young and middle aged people but after age 60 they are much less common. I don’t think they all went on a diet when they qualified for SSI.

  106. > a system of competitive police departments where the victim of the crime must be satisfied by the conduct of the policemen

    Does the term “perverse incentive” mean anything to you?

  107. @Jay, “The next thing a cop will do if you refuse to comply with an order is to get you on the ground, so he can gain control of a situation.” I cannot see how this would gain someone control over me. If I’m going on the ground, he’s going on the ground, and then it’s a ground fight.

  108. Everything is black-and-white and incredibly simplistic in Jay’s little world, though. Once a cop has you on the ground, apparently it’s all over in Jaytown, Population 1. Hasn’t seen this past season of Game of Thrones, I guess.

  109. Once you’re on the ground, the cop has an easier time of it, at least, and the *other* cops he’s called in will be able to help better as well.

    And, Michael, I should warn you that the kind of content-free abuse that earned you being blocked on my G+ won’t be tolerated here.

  110. >And, Michael, I should warn you that the kind of content-free abuse that earned you being blocked on my G+ won’t be tolerated here.

    That is correct. I think Jay is seriously wrong in this instance, but his error should be countered with reasoned argument.

  111. I’m beginning to worry that both the police and the protesters may be working for the same oppressive state. Apparently the DOJ is having meetings with protesters and potential protestors and informing them about “white privilege”.

    The Obama administration, and the New York Mayor’s office seem to be playing both ends against the middle.

    So I’ll modify the phrase:

    Imagine a boot stepping on a human face, forever. But if that’s not happening then imagine a mob burning down your house, forever. Either way Big Brother will be pleased.

  112. >I’m beginning to worry that both the police and the protesters may be working for the same oppressive state.

    It would be more accurate to describe them as the tools of closely allied factions in the permanent political class – some inside the state, some outside it and pretending to be ‘anti-establishment’.

    >Imagine a boot stepping on a human face, forever. But if that’s not happening then imagine a mob burning down your house, forever. Either way Big Brother will be pleased.

    Quite. Welcome to statism in the 21st century.

  113. While I think there should have been an indictment for manslaughter, Garner died for two reasons…1) The officer used a control method outside of his department’s SOP, and 2) Garner resisted arrest.

  114. Except the officer did not use a control method outside his department’s SOP. NYPD bans chokeholds, not submission holds.

  115. For an outsider like me, I see a worrying spectrum from Abu Graib, the CIA practices just published, and the way police officers treat (some of) the public.

    A complete disregard of human dignity is one of the glaring commonalities.

  116. Random832 on 2014-12-08 at 20:20:20 said:

    In 99% of cases, the boot has caused them enough inconvenience to serve the purpose of discouraging them from speeding and from not paying tickets.

    You’re missing the point.

    The boot works in 99% of cases because they will arrest you if you remove it and if you resist arrest they will escalate their use of force until you comply or die.

    If they didn’t then within a week there would be boot removal kits that you could buy from shady guys outside bodegas.

    To be honest I’m pretty surprised that ESR takes the position that he does on this incident.

    If you think the police acted wrongly here and that Garner was in the right to fight them off then in effect you’re proposing anarcho-tyranny. Garner has no assets to seize. He’s got no job to lose for having a criminal record. If he can simply choose not to be arrested and using physical force to compel him is out of bounds then he’s entirely above the law. In contrast, law abiding citizens could and would be destroyed by the legal machinery even if they also had the privilege of simply refusing to be arrested.

    What’s the end game there?

  117. @Steve, you are missing the point.

    A ticket, a wheel clamp or a court summons are better than arrest, not because they remove violence as the ultimate backing threat, but because they aren’t immediate.

    They give everyone a chance to *calm down*.

  118. An interesting Laffer-like curve suggests itself, reviewing the discussions on law and its enforcement. If we generally accept the truth of the “broken windows” maxim (not bothering to enforce the law in small matters leads to a perception of legal impotence and thus increases lawbreaking in greater matters) but we likewise also accept the truth of the “tyranny by a thousand cuts” maxim (enforcing *too many* micro-regulatory laws leads to a perception of legal unreasonableness and impossibility of compliance, thus likewise encouraging lawbreaking), then the key is to find the balance between the two, where law is comprehensive enough to be effective but limited enough to be practical.

  119. > If they didn’t then within a week there would be boot removal kits that you could buy from shady guys outside bodegas.

    And you’ve had to pay for a boot removal kit. Is that cheaper than the ticket? What if they just tow your car instead of putting a boot on it? Or just slash your tires – if shady bodega guy could make fixing that cheap, he already would. The point, in my hypothetical policy regime, is to make refusing to pull over cost you, not to make money for the state. The boot is not the point – the point is that it is possible to enforce a law against most people most of the time by taking away or otherwise interfering with their property, with no threat of physical force.

  120. I very much agree that there is something much worse than racism at play in the Eric Garner case. I especially cringed when I saw the “Broken Window” line of argument surface early in the comments. To all those whose think it somehow justifies the behavior of the officers, please do yourself and the rest of the world a favor by reading http://www.popehat.com/2014/12/04/broken-windows-and-broken-lives/

    If the race angle is what it takes for the citizenry to wake up and push back against police brutality and the impunity enjoyed by officers, I can live with that.

  121. RE: Garner and a Host of Others

    These murders won’t stop until the police are held to the same standard of the Law as all the rest of US.

  122. Hugues, argue all you want – but broken windows policing works. It’s pretty much undisputed that it’s responsible for NYC’s precipitous drop in crime since Rudy Giuliani was elected.

  123. @ esr

    If you value liberty, you have to affirm the right of people like Eric Garner to reject injustice at every level. You have to be willing to entirely reject the claim that it was Garner’s responsibility to stop resisting.

    Right. As a small “l” libertarian, I agree – Garner had a moral right to resist what he thought was an unjust arrest.

    Pragmatically, resisting an overwhelming force will lead to one’s liberty being interfered with by assault, and if one lives through it, the risk of the outcome of being charged with resisting arrest. Resisting arrest is foolish except in special circumstances (ex. you will be executed, imprisoned for life).

    Jay and I look at this situation and observe that if Garner (who should have known the dangers of his obesity) had not resisted overwhelming force, he would be alive. Any rational person should avoid fighting overwhelming force directly, and live to fight another day – it is implicit in the definition of “overwhelming force”.

    If I am not mistaken, you view this pragmatic reasoning “shameful”.

    And… I am having serious difficulties with your original post – Garner was “snuffed”, “small complicated rules” being central, arraign the legislators, “murder”, “we are all accessories before the fact” (what, like you? forgot you were libertarian while voting?). I actually toyed with the idea that you would later reveal that this post was an experiment following the post about Less Wrong and the disscussion of rationality.

    This doesn’t make sense to me at all. Few American regulars seem to be participating. You don’t seem to have offered an explanation for why you think Jay is wrong. In any case, it is not clear to me. What mistake do you think Jay is making?

  124. Jay, please do read the article I linked to. It does not argue against the premise of broken windows policing but instead shifts the perspective in an interesting way.

    Even if you accept that broken windows policing is the major factor behind recent drops in crime rate, I invite you to consider the following:
    – does effective policing require brutality?
    – does effective policing require impunity?

  125. I need to correct a much repeated falsehood. Being able to say “I can’t breathe” does not mean you are breathing enough to survive for much longer. Mr Garner was breathing enough to say those words but not enough to live for long.
    I know this because in my work (anesthesia) , when you hear those words get ready for anything- some of the people who say it are critically unstable.

  126. What’s more…

    “But it wasn’t an unlawful arrest. The law is unjust but that doesn’t make it permissible to break it at will.”

    Since there was no evidence to think the was breaking the law, how was it not an unlawful arrest?

  127. The idiotic argument that because the President can’t constitutionally refuse to enforce a constitutional law, a la immigration, so an unconstitutional law like the tax laws with respect to single cigarettes must be enforced…that’s a breathtaking fault of logic. Long standing principles of law interpretation exist, whereby taxes must be revenue measures and not de facto bans, if the government has no power to enact a ban. The tax laws with respect to single cigarettes is such an unconstitutional ban.

  128. >What mistake do you think Jay is making?

    At best. he’s confusing a pragmatic observation that you’re facing overwhelming odds when you fight the police with a judgment that Garner deserved to die for being stupid. At worst, he’s advocating a slavelike submission to police authority. I can’t quite tell which – and part of what disturbs me is that I’m not sure Jay can, either.

  129. Garner didn’t deserve to die because he resisted. However, he should have realized that he could be very seriously hurt by being very foolish. Garner should have realized that violent fights could kill him because of his obesity.

    If Garner had resisted arrest by going limp, it would have been amusing and might have attracted spectators that would help prevent any violence. Instead, he invited a violent fight that killed him. It has an autodarwin feel to it.

  130. If I may be so presumptuous, I think I know what Jay is saying.

    The question of whether or not we are free men has been answered, and the answer is a resounding NO. You can argue about idealistic poses all you like, but we are all, de facto if not de jure, wards of the state.

    The question is what do we intend to do about it. Jay appears to suggest a pre-revolutionary approach – submit to the minor injustice and attack the system on legal grounds. This has the advantages of denying your opponent (here, the state) from declaring unconditional victory and your being alive to fight about it.

    Dan has already decided that it’s time to shoot — however I notice he’s not actually out there shooting. His type never is. He prefers to beat his chest on the Internet in the hopes that OTHER people will start shooting. Probably so he can rush in to seize power in the vacuum that follows.

    We didn’t win this country by firing the first shot. We won’t take it back that way either.

  131. So, how ’bout it Jay? Hypothetically, Garner is pissed off at the cops and resists by going limp. He is probably smart enough to know that he may pay a legal price. You have a problem with that?

  132. > Hugues, argue all you want – but broken windows policing works. It’s pretty much undisputed that it’s responsible for NYC’s precipitous drop in crime since Rudy Giuliani was elected.

    Do the trains also run on time?

  133. > The question is what do we intend to do about it. Jay appears to suggest a pre-revolutionary
    > approach – submit to the minor injustice and attach the system on legal grounds. This has the
    > advantages of denying your opponent (here, the state) from declaring unconditional victory and
    > your being alive to fight about it.

    Um – actually it means they can kill you out of the public eye.

    Go read Harry Turtledove’s “The Last Article” – and consider this: under the moral rules the Nazi officer was operating under, he was *right* to do what he did.

    Then, too, applicable here is “Pardon him, Theodotus, he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.” — George Bernard Shaw

  134. It’s pretty much undisputed that it’s responsible for NYC’s precipitous drop in crime since Rudy Giuliani was elected.

    Except for Jens Ludwig and others who note similar, though not as drastic, drops in crime in other metropolitan areas and account for a number of other NYC sociological changes happening at the same time.

  135. >If I am not mistaken, you view this pragmatic reasoning “shameful”.

    That’s not exactly right. The pragmatic reasoning is not in itself shameful. It is when that pragmatism is used to implicitly blame Garner or exonerate the police that it becomes shameful. And dangerous to liberty.

  136. @esr
    “It is when that pragmatism is used to implicitly blame Garner or exonerate the police that it becomes shameful. ”

    And in no way was the conduct of the police in any way “necessary”.

    Even when it is shown that the violence that lead to the death of Garner was in some sense “within the law”, it was not necessary. When the police use unnecessary violence, that is always plain wrong, immoral and bad for society.

  137. I’m a bit confused over the thread. There seems to be a lot of going back and forth without any sort of consensus over certain crucial points.

    Do we agree on a common version on the following questions:

    1. Selling loosies is an offense in NYC and therefore is only arrestable when done in the presence of officers?

    This one is kind of important because it really makes it clear that even the legislature of the state of NY considers this sort of thing as a lower level of crime.

    2. Did an officer actually see Garner sell an individual cigarette?

    If an officer simply lied about seeing Garner sell a loosie, the arrest was not legitimate (if selling loosies is just an offense). Did the fellow in the red shirt get identified and do we know whether a transaction actually took place in the view of the officer?

    3. Is the ME’s report believable when it says Garner died of chest and neck compression?

    There was a statement earlier in the thread denying this but nobody seems to have followed up on it.

    4. Does the relevant NYPD definition of submission holds include holds that can cause death due to neck and/or chest compression?

    Weirder things have happened but you’d think that this wouldn’t be the case. If the definition of submission hold is unwisely broad, it’s probably a good idea to tighten that up. If submission holds must be inherently non-lethal, what happened wasn’t a submission hold, no matter whether it was blood or air that was blocked.

    5. Did the officers notify Garner that he was under arrest?

    Must cops say you are under arrest? Did they say it in this case? I would expect that a cop suddenly getting grabby without announcing an arrest would lead to higher incidence of resistance.

    Without a shared understanding of events, or at least clarity where people disagree on the facts of the case, it’s going to be difficult to come to any sort of reasonable consensus.

  138. >1. Selling loosies is an offense in NYC and therefore is only arrestable when done in the presence of officers?

    It is established that this is an offense rather than a criminal violation, which are different categories under New York State law. Whether this means it is actionable only when directly witnessed by a police officer I do not know.

    >2. Did an officer actually see Garner sell an individual cigarette?

    If so, this is not established by the video or reports of the incident. (I speak under possibility of factual correction here.)

    >3. Is the ME’s report believable when it says Garner died of chest and neck compression?

    It is. I have seen a very good analysis in American Thinker (a conservative magazine) that backs this up. A case can be made that Garner was not, technically speaking, strangled – but the difference between an airway crush and “neck compression” is not significant to the ethics of the situation.

    >4. Does the relevant NYPD definition of submission holds include holds that can cause death due to neck and/or chest compression?

    Yes. The range of permitted techniques is not very dangerous to a healthy person, but is extremely so to a morbidly obese asthmatic. This where the analysis in American Thinker goes wrong, not on the medicine but on the law. The officers knew or should have known that they were putting a morbidly obese person at lethal risk.

    >5. Did the officers notify Garner that he was under arrest?

    They did not. This is clear from the video.

  139. I’m surprised people are putting this death in the context of a trend, especially when there are many times more Americans struck by lightning every year than die unjustly at the hands of police officers. I realize every life is precious but this guy could’ve been sentenced to death by being forced to play a softball game.

    His death is so anomalous that I’m not sure what it is a signifier of. That is also true of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. It’s pretty clear this is being politicized to falsely attack whites and the police. It’s as if the Mafia suddenly had an Italian rights PR dept. Of course a culture that self-defines as black before human and therefore must own a criminal demographic much higher than everyone else is going to want to put cops in a bad light. Why don’t rodeo cowboys want to to that? The obvious answer is rodeo cowboys don’t have a massive criminal element that guarantees massive interactions with the police.

    In a larger sense, Garner’s death is without the meaning or symbolism being attached to it, the same as Martin and Brown. All 3 are being used to undermine law and guarantee equal outcome.

    It is the same as this drive by the Dept. of Justice to guarantee black kids in school are punished at the same rate as everyone else. We are adjusting punishments based on faulty reasoning, not behaviors. If a farmer has chickens being killed by foxes, he doesn’t go out and shoot a bunch of wild cats because foxes have a PR dept. like the NAACP.

  140. @Paul Burton
    “I’m surprised people are putting this death in the context of a trend, especially when there are many times more Americans struck by lightning every year than die unjustly at the hands of police officers.”

    At (far) below 50 people dying a year in the USA due to lightning strikes, I very much doubt whether the number of unjust deaths at the hands of the police is lower.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/1546405/how-many-people-die-from-lightning-strikes-each-year/

  141. @Fail Burton
    “I realize every life is precious but this guy could’ve been sentenced to death by being forced to play a softball game.”

    What does that matter?

    When a couple of police officers storm a retirement home and jump on an obese heart patient, then that patient will have a very high chance of dying. Is that his fault, or that of the cops?

    Is it justified for the cops to treat frail people like twenty something quarter backs?

    In short, this is the one of the worst excuses for murder I have seen.

  142. >Alan Turing should not have been obligated to keep quiet about his homosexuality

    Nice troll there, considering I never claimed Turing was so obligated. I said explicitly at the time that Turing had the social power, had he chosen, to make a public issue of gay rights.

  143. @Rod f:
    When you are dealing with people who claim not to be able to breathe, is this in a purely medical context (eg. a hospital)? I ask because as an EMT, I have experience with people who’ve recently be caught committing a crime faking illness in hopes of being able to get out of the arrest. The stereotypical case of this is a woman who’s been caught shoplifting suddenly complaining of abdominal pain. Bonus points if she’s pregnant and starts complaining that she’s miscarrying.

    If you watch the second video which covers the aftermath, the one shot from inside the store, you’ll notice that once the paramedics show up, both the police and EMS tell Garner to stop faking it. It even takes the paramedics a minute to figure out that he’s not faking it. EMS was on-scene in a surprisingly short amount of time, too.

    Unfortunately, I believe this is a case where the people crying wolf have ruined things for people who have an actual medical complaint.

  144. I didn’t say die by lightning but struck by it. The point is one expresses fear based on odds, not hysteria. According to USA Today, about 400 Americans are shot dead by police each year. How many of those are unjustified homicide? About 100 are blacks. How many of those are unjustified homicide? The fact we’re even comparing the two shows how ridiculous it is for these activists to say they’re afraid to let their children outside for fear of death by cop. I’d only be afraid to let my kids out in a lightning storm. The problem for activists is it’s always storming outside. If in fact 25 of those 100 blacks are being unjustly killed by cops each year then twice as many are being struck by lightning. Where’s this fear of lightning then?

    As for obese heart patients, why act like that’s a trend? No one’s storming retirement homes. How are police supposed to react to people who are serial criminals – ask their history of heart disease like doctors? What if the criminal says an arrest will elevate his levels of tension? No arrest? Arrest by nurses? What? Calling this a murder doesn’t carry any weight, nor does calling him frail. Criminals with health conditions don’t get a free lunch if those conditions are unknown.

  145. >> 5. Did the officers notify Garner that he was under arrest?
    > They did not. This is clear from the video.

    The video I have seen of the arrest itself (at The Guardian’s website) has a very smooth cut at about 1:15 into the video — just as the officers start to grab Garner. (Watch the cop in the background — i.e. standing on Garner’s right — teleport from behind the foreground officer to behind Garner.)

    I can’t find an uncut version of this video, and such editing makes me unwilling to say the officers definitely didn’t announce the arrest first. Does anyone know if an unedited video exists?

  146. @Fail Burton
    “I didn’t say die by lightning but struck by it. The point is one expresses fear based on odds, not hysteria.”

    So, your comparison was intentionally dishonest: Comparing deaths by violence with being near a lightening strike. The correct comparison is then between violence by a cop and being near a lightning strike. Now, get me the numbers of violent encounters between the public and cops.

    @Fail Burton
    “According to USA Today, about 400 Americans are shot dead by police each year. How many of those are unjustified homicide?”

    I do not know whether this is dishonesty or pure ignorance.

    When you go to an earlier post, you will find a discussion ample links that show that these are only the “justified” killings.
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6537&cpage=1#comment-1310540

    Then total number of people killed by the police is much higher. Most likely at least double these 400. Even though they are compelled by the law to keep track of all people killed by the police, they refuse to do this.

    Are even these 400 each year “justified”? The violence against Garner was not necessary, and therefore, completely unjustified. The British police killed 2 people (justified or not) in 2011. The police of Germany, 6.

  147. Winter –

    Why do you insist upon comparing us to England, where a man can have his head cut off in the middle of the street to nary a response? You’re comparing both ends of a number line as though it’s meaningful.

  148. And before you go there, no, I am not supporting police violence. But can we at least have parameters for a discussion that don’t start at NWA’s position?

  149. @jfre
    > I guess he did not kneel for them or put his hands on his head. I don’t know exactly what they wanted him to do to de-escalate the situation.

    @esr
    > >5. Did the officers notify Garner that he was under arrest?
    >
    > They did not. This is clear from the video.

    I think this is what Jay Maynard is missing or ignoring. Or he wants a world where people should always immediately and pre-emptively surrender the moment they realize the police have taken any interest to them at all: You don’t need to be notified you’re under arrest because you are always under arrest.

  150. “The British police killed 2 people (justified or not) in 2011”

    …and yet thousands of girls were being raped in Rottherham at the time.

    We can all learn something from the efficacy of British policing.

    Anarcho-tyranny is the end game here.

    Don’t like the laws against selling cigarettes? Then get rid of the laws (yes, basically an impossible task) but just saying “hey, if you’re a criminal – go ahead and ignore the law because the police will only enforce the laws against law abiding people” is far far worse than arresting people for selling cigarettes.

  151. Back to basics.

    The core problem is the cancerous and accelerating growth of government nannyism and its attendant endless implementation of chickenshit regulations that are now getting innocent people killed unnecessarily.

    This is, at heart, a political problem and we all agree that electing better politicians is the primary solution.

    However, we may have passed the tipping point here in the US in which people who vote for a living now exceed the number of people who work for a living. In this scenario, the macro-trend is toward politicians getting worse, not better.

    One could also argue the population’s intelligence distribution is morphing in adverse ways; with the mean shifting downward, the curve flattening, and humps forming near the tails.

  152. Let me take a stab at resolving the issue between esr and Jay.

    Allow me to remove the state and racism from the issue. Let us re-cast the situation, a la West Side story. You are an individual crossing Jet or Shark territory (take your pick, match their ethnic background). Around a half dozen of the local thugs surround you closely. Each one is more fit, more strong and better armed than you are. They demand your wallet.

    We can all agree that they have no right to your wallet. We all agree that their demand is unreasonable. We all agree that Free Men have a right to their property.

    The question becomes, at the pointy end of the switchblade, do you then and there make a stand for the rights of Englishmen? Are you surprised if this would result in injury or death? I believe that Mr. Maynard’s comments boil down, in the end, to the observation that Mr. Garner was far more likely to survive being arrested than being assaulted, and that this is true independent of the justice of the arrest in question.

    This discussion to me smacks of the difference between theory and practice, between strategy and tactics.

  153. I was not intentionally dishonest. Aside from the fact “struck” and “die” are actual words in the English language which mean two different things, the real question is one of fear versus odds to support that fear. How can you have missed that? As is common, I am once again reduced to annotating my posts as if I am using Shakespearian jargon.

    And I’d read the data in your link elsewhere. Your point about the 400 being inaccurate is worthless since there is nothing else to go by. And let’s say it’s 800, what does common sense say how many amounted to senseless and wrongful killings? 50? Exactly how evil are the police and how does one measure such a thing? By sheer willpower? Paranoia? Ignoring the fact the police actually are police? Pretending they’re Murder, Inc.?

    Citing statistics is not ignorance. Writing “Then total number of people killed by the police is much higher. Most likely at least double these 400” based on zero is.

    Go protest by lying down in traffic for lightning stats if you must. Or get a lightning rod helmet or just don’t go outside for fear of cop death. With 318 million people in the country multiplied by me not being a criminal, I have far less fear of cop death than of being struck by lightning, and I have no fear of being [insert word here] by lightning at all.

    50 people are KILLED by lightning each year and even using your rank speculation 50 are murdered by cops.

    According to Policemag.com, about 50 cops are murdered each year, almost 10% by ambush and disproportionately by blacks. Should they all go lie down in a road or wear “Dear Black People…” shirts?

    Meanwhile blacks kill 5,500 blacks each year. Where are the fear/odds? Blacks? Nope. Lightning and cops.

  154. I’ve got to hand it to you: of all the antiempirical, self-obviating bullcrap I’ve heard Orwellian progressives churn out over the years, these thirteen words might take the cake. Don’t hold back, professor. Enlighten all us poor, benighted souls how the increased likelihood for police to shoot white suspects is evidence of anti-black racism.

    Hint: Who is more likely to become a “suspect” in the first place — a white person or a black person?

  155. Jeff – do you mean to say that blacks do not commit crimes far in excess of their population percentage, and their incarceration rates are simply due to racist cops ignoring all the crimes committed by white people?

  156. >Hint: Who is more likely to become a “suspect” in the first place — a white person or a black person?

    A black person. That 12% of the population accounts for about 50% of U.S. crime. The presence of (now largely imaginary) “institutional racism” would skew the odds of arrest further towards blacks than is fairly implied by the crime statistics.

    This makes the disproportionate likelihood of a white suspect being shot by police look worse, not better.

    Note: if I were an idiot, I would start screaming about institutional racism against whites at this point. Disparate-impact statics are, in general, largely meaningless in themselves.

  157. Criminals experience the most abuse at the hands of police. Blacks are the more overrepresented criminal demographic in America. Blacks complain about police abuse more than anyone else.

    Conclusion: whites are hateful racists and casually murder people out of sheer whiteness in their bones and DNA.

  158. @jonathan > Let us re-cast the situation, a la West Side story. […]

    Well yeah, sort of.
    From a pragmatical POV, if 12 armed heavies demand something, it might be wise|rational|sensible|… to let them have their way.

    But your “re-cast” can also be read as that we should view cops as thugs and gangsters. That it is irrational to hold them to a standard any higher than what you can expect of hoodlums. That a citizen shouldn’t expect the cops actions and behaviour to be bound by laws and basic respect any more that he’d expect it from a street gang.

    I’m all for rational and staying alive.
    I don’t like the the “slavelike submission to police authority” aspects of it
    (borrowing esr’s words, as i can find a better way to express it)

  159. @Steve Johnson & Brian
    You bring up a lot of senseless propaganda. The UK has a much lower crime rate than the USA, vanishing low death rate by the police etc. Even though it includes a mega-city (London).

  160. @Fail Burton
    “. Your point about the 400 being inaccurate is worthless since there is nothing else to go by. And let’s say it’s 800, what does common sense say how many amounted to senseless and wrongful killings?”

    The 400 are all killings the police consider “justified”. Any others, for which they refuse to give numbers were unjustified even by their standards. The links do say so.

    That there are many of such must even not escape your eyes. Cleveland?
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/12/04/cleveland-police-abuse-pattern-cited-justice-department/4hhWPNCpiyG9bfMMLAZi8N/story.html

  161. > > I’m beginning to worry that both the police and the protesters may be working for the same oppressive state.
    >
    > It would be more accurate to describe them as the tools of closely allied factions in the permanent political class – some inside the state, some outside it and pretending to be ‘anti-establishment’.

    I think this is an interesting (and vaguely horrifying) dynamic.

    Someone thinks “there ought to be a law” to stop (supposedly) bad thing X from happening and passes law Y to try to stop it.

    Law Y is enforced poorly, often causing more damage than had it not been passed in the first place. And someone thinks “there ought to be a law” to stop that from happening…

    I’m not even sure how much actual malice is present here. There appears to be a very common instinct in the face of a problem to centralize more power. I can’t think of a good solution…

  162. Winter again misses the simplest point I’m making because there is no “compared to what” in Winter’s world.

    The point is fear based on odds of a dangerous ethnic group. I say 5,500 blacks will be killed by blacks and in order to subvert the achingly obvious Winter provides statistics that can apparently be whatever Winter wants them to be. It takes quite a lot of that to equal 5,500.

    If one maintains a fear of a thing it is “compared to what.” Otherwise I could maintain I am afraid of falling through a crack in the earth or of dying by ping pong balls.

    No matter how one moves heaven and earth, one cannot remotely approach 5,500 deaths to be less afraid of than death by a racial grouping of cops. In short, black activists are lying racists.

    This is the same level of gullibility of people willing to believe in massive misogyny while laughing off misandry as a dodo bird, or being as fixed on the idea of a failure of white culture as completely convinced black culture could never be at fault. Water is wet and stay away from carnival sideshows.

    Children understand what I am saying the day they are first burnt by fire and not burnt by touching a wall. Black activists and Winter are burnt touching walls. I understand that and naturally lack sympathy for that mechanism as a thing that is real and true.

  163. @Brian
    Look at murders. That is the only crime that can be readily compared between jurisdictions. Else you must convert the definitions. Those who tried to do that tend to give up in despair.

    Anyhow. The ten (twenty? Thirty?) times higher kill rate of US cops is nowhere visible in lower crime rates.

  164. Too bad you can’t actually show why it’s a bad example. No one fears death by cats or locusts. Just deal with that reality. No one in their right senses fears 100 or 200 deaths compared to 5,500. Laying in bed isn’t as dangerous as standing at the edge of a cliff in high wind. Laying down on freeways won’t change that. Lebron James may as well be wearing a “Fire is Like a Soothing Massage” t-shirt.

  165. Jonathan’s pretty much got it right. My disagreement is not one of ends, but of tactics. I have no more desire to see cops abusing their authority than anyone else. However, I also put those abuses in their proper perspective, and don’t obsess over them. A tiny fraction of bad cops, committing a tiny number of abuses when considered against both the huge numbers of interactions between police and citizens every day and the huge numbers of cops hurt on the job (two orders of magnitude higher than the 400 Winter is moaning about), is just not the end of the world.

    But say you draw the short straw and wind up dealing with a bad cop. Here, you have a choice: to fight for your rights then and there, or accept a temporary defeat and live to fight back when the balance of power is not so grossly against you. Like it or not, a cop who has decided you’re going to jail has all of the power, right then.

    You can go ahead and resist if you want to. You’re not going to dissuade the cop from arresting you. As noted above, once he’s begun the arrest, he cannot back off. To do so would be to encourage others to resist, and that’s not good for anyone. The most you’re going to accomplish is to piss off everyone around you, most especially including the cops that come to make sure you get arrested. Having the cops unhappy with you is not going to make your life any easier, now or in the future.

    And if you are effective in resisting to the point that you escape? You’re going to have to hurt the cop to do so, and that will bring the might of the state squarely down on your head. Even more so if you manage to kill him.

    Or you can be courteous and professional and comply with the arrest. You don’t have to agree with it, and you can most certainly raise any objections you need to to protect your rights later – “I do not consent to any search” is one such; you’re not going to stop them at that point, but you need to get your objection on the record for your lawyer to use later – but do so in a calm, respectful manner. And yes, lawyer up.

    But none of this means you should physically fight the cops in order to try to avoid arrest. It’s not going to work. Really, now. How many of you pick fights you know you can’t win? Why should this be any different?

    It’s like they used to teach in driver’s ed about right-of-way: Sure, you can try to take it from someone who won’t yield it when they’re supposed to, and you can be right…dead right.

    Eric Garner may well be dead right.

    Emphasis on dead.

    The only use for a dead guy is as a martyr. Martyrs have chosen to check out rather than fight on. Is that the truly courageous path?

  166. I don’t feel sorry for blacks at all. They may complain about police harassment, but they constantly vote for the people that make all these new laws. How they can complain about the police, but support more government. This is the reason people say they are stupid.
    Giving more power to the government and expecting the police to stand down is never going to happen. Government will use any and every power it gets away with. Taxes is how they get their money, and more taxes lead to more arrests. Its as simple as that.

  167. Pingback: There Oughta NOT Be a Law | Sacred Cow Chips

  168. @Fail Burton
    “No one in their right senses fears 100 or 200 deaths compared to 5,500.”

    So the conclusion is, that people should treat cops like they treat lightning, something to distrust and avoid as a deadly force of destruction?

    Because that is the message learned from all these cases: Like a lightning strike, a cop can murder you, or your family, on the spot for any or no reason at all, and s/he will walk free.

    So, like avoiding open spaces when there is lightning, people should avoid any spaces with cops in them?

    No wonder crime is such a problem in the USA.

  169. @kn

    ======
    But your “re-cast” can also be read as that we should view cops as thugs and gangsters. That it is irrational to hold them to a standard any higher than what you can expect of hoodlums. That a citizen shouldn’t expect the cops actions and behaviour to be bound by laws and basic respect any more that he’d expect it from a street gang.
    ======

    Actually, I do view cops, thugs and gangsters as being exactly the same. And schoolteachers, and firemen, and the local storekeeper, and people that sell individual cigarettes. And the President. I hold them to the standard of being good, decent, honorable human beings.

    I admit to disappointment from time to time.

    At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our own individual actions.

  170. Winter I have only the English language and cannot reduce it more than I have. Go to Las Vegas and try your theories about odds there and see what happens. Bring all the moronic protesters caterwauling about meteor showers with you. You’ll all return rich.

  171. Jay Maynard’s advice is good common sense and should be followed as a general rule in order to stay out of trouble and avoid an untimely and unnecessary death in the event of an encounter with overzealous police.

    That said, the problem unfettered government growth and power aggrandizement is causing a tangible and adverse effect in terms of police behavior. Police organizations are paramilitary in nature, following orders is mandatory, and they will never lose a fight, no matter how much harm is done in the process.

    With the advent of more and more laws, regulations, ordinances and other forms of population controls, nearly everyone becomes a criminal at something and the social friction begins to grow exponentially. In this environment, it is inevitable that police will become more brutal and citizens will come to view them as oppressors.

    The underlying problem is that none of our political leaders is intelligent enough to understand this phenomenon. And our citizenry has become too self-serving to vote for politicians that promise to take away the handout bribes.

  172. @Winter
    >Look at murders. That is the only crime that can be readily compared between jurisdictions. Else you must convert the definitions. Those who tried to do that tend to give up in despair.

    No, that’s wrong too. The US and UK count murders very differently as well, in a way that artificially lowers the UK’s numbers compared with those of the US. Here is someone who’s tried to do it:

    http://rboatright.blogspot.com/2013/03/comparing-england-or-uk-murder-rates.html

    It’s impossible to compare apples to apples. The numbers do not appear to be there. But possible interpretations of available numbers lead one to conclude that, by counting UK murders similarly to the US that the UK has a murder rate substantially (at least double) higher than the official numbers, to possibly substantially higher than the *US*.

    And yes, despite the difficulty in comparing apples with apples, arguing that the UK has a lower violent crime rate than the US is already a lost cause. The UK’s is already worse, likely much worse.

  173. >The underlying problem is that none of our political leaders is intelligent enough to understand this phenomenon.

    You may be mis-diagnosing the issue. I would argue that our politicians are quite aware of what is happening, and support it nevertheless because it leads to an increase in their own power (and their own opportunity for graft, don’t underestimate that).

    >And our citizenry has become too self-serving to vote for politicians that promise to take away the handout bribes.

    Yes, we first crossed that line some time ago. It’s just all out in the open now.

  174. So the conclusion is, that people should treat cops like they treat lightning, something to distrust and avoid as a deadly force of destruction?

    Well, yeah, that’s kind of been ingrained into the American ethos since the late 1700s.

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” –George Washington

    American culture is built on fear and distrust — of the lawful authorities, of ethnic and racial minorities, of “the other”. Fear and distrust breed lack of respect, which breeds violence.

  175. >American culture is built on fear and distrust — of the lawful authorities, of ethnic and racial minorities, of “the other”. Fear and distrust breed lack of respect, which breeds violence.

    Oh sorry, I forgot. I should have remembered we’ll never know true peace until we love Big Brother.

  176. @Greg

    You have an astonishing faith in their competence: I assumed that they wanted Friend Computer.

  177. >I assumed that they wanted Friend Computer.

    …or you will be used as reactor shielding. Mutants unite!

  178. The Orwellian stupidity of the politically correct:

    “K Tempest Bradford retweeted
    Sherman Alexie @Sherman_Alexie · Dec 9 In 2013, 84% of white homicide victims were killed by other whites. You white folks might wanna avoid white people.”

  179. For those who don’t believe a police officer has the authority to arredt you any time they want, consider this. If you were arrested improperly, the only place you have to seek justice is from a judge. You have no right to argue with the cop and attempt to try the legality of the arrest right there on the street.

    (If you did, who would judge the outcome. A judge? There is no judge on the street. A cop? You would lose. You? Everybody would say every arrest is illegal.)

  180. > You have no right to argue with the cop

    Arguing with a cop is a speech act.

  181. @Greg
    “No, that’s wrong too. The US and UK count murders very differently as well, in a way that artificially lowers the UK’s numbers compared with those of the US.”

    Maybe you were looking for these (notice the difference between “reported” and “confirmed”):

    http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk

    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/violence/by-country/

    @Greg
    “But possible interpretations of available numbers lead one to conclude that, by counting UK murders similarly to the US that the UK has a murder rate substantially (at least double) higher than the official numbers, to possibly substantially higher than the *US*.”

    If you would have looked at the numbers, you would have seen that even tripling the UK numbers would bring them not even close to those of the USA.

    A question, why do you refuse any numbers you do not like, whatever the evidence, while you blindly accept the interpretation of some half-witt who cannot read numbers?

  182. First attempt at a reply vanished into the ether. Possibly too long? I’ll try again, and may need to break this up into multiple parts.

    @Winter

    I may have higher standards of manners of personal decorum than Roger (but I grew up in NYC and I guaranty I can outswear you and sometimes it does leak out), but he’s right about one thing. You either have extremely poor reading comprehension, or you are comprehensively dishonest.

    >Maybe you were looking for these (notice the difference between “reported” and “confirmed”):

    Actually I think the word in question is ‘recorded’. And no, those numbers are included, as a link, in the blog post I linked to. And it is in fact those numbers that are in question. So simply reposting them is kind of retarded, but more on that in a bit.

  183. >If you would have looked at the numbers, you would have seen that even tripling the UK numbers would bring them not even close to those of the USA.

    Yes. But apparently I (and the blogger you refer to disdainfully as a half-wit, oh the irony) have looked more closely, and more intelligently, than you. Try reading this:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/217475/coroners-bulletin-2011.pdf

    Which the half-wit (who apparently comes equipped with a great deal more wit than yourself) linked in his post. These are the actual coroner’s figures from 2011. There are some very interesting things in there.

    One of them is a line item of 4400 unclassified, or ‘other’, verdicts. So what are they, exactly? To quote the report itself:

    The rise in unclassified verdicts (shown as ‘All other verdicts’ in Tables 4 and 6) is
    due to the increasing use of what are known as ‘narrative verdicts’ by some
    coroners (see the paragraph on trends, below). A narrative verdict is where,
    instead of a conventional verdict, at the end of the inquest the coroner records a
    factual record of how and in what circumstances the death occurred. As well as
    narrative verdicts, this category also includes short non-standard verdicts which a
    coroner or jury might return when the circumstances do not easily fit any of the
    standard verdicts.
    Recent case law might be responsible for the increased number of narrative
    verdicts in recent years, including the House of Lords Middleton3
    judgement which
    encouraged their use.

    So, the rise in this category, by a factor of 20 in the past 10 years, is due to ‘narrative’ verdicts, supported by the ‘Middleton decision’. The half-wit links to the decision, and I’ve read it. Starts here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldjudgmt/jd040311/midd-1.htm

    To my lawman’s effort, it is rather opaque. But it appears that the general thrust is that coroner’s inquiries are to serve a political purpose, rather than be a simple finding of fact. What that translates to in real terms is anyone’s guess.

  184. So, in 2011 you have 4400 deaths in the UK, that were sufficiently questionable to lead to a coroner’s inquiry, yet were not actually classified in any meaningful way by the coroner, were rather described by a ‘narrative’ rather than classified.

    This has not escaped the half-wit’s attention, or mine, but is apparently beyond your limited attention span and cognitive ability.

    The difficulty of assessing how the UK’s coroner’s statistics, most especially the ‘other’ aka ‘narrative’ verdicts would compare with US methodology, is at the heart of how it is impossible to compare US to UK homicide statistics directly. As in, the numbers are not there, because there are ‘official’ numbers but they are not useful in themselves.

    So I’ll quote you again:

    >If you would have looked at the numbers, you would have seen that even tripling the UK numbers would bring them not even close to those of the USA.

    Having looked at the real numbers, I find it quite reasonable to have laid out a range… that the ‘real’ UK statistics, compared apples-to-apples with the US, are at least double the official numbers, and are possibly substantially higher than the US numbers.

    Because, if those 4400 ‘other’ verdicts are actually explained away (‘narrative’, that’s one of those keywords where if you see it you know someone is lying) homicides, then yes the UK’s real homicide rate is several times higher than the US.

  185. I have a last post that has disappeared 3 times now. If it appears one or more times, no I don’t have a stutter. If it doesn’t appear, well Winter’s violence website is lame. It doesn’t pass the laugh test, and in fact some countries on that chart have violence numbers to low, they are in fact lower than actual homicide figures published elsewhere by the UN.

  186. @Fall Burton: “Criminals with health conditions don’t get a free lunch if those conditions are unknown.” Actually, they do. Google “eggshell skull”.

  187. @Jay “Except the officer did not use a control method outside his department’s SOP. NYPD bans chokeholds, not submission holds.”
    The difference between a submission hold around the neck and a chokehold is very subtle. In the heat of the moment, it is not likely to be observed. And in any case, there are many submission holds which do not involve compressing the neck.

  188. @Greg
    “The difficulty of assessing how the UK’s coroner’s statistics, most especially the ‘other’ aka ‘narrative’ verdicts would compare with US methodology, is at the heart of how it is impossible to compare US to UK homicide statistics directly.”

    Here you find the inquest procedures in England and Wales
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquests_in_England_and_Wales

    Sometimes a jury “verdict” is needed before a murder can be called a murder. Butno one has to be convicted of that murder.

    However, I have yet to see any evidence from you or anyone else that the English hide half their murders from the public. Actually, you imply a Stalin like tyrrany to even think this would be possible. Moreover, the “violent” death rate of the UK is in line with those of the rest of Western Europe, Canada, and Australia.

    If you claim all these countries hide 1/2 or even 2/3 of their murders (just to spite the USA?), and have done so for the past decades, then this is an extraordinary claim. Such claims require extraordinary evidence. You only supplied evidence you do not understand the rules in England, nor do you understand how violent deaths are tallied.

    If you want to claim that the English hide half their murders, come up with the evidence, instead of innuendo. The definition of a murder is very straightforward. The locals will be very grateful, because they have not even had a hint that their loved ones were murdered in droves while the police was looking the other way.

  189. @Greg
    “f it doesn’t appear, well Winter’s violence website is lame. It doesn’t pass the laugh test, and in fact some countries on that chart have violence numbers to low, they are in fact lower than actual homicide figures published elsewhere by the UN.”

    Whatever list you use, the USA is ranked above Western/Northern Europe, mostly by a factor of 4 or so over the UK. Neither methodology nor the “messenger” matter much.

    And, do you really want to argue that UK corroners will fill in “accident” or “natural causes” when they find a bullit or knife wound in someones chest?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
    (With a link to the methods)

    http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/7/2/104.full
    (compare US with EME-US)

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/VC.IHR.PSRC.P5

    http://violentdeathproject.com/

  190. I find Winter’s claim of reduced murder/violent behavior in Europe to be credible. It follows from previous artificial selection consequences due to many centuries of warfare on the continent juxtaposed with rising civilization. High testosterone males may have been killed off at a very high rate and young age for many generational cycles, and it is reasonable to expect that this could have selected for docility. In the age of modern technological warfare, ferocity may no longer be a necessity.

  191. @TomA
    “High testosterone males may have been killed off at a very high rate and young age for many generational cycles, and it is reasonable to expect that this could have selected for docility.”

    When you read a history of WWI&II, you might reach a different conclusion.

  192. I read here a great deal but I believe this is the first time I’ve commented. Yet the following quote is so apropos that I didn’t resist the urge.

    It is, indeed, important to notice that my argument so far supposes no evil intentions on the part of the Humanitarian and considers only what is involved in the logic of his position. My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

    C.S. Lewis, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment

    I think this is an excellent indictment of the Bloombergian ethos at the root of this atrocity.

  193. @ Winter – “When you read a history of WWI&II, you might reach a different conclusion.”

    Not really. Starting wars is more about the actions of political leaders, and nationalism is frequently what propels men into arms, and military expediency tends to funnel the most masculine fighters to the front lines. The European wars of the 20th Century were the culmination of a long sequence of selection intervals, and the advent of mechanized warfare made the culling much more acute and determinative. It was also that last time that you had similar and roughly equivalent opposing forces at the largest scales, and as such. attrition was often the price of victory. If European society still possesses a warrior ethos, it is well hidden.

  194. “If European society still possesses a warrior ethos, it is well hidden.”

    …in no small part because being a warrior is simply not PC for a European.

  195. If European society still possesses a warrior ethos, it is well hidden.

    It couldn’t be because Europeans consciously decided that nurturing a warrior ethos would lead to more meatgrinders in their own backyard, could it?

    It’s like I say, the lessons of World War II were very different on opposing sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific). While the lessons learned by Europeans and Japanese were about the horrors of war and the necessity of avoiding it, the take away for the USA was “fuck yeah, we won!” Leading to seventy years of expensive and often unnecessary power projection, while our domestic infrastructure eventually crumbled. And no, we didn’t win the Cold War; Canadian agriculture minister Eugene Whelan had a lot more to do with the USSR’s collapse than did Reagan.

    That said, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is alarming many in Japan, to say nothing of China and North Korea, with his more aggressive role for the Japanese military.

  196. @ Jeff Read – “the lessons of World War II were very different on opposing sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific)”

    Very true. The two oceans assure that no conquering hoard is going overwhelm the USA; which was the fate that befell many European and Asian nations for much of their existence and necessitated an evolved militarism in order to survive. The US military is now Europe’s insurance policy against a return to that state of affairs, but advocating wussification of the US to be on par with European society may undermine that safeguard.

  197. @TomA
    “High testosterone males may have been killed off at a very high rate and young age for many generational cycles, and it is reasonable to expect that this could have selected for docility.”
    “The European wars of the 20th Century were the culmination of a long sequence of selection intervals, and the advent of mechanized warfare made the culling much more acute and determinative.”

    If you want to claim the genetics of Europeans have changed drastically compared to that of people in the US and can explain the murderous streak of US society, you should inform yourself on population genetics.

    @Jay Maynard
    “…in no small part because being a warrior is simply not PC for a European.”

    I am confused.

    We were talking about the differences in murder rates by civilians and police officers between the USA and other developed nations.

    First this is hotly contested. It is, e.g., claimed English coroners hide 2/3 of their murders to lower the murder rates. And now you seem to claim that murdering people is a virtue of the people of the USA.

    What is it? Do you advocate more murders or less?

  198. the murderous streak of US society

    There you go again. The first-world areas of the United States have homicide rates on par with Switzerland, and the third-world on par with Zimbabwe, and algorithmically drawing the lines between those areas is trivial. A much more relevant and meaningful question than “Why is the US different from other countries?” is “Why do we have such drastic distinctions in clearly-delineated areas that have the same legal, and mostly cultural and economic characteristics?”

  199. @Christopher Smith
    “The first-world areas of the United States have homicide rates on par with Switzerland, and the third-world on par with Zimbabwe, and algorithmically drawing the lines between those areas is trivial.”

    Incorrect comparison. The better parts of Switzerland have crime rates found in nun-convents in the USA. I can always pick a sub population that is better or worse than average. But a sub population is not a nation or state.

    Better, there are states in the USA that have crime rates comparable to other developed nations, e.g. Canada. And there are states that have the crime rates of developing countries.

    Why would that be?

  200. @Christopher Smith
    Here are some opinions and statistics. I feel I lack the knowledge to interpret them myself.

    Murder Rates Nationally and By State
    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state#MRalpha

    Just for whites in the US (note how this is twice the murder rate of the UK, overall)
    https://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/white-murder-rates-by-u-s-state-1960-vs-2010/

    The Most Dangerous States in America
    http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013/10/04/the-most-dangerous-states-in-america/
    http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000

    Red States Have Higher Crime Rates Than Blue States
    http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2009/09/red_states_have_higher_crime_r.php

  201. For my comment in moderation, the statemaster.com link is wrong as it is mostly suicides. Oversight in editing.

  202. There’s a reason I mentioned algorithmic line-drawing. It’s not an issue of a gradient, it’s a sharp-line distinction between specific areas that are all extremely low-crime and others that are all extremely high-crime, and the latter are almost exclusively urban centers.

    Even in the states you mention, those sharp lines persist; most of Pennsylvania, for example, is peaceful and law-abiding, but our host can tell you about a couple of specific places that you just don’t go. Averages are meaningless when you have a blatant bimodal distribution.

  203. @Christopher Smith
    “It’s not an issue of a gradient, it’s a sharp-line distinction between specific areas that are all extremely low-crime and others that are all extremely high-crime, and the latter are almost exclusively urban centers.”

    But you cannot compare sub-populations with states or nations. A nation/state contains all socioeconomic classes and ethnic/cultural groups. Geographically segregating classes and other groupings will nicely separate crime rates. But these are as useless as claiming convents have less crime that prisons. You cannot construct a viable state with just some (higher) socioeconomic classes or some ethnic or culturally pure sub-population.

    I think a much more useful segregation is based on state levels. Just contrasting inner city hotspots of poverty with agricultural countryside is window dressing.

  204. Aggregating at the state level leads one to the wrong conclusions, however, as self-superior Europeans are wont to do. The problem is simple: thug culture. Fix that, and our problems go away.

  205. @Jay Maynard
    “The problem is simple: thug culture. Fix that, and our problems go away.”

    I think you are sticking your head in the sand. Look at these data for an ethnic subset of the population, state by state.

    White Murder Rates by U.S. State, 1960 (vs. 2010)
    https://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/white-murder-rates-by-u-s-state-1960-vs-2010/

    This is 1960s versus 2000s data. For instance, Alaska has a murder rate of 4.1 per 100k whites in the 2000s, 4 times the rate of England as a whole. What exactly is the “thug culture” among whites in Alaska?

    The same for other states. Some (northern?) states reach Canadian, or even UK, levels (whole population) for their “white” sub-population. Most don’t.

  206. @ Winter – “I am confused”

    Sorry, I should have been more clear in my comment.

    I’m suggesting that long-term internecine warfare in Europe may have resulted in the systemic culling of large aggressive males from your populations and thereby biased your societies toward docility and a reduced frequency of murder and violent crime. Maybe your criminals now scratch and scream rather than stab or shoot at each other. If so, this may benefit civility in the short run, but there could come a day when you will really need some badasses again to defend the borders.

    My main point is that selecting out high testosterone behavior may not necessarily be a good thing.

  207. @TomA
    “I’m suggesting that long-term internecine warfare in Europe may have resulted in the systemic culling of large aggressive males from your populations and thereby biased your societies toward docility and a reduced frequency of murder and violent crime.”

    I cannot see how this could have resulted in an appreciable difference in gene pools between the USA and Europe under the circumstances. Both the time has been too short and the number of deaths too little to give such a result.

  208. >Thug culture doesn’t come from where you think it does, Jay:

    Oh, Goddess. That idiotic excuse again?

    Jay may not know enough history to spot the bogons. I do. People who suppose that black criminal-violence rates were a sort of inheritance from Scotch-Irish borderer culture ignore two huge problems. (1) The white descendants of the Scotch-Irish borderers mostly cleaned up their act, so why didn’t the blacks? There’s been enough time. (2) The most serious degradation in the behavior of the black underclass is a recent (as in post-1960) phenomenon.

    This nonsense is just another version of “White people are to blame for everything bad black people do.” It’s wrong, it’s infantilizing patronizing crap, and it’s historically illiterate.

  209. @ Winter – “I cannot see how this could have resulted in an appreciable difference in gene pools”

    Genetic change would be a lagging effect and not discernible in a short time frame. Societal behavior shift toward docility would be driven primarily by the diminution (or absence) of aggressive male role models and their competitiveness and warrior personalities. This effect can occur within a few generations, especially if war fatigue has become a dominant social meme.

  210. @TomA
    The dominant warrior role models in much of Europe are the SS Totenkopf brigades. Their precense has shown to depress general fitness considerably. They are generally seen as people to root out from society.

    Our experiences have shown thus far that society is better of without them.

  211. > My main point is that selecting out high testosterone behavior may not necessarily be a good thing.

    If I understood your reasoning correctly, high testosterone behavior selects itself out.

  212. > The white descendants of the Scotch-Irish borderers mostly cleaned up their act, so why didn’t the blacks?

    Controlling for socioeconomic status over multiple generations, is this actually true? You did insert the qualifier “mostly” – where exactly does the ‘not mostly’ fall?

  213. >Controlling for socioeconomic status over multiple generations, is this actually true?

    Careful of overcontrolling. You might confound your results by defining away the social-mobility effects of not being a violent idiot.

    >You did insert the qualifier “mostly” – where exactly does the ‘not mostly’ fall?

    What I had in mind is that the white descendants of the Borderers are still a bit unruly and violent relative to the American mean. (They are also disproportionately represented in the U.S. military.) But the difference between their level of deviance and the severe dysfunctionality of black thug culture is quite large.

  214. @ kn – “If I understood your reasoning correctly, high testosterone behavior selects itself out.”

    Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest competition has been a key evolutionary driver on all scales; individual up through nation-states. And Europe has been a cauldron of this competition due to its location, geography, and hardship-inducing climate variability. Large hairy males with high intelligence and ferocious behavior were the end result of this process. This was not a trivial milestone in the development of our species.

  215. @TomA
    “Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest competition has been a key evolutionary driver on all scales; individual up through nation-states. ”

    For such selection to change the gene pool you need time (hundreds of generations) and relative reproductive isolation. There were major incursions every 1000 years (Romans, Huns, Arabs, Magyar, Mongols) and a lot of contacts on a continental scale. I do not think there was enough time and too much reproductive exchange to give any effects since the first millennium BC.

    @TomA
    “Large hairy males with high intelligence and ferocious behavior were the end result of this process.”

    That is from around the introduction of agriculture in Europe. A lot of that gene pool was picked up from the local hunter-gatherers. And who knows, maybe from the Neanderthals?

    @TomA
    “This was not a trivial milestone in the development of our species.”

    I think it was trivial. However, the ability to digest lactose in adults was indeed a milestone.

  216. @Jeff Read
    “Hint: Who is more likely to become a “suspect” in the first place — a white person or a black person?”

    A black person. They more likely to appear in victim reports, more likely to be caught during the commission of a crime, more likely to appear on surveillance footage committing a crime, more likely to commit violent crimes, more likely to assault a police officer, more likely to commit crime while in prison, more likely to recividate after prison, etc, etc. They are 12% of a population who commits 50% of that population’s crimes (and when corrected for sex, that relationship is even more disproportional) They are seven times more likely to commit murder than any other race, eight times more likely to commit robbery and three times more likely to use a gun in the commission of a crime

    So, once again, how does all that square with the police shootings statistic? You and Bennett are both pretending to be didacts leading us dummies toward some obvious solution. That’s a very childish tactic. Make a positive argument or be quiet.

  217. > (and when corrected for sex, that relationship is even more disproportional)

    Are you saying that black men are more likely to commit crimes, compared to black women, by a greater degree than white men are as compared to white women?

  218. >Are you saying that black men are more likely to commit crimes, compared to black women, by a greater degree than white men are as compared to white women?

    No, I’m saying that a very small slice of the society’s total pop (black males) commit a very large slice of the society’s total crimes.

  219. >Are you saying that black men are more likely to commit crimes, compared to black women, by a greater degree than white men are as compared to white women?

    Mark is not saying this. as he pointed out. Nevertheless I will predict that it turns out to be true.

    The reasoning isn’t complicated. Lower average IQ among blacks leads to decreased ability to plan forward and anticipate consequences. Thus, even if both populations of males have identical distributions of time preferences and propensity to violence, we can expect more criminality among black males than among white males. Women, being more socially controlled than men, will manifest the difference less.

    I will further predict that if you slice the populations via IQ the difference in criminal propensity will vanish or almost vanish; that is, race is significant here almost entirely as a predictor of IQ distribution, not as a predictor of criminal propensity in itself.

    I said “or almost vanish” because I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a small residual difference driven by time preference.

  220. “No, I’m saying that a very small slice of the society’s total pop (black males) commit a very large slice of the society’s total crimes.”

    What exactly did you mean by “even more disproportional”? The 12% figure gets smaller, yes, but so does the equivalent one for white males.

  221. @ Winter – “I think it was trivial.”

    Then you are underestimating the impact that Europeans have had on our specie’s accomplishments (and I would argue that North America’s contribution is largely an extension of the underlying European gene pool). Take away the European cohort over the past two millennia and this would still likely be a primitive planet.

  222. @TomA
    “Then you are underestimating the impact that Europeans have had on our specie’s accomplishments (and I would argue that North America’s contribution is largely an extension of the underlying European gene pool).”

    Before they stumbled upon the Americas, Europe’s contribution to the species outside of Europe were very, very limited. There were some contributions by the classical Greek and Romans, but nothing really that wasn’t also produced at several places in Asia. The Mongolian hordes did not even bother to run it over. There was simply too little profit to get.

    For the first century or so, the prime use of the Americas was getting bullion, because the Asians refused to trade with us. We simply had nothing to offer they were be willing to buy.

    After ~1500, things started to change. But that was cultural, there were no genes involved.

  223. >After ~1500, things started to change. But that was cultural, there were no genes involved.

    There is one genetic difference that may have mattered a lot. Distribution of IQ.

    Europeans are middle-of-the-pack in mean IQ; brighter on average than Africans, not as bright on average as northeast Asians. But the European population has a uniquely high dispersion of IQ – more idiots than other racial groups and, crucially, more geniuses.

    More specifically, European males have a dispersion of IQ that is atypical. European females have the slightly narrower distribution (more central tendency) that is general in both males and females of other population groups.

    I know of no generative explanation for this – not even a plausible theory. Nevertheless I suspect it is a factor in the large-scale history of the last 500 years.

  224. Before they stumbled upon the Americas, Europe’s contribution to the species outside of Europe were very, very limited.

    And since they did, their contributions have become pervasive worldwide in a manner that no other culture’s ever has.

    After ~1500, things started to change. But that was cultural, there were no genes involved.

    Patently absurd. In particular, residents of the United States and, to a lesser degree, Canada have notable characteristic tendencies that are a diff from their ancestral origins. Perhaps most important, there’s a sharp tendency toward hypomania, which is both heritable and a likely driver for American ancestors to have picked up and moved in the first place.

  225. @esr
    “There is one genetic difference that may have mattered a lot. Distribution of IQ.”

    Sorry, but my believe in the scientific background of IQ and its genetics is not strong enough to credit it with the scientific revolution in Europe. Anyhow, there are a lot of logic steps between your distribution of IQ and the sudden scientific and economic revolution in Europe after the middle ages.

    I might point out to you that that European revolution coincided with the “invention” (or better, widespread introduction) of the Nation State in Europe.

  226. >I might point out to you that that European revolution coincided with the “invention” (or better, widespread introduction) of the Nation State in Europe.

    No. The Peace of Westphalia postdated the revolution by more than a century. The invention of the nation-state might be a result of the revolution, but cannot be its cause.

    Furthermore, a consistent pattern over the next several hundred years was that cultural and technological innovation flourished best where the centralized state had least power. I am not the first to observe this; Joseph Needham made the inverse point with respect to the consolidation of Imperial China under the late Tangs.

  227. Anyhow, there are a lot of logic steps between your distribution of IQ and the sudden scientific and economic revolution in Europe after the middle ages.

    The Renaissance wasn’t nearly as sudden or as big a break from high medievalism as generally believed. The Enlightenment big-thinkers intentionally played down the technological and societal advances in the medieval period and hyped the Renaissance–which wasn’t really considered a distinct phenomenon until the Industrial Revolution was underway.

    Much of the acceleration that did happen is easily attributable to the increased wealth and commerce produced by worldwide trade (and exploitation). Note that similar commercial opportunities had been available elsewhen in history, but that the Greeks and Romans and then western Europeans were the only ones to have parlayed them into major technological advances.

  228. @Christopher Smith
    You might want to read more about Chinese history. India too.

  229. @esr
    “The Peace of Westphalia postdated the revolution by more than a century. The invention of the nation-state might be a result of the revolution, but cannot be its cause.”

    England, France, and the low countries were effective nation states well before the peace of Westphalia.

    Acrually, the 7 provinces, which covered roughly what is now the Netherlands, were a very succesdful nation state already around 1600. They even had a sort of central bank and a stock exchange. The British were not far behind.

    And both the Dutch and English were leading inovators of the time.

  230. @esr
    “Furthermore, a consistent pattern over the next several hundred years was that cultural and technological innovation flourished best where the centralized state had least power.”

    That is a very fruitful area of historical enquiry. As long as there is no single group/class that concentrates all power, thing florish. Decline sets in when power becomes concentrated in a single institution. Say, the financial sector in the USA.

    This seemed to have happened in the respective dynasties in China, 9e century Oraq, the Ottoman empire, and pre-revolutionary France.

    For some reason, the UK and the Netherlands escaped that fate.

  231. @ Winter – “You might want to read more about Chinese history. India too.”

    Both ancestral China and India possessed the social and resource means to trigger a scientific enlightenment and ensuing industrial revolution, and could have done so centuries before it occurred in Europe. Neither did.

    It happened in Europe because the species evolved there in such a way that everything worked. It wasn’t an accident, it was history.

  232. @TomA
    “Both ancestral China and India possessed the social and resource means to trigger a scientific enlightenment and ensuing industrial revolution, and could have done so centuries before it occurred in Europe. Neither did.”

    Actually, Shanghai came that close to an industrial revolution it is spookie. What stopped them was local competition for agricultural land and food production. In short, geography. They simply couldn’t spare the agricultural area needed to grow the raw materials and food needed for the industry.

    The British were lucky with having everything right: coal, iron, people waterways, food, agricultural lands (aka sheep), ships, and markets to sell the stuff. And do not forget, those were the British that started the industrial revolution. None of the other Europeans came even close.

  233. I’ve read on the history of China and India as well as the pre-colonization Americas. The Indus and multiple Chinese civilizations made significant discoveries, such as gunpowder, but then simply didn’t do anything with them: Gunpowder was used for rockets, but not as a really successful weapon, and not for mining or other useful tasks; mechanization was understood but not utilized to any significant degree, and so on.

    Further, the claim that they were geographically doomed is countered both by their modern industrial success and by the fact that the Chinese appear to have visited the Americas at roughly the same period as Columbus, but the Asians simply had no interest in colonizing or even trading.

  234. @Christopher Smith
    “Further, the claim that they were geographically doomed is countered both by their modern industrial success and by the fact that the Chinese appear to have visited the Americas at roughly the same period as Columbus, but the Asians simply had no interest in colonizing or even trading.”

    The same can be written about all the other European countries.

    The Europeans used the Americas initially only to get the bullion to buy stuff in Asia. The Europeans had nothing else to trade.

    The Asians did not trade much outside Asia as there was little of value there. Africa only supplied slaves, which the Europeans used to mine silver in South America. Asians did not need slaves, and bullion was not necessary, because they could simply trade goods.

    Until the British started the industrial revolution, both India and China were wealthier and more powerful than the UK.

    With the invention of the railways, everything changed. Suddenly, transport over land became economical. Now the whole industrial complex of steel, coal, and food became a cassette that could be transplanted to almost every place in the world.

    And it did not originate in Europe, but in England. But the other countries were closest in resources and culture and could easily copy it.

  235. @Random832
    >What exactly did you mean by “even more disproportional”?

    Jeff said black “person”, but the subject at hand is civilians shot by police, the vast majority of whom are men (of any race). Men are also much more likely to commit violent felonies (90% of the total). And, as noted, black men are *much* more likely to commit them than people of any other race-sex combination.

    So when we’re trying to decide whether or not black “people” are unjustly targeted for police. shootings, we are actually talking about the black male demographic. We’re also talking about that demographic when we talk about the sort of violent felonies (assaults, robberies, homicides) that might put someone in a more likely position to be shot by police. While black women offend at higher rates than white women, they both are largely reduced to noise compared to the total.

    Take homicides, for example: black men commit about 175 per 100k, while black women commit about 10 per 100k. White men, by contrast commit about 20 per 100k. So black men, composing roughly 6% of the population, commit homocides at a rate almost an order of magnitude greater than white men, who make up roughly 30%, and commit a plurality of felonies when compared to all other demographic categories.

    One might therefore expect that they would be shot by police in at least a similar proportion to other demographics. One would be wrong, however. This poses a dilemma for the Left, because they are always begging. They begin with their grand conclusion (systemic white racism and its eternal victims), then hunt down and torture data points to support it while ignoring all that don’t.

    Meanwhile, rational people would look at police shootings, recognize they represent a minuscule slice of all police/civilian interactions and therefore draw no conclusions from the data whatsoever. As Eric mentioned somewhere above, there might be a few grumbling white racists out there who’d look at the shooting data and see a police war against white men. They’d be begging too. But at least they aren’t pointing at a cat and saying “dog”, or stalling with “Wacky Mad Libs”-style antics (like Jeff Read and Bennett).

  236. @Winter: Don’t discount critical innovations that took hold from other places in Europe. For example, the development of practical railroads depended on the joint-stock company, which was invented right there in the Netherlands. Not all technology consists of physical artifacts.

  237. >the joint-stock company, which was invented right there in the Netherlands.

    Questionable. A case can be made for the Venetian Republic more than a century earlier.

  238. I said:
    > One might therefore expect that they would be shot by police in at least a similar proportion to other demographics.

    This was oddly phrased, sorry. What I meant to say was “in at least a similar proportion to their criminality, compared with the criminality of other race-sex combinations”.

  239. @esr
    “A case can be made for the Venetian Republic more than a century earlier.”

    Certainly, but the case is not often made. And you have to put the boundary somewhere. But the availability of a financial market was indeed crucial to the industrial revolution, as were a lot of other things.

    The point is, these came all together in England, not somewhere else. They just did not make it altogether in other times and places.

    As so often in history, sometimes it all worked, but more often it just did not come all together at the right time.

  240. @Mark B
    I am picking nits, but you should ideally correct your numbers for income, education, and region of the USA. There will still be differences, as this is the USA, but they will be a little smaller..

    I also think your numbers are per 1M io 100k.

  241. @Winter
    > you should ideally correct your numbers for income, education, and region of the USA.

    Why don’t you do that, then get back to me? I already know what you’ll find. You can beg your case all you like, but don’t expect me to do it for you. As I told Jeff and Bennett, make a positive argument or hush up.

    > I also think your numbers are per 1M io 100k.

    I’m going by the standard that saw Ferguson, MO burned in an orgy of unthinking destruction: teenagers (or “children” in the current parlance”) & young adults. That age category of offender is, again, an order of magnitude larger than the mean. This conforms to logic; a sixty-five-year-old is physically less capable of committing a violent crime, and likely less willing to.

    See page 11, Figure 22a-22b:
    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

    But, as you said you are picking nits, because (as you well know) the disproportion of the mean mimics the race-sex combo of the dominant offenders (young black males). If you want to argue that these numbers are still too small to draw a racial conclusion, feel free to do so; it would be refreshing to hear a Left progressive express a degree of epistemic humility. Just don’t try to chuck your least favorite numbers down the memory hole. It’s not just annoying; it also does a disservice to the black people you claim you want to help, since they also disproportionately represent the victims of violent felonies in my country, mostly at the hands black offenders.

  242. @MarkB
    Why the anger? You write:
    “Take homicides, for example: black men commit about 175 per 100k, while black women commit about 10 per 100k. White men, by contrast commit about 20 per 100k.”

    Reading your link, the highest number I can find is 34 per 100k for blacks, implying some 70 per 100k men max. The other numbers are 10 times the national numbers. Above, I gave a link to the numbers for whites per state. The variation is large.
    https://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/white-murder-rates-by-u-s-state-1960-vs-2010/

    You compare all whites (higher average income, older) with all blacks (lower income, education, age) knowing they are distributed over the US differently. That gives a biased comparison. Not that I contest there will still be a discrepancy between blacks and whites. It still is the USA.

  243. @Mark B
    “Just don’t try to chuck your least favorite numbers down the memory hole. It’s not just annoying; it also does a disservice to the black people you claim you want to help, since they also disproportionately represent the victims of violent felonies in my country, mostly at the hands black offenders.”

    How did you find out I want to help people? I did not write that here. But why do you think I would limit that to a single group?

    And I am perfectly aware that a very large majority of the victims are living close to their offenders. That is almost always the case.

  244. >Why the anger?

    I can tell you why, because I feel it myself. U.S. media are perpetually full of pious insistence that the U.S. needs to have an honest conversation about race, but any attempt to start one that’s actually honest – as in paying attention to objective facts like comparative crime statistics – gets you shouted down as a racist. The only “conversation” that is acceptable is excuse-making and blame-shifting, always from black people to whites who didn’t do it.

  245. @esr
    “that the U.S. needs to have an honest conversation about race, but any attempt to start one that’s actually honest – as in paying attention to objective facts like comparative crime statistic- gets you shouted down as a racist.”

    Is that possible, an honest conversation about race? I can imagine such conversations about specific communities, or groups. But why should, say, a law abiding black professor in theoritical physics from MIT be dragged into a discussion about youth gangs in Ferguson? Only because he has the same skin color?

    Moreover, people are here writing that they are convinced the technical revolution in Europe was based on genetic superiority of Europeans. I severely doubt they even understand the population genetics enough to participayte in an informed discussion on the “race” problems of the US.

  246. > I can imagine such conversations about specific communities, or groups.

    Yes. I’d be happy enough if we could have an honest conversation about black urban thug culture, welfare dependency, and the drug laws. We can’t. Every attempt at it founders on grievance-peddlers screaming “institutional racism” and “white privilege” at people who didn’t do it. The slightest dissent from the PC narrative gets you put in a box with George Wallace and Bull Connor.

  247. > Reading your link, the highest number I can find is 34 per 100k for blacks

    I flubbed the page number of the report (page 15, not 11). But since I gave you the accurate table names, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you didn’t search very hard. Not only are my numbers accurate, but the homicide offending rate for 18-24 black males was even higher in the 1990s, peaking at 365 for black male teen and 246.9 for black teens in ’93. Once again, an order of magnitude above their white counterparts.

    > Why the anger?

    More annoyed than angry, really. You aren’t arguing any point of substance, and now you want me to do your homework for you. I’ll give you a hint: the racial discrepancies in criminality do not vanish when economic status or age are factored out. The overall numbers come down, but the discrepancy remains.

    >How did you find out I want to help people?

    More the editorial “you”, in that particular sentence. But isn’t that the Left’s eternal mission? I thought you guys were here to rescue the wretched downtrodden from their tormentors, and then guide us all into the sunny uplands? Whatever your actual purpose, lying about the black offense rate (or obstinately avoiding it) still does black people a disservice, and it’s still wrong.

  248. @ Winter – “based on genetic superiority of Europeans”

    That came out of your head Winter. No one here is arguing that Europeans are an Uber race; except perhaps you, who laments that the USA is not more closely following Europe’s lead down the socialist path.

    Our species has opposable thumbs, bicameral vision, and bipedalism. Those are facts, and did not occur by random chance, but as the end result of evolutionary forces and time.

    In the long history of our species, the decisive phase of scientific enlightenment and industrialization occurred in Europe (not just England, innovation occurred all over the continent from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean nations). That is not an accident of history either. Yes, other parts of the world made contributions too, but the evolutionary explosion began on the European Continent at about 1500 CE.

    How much of this is genetic versus other environmental factors? To be determined. But as Eric has said, just because honest discussion is verbotten in a PC world, reality is still reality.

  249. @Mark B
    I now see where the confusion comes from. Your numbers are from the “crime age” brackets. I read them as refering to all men an women.

    Crime rates in that age bracket are extremely situational. Even more motivation to be careful with interpretations.

  250. @TomA
    “No one here is arguing that Europeans are an Uber race; except perhaps you, who laments that the USA is not more closely following Europe’s lead down the socialist path.”

    You wrote:
    “Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest competition has been a key evolutionary driver on all scales; individual up through nation-states. And Europe has been a cauldron of this competition due to its location, geography, and hardship-inducing climate variability. Large hairy males with high intelligence and ferocious behavior were the end result of this process.”

    I have difficulty interpreting this in any other way as that “Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest competition” lead to a genetic shift that produced “Large hairy males with high intelligence and ferocious behavior”. In short, men with better genes.

    But I assume that is not what you meant to write by your complaint.

    And it is the libertarians here that are always lamenting that Europe is on a race track to the next holocaust. I think the people in the USA should build their country any way they like. But I will complain when they try to convince people with false arguments. Factually false, in many cases.

  251. >>@ Winter – “based on genetic superiority of Europeans”

    >That came out of your head Winter.

    Ah.
    so

    Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest competition has been a key evolutionary driver on all scales; individual up through nation-states. And Europe has been a cauldron of this competition due to its location, geography, and hardship-inducing climate variability.

    and

    Then you are underestimating the impact that Europeans have had on our specie’s accomplishments (and I would argue that North America’s contribution is largely an extension of the underlying European gene pool). Take away the European cohort over the past two millennia and this would still likely be a primitive planet.

    (emphasis added)

    were not about genetics or how Europeans evolved into a group with superior capabilities ?

  252. @Winter
    > I now see where the confusion comes from.

    Okay. As long as we agree the confusion is solely yours. I explained the age bracket I was describing in the very post you responded to, as well as my rationale for it, and I cited the appropriate charts. But you’re at least admitting your error, so thank you for that.

    > Crime rates in that age bracket are extremely situational. Even more motivation to be careful with interpretations.

    “Extremely situational” and “careful” is weasel-speak in support of a negative argument (“We don’t know the answer, so let’s stick with racism”). I made no interpretation; I delivered facts upon Jeff Read’s request, with the hope he or Bennett might enlighten us. Occam’s razor tells us higher rates of black arrests and incarceration are due to higher rates of black criminality and recidivism. The fact these graphs don’t roughly align with relatively small number of police shootings tells us nothing useful, except perhaps that the current panic over murderous, racist cops is being ginned up by the usual suspects for political purposes.

    @esr
    > any attempt to start one that’s actually honest – as in paying attention to objective facts like comparative crime statistics – gets you shouted down as a racist.

    Yes. Or worse, it leads you into a recursive spiral of negative arguments and diversion tactics, which seems to be the order of the day. I think I know why, too. While Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin seem to have been a more typical examples of the oafish marauder who haunts black neighborhoods, Eric Garner poses an ideological threat to the Left. The central irony is that Garner, as a victim of savage police aggression, is both their ideal poster child (an unarmed black man) and their favorite bogeyman (an entrepeneur, skirting the net of bureaucracy to conduct consensual free market transactions). Since the latter role seems to be the one that actually got him killed, their impulse is to park on the former one, then divert the conversation towards total black interactions with police rather than just the deadly ones.

    They’d do better to accept the higher rate of black criminality as a sad but indisputable fact and then deliberate its causes and potential remedies — although, being logic-illiterates, they typically don’t fair well there either. If the cause can only be invisible racism of the heart, the potential remedies for that are very sparse and typically involve expanding criminal categories and enforcement. If you suggest something logical like, “Hey, why don’t we *decrease* the number of criminal categories, and thereby decrease the potential for police-public interactions in general?” the response is usually the dazed and dumbfounded look of a boxer after the 27th bell. The Left’s rank-and-file have been so thoroughly beaten by their political masters that they can no longer think clearly, and can’t even recognize who it is that’s punching them.

  253. @Mark B
    ““Extremely situational” and “careful” is weasel-speak in support of a negative argument (“We don’t know the answer, so let’s stick with racism”).”

    I do not even want to suggest that these differences are a result of race.

    I think they depend on the situations people are in. In economic parlance, a young (teenager) man who is “planning” his future will look around to see what the options with the highest rewards are. In some communities the probability he will end up dead or in jail before he is 30 is very high (~8% and ~25%, respectively).
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/05/continuing-victims-of-high-homicide-rates-in-urban-communities
    http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/Llgsfp.pdf

    In those communities the choice of (legal) career options is very limited indeed. The rational choice, economically seen, is then too often to go for the short term and take the career path that brings wealth fast, before you die or get locked up.

    We can add the fact that men’s brains mature slower than those of women, so they are still relatively “immature” (whatever that is) when they leave high-school. Meaning that their mental horizon will not be very broad, which again, is not helped by the bad schooling they tend to get.
    http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Boys_Girls/

    It all adds up to increased risks for criminal behavior even before we look at race.

  254. I do not even want to suggest that these differences are a result of race.

    You do not want to suggest that these differences are a result of race. You are not even willing to consider whether they might be, which is much of the thrust of the discussion. Any efforts to improve the world that start by declaring that certain facts must not be true, regardless of any empirical evidence, are unlikely to produce desirable results. If differences aren’t genetic, then that’s great, because it means that we can focus on analyzing the environmental or other differences, but that’s a question that has to be examined, not assumed.

  255. > It all adds up to increased risks for criminal behavior even before we look at race.

    None of the facts reported is in dispute. It hardly counts as insight that poverty is a major indicator for potential criminality. But the Left isn’t making the claim that cops are unfairly targeting innocent people because they are poor. They are specifically claiming that cops are unfairly targeting innocent people because they are black. And, when faced with the overwhelming material evidence that black people (and, especially, young black males) commit far more actual crimes than the mean, they either imply/propose preposterous conspiracy theories (what Jeff and Bennett seemed to doing) or attack strawmen (what you seem to be doing).

  256. @Christopher Smith
    “Any efforts to improve the world that start by declaring that certain facts must not be true, regardless of any empirical evidence, are unlikely to produce desirable results.”

    There are currently several efforts under way to sequence human genomes from a lot of communities. What do we find? 90% of genetic diversity between human populations is found inside Sub-Saharan Africa. The rest of humanity is genetically alike. That is, knowing that half of somebodies genes are from (West) Africa tells you next to nothing about that person beside the color of his skin and hair (and even there the surprises are great).

    Anyhow, the genetic differences between humans are small. For comparison, two humans plucked from different continents are genetically more alike than two gorillas meeting in a Congo forest.

    We have had almost a century of effort trying to find the genetic differences between “races” that “explain” why some groups of people are more successful than others. It has brought us a lot of pseudo-science and excuses, but almost nothing of substance. It is time that all those people yelling “it is race” come with some real genetic evidence that these problems are caused by those “people” having bad genes.

    Given that people with the same African “ancestors” are problematic in the USA, but not in, say North West Europe, Canada, or Australia, tells us that trying to find genetic differences is just an excuse for political failures.

    And that is my main accusation: Race and genetics are just excuses for a failing class society.

  257. @Mark B
    ” or attack strawmen (what you seem to be doing).”

    I do not think that saying that US cops are killing far too many people unnecessarily is a straw man. Nor is the fact that the US locks up far too many people a straw man. These are both symptoms of a completely dysfunctional legal system.

  258. @ Winter @ kn

    As long as there is life on this planet, evolution and genetic change will be ongoing. Yes, I am asserting that the evolutionary path represented by the European gene pool is unique and has played an important role in the historical fact that scientific enlightenment and industrialization occurred there first (and not elsewhere). It is your conclusion that this makes Europeans a “superior” race, not mine. That is a both a value judgment and leap of logic on your part.

    Evolution is a long road, and assessing comparative benefits within a small window of time, amounts to risky speculation.

  259. > I do not think that saying that US cops are killing far too many people unnecessarily is a straw man.

    It is *precisely* a strawman. Unless, of course, you can show me where I argued “U.S. cops are killing too few people” or “U.S. cops are killing the exact right number of people”, necessarily or otherwise.

  260. @TomA
    “Yes, I am asserting that the evolutionary path represented by the European gene pool is unique and has played an important role in the historical fact that scientific enlightenment and industrialization occurred there first (and not elsewhere).”

    Then you really should read up on population genetics, more specifically, on the genetics of Europeans. Assuming any reproductive isolation of Europeans is a joke.

  261. @ Winter – “Assuming any reproductive isolation of Europeans is a joke.”

    Who said anything about reproductive isolation. Intermixing is a mutagenic mechanism and often propels evolution at a faster cycle. Are you really unaware of the differences between European racial attributes that those of other cohorts on the planet?

  262. >I find Winter’s claim of reduced murder/violent behavior in Europe to be credible. It follows from previous artificial selection consequences due to many centuries of warfare on the continent juxtaposed with rising civilization.

    Um, you are ignoring the ever larger populations that Europe has been busily *importing* these last several decades. Overall European violence would be increasing (*especially*) in the UK for the same reason that violence is relatively high in the US…. decreased homogeneity, both cultural and ethnic.

    Welcome to having a violent, culturally incompatible hostile unassimilated minority population in your midst. Enjoy it for a while, THEN preach to the US.

  263. >However, I have yet to see any evidence from you or anyone else that the English hide half their murders from the public. Actually, you imply a Stalin like tyrrany to even think this would be possible. Moreover, the “violent” death rate of the UK is in line with those of the rest of Western Europe, Canada, and Australia.

    No Winter. Once again I am forced to deal with the fact that you are either an incredible idiot, or systematically dishonest.

    I made no firm claim as to the exact homicide rate in the UK, and for a very good reason. Their system of categorizing deaths as to homicide/not homicide is systematically broken. I even showed you how, and what line item represents ‘under the rug’. Which was in support of my original claim, that homicide (prefer not to use murder, there are some odd specics wrapped up in that word, the more general case of homicide is better) rates for the US and UK can’t he directly compared, because there is no apples-to-apples data.

    You have done nothing but move goalposts, change the subject, argue circularly and occasionally drop insults. Oh, and more than a little ‘assumes facts not in evidence’.

    There is an odd line item in the coroner’s data for the UK. It is unexplained, and conveniently items dropped in there need show up in no conventional category. It’s use has expanded by a factor of approximately 20 in the past 10 years. (Somehow you managed to turn me stating that into me claiming that all of Europe has been hiding half their hicides for decades? Are you that stupid, or that much a liar? It gets tiresome, but I actually have no interest in convincing *you*.)

    Clearly the UK is hiding *something*. What, and how much, I really have no idea. Said so already, as in ‘the numbers aren’t there’. Could be something relayed to the NHS. Could be a Rotherham-type situation, writ much larger. Nobody would have believed that one either, until, you know, it was confirmed to he real.

    But bottom line, not only is the UK more violent (in terms of rape, robbery, assault) than the US, the UK’s vaunted lower homicide rate is suspect because their data is at best, not handled the same as the US, at worst artificially depressed by possibly deceitful means.

  264. >Welcome to having a violent, culturally incompatible hostile unassimilated minority population in your midst. Enjoy it for a while, THEN preach to the US.

    At least our unassimilated 12% isn’t plugged into an international terrorist network with nuclear ambitions. The Europeans actually have a worse problem than we do.

  265. >Jay may not know enough history to spot the bogons. I do. People who suppose that black criminal-violence rates were a sort of inheritance from Scotch-Irish borderer culture ignore two huge problems. (1) The white descendants of the Scotch-Irish borderers mostly cleaned up their act, so why didn’t the blacks? There’s been enough time. (2) The most serious degradation in the behavior of the black underclass is a recent (as in post-1960) phenomenon.

    I was exposed to that general theory from Thomas Sowell. Like him, I grew up in NYC and have been exposed to different ‘black’ populations with *entirely* different cultures. It may not be as dispositive as some claim, but it is pretty well descriptive.

    And as to the Scots-Irish (white descendants of Borderers) cleaning up their acts, and the blacks they influenced not doing so…. Yes, they were. Right up until those 1960’s you mention. What happened in the 60’s? What *changed*, serving to remove pressure to conform and assimilate to the mainstream culture (I.e. ‘clean up your act’)?

  266. @Greg
    “Are you that stupid, or that much a liar?”

    I would go for stupid.

    @Greg
    “Clearly the UK is hiding *something*. What, and how much, I really have no idea.”

    No they are not. It is just that you have no idea about the legal situation in England and Wales (the rules are not those of the UK, only those of England and Wales). The coroners are writing down what is happening. That is what a “narrative” is, a story about what happened.

    The problem is that the coroners have to use a classification system they seem to feel is inadequate. That does not only regard to homicide, but also accidents (work-related and not), (assisted) suicides, euthanasia, people refusing treatment or reanimation and various forms of deaths due to “natural” causes. So they use a “narrative” which allows them to tell what is happening.

    This is not about people being knifed classified as died from “heart failure”. This is about how to classify complex situations with an inadequate classification system. Note that the English law is antiquated and is unable to handle cases where people want to take control of the end of their lives. Coroners have to work within this inadequate law and make the best of it.

    You have not been able to come up with even a suggestion of where we can find evidence that one person killing another against his will is classified as anything but homicide.

    And if the English are hiding so many murders, how about their neighbors who all have comparable homicide rates, and Canada and Australia. They all have homicide rates that are a fraction of the US rate.

    Are they all hiding their murders? If not, why do the English?

  267. @esr
    “At least our unassimilated 12% isn’t plugged into an international terrorist network with nuclear ambitions. The Europeans actually have a worse problem than we do.”

    Indeed, we live in Eurasia and very close to Africa. We have overland access to 6 billion people. We are lucky to be at the backwater edge. But around us, people are at each others throats. And it is disconcerting how literal they are at each other throats.

    Keeping the peace is a challenge, I agree.

  268. “Keeping the peace is a challenge, I agree.”

    A challenge?! Tell that to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh.

  269. @Jay Maynard
    “Tell that to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh.”

    You don’t tell me people don’t get murdered in the US? And as I wrote, we do not have a few thousand miles of ocean separating us from the current battle fields.

  270. >No they are not. It is just that you have no idea about the legal situation in England and Wales (the rules are not those of the UK, only those of England and Wales). The coroners are writing down what is happening. That is what a “narrative” is, a story about what happened.

    Yes. They are ‘writing down what happened’. Except that is not what everyone else is expecting them to do. These deaths are normally classified into different categories, and the number of deaths in each of the different categories is analyzed to produce ‘data’. This is very important data- this data steers debate, and guides public policy in many vastly important ways. Note that the way the coroners information is analyzed to produce the refined ‘data’ (I use the scare quotes for a reason) *depends* on the traditional classifications. Removing large numbers of deaths from the bounds of the traditional classifications, effectively removes them from the final ‘data’. These deaths become effectively invisible. Down the memory hole, as it were. This is an extraordinary change from traditional practice, and would seem to require extraordinary justification.

    At the very least, it means UK data (um, England and Wales comprise a large enough portion of the UK that fudged data from England and Wales is sufficient to render the UK total data as fudged, contribution from England and Wales is hardly negligible) on homicide isn’t directly comparable to US data, as I have claimed from the start.

    >You have not been able to come up with even a suggestion of where we can find evidence that one person killing another against his will is classified as anything but homicide.

    Your circular reasoning is kicking in again. You argue that my failure to provide what has been concealed, is proof that nothing has been concealed.

    Note that I have make specific claims of particular wrong-doing, merely pointed out something out of the ordinary and suspicious, that leaves existing data incomplete. And this hole in the data, this new ‘category that isn’t a category’, could be used to conceal things.

    Tell me, how is it that people die differently now than they ever have in the past? Such that the numbers of deaths in the UK (or simply England and Wales, if you prefer) that defy traditional categorization (and therefore also understanding, using traditional methods of analysis) has increased by a factor of 20, in only the past 10 years….

    >And if the English are hiding so many murders, how about their neighbors who all have comparable homicide rates, and Canada and Australia. They all have homicide rates that are a fraction of the US rate.

    Once again arguing circularly, begging the question, and assuming facts not in evidence. We don’t know for sure that the UK’s homicide rate is in line with its neighbors, and Australia, Canada, etc. Because the data is questionable. But you are assuming it, to argue that the data can’t be questionable. Stop doing that.

  271. Side note: Smartphones are wonderful for many things, but text editing work flow is not one of them. Combined with my poor proof reading… sorry about the sloppy posts.

  272. Of course people get murdered in the US. They don’t get murdered by Islamists looking to exact revenge for insults to Islam, though…at least, not yet.

    That’s why I found your comment ironic: it’s precisely because of the Muslim immigration invasion in Europe that keeping the peace is getting harder.

  273. @ Winter – “Keeping the peace is a challenge, I agree.”

    One way to pacify a large population is to memetically indoctrinate all young people with a set of beliefs (and attendant habits/behaviors) that results in conformity to a joint ideal (e.g. social obedience or perhaps docility). This often requires a large institutional infrastructure and diligent perseverance by indoctrination leadership.

    Moo said the cow.

  274. They don’t get murdered by Islamists looking to exact revenge for insults to Islam, though…at least, not yet.

    Well, soldiers on base do. But that’s not terrorism, that’s workplace violence.

  275. @Jay Maynard
    “They don’t get murdered by Islamists looking to exact revenge for insults to Islam, though…at least, not yet.”

    I remember someone blew up a federal building in the USA for some reason that did not involve any of the people he killed. Another bombed random people because they were involved in technology and/or science. And it seems abortion clinics are not very safe because there are people attacking them.

    The reasons of the madness might differ, the madness is the same.

  276. @Greg
    I still have not seen even a suggestion of evidence that this coroner issue involves homicides in any way. And who will believe even for a moment that dead bodies with signs of murder are not classified as murder. Why would anyone go along with that? Relatives, friends, press, jury? Why would they?

    Why do you even argue this? Do you really want to say violent murder is an issue of interpretation?

    I am not surprised you cannot come up with evidence, however feeble.

  277. >Why do you even argue this? Do you really want to say violent murder is an issue of interpretation?

    No, you fool. What I have been saying, is that under the current system as it stands in England and Wales, someone could be violently murdered, the coroner could conduct an inquest, issue a narrative verdict that states “this person was violently murdered”, and the case would appear in the ‘other verdict’ category. And therefore not appear in any derived statistics as a homicide or murder. This is not a complicated argument, please actually respond to it.

    >I am not surprised you cannot come up with evidence, however feeble.

    At last at least a semi-valid response. Unfortunately, the narratives themselves (I.e. the contents of the narrative verdicts) do not appear to be published. At least, I can’t find them. So what evidence I have is circumstantial. And is therefore why I’ve restricted claims I’ve made the way I have.

    Can you find the narratives?

  278. @Greg, @winter, In the UK the coroner does not write the verdict, the jury do. So it’s clear that as far as that goes neither of you know what you are talking about. If you want to know how many narrative verdicts are murder, then just compare it to the police recorded homicides, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-december-2013/stb-crime-stats-dec-2013.html#tab-Violent-crime

    However @winter wins the point: Because it is patently absurd to argue that there is some conspiracy to conceal the true murder rate.

    @Winter, What there is however is a big geographical effect. If you stab someone in the lung or hit them over the head causing a haematoma in Alaska or rural Scotland, they are going to die. If you do it in Detroit, or London there is a very good chance they are going to live. This has nothing to do with the rate of criminality but with access to modern medical care.

    IOW, the murder rate in urban areas with access to medical care is artificially depressed, compared to historical comparators. These incidents will therefore be charged not as murder or manslaughter but as GBH (grievous bodily harm) or whatever the US equivalent is. (They won’t be charged as attempted murder in the UK because the sentencing range is the same and GBH is easier to prove.)

    Nobody else mentioned that: So I get the point.

  279. Finally: Nobody really cares about the murder rate.

    *** What we care about is the *likelihood that we or someone we care about will be murdered*. ***

    So you can factor out the drug turf wars, and other “gangster kills gangster” murders – what the UK police privately – and charmingly – call “shit on shit”. These do not affect law abiding citizens apart from the necessity of hosing down the pavement and paying for a pauper’s funeral. They are literally less relevant to us than Boko Haram (who they?).

    And that, @greg, @winter, is where the majority of the US/UK difference in the murder rate goes. Drug turf wars in the US, not official concealment in the UK.

  280. >@Greg, @winter, In the UK the coroner does not write the verdict, the jury do. So it’s clear that as far as that goes neither of you know what you are talking about.

    That is flat-out false. Most inquests do not involve a jury at all, though the coroner retains the option of calling one, and there are certain circumstances that require jury. See the Coroner’s Act of 1988.

    http://www.bailii.org/uk/legis/num_act/1988/ukpga_19880013_en_1.html#pb3-l1g8

    Sources can’t even agree on how many narrative verdicts are actually suicide. See two competing and contradictory papers/studies:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21372846
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22085685

    (Only abstracts appear to be open and searchable, rest is behind paywall that I don’t have access to.)

  281. To continue to make the point to Winter and anyone else… here are some additional sources openly discussing the difficulty in reconciling the increased use of narrative verdicts with the way official data analysis and statistic gathering rely on the traditional verdicts.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-15209673
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/oct/06/coroner-verdicts-underestimate-suicides

    (In this case they are talking about suicide rates, something it is acceptable to discuss.)

  282. @Greg,

    You still are unable to find any evidence. As Ben remarked above, the homicide numbers are from the police. When a murder is confirmed, the police will tabulate that. It is irrelevant how that murder verdict is worded or formulated.

    As suicides are not crimes, how they are categorized is irrelevant.

    @Greg
    “And therefore not appear in any derived statistics as a homicide or murder. This is not a complicated argument, please actually respond to it.”

    No, it would still show up as a murder in the criminal statistics. Because these are compiled by the police, not the coroners.

    And to prove this with statistics, I refer you to my comment from a week ago:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6557&cpage=1#comment-1343126

    The link I gave there gives the reported homicides (before the coroner) and the confirmed murders (after the coroner):
    http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk

    The differences are relatively small and can be fully explained by the fact that not every suspicion is born out. There simply no room in the statistics for the fidling you accuse them of.

  283. > @Greg, @winter, In the UK the coroner does not write the verdict, the jury do.

    So… is the coroner’s determination as to cause of death not called a verdict? They clearly were not talking about the verdict of a trial for a criminal case, and it’s disingenuous to imply that they were.

  284. Did Eric Garner have an unalienable right to life, as the Declaration of Independence claims?

    An unalienable right to life requires that the individual own the body he lives in, since a quality of ownership is control, and the use of control to destroy an individual’s body kills the individual.

    The purpose of the Constitution as outlined in the DoI is to “secure these rights”, and laws that conflict with the Constitution do not legally exist, having the same legal effect as if such laws had never passed in the first place. (See Norton vs Shelby County as well as the opinion of Marbury vs Madison.)

    If Eric Garner owned his physical body and was not threatening the safety of others’ bodies or property via force or fraud, then there was absolutely no cause for anyone to forcibly lay hands on him. As forcible hands were indeed lain upon Eric Garner and he later died, his death was a violation of his unalienable right to life and self-ownership, and thus a crime (of manslaughter or murder, I leave to the lawyers).

    In light of the above, I believe that those who assert that Eric Garner was legally killed are by necessity also asserting that there is no such thing as an unalienable right to life, that the foundation of the rule of law within the United States is fundamentally wrong, and that all human individuals are owned property of other humans.

    As late to the party as I am, I do believe that this cuts straight to the heart of the matter for people of all races, colors, creeds, etc. Regardless, I welcome critical analysis of these assertions; if they hold to scrutiny, I hope they will not be dismissed out of hand.

  285. @PeaceableGuy
    “If Eric Garner owned his physical body and was not threatening the safety of others’ bodies or property via force or fraud, then there was absolutely no cause for anyone to forcibly lay hands on him.”

    You make an interesting remark. It strongly suggest that you consider “ownership” and “property” more important and more fundamental than life itself.

    The customary relationship is that life and having a functioning body and mind are the foundations that allow owning anything. The concept of disembodied legal persons is derived from that foundation and still requires real living guardians.

  286. Winter, if I overemphasized the importance of “property” and/or “ownership”, it was merely to note the inextricable link to an unalienable right to life. The right to life is supreme, yet requires the individual be the exclusive owner of the property of his own body. All elements are of equal importance as all are interdependent: if any one can be eliminated (right to life, exclusive ownership of body, body and all derived value is property of the body-inhabitant), the others cannot exist. Conversely: if any single element must hold true, all others are true as well.

    I’m not prepared to wade into the quagmire of corporate personhood other than to state the obvious, in that corporate personhood has no rights that exceed those of a natural person.

  287. @PeaceableGuy
    “The right to life is supreme, yet requires the individual be the exclusive owner of the property of his own body.”

    That is confusing language. It suggests that someone else could own his body, or part of it. This is the more confusing as this has indeed been the case for the law until only centuries ago.

    And it is all the more confusing because it is utterly irrelevant. If life is supreme and an intact body is a necessary precondition to life, ownership of other properties derives from it and does not have to be brought up at all. Which makes me suspect that you do not think life is really supreme .

  288. Winter, not only historical people have claimed ownership of other humans – the same thing is effectively happening today in the USA, just as it happened with Eric Garner. If Eric Garner had an unalienable right to life (as both I and the DoI assert), then his unalienable right was violated when cops took physical control of his body (regardless of laws/rules against selling untaxed cigs, etc., as such rules/laws cannot override an unalienable right). As a result of that unrightful taking of control, Eric Garner died. Clearly stated: Eric Garner was killed as a result of being treated as a slave.

    You appear to claim that detailing the consequences of possessing an unalienable right to life is irrelevant. I disagree, because these consequences are almost universally overlooked in the discussions I’ve been party to with others, even with many of those who state they highly value individual liberty.

    Government agents that respected the right to life of the individual would not be taking ownership of individuals over voluntary commerce (Eric Garner), income taxes (Ed and Elaine Brown), tool possession (Wayne Fincher, David Olofson), or the consumption or possession of foodstuffs (War on Some Drugs). These problems are all related because they all stem from violations of the individual’s unalienable right to life … and that right’s consequences.

    The right to life is supreme in the sense that while it might be possible for a slave to be given property to “own” even if the slave doesn’t have defacto ownership of his body, an unalienable right to life *requires* exclusive self-ownership of the body and the property derived from the use of the body. Eliminating either of those derived qualities also effectively negates or violates the originating right.

  289. @Peaceable Guy
    “You appear to claim that detailing the consequences of possessing an unalienable right to life is irrelevant. I disagree, because these consequences are almost universally overlooked in the discussions I’ve been party to with others, even with many of those who state they highly value individual liberty.”

    No, I think that taking a persons life is in itself objectionable in every respect. We do not have to add other “rights” of him which were violated.

    Murder includes doing grave bodily harm and a host of other minor crimes. They are not violations in addition to the murder, they are part of it. It is the murder that counts.

  290. Winter, in the absence of Eric Garner’s ownership of his own body’s labor as a consequence of his unalienable right to life, it could be *claimed* that arbitrary restrictions on voluntary commerce are proper/legal and punishable by death. In such an absence, Eric Garner would be considered to have been properly killed by government agents who were enforcing proper law: he would not have been murdered. I reject this premise, and state that Eric Garner, even should he have just sold loose cigarettes to someone else, was exercising his right to control his property (body, fruit of body’s labor, loose cigarettes), and that such right is a necessary and inseparable consequence of possessing an unalienable right to life.

    The initial assault by the cops was a violation of Eric Garner’s right to life – via his inextricably-related right to own property in the form of cigarettes in addition to his body – separate and distinct from the violation over his actual murder. Should Eric Garner have survived the assault, his unalienable right to life would still have been violated by the assaulting cops.

  291. Winter, I neglected to add that the taking of a person’s life is not always a violation of the individual’s unalienable right to life, specifically in the case of a defender killing an attacker when the latter attempts to kill the former. The killing of humans may be objectionable, but it does not always involve wrongdoing on the killer’s part.

  292. @PeaceableGuy
    “Winter, in the absence of Eric Garner’s ownership of his own body’s labor as a consequence of his unalienable right to life, it could be *claimed* that arbitrary restrictions on voluntary commerce are proper/legal and punishable by death.”

    No, it could not. You are playing with words that simply mean that might is right. It is, and it is not. And your property rights can even less easily be withdrawn as your right to life. Except, that no person should lose his right to life, ever.

    @PeaceableGuy
    “The killing of humans may be objectionable, but it does not always involve wrongdoing on the killer’s part.”

    Obviously not. Someone never loses his right to life. But he can lose his life due to any number of contingencies. Dying while being stopped from killing others is just one of them.

    The whole point here was that there was no necessity to risk Erich’s death. None at all. The police officers here were simply wrong and their behavior was objectionable.

  293. Winter, do you seriously believe that I am attempting to claim that “might makes right”?

    If so, then please break down the text you quoted from me in your last post and explain how you arrive at that conclusion using said text.

    If you DON’T believe that I am claiming that “might makes right”, then exactly what part of my assertions do you object to?

  294. @PeaceableGuy
    ” it could be *claimed* that arbitrary restrictions on voluntary commerce are proper/legal and punishable by death.”

    Actually, this is what is done in many parts of the world when people are hanged for trafficking drugs.

    But your mentioning “arbitrary” is what makes it “might is right”. Such restrictions would not be based on morals nor on law. Only on the power of a gun.

  295. Winter, only by ignoring the first phrase of the quoted text could you use my text to claim that I am supporting “might makes right”.

    That ignored phrase is: ***in the absence of Eric Garner’s ownership of his own body’s labor as a consequence of his unalienable right to life***

    An “unalienable” right is one which cannot be separated, given, or taken away from that which it is attached. I have been very clear in my assertions that Eric Garner possessed an unalienable right to life. That phrase of mine, which you did once quote with the ignored phrase, is an attempt to use a hypothetical situation to identify specific points of disagreement for discussion.

    Eric Garner had an unalienable right to life.
    Eric Garner had a right to acquire property in the form of cigarettes.
    Eric Garner had a right to sell his property to a willing buyer.
    Eric Garner was assaulted and murdered by literal criminals acting under color of law, but outside the authority of law.

    Any other objections?

  296. >So… is the coroner’s determination as to cause of death not called a verdict? They clearly were not talking about the verdict of a trial for a criminal case, and it’s disingenuous to imply that they were.

    Yes, the coroner’s finding, the result of a process called an inquest, is specifically called a verdict. And yes, Ben is an idiot. Apparently little more than a troll. Coroner’s inquests used to be fact-finding procedures in front of a jury, who then would make a decision on the case as to whether a crime worthy of prosecution had taken place. Like a US grand jury proceeding. That stopped a long time ago.

    Now inquests are almost invariably done only by the coroner, who returns the verdict (not a verdict as in a criminal trial, simply the result of his inquest). Coroners can still call a jury for the inquest if they think it necessary, and there are certain special situations where a jury inquest is mandatory, mainly deaths that take place in custody. I’ve already linked the relevant statute. It’s a little confusing, and apparently Ben, the UK native (or a faker posing as one), doesn’t even understand it.

  297. >You still are unable to find any evidence. As Ben remarked above, the homicide numbers are from the police. When a murder is confirmed, the police will tabulate that. It is irrelevant how that murder verdict is worded or formulated.

    The homicide numbers are from the police. And the homicide numbers are suspect (crap, to be honest). The effect narrative verdicts have is on the statistics you would use to sanity check/verify the police numbers.

    >As suicides are not crimes, how they are categorized is irrelevant.

    How coroner’s data maps to reportable death statistics directly affects the death statistics which are used to double check the police homicide numbers. The accuracy of *that* data is where the use of narrative verdicts come in. I know the indirection is confusing, but try.

    >>@Greg
    >>“And therefore not appear in any derived statistics as a homicide or murder. This is not a complicated argument, please >>actually respond to it.”

    >No, it would still show up as a murder in the criminal statistics. Because these are compiled by the police, not the coroners.

    ‘Derived statistics’ in this case including the official mortality statistics. Which you would use to sanity check the police statistics.

    >And to prove this with statistics, I refer you to my comment from a week ago:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6557&cpage=1#comment-1343126

    >The link I gave there gives the reported homicides (before the coroner) and the confirmed murders (after the coroner):
    http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk

    >The differences are relatively small and can be fully explained by the fact that not every suspicion is born out. There simply no room in the statistics for the fidling you accuse them of.

    The source for this is, wait for it, the police statistics. That are crap. Remember where I said that it was retarded to argue by simply reposting bogus statistics? That’s where we started. Since then you’ve tried various tactical nit-picks against little pieces of my argument, been shown to be a strawman-seeking idiot, and now you’re gone back to simply reposting the police statistics.

    More on the inherent craptitude of the police-sourced UK crime statistics in a followup. (It was only hinted at in the original blog post I linked to, I will show my work so people have a reason to understand why I don’t accept UK police-reported crime statistics at face value.)

  298. Crime statistics in the UK are odd. Here I will only talk about England and Wales, from what I’ve seen Scotland is odder still. In England and Wales, crime statistics derive from 2 sources. They are taken from numbers released by the police (the numbers from the many police departments are summed), and from a ‘crime survey’.

    You see, mistrust of the police crime statistics is built in on an institutional level in England and Wales. The CSEW is a crime ‘census’ begun in the early 80’s that features representatives from an organization that is set up to be independent and impartial, asking selected participants (chosen to be as representative a sample of the overall population as possible) about their experiences with crime in the previous year. This survey has limitations, and known built in flaws (aka unavoidable sources of error).

    The limitations include the fact that it covers only certain classes of crime, and notably does not include entire classes of criminal activity. Including homicide, which means that all statistics on homicide from Endland and Wales come from police reporting. (Which is crap.) Known sources of error in CSEW include of necessity relying on human memory, leading to false negatives (people forgetting to report crimes when surveyed), false positives (people reporting crime as happening in the past year when it happened more than a year ago, known as ‘telecoping’), a tendency in the interviewed to try to tell the interviewer what they want to hear, as well as limited survey sample size (a peak of over 40K surveys to represent a population over 50 million).

    Follows is a link to an interesting little internal government report that mentions many of those things.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_331209.pdf

    Nevertheless, a recent audit of crime statistics in found the crime survey followed official best practices well enough to be classified as official ‘National Statistics’. The police data was found lacking and flawed, and classification as use as ‘National Statistics’ was removed. I.e. the police crime data was effectively decertified and disowned.

    http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/assessment/assessment-reports/assessment-report-268—statistics-on-crime-in-england-and-wales.pdf

    For more context:

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-administration-select-committee/news/why-we-cant-count-on-police-recorded-crime-statistics/
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubadm/760/76006.htm

    The UK’s own relevant governing bodies don’t trust the police statistics. Officially.

    And there’s the elephant in the room- Rotherham is only the most recent scandal involving police in the UK systematically underreporting crime.

    At this point it is almost hardly worth mentioning known oddities in police homicide statistic handling- to quote a report to Parliament:

    “Since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmhaff/95/95ap25.htm

    That seems odd. But at this point it’s just piling on.

  299. You know, I actually forgot to mention…

    The mortality statistics (that are influenced by the coroner’s findings, and use of narrative verdicts) include a large number of deaths that in the US would indicate homicide, but are not reflected in police recorded crime statistics. See:

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-277727

    There’s a linked Excel spreadsheet. You want Table 5.

    To return to the beginning, the nit-wit blogger I linked to originally talked about this a bit.

  300. Oh, when looking at the UK mortality statistics, bear in mind that they are influenced by rules in place governing how deaths are ‘coded’ into categories reflecting international standards on classifying deaths.

    An oddity that may have some relevance, is that deaths where intent is unclear are forced (by rule) to be coded as accidents. Just to bear in mind.

  301. @peacableguy, your argument founders on completely different grounds than the ones @Winter identifies.

    Simply, there is no inalienable right for a person to “not be subject to force except in response to his initiating force or fraud”.

    Rather, the US constitution and English common law have always recognised that there are such things as lawful authorities which can arrest you and bring you before a court, on suspicion of offences including offences not involving force or fraud.

    That’s without getting into the “what *counts* as force or fraud” which is where Libertarian philosophy hides all the complexity that real life generates.

  302. Ben wrote, “Simply, there is no inalienable right for a person to “not be subject to force except in response to his initiating force or fraud”.Rather, the US constitution and English common law have always recognised that there are such things as lawful authorities which can arrest you and bring you before a court”.

    Than you for saying so, Ben. That is exactly why I’ve made such an event regarding the necessary consequences of individuals possessing an unalienable right to life. The right to life itself seems fairly inert on the surface, so long as you are not being murdered or kidnapped; the ramifications that are inextricably tied to having such a right to life generate the most exciting claims.

    I do acknowledge I am “cheating” by assuming the words written into the founding law of the United States are true. I believe I “win” regardless of the ultimate opinion of the reader, in that a logically-consistent mind can only accept the DoI as a valid legal foundation along with all the consequences of the claims it makes, or reject the DoI as valid. The latter choice moves the discussion to the natural state of humans which, for readers not inclined to rule others through sheer force of arms, is most often an even stronger base to support the claim that attempts to initiate force or fraud are flatly wrong.

    The govenmental entity of the USA was created by the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that the purpose of US governments is to secure the unalienable right to life, and that the authority of such government is a derivative of the authority of the individual human. (There are also explicit cautions and remedies for situations where such governments disregard their purpose.)

    The Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution were created upon the legal foundation of the DoI. The purpose of the Constitution remains to secure the unalienable right to life, and its text details the specifics of how such government is to fulfill that purpose.

    Within the scope of the Constitution, it has long been recognized that there exist laws that, in spite of being passed by legislatures, have no legal effect at all. Such non-laws need no judge to rule to nullify them, nor need a legislature to repeal them – the non-laws simply do not legally exist. How are these non-laws identified? By discovering that the non-laws contradict the legal foundation upon which they claim to draw authority from.

    In summary, an unalienable right to life absolutely requires the individual to be the exclusive owner of the body they inhabit, as well as the exclusive owner of all the fruits of said body’s labor. The purpose of governments within the US is to secure that unalienable right to life. Where the laws of government conflict with governments’ purpose, such laws are void. Agents of government acting without the support of valid law while violating another’s unalienable right to life are literal criminals.

    Criminals who attack and kill a man are murderers.

  303. Sorry, PeaceablyGuy, but you’re simply wrong. The Declaration of Independence is no more foundational to the US than the Communist Manifesto was to the USSR. It holds persuasive value, to be sure, but no legal weight at all.

  304. Jay Maynard, while we disagree on the strictly legal merits of the Declaration of Independence, the claims within the DoI regarding the source of government authority still hold true when examining the source of authorty for the US Constitution, and from those truths alone it can be directly shown that government has no more authority to infringe upon the right to life of an individual than does any other random individual.

    As far as the Declaration being foundational to the USA… well:
    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

  305. @greg, I appreciate the correction on the point of coroners juries, thank you. Juries only write the verdict in those cases where a jury is called.

    I don’t appreciate being called an idiot or a troll. If I haven’t been active in the discussion it is simply that I have better things to do.

  306. I see that you wrote a post about people not being able to bear the state of not taking sides. That would have been excellent advice for discovering truths about the State vs. Eric Garner.

  307. I’m aware that this discussion is largely dead now, but I just came across it and it seems worth saying a few words about those statistics on police shootings of white and black suspects.

    Consider a world in which there is definitely “institutional racism”: police will leave white people completely alone unless they’re visibly committing a major crime, but will harass black people whenever they see them. And suppose that apart from this, the police treat black and white people the same. What do those shooting statistics look like in this world? Well, the great majority of black people the police get involved with will be completely innocent (in so far as anyone is completely innocent) and completely harmless, and in these cases the encounter won’t generally escalate to the point at which anyone gets shot. But all the white people the police get involved with are actively perpetrating major crimes, so (1) they’re more likely to be armed, (2) they have an extra incentive to take even desperate measures to avoid getting caught, and (3) the police are likely to be more scared of them.

    In this hypothetical world, therefore, we should expect white people interacting with the police to get shot *much* more frequently than black people interacting with the police.

    The hypothetical world I just described is *not* likely to be the real world, not even conditional on there being substantial institutional racism. If there is substantial institutional racism in the real world then (1) the discrepancy in rates of being stopped by police are surely smaller than in the world I described and (2) the police will surely treat black people worse than white once stopped, and both of these reduce how much more often we should expect white people to be shot by police, conditional on institutional racism being real.

    But I think this thought experiment shows us two things. (1) “White suspects are more likely than black suspects to be shot by police” is perfectly consistent with substantial institutional racism. (2) It is worth looking for statistics on how often white and black people are shot by police broken down by some indication of why they were involved with the police in the first place. (A simple proxy — not great, but better than nothing — might be armed versus unarmed victims.)

    Unfortunately, even the barest statistics on killings by police seem to be hard to come by, and my cursory googling hasn’t turned up anything that would give us a clearer picture.

  308. >But I think this thought experiment shows us two things. (1) “White suspects are more likely than black suspects to be shot by police” is perfectly consistent with substantial institutional racism. (2) It is worth looking for statistics on how often white and black people are shot by police broken down by some indication of why they were involved with the police in the first place. (A simple proxy — not great, but better than nothing — might be armed versus unarmed victims.)

    One of the facts that has come out in the wake of the Brinsley murders is that cop-shooters are disproportionately likely to be black. A statistic we might be able to extract from the data is how many cop-shooters are shot. If that sample preserves the greater likelihood of white suspects being shot, it will support a strong conclusion contrary to your hypothetical.

  309. If a criminal is actually shooting at the police, presumably the police are going to do whatever they think they have to do to stop him, and I’d have expected any racial prejudices to be overwhelmed by the details of the actual situation at that point. I’d be a little surprised if there were any difference to speak of between black and white in this situation, but I don’t think the numbers alone will tell us much about whether the police are racist or overcompensatingly anti-racist or somewhere in between.

    E.g., suppose it turns out that black cop-shooters are more often shot by police than white cop-shooters. Racism? Could be, but it seems just as likely that it’s because for one reason or another black and white people tend to shoot at police in different circumstances that provoke different responses. Drug-dealing gangs versus armed burglars, or something.

    I think the cases that give most clue whether police behaviour is driven by racism are ones where there’s no credible reason for them to think they’re in serious danger: an unarmed suspect, not committing (or thought to be committing) any very serious crime. Cases like the one we’re discussing here. But a single case is really uninformative; we need good statistics, and there don’t seem to be any.

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