On the shooting of Laquan McDonald

One of my regulars, mindful of the forensic analysis I did on the Michael Brown autopsy photos last year, has asked me to comment on the Laquan McDonald shooting from my point of view as a pistol and self-defense instructor.javporn

The fast version: I would have said this was what cops call a “good shoot” if it had stopped at the first two bullets. It didn’t. I don’t think this was murder one, but it was at least criminally negligent homicide and those who covered it up should be prosecuted along with Van Dyke.

The key portion of the video starts at about 5:19. The blade is visible in McDonald’s right hand; he draws it and brandishes it at 5:25 while facing slightly to the right of a police car that has him in its headlights. At 5:30 you can see that an officer has lined up a pistol on him.

At 5:32 he begins to turn towards the officers. One shoots immediately; he spins and goes down. At that point the officers go out of frame, but we can see at least one dust puff from an incoming bullet at 5:35. We see him either trying to get up off the ground at 5:36 or having a convulsion that simulates the motion; his head and shoulders rise slightly. As late as 5:38 his hands seem to be still moving.

We know from the autopsy that two bullets hit him when he was up and another 14 when he was down (or 15; accounts are inconsistent, and some may be counting at least one round that clearly missed and caused the dust puff).

Now let’s consider this from the responder’s point of view.

The first thing to be clear on is that McDonald was behaving in a crazily aggressive way when he died. You don’t pull a knife and brandish it in the presence of two cop cars if you’re thinking at all sanely.

If I had been a cop on the scene I would immediately have thought “angel dust”, and in fact the autopsy revealed that McDonald was high on PCP. This drug induces violence, freak strength, and insensitivity to pain.

UPDATE: I should have been more specific about the tells here. You can see even in the poor-quality video that McDonald makes a big, rather jerky motion with the knife. A cop (or me) sees that, thinks “Impaired fine-motor control. Oh, shit.” Because at that point the odds on McDonald being fucked up on something like meth or bath salts or PCP rises to the point where you’d damn well better assume it in your planning.

(If you care about fine distinctions, urban black lowlife probably means PCP or bath salts. Rural white trash means meth.)

This is a situation that amply justifies drawing a weapon and preparing to shoot. From the video, McDonald was well inside the 21-foot close-engagement limit – he could have rushed an officer with that knife before the officer could draw on him and trust me that this is not a chance to take with someone you suspect might be on PCP.

If you are any of the cops you are going to be adrenaline-dumping by now. This is a dangerous situation even with your gun drawn; the thug could charge you, take several bullets and still stab you fatally before he goes down. It’s happened often enough before.

Now, he angles slightly away from the group of cops, but they have to be thinking that if he shows any sign of charging they must shoot before he kills them.

I want to impress on my readers that this was a completely justified reaction. Everything the police have visibly done up to this point is textbook procedure for this situation, including what happens next: he turns towards them and Van Dyke, the cop now charged with murder, shoots.

We are still in unquestionable legal and ethical territory until McDonald goes down. What the police have done so far – those first two bullets – is correct.

The next correct thing to do would have been to stop firing for long enough to assess whether McDonald was still a threat. One way this could have gone is: Van Dyke stops shooting, McDonald levers himself off the ground, Van Dyke resumes shooting until McDonald is down again. That would still have been a “good shoot” for which Van Dyke would be neither legally nor morally culpable.

But that does not appear to be what happened. It appears that Van Dyke kept firing continuously at McDonald on the ground. The police report avers that another officer stopped him from firing still more bullets after the 16 he put into McDonald’s semi-fetally-curled form.

It is not difficult to form a plausible theory of why Van Dyke kept firing. As a student of defensive violence I can tell you that under stress this kind of reaction is very common. He may simply have not registered that McDonald was no longer moving.

Matters are complicated by the fact that McDonald may in fact have been still trying to get off the ground and charge Van Dyke, even with several bullets in him. The video evidence is ambiguous on this point.

But even if so, Van Dyke was doing the wrong thing. What he should have done was stopped to assess, realized that even if McDonald was trying to get to his feet that was not going to happen fast enough to put anyone in imminent danger, and stopped firing unless and until McDonald again became immediately dangerous.

Lethal force is a terrible tool. People who use it, whether cops or civilians, must show restraint and good judgment. Van Dyke was, at best, lethally careless.

On the plain evidence of this video, what we have here is a criminally negligent homicide; manslaughter or possibly second-degree murder.

And if it is true that other cops conspired to cover it up, they should be prosecuted too. I can understand their reasoning – why let a cop who made a simple mistake under stress be ruined by the death of a drug-addict lowlife with a knife in his hand? But it was still wrong, because that habit of blue omerta covers up too much.

I do not think the charge of first-degree murder is justified. There is no evidence of premeditation, or reason to suspect it, here. It is certainly possible that the prosecutors know something that I don’t, but I suspect that the escalation of the charge is a purely political maneuver intended to appease those who have put a racial spin on this incident.

And that racial spin? Plain bullshit. Those cops were facing an angel-dusted thug brandishing a weapon; that was pretty much bound to end badly whether the thug was black, white, or purple polka-dotted. But the obsessive scab-pickers of our racial-grievance industry will doubtless attempt to to incite riots over this, and given the media’s usual enthusiastic help they might well succeed.

916 thoughts on “On the shooting of Laquan McDonald

  1. Given the prevalence of such incidents in this drug-happy world, why are police not equipped appropriately to deal with them non-lethally?

    Options include: running away until the drug wears off; throwing a net over the man (Roman-gladiator style); tasering; tear gas; water cannon (the guy’s a one-man riot, after all); tranquilliser darts; calling for (more professional) back-up; and I’m sure many other, better options than bullets-solve-everything.

    • >Given the prevalence of such incidents in this drug-happy world, why are police not equipped appropriately to deal with them non-lethally?

      Some are. I read one account that claimed the cops called for backup with a Taser. But you can’t really count on those to put down someone on PC or bath salts.

  2. As was pointed out on David Friedman’s G+, Illinois law does not require premeditation for a charge of first degree murder. All it requires is intentionally killing or committing acts that the person knows will kill or create great bodily harm, or that will create a strong probability of great bodily harm, or committing another felony besides murder.

    Premeditation does escalate the crime to the level of the death penalty.

    Here, a charge of first degree murder turns on whether Van Dyke kept shooting intentionally. A lawyer who can convince a jury that the shots after the second were committed in the heat of the moment, and that Van Dyke did not intend to kill, may succeed in getting an acquittal on the first degree murder charge.

    Was Van Dyke only charged with first degree murder? Equally importantly, what charges will the jury be allowed to consider?

  3. Off-topic :
    Hey Eric. VD sent me here. Told me you and Rosario were working on an SJW-proof Code of Conduct. Any news on that? I would be interested in utilizing it.

  4. Over-charging is a common prosecution tactic used to induce suspects to plead out rather than go to trial.

    The real crime here is that if a civilian had committed this attack, with this much video evidence, the DA would have been making an example of him in time for the evening news the next day, not waiting 13 months to announce charges. Instead, the city of Chicago has already settled with the family for $5M and Van Dyke will have the best defense that the police union can afford.

  5. Was it a continuous string of fire, or did the cop shoot a couple times, drop the POS, pause firing, then resume shooting?

    When the triggertime threshold is reached, you can empty a mag in 3 seconds. The number of rounds fired is not a good metric for judging these situations.

    Nevertheless, expect the usual Internet blah blah blah

  6. @Geoffrey Tobin

    Options include: running away until the drug wears off;

    This would be a bad idea for an armed citizen, who has the option of doing so. The entire purpose of the police is to deal with things like this, running away leaves anyone else in the area vulnerable.

    throwing a net over the man (Roman-gladiator style);

    Might work, *if* you can get the net over and around him the first time, else you are back to square one.

    tasering; tear gas;

    What part of “This drug induces violence, freak strength, and insensitivity to plain. [sic]” did you not understand?

    water cannon (the guy’s a one-man riot, after all);

    Like the net, *might* work if you can keep him fully pinned with the stream of water. But I don’t know many cops who carry a fire truck in their back pocket.

    tranquilliser darts;

    Takes time to take effect. During that time you now have an enraged PCP addict inside the 21 foot line that you have to hold off. Have Fun.

    calling for (more professional) back-up;

    This has most of the problems of running away, and cn only work if you are *really* lucky and the backup can get there in time. We also learned this lesson with Columbine: waiting for backup gets innocent people slaughtered.

    and I’m sure many other, better options than bullets-solve-everything.

    Well, they sure solve a lot more than hoplophobes think they do.

  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/us/training-officers-to-shoot-first-and-he-will-answer-questions-later.html?_r=2

    Police are trained to think they are in some kind of Steven King novel where everything and everyone is out to kill them. Laquan was a “zombie” that needed to be decapitated and dismembered for the officer to feel safe.

    Before the two magic phrases were get out of jail free cards:
    “I thought he had a gun”.
    “I was in fear of my life”.
    Some of those with the consultants in the above article can still sway juries, but not all.

    There are totally non-racial incidents where police shoot people driving cars (I thought he was going to run me over – one in the article) when they are on the other side of a wide road, or they end up shooting sideways.

    And there are the SWAT raids that injure or kill lots of innocent people to serve some kind of minor warrant or an “informant” said there was something bad. But keeping officers safe even if it means innocent civilian deaths takes priority.

    SWATting shouldn’t work. It does because police are not diligent and are paranoid.

    • >Laquan was a “zombie” that needed to be decapitated and dismembered for the officer to feel safe.

      McDonald was, in the flesh, the extreme scenario that actually justifies this mindset – a large man with a weapon, hopped up on a drug that induces violent psychotic behavior.

      I should also reinforce the point that even if the wire-service report turns out to be wrong, a reasonable person would have been thinking PCP or bath salts at 5:25 when McDonald brandished the knife. That motion in that context was pure dangerous crazy and is exactly the sort of cue that cops or civilian first responders like myself are trained to watch for and fear.

  8. @Nancy – from what I could see in the vid, there were two officers on foot within the 21′ zone. Refusing to drop a weapon and then turning towards LEOs at that range is a poor life choice.

  9. “From the video, McDonald was well inside the 21-foot close-engagement limit – he could have rushed an officer with that knife before the officer could draw on him”

    They had already drawn on him though. But more than that, if it’s so dangerous to be near a man with a knife, why are they actively walking towards him when they don’t need to?

  10. tz: “Police are trained to think they are in some kind of Steven King novel where everything and everyone is out to kill them.”

    Tell that to, say, Deputy Darren Goforth. Or Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Or Officer Brian Moore. Or any of the other cops ambushed and killed just for being cops in today’s grievance industry-driven society.

  11. @Nancy Lebovitz – the police in the SUV in front seem to have gotten out of it, but only shortly before the shooting, and after they saw him. It’s unclear if they saw he had a knife before getting out of the car.

    @ESR I suspect that the escalation of the charge is a purely political maneuver intended to appease those who have put a racial spin on this incident.

    Is it possible that it may be reasonable to escalate the charge based on the fact that as trained police officers they should have known better and based on the tendency of cops to get away with things, even without a racial component? In other words, could “They were cops and he was a civilian” be considered an equally valid justification of such an escalation as the supposed race angle?

    Those cops were facing an angel-dusted thug brandishing a weapon;

    Particularly considering W. Craig Trader’s statement that the autopsy does not show he was in fact on PCP (I don’t know if you misread it or were reading some other document other than the autopsy), is it possible that his race may have contributed to their belief that he was?

    • >is it possible that his race may have contributed to their belief that he was?

      Sure. They might very well have encountered other knife-waving black men on PCP.

      I’m not being facetious. For a cop in Chicago this seems fairly likely.

  12. “if it’s so dangerous to be near a man with a knife, why are they actively walking towards him when they don’t need to?”

    They do need to. That’s what cops do. They assume that danger so the average citizen doesn’t have to.

  13. > They do need to. That’s what cops do. They assume that danger so the average citizen doesn’t have to.

    They could do it from 22 feet away, though. Or can’t they shoot straight enough to hit someone from that far?

  14. @M.C. – Yep, they had their weapons drawn. This is the smart thing to do.

    They were approaching him because that is their job – they are attempting to neutralize a threat.

    Acting bizarro while brandishing a weapon is not permitted in a civil society. We have every right to stop such behavior. Push the limit too far, and deadly force is justified.

  15. Anyway, The fact is, for all the movement we can see on the video, he’s walking away from them, and they’re walking towards him. He is not responsible for having closed the distance to less than 21 feet.

  16. “they are attempting to neutralize a threat.”

    I understand the police need to do something: contain the criminal, stop him from escaping. But at the exact moment they approach, do they really need to approach? Can they not take things slow?

  17. > Yep, they had their weapons drawn. This is the smart thing to do.

    The point is that having already had their weapons drawn, the 21-foot rule is irrelevant. What is the radius for being able to shoot someone you’ve already got your gun aimed at before they can reach you? Surely whatever study came up with “21 feet” has an answer for that.

  18. “The armchair quarterbacking begins”

    This is just a meta “stop sign” designed to shut down debate.

  19. “…the 21-foot rule is irrelevant.”

    Nonsense. Handguns are not the one-shot manstoppers that Hollytard movies portray them to be. A person can soak up multiple shots and still get into you within that range.

    Please, share some more of your Internet wisdom about firearms and personal defense.

  20. Nonsense. Handguns are not the one-shot manstoppers that Hollytard movies portray them to be. A person can soak up multiple shots and still get into you within that range.

    The 21-foot rule includes all that plus drawing and aiming time. The distance for someone with their gun already drawn would naturally be proportionally shorter.

  21. By “irrelevant”, I think he meant that, if 21 feet is the safe limit before drawing, some smaller distance must be the safe limit after drawing. I personally will agree that the police and the knife-wielder are close enough that, if he chose to charge, there would be real danger.

    • >I personally will agree that the police and the knife-wielder are close enough that, if he chose to charge, there would be real danger.

      That is correct. At the time of the shooting, I estimate that McDonald was 10 to 12 feet from the nearest cop. Having gamed this kind of attack from both sides I can tell you that this is not a safe distance even if the bad guy is not on a powerful stimulant.

  22. Plus, the fact that they had backup is also a relevant factor: with at least two cops both pointing their guns at him, the amount of time needed to put enough bullets in him to stop him (whatever that number may be) if he charges is cut in half.

    • >with at least two cops both pointing their guns at him, the amount of time needed to put enough bullets in him to stop him (whatever that

      It would be deeply stupid to count on that. Someone’s gun might jam.

      You also need to bear in mind that the rules of engagement they train for need to be simple enough that they can be executed correctly under extreme stress.

  23. @Random – No. You don’t understand. It isn’t a formal ‘rule’ at all. It is an observation, based on real life experience, that illustrates how quickly somebody can get inside your space from a particular distance.

    At 21′ it is a challenge to draw a weapon, present it and fire…not impossible by any means (it is a standard training drill)…however, even a fast operator would be smelling the opponent’s bad breath before getting a shot off. This is not a good situation to be in.

    Even with a weapon drawn, the 21 foot ‘rule’ applies. There is a severe threat of injury/death even if you manage to score hits. You don’t allow the opponent to get ‘proportionally’ closer.

  24. In the autopsy report that W. Craig Trader linked, he was only tested for “benzoylecgonine” (a cocaine metabolite), alcohol, and opiates. Maybe a more thorough test was done later outside the context of the autopsy.

  25. “…This is just a meta “stop sign” designed to shut down debate.”

    Nah. More like a meta ‘deer crossing’ sign ;)

  26. esr, thanks for this. I appreciate your calm, experienced, and caveatted perspective.

    I have to say this “inside the 21-foot close-engagement limit – he could have rushed an officer with that knife before the officer could draw on him” reminded me of the fantastic sequence from near the end of the tv series Justified, when one of the bad guys (who had been boasting about this all series) finally tried it. (Can’t find a utub link at the mo…)

  27. Lest anyone doubt the effects of PCP, I’ll just note that I’ve seen one guy – not particularly large or beefy – throw six cops trying to restrain him around like matchsticks while on PCP. This isn’t hearsay. This is my experience as a paramedic.

    There is no dealing nicely with someone on PCP. All you can do is throw lots of force at them and hope to overpower them.

  28. If he wasn’t turned, and the gun was out with a round in the chamber, at 21 feet is it still necessary to shoot?

    Is Chicago filled with PCP Ninjas? Somehow everyone holding a knife within 10 feet will have the will, the skill, the mental focus, and the impetus to use it? It is definitely threatening, but someone who is high usually doesn’t have as good motor skills. Few people are into martial arts so would more likely cut themselves (There is a similar problem with gun owners that don’t go to the range at least monthly).

    What was the actual probability of harm or death? Not worst case. Worst case is ESR or someone like him is on the street and is probably CCW, so the cop should shoot him without warning so he doesn’t have a chance to use his gun. Billion to one, but is that reasonable? But is the PCP Ninja scenario a million to one? A thousand to one?

    I expect police to be trained better than citizens. Including being able to suppress their adrenaline (and if not they shouldn’t be police – not everyone has the temperament to handle it, just as not everyone can be a good coder). Shouldn’t police be held to a higher standard than citizens?

    So if an ordinary citizen sees anyone with a knife within 21 feet he is afraid of, he can pull out a gun and shoot immediately “just in case”? What is the standard for the untrained?

    It goes further, there’s the six cops that fabricated their shootings:
    https://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/11/six-american-police-officers-fabricated-shootings-year/

    If the police are going to divide so “Citizens are the enemy”, it is no longer policing, they are an occupying army, and being ambushed by insurgents is normal for war. If police call me “the enemy”, then I’m their enemy whether I want to be or not. War only takes one party to declare it, but both are then at war.

    Part of giving honor to police is that they will be in danger and occasionally ambushed (similar to firemen who put their lives in danger). At some point the minimization of danger to them loses the honor – by increasing danger to innocent citizens. They become robots where Asimov’s third law overrides the first. Their own safety becomes foremost and becomes an excuse for negligence which rarely results in the same penalties to them if an ordinary citizen did the identical thing Consider if two ranchers shot a deputy – would it be slowly investigated?

    http://www.inquisitr.com/2552597/idaho-rancher-killed-on-highway-i-saw-the-deputies-murder-my-husband/

    The police know that except for a very unlucky few especially where there is video, they can kill – either properly, negligently, or even murder in cold blood and the blue omerta will prevent any consequences, or limit them to a paid vacation.

    How many other murders do you know of where there was video took over a year to bring charges?

    “A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich” – but no indictment for Darren Wilson – so there will be no trial, no discovery, no testimony under oath, and no jury finding. Baltimore was an aberration. Some people are almost always indicted, but police are almost never indicted.

    This is the problem. No one trusts or believes “Government” and the police are part of the government. They are held to the same standard of accountability has Hillary Clinton. They lie for each other, they cover up crimes, some are actually dirty, others just “look the other way”. And the bad apples drive out the good.

    I think more citizens are dead in “mistakes” than police have been specifically targeted and killed.

    I moved to a state where the police have the original “Peace Officer”, constable attitude. They aren’t looking to raise revenue, they aren’t looking to escalate, most wave to me and I wave back. I am unafraid of dialing 911, but I probably won’t need to.

    The thing is with a gun (I’m in a Constitutional Carry state) I can defend myself. The police are nice to have around for some things, but they also have a different attitude here – they know most citizens are armed and are ok with it (some rookies need an embarrassing encounter to learn).

    The police in Chicago, Baltimore, and many big and small cities are like the “Red Coats” – an occupying army of tax collectors. You’ve seen the woodcut – but John Adams defended and got a not guilty verdict (“Facts are stubborn things”) since it was a mob throwing rocks, some covered with snow, not a “peaceful protest”.

    Our law enforcement officers are turning into those hated Red Coats in the same way and for the same reasons that the colonists learned to see them as oppressors instead of protectors.

  29. The “21 foot rule” stinks of bullshit. It has all the marks (e.g., a suspiciously over-precise number when clearly both cops and perps are going to vary quite a lot in their reaction times).

    Upon looking into it, the “rule” was apparently devised using one cop and one simulated “suspect” (though there was more than one trial). The “suspect” was charging the officer in attack mode, and the officer had his weapon holstered. Neither of those were the case here.

    Also, even the guy who came up with the “rule” is on record decrying its misapplication. It was never intended as a justification for immediate deadly force.

    Some discussion here:

    http://www.policemag.com/channel/weapons/articles/2014/09/revisiting-the-21-foot-rule.aspx

    The whole idea that there’s a specific distance at which it suddenly becomes okay to shoot in all situations seems nonsensical on its face. What if it’s Usain Bolt? What if it’s Stephen Hawking? What if he’s carrying a spork? What if he’s carrying a lance?

    • >The “21 foot rule” stinks of bullshit. It has all the marks (e.g., a suspiciously over-precise number when clearly both cops and perps are going to vary quite a lot in their reaction times).

      You’re speaking as someone who has never trained in actual violent self-defense. I have actually been rushed while holding a simulated firearm and I can tell you from direct personal experience that you do not have enough time to count on making your shot at 21 feet. The article you cite describes some relevant variables.

      In any case, what we should be discussing un the context of the Laquan McDonald shooting is more like a 12-foot rule.

  30. @Doctor – I think I can agree with you to a point. The 21 foot ‘rule’ has been misunderstood and arguably misapplied. It is not – in and of itself – a justification for deadly force. It is simply intended to slap some serious defensive awareness into your mind – at that distance (or less) you are perilously exposed to a sudden physical attack. That understanding should then be used to inform your tactics, posture, focus etc. But it *does not* grant you legal absolution to hit the bang button whenever a person is within that radius.

    • >But [the 21-foot rule] *does not* grant you legal absolution to hit the bang button whenever a person is within that radius.

      No, it doesn’t. If it happened to be me 21 feet away with a knife – well, I have cerebral palsy; I limp and do not move quickly. Part of your responsibility would be to assess that correctly and downgrade the threat level.

      But Lacquan McDonald was, as I have pointed out before, nearly the worst case. Just twelve feet away, armed, viciously high. I wouldn’t have taken any chances if it looked like he was turning to charge; hell, I would have been wishing for a slug-loaded shotgun rather than my issue pistol.

      The fault here lay not in the application of Tueller drill or the initial shooting, anyway, so arguing these is rather besides the point.

  31. “You’re speaking as someone who has never trained in actual violent self-defense. ”

    No, I’m speaking as someone who recognizes bullshit when he sees it.

    How does this work, anyway?

    “I got a call for a dine-and-dash at Outback Steakhouse. When I entered, there were dozens of people with big-assed razor-sharp knives in their hands. So you see, Your Honor, I had no choice but to put them all down.”

    Good luck with that.

  32. “nearly the worst case. Just twelve feet away, armed, viciously high”

    I’ll stop posting now since I don’t want to repeat myself to the point of spam. But I do hope someone can explain why the police feel the need to immediately close the gap to the point where it’s dangerous, rather than taking things more slowly.

    I’m willing to be convinced on this point but simply saying “it’s their job” isn’t quite adequate.

    • >But I do hope someone can explain why the police feel the need to immediately close the gap to the point where it’s dangerous, rather than taking things more slowly.

      Cops are peace officers. Lacquan was a threat to civil order and any civilians who might be nearby. The fact that nobody else was in immediate danger is less relevant than you might think. Suppose a civilian came on the scene while they were “taking it slow”; would you want to be the cop who had to report that they could have stopped Lacquan before he killed, but did not?

      I’m not theorizing in the abstract here. Police doctrine for dealing with this kind of situation is a difficult set of tradeoffs that has evolved under selective pressures that you will not even come close to fully understanding until you have trained as a first responder yourself.

      Even I, as an armed civilian, would have felt a strong responsibility to stop Lacquan McDonald before more potential victims could be put at risk.

  33. I also read that the guy had already banged on a cop car and stabbed its front tire. If this is true, and had been reported to responding officers, then there is no question that the correct response was a direct armed one.

    I admit, I don’t really see much of a ‘lunge’ in the vid, but I’m not standing behind the actual LEOs eyeballs. He was within a very dangerous range, had been acting violently with a weapon, and so I’m not prepared to second-guess the initial decision to fire.

    But…did the cop unleash a string of 16 shots to neutralize the threat, or were a few shots fired, dropping the target, and then a subsequent ‘execution’ string of fire unleashed?

    The jury is going to have a tough time with this. Innocent or guilty, they will have the BLM shadow looming over them.

    • >But…did the cop unleash a string of 16 shots to neutralize the threat, or were a few shots fired, dropping the target, and then a subsequent ‘execution’ string of fire unleashed?

      I agree that this is the real question at issue.

  34. Memetics is driving new cultural and political attitudes which are rapidly changing the social landscape and may have played a role in this incident. In particular, mass media now promotes victimology whenever possible because it sells very well, and the flip side is that police have a growing sense of paranoia about being second-guessed. As a result, many police departments are now having difficulty recruiting good people.

    That said, this type of incident is not that rare. Under the right set of circumstances, some police will react primally and pull the trigger until the magazine is empty. This is ancestral brain wiring and not easily overridden by training.

    • >That said, this type of incident is not that rare. Under the right set of circumstances, some police will react primally and pull the trigger until the magazine is empty. This is ancestral brain wiring and not easily overridden by training.

      Everything you say here is correct. But it’s only an explanation, not an excuse.

      It was precisely Van Dyke’s responsibility not to let his hindbrain run him. He failed it.

  35. “many police departments are now having difficulty recruiting good people.”

    I sure as hell wouldn’t go to work as a cop in today’s environment.

  36. From the video I could not say if the target was spun around by the first shot or if he spun to charge or just turned around fast to mouth off. Reasonable doubt. I don’t especially care that the cop who shot the guy used 16 shots and tried for more- people in fights get excited. Wiggle a finger sixteen times- doesn’t take long, does it? No big deal. Police blotters are full of morally hosed swearing contests.

    It is a HUGE deal if the cops are busted for fixing the evidence. Every cop who is proved to have fixed evidence must be fired, no pension, try for some jail. Every cop suspected of fixing evidence should be eased out. Fights are always random and messy. Cops will always be strongly tempted to lie. We must provide strong incentives against this strong temptation.

  37. My concern with the original shots is simply that there doesn’t seem to be a point when he suddenly became more threatening. He was walking along and didn’t seem to turn toward the officers.

    It is all too easy to armchair qb this thing, and if the guy had twitched in my direction, I would have shot too. But I am not entirely sure what prompted the guy from having him in his sights and actually pulling the trigger.

    But just to be clear, the kid was probably one second away from knife in the cop’s chest. So that is a hell of a short time to make a decision and ensure that he is fully down.

    Tough call on the continued shooting though. A cop should have been more disciplined to be able to stop, but that is easy to say when you can slow mo the video and don’t have a pound of adrenaline running through your veins.

    BTW, the Chicago Tribune also said that the kid was high on PCP.

    I think you can tell a lot about a supposed social injustice by the types of examples people are throwing up. Where are the examples of decent, law abiding black people being taken down like Bambi in the forest It is always dreadful thugs, punks and the scum of the earth who are getting shot.

    How about this: instead of trying to fix the supposedly discriminatory police to prevent oneself from getting shot, how about not being a punk to prevent yourself from getting shot? I always worked for me.

    I also want to say that Chicago cops are horrible. Just the worst I have ever encountered. I clearly remember seeing a couple of cops arresting a guy for, to quote the cops: “you think you can get away with disrespecting me?”

  38. “…It was precisely Van Dyke’s responsibility not to let his hindbrain run him. He failed it.”

    Perhaps. What is the lethal force training doctrine of the Chicago PD? Dump and reload? You fight as you train.

    My training doctrine has always been “deliver fire until threat is neutralized”. That necessitates a feedback loop that allows you to break the string of fire when, frex, you register seeing the target collapse. There is a response delay even with that, however, so it is not indefensible to continue shooting someone when they’re [going] down…a few times. Even then, the weapon is a factor. If I see the target go down with a gun in hand, I keep firing until I see that weapon fall free or the weapon arm laying still. No perfect template.

    I need to be able to look into my own heart, and perhaps explain to a jury, and be confident that I only used deadly force until I was as certain as I can be that the threat was over.

    And, as you say, this is the central question for this incident. Did the use of deadly force extend into the criminal realm?

    • >Perhaps. What is the lethal force training doctrine of the Chicago PD? Dump and reload? You fight as you train.

      I am not excluding the possibility that Van Dyke’s training was faulty. It is quite reasonable to suspect this. Still, the flip side of “you fight as your train” is that you are not simply a robot executing your training. Van Dyke was paid to exercise humane judgment, and (on the evidence) did not.

  39. I also want to say that Chicago cops are horrible. Just the worst I have ever encountered. I clearly remember seeing a couple of cops arresting a guy for, to quote the cops: “you think you can get away with disrespecting me?”

    It’s called “contempt of cop”; though that’s not an actual offense and judges will laugh the cops out of court for bringing someone in for merely “disrespecting” them, officers will arrest you for “resisting arrest”, “disorderly conduct”, “disturbing the peace”, or similar. They will also testilie on the stand to paint a nice pretty picture of you as a criminal and themselves as feeling legitimately threatened and nine times out of ten the jury will believe the cops. And it happens all across this great nation of ours.

    Near as I can tell it’s virtually unheard of in continental Europe.

    As simply being arrested has severe consequences, may limit your job prospects, and requires thousands of dollars to pay for a lawyer to get expunged, a good rule of thumb is: if you’re fortunate enough to live in the land of the free and must interact with LEOs, shut the fuck up and do as you’re told. And be respectful.

  40. @Jeff – it also explains the rise in ‘sousveillance’, especially now that so many folks have the ability to live stream from their mobile device.

  41. Chicago has a homicide rate of 15 per 100.000 per year. To give a rough idea of what this number means, the nationwide rate for the US is ~4.5. Most Western countries such as France, Denmark and Switzerland are close to 1.0, and the highly developed Asian nations such as Japan, Korea and Singapore have homicide rates of about 0.3.

    Since it’s somewhat unfair to compare a city to countries, some quick city-specific numbers are: New York 5.6 – Toronto 1.5 – Madrid 1.0 – Tokyo 0.4 .

    So when Chicago cops seem a bit paramilitary, it might have something to do with Chicago’s homicide rate being more typical of Africa than peaceful civilization.

    • >So when Chicago cops seem a bit paramilitary, it might have something to do with Chicago’s homicide rate being more typical of Africa than peaceful civilization.

      Recalls a point I have made several times on this blog, that criminologically the U.S. is divided into Switzerland and Swaziland. Or, more precisely, mostly one big Switzerland – white, very low crime rates – and a bunch of Swaziland-like enclaves, mostly black, with very high crime rates. Chicago is one of the Swazilands.

  42. @ ESR – “it’s only an explanation, not an excuse.”

    Agreed. My point was that the hard Left turn in society over the past few years has consequences; one of which is that its getting harder to recruit for quality in LEOs. Society’s deterioration is everyone’s loss.

    Also, this story feeds the vicious cycle of political gamesmanship leading toward more victimology and dysfunctional law enforcement.

  43. “Near as I can tell it’s virtually unheard of in continental Europe.”

    If you want Europe, Jeff, you know where to find it.

    “if you’re fortunate enough to live in the land of the free and must interact with LEOs, shut the fuck up and do as you’re told. And be respectful.”

    This is the first sensible thing you’ve said in a long time.

    Now, painu vittuun!

  44. >U.S. is divided into Switzerland and Swaziland (…)

    This blog was part of my inspiration for becoming fluent in homicide numbers. Conventional wisdom where I’m from is that Americans kill each other a lot because they have a lot of guns – a somewhat plausible explanation at the face of it, for someone entirely unfamiliar with gun culture, but one that doesn’t survive contact with the actual numbers.

    For the unconvinced, I encourage you to look into the homicide rates of Iceland and Greenland.

  45. I stumbled across this today and have several comments.

    First, backup with tasers was called for. The people calling for the backup were told backup was on the way but not if the backup actually had tasers. In fact reporters now aren’t even clear if the backup had tasers.

    Second, to the moron who suggested tranquilizer darts. Do you have any idea what PCP is? Yes it is an animal tranquilizer. It used to be used a loton horses, I don’t know if it still is. So you want to pump more into him?

    Third. PCP is nasty stuff. I didn’t know people still took it. Back when they did I remember seeing some videos of guys strapped down on it. They would tear out the straps. If they lived later doctors would find shredded tendons, demolished muscles and even broken bones. The guys just don’t feel it and don’t have the awareness to stop.

    Fourth, every news source I have seen is reporting PCP in his system. Perhaps that was a preliminary tox screen and not comprehensive. Like I said, I don’t know that people used it anymore so I guess it is not high on priorities.

    Fifth, listening to SA Alverez’s press conference yesterday, the cops were called because MacDonald was trying to break into houses. While they were getting to that final scene, he slashed a tire on a cop car. So going into it, the cops already had to believe the guy was wild.

    Sixth, The most ironic thing. If one of the first few bullets was fatal — the bullets that were justified, then the worst thing the cop is guilty of illegallty discharging his weapon. and possibly shooting a corpse. More to the point if there is any indication that a bullet fired justifiably might have killed MacDonald, then the cop must be found not guilty. It’s called reasonable doubt.

    • >Fourth, every news source I have seen is reporting PCP in his system.

      And he was acting like it.

      A detail I forgot to mention about the knife brandishing: even in poor-quality video you can tell that McDonald’s fine motor control was compromised. He made a big, crazy motion because his capacity to perform small ones was impaired.

      This is one of the tells that you may well be dealing with someone dusted, or on bath salts, or on meth. Black trash in the city raises the prior on PCP somewhat; correspondingly, white trash in a rural area would raise the prior on meth.

      >Fifth, listening to SA Alverez’s press conference yesterday, the cops were called because MacDonald was trying to break into houses. While they were getting to that final scene, he slashed a tire on a cop car. So going into it, the cops already had to believe the guy was wild.

      Ah. I didn’t know this. That’s good; it reduces the odds that there will be an effort to outright canonize him a la Saint Trayvon of the Skittles. Also it’s a bit too early for Democrats to use his death as agitprop for the 2016 elections, so the media might actually report the story halfway honestly (but I’m not holding my breath).

  46. Is there a legal or moral difference between unnecessary additional shots that are fired without real thought under the influence of fear and adrenalin, and “execution shots” which implies calculation and intent? If not, isn’t it rather dangerous for anyone who use a gun to defend himself or someone else, when no one really knows how he will react under the influence of fear and adrenalin in an unfamiliar situation.

    • >Is there a legal or moral difference between unnecessary additional shots that are fired without real thought under the influence of fear and adrenalin, and “execution shots” which implies calculation and intent?

      In most jurisdictions, “additional shots that are fired without real thought under the influence of fear and adrenalin” would be negligent homicide or manslaughter. In relatively enlightened states (generally those with looser gun laws), successfully pleading imminent fear of death or grievous bodily harm can get you off that hook.

      Supposing “calculation and intent” but without premeditation would usually be murder in the second degree; premeditation (Van Dyke specifically looking for McDonald to kill him) or certain kinds of aggravating circumstance such as killing during the commission of (another) felony jack it up to first degree.

      These are generalities; there are various state-level exceptions, and the distinctions made in Illinois law are slightly unusual, though not enough so to be startling.

  47. mdc: In this case, the difference would be the difference between some lesser offense and first degree murder, under Illinois law.

  48. I think you can tell a lot about a supposed social injustice by the types of examples people are throwing up. Where are the examples of decent, law abiding black people being taken down like Bambi in the forest It is always dreadful thugs, punks and the scum of the earth who are getting shot.

    The post in slatestarcodex called “the toxoplasma of rage” argues that there’s a positive incentive leading people with an ideological agenda to overlook open-and-shut cases and focus on questionable ones. And by the standard he describes, this is a perfect candidate: it’s an edge case where an apparently dangerous and deranged person is subjected to apparently unnecessary degree of lethal force. It’s an opportunity to signal tribal membership by showing unambiguous and emphatic support of a weak position that favors the tribe, and since popular opinion will split on the case, there will be enough attention-getting debate to lend relevance to whatever opinion one might
    display.

    Yeah, I’m just glad I’m not on the jury for this one. I hate being forced to display 100% confidence in a 51% choice.

  49. I am a military trained medical laboratory technician. Please read the last page of the coroners report. The deceased was not under the influence of the three drugs tested.

    However, I don’t think that actually matters. His behavior was that of someone who could be dangerous, and he was far too close to allow time to figure that out. As you said, up to the first two shots, clearly a good shoot.

  50. I did my residency in Houston and spent some time at Ben Taub, our public hospital.

    Was in the ER when the cops and EMS brought in a man who was on PCP. Story was he began to assault his girlfriend in the apartment and she ran out and locked herself in the car. He proceeded to jump on the hood and beat on the windshield with his fists until they failed him. He then began to use his face.

    Showed up handcuffed with his hands behind his back and tied to the backboard with duct tape. He is screaming like an animal, spraying blood mist everywhere (this was due to a completely deformed nose and Laforte 3 fracture of his face). No way to start an IV, and this was before the more common use of intraosseous lines. Finally gave him an IM injection of succinylcholine and did an emergency trach.

    Took him to CT and found the Laforte along with a subdural hematoma. Took him to the OR. Evacuated the hematoma and plated the facial fractures. Turns out the reason that he stopped using his fists on the glass was that they were little more than bags of bone fragments. Both his forearms were fractured as well.

    I bought my first handgun the following weekend.

    Anyone who thinks a taser, a blow gun or net is a viable option is an idiot. I don’t know if the last 10 shots were necessary, but the first 5 or 6 probably sealed his fate anyway. Wave a knife at a cop, buy a bullet, you know, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I know the taxpayers of Houston shelled out seven figures in “free” medical care. At least the citizens of Chiraq saved some for the producer class.

  51. I did my paramedic clinical rotations at the Tub (Ben Taub). Got chewed out, impersonally, by Red Duke for not using a big enough IV one time. The Tub is not just Houston’s public hospital; it’s one of two Level I trauma centers in the area. (Or at least it was when I was in EMS.) If you’re in a world of hurt, with serious injuries and trying very hard to die, you want to go there. Even if the patient wards are often full of the indigent with all of the medical problems they tend to have, you’ll get some of the best trauma care on the planet in the Tub’s ER.

    jfre’s story is entirely believable, and par for the course there.

  52. @jfre: Here in Poland in ER (according to what my sister, M.D. told me) they use quite generic detox injection if there is suspicion of drug use. But I don’t think there is much PCP use in Toru?, Poland…

  53. @ jfre – “I bought my first handgun the following weekend.”

    FWIW, modeling suggests that personal risk will increase significantly as a result of numerous adverse trends that are currently established and accelerating. Take the class and get your concealed carry license also. And then practice. And then carry often.

  54. > Please read the last page of the coroners report. The deceased was not under the influence of the three drugs tested.

    None of which were PCP. Either there’s another tox report out there, or the mainstream media has been deeply irresponsible in reporting this.

  55. > My concern with the original shots is simply that there doesn’t seem to be a point when he suddenly became more threatening. He was walking along and didn’t seem to turn toward the officers.

    I almost didn’t see it, and I’m still less sure than ESR, but there’s a very slight movement, right before he gets shot, that could have been him turning towards the cops. The gap between that movement and the shots seems narrow enough that it could have been that the cop was “waiting for an excuse”, and that may be the underlying basis for the first degree charge – to ask the Jury to make that analysis and determine it one way or the other.

    • >The gap between that movement and the shots seems narrow enough that it could have been that the cop was “waiting for an excuse”, and that may be the underlying basis for the first degree charge – to ask the Jury to make that analysis and determine it one way or the other.

      I almost completely agree with this.

      My disagreement is that I think “waiting for an excuse” may be unfair – probably is. “Waiting to be triggered” would probably be better.

      I know from hand-to-hand and blade combat that one of the things you do in your mind is anticipate the opponent’s moves and pre-buffer responses in your head because you know that if particular trigger points are reached you’ll need to react faster than a conscious decision loop allows.

      Here’s what I think I saw: Van Dyke preparing himself with the instructions “If he turns to charge I’ll shoot (but not otherwise).” McDonald, not knowing this, begins to turn towards the cops, either to charge them or to talk. Van Dyke is so adrenalized and primed that he sees the first few degrees of the turn and fires.

      In this scenario, whether Van Dyke “intended” to shoot McDonald is an interesting definitional question. I think what he intended was to respond correctly according to his training – which he in fact continued to do until two bullets later.

  56. @Jakub: There are specific antagonists available for certain drug categories like naloxone for opioids or flumazenil for Valium like drugs. Meth, ketamine, PCP, lots of others there really isn’t a reversal. For most, it is supportive care while they metabolize it out. Anti psychotics like haldol can help take the edge off as well.

    The issue with the dude on PCP was with the facial fracture we had few non-surgical options for controlling the airway. With him thrashing around flinging blood all over, intravenous access with a central line was also problematic. The IM sux and a trach was the most expedient course.

    @jay: The Tub is still level 1 and the place to go if you are trying to die from trauma. Have not been there in 2 decades but I am sure the clientèle has not changed.

    As to the 7 yard rule, skip to the 7 minute mark of the video below to see what happens when an officer with a rifle (with 3 other officers on the scene) lets a skinny dude with a knife get too close. You may ask what is magic about 21 feet, but watch how fast the officer is killed.

  57. @TomA: Got the concealed carry. Range time twice a month at least, 200 – 300 rounds. Carry everywhere it is legal to do so all the time. Rifle in the backseat of the pickup and an XD45 in the cab. I agree with the trends. The US is getting poorer as a country. Average income is $40k per year and inflation is running at 10% per annum. We have a president who is a divider and pits class against class, group against group. All it would take to kick it all off would be for the EBT cards to not work for 3 days.

    Look at Americans today. Fat, tatooed and vulgar. Compare that to the Americans in the bread lines during the great depression. They wore suits. They stood in line. They were humble. We have an entire generation of 350lb grain fed beauties that have never gone to bed hungry in decades. If for whatever reason the food stops being delivered to Kroger or Walmart or the Stop and Rob on the corner we are going to have an entire segment of the population that are going to do whatever it takes to stuff their faces. We have entire segments of the population that believe balls to bones that they are ENTITLED to the work of others and if you don’t cough it up they will take it. The fourth turning is upon us.

  58. FWIW. I think the video @jfre posts pretty much seals the deal on the question as to whether the cop had justification for fearing for his life.

  59. “OK…now you’re just being ad absurdum ridiculous. You’re beclowning yourself.”

    No, the people who are beclowning themselves are the ones who believe there’s some “rule” that specifies a distance (not just a distance, but a very specific distance — 21 feet, forsooth) at which it automatically becomes proper to shoot someone.

    In fact, you’re justified in using deadly force at any distance if you (or another person) are legitimately in danger, and not justified in using it at any distance if you’re not. Who decides whether you’re in real danger? You and perhaps a jury. That’s it. You can’t just apply some nonsensical “rule”.

    To the extent that the “rule” is used as a substitute for thinking the situation through, it is pernicious bullshit. If you rely on the “rule” at all, you’re very likely to find yourself up on charges. I mean, when even the guy who came up with it says it was never intended to be used in this way, what more can you say?

    I would strongly recommend not following any advice from whoever it was who taught you people this “rule”.

  60. Sorry for the slightly off-topic post, but so you know, it’s pretty tough viewing embedded videos here such as @jfre ‘s on a mobile device; much of the right-hand side gets cut off. As I check what youtube offers as embed code when asked to share on a direct link, I see it’s a fixed-width iframe by default. May I thus recommend the jquery auto-resize code-snippet half-way down this handy page: https://css-tricks.com/NetMag/FluidWidthVideo/Article-FluidWidthVideo.php

  61. >>”Or can’t they shoot straight enough to hit someone from that far?”

    It’s easy to hit a target from 7 yards. It’s also surprisingly easy to miss. And that’s a stationary paper target. Seen a lot of cops and military guys do it. Add in a living, moving, obviously aggressive human being and your own physical reactions to the situation…and all that Hollywood shit goes right out the window.

    Agree with esr that this was initially a clean shoot.

  62. Eric, speaking from Southern White Trash Central, when bath salts were legal (or semi-legal), they were almost as universal as meth. Now they are unambiguously illegal in Florida, but still common.
    And meth? Starting to fade as “rx heroin” (OxyContin, Percocet, etc) becomes even more common. These drugs are now being smuggled in, just like coke in the old days.

  63. @Jessica Boxer
    “I think you can tell a lot about a supposed social injustice by the types of examples people are throwing up. Where are the examples of decent, law abiding black people being taken down like Bambi in the forest It is always dreadful thugs, punks and the scum of the earth who are getting shot.”

    Maybe Walter Scott comes close? The victim was 50 and his latest conviction seems to have been in 1991.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Walter_Scott

    Note that without an eyewitness recording the incident on video, the police officer and his partner would have had it covered up without questions.

    An eyewitness to the shooting, Feidin Santana, recorded video of the incident on his phone. At first Santana did not share the video out of fear of retribution, but he was angered when the police report differed from his view of the events. In an interview on MSNBC, Santana said, “I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else.”The video was subsequently shared with Scott’s family through an activist of Black Lives Matter, and later with the news media.

  64. @Doctor Locketopus

    I don’t think the videos that original pushed the 21-foot rule convincingly establish it, but it’s usefulness can be made into precise, testable statements. Its a strawman to say that its about getting to shoot anybody within a 21-foot radius.

    Perhaps you should contact the authors of https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=175597 if you believe that its bullshit.

    Also in the Estate of Larsen v. Denver the 21-foot rule was mentioned in a decision about use of force: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-10th-circuit/1089927.html

    This article of Borelli, 2001 suggests that 21-foot rule is too close: https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/abstractdb/AbstractDBDetails.aspx?id=203269 where a motivated perpetrator could cover 32 feet in 2.5 seconds.

    As long as there is pattern to the distance a perpetrator brandishing a weapon can cover in 2 seconds there can be meaningful distance-based guidelines that allow one to assess threats. Is that charge that its bullshit that you can’t test this? What am I missing?

    @Random832

    A toxicology report came out two weeks ago which indicated that Laquan had PCP in his system, this was reported in the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-police-shooting-16-shots-met-20150414-story.html
    The March 31 report tested him for cocaine, heroin and alcohol all of which came back negative. I don’t think anybody is claiming that he had any of those three substances in his body.

  65. @Jay Maynard
    ““Near as I can tell it’s virtually unheard of in continental Europe.”

    If you want Europe, Jeff, you know where to find it.”

    Does that mean you think it is right for cops to arrest people for “disrespect” and lie in court?

    And how do you square the fact that Free Speech is not allowed when interacting with cops with Libertarianism?

  66. > The post in slatestarcodex called “the toxoplasma of rage” argues that there’s a positive incentive leading people with an ideological agenda to overlook open-and-shut cases and focus on questionable ones.

    I see its point, but I think that just raises more questions and arguably *worse* implications.

    Originally, the coverage focus on Thuggy Thuggersons getting shot in near-edge-of-justifiable circumstances seemed to imply that there aren’t any definite innocent blacks being shot definitely unjustifiably, and the media is scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for black victims that they think have got to be there somewhere. In this explanation they’re merely deluded, and reaching.

    The toxoplasma of rage explanation, to the degree it’s applied instead, appears to imply one of ESR’s prospiracies that 1) has virtually the entire mainstream media signed on to it, 2) has an ideological agenda of deliberately ignoring actual murders of innocents in favor of 3) stoking resentment and racial hatred while 4) running interference for thugs. All with a degree of repetition, persistence, wilfulness, etc. where mass jailing of journalists as a class starts to look justifiable. Initial draft of charges: negligence, misfeasance, incitement, libel, fabrication of evidence, and perverting the course of justice for the central perps; accessory to all the above for their managers, editors, etc.

    I’m not saying this toxoplasma explanation is necessarily wrong for that reason, and I realize that argumentum ad consequentiam is a fallacy, but I think there’s a fine line between that and reductio ad absurdum.

  67. @Erik
    “I see its point, but I think that just raises more questions and arguably *worse* implications.”

    Maybe a better explanation is that the readers of the media have reached a point that they do not like so many (black) men being killed by the police. And these readers have also reached the point that they do not buy the “blaming the victim” approach taken by the police. An approach also taken here. The work of the police is to ensure order, not to look for excuses to use force and violence. Finding excuses to shoot are, by the way, a theme in many of the comments I read.

    In this Laquan McDonald case, it is clear that the killing was not necessary in any way. As was the case in many other incidents, e.g., Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Jonathan Sanders, Brenden Glenn, Walter Scott etc.. Then it is valid to demand that the police works to prevent such unnecessary deaths. And they must be seen to really work to prevent such deaths.

    The most worrisome aspect is that the immediate response is to require more body cams. This shows a complete and utter distrust of police officers. The despicable behavior of the Ferguson police force in legal extortion of the population shows that this distrust is often well earned.

    So, instead of shooting the messenger, the police should work on earning the trust of the population again.

    • >In this Laquan McDonald case, it is clear that the killing was not necessary in any way.

      Actually, that’s not at all clear. There’s a sharp contrast between this and the murder of (for example) Eric Garner, another black man who really was killed unnecessarily and tyrannically; I condemned it in the strongest terms at the time it became public.

      Lacquan McDonald was a knife-brandishing, drugged-up maniac just coming off a burglary spree. The first bullets, which might have killed him and quite possibly did kill him, were quite justified. It was Van Dyke’s failure to stop and assess before unnecessary additional lethal force that opens him up to a murder charge.

  68. Re tasers, tear gas and suchlike, surely their primary purpose is not pain or even discomfort, but rather the disabling of motor or sensory systems, thus rendering the offender harmless, regardless of whether they feel pain or not.

    A robot could be disabled by a taser.

  69. What if the police are the bad guys, as in the UK when the police pursued an innocent Brazilian tourist, pinned him to the ground, then shot him to death before seeking any evidence of wrongdoing?

  70. Winter, I’m not defending the American police. I’m questioning the toxoplasma explanation of this alleged phenomenon:

    I think you can tell a lot about a supposed social injustice by the types of examples people are throwing up. Where are the examples of decent, law abiding black people being taken down like Bambi in the forest It is always dreadful thugs, punks and the scum of the earth who are getting shot.

    The default inference I’d make from such a phenomenon goes something like this: The types of examples of wrongful police homicide thrown up are the most unjustified ones and still exist on the border near justification, indicating that for the most part the police are doing a decent job of only shooting people who needed shooting. (While still possibly misbehaving in various less obvious, non-shooty ways.) The Laquan McDonald cases of the world are selected for being several standard deviations out from the average on a scale of “did not need shooting”, and it was still reasonable to shoot them the first X times but not the next Y times. Thus, the average person shot by the police really did need shooting.

    The toxoplasma inference goes something like this: The Laquan McDonald cases of the world are selected for being near the border of what’s justified, not for being less justified than average. The average person who gets shot by the police in this explanation is somewhere much closer to Laquan McDonald. The police are also shooting people several standard deviations further in the direction of “did not need shooting”.

    To quote Eric:

    Those cops were facing an angel-dusted thug brandishing a weapon; that was pretty much bound to end badly

    “He dindu nuffin” (didn’t do nothing) is a nasty joke and a propaganda victory for right-wingers precisely because of cases like this; the “dindu nuffins” of the world keep turning out to be angel-dusted thugs brandishing weapons or something of that order. The toxoplasma explanation of this implies that the media is deliberately, systematically, massively ignoring people who actually didn’t do anything in favor of reporting on angel-dusted thugs, painting the latter as pure innocent victims and secular martyrs, and inciting riots and racial grievances on false premises.

    That’s a massive accusation to level at the media, and I wonder if the slatestarcodex set are willing to bite the bullet.

    Your example of Walter Scott, OTOH, disputes the alleged phenomenon rather than the explanation, so I don’t think I have a quarrel with you.

    The most worrisome aspect is that the immediate response is to require more body cams. This shows a complete and utter distrust of police officers. The despicable behavior of the Ferguson police force in legal extortion of the population shows that this distrust is often well earned.

    Cynicism time: body cams might end up making it worse, according to Greg Ellifritz, who suggests that the police response to sousveillance will be mass dereliction of duty.

  71. “the police response to sousveillance will be mass dereliction of duty.”

    Remember that the legal duty of the police, according to the courts, is not to stop crime as it happens. It’s to catch criminals and make sure they are prosecuted. That cop stopping to be helpful? Not in his job description, according to the courts.

    Remember that cops have no duty to respond to individual calls.

    Dereliction of duty? No, rational response to an increasing and unreasonably hostile working environment.

  72. @esr
    “The first bullets, which might have killed him and quite possibly did kill him, were quite justified.”

    The first shots were justified given the circumstances (if the reports are correct), but I think there can be a long debate about whether the application of police force can be tailored to make shooting less necessary and when it is applied, less deadly. Then there will also be a long debate about the deadliness of these first shots. But this force could have been applied less deadly anyway (e.g., by better training, different gear). As it looks now, MacDonald would not have had to die and his death was unnecessary.

  73. Thus, the average person shot by the police really did need shooting.

    Look at how many people are shot by police annually in the USA. Now look at say, Germany, which used 85 rounds total, nationwide, in 2011. Germany’s crime numbers are lower than the USA’s, but not that much lower. The best conclusion that I can reach is that American cops are shooting lots of people who don’t need shooting. German cops manage to apprehend criminals with a minimum of gunfire.

    And no, “if you want Europe, you know where to find it” is not a valid counter-argument. The USA used to be an exemplar for the world in terms of freedom and human rights. I’d like to see those days return. Plus the USA is the most powerful nation on earth; if it goes much further down the road of tyranny, it spells doom for everybody. And, 300 million people would benefit from improved conditions here.

  74. How did you fail the reach the conclusion that the ‘work environment’ for the police is fundamentally different in cities like St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans, than anything which exists anywhere in Germany? Do you suggest that German style policing would bring about German style rates of homicide in a city like Detroit?

  75. @ Erik re: the SSC toxoplasma of rage blog discussion

    Fundamentals matter. As ESR has already mentioned, police operating in the sociological high crime environment of Chicago have adapted to the realities that they confront daily and consequently absorbed and internalized what can best be described as “street wisdom.” Spend a few years doing that job and you will be a changed person as well. It’s human nature to adapt in a high stress environment, and we are wired to look for and recognize risk patterns, and then behave in a way that minimizes that risk. A young black man acting erratically and wielding a knife on the street in Chicago is a distinct threat pattern. This reality is not diminished by liberal platitudes about abstract social equality.

    Over the past 60 years, the US social/political welfare experiment has grown these high crime enclaves within liberal governed urban areas. Blaming cops for adapting to these environments is backwards. We should be blaming the politicians that destroyed the black family structure leading to the creation of these environments.

  76. > That’s a massive accusation to level at the media, and I wonder if the slatestarcodex set are willing to bite the bullet.

    I’m not sure you quite understand the toxoplasma explanation fully; your take on it is sufficient to explain what we see, but not necessary.

    My read on the toxoplasma model goes more like this:

    Local news outlets report on local news stories all the time. To stay topical, let’s consider the case of police shootings, and suppose for the sake of simplicity that they fall into two categories: Type M, where the evidence on whether it was just is juuuust ambiguous enough to allow people to attempt to jam the case into their preexisting worldviews, correctly or not, and Type G, where it was clearly an unjust killing.

    When local news outlets report on a Type G, everyone more or less agrees that it was terrible. Follow-up stories are likely to be met with a weary sigh of “are we still talking about this, we all pretty much agree it was bad;” news media who live and die by advertising revenue thus have a strong incentive to let the story fizzle out.

    Meanwhile, when they report on a Type M, arguments break out. Nobody is interested in dispassionately figuring out what the truth is; for the most part, everyone just wants the story to support their own personal model of how the world works, and by ghod they’re gonna make it do so. Someone shares the story on their MyFace+ page, a friend (soon to be former friend) argues that their read on the story is wrong, and things spread and balkanize from there. News media (not just local anymore), who live and die by advertising revenue, thus have a strong incentive to start the “Five Reasons Why You [Should/Should Not] Be Outraged” and “This One Weird Trick Will Let You Win Arguments Over The M Case With Your Dumb Relatives” parades to attract one of the clans like flies to shit.

    The only time a Type G will rise to prominence will be in the aftermath of a Type M as additional fuel. It will be posted, at least initially, targeted toward one of the two clans in a “see, you were right all along” sort of way.

    No conspiracy or even prospiracy among the media is required, just self-interest and a willingness to follow monetary incentive gradients. Of course, that does not exclude the possibility of such; as our host likes to say, all interesting behavior is overdetermined.

  77. @Winter “In this Laquan McDonald case, it is clear that the killing was not necessary in any way”

    The dude is on PCP, stabbed a police car tire and now is brandishing a knife at officers in a public space. What exactly should they have used? Harsh language?

    You see from the videos above how deadly a knife can be and how quickly it can be brought to bear. What is the “correct” approach you endorse? Please explain.

  78. @Geoffrey

    Theoretically it is imaginable to develop weapons/tools that neutralize effectively without killing. My idea would be some kind of a remote and instant way to block the motor nervous system (but without suffocating the suspect). A real world Hold Person spell. Such technologies simply don’t exist yet. When they exist and when they are affordable, come back to ask the same question. I am not a gun expert, there are multiple gun experts in this thread, but my layman guesstimate is that the purpose of handguns is to effectively and instantly block the motor nervous system through a complicated chain of causality, like, hydrostatic shock? This is called “stopping power” ? The goal of self-defense or stopping is to fuck up the motor nervous system temporarily. Injury, permanent fuck-up, disability and death are side-effects of the currently most efficient way of doing so, i.e. the bullet. I am a tech-optimist, surely one day someone invents something that has the stopping power of a 9mm but the lethality of an ass slap, most probably by acting on the motor nerves directly. But that day is not today.

  79. Do you suggest that German style policing would bring about German style rates of homicide in a city like Detroit?

    American cops are trained to be paranoid and treat everyone as a potential threat. That breeds disrespect for the police and hence the law among the populace, who know they will be treated like criminals anyway, leading to an increase in crime, leading to police being trained to be even more aggressive and paranoid while on duty, etc.

    When we liberals speak of a “cycle of violence”, we’re not just blowing smoke up your ass. It’s a problem that requires a solution. They’re not going to de-escalate in the ghetto. It’s up to police to take the lead in de-escalation by finding ways to maximize LE effectiveness and minimize bloodshed.

  80. Germany’s crime numbers are lower than the USA’s, but not that much lower.

    They’re a lot lower than Chicago’s, St Louis’s, or Baltimore’s.

    The best conclusion that I can reach is that American cops are shooting lots of people who don’t need shooting.

    Or that German cops are not shooting lots of people who do need it. Shooting someone who needs it is a good thing, not a bad one. It makes the world a better place.

  81. That’s … interesting. Do you believe that the astonishing homicide rates in South Africa (31.0) and Jamaica (39.3) have similar explanations?

  82. @winter
    > And the officer involved had a history of complains.

    And that is relevant exactly why? If people have complained about you as a cop, you somehow are now no longer allowed to defend yourself? For this officer to be concerned about his safety and that of the other cops was entirely justified given the circumstances. I am a little dubious on the step from “duly concerned” to “pulling a trigger”, but that is way too easy for me to say sitting in my nice comfortable chair.

    And a couple of other things. Firstly, the fact that this kid was apparently attempting burglaries just further emphasizes how important it was for the cops to stop him. If he is breaking and entering people’s houses in that pcp-ed state there is a very realistic chance of entirely innocent people being murdered in their beds.

    Secondly, it needs to be said that the death of this young man, while tragic in one respect probably as a whole made the world a better place. Most likely he would go on to a life of serious crime and in all probability his death here means that there are several people he would have killed in the future who won’t die. Not that that is a justification for killing him of course, but let’s not pretend the world is a worse place without him.

    And thirdly, the call for Jeff Read to go to Europe — love it or leave it — is one which I totally repudiate. Thank god George Washington, or Martin Luther King, or Harriet Tubman didn’t leave it because they didn’t love it. If you love it despite its imperfections, then change it, and make it better.

  83. @Jessica
    “And that is relevant exactly why? If people have complained about you as a cop, you somehow are now no longer allowed to defend yourself? ”

    No, it shows two things:
    1) the officer had a problem with anger control

    2) his superiors are not handling issues of violence among their ranks

    In this case, the negligence of the force leadership in controlling the behavior of their ranks could well be responsible for placing a man that was unfit for his task in a dangerous situation.

    It is also clear from the behavior (and lies) of the partners of the perpetrators in many of the incidents that the blue ommerta keeps people in the force that are a danger to the public.

    I think Van Dyke was probably unfit for his task. I blame the police management for keeping him in the force which would have lead to serious incidents at some other time, if it hadn’t this time.

  84. @anonymous
    “That’s … interesting. Do you believe that the astonishing homicide rates in South Africa (31.0) and Jamaica (39.3) have similar explanations?”

    If you want to say that the USA is more like a developing country than like Germany, I think Jeff will not complain.

    Btw, criminals in Germany are much less likely to shoot than those in the USA.

    One reason seems to be that they are less likely to be shot at. Also, there is a real difference in jail time when you are in the possession of a gun or even worse when you use a gun. So it always pays to use less violence. The benefits of using a gun are also much smaller.

  85. @ Winter

    You are attempting to micromanage one police officer in regard to one tragic incident that resulted in one death. You are utterly ignoring the underlying social pathology that is largely responsible for creating this environment and the inevitable collisions that will occur in these cauldrons of dysfunction. If you really want to make a tangible difference, you need to put an end to the political exploitation of urban blacks who are easily seduced into selling their integrity for a cheap election vote. Drug abuse is pain relief from low self respect; and sometimes it get you killed.

  86. @esr:
    “In most jurisdictions, “additional shots that are fired without real thought under the influence of fear and adrenalin” would be negligent homicide or manslaughter.”

    I don’t think that is the case in the UK, which is not exactly known as a self-defence friendly jurisdiction. Provided that the initial decision to use deadly force was justified, it’s not required to precisely judge minimum force needed to incapacitate.

    Now 16 bullets from a handgun probably means reloading at least once which makes a claim of lack of intent harder to sustain. But I am surprised to hear that one must be so precise in use of force in the US.

  87. >Btw, criminals in Germany are much less likely to shoot than those in the USA.

    It’s almost as if Germany has a different -kind- of criminals than the USA. The mind boggles.

  88. > Now 16 bullets from a handgun probably means reloading at least once which makes a claim of lack of intent harder to sustain

    There are handguns with 16+ bullet clips…

  89. From the autopsy report. Numbering is from the report in order of head to feet, not order of shot (which no one will ever know). In reading the report I see 12 non-lethal wounds, 2 life threatening and 2 rapidly fatal. Understand that these findings are mine based on reading the autopsy report.

    A copy of the report is at:
    http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/11/laquana-mcdonald-video-simply-not-dispositive-of-police-misconduct/

    Summary of wounds:
    1. Left Scalp – Did not penetrate the skull. Small sub arachnoid hemorrhage. Non-lethal
    2. Neck – Transected the trachea. The great vessels are in the area and while not mentioned were most likely damaged. This was most likely the kill shot
    3. Left Chest – Did not perforate the chest cavity. Non-lethal
    4. Right Chest – Perforates the right chest and shreds the right middle lobe of the lung. Most likely lethal, but not immediately
    5. Left Elbow – Non-lethal
    6. Right Upper Arm – Non-lethal
    7. Left Forearm – Non-lethal
    8. Right Upper Leg – Perforated the upper leg and pelvic floor. Potentially lethal if it tore up the iliac arteries or bladder. Was not mentioned. If lethal, it was not immediately.
    9. Left upper Back – Did not penetrate the chest cavity. Non-lethal
    10. Left Elbow – Non-lethal
    11. Right Upper Arm – Non-lethal
    12. Right Arm – Non-lethal
    13. Right Forearm – Non-lethal
    14. Right Hand – Non-lethal
    15. Right Lower Back – Into the Sacrum and Abdomen. Certainly life threatening, but probably not lethal with medical attention.
    16. Right Upper Leg – Non-lethal

    Depending on the order of the shots, he could have been down for the count with the first round fired if it was to the neck or chest, or he could have been injured but not incapacitated if all the superficial shots occurred first.

  90. @mdc: The Glock or Springfield XD come standard with 15 round magazines, so you can have 15 in the mag and 1 in the chamber. No reloading necessary. These are common weapons for cops to carry.

  91. >>”When we liberals speak of a “cycle of violence”, we’re not just blowing smoke up your ass.”

    Odd, considering that the previous paragraph reeks of it.

    >>”They’re not going to de-escalate in the ghetto. It’s up to police to take the lead in de-escalation by finding ways to maximize LE effectiveness and minimize bloodshed.”

    This is nonsense when you consider that the majority of violence and murder in certain “communities” don’t involve LE at all.

  92. Typical weekend in Chiraq. These are all shootings, but none by police. Mostly blacks shooting at other blacks, but no #BlackLivesMatter outrage to be seen. Curious..

    Friday 11/20
    12:10p 6300 S Fairfield, Chicago Lawn, F/23
    1:00p 800 N Central, Austin, M/23
    2:15p 11600 S Morgan, West Pullman, M/20
    4:30p 6600 S Claremont, Chicago Lawn, M/20
    7:45p 7000 S Calumet, Grand Crossing, M/24 (FATAL)
    Saturday 11/21
    1:10a 1200 W 71st, Englewood, M/38 (FATAL)
    1:35a 6500 S Maplewood, Chicago Lawn, M/26
    4:15a 3300 W LeMoyne, Humboldt Park, M/20
    10:30a Trolley Violence Leaves One Dead
    3:00p Fire at the John Hancock Center
    8:30p 6200 S Rockwell, Chicago Lawn, M/29 (FATAL)
    Sunday 11/22
    1:15a 1000 N Hamlin, Humboldt Park, F/40
    3:10a 100 W 109th, Roseland, M/24
    12:25p 7900 S Halsted, Auburn Gresham, M/42
    1:25p 4100 W Roosevelt, North Lawndale, M/21
    1:25p 4100 W Roosevelt, North Lawndale, M/22
    1:25p 4100 W Roosevelt, North Lawndale, M/34
    1:25p 4100 W Roosevelt, North Lawndale, F/45
    2:50p 7100 S Morgan, Englewood, M/20 (FATAL)
    5:40p 2900 W 54th, Gage Park, F/19
    7:35p 5400 W Race, Austin, M/35 (FATAL)
    8:00p 4500 W Maypole, Garfield Park, M/36
    8:40p 5700 S Union, Englewood, M/19 (FATAL)

    6 kills and 13 wounded. Obviously need to work on shot placement.

  93. @esr:
    >There really isn’t any reliable answer to a PCP high other than “shoot him”.

    I don’t think this could be reliably done, but just out of curiosity, are there any bones you could break (presumably in the legs or hip area) that would render someone structurally incapable of continuing to stand, regardless of how much they might be overdriving muscles or ignoring pain?

    • >I don’t think this could be reliably done, but just out of curiosity, are there any bones you could break (presumably in the legs or hip area) that would render someone structurally incapable of continuing to stand, regardless of how much they might be overdriving muscles or ignoring pain?

      I can think of several possibilities, but no reliable ones. Hitting bone in the limbs is difficult and chancy; this is exactly why police train for COM (center of mass) shots.

  94. (If you care about fine distinctions, urban black lowlife probably means PCP or bath salts. Rural white trash means meth.)

    I’ve seen a recent report that meth is currently very popular among young blacks in Los Angeles.

  95. > There is no dealing nicely with someone on PCP. All you can do is throw lots of
    > force at them and hope to overpower them.

    This is not entirely true.

    I have a friend (not a FOAF, a guy I routinely spent time with, went drinking with, flew half way across the country to go shooting with etc.) who was a LEO in California.

    He was well known in his department for being The Guy Who Could Deal With PCP heads.

    The thing is you have to get them calm, you have to avoid sending signals of *ANY* aggression, you have to not shine flashlights in their eyes, talk loud to them, or you set them off.

    Now, once you (or anything) sets them off it’s Game On With A Vengeance, and you cannot get them to submit, you have to break shit, or use MASSIVE overwhelming force.

    But the thing is that the very things that work reliably on “straight” folks, or even drunks/stoners/lsd users are UTTERLY contraindicated on PCPers. Establishing control and authority works in almost every other situation, but will backfire on PCP heads.

    My friend was smart, and well trained enough, and is probably a bit of a well adjusted sociopath (BTW Eric, you met both of us @ a geeks with guns thing back in the early 2000s) such that he isn’t nervous about going hands on with someone like that, so he can appear relaxed and is in a head space to control his responses.

    The thing is, he’s in the 2nd standard deviation (or higher) for intelligence, is incredibly well read, and used to train in firearms and hand to hand *extensively* on his own time. Not something you’re going to be able to afford in most police officers, and when you show up on the scene with someone like that you’ve got to act immediately to control the scene. Most cops don’t have the skills–mental, emotional or physical–to do that.

    And no, more training isn’t going to work. Police already have a TON of mandatory training they have to do on top of a rather tough/brutal 24×7 job (most departments rotate their police across around the shifts which is VERY rough on the cops, but you have to have round the clock coverage and the majority of folks don’t want to work the night shift). On top of their shifts and mandatory training they’ve got court dates and etc.

    There’s just not enough time to fit “more” training in, so you’re going to have to bump something. What are you going to bump?

    Sexual Harassment Training?
    Diversity Awareness Training?
    Drug and Alcohol anti-abuse Training?
    Training in new legal/constitutional procedures?
    Weapons and hand to hand training?

    You’re not going to get the first four canceled, and if you further compromise the 5th you make the problem worse.

    • >The thing is you have to get them calm, you have to avoid sending signals of *ANY* aggression, you have to not shine flashlights in their eyes, talk loud to them, or you set them off.

      That is very interesting. I’m not sure I’d want to try it myself – OK, maybe if the perp is unarmed. But it’s a good thing to have in the mental files.

  96. ESR:
    > I am not excluding the possibility that Van Dyke’s training was faulty. It is quite
    > reasonable to suspect this. Still, the flip side of “you fight as your train” is that you
    > are not simply a robot executing your training. Van Dyke was paid to exercise
    > humane judgment, and (on the evidence) did not.

    A police officer dumping 5 or more rounds into someone who’s down and not moving speaks to insufficient firearms training, at least FOR THAT ONE PERSON.

    However the issue isn’t judgement, it’s self-control. He had target fixation. panicked and dumped his mag.

    • >However the issue isn’t judgement, it’s self-control. He had target fixation. panicked and dumped his mag.

      Yes, I think that’s exactly what happened.

  97. We’re seeing a mini-example of “the toxoplasma of rage” right here in this thread. Everyone is arguing over the justifiability of the shooting. Hardly anyone wants to touch the issues of blue omerta and a possible police cover-up, or of the cop getting special treatment compared to what an ordinary private person would be facing if he committed a similar shooting. Because one’s view on using lethal force in self-defense is a big tribal marker, but one’s view on allowing the police special privileges and immunities isn’t.

    • >Because one’s view on using lethal force in self-defense is a big tribal marker, but one’s view on allowing the police special privileges and immunities isn’t.

      I don’t think that’s true. Libertarians are pretty consistent about both issues – and much less willing to grant the police privileges than other tribes. This is actually one of the more reliable ways to sort libertarians from conservatives.

  98. winter
    > I have no experience myself, but I have been told that better training makes for
    > less deadly shootings.

    Better training means the officers feel less threatened because they feel more competent to respond faster and with better response.

    This is going to reduce the *number* of shootings and increase the lethality of what’s left.

    So to if that’s what you meant, then yes.

    However if you think for a second that better training makes *shootings* less deadly…

    > And the officer involved had a history of complains

    Every officer[1] who enforces the law gets “complains”. This goes double for those who enforce laws across race and culture, and triple for black cops who work in black neighborhoods.

    [1] The only exception to this I’m aware of is one traffic officer out in LA County somewhere. All he does is enforce traffic regulations in an (apparently) middle to upper middle class area, and he does it with humor, a smile, and respect for the taxpayer’s he is pulling over. This is utterly different from doing social-service work with a gun and a badge in inner cities.

  99. esr on 2015-11-25 at 11:56:12 said:
    > Doctor Locketopus
    > > The “21 foot rule” stinks of bullshit. It has all the marks (e.g., a suspiciously
    > > over-precise number when clearly both cops and perps are going to vary quite
    > > a lot in their reaction times).

    The may vary a lot, but they do not vary significantly. And no this is not contradictory.

    .1 is a LOT more than .01, but if we’re talking about the margin of error (in inches) at 100 feet it is not a *significant* difference.

    The issue is that there is a certain amount of processing time (OODA Loop) to perceive action is required and decide that action. It is nothing at all to cover 21 feet in less time than it takes to draw and fire, much less fire accurately.

    I’ve DONE this drill in training with airsoft, padded sticks and with people who think you’re a pussy if you DON’T hit them hard, and with people who practice drawing firing.

    With relatively fast people who *know* what is about to happen (not getting caught by surprise) the best that anyone was able to do was to get the shot off at almost contact range, and it was a shot to center mass, not a head shot.

    The “21 foot rule” is bullshit because it should be more like the “30 foot” rule.

    Dan on 2015-11-25 at 11:56:16 said:
    > That understanding should then be used to inform your tactics, posture, focus etc.
    > But it *does not* grant you legal absolution to hit the bang button whenever a
    > person is within that radius.

    Doctor Locketopus
    > > “You’re speaking as someone who has never trained in actual violent self-defense. ”
    > No, I’m speaking as someone who recognizes bullshit when he sees it.

    Really? You’ve taken defensive firearms training?

    > How does this work, anyway?
    > “I got a call for a dine-and-dash at Outback Steakhouse. When I entered, there
    > were dozens of people with big-assed razor-sharp knives in their hands. So you see,
    > Your Honor, I had no choice but to put them all down.”

    Ah, I see, as a purveyor of a certain type of bullshit, you think that you are qualified to judge whether other writing falls into that category.

    Well, you’re wrong.

    Lemme ‘splain how the 21 foot rule plays into things.

    When there is a “use of force” case –either police or civilian[1] there are three tests (at minimum) that must be met. These are “Means”, “Proximity” and “Intent”.

    * Did the purported attacker have the means to severely injure or kill the defender.
    * Was he CLOSE ENOUGH to do so USING THAT MEANS.
    * Was there any evidence of intent to do so.

    What the 21 foot rule establishes is a *minimum* danger close distance. It is something that has been tested over and over and over to show that at 21 feet, even if you’re expecting it, an attacker can get a blade on your person before you can shoot them down. It has been tested legally and has succeeded more than most. It doesn’t mean that you can ignore the other two tests, but it means that the courts have *generally* accepted that against an opponent with a knife that 21 feet or closer is CLEARLY close enough.

    So no, walking into a steakhouse where there are lots of knives present doesn’t give you license to kill someone–but if the diner at the first table stands up with a knife in his hand and says says I’m going to f*king kill you in a threatening voice, well, play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    There are techniques to avoid getting stabbed/beaten, but they aren’t useful in stopping the fight, only in getting out of the way so you don’t get stabbed/beaten while you’re shooting the guy to the ground.

    Now, if you’re in the states and would like to try/test this out, let me know what state you’re in (and what part of some of the reasonably sized states) and I can see if I can point you at some people who might be willing to work on a demonstration for you. No, this is not a threat, unless you’re in my area I’m not going to drive over and beat your ass, I just know a bunch of people who train in this shit, and they might be willing to help spread the love.

  100. ESR:
    > That is very interesting. I’m not sure I’d want to try it myself – OK, maybe if the
    > perp is unarmed. But it’s a good thing to have in the mental files.

    Yeah, the one thing is that he always had significant backup if things went wrong, which tended to make him more willing to try it.

    And he had *no* hesitation about shooting someone who had put themselves in a position to need it (although the only time I know that he did that was in a war zone).

  101. Jakub Narebski on 2015-11-26 at 16:22:37 said:
    > > Now 16 bullets from a handgun probably means reloading at least once which makes a
    > > claim of lack of intent harder to sustain
    > There are handguns with 16+ bullet clips…

    No, there are not. http://www.minutemanreview.com/2008/09/clip-vs-magazine-lesson-in-firearm.html

    There are standard magazines for pistols that exceed 16 rounds. Both the Glock 17 and the Beretta 92 (both of which are on the approved list for Chicago police) have standard magazines that hold 17 rounds. With one in the chamber that’s 18.

    I have 20 round magazines for my Beretta that do not stick out that far. I have 31 round magazines that significant effect the balance and handling of the weapon, but they work well in my CX4 storm.

    No modern pistol uses “clips” nor does it have a shoulder thing that goes up.

    Well, maybe one for rather stretched values of “modern” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendel_Inc.

    These are not “modern”:
    http://www.a-human-right.com/clip-fed-pistols.html

  102. I lived in Chicago as a student during the 1990s, which means I *usually* lived in crap neighborhoods. The amount of abuse that was tolerated in those neighborhoods was insane.

    At least once every 18 months you’d read/hear in the news about some 1 bedroom/studio apartment with 10 or 12 kids, and a handful of adults, feeces everywhere, kids malnourished (or diseased). DCFS would take the kids for a while and because of RACISM they would give the kids back. Foster homes were full of black babies because RACIST whites wouldn’t adopt bla…no, that wasn’t it. Some infertile white couples would have been happy to. No, DCFS/Social Services would rather have black babies finger fucked in foster care than adopt them out to white families who want them and would raise them with white middle class values and standards.

    Because that’s racist or something.

    Note this bit in the article:

    > McDonald, according to the Sun-Times, had a tragic life that included sexual
    > abuse in foster homes and being removed from his family’s home by the state
    > at least twice.

    This sort of crap *fucks kids up*. Getting raped by an adult sucks. Getting raped by an adult the STATE has ordered you to stay with, that’s adding injury to injury.

    That cop may have shot him, but DCFS is what killed him.

  103. “If you love it despite its imperfections, then change it, and make it better.”

    Jessica, the problem is that Jeff doesn’t ove America. He loves Europe. He wants to destroy America as it is and turn it into an extension of Europe.

    There’s already a Europe. There is no other America.

  104. Let’s get this straight.
    Agree with the normative opinion here = “enlightened”.
    Disagree, or put forward any other proposals = “moron” or “idiot”.
    Yet you claim to be rational.

    Perhaps we who don’t live in a country going to hell in a handbasket of its own volition are entitled to be puzzled by your trenchant attitudes.

  105. @Jeff Read

    European cops are not yet fighting a civil war with a hostile ethnic group. This is the major difference. They reason Chicago cops are so mean largely because it is not law enforcement, it is trying to subdue a racial guerilla war by policing means, while it would call for military means. If all the militias – gangs – would be defeated, they could go back to normal policing. The situation in Berlin is simply not so dire yet, in some banlieus of Paris yet, but they approach it differently, instead of fighting the guerillas, they simply don’t go there at all, and just let them terrorize the local population.

    The problem is, the US liberals are absolutely unwilling to admit the fact that a racial guerilla war is going on, and just expect cops to be able to deal with it as if it was normal crime. And, just to be clear, the gang militias are a tiny fraction of the US black population, and they do plenty of terrorizing blacks too, so you wouldn’t have to be very racist to use the military and shoot them, you just had to have some balls. After one military clean-up and the gang-bangers hanging from trees pour encourager les autres, normal, even _nice_ policing could be reinstated.

    Violence escalation is largely a myth, it is only true in those ridiculous situations where the party that is MUCH stronger only escalates in proportion of how the enemy escalates. Yes, this happens all over from Iraq to US cities, but only because liberals are holding the stronger side back and not allowing the stronger side to escalate so hard that further resistance would be absolutely futile. The whole problem is that when the other side escalates, liberals hold the police or military back from ending the problem once and for all, they allow only “proportional” escalation which is a recipe for a never-ending bloodshed. The whole problem in Iraq is trying it too much “nicer” than post-WW2 occupations, and the whole problem of US inner cities is forgetting what King Ine knew: ” By “thieves” (Peofas) we mean men up to the number seven; by “a band” (hloo) from seven to thirty-five ; by “an army” (here) above thirty-five.” You confuse policing with guerilla suppression.

  106. @Geoffrey Tobin you moved to Singapore? Or China? Maybe Russia? Great! Because all of the West is going to hell in a handbasket, it is obvious, for very similar reasons, inability to control internal enemies, even letting more and more in. In the US it looks like like a race-war scenario, in Europe more of a Houellebecq type scenario, but it both is ultimately about native Westerners being too squeamish about protecting countries that used to be theirs. And the reason is precisely as the reason behind your behavior: virtue-signalling, trying to look all holy and nice and tolerant because it buys one status / prestige points, it makes one look smart and good-hearted. And when this clashes with a bunch of barbarians who believe only in force, they win. End of story. But it looks like countries Singapore will survive. They have an awesomely rational refugee policy: NONE at all. No refugees, only work visas for the high skilled.

  107. @TheDividualist
    “Yes, this happens all over from Iraq to US cities, but only because liberals are holding the stronger side back and not allowing the stronger side to escalate so hard that further resistance would be absolutely futile.”

    You do not get more liberal than Berlin, Copenhagen, or Amsterdam. Still, these cities with large minority populations (Berlin is called the second Turkish capital) have none of these war-zones that the US or France have. That is not because they are on a fast track to civil war, there is none of that too, but because they do not see crime as a civil war that has to be won at all costs, but as a social problem that has to be solved using social policies.

    Given the results, they have ample proof that they are right.

    And before you start, the ethnic problems with blacks have been created and are maintained by the US itself. Black communities have lived in the US for centuries. If they have not integrated it is because the non-black community did not want them to integrate.

  108. @TheDividualist
    “But it looks like countries Singapore will survive.”

    Singapore is a city state. It is an isolated city that can only exist by virtue of countries around it that supply it with literally everything, including a work-force.

  109. @TheDividualist
    “And when this clashes with a bunch of barbarians who believe only in force, they win. End of story.”

    Promises, promises, but never deliver.

    I have heard that story for almost half a century myself, and have read historical accounts for centuries back. This is brought up with every “wave” of immigrants, even internal immigrants.

    I have seen Dutch texts from the 18th century where you could change every occurrence of the word “Catholic” to “Muslim” and publish it right away in a newspaper. You could easily have used these texts for Jews before WWII and for Communists during the cold war.

  110. Until 1488, there was another nation living the American Dream: the economy was based on commerce, government was not centralized, citizens were equal under the law (private property was particularly strongly protected), they were fiercely independent and often eccentric individuals, to outsiders it seemed that everyone was both rich and armed to the gills.

    The nation was Brittany, and after 1105 years’ thriving despite all that was thrown at it, it eventually fell due to a combination of adverse factors, including corruption, internal division and an invasion from a newly powerful neighbour that employed massed artillery to terrorise the population.

  111. Russia’s heading down what is shaping up as a similar road, despite the lack of “liberal” influence in high places. Russians aren’t populating, so they import workers from rapidly growing hostile populations, the government tries to defend its frontiers and suppress its internal conflicts by military force, but it’s not working.

  112. @Geoffrey Tobin
    “The nation was Brittany, and after 1105 years’ thriving despite all that was thrown at it, it eventually fell due to a combination of adverse factors, including corruption, internal division and an invasion from a newly powerful neighbour that employed massed artillery to terrorise the population.”

    The Romans left only in the fifth century, after which Britain was run over by Germans. After a few hundred years there was an influx of Vikings. So, these 1105 years of paradise are rather a stretch.

    But, the devils advocate could say “this is what happens when you do not have a centralized state: You get overrun by people who are better organized.”

  113. I see that a knee-jerk reaction is determining some responses to my remarks and suggestions: there’s an underlying erroneous assumption that I buy into what Americans call “liberal” thinking.

    In fact, I see that crime is a deep-seated problem that must be eradicated by the most effective means. It’s clear that many countries, not only or even especially the USA, are trying various means that have failed. So I’m looking for solutions, not partisan responses.

    The root issue, as I see it, is education. Not just in-school education, but in-street education and in-prison education.

    What do criminals learn in jail? How to be more vicious criminals! Why? Because the prison system allows the worst of criminals to imbue the others with their toxic attitudes and cunning ways. This must stop. A convict who is seen or heard to indoctrinate anyone in this way must be placed into a solitary, soundproof cell in perpetuity.

  114. Brittany, not Britain. In the 500s, Gildas bemoaned that the flower of Britain’s youth (its military) had left its shores, never to return. They left to found Brittany and other states in Gaul, and Britonia in Galicia in Spain. Britonia resisted the Moors, and yard-by-yard drove them out. Brittany resisted the Visigoths and Franks.
    The main reason why France became a great power is because Arthur III of Richmond, brother to Duke John V of Brittany and step-brother to Henry V of England, forcefully reformed the French military and financial systems along Breton lines, and personally led the forces that liberated France from English occupation.
    Richmond here refers to Richmond castle in North Yorkshire, to which all the Richmonds in the world ultimately owe their name.
    Alan Rufus, founder of said castle, established a free-trade economy inside feudal England. Many of the institutions and ideas that we now cherish are products of his unstinting efforts to improve the government and wealth of his adopted nation. Parliament, the census, a rational tax system, the jury system, separation of military and civil powers, the radical ideas that came out of Cambridge and from the great port that he had built at Boston (Lincolnshire), either were, or built on, his work.
    The feudal system made Alan very wealthy, but he was smart enough to realise that greater wealth could be obtained by providing an environment in which those willing to undertake investment and commerce were encouraged.
    This proto-capitalist was, contrary to some modern prejudices, very popular, because he listened much more than he talked, and made no moral distinction between the personal conduct of kings and paupers: he reprimanded both William I and William II when they were tyrannical, to the shock of many contemporaries.

  115. @Geoffrey you are really overcomplicating it. What do you want to educate? That beating up or shooting people is unethical? If people don’t learn it in their homes or figure out themselves, they will not listen to a teacher preaching. There are plenty of historically tested crime control methods, they usually involve bodily harm and publicity, in order to get the message across. from public whippings to public hangings.

    I mean, what is your basic model? That ethical behavior is some sort of a technique like math, that could be taught? How do you make people who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in behaving ethically, do it?

    I mean, unless you are willing to believe everybody is born good or with a blank sheet, you have to have some sort of a model. You should perhaps first ask yourself why you yourself aren’t robbing houses and extrapolate from there. I think in my case it was my parents, who conveyed basic ethics to my, mostly by example, not preaching. Also, being middle-class and too much to lose. Finally, I am not very impulsive, most crime is impulsivity. If it is similar for you, try to work from something like this. How to reduce impulsivity, how to have parents and decent ones, how to have enough to lose.

    I’d start crime control with cutting single mom welfare, ensuring the need for a dad or stepdad who is willing to spank a 9 year old boy at the first shoplifting.

    @Winter you are calling it social problems only because you refuse to accept that people of different ethnicity can behave differently. It matters a lot of immigrants are Turkish or Algerians, they are very different people, due to reasons like Kemal Ataturk’s secularization policies etc.

  116. Geoffrey: “Because the prison system allows the worst of criminals to imbue the others with their toxic attitudes and cunning ways. This must stop. A convict who is seen or heard to indoctrinate anyone in this way must be placed into a solitary, soundproof cell in perpetuity.”

    You mean like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

  117. >You do not get more liberal than Berlin, Copenhagen, or Amsterdam. Still, these cities with large minority populations (Berlin is called the second Turkish capital) have none of these war-zones that the US or France have.

    There are only three ways to make a comparison this stunningly misguided. You are either blissfully unaware of the facts; or you have no idea which facts are relevant; or you don’t mind selling snake oil.

    Berlin is a city of 3 million people, of which roughly 1 million are immigrants. 100k of these are Turks; the other ten largest minority groups are in order Poles, Italians, Serbs, Russians, Bulgarians, French, Americans, Vietnamese and Brits.

    In addition to Turks, the only -troublesome- minorities listed are Bosnians, Lebanese, Iranians, Kosovoians (?) and Syrians. These groups, including Turks, total roughly 125k (4%). None of them are black; some are European Muslims and some are from the MIddle East.

    There is not a single city in the US with a problem of rampant violence caused by any of these groups of people.

    New Orelans, the homicide capital of the US, is 60% Black and has a homicide rate of 58 (!). Berlin is 2% Black and has a homicide rate of 1.8 (one point eight).

  118. @Anonymous
    “Berlin is a city of 3 million people, of which roughly 1 million are immigrants. 100k of these are Turks; the other ten largest minority groups are in order Poles, Italians, Serbs, Russians, Bulgarians, French, Americans, Vietnamese and Brits.”

    200k Turks.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_in_Berlin

    But you were talking about ethnic tensions. With 30% immigrants and a lot of Muslims, where are the tensions?

    @Anonymous
    “None of them are black; some are European Muslims and some are from the MIddle East.”

    So “ethnic” has become an euphemism for Blacks.

    Amsterdam has ~700k inhabitants of which around 70k are black (from Suriname, our former colony in South America). They are also concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Amsterdam has none of the problems of US cities.

  119. ” It’s happened often enough before.” The 20 foot theory is a theory but I look forward to seeing your evidence. Please provide your references.

    • >” It’s happened often enough before.” The 20 foot theory is a theory but I look forward to seeing your evidence. Please provide your references.

      I think jfre’s video of an armed cop being knifed to death is pretty good evidence.

  120. @TheDividualist
    “@Winter you are calling it social problems only because you refuse to accept that people of different ethnicity can behave differently. It matters a lot of immigrants are Turkish or Algerians, they are very different people, due to reasons like Kemal Ataturk’s secularization policies etc.”

    Which is another way of saying that these are social problems. Moreover, the Algerians and other Maghreb people in Western Europe are predominantly Berber people, not Arabs.

    Turks and Iranians are rarely a problem in Europe. South European native Muslims (Albanians, Bosnians) could bring some of their crime problems from home to us, but rarely Jihadism.

    And our local black population from South America is also well integrated.

    All this is evidence that the crime problems the US experiences is a social problem purely of their own making.

  121. Wikipedia’s article on the demographics of Berlin gives the different figure. It depends on whether you consider immigrants or immigrant ancestry, and how you count partial ancestry.

    I haven’t talked about ethnic tensions at all. Maybe someone else did. I merely object to ridiculous comparisons between a city like Berlin and a city like Chicago.

    With its 10% Black population, assuming your numbers are right, it comes as no surprise to me that Amsterdam has a homicide rate of 4.4 (!), roughly three times that of comparable European cities. Berlin, which bears repeating, has a 2% Black population and a homicide rate of 1.8. The US overall has a 13% Black population, and a nationwide homicide rate of 4.7 .

    It almost seems like Amsterdam has -exactly- the same problem as the US has, with exactly the same group of people. The mind, again, boggles. Where is the liberal magic?

  122. Indeed, going by UNODC data:
    “Amsterdam tops the list of homicide rates in Western Europe with 4.4 murders per 100,000 people.”

    What a fantastic way of shooting your own argument in the foot.

  123. @William O. B’Livion
    > The “21 foot rule” is bullshit because it should be more like the “30 foot” rule.

    You know William I am positively inclined toward your position and Eric’s, but a couple of points here. First of all, I have watched the video over and over again and I see nothing in the kid’s movement that would indicate a turn toward the cop just before the first shot goes off. On the contrary, what I see is:

    1. The kid walking in a diagonal largely away from the cops (though not by much) with his left shoulder pointed toward the shooter.

    2. His right shoulder is seen turning away as if he has been hit there,

    3. Immediately afterward a full spin of his body away from the shooter, again presumably because he has been hit.

    4. He briefly faces the cop and presumably another shot hits him.

    5. Then the kid goes down (and an odd thing is that is legs are unnaturally held together, not sure why, but I am assuming some sort of leg injury at this point.

    6. Then as he is about to hit the deck you see a puff of dust as another round hits him and goes through.

    7. Then as he is lying there moving a very little for a second or so, he pushes his knife hand out toward the cops but entirely on the ground. Then you see another puff of dust by his head, when presumably the cop hits his head.

    8. Then another cop kicks the knife away.

    So although the situation was extremely dangerous and hot, I see no specific action that provoked the cop to start shooting. I would like to, but I just don’t see it.

    Now in regards to the 21 foot rule, I am no expert so I will defer to you for sure. However, the point needs to be made is that again and again people have stated here that this is the time to draw, aim, fire and shoot.

    However, this situation is different. Here the cop had already drawn and had the guy in his sights. He just had to pull the trigger. That is a much shorter time. Now granted the distance was much less that 21 feet, and as I said earlier if he had twitched in my direction I would have put a couple of rounds in him (assuming I had the responsibility to deal with him.) However, I don’t believe the 21 foot rule would apply here.

    I don’t believe that the third rule you cite — a specific intention to harm — is at all clear from the video. Of course there is no audio, so perhaps there were verbal threats that we don’t hear, and maybe they would be enough.

    • >First of all, I have watched the video over and over again and I see nothing in the kid’s movement that would indicate a turn toward the cop just before the first shot goes off.

      It’s easy to miss, because the first shot happens only a fraction of a second later; that’s why I think Van Dyke had pre-instructed himself with “If he turns, I shoot”

      A good technique for catching these subtleties is stop-go viewing. That is, click the pause/play button at about half-second intervals. This prevents your visual-processing machinery from motion-smoothing.

  124. @Aninymous
    “Amsterdam tops the list of homicide rates in Western Europe with 4.4 murders per 100,000 people.”

    Except that it is not the black people that are involved in most crimes. Maybe it is a spiritual thing?

  125. I guess you missed this question to you from further up the thread:

    @Winter “In this Laquan McDonald case, it is clear that the killing was not necessary in any way”

    The dude is on PCP, stabbed a police car tire and now is brandishing a knife at officers in a public space. What exactly should they have used? Harsh language?

    You see from the videos above how deadly a knife can be and how quickly it can be brought to bear. What is the “correct” approach you endorse? Please explain.

  126. >Except that it is not the black people that are involved in most crimes. Maybe it is a spiritual thing?

    Excerpts from Homicide in the Netherlands (Gangpat, Liem):

    >Homicide perpetrators show a similar ethnic representation: individuals of Dutch descent run
    a risk of 0.7 per 100,000 of becoming a homicide perpetrator, whereas for those of Antillean descent this risk is 14.3 per 100,000. Individuals of Surinamese origin run a risk of 5.5 per 100,000, for those of Turkish origin, the risk is 6.0 and for individuals of Moroccan descent the risk is 5.0 per 100.000.

    The first thing to notice here is that Dutch themselves are exactly as homicidal as expected for W.Europeans. The second thing to notice is that the Antilleans are 20 times as homicidal as the Dutch, while various other minorities are roughly 10 times as homicidal. The only surprise, really, is the Dutch Turks being remarkably homicidal. Correcting, as social scientists say when they fudge the numbers, for age/sex-demographics of the respective groups isn’t sufficient to make this go away.

    Also, from UNODC sources, the homicide rate for Suriname is 6.1 – remarkably close to the rate of Surinamese (?) in the Netherlands. Who would have thought?

    I couldn’t find specific numbers for blacks in Amsterdam, because this is Europe and wanting to collect or even inspect such numbers is unspeakably racist, but it doesn’t seem like Dutch integration is quite working out.

  127. >From the video, McDonald was well inside
    >the 21-foot close-engagement limit…
    >…This is a dangerous situation even with your gun drawn;
    >the thug could charge you, take several bullets and
    >still stab you fatally before he goes down. It’s happened
    >often enough before.

    I’ve heard the claim before that having someone <21' away means they can pose a lethal threat even if you're armed and ready. I can readily believe it, but "it's happened often enough before" is a much more concrete claim. Can someone point out specific cases where a perp was at, say, 20' and managed to rush and fatally stab a cop before being stopped by gunfire?

    Having such cites to refer to might help to sway at least a few of the people who are aghast at the shooting of perps who weren't actively running toward the shooter (but were within that hazard radius).

  128. @Mitch – jfre’s first [horrific] vid was a realtime example showing just how deadly a close assailant can be. Doesn’t get any more ‘concrete’ than that.

  129. @Dan (et al.), apologies – rather than read all of the comments, I did a search for a few key words (obviously not the right ones) and didn’t find what I was looking for. jfre’s video will do nicely, thanks.

  130. There is a tendency to over-analyze these types of incidents because of the video evidence, i.e. lots of additional visual information that would not normally be available when evaluating an occurrence in which you were not personally present at the scene. More information means more cerebral activity and prolonged reasoning. Biologically, this leads to deeper level pattern matching and begins to introduce memory based bias into mix. This doesn’t necessarily lead to better (e.g. more effective) reasoning, but it does aid you in terms of absorbing the lesson for future use in your personal life. In others words, Laquan McDonald’s death is more of a life lesson than an ethical drama.

  131. “A good technique for catching these subtleties is stop-go viewing. That is, click the pause/play button at about half-second intervals. This prevents your visual-processing machinery from motion-smoothing.”

    Right. Much like deleting points from a plot lets you fit the curve you want.

  132. The cover-up was not by the police, but by the mayor’s office. Emanuel was then up for re-election, and was under pressure. He got only 45% in the first round, and won the run-off by a relatively modest margin (56%-44%). The main challenger was a Hispanic, and Emanuel won by holding most of the black vote.

    If the McDonald case had been opened then, Emanuel might easily have lost.

    As to why the State’s Attorney filed Murder One – she’s up for re-election next year, and will be challenged in the primary. I doubt if it was orders from the mayor; as an elected county official, she’s not under his thumb. Another possibility is that the overcharge intentionally sets up an acquittal: it will be very hard to prove the mens rea for murder.

  133. “Another possibility is that the overcharge intentionally sets up an acquittal: it will be very hard to prove the mens rea for murder.”

    This may only be true if Illinois law does not allow juries to consider lesser charges, or if the state’s attorney moves to let them do so and the judge denies the motion.

  134. @Jay
    There’s the recent acquittal of Dante Servin, a Chicago cop found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter because the judge (in the bench trial) ruled that Servin was not “reckless” in shooting Rekia Boyd but instead had intentionally shot her. Since the prosecution didn’t bring a more serious homicide charge, Servin walked away, and can’t be charged again because that would be double jeopardy.

    A cynic might suspect that this wasn’t an error on the prosecution’s part, but rather a case of the fix being in. Likewise a cynic might suspect an intentional overcharge in the Van Dyke case to set up an acquittal. As you point out, this would require that the jury (or judge, if it’s a bench trial) not be allowed to consider lesser charges – but given how the Servin case turned out, that’s a live possibility.

  135. @Rich Rostrom:

    Another possibility is that the overcharge intentionally sets up an acquittal: it will be very hard to prove the mens rea for murder.

    Possible, but extremely doubtful in this particular instance.

    Why? Because last April, Dante Servin was the first Chicago cop to be prosecuted for homicide in 15 years. In that case, whether because of mendacity or timidity, the charge was for manslaughter, but not murder.

    The judge acquitted on the basis that, while what Servin did may have been murder, it certainly wasn’t manslaughter, because whether it was murder or not would depend on his justification for his actions, which wasn’t an element of the trial.

    Double-jeopardy means he’s a free man. (Although he was finally fired a few days ago, that has absolutely nothing to do with the current trial about the killing of Laquan McDonald.)

    In any case, since prosecutor Alvarez was accused of deliberately throwing the case against Servin a mere seven months ago, it’s probably fresh enough in the memories of all the players that she’s going to have to come up with a different way to fuck this one up.

    Or if, as you say, she’s up for election soon, who knows what’s going to happen? Obviously it has to look good, and if it’s too good and one cop has to go down for her reelection, that might be a small enough price that she and the cops can still do business.

  136. One additional point about handguns. Most people, including police, are not very accurate with handguns in real situations. According to this article, one expert says that nationwide statistics find people missing 47% at contact range and down to about 20% at 7 yards. Of hits, almost 70% go into extremities (presumably not rapidly disabling) and not center of mass.

    Van Dyke managed to hit with every shot and 6 out of 16 were torso, head or neck.

  137. Jay Maynard on 2015-11-27 at 07:11:15 said:
    > Geoffrey:
    > > “A convict who is seen or heard to indoctrinate anyone in this way must be placed
    > > into a solitary, soundproof cell in perpetuity.”
    > You mean like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

  138. TheDividualist: I agree with everything you say about education in the home from role model parents.
    My proposal was that we remove those who teach people to behave more criminally. That is, by isolating the worst role models, not only from the community at large, but also from other prisoners.

  139. Note that we already isolate prisoners who are erratically violent. These are often mass murderers who are addicted to self-harm.

    What I’m proposing is that we extend that treatment, from those who are physically violent, to those who incite violent behaviours in others.

  140. Now 16 bullets from a handgun probably means reloading at least once

    My own preferred target shooting pistol holds 16 rounds.

    It just so happens to be the same maker and model that is most commonly carried by police officers.

    So when the article says “16 rounds”, all that says to me is that the shooter had the very understandable and very not uncommon reaction of emptying out.

    Eric is the expert here, and god knows I am not a fan of murdering cops, but if I was on a jury, my firm belief is that if the first shot was legal, then emptying the entire clip is.

    • >Eric is the expert here, and god knows I am not a fan of murdering cops, but if I was on a jury, my firm belief is that if the first shot was legal, then emptying the entire clip is.

      Asserting that this should be the standard is not in my opinion crazy or unreasonable, and it is within the competence of a jury to find not guilty on those grounds. But it’s not the side U.S. case law has generally come down on.

      Supposing it were, I would remain troubled by the ethics of not stopping to assess after McDonald fell to the ground. Users of force in general, and lethal force in particular, have a duty to use the least force required to mitigate threats. This does not mean retreating to half-measures or neglecting the protection of self or others – but when you see a man with a knife fall and know that he can no longer reach you before you have time to pause and assess, I think you have a duty to pause and assess.

  141. Mark: “my firm belief is that if the first shot was legal, then emptying the entire clip is.”

    I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, being justified in using deadly force means just that: the guy you’re shooting is presumed to be legally justified in dying at your hands. If he didn’t want to die, he shouldn’t have threatened you in such a way as to create a reasonable fear for your life. On the other, you’re only justified in shooting until the threat ends. Once the threat clearly is ended, your justification for using lethal force ends with it.

    There’s another part of this, though, that nobody’s exploring (because it’s an unsolvable hypothetical): Was McDonald killed by the shots Van Dyke was legally justified in firing? There are at least two shots that had that effect. As jfre points out, we cannot know when they were fired. That does, however, create reasonable doubt, to me: if McDonald was dead, or had received the fatal injuries, after the first two shots (that nobody here, at least, is arguing Van Dyke was not justified in firing), then the other 14 shots are not relevant.

  142. Mark – if you were on a jury, I presume you would follow the law as the judge gave it to you. And he would not tell you that. If you’ve shot someone in self defense, and the person goes down and is no longer a threat to you, please do not believe that you can “finish him off” because you were legally justified in shooting him in the first place. Even Soldiers in combat can’t keep shooting someone who is hors de combat from wounds.

  143. Joseph: “if you were on a jury, I presume you would follow the law as the judge gave it to you.”

    It’s settled American law that the jury may reach its verdict as it chooses. See the concept of “jury nullification”. This was first used in the libel case of John Peter Zenger. Ever hear of him?

  144. Jay — “Jury nullification” is not a legal doctrine and it is not “settled doctrine in American courts.” I read a case (don’t recall the name, but it was in Joshua Dressler’s criminal law casebook) where the defense tried to have the judge instruct the jury on the power to “nullify,” and the court properly refused. Before you get selected for a jury, as part of the selection process, you have to promise that you will follow the law as the judge gives it to you. People can break their oaths just as they can break the law…but it is not “settled doctrine” that they have the right to do so.

    I had not heard about Zenger before, but according to William E. Nelson’s Americanization of the Common Law, juries in the 18th century had power to decide the law, as they do not anymore. I have my copy open in front of me:

    “It is difficult to comprehend how greatly the legal system of prerevolutionary Massachusetts differed from that of modern America. The most important difference was that Massachusetts juries during the fifteen years preceding the War of Independence possessed far greater power than juries do now. Like those in twentieth-century America, they had substantial power to resolve factual issues in the cases they heard. But whereas modern juries must follow the law as stated to them by the court, juries in prerevolutionary Massachusetts could ignore judges’ instructions on the law and decide the law by themselves in both civil and criminal cases..”

    I will add that in the 18th century, we still had “common law crimes”…criminal acts and defenses defined by judges rather than by statute…but I don’t see them in modern law.

    The wiki on Zenger suggests that his lawyers raised a legal defense, but that the jury may have “interpreted” the law because the man he allegedly libeled was unpopular. Regardless…”nullification” was not the law then and is not the law now.

  145. and the person goes down and is no longer a threat to you, please do not believe that you can “finish him off” because you were legally justified in shooting him in the first place.

    You misunderstand. This has nothing to do with thinking “finish him off”.

    Let’s go back, again, to my own preferred target shooting pistol, the one that hold 16 rounds, and is the same make and model as the one typically carried by US cops. I am hardly a expert marksman, and I practice only a couple of times a year.

    However, I can put 16 holes in a silhouette target 21 feet away in 5 seconds, and that still feels slow and deliberate when I do it. I could go faster, with a significant loss in accuracy, but my range monitors get upset about uncontrolled fire. I fully expect more serious practitioners can go faster without the accuracy loss.

    In a life or death situation, I can completely see someone emptying out, and then even dry firing several times, in the time between the two rational thoughts of “fire” and “I’m empty”.

    I don’t know what happened in this case. Maybe the cop did stop after the legal shots, formed another coherent thought, and then fired a dozen illegal shots. But a prosecutor is going to have a hard time overcoming my reasonable doubt.

    So, again, as long as it’s a sustained burst of fire, my opinion is if the 1st shot is legal, so is the rest of the clip.

  146. Mark – I’m glad to hear I misunderstood you on that point.

    Your view, then, is that you can treat the full clip as “burst fire”…like squeezing the trigger once when your weapon is set to burst. I’ve never run into that argument before but will save it for future use!

  147. and the person goes down and is no longer a threat to you

    And on a related issue, a person does not “go down” after just 3 shots, unless one of them is a well-placed headshot, which you are not likely to get when aiming at COM, unless a miss turns into a lucky hit, which is not the way to bet. Yes, 3 shots COM can very well kill, but in the time it takes for them to go into shock and fall down, they can still take enough running steps to reach you with their fists or a knife. Especially if they are enraged, with or without chemical help.

  148. One problem I have with the whole “if the first 2/3 shots were fatal then the rest of the shots are unjustifiable” is that you would surely have a devil of a time proving that the cop knew his first 2/3 shots had neutralized the threat.

    Again, I circle around to my query over whether it was a continuous 16 shot string of fire.

    I’m experiencing rising dread about the psychological impact these cases are having on the motivations of LEOs.

    • >One problem I have with the whole “if the first 2/3 shots were fatal then the rest of the shots are unjustifiable” is that you would surely have a devil of a time proving that the cop knew his first 2/3 shots had neutralized the threat.

      Fair, in general. But in this case, what probably happened is that one of the first two or three shots dropped McDonald, at which point Van Dyke’s threat assessment both could have and should have changed dramatically.

      We’ll never know, of course, but the way McDonald spun and then dropped like a puppet with its strings cut hints to me that he was gravely or fatally wounded by the first couple of bullets.

  149. > but my range monitors get upset about uncontrolled fire.

    If you are firing multiple times at a (presumed) live target without thinking between them about whether he is a threat, I would argue that is “uncontrolled fire”.

  150. Joseph: “”nullification” was not the law then and is not the law now.”

    A Google Scholar search disagrees with you.

    For an overview, see this article at the University of Kansas City-Missouri website on the Zenger trial, including this quote:

    Juries clearly have the power to nullify; whether they also have the right to nullify is another question. Once a jury returns a verdict of “Not Guilty,” that verdict cannot be questioned by any court and the “double jeopardy” clause of the Constitution prohibits a retrial on the same charge.

    The article goes on to argue that the right to nullify is in question, but only says that courts are not required to instruct juries of their power. The power itself is not in question.

  151. Jury nullification dates way back over the pond to Scotland, where the jury would be able to defend the people against capricious royal decrees.

    There’s quite a history behind this power.

    I would argue that the right to nullify – by use of that power – is an extension of our right to free conscience, and an ultimate bulwark against bad law.

  152. …We’ll never know, of course, but the way McDonald spun and then dropped like a puppet with its strings cut hints to me that he was gravely or fatally wounded by the first couple of bullets…

    Agreed. I was very surprised to read the coroner report and not read of one shot scoring a brain or spine hit.

    • >Agreed. I was very surprised to read the coroner report and not read of one shot scoring a brain or spine hit.

      jfre posted a shot list earlier that included this: “2. Neck – Transected the trachea. The great vessels are in the area and while not mentioned were most likely damaged. This was most likely the kill shot”. If I had to bet money on an exact reconstruction, it would have the following features:

      1. Yes, this was the kill shot.

      2. It was one of the first 2 or 3 bullets fired.

      3. Hydrostatic shock from even limb shots has been shown to cause CNS trauma. The pressure wave from this one, close to the brainstem, fucked up McDonald’s motor control at least temporarily well before extravasation through the wound channel killed him.

      I wish I knew what Van Dyke was actually shooting. Most likely 40 S&W – in my opinion a big bullet (bigger than 9mm) would raise the prior on this theory. If it were .45ACP, still higher.

  153. > but when you see a man with a knife fall and know that he can no longer reach you before you have time to pause and assess

    On the other hand, can you know this without having paused and assessed?

    • >On the other hand, can you know this without having paused and assessed?

      That is a fair question.

      Look at the way Van Dyke took a textbook isosceles stance well before the first shot. To a shooter, it’s obvious from the video that he acquired a positive sight picture well before firing, and his accuracy was such that he must have maintained it properly until his mag was empty. From the distribution of shots it is equally clear that he was firing at COM.

      Now, let’s assume the worst case: Van Dyke is hyperadrenalized to the point of tunnel vision and partial disassociation. Still, he could hardly have avoided noticing when McDonald fell clear of his point of aim.

  154. If jury nullification is something you know about or believe strongly in the use of, good luck getting selected for an American jury.

  155. What is the goal of dissecting this incident? Is there an expectation that “truth” will arise from the synergy of group analysis and discussion? Is it intended to aid in a personal learning exercise in order to be better prepared should you ever find yourself in this situation? Is it part of a process leading to a judgement of some sort (who gets the blame, if any)? Is it just mental entertainment?

    Regardless of the above, this story will be exploited by media and politicians to influence pubic opinion and alter society’s meme set. Laquan is dead and Van Dyke will soon become an ex-cop, but the most damaging impact may well be that it pushes the body politic farther to the left. If this drift eventually leads to a tipping point, then we will have a truly significant problem on our hands.

    • >What is the goal of dissecting this incident?

      I was asked to by email. In light of my previous forensics on the Michael Brown autopsy report this seemed eminently reasonable. Additionally, I knew the process of pursing the analysis would develop and clarify my own thinking about the rights and wrongs of the case, so I could respond better during the inevitable public furore.

  156. @esr
    > We’ll never know, of course, but the way McDonald spun and then dropped like a puppet with its strings cut hints to me that he was gravely or fatally wounded by the first couple of bullets.

    Right. It is hard to see most of the shots, however, there are three that are clearly visible. The first causes his body to rotate (time index 5:33), the way he moves I think perhaps two shots, but the body movement indicates at least one.

    Two seconds later (5:35) one that hits him approximately in the upper midsection and bounces off causing a puff of dust just at the point he is about to hit the ground.

    Then a second puff of dust near his head, time index 5:48. This puff of dust is a full FIFTEEN seconds after the initial hit.

    That is a long time to think about what you are doing. If the cop was just panicky, adrenaline dumping his mag it would take him less than half that time. Essentially it looks like a second set of shots that seems to be precipitated by the kid pushing the knife forward along the ground (which happens just before that shot.) That does not seem particularly threatening to me.

    However, I still can’t see any movement that would have precipitated the first shot. The kid was plainly a serious danger then, but lying on the ground fifteen seconds later? No so much.

  157. Couple of other things from the autopsy. Based on my reading:

    1. Six shots were recording as back to front.
    2. Six shots where recorded as having no, or only slight back to front or front to back movement
    3. One the front to back direction was undetermined
    4. Three are recorded as front to back

    This is interesting data for a couple of reasons. If you look at the video the only time there was a chance for back to front shots is right at the very beginning when he is spinning, this is the only time the kid presented his back or his side to the cop. This accounts for twelve out of the shots.

    The undetermined one was at the scalp and I would speculate that that was the one that we see fifteen seconds later, since that seems to be the location of the shot.

    Another piece of data.According to the NY Times the charging documents indicate that the cop reloaded: see here

    Given this evidence what I’d say happened is that the cop emptied his mag very quickly at the spinning kid, mostly hitting him in the back and side. You see the kid rotating and briefly presenting his front while standing before going down, then another shot as he hits the ground. He lies on the ground with his front facing the cop.

    The cops seems to then have reloaded, paused, and when he saw the kid present the knife forward in a plainly non threatening manner fired off a couple more shots including a head shot.

    That is my interpretation of the data. I’d be open to a different analysis. If that is the case, I think Eric’s analysis seems right on. Kid was threatening (though again, I can’t see a precipitating move), so the cop puts a dozen rounds in him very quickly. Then fifteen seconds later when the kid is down he makes a movement that seems non particularly threatening, and a second volley comes, possibly after a reload.

    The first volley is arguably justifiable, the second most certainly not, and, given the it was a head shot, could well have been the fatal one.

    However, I’m not forensic scientist.

    • >The cops seems to then have reloaded, paused, and when he saw the kid present the knife forward in a plainly non threatening manner fired off a couple more shots including a head shot.

      Knowing that Van Dyke had time for a reload is very significant, and in my view greatly increases his culpability. If he had time for even a maximum-speed tactical reload, he had time to pause and reassess, and either (a) failed to do so, (b) did so and grossly mis-assessed the threat level, or (c) acted maliciously.

      The information on shot direction is also very interesting. It actually increases the odds on my most-probable reconstruction in which the neck and shoulder shots were are or near the beginning of the string. Here’s what I now think most likely:

      1. The kill shot (neck) was one of the first two or three. Probably the thoracic shot that took out a lung was, too. McDonald was mortally wounded before he hit the ground.

      2. McDonald, motor control temporarily taken out by hydrostatic shock to spine and CNS, began to spin and drop.

      3. Van Dyke emptied his mag into McDonald as he spun around. Probably an 8-round mag, and on that basis I’m going to guess he was shooting a single-stack .40 – double-stack .40s are usually 16 rounds, single-stack .45s normally top at 7, any 9mm would be much more.

      4. McDonald drops to the pavement, but begins to regain partial motor control. Because he’s full of a disassociative anesthetic, he’s not completely incapacitated by the pain and shock.

      5. Meanwhile, Van Dyke is performing a tac reload. (At, I should add, impressive speed – his threat assessment might have been faulty but his gun handling was impeccable.)

      6. McDonald makes what Van Dyke interprets as a threatening motion.

      7. Van Dyke empties another 8-round mag into him.

      In my opinion, the first mag was justified. The second was not.

      • I wrote “3. Van Dyke emptied his mag into McDonald as he spun around.”

        I should note that the way I have trained myself to respond in this situation is not to dump my mag – aside from the minimum-effective-force issue, the bad guy might have buddies.

        In a situation like this where I had a few seconds to plan the engagement before the trigger point, facing someone dusted, this is how I would instruct myself:

        1. Fire conditionally on aggression.

        2. Three-shot burst, two to COM, one to the head.

        3. Stop and assess.

        My point is that this is both the ethical and the practical minimax. You never assume that the first guy you pop is going to be the last into the fight, even if you can’t see other belligerents. Not if you want to go home to your family.

        I doubt the military and ex-military guys here will advise anything different. (My trainers have been a mix of former SpecOps and LEOs. I find SpecOps doctrine suits my tastes and combat psychology better.)

  158. I’m not disagreeing with your doctrine, but I don’t merely do the failure drill, reassess, act…too many moving parts to risk breaking up a string of fire.

    Since I’m focused on frontsightfrontsightfrontsight, the target is blurry. When a string of fire commences, I do not know if the target is collapsing out of my original line of sight (even more complex if target is moving) due to injury or because they are ducking for cover. For this reason, I will follow them down while maintaining fire, until I register a cessation in their activity…at which point – reassess.

    This is why I am not so ready to condemn the cop simply because he shot an a guy on the ground.

    btw – Jessica….I think I know the later ‘puff’ you’re referring to…fwiw, I thought that was an expiring exhalation on a cold night.

  159. A thought… How about…

    The adrenaline is pumping and part of the cop’s mind is going (not necessarily in language): “The hand with the weapon is still moving – he can still shoot”. Now, the weapon is a knife, so the guy on the ground is relatively harmless. Of course, the cop should have made this distinction, but perhaps part of his mind didn’t.

  160. ESR Doesn’t Like Black People.

    Some people think your anti-SJW article is mysoginist and anti-Semitic.

    • >Some people think your anti-SJW article is mysoginist and anti-Semitic.

      The technical term for those people is “idiots”.

  161. “I should note that the way I have trained myself to respond in this situation is not to dump my mag – aside from the minimum-effective-force issue, the bad guy might have buddies.”

    Basically “Black males travel in packs, much like animals”

    THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.

    “Sometimes they need to be put down, humanely”

    !!!!!

    • >Basically “Black males travel in packs, much like animals”

      Huh? Humans travel in packs. I learned that bit of doctrine from an ex-SOCOM trainer; I can assure you that they didn’t have South Side gangbangers specifically in mind.

  162. Jeff Read: Jury nullification is the reason that Libel requires the statement be false in the United States of Minority Hate!
    This is not a common law requirement (and still isn’t in England).

  163. ESR SHOULD COPS AND CIVILLIANS CARRY FULLY AUTOMATIC PISTOLS WITH 90 ROUND QUAD STACKED MAGAZINES (double stacked within the grip)????

    MAYBE 16 ROUNDS IS WHAT IS NEEDED SOMETIMES????!

  164. Jay: I’m not acquainted with Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, but I do not particularly care whether it’s Mr. Shining Beacon or Gerry X. Lowlife who does the inciting. It simply must stop.

  165. From what I’ve been reading here, the perfect murder is to slip PCP into the target’s drink at a nightclub or a birthday party or a wedding, with the assurance that the victim’s behaviour will not only get him/herself killed but s/he will cop all the odium for it as well.

  166. TomA: what do you mean by “push the body politic further to the left”? Haven’t you been following the congressional elections? The Republicans control both houses, and barring a series of major stumbles, they’ll soon have the presidency as well.
    So, unless the Tea Party is too leftist for your liking, I don’t see what you’re afraid of.

  167. Since the Servin case evaded international notoriety, I have only just heard of it. If the Wikipedia article has its facts straight, this was a blatant miscarriage of justice all round. Shame on judge, prosecutor, and the campaigners who didn’t care because the murdered woman was (1) innocent and (2) female.

    How the judge could claim that shooting into a crowd was “not reckless” defies all comprehension.

    If I were that judge, I’d avoid crowds myself for fear of my own life, because the argument given just gave carte blanche for every judge-hating redneck or hoodlum to do the same as Servin did.

    How the judge

  168. Anonymous: given the figures you cite, would you argue that Colin Powell, from notoriously crime-ridden Jamaica, should never have been given so much responsibility for the US military?

  169. >given the figures you cite, would you argue that Colin Powell, from notoriously crime-ridden Jamaica, should never have been given so much responsibility for the US military?

    I have no qualms about generalizing about race or sex. Refusing to make statistical inferences about a select few sacred categories is for idiots. That said, if you want to know how tall someone is, you don’t go looking up the average height for his race, you bring out the tape measure.

  170. Some people think your anti-SJW article is mysoginist and anti-Semitic.

    Ok, I can see how they would twist it into misogyny, stupid, but I can see it.

    But how in shit-for-brains of infinite entropy does someone get anti-semitic out of that?

    • >But how in shit-for-brains of infinite entropy does someone get anti-semitic out of that?

      You fail to grasp SJW logic. ESR opposes SJW entryism, therefore ESR is a bad person; ESR is a bad person, anti-Semites are bad people, therefore ESR is an anti-Semite. Furthermore, any denials by ESR that he is anti-Semitic are evidence of covert (perhaps unconscious) anti-Semitism.

  171. @ Geoffrey Tobin – ‘what do you mean by “push the body politic further to the left”?’

    Our evolutionary ancestors were the survivors of an environmental gauntlet of great hardship and existential threat. As such, they provided us with a heritage of strength, mobility, flexibility, and resilience; plus intelligence, complex language skill, and the ability to modify our mental programming after birth. The successful archetype of our species is an individual who is innovative, resourceful, productive, and able to pass wisdom and skills to their progeny via memetics. And when we behave this way, nature has provided a reinforcing feedback mechanism that rewards us with high self esteem (we feel good about ourselves).

    However, we are now in the process of straying from that historical path. Memetics is being used to reprogram large cohorts of our population toward anti-evolutionary behaviors; specifically entitlement addiction, dependence, lethargy, hive mentality, and parasitism. Individuals infected in this way always have a chip on their shoulder because these behaviors lead to low self esteem (no one likes to be endlessly dependent on others).

    My guess is that Laquan McDonald did PCP because it offered him some relief from feeling bad about himself. He then committed burglaries in order to fund his drug habit, and eventually those behaviors led him into a bad situation. And now his genes are not going back into the gene pool.

    None of the above is about political parties, and the adverse memetics are not going to go away after the next election.

  172. @TomA:

    > nature has provided a reinforcing feedback mechanism that rewards us with high self esteem…

    FWIW, recent research shows that bullies typically have high self-esteem, and that people with low self-esteem are more conformant, e.g. probably much less likely to engage with a cop like that (unless the desired result is suicide-by-cop).

  173. ESR Hater said: “SHOULD COPS AND CIVILLIANS (sic) CARRY FULLY AUTOMATIC PISTOLS WITH 90 ROUND QUAD STACKED MAGAZINES”

    Never seen a “quad stacked magazine” in a subgun, but it sounds pretty cool. I would certainly take a couple.

    As for the cops in the US, they already have access to subguns, and in walking around Europe you see a number actively deployed there in every day use. What is your point? The officer in this case put 16 rounds down range with a semi-auto just fine.

  174. @Jessica Boxer
    >Right. It is hard to see most of the shots, however, there are three that are clearly visible. The first causes his body to rotate (time index 5:33), the way he moves I think perhaps two shots, but the body movement indicates at least one.

    You worded this somewhat ambiguously, so I’d like to expand on it by saying that it probably wasn’t the impact of the bullet that spun McDonald around. My guess is that McDonald was in a similar state of mind as the man in the video esr posted above: not situationally aware, shambling to get out of the bright lights (this explains why he was walking at the angle he was, facing away from the police cruisers but not directly moving away from the cops), and he spun around in reaction to the sound of the gun firing (sudden loud noise outside of his field of view). He likely didn’t feel the impact of the first bullet.

    • >he spun around in reaction to the sound of the gun firing (sudden loud noise outside of his field of view).

      Hm. That is possible. If so, this really was murder one.

  175. @ Patrick Maupin – “FWIW, recent research shows that bullies typically have high self-esteem”

    I am unaware of any research indicating what you suggest, but perhaps you are confusing arrogance with high self esteem. Arrogance is a fundamental element of bullying, and bullies use this form of posturing to intimidate others.

    • >perhaps you are confusing arrogance with high self esteem

      *snrk*

      While I grant the theoretical possibility that “arrogance” might be something other than high self-esteem as seen by hostile others, I have yet to encounter evidence for same.

  176. @esr:

    > I have yet to encounter evidence for same.

    Most of the people trying to make a distinction do a lot of hand-waving based on “of course, self-esteem is good! So if it’s bad it must not be self-esteem!”

    Case in point is this SJW-esque redefinition of self-esteem:

    Self-esteem, essentially, is confidence in one’s ability to think, make choices, and act on those choices, as well as feeling deserving of happiness and benefiting from one’s hard work and accomplishments.

  177. I’ve watched that video numerous times now. I just don’t see McDonald make any kind of a threatening move toward the cops. In his strange walk he was angling away from them. That odd spin does not look like a threatening move. If he intended to lunge toward the cops it appears he spun the wrong way, and his upper body was leaning away from the cops not toward them. It looks comically more like the kind of move that precedes a bunch of trash-talk, not an I’m-gonna-klll-you death charge.

    The continued shooting once he was down is surreal. It looks far too deliberate to be just robotic mag-dumping. The shots are too far apart, almost timed.

    I wouldn’t want to be Van Dyke right now.

  178. @Michael Hipp:

    > I wouldn’t want to be Van Dyke right now.

    Meh. Anita Alvarez is intent on delivering the acquittal; otherwise she’d find the missing Burger King video problematic.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Alvarez-Addresses-Missing-Minutes-From-Security-Video-in-Laquan-McDonald-Case-353209051.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3337563/Chicago-Burger-King-manager-says-police-wiped-Laquan-McDonald-death-footage.html

  179. Maybe my audio is faulty, but I can’t actually hear the string of fire in the vid.

    It looks to me that the shots are all within the first 5-6 seconds. A steady mag dump.

    @Jessica identified a puff at around the 15 second mark. I don’t know if that is a shot or an exhalation.

    I’m certainly not prepared to call “murder one” on this…

  180. @ ESR @ Patrick Maupin

    My definition of bully is someone who proactively and habitually attempts to intimidate others so as to assert control or obtain obeisance. Arrogant posturing is often used to obtain this end result.

    I suppose that a bully who has had long term success with this behavior may come to regard himself as highly competent at intimidation (and hence possess some artificial sense of high self-esteem), but the usual context for high self-esteem is someone who is broadly competent and self-reliant (e.g. does not need to exploit others for personal gain).

    An example case would SEALs and special forces military personnel with exceptionally high competence at asserting themselves to overcome obstacles (including people), but do so as a duty rather than for personal ego reasons. If you need to feed your ego at the expense of others, then that is not self-reliance and not a solid basis for self-esteem.

  181. @TomA:

    > My definition of bully…

    Combines behavior with motive. It’s useful to analyze why bullies bully, but thinking you have it figured out and then adding the “why” back into the definition will produce some seriously circular reasoning.

    > the usual context for high self-esteem…

    You’ve fallen for the narrative. Self-esteem tests measure how people feel about themselves, not whether it is warranted or not.

  182. @TomA:

    If you need to feed your ego at the expense of others, then that is not self-reliance and not a solid basis for self-esteem.

    FWIW, there is some basis to this — psychologists separate self-esteem into two kinds — contingent and non-contingent, but that discussion may still be completely orthogonal to bullying.

    If bullying works as that link I posted says it does, then it works — it provides status and sexual opportunities. It’s Red-Pilling for middle-schoolers, which is why the article is full of so much hand-wringing about what to do about it.

  183. ESR
    I listen to Rush Limbaugh at work, on Internet radio. The corporate firewalls only let certain websites through, and Fox Talk Radio is one of them. I have grown fond of Rush’s radio show, especially with a lack of much else, and with repeated exposure. I don’t think you’re going to like this, but you and Rush are for the most part in agreement on this particular issue. (As an FYI, “bath salts” is synonymous with methamphetamine, and methamphetamine isn’t a substance used exclusively by poor white people.) Anyway, I am with you and Rush. I hope you are familiar enough with me as a commenter on your blog to realize that I am not a troll.

    • >you and Rush are for the most part in agreement on this particular issue.

      I’m surprised Limbaugh is willing to see Van Dyke go down on a negligent homicide or murder second degree charge – conservatives of his stripe are usually reflexively pro-cop even in killings this bad.

  184. @ Patrick Maupin – “Combines behavior with motive . . . will produce some seriously circular reasoning . . . it provides status and sexual opportunities”

    So you are combining the behavior of bullying with the motive of improving sexual opportunities. I would suggest to you that a bully would attempt to intimidate women into easy sex, not impress them into acquiescence with their manliness. Bullying is more like coercion rather than extreme persuasion.

  185. P.S. I just read all the (MANY!) comments. I laughed at the one about ESR being anti-Semitic based on this post. Troll’s user ID was amusing, “ESR Hates Black People”. Troll misspelled misogynist too. One “y”, not two ;)

    Jessica, for once, I agree with all your comments.

    Jay Maynard, you are so sweet and friendly! I have not forgotten that you came to my aid regarding MVS/TSO. You are right about commenter Jeff not liking America, or rather, wanting to turn it into Europe, or somewhere else.

  186. ESR

    Ooops, sorry! You’re right, but I wasn’t clear. As of the last time I heard Rush mention this case, the police officer hadn’t been charged with first-degree murder. Rush said that the deceased youth had tested positive for PCP and had a history of violence, and that everyone shouldn’t be in a rush to judge the policeman.

    Hannity said that Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago looks like death warmed over, specifically, that he has a blue-ish tinge, which happens to be true, see here for a livid photo. Actually, that belongs to a nice man whose acquaintance I made on Twitter. He wrote this article, which makes some decent points about rioting in the wake of recent news on the case: The System Worked, So Why The Protests In Chicago? Note in particular the last three paragraphs. That is beyond the scope of your blog post, but is a related matter of concern.

  187. “conservatives of his stripe are usually reflexively pro-cop even in killings this bad.”

    Harrumph.

  188. Some people think your anti-SJW article is mysoginist and anti-Semitic.

    Duckspeakers don’t think, they just bellyfeel.

  189. > As for the cops in the US, they already have access to subguns, and in walking around Europe you see a number actively deployed there in every day use.

    I wouldn’t mind cops having full-auto M16s or Thompson submachine guns or the like as long as they are also readily available to Joe and Jane Private Citizen. But I do mind cops having handcuffs when Joe and Jane are forbidden by law from possessing them (as in NYC). It isn’t a matter of the nastiness of the guns or other gear, but of cops getting special treatment. Of “We need more rights than you, Citizen!” That is something that need to die the death, with the ground it sprang from sown with toxic radioactive salts so that it will never return.

  190. @TomA:

    “Combines behavior with motive . . . will produce some seriously circular reasoning . . . it provides status and sexual opportunities”

    So you are combining the behavior of bullying with the motive of improving sexual opportunities.

    That’s a terrible mis-quote of the two comments starting here where I explained that there are problems with your definition of bullying because it conflates behavior and motive. In that same comment, I explained that attempting to analyze the causes was worthwhile, and in a comment earlier than yours I described that other people had done some interesting analysis. In this “rebuttal” you attempt to equate my behavior with yours, when (a) I didn’t conflate motive with behavior in the definition of the behavior; and (b) I’m not even the one who came up with the motive — unlike you, I provided an article that had a few links to research in it.

    I would suggest to you that a bully would attempt to intimidate women into easy sex, not impress them into acquiescence with their manliness.

    So you didn’t read the article.

    Bullying is more like coercion rather than extreme persuasion.

    And no female ever is impressed by seeing a guy project obvious power over other guys. Whatever. Just in case you missed the article I pointed you at the first time, here are a couple of bits from it:

    Previously, Tony Volk, a Brock University psychologist who helped pioneer the genetic theory of bullying found teenage bullies got the more sex than everyone else. “The average bully isn’t particularly sadistic or even deeply argumentative,” he says. “What they really are is people driven for status.”

    The Fraser study adds weight to the hypothesis that bullying is in fact an evolutionary adaption.

    “These kids aren’t stupid, they know what they’re doing, they’re doing it for a reason,” Volk says. “We’re not saying give up on punishment necessarily, but what about the carrot?”

    The first PDF link in that blockquote gives the definition that “Bullying is a specific form of aggression that is characterized by an imbalance of power whereby a more powerful individual repeatedly and intentionally causes harm to a weaker individual.”

    Personally, I think that is a fine definition, and it’s made without reference to the reasons for the behavior.

  191. TomA on 2015-11-29 at 20:40:42 said:
    > So you are combining the behavior of bullying with the motive of improving sexual opportunities. I would suggest to you that a bully would attempt to intimidate women into easy sex, not impress them into acquiescence with their manliness.

    I am asshole. And I guarantee that successfully bullying some poor random innocent totally turns women on.

    Of course, blowback is possible. And if you fear there might be blowback, it is hard to hold frame. Your nervousness will show. So, to minimize the risk of blowback, it helps if you appear to bully someone you have previously tipped rather well.

    Directly intimidating women into easy sex is tricky, because you still have to build comfort.. Some effective tactics could be described as directly intimidating women, but are perhaps more accurately described as passing shit tests, or compliance testing. The kind of pressure one applies is too subtle to be called bullying or intimidation, except by the kind of people who worry about microaggressions.

    I have on occasion used such direct and forceful pressure as “Do as you are told!”, or to a girl who was physically resisting sex, “Go home!”.

    She went home, but after a few days, wanted to come back. She came back, but sex did not ensue, because she was on the rag and was embarrassed by the mess, so I asked to tie her up (using actual words that could in principle be recorded by a notary public). She consented to being tied up, again using actual words, and once she was tied up everything went smoothly, no further words being required.

    I don’t necessarily recommend such methods. They are tricky to carry out successfully, and may well be indicative of my incompetence as a seducer, rather than my skill. Generally better to bully some person who is complicit in being bullied, rather than the girl herself.

    Not only do you risk pissing off the girl causing her to leave and not come back, but worse, far worse, you are likely to lose frame and reveal that you are worrying about pissing off the girl causing her to leave and not come back.

    When I told that girl “Go home” it was because I realized I had slipped and lost frame, so sent her away to cover my slip. It was not a clever seducer’s move, but rather my recovery from ham fisted incompetence, in that I had put too much physical pressure on the girl to put out, and then lost frame by revealing my fear of losing her.

    Getting girls into the sack by bullying, or appearing to bully, someone else, is much safer and more effective. And it is just easier to carry out without losing frame and appearing needy.

  192. Objection your honor — assumes facts not in evidence, to wit: SJWs don’t use logic. More likely the internal narrative goes like:

    ESR write stuff me not grok. Me has sadz. Must give ESR my sadz. ESR bad racist. Me better than ESR racist. Me has no more sadz!

  193. This doesn’t sound “reflexively pro-cop” to me:

    “My natural predisposition is to not believe the media. I also do not believe Al Sharpton, and I do not initially believe the Reverend Jackson. I know that there are examples of both. There are bad cops, and there are black criminals. There are also innocent cops and innocent black individuals who encounter the cops, left and right.”

    Reference: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/05/11/liberals_lie_about_police_cases_to_advance_their_agenda

  194. Limbaugh misrepresented what the caller Chris said. He claimed that Chris said “right wing” but not “left wing”. In fact Chris said both “left” and “right”, but didn’t say “wing”.

    Also, this nonsense that the US media, owned as they are by wealthy cartels, are “left wing”, is proof only that those who hold this viewpoint are so right wing that they no longer recognise other right wing people as such.

  195. Geoffrey, you really should read Professor Tim Groseclose’s Left Turns. It’s an exhaustively researched book that demonstrates that the media in the US is indeed much farther left than the populace as a whole, and that it pulls the political discourse in this country well to the left.

    Just because the MSM in the US is owned by those nasty eeeeevil corporations does not mean that they espouse the nasty eeeeevil corporatist line. See, for example, Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, who are still pushing the “fake but accurate” line 11 years after their partisan hit piece on George W. Bush was thoroughly, totally debunked.

    • >Geoffrey, you really should read Professor Tim Groseclose’s Left Turns. It’s an exhaustively researched book that demonstrates that the media in the US is indeed much farther left than the populace as a whole, and that it pulls the political discourse in this country well to the left.

      And Groceclose isn’t some isolated crank. Similar results show up repeatedly in psephological surveys by the Pew Foundation.

  196. @ESR it is also possible to invert that approach: define “the left” as simply whatever intellectuals/professors/media types etc. preach. Otherwise it would be hard to to figure out the strange correlation between trigger warnings and Toyota Priuses, Whole Foods and gun control, “ethical buddhism” and welfare. Logically, there isn’t much relationship. But if you define the left not primarily as an ideology, but as a group, who then generates an ideology, their own “fiction absolute”: http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/tom-wolfe-lecture then you may understand the phenomenon better.

  197. >>”Also, this nonsense that the US media, owned as they are by wealthy cartels, are “left wing”, is proof.”

    The only way this makes sense is if you conflate “wealth” with ‘right wing’. Of course this is a demonstrably stupid proposition. I’m shocked you didn’t reflexively type “Faux News” in there somewhere.

  198. @ JAD

    I have no doubt that some women are attracted to men that bully others as a show of dominance, and that some men take advantage of this proclivity in women in order to obtain easy sex from them. Some men even fuck sheep and goats because that is even an easier conquest. To each his own.

    As for me, I am most attracted to highly intelligent women and have not run into this phenomenon in my personal life. But then, most of the women I know can hold their own both physically and intellectually, and prefer sport over games. That fake dominance shit isn’t likely to impress a woman who can free climb a half dome on a 5.9 route.

  199. @Ellie Kesselman
    > (As an FYI, “bath salts” is synonymous with methamphetamine, and methamphetamine isn’t a substance used exclusively by poor white people.)

    No, “bath salts” refers to synthetic designer drugs meant to get around the law [to varying degrees of actual success] by A) not being exactly a known illegal substance, and B) being labeled for sale as a non-drug (hence “bath salts”).

    They are often purported to be synthetic marijuana substitutes specifically.

    • >[Bath salts] are often purported to be synthetic marijuana substitutes specifically.

      While this may have been occasionally true in the past, that kind of “bath salt” wouldn’t be psychotogenic a la PCP and (justifiably) frighten street cops. Today’s “bath salts” are usually synthetic cathinones (such as mephedrone) an unusual class of amphetamines related to the naturally occurring intoxicant in the khat plant.

      These are nasty drugs, much more dangerous than synthetic cannabis. Not quite as bad as PCP but there’s plenty of street evidence that they can induce psychotic breaks, especially when taken with alcohol or the user has a prior history of mental illness.

      Plain “meth”, the rural-white-trash drug, is methamphetamine (N-methyl-alpha-methylphenethylamine) or a mixture with its its enantiomers dextromethamphetamine and levomethamphetamine. It’s different from cathinones in that the synthesis method is simpler, though dangerous and involving explosion risks. It is also highly addictive and neurotoxic.

  200. I know that the City and County cops in my area are trained to finish their clip after they fire the first shot. No stopping, no thinking, just quickly empty the gun into the perp. So no way does the cop get charged in my jurisdiction.

    I’m not saying that is right or wrong, just saying.

  201. And the real danger to meth is after users have been up for days, having fallen into paranoia and hallucinations.

  202. > While this may have been occasionally true in the past

    Well, synthetic cannabinoids are nothing to screw around with either, but my larger point is that the entire point of being called bath salts, regardless of what they supposedly or actually are analogs of, is that they’re designer drugs trying to get around the law by being sold as a different product, rather than being a named well-known controlled substance.

  203. Wow, lots of activity since I last checked in!

    @Foghorn Leghorn aka James Donald aka Jim blog of the NRx maybe altright:
    I’m not sure why you are sharing your seduction tips on this particular post. Most of what you have said about women doesn’t automatically imply that you are a misogynist. Rather, you are willing to go to significant lengths (and expenditures of time and effort) thinking about women because you like consensual sex rather than rape. Drilling down further in your comment: Telling a man to “Go home” works as a strategy to get what one wants, as a woman, whether it is sex or something else. You think about women with enough empathy to realize that menstruation is embarrassing and messy to us. You aren’t repulsed by it or use it for purposes of shaming. That’s good! Sometimes, it is easier to let a man insist on sex or a particular sexual act because it would be embarrassing to initiate it oneself; by having the man suggest or urge it, feelings of guilt, fear of rejection or worse yet, ridicule are avoided as a possible outcome. As long as sex is consensual, and I don’t mean the strange legalistic permissioning system that is so popular among college students in coastal enclaves of liberal progressivism, a woman is not “violated”. It is especially peculiar in this era of supposedly enlightened women and feminism that timeless male seduction tricks are perceived as dangerous and evil.

    @Joshua You’re correct about methamphetamine usage. I don’t know where @Winter gets his information. He is caught up in the designer drug fear-mongering. There have been stories of the havoc that designer drugs will bring since the early 1990s. Designer drugs and exotic synthetic hallucinogens remain the preserve of nerdy Erowid (Eurowid?) readers, Burning Man attendees and sub-redditors. Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine account for the overwhelming majority of illegal drug use, and especially ruinously destructive illegal drug use. I haven’t read anything about “bath salts” in the media in ages, let alone PCP! How many arrests for designer drug usage do you think there are Winter? The police don’t spend a huge amount of time trying to prosecute legal analogs that are marginally different chemically from controlled substances thus legal. I understand what you are saying, but it isn’t a big or even small problem, and is NOT something that policemen on patrol in slummy neighbors and public housing projects in Chicago worry about.

  204. Ah crud! @Winter I am sorry! I was wrong in haranguing you. All of that should have been directed at @Random832 not at you

    While I am here though…

    @Paralell Thank you for mentioning Rush Limbaugh in a positive light, and at length!

    @Geoffrey Tobin You need to read what @gmmay said. Please realize that a lot of the media is owned by wealthy LEFT-WING people. These days, being left-wing and advocating socialist or even communist ideologies is something that I primarily associate with a small number of extremely wealthy people. Every hedge fund portfolio manager, Silicon Valley venture capitalist and scion of privilege/inherited wealth that I can think of is a staunch Democrat or liberal progressive. They might be against something that affects them directly, (e.g. a Tobin tax on financial transactions) but in every other way, are pro-Hillary and Obama, fear gluten and Big Pharma, praise atheism, ridicule American culture, idolize multiculturalism etc. Most of the supposed libertarians seem to have vanished now that they actually have a presidential candidate to potentially represent them! Finally, and most substantive of all, please do note that donations by individuals to Democrat political candidates have exceeded donations to Republicans, based on FEC data, the Sunlight Foundation and other watchdog groups. The Left is not the persecuted underdog anymore, if it ever truly was; interestingly, income inequality and racial polarization has only worsened during the Left’s ascendancy. As for women’s rights, there are currently fewer women studying and working in what were considered male-dominated fields than in the bad old days. “Rape culture” is an endemic problem in the USA while the Muslim theocracies are remarkably immune to oppression by The Patriarchy, according to mainstream media’s dominant narrative and most of Western academia. I am being sarcastic now, but that was probably obvious.

    @Jay Maynard
    ;o)

  205. Groupthink classifies people by abstract groupings. Intellectuals/professors/media types also include Ayn Rand/Geoffrey Blainey (anti-immigration historian)/Rupert Murdoch.

    If you’re happy to classify those three individuals as left wing, then I’m out of here!

  206. Ellie, I would have thought there are a significant number of staunchly atheist libertarians, even among the contributors to this blog. Yes/no?

  207. US media doesn’t seem at all left wing from an Australian perspective, and people here generally vote conservative.

    My home town, Melbourne, is also Rupert Murdoch’s; his father was Managing Director of the largest newspaper company in Australia, the Herald and Weekly Times group, which always trenchantly supported the conservatives, regardless.

    The elder Murdoch was a renowned WW1 war correspondent. Internal rivalries in the HWT led to his downfall, and Rupert never forgave those responsible for this.

    The HWT owned the 7 TV network, to which the only significant rivals were the 9 network, which also was strongly conservative, and the 10 network, which was likewise, even before Murdoch bought it.

    Due to his rivalry with the HWT, the young and fast-rising Murdoch had a brief dalliance with progressive politics, which lasted all of 18 months.

    Murdoch created Australia’s first national newspaper, The Australian, bought the News of the World, the Sun and the Times in England, and eventually became powerful enough to buy a majority shareholding in the HWT.

    Right wing commentators have always had prominent airtime on Radio and TV here, whereas left wingers have rarely had a platform, and that temporarily and begrudgingly or for amusement value.

    We don’t have the equivalent of a Jon Stewart who lives by lampooning the politics of the right, or a Stephen Colbert who pretends to be right wing.

    What we do have are comedians who make fun of all politicians’ absurdities and inconsistencies, and a thriving community of cartoonists who are all over the political spectrum, plus some who are so eccentric as to defy classification.

    The Fairfax media organisation, which Murdoch and co would have us believe is left of centre, usually recommend a conservative vote, and they own the 2GB and 3AW radio stations which consistently promote strong conservative, free market, messages, and are invariably hostile to all leftish opinions.

  208. > Right wing commentators have always had prominent airtime on Radio and TV here, whereas left wingers have rarely had a platform, and that temporarily and begrudgingly or for amusement value.

    Oh come on. The Australian media campaigns loudly and non stop for unlimited illegal immigration, a policy that pretty much everyone in Australia opposes and has been repeatedly demonstrated to be political suicide.. Australian media announce imminent climate doom day and night. Australian media continually tells white Australians they are horrid evil hateful racists. Australian media continually celebrate supposed Australian aboriginals, frequently Australian aboriginals who some how look entirely white – similar to so many prominent “native Americans”. Australian media campaigns for gay marriage and presents gays as normal family men. http://winteryknight.com/2013/07/01/why-two-dads-are-better-than-one-pro-gay-adoption-abc-profile-of-convicted-pedophile-mark-newton/

    All of these positions are far to the left of the vast majority of Australians who are being bullied into enduring them.

  209. Geoffrey, in the context of American politics, the US MSM is unabashedly well left of center. Professor Groseclose quantified this. On a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is left and 100 is right, the US MSM is about 25…and the outlet the Left moves to hate, Fox News, is 48!

    That the US MSM isn’t to the left when taken in context of Australian politics matters not even a little bit.

    And Aussies may vote conservative by their own lights, but they’re leftist by American standards.

  210. @Ellie Kesselman –

    I made no comment on how common they were, I was just pointing out that “bath salts” is not synonymous with methamphetamine as you had asserted it was.

  211. @Geoffrey Tobin
    > Ellie, I would have thought there are a significant number of staunchly atheist libertarians, even among the contributors to this blog. Yes/no?

    Yes, I imagine so Geoffrey. Certainly I am both libertarian and atheist. However, it did make me think: is there any research on the %ages. Googling I found this:

    Atheist Conservatives and Libertarians are not Rare

    This really asks the wrong question: how many atheists are libertarians rather than how many libertarians are atheists. However, it did make me think. Why are atheists very often liberal? After all, one of the consequences of atheism is that morality is a human construct, and liberalism very much projects itself as a moral play.

    Two causes strike me.

    1. Religious people tend toward conservatism since conservatism is almost required for religion. “Take it on faith” for example requires a body of unchanging beliefs that are to be accepted irrespective of (note I say irrespective, not without) examination. This requires a degree of unchanging continuity. So consequently, here politics follows religion.

    2. Humans seem to have a built in need for religion. We need some meaning outside of ourselves, and some clear definition of what is wrong and right (since creating your own is so hard and so dangerous.) So in the absence of a spiritual religion they seek a secular religion such as liberalism.

    BTW, the second point could also be applied to libertarians too. That this is the case can be seen in the zeal and blinkered thinking of people when it comes to politics. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” is doubly true of politics and religion.

  212. @ Jessica re: religion/faith

    As a species, we developed complex language skill about 200,000 years ago and thereafter acquired the ability to pass wisdom from generation-to-generation via memetic reprogramming after birth. During the past few millennia, this cultural trait has manifest as religion (of many types) and the mental practice of faith has emerged as a successful technique to both mitigate unknowns and assure conformity. As such, religion and faith exist because they “work” in the sense that these cultural traits have aided our specie’s ability to survive and thrive.

    Even the characteristic of an non-falsifiable God is an evolved feature of successful religions; as presumably, religions centered around falsifiable gods have long since become extinct.

  213. > As such, religion and faith exist because they “work” in the sense that these cultural traits have aided our specie’s ability to survive and thrive.

    Unless you’re going to contend that there were other intelligent species that existed contemporary with humans that died out because of their lack of religion, there simply hasn’t been enough of a competition “arena” to make statements like that, any more than you can about the common cold. It’s “aided” its own ability to survive and thrive, not humanity’s.

  214. >Unless you’re going to contend that there were other intelligent species that existed contemporary with humans that died out because of their lack of religion, there simply hasn’t been enough of a competition “arena” to make statements like that, (…)

    Women have large breasts*, not to look more attractive than dogs, baboons and giraffes, but to look more attractive than other women. Selection pressures can work within a single species as well as between different species. His argument, while not one I am very sympathetic with, is that less religious humans have become evolutionary dead-ends. This can have happened both on an individual basis (within tribe) and on a group level (between tribes).

    *Substitute women and breasts for peacocks and tails, respectively, if this example is too controversial.

  215. > Selection pressures can work within a single species as well as between different species.

    Right, but the assertion that some traits “have aided our specie’s ability to survive and thrive” isn’t talking about selection within a species.

    I doubt the arena is even large enough, considering different cultures as competing with each other, to not be confounded by other factors such as some culture with a trait that would be disadvantageous in a vacuum outcompeting its neighbors due to a geographic advantage or some other advantageous cultural practice that it also happens to have.

  216. Anyway, my suggestion that his claim was equivalent to claiming a literal virus’s success implies that the virus has contributed to the success of the host’s species was actually drawing an intentional parallel to the idea of a “memetic virus”.

  217. @ Random832

    I wasn’t trying to go off-topic, but merely adding perspective to Jessica’s comment.

    Complex language skill is unique to present day Homo sapiens and is the basis of a robust memetic evolutionary process that parallels traditional DNA-based evolution. Just as genetic evolution has provided us with physical traits such bipedalism, bicameral vision, and opposable thumbs; memetic evolution has conferred us with behavioral traits that also function to reinforce our ability to survive and thrive. Although each of these psychological traits operates at the individual level, they tend to spread and persist via cultural mechanisms; of which, religion is a prominent example.

    Cultural evolution is most often studied anthropologically, but the advent of computer-based simulation modeling has provided additional tools for studying these effects. Game theory predicts the rise and success of religious cultural mechanisms is simulated social populations.

  218. >Right, but the assertion that some traits “have aided our specie’s ability to survive and thrive” isn’t talking about selection within a species.

    Large breasts provide individual women an advantage, by increasing their sexual capital. Simultaneously, by virtue of being a health marker – functionally amplifying the selection pressures from infections, scarcity of food, etc on women, by carrying these over to sexual selection – they can (hypothetically) contribute to the -species’ ability to survive and thrive-.

  219. You must be watching SBS, the “all employees must be gay” channel.

    Seriously, have you ever read a HWT or Murdoch paper, or listened to Alan Jones or watched the Bolt Report? There are and always have been multitudes of these people on the most prominent platforms incessantly. They have the support of the media barons and the politicians’ ears.

    If you’re complaining that people exist who express other opinions, and that some of them are loud enough to be heard, then that’s freedom of speech. Build a bridge, and get over it.

    The present government is preparing to institute measures to restrict the intake of refugees to bona fide Christians and other minorities that are at risk from Muslim extremism. The objections to this were more muted than might be expected if the country were run by some left wing media con- or pro- spiracy.

    If that policy is not good enough for you, then lay out your plan for the public benefit. Whether it’s good or half-baked, if you’re strident or it strikes raw nerves on left, right or centre, it will get an airing.

  220. Jay, that’s a remarkably presumptuous take on Australian politics. Just because John Howard restricted gun ownership because he was afraid his own supporters might shoot him, is does not make him a leftist.

    Contrary to what you might imagine, there are plenty of right wing conservatives now, as there were in 1775, who see public ownership of firearms as a potential threat to their lives and authority.

    If you disagree, then train and arm all the lefties in America, then tell me how safe you feel.

  221. Jay, again re Australian conservative politics, they are in practice and motive indistinguishable from conservative Republicans, only more devious.

    The US involvement in the Vietnam war, which so damaged the US economy, was caused not by US policy, but by an appeal to the ANZUS treaty by the Australian conservative PM, Robert Menzies, who had fabricated a document from the South Vietnamese government requesting military aid from Australia.

    Menzies did this because in 1961 his policies had caused a recession that nearly cost him government, and he knew that deceitful calls to patriotism and fear-mongering about “the yellow peril” and “the red menace” had always won votes. It worked a treat this time too: Menzies and his party won the 1963 and 1966 elections very easily, while oblivious American soldiers died in multitudes.

    The US government learnt its lesson: when Indonesia was sabre-rattling and the Australian government discreetly enquired whether, in the event of an Indonesian invasion, the US would honour the treaty and protect us, the US government went public with a resounding “NO!”

  222. I was wondering: what are people’s views here on the Sovereign Citizen movement?

    Allodial title for private landowners sounds good to me. It does work, as we know from legal cases in 800s Brittany, where lords were convicted of trespassing on peasants’ land.

  223. Regarding existential competition between human belief systems, it is reasonable to posit that those that encourage child-bearing will inexorably overwhelm those that do not.

    Families who have many healthy children will almost inevitably greatly outnumber those who are pro-abortion and those who see children as only a burden.

  224. Geoffrey: “If you disagree, then train and arm all the lefties in America, then tell me how safe you feel.”

    Sign me up.
    I do not, unlike hoplophobes everywhere, assume that handing someone a gun and teaching them how to use it automatically turns them into a deranged killer. A gun is a tool, nothing more, nothing less.

    “MSM” is short for “mainstream media”, and refers, in the main, to traditional mass media outlets like NBC, CBS, ABC, Pravda-on-the-Hudson the New York Times, the Washington Post, and so on…basically, everyone but Fox News, who gets excluded by general agreement.

    I’m not sure I know enough about Sovereign Citizen to have a fully valid opinion, but what I’ve heard of them tells me they’re a bunch of loonies hanging their entire worldview on one thin strand that I’m not at all sure bears put o scrutiny. Certainly those who do things like file trillion-dollar liens against judges are out and out kooks.

    And blaming the Australian government for the Vietnam War is a stretch. We’d have jumped into that one with both feet even absent Menzies’s appeal – and note that the average American does not know that story. I’m taking your word for it, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.

  225. It’s not clear to me how software could model the spontaneous emergence of any belief system, least of all an essentially transcendental one.

    If you could do this, you could create a true artificial intelligence. There’d be no need for scripted interactions in computer games, as the characters would respond intelligently and innovative lay on their own.

  226. In Australia we have a 30 year rule, whereby most federal cabinet documents become public after that lapse of time. This is when we discover what our governments were really up to, and discern more about the real personalities of our politicians.

    Menzies was one of those “butter won’t melt in my mouth, and I’ve got a plum in each cheek, and I so love the Queen that I don’t care how much it embarrasses her” type conservatives in public.

    In cabinet, as transpired, he swore like a trooper, though he never served in any arm of the military when he had the opportunity.

    I have little to no respect for politicians who send others to war when they’ve literally dodged that bullet themselves.

  227. It’s evident that both left and right wear filters that perceive bias only when it’s against them.

    It’s fanciful to lump all of Australia’s media (sans Murdoch) into one camp.

    For a start, most of those journos who critique the right for absurd or unjust policies also lambast the left for their ridiculously ill-thought-out and unaffordable proposals.

    Imagine for a week that you’re even a little left of centre, then picture how the media’s savaging of beleaguered left-of-centre politicians looks.

    It’s pretty sad, whoever the victim is. Hewson was on the receiving end of this, as were Gorton and MacMahon. So we’re many on the Labor side.

    Basically, the most creatively vicious demagogue always wins the debate, so far as the media wolves are concerned. Policy is nothing, personality and blood sports are everything.

    As for policy, remember that most of the nationalisations were undertaken by conservative governments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whereas Labor in the 80s and 90s privatised numerous government assets such as the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Telstra.

    Left and right are not rigid demarcations. Parties change, under media and lobbyist influence, quicker than the public does, because of proximity.

  228. Geoffrey Tobin: “Ayn Rand/Geoffrey Blainey (anti-immigration historian)/Rupert Murdoch”.

    Rand has been dead for 33 years. Blainey is unknown outside Australia, and is 85 years old. Murdoch is such an extreme right-winger that he supported Tony Blair and raised funds for Hillary Clinton.

    You notice conservatives in the media such as Andrew Bolt. That’s because they stand out against the solid background of leftists.

    Incidentally, while there seems to be a lot talk about Murdoch, there is no mention of the billion AUS$ elephant in the room: the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

  229. > > As such, religion and faith exist because they “work” in the sense that these cultural traits have aided our specie’s ability to survive and thrive.

    > there simply hasn’t been enough of a competition “arena” to make statements like that, any more than you can about the common cold. It’s “aided” its own ability to survive and thrive, not humanity’s.

    If a faith spreads primarily through evangelism, (“cults”) or primarily through armed conquest, like Islam, then the faith likely survives at the expense of its adherents.

    If, however, a faith is primarily propagated from father to son then it had to co-evolve with its host, and is likely beneficial to the host’s survival and reproduction, for example forbidding stupid, evil, and self destructive behavior such as homosexuality, (notice that not very many gays survive to be old) and commanding the community to enforce pro survival practices like enforcing the traditional marriage contract.

    (Faiths propagated from mother to daughter are unstable and do not propagate with fidelity)

    Every faith that is older than a few centuries favors reproduction, if only by favoring marital stability and commanding sex within marriage, because those that did not, are not around any more.

  230. Most people watch the commercial channels and listen to commercial radio, not to the ABC.

    TV and radio are about a lot more than politics. I certainly don’t follow them for that: the internet is much more immediate and diverse.

  231. Why does Murdoch sometimes support not-obviously right wing pollies?

    Murdoch despises the unions, especially in print media, for historic reasons that are well documented.

    He’s not a moral conservative: he believes in whatever turns the biggest profit. His own mother was on public record criticising him for a deficiency in scruples.

    Murdoch is very hands on and makes his opinions very clear to his staff right down the chain. When the News of the World broke surveillance laws, they were following what they believed to be his expectations.

    He will support politicians who support him. It happens that the majority of these are conservatives.

    What is Tony Blair’s politics? He’s a Roman Catholic and was the most enthusiastic non-US supporter of George W. Bush’s Iraq policies, for which he remains unapologetic.

    Blair practised typical conservative behaviours such as knighthoods as a quid pro quo.

  232. Historically, that’s because a non-believing mother was found to lead her children astray. (Solomon’s pagan wives were an object lesson that the prohibitions strictly applied by Ezra were designed to deal with.)

  233. > And he would not tell you that. If you’ve shot someone in self defense, and the person
    > goes down and is no longer a threat to you, please do not believe that you can
    > “finish him off” because you were legally justified in shooting him in the first place.
    > Even Soldiers in combat can’t keep shooting someone who is hors de combat
    > from wounds.

    There are three ways that shooting someone (or even just shooting someone) stops a fight:

    1) Psychological. The person being shot at realized that “Shit got Real” and doesn’t want to play anymore. They surrender, raise their hands, whatever. This includes any hit that isn’t immediately disabling (hits which are disabling but not lethal RARELY happens with a pistol). This includes people who realize a minute or two later that they’ve been shot and stop. It is how pistol fights usually end–with one party quitting. Pistol shots are notoriously non-lethal.

    2) Central Nervous System hit. A shot to the brain or upper spine are generally immediately lethal.

    3) Reduction in inter-cranial blood pressure. As someone takes hits and the blood leaks out blood pressure and volume drop. At some point there isn’t enough of either (volume or pressure), the brain starts to shut down and the target falls down.

    Note, this isn’t about how they *die*, but why they stop fighting. Either they give up, you shoot them in the head, or they bleed out.

    I don’t know how many read the book “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell, or remember just a few pages in the book (IDK if it showed up in the movie) where Luttrell and the army went back to get the bodies of the rest of his team. One of his teammates that Luttrell had seen shot to get the ground with rifle fire had gotten up and started fighting again. They found him (IIRC) 50 or so meters away with a trail of bodies and 9mm brass between where he fell the first time and where he finally died.

    It is very rare that someone will give up and then get back in the fight. It is even rarer that someone takes a hit to the brain[1] and gets back up.

    However, if someone has stopped fighting and fallen down because their inter-cranial blood pressure fell, if they *fall down* their brain is now at the same level as the rest of their body, and sometimes there will be sufficient oxygenated blood to restore the person to consciousness. Now usually in this case they are not going to get back in the fight. Most people, once they are shot to the ground stay there.

    So to the poster’s point, *generally* speaking he’s right. Legally you are not allowed an “anchoring” shot. If someone tries to mug you on the street, if someone breaks into your house and you are in a position where shooting is legally justified, once the *threat* is over–once they have gone to the ground–you pretty much need to stop shooting UNLESS they have a firearm they are still trying to bring into play–then they are still in the fight and still a threat.

    This is the situation with Van Dyke and Mr. Angel Dust. This is the situation with MOST shootings.

    There are, however, corner cases, so while it’s a general principle that one does not issue the coup de grace, if you think the person carrying an AK and yelling about Hawaiian Snack bars you just shot is wearing a vest? Shoot him in the head until you see grey matter, then go shoot his buddies.

    The real world is not binary, it is not either-or. The Logic 101 case of “it is either raining or not raining” is bullshit. Yeah, in the comfort of a classroom in a modern heated building you can come up with an arbitrary line between raining and not, but in the real world it’s not so clear cut.

    Thus it is with violence. It’s easy to sit in an arm chair and pontificate about it. It’s a lot different when you’re standing there shaking with adrenaline.

  234. @Geoffrey Tobin:

    I was wondering: what are people’s views here on the Sovereign Citizen movement?

    Admittedly, I’ve never met anyone espousing this nonsense IRL or online, and wouldn’t give one cent for any of their literature either. As a result, my understanding comes not from direct study, but from news about their trials, almost universally for tax evasion, where even if they were right (performing the magical legal incantations they provide will sever your ties to the government) they are still wrong (stateless and foreign persons are still subject to tax law in whatever jurisdiction they work/reside). The fact that the entire movement sells itself on the above basis (“learn the secrets that will prevent you from ever having to pay taxes!”) means the entire movement reeks of fraud and insanity to me.

  235. > Imagine for a week that you’re even a little left of centre, then picture how the media’s savaging of beleaguered left-of-centre politicians looks

    Someone in Australia who is “a little left of center” wants to illegal immigration stopped, wants to deport any illegals that make it, is vaguely against “climate change” provided stopping climate change does not cost him anything. He is white, and vaguely against racism, but does not believe he is a hateful evil racist and gets pissed with anyone who tells him that he is.

    So someone who is a little left of center in Australia is likely to get the impression that the media is completely controlled by hostile aliens who hate him for being insufficiently left wing.

    To get the impression that the Australian or American media is right wing, you have to believe in unrestricted illegal immigration, imminent climate catastrophe, that blacks and women are held back by powerful pervasive racism and sexism, and that there is a rape epidemic in America of rapes committed by white middle class students, and a partner abuse epidemic in Australia where large numbers of white middle class husbands are murdering their spouses.

    That position is not “a little left wing”. That position is frothing at the mouth and screaming for blood left wing.

    the boats, and doe

  236. Geoffrey Tobin:
    > What is Tony Blair’s politics? He’s a Roman Catholic and was the most enthusiastic
    > non-US supporter of George W. Bush’s Iraq policies, for which he remains unapologetic.
    > Blair practised typical conservative behaviours such as knighthoods as a quid pro quo.

    Now see, this is the collision between European Conservative and American Conservative.

    No one in America[1] would have considered Blair a “Conservative” because other than the War he was essentially some variant of Social Democrat/Progressive/Socialist.

    No American Conservative[2] would consider knighthood a “conservative” thing, nor would “being” a RC make one a “Conservative”. Nancy Pelosi claims to be RC despite being on the opposite side of every historical church position/doctrine. Well, prior to the takeover of the church by marxists in the form of “Liberation Theology”.

    [1] No rational ones anyway. If you’ve got 300m+ people to talk to *someone* is going to have the opinion you want to broadcast.

    [2] Some more knowledgeable and educated conservatives would, but not in the context of America as we’ve never had it, and it is antithetical to our culture and way of life.

  237. Geoffrey Tobin:
    > Jay, again re Australian conservative politics, they are in practice and motive
    > indistinguishable from conservative Republicans, only more devious.

    The closest thing to Conservatives I met when I lived there (Alice Springs) would be considered moderates here.

    Admittedly most of them I met at the gun range–a really nice range built with federal money that was INCREDIBLY under utilized, and every one of them talked not about figuring out how to get more people to the range to get more money in club/range fees, but how to get grant proposals written up so they could get more money. From the government.

    Australians out there were always looking for a grant from the Government to do stuff. The YMCA had a climbing wall that they got a grant to redo, so they took it down and ran out of money half way through. So it sat there like that for 9 or 10 months. Until the next grant came through. In the US they’d never had gotten any money in the first place for something like that, but if they did they either would have gotten it in under budget or hit up local businesses for donations.

    They claimed to want a smaller government, or at least a less expensive one, but they were much more interested in government services than your typical US conservative (Social Security excluded because most Conservatives are of the opinion that since they’ve been forced to pay in, they should get back what they paid.).

    Heck, they had a *gorgeous* club house with a decent view, and could have run a pretty nice restaurant out if it for dinner without compromising their shooting activities during the day.

    > The US involvement in the Vietnam war, which so damaged the US economy, was

    The people who were pushing/running the Vietnam war would have argued this with you. See also “Broken Window” economic fallacy. The Vietnam war got rid of a reasonable number of overproductive people and gave the USG the excuse to continue to pour money into the military and the defense industries, which found it’s way back to the politicians. That pretty much IS the definition of a “good economy”, right?

    > caused not by US policy, but by an appeal to the ANZUS treaty by the Australian
    > conservative PM, Robert Menzies, who had fabricated a document from the
    > South Vietnamese government requesting military aid from Australia.

    That took place in 1965, by which time both the US and Australia were embroiled in Vietnam.

    > Menzies did this because in 1961 his policies had caused a recession that nearly cost
    > him government, and he knew that deceitful calls to patriotism and fear-mongering about
    > “the yellow peril” and “the red menace” had always won votes. It worked a treat this time too:

    How many people died in Cambodia, in Vietnamese re-education facilities, in

    Menzies and his party won the 1963 and 1966 elections very easily, while oblivious American soldiers died in multitudes.

    The US government learnt its lesson: when Indonesia was sabre-rattling and the Australian government discreetly enquired whether, in the event of an Indonesian invasion, the US would honour the treaty and protect us, the US government went public with a resounding “NO!”

  238. Hit Post too fast, sorry:

    > Menzies did this because in 1961 his policies had caused a recession that nearly cost
    > him government, and he knew that deceitful calls to patriotism and fear-mongering about
    > “the yellow peril” and “the red menace” had always won votes. It worked a treat this time too:

    How many people died in Cambodia, in Vietnamese re-education facilities? How many people did the communists murder (Communists “run” from N. Vietnam) in Laos?

    > Menzies and his party won the 1963 and 1966 elections very easily, while oblivious American soldiers died in multitudes.

    In the early 1960s the US asked Australia for help with training S. Vietnamese soldiers because the Diggers had experience helping the British in the jungles of Malaya during the “Emergency” there, so the US reached out to request cross training.

    So basically, no.

    > The US government learnt its lesson: when Indonesia was sabre-rattling and
    > the Australian government discreetly enquired whether, in the event of an Indonesian
    > invasion, the US would honour the treaty and protect us, the US government went
    > public with a resounding “NO!”

    Site please. Or at least year.

    I know a bit about US/AU military relations having worked in one of the joint facilities, and the US would *not* have allowed that to be compromised. OTOH, if they asked Obama…

  239. William: Yet, on the other hand, the 19th century Republican government passed anti-trust legislation which is stricter than anything Australian parties are willing to introduce. So, in our minds, that was radical.

    Have Americans moved to the right since then?

  240. @Geoffrey Tobin: the 19th century Republican government

    In the 19th century, the Republicans were further left than the Democrats in the US. The Republicans only became the “right-wing” party when the Democrats were taken over by the progressives in the early to mid 20th century (basically from Woodrow Wilson to FDR), because the progressives got tired of the Republicans not being progressive enough.

  241. Geoffrey Tobin on 2015-12-02 at 23:33:53 said:
    > William: Yet, on the other hand, the 19th century Republican government

    Very late 19th century. In fact most of the relevant legislation was early 20th, and was mostly bi-partisan.

    > passed anti-trust legislation which is stricter than anything Australian parties
    > are willing to introduce. So, in our minds, that was radical.

    Anti-trust isn’t seen as particularly socialist or progressive by contemporary Americans, it is seen as protecting small business and the consumer. Note that I don’t particularly agree with that position, but that’s my perception of what people around me think.

    > Have Americans moved to the right since then?

    American’s haven’t, we’ve always been that way. But the political landscape has changed significantly, and in some ways (not always good) politicians are more responsive to the electorate (the direct election of senators for one)

    We (conservatives) have also learned that Government, especially the federal government tends to correct things *slower* than the market (for example by the time most of the anti-trust laws were enacted the specific companies that triggered their creation were already in decline).

    Government also tends to create the very problems it wants legislation to fix. Many of the railroads in the US were built with significant government intervention (I can’t recall how much if any government financing) but this was done in favor of the politically connected (much like Diane Fienstein’s husband is a very wealth “contractor” and real estate broker in California).

    In fact many of the larger corporations couldn’t have gotten as big as they are, or maintained their size without significant government intervention.

    Governments have miserable records when it comes to telling their people what to do, and they really have a tendency to do things in favor of the politically connected.

  242. Tobin:
    > For a start, most of those journos who critique the right for absurd or unjust policies
    > also lambast the left for their ridiculously ill-thought-out and unaffordable proposals.

    No, they do not. At least not here in the US (I did not pay much attention to national politics when I lived in AU, so I can’t comment there).

  243. SF 8 cops v.s. 1 knife, v.s. how they do it in canada and europe videos.
    http://thefreethoughtproject.com/public-execution-firing-squad-video-shows-10-cops-unload-single-man-knife/
    Apparently in Europe they don’t assume everyone is an urban ninja that can slaughter them from 21 feet away even if they have gun drawn and pointed at the perp but don’t immediately pull the trigger.
    Rules of engagement ought to be different for soldiers in a war zone.
    But today the militarization of police make them like an enemy occupying army – lets keep escalating until we have no liberty or are all dead.

  244. Government also tends to create the very problems it wants legislation to fix. Many of the railroads in the US were built with significant government intervention (I can’t recall how much if any government financing) but this was done in favor of the politically connected

    The railroad companies were given huge tracts of government land, I think about 1-2 miles on each side of the tracks, for building the lines. They made a huge amount of money selling this land after the homesteading tapered off.

  245. >Apparently in Europe they don’t assume everyone is an urban ninja that can slaughter them from 21 feet away even if they have gun drawn and pointed at the perp but don’t immediately pull the trigger. >Rules of engagement ought to be different for soldiers in a war zone.

    For law enforcement purposes, Chicago is a lot like a war zone. Its homicide rate is 10 (ten) times as high as a not very peaceful city like London, and 50 times that of Tokyo.

    Note that direct comparisons of homicide rates are somewhat misleading, because Chicago doesn’t have fifty times as many homicides of all kinds. Generally, the lower the homicide rate, the larger the -proportion- of them are crimes like people poisoning their partners, strangling their infants and killing people with can openers because they hear voices.

    For very high rates of homicide, like what you see in Chicago, the homicide rates are dominated by proto-civil war like conditions in the streets – executions within gangs; war-like hostilities between gangs; and strangers being assaulted. The level of -street violence- in Chicago is probably in the ballpark of 500 times that of Tokyo.

    If you take away paramilitary law enforcement, what you get is Detroit, where gangs rule the inner city, productive citizens feel so unsafe that they leave, and civilization completely breaks down.

    [See also my exchange with Winter regarding Amsterdam.]

    • >For law enforcement purposes, Chicago is a lot like a war zone. Its homicide rate is 10 (ten) times as high as a not very peaceful city like London, and 50 times that of Tokyo.

      And well over a hundred times that of the unremarkable exurban borough where I live, where there’s been one murder in the last six years and that was due to a drug deal having gone bad. When I say that the U.S. is criminologically a handful of Swazilands surrounded by Switzerland this is what I mean.

  246. > The railroad companies were given huge tracts of government land, I think about 1-2 miles on each side of the tracks, for building the lines.

    The railroad companies were given an enormous amount of land land – Half of all the land (in a one-mile checkerboard pattern) within either 10 or 20 miles (depending on era) of the railroad path, specifically for the purpose of selling to fund the construction of the railroads.

  247. Some of them were even larger – the Northern Pacific land grants, for example (through North Dakota and Montana), extended 50 miles from the tracks, covering (at half density) nearly the entire southern half of North Dakota.

  248. @esr
    “And well over a hundred times that of the unremarkable exurban borough where I live, where there’s been one murder in the last six years and that was due to a drug deal having gone bad. When I say that the U.S. is criminologically a handful of Swazilands surrounded by Switzerland this is what I mean.”

    That is an interesting real life experiment. You yourself live in an area where the state has full control and all its services are in working order due to a good tax basis for the delivery of public goods. This has very low crime rates.

    Then there are inner city areas where the US state has effectively withdrawn. The people living there have basically very little intervention from the powers of the state. Neither police nor tax man will come visiting them. So we can now see how the US would look like when the Citizens have to organize themselves. This must be the Libertarian Valhalla: No state, no taxes, free guns. These inner city areas are Libertarianism at work.

    What we see in the US inner cities is also in line with what we see in every corner of the world where the state has fallen apart.

    More about the subject of abandoned USA inner cities:

    The Formation of the U.S. Racialized Urban Ghetto
    http://www.cusag.umd.edu/documents/workingpapers/rugone.pdf

  249. @ Winter – “inner city areas where the US state has effectively withdrawn . . . This must be the Libertarian Valhalla”

    Not so. These are the areas where the productive have been driven out en masse by the tyranny of liberal government and usurious taxation. And all that remain are the parasites living off meager welfare entitlements and leading bitter lives of disappointment and despair. These are enclaves of socialism not Libertarianism; and this the future you would condemn all of us to having in your lust for evermore government domination.

  250. Winter
    > Then there are inner city areas where the US state has effectively withdrawn. The people living there have basically very little intervention from the powers of the state. Neither police nor tax man will come visiting them.

    You are completely ignorant of the realities of America. When East Palo Alto had the highest murder rate in America in was swarming with police and social workers. I am told the police were corrupt and the social workers uncaring, but a white man could not drive into East Palo Alto without being stopped by cops, and every family had a social worker like ever normal white family has an uncle or aunt.

    What finally dropped the murder rate in East Palo Alto was a colonialist imperialist invasion of white cops from West Palo Alto, followed by Mestizo colonization. The Mestizos killed off the most badly behaved blacks. I am not sure who restored order to East Palo Alto, white cops or Mexican gangs, but the place was never short of black cops or social workers.

  251. >You are completely ignorant of the realities of America.

    Worse yet, he is completely ignorant of the realities of Amsterdam.

  252. @Anonymous et al.
    “>You are completely ignorant of the realities of America.”

    I know, therefore I use your own words:
    “For very high rates of homicide, like what you see in Chicago, the homicide rates are dominated by proto-civil war like conditions in the streets – executions within gangs; war-like hostilities between gangs; and strangers being assaulted.”

    “If you take away paramilitary law enforcement, what you get is Detroit, where gangs rule the inner city, productive citizens feel so unsafe that they leave, and civilization completely breaks down.”

    How is this different from “the state has withdrawn from these neighborhoods” or “the inhabitants rule their own neighborhoods”. It is actually the same situation as in Islamic State. The people are even armed. The police drives through once a week.

    @TomA
    “These are the areas where the productive have been driven out en masse by the tyranny of liberal government and usurious taxation. And all that remain are the parasites living off meager welfare entitlements and leading bitter lives of disappointment and despair.”

    I know, Libertarianism only works when the right people (euphemism for white protestants) start under the right circumstances (most powerful army in the world to protect them).

    So the question remains, why do the productive people move out when the state “oppression” weakens and Libertarian self rule is on the horizon?

    @Anonymous et al.
    “Worse yet, he is completely ignorant of the realities of Amsterdam.”
    “[See also my exchange with Winter regarding Amsterdam.]”

    Yep, you were correlating the murder rates in Berlin and Amsterdam with the black population, without bothering to look whether the black populations was even involved in these murders, and what exactly is the definition or background of the “blacks” (different continents, different parts of these continents, different crime statistics). In short, you did not need information to know for sure that a black skin is all you need to explain crime rates.

    It is my experience that racism is a faith not sensitive to statistics. So why bother?

  253. esr:

    Your analysis is rubbish. The kind of twisted logic that only exists in white America’s psycotic and deranged mind.

    >> You don’t pull a knife and brandish it in the presence of two cop cars if you’re thinking at all sanely

    That is BS. First, we don’t know that he saw the cops or that he processed that cops were around. Or that he brandished his knives to threaten the cops or “charge at them”. The idea that he was a threat to multiple fully armed cops in the area is ridiculous. It’s some black kid, high on drugs, walking in the middle of street. The measured response is either to leave him alone or arrest him. Multiple officers in the area could easily do that.

    >> This is a situation that amply justifies drawing a weapon and preparing to shoot. From the video, McDonald was well inside the 21-foot close-engagement limit – he could have rushed an officer with that knife before the officer could draw on him and trust me that this is not a chance to take with someone you suspect might be on PCP.

    No it does not. It justifies being alert, maybe getting his hand on his gun and preparing to draw, while moving away from the kid. The kid was moving away from the cops not towards them and was no danger to anybody. Anymore than someone doing those same drugs in the privacy of their home being a danger to their neighbors

    >> If you are any of the cops you are going to be adrenaline-dumping by now. This is a dangerous situation even with your gun drawn; the thug could charge you, take several bullets and still stab you fatally before he goes down. It’s happened often enough before.

    Yes indeed! The 3in blade of his knife is as dangerous as as a 3man samurai sword that could have sliced Van Dyke and his fellow officer in one fell swoop

    • >That is BS. First, we don’t know that he saw the cops or that he processed that cops were around.

      He was less than 20 feet from them and directly facing them when he brandished the knife.

      >The kid was moving away from the cops not towards them and was no danger to anybody.

      My self-defense training tells me differently. So does jfre’s video of a cop being stabbed to death by an assailant who rushed him at similar range.

      >Yes indeed! The 3in blade of his knife is as dangerous as as a 3man samurai sword

      Even I am potentially lethal at that range with a three-inch blade, and I’m slow on my feet and not possessed of berserk strength. You grossly underestimate the danger here.

      Not that I think that justifies Van Dyke’s perseveration.. He should certainly have stopped firing once McDonald was down.

  254. >How is this different from “the state has withdrawn from these neighborhoods” or “the inhabitants rule their own neighborhoods”. It is actually the same situation as in Islamic State. The people are even armed. The police drives through once a week.

    The error in your thinking is as ridiculous as entering a hospital, observing that most people there are sick, and concluding that medical care is the cause of their sickness. The truth is that people in hospitals are sick because of a selection process.

    Similarly, the Detroits of America are not exceptional in that they are libertarian – which isn’t even a good description in the first place. These cities are exceptional in that extreme levels of crime and social dysfunction have caused decent people to leave. Crucially, this flight was brought about by socialism and demographics, -not- libertarianism or anything even resembling it.

    >Yep, you were correlating the murder rates in Berlin and Amsterdam with the black population, without bothering to look whether the black populations was even involved in these murders, and what exactly is the definition or background of the “blacks” (different continents, different parts of these continents, different crime statistics). In short, you did not need information to know for sure that a black skin is all you need to explain crime rates. >It is my experience that racism is a faith not sensitive to statistics. So why bother?

    The -only- statistics on homicide in the Netherlands in this thread have been posted by me. You, on the other hand, have been throwing around vague assertions. The correlation between ethnicity and homicide is a worldwide and remarkably consistent trend – this I know from throwing off one and a half decades of socialist schooling and looking at the actual numbers.

    Let me summarize my thinking on the point of homicide and Amsterdam. You brought up the following:

    >Amsterdam has ~700k inhabitants of which around 70k are black (from Suriname, our former colony in South America). They are also concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Amsterdam has none of the problems of US cities.

    I have mostly studied homicide rates on a national level, except in the US. But from what I have seen, there is very little special about cities and homicide – insofar as they are special, criminologically, it is because they are special, demographically. [This might not be true in less civilized parts of the world, like South Africa.]

    I didn’t know anything about homicide in Amsterdam in advance. But immediately on hearing that it has a 10% black population, I looked up -the statistics-. This was actually an exciting moment for me – I knew that the Netherlands are peaceful overall, and if Amsterdam had very low levels of homicide despite its demography, it would be a very interesting counterpoint to the worldwide trend.

    But as it turns out, Amsterdam is not peaceful, it is a -uniquely- violent city in a Western European context. I will just repeat myself on this point, where I realize that Amsterdam fits -perfectly- in the trend that I have already observed on a global level for years.

    >With its 10% Black population, assuming your numbers are right, it comes as no surprise to me that Amsterdam has a homicide rate of 4.4 (!), roughly three times that of comparable European cities. Berlin, which bears repeating, has a 2% Black population and a homicide rate of 1.8. The US overall has a 13% Black population, and a nationwide homicide rate of 4.7 .

    Contrast and compare to your claim: >Amsterdam has none of the problems of US cities.

    None of the problems, indeed, except people being murdered, but who cares about that?

    Now, it -could- of course be true that Amsterdam’s demographical and criminological features are entirely unrelated coincidences. But I know where I would place my bets. You could call this racism and prejudice, if it helps you sleep at night, but it’s the sort of intuition that you will inevitably develop once you become familiar with the actual numbers.

    As an aside, I would like to point you towards the UNODC numbers for Taiwan – it is given as 3.0, ten times that of Japan, Korea and Singapore, and three times that of China. I was -so- surprised by this number, that I simply refused to believe it.

    To make a long story short, I downloaded the 100MB official Taiwanese report on causes of death for the same year (2012), a 400-page document practically -rife- with statistics. It turned out – as always – that demographics trumps all, and the UNODC number for Taiwan is wrong. If you calculate homicides for Taiwan for 2012, not from criminological, but from medical numbers – counting people dead, rather than people convicted – you get a homicide rate of 0.8, which fits perfectly with what you would expect, given that Taiwan is a more highly developed country full of Chinese people. The Chinese rate is 1.0.

    Contrast and compare: >It is my experience that racism is a faith not sensitive to statistics.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    So, when you say that >Except that it is not the black people that are involved in most crimes , I -know- you are wrong. But I can’t expect anybody to trust me on this point, and I have to be somewhat humble about this, seeing as you are presumably Dutch and ought to know better than I do. So in a previous post, I actually went through the trouble of confirming my suspicions as best as I could. It seems you might have missed this post; the key excerpt is here (from Homicide in the Netherlands (Gangpat, Liem)):

    >Homicide perpetrators show a similar ethnic representation: individuals of Dutch descent run
    a risk of 0.7 per 100,000 of becoming a homicide perpetrator, whereas for those of Antillean descent this risk is 14.3 per 100,000. Individuals of Surinamese origin run a risk of 5.5 per 100,000, for those of Turkish origin, the risk is 6.0 and for individuals of Moroccan descent the risk is 5.0 per 100.000.

    If you search for the word -Antillean-, you can find my post with additional comments.

    So there you have my statistical work. Everything I have been able to uncover points towards the Netherlands falling in line with demographical trends, and Amsterdam having a very serious problem with homicidal immigrants.

    Yet, you have the nerve to imply that I am a statistically ignorant racist. The second part I can live with, but the first is nothing but a gratuitous insult. Now, what statistics do you have, to go with your statist indoctrination and accusations of crimethink?

  255. @Anonymous
    “individuals of Dutch descent run
    a risk of 0.7 per 100,000 of becoming a homicide perpetrator, whereas for those of Antillean descent this risk is 14.3 per 100,000. Individuals of Surinamese origin run a risk of 5.5 per 100,000, for those of Turkish origin, the risk is 6.0 and for individuals of Moroccan descent the risk is 5.0 per 100.000.”

    Antillians are black and are indeed high in murder statistics. But they are just a small subgroup of “black” people in Amsterdam.

    The bigger group is from Surinam and another smaller group is from Ghana. Both groups are not much different from other low SES groups in the Netherlands and Turcs and Morroccans. it is the people from the Caribeans that are exceptional. And most Caribean immigrants live in and around another city, Rotterdam.

    The high murder rate in Amsterdam is mostly caused by a raging drug gang war in which blacks are actually under represented. This drug war is also called the “Mocro” wars for the Morroccan Maffia involved. The most famous criminals involved in the overall war are purebred Dutch, e.g., our local psychopath Holleeder.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/dutch-drug-gangs-war-over-stolen-cocaine-worth-14m-claims-14-lives-1479465

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/violent-dutch-gang-war-spreads-across-europe-9923371.html

    Your reflex to attribute the crime nubers to black people is not backed by the evidence on the ground. The same holds for Berlin, where you tried the same.

  256. esr:

    >>Not that I think that justifies Van Dyke’s perseveration.. He should certainly have stopped firing once McDonald was down.

    Well may be need to take it one step further and conclude that it was Van Dyke’s perversion that made him shot in the first place. The same perversion that made his buddies sweep the whole matter under the rug. Even the same perversion that gave us Trump and Fox News.

    There are plenty of videos of unarmed cops successfully disarming people with knives. So no need for jfre’s (or whoever’s) statistically insignificant video of the one. Perhaps he should send the video to fox news. That way the perverted larger demographic that produces the Van Dykes of the country can meditate on it.

    If everybody defined “lethal danger” the way you define it our lives would consist of little more than angry white men shooting at whatever “danger” they imagine is out there, and then pontificating over 21-foot-range-limit rules, and the wonderful world brought about by their civilized and sensible behavior.

    The best “self defense training” is common sense. Your post leaves much to be desired there.

  257. @ uma

    Eric used the word “perseveration” not “perversion” in his post. Although the terms are similar, perseverate means to repeat or prolong an action; whereas perverse refers to a deeply ingrained and habitual behavior that is considered to be socially unacceptable or unreasonable. My guess is that Van Dyke does not habitually shoot people and therefore the former is more applicable.

  258. @TomA
    “My guess is that Van Dyke does not habitually shoot people and therefore the former is more applicable.”

    I don’t know about shooting, but “problematic” he was.

    “There appear to be no criminal proceedings against Van Dyke before this week, but a jury did award a Chicago man $350,000 after determining Van Dyke employed excessive force during a traffic stop. ”
    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/25/us/jason-van-dyke-previous-complaints-lawsuits/

  259. @Jay:

    The version I prefer is
    1. An armed society is a polite society
    2. A dueling society is a rude society
    3. It only counts as an “armed society” if the old men and young women are armed too.

  260. @Jay Maynard:

    >> uma: “An armed society is a polite society.” — Robert Heinlein

    I am not anti armed society. Where do you get that in my post?

  261. TomA:

    >>Eric used the word “perseveration” not “perversion” in his post. Although the terms are similar, perseverate means to repeat or prolong an action; whereas perverse refers to a deeply ingrained and habitual behavior that is considered to be socially unacceptable or unreasonable. My guess is that Van Dyke does not habitually shoot people and therefore the former is more applicable.

    Overlook on my behalf. We quickly scan through these posts. If esr thinks the problem with the last 13 bullets is mere “perseveration” and not “perversion” that makes that makes his post all the more lacking in common sense.

    >> whereas perverse refers to a deeply ingrained and habitual behavior that is considered to be socially unacceptable or unreasonable. My guess is that Van Dyke does not habitually shoot people and therefore the former is more applicable.

    Yes! We really do need consult the oxford dictionary before truly being able to say whether Van Dyke and his likes are truly fucked in the head (perverse) or not.

  262. Winter suggests:

    “Then there are inner city areas where the US state has effectively withdrawn. The people living there have basically very little intervention from the powers of the state. Neither police nor tax man will come visiting them. So we can now see how the US would look like when the Citizens have to organize themselves. This must be the Libertarian Valhalla: No state, no taxes, free guns. These inner city areas are Libertarianism at work.”

    As a former resident of the Democratic People’s Republic of Daleystan, I must respectfully dissent.

    If only the police actually withdrew from that area–and the surrounding less troubled areas–you might have a point. But actually the Chicago police routinely do arrest–and prosecutors prosecute–and judges convict–anyone who arms themselves in self defense. But of course that generally happens to people who have something to lose, or who cross the boundaries of those areas where civil order has broken down.

    Sort of the same dilemma merchant mariners face. Many international ports strictly forbid entrance to ships carrying arms for self protection. But the point of merchant ships is to cross jurisdictions, as well as the open sea where pirates aren’t under any effective against being armed.

    For those who fantasize of a world where the tools of violence are denied to all, I ask: how do you intend to disarm those of us with testosterone poisoning and associated upper body strength? Do you really want to live in a world where Ogg of the Overdeveloped Musculature can beat you up, steal your stuff and impregnate your women without any fear of retaliation?

  263. esr:

    >>Doubtless the Obama administration will classify this as “workplace violence”, because that totally fits with the ski masks and pipe bombs. No word yet on whether the happy couple was screaming “Allahu akbar!” as they murdered.

    There is a good possibility that it is “workplace violence” where the muslim guy decided to give his co-workers the ISIS treatment (some of whom appear to have been the fox-news-watching, Trump supporting, and muslim-hating types with whom he was having contentious relationships at work).

    All we know so far is that there was some post on facebook by the woman in support of ISIS, and that months back the guy was in touch with some radical elements that are relatively insignificant in the larger pool the FBI is keeping an eye on.

    If there were suicide belts found on the couple, I’d be more inclined to think the ISIS angle to this is more credible and substantial. If the woman was covering her face (burqa-style) as opposed to simply wearing a scarf (which tends to be what mildly conservative muslim women wear), I’d be more inclined to think of an ISIS angle too.

    I am no fan of Obama and hold him directly responsible for the power vaccum that created ISIS. Unless the Obama administration has been hiding what they know thus far from the American public, there is little reason to believe this is directly the work of ISIS, and a lot more reason to believe that this was workplace violence by someone who found in ISIS (and ISIS-like ideologies) some inspiration for what he and his wife decided to do.

  264. @ uma – “We quickly scan through these posts . . . We really do need consult the oxford dictionary”

    That is an odd locution to use in this blog forum. Are you a hive entity with prickly sensitivity?

  265. > There is a good possibility that it is “workplace violence” where the
    > muslim guy decided to give his co-workers the ISIS treatment (some of
    > whom appear to have been the fox-news-watching, Trump supporting, and
    > muslim-hating types with whom he was having contentious relationships at
    > work).

    That’s an interesting hypothesis; I’d been considering terrorism likely based on what’s been reported regarding the shooters, but upon reflection, I think you may be correct here. I can’t recall another instance where a ideological terrorist attacked his own workplace. And that makes sense, because otherwise you’d have the perplexing circumstance that the terrorist considers it morally acceptable to work for this employer, but a holy duty to destroy it.

    Unfortunately, the rhetoric from the terrorist organisations along the lines of, “The infidels are oppressing Muslims and so you should fight back,” has blurred this distinction. Let’s assume that he did attack his coworkers in response to their treatment of him, but he was also familiar with the terrorist argument. To what degree was he acting on personal animosity (i.e. “going postal”) and to what degree was he acting on the terrorists’ call to perform lone-wolf attacks? You’d need to know his mind to tease the two apart, and by all accounts, he didn’t share his thoughts with others.

    On that note, I really detest this business of convincing people they’re being oppressed, used as a tactic for motivating supporters. You see it from these terrorist groups decrying treatment of Muslims, from what’s been termed the “grievance industry” in this thread, from religious conservatives who complain about the “war on Christmas”, and even from folks here unhappy about limitations on their gun rights. Now, I wouldn’t suggest the US is free of xenophobia, racial discrimination, political overcorrectness, or firearm restrictions, respectively for these groups. But going around telling everyone the sky is falling is a bad idea.

    Here’s why- people treat gains and losses asymmetrically. It’s called loss aversion [1]; broadly speaking, people hate losing some value more than they like gaining the same value. So when everyone goes around convinced that their interests are underrepresented in the current state of affairs (relative to a notional equilibrium among all parties with competing interests), problems arise because no one is satisfied with the current state of affairs, but shifting the balance can only make things worse as the losing party’s dissatisfaction is stronger than the gaining party’s satisfaction. In a democratic system, this manifests as gridlock and governmental paralysis, as has been spectacularly evident in recent years. The government only regains function when one political party overcomes the checks and balances built into the system (e.g. controlling legislative and executive branches in presidential republics, or winning an outright majority in parliamentary ones). Of course at that point, you’re vulnerable to all the evils against which the checks and balances were supposed to guard.

    [1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631940/

  266. The FBI announced that the San Bernardino mass shooting was an act of terrorism, earlier today. They didn’t say that it was ISIS-linked terrorism, nor did they say it was Islamic (jihadi?) terrorism of any particular variety. I would think that more details will be forthcoming soon. While ISIS congratulated the dead attackers for carrying out the will of the caliphate, ISIS didn’t claim they were “members” per se.

    So it is a moot point about whether or not it was an act of terrorism, because the FBI has already said it is. If you don’t believe it is true, just because the FBI says it, I don’t know what to tell you… expressive shrug.

  267. @Ellie Kesselman:
    >>The FBI announced that the San Bernardino mass shooting was an act of terrorism

    Nope. The FBI announced that they are investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism. They did not announce that they concluded it was indeed an act of terrorism (ie that the massacre was borne out of a political as opposed to personal motive). Read the link that you posted again.

  268. > The FBI announced that the San Bernardino mass shooting was an act of terrorism, earlier today. They didn’t say that it was ISIS-linked terrorism

    If Islamic state chained up some Americans, drove a column of tanks over them and squished them underneath the tank treads while waving the Islamic State flag and chanting “Allah Akhbar”, FBI would not say it was Islamic State linked terrorism either.

    And anyone who calls Islamic State “ISIS” or “Daesh” is a gutless ladyboy who is frightened to say the word “Islamic”.

    Islamic state really is Islamic, and the the Nazis really were a socialist workers party.

    Hey: Recall that video where a bunch of Muslims video themselves running towards the position of a downed Russian pilot while firing machine guns wildly in all directions and chanting “Allah Akhbar!”. Them you can call Islamic, because Obama tells us that they represent moderate Islam, unlike the horrible horrible internationally recognized Syrian government that always protected Christian and pagan minorities.

    Yes!. The guys in that video are not terrorists but moderates! They oppose Islamic State! (Of course, they oppose practically everyone else as well. Russian pilots are Christians, the Syrian government are apostates, and as far as they know, we are Christians also.)

  269. uma: “There is a good possibility that it is “workplace violence” where the muslim guy decided to give his co-workers the ISIS treatment (some of whom appear to have been the fox-news-watching, Trump supporting, and muslim-hating types with whom he was having contentious relationships at work).”

    Blame the victims much?

  270. @parallel
    “But of course that generally happens to people who have something to lose, or who cross the boundaries of those areas where civil order has broken down.”

    That sounds like a ghetto, something constructed on purpose.

  271. @Jay Maynard

    >>Blame the victims much?

    How so? Perhaps what you meant is blame those who incited the victims and contributed to what might have been a hateful and toxic work environment. Limbaugh, Hannity, the daily staple diet of talk radio, Megyn -blood-coming-out-of-her-wherever- Kelly and of course Trump. Those are the same people who incited against abortion clinics (“baby killers” rhetoric) and all the rest of it. No?

  272. > > Blame the victims much?

    uma on 2015-12-06 at 03:17:53 said:
    > How so? Perhaps what you meant is blame those who incited the victims and contributed to what might have been a hateful and toxic work environment.

    It is perfectly clear that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the work environment. This was simply a Muslim performing the duty of every Muslim as commanded by the Koran and by the commander of the faithful.

    But because you are not allowed to think bad thoughts about Islam or Muslims, you think hateful vicious thoughts about those he murdered.

    In the past thirteen hundred years many peoples, religions, nations, kingdoms, states and empires have attempted to live in peace with Islam. None have succeeded. We will not be the first.

  273. @James Donald

    >> But because you are not allowed to think bad thoughts about Islam or Muslims, you think hateful vicious thoughts about those he murdered.

    If you want to have a discussion about any aspect of Islam -the good and the bad-, I am happy to answer you. But you’re gonna have to wrack your brain cells real hard demonstrate that you have mental capacity to have a rational and informed discussion on the topic. Your statement above isn’t very encouraging, and repeats Jay’s polite -but incorrect- comment about blaming the victims.

  274. When you say “a hateful and toxic work environment”, based on absolutely no evidence whatever, and in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary, you are saying the victims of Syed Farook had it coming to them.

    You are evil despicable stupid hateful scum. You support murder and terror out of cowardice. At least Syed Farook did so out of courage.

  275. > And anyone who calls Islamic State “ISIS” or “Daesh” is a gutless ladyboy who is frightened to say the word “Islamic”.

    “Daesh” is the arabic acronym for “Islamic state in Iraq and greater Syria”. 100% of arabic-speaking people, and muslims call them “Daesh”. It is a playful acronym packed with subtle meaning and allusion that mocks the organization as brainless brutes. As a result of this acronym they decided to change their name into “Islamic State” or just “the State” (Islamic being implicit).

    If only we could come up with a similar brilliant two-phoneme acronym (that can be easily verbalized etc) that easily/accurately describes the mentally deranged demographic that gets their “facts” from O’reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Glenn Buck, in <10 years that demographic will go extinct. A few of them by self-inflicted gun shot wounds (the rare ones who actually have balls). The rest by a collective awakening similar to the de-nazification firmware re-flash that Germans underwent after WW2.

  276. @James Donald.

    > When you say “a hateful and toxic work environment”, based on absolutely no evidence whatever

    Read what I wrote again, instead of lifting words and phrases. What I wrote was “what might have been a hateful and toxic work environment”.

    You omitted the “what might have been”. That is what they call “intellectual dishonesty” in academic discourse.

    My statement that the work environment “might have been” toxic is perfectly reasonable given the numerous media reports that the muslim guy engaged with his co-workers in contentious discussions on religion. One of these reports coming from the wife of one of the victims.

  277. @uma
    Realize that James supports reintroducing slavery for black people and sex-slavery for married women. Honesty, intellectual or otherwise, is the least of your concerns when interacting with him.

  278. @Winter

    >> Realize that James supports reintroducing slavery for black people and sex-slavery for married women. Honesty, intellectual or otherwise, is the least of your concerns when interacting with him.

    Thanks for the info. That is good to know. I frequently read Eric’s blog as I have much respect for his contribution to mankind and also his way with the English language. He is the Shakespeare of geeks of sorts. But I rarely have the time through to read any of the comments and not familiar with the people posting there.

  279. “Perhaps what you meant is blame those who incited the victims and contributed to what might have been a hateful and toxic work environment.”

    No, I meant exactly what I wrote. You, OTOH, try to blame the victims and then weasel out of it by shifting the blame to conservatives int he opinion media. (You left out “Faux News” from your leftist hit list.)

    Free clue: “He made me hit him” isn’t acceptable from a five-year-old, and damned sure isn’t from an adult.

    As for “Daesh”, James is right. The Left refuses to call Islamic terrorism what it is. The same goes for the Islamic State: whether or not it is a state in being, it is undeniably Islamic. Calling it “Daesh” is not only a petty choice to deliberately cause annoyance, but it’s an active avoidance to admit basic reality.

    And t your “If only we could come up with a similar brilliant two-phoneme acronym (that can be easily verbalized etc) that easily/accurately describes the mentally deranged demographic that gets their “facts” from O’reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Glenn Buck,”, all I can say is that you must really be having a hard time engaging with their substance to want to demonize them – or should I use that newly popular term among SJWs, “otherize” them? – by calling them juvenile names.

    Yes, James holds some truly repugnant views…but at least he’s not an SJW.

  280. @Jay Maynard
    I just read a nice piece about the liberty involved in the right to bear arms.

    The Price We Pay for Liberty?
    America must not value the liberty to own a gun over the liberty to live free from violence.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/12/gun_violence_and_child_labor_are_not_the_price_of_liberty.html

    There have been at least 351 mass shootings so far this year. Mothers, daughters, brothers, fathers, sisters, husbands, and wives are being slaughtered every day by guns. Their blood is being shed in the name of liberty. It may be, as so many conservative commentators imply, that we cannot stop this horrific violence without infringing on others’ right to bear arms. But for the sake of these victims, and the future thousands upon thousands who will die the same way, we must at least ask: Is this trade-off worth it?

    • >There have been at least 351 mass shootings so far this year.

      I’ve seen the list of 351 “mass shootings”. It’s a clever lie. Whoever put it together changed their filter from “4 or more deaths” (which is the UCS definition) to “4 or more deaths or injuries.” As a result the list is full of gang drive-bys and drug-trade crimes from our Swazilands. In some there were no actual deaths at all.

      Most of these would be eliminated by legalizing drugs.

  281. Winter, that’s a typical Slate hard-left hit piece. They are, as usual, as wrong as it is possible to be.

    There is no right to live free from violence.
    And guns do not cause violence.

  282. @Jay&esr
    You are sidestepping the issue. The right to bear arms is a freedom that comes at a cost. A cost in lives of otherr people.

    And the arms in question are useless to protect yourself. Their only use is in killing as many people as possible in the shortest possible time.

  283. “You are sidestepping the issue. The right to bear arms is a freedom that comes at a cost. A cost in lives of otherr people.”

    No, it is not. Change “gun” to “knife” in the first couple of paragraphs of the Slate hit piece and they remain exactly as true. Not only that, but once again, you and that leftist at Slate are assigning the cause to the gun, instead of the violent person using it.

    “And the arms in question are useless to protect yourself. Their only use is in killing as many people as possible in the shortest possible time.”

    Again, simply wrong, and a wrong born out of willful ignorance. Firearms are used many times a day in self-defense.

  284. >>”There have been at least 351 mass shootings so far this year.”

    I believe even Mother Jones and the NYT have rubbished these claims. When you’ve lost Mother Jones, it’s well past time to re-examine your argument.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/how-many-mass-shootings-are-there-really.html?_r=2

    But that’s what you get for thinking Slate shares the same solar system as a legitimate source. Did you wish to retract that comment, or just pretend you never made it?

  285. The right to bear arms is a freedom that comes at a cost. A cost in lives of otherr people.

    And infringing it comes at a much higher cost, both in lives and in the psychological destruction that is caused by enforced helplessness.

  286. > Yes, James holds some truly repugnant views
    Two hundred years ago, my views on race where held by all intelligent educated civilized people.
    Up to the early sixties, my views on marriage were held by everyone, in the sense even feminists found it difficult to express the contrary view in plain English, or express it succinctly and be understood.

    Was everyone repugnant back then?

    Indeed the use of the word “repugnant” bows out from argument and rationality. You cannot present a rational defense of today’s official truth, or a rational criticism of yesterday’s official truth, which was well founded on evidence and the experience of the ages, so you just point and splutter.

    The libertarian correctly argues that respect for contract and property rights is fundamental to civilization. And a contract gives you a property right in someone else’s performance of that contract. But when a man and a woman attempt to contract to raise children together, the libertarian throws out all his supposed principles for fear of being called sexist. The libertarian correctly argues that the state could not manage a pie stand, and therefore should own as little as possible – and then piously makes children the property of the state rather than parents for fear of being called racist and sexist.

    The low total fertility rate reflects the fact that we have abolished marriage.

  287. No, it is not. Change “gun” to “knife” in the first couple of paragraphs of the Slate hit piece and they remain exactly as true. Not only that, but once again, you and that leftist at Slate are assigning the cause to the gun, instead of the violent person using it.

    Valdis Kl?tnieks gives us this analogy on Eric’s G+: the cause of your buffer overrun is not strcpy() but the idiot programmer using it. Still, in modern C code we ban the use of strcpy(). I wonder why?

    • >Still, in modern C code we ban the use of strcpy(). I wonder why?

      Because there are good, safe substitutes for strcpy(). There is no substitute for an armed citizenry.

  288. @ Winter re: gun control advocacy

    An armed citizenry might have prevented the rise of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. and spared the lives of tens of millions and the oppression of billions for decades. There is a reason why all incipient tyrants want to the disarm the population first; it’s much easier and safer to accomplish the conquest. Thank you, but I’ll take 351 tragic civil deaths over 100+ million state genocide victims every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    Why do you keep peddling that trite old gun control meme here at A&D? We are neither stupid, nor liberal, nor cowardly.

  289. Thank you, Eric. At last a positive suggestion to reduce crime and save taxpayers’ money. Frankly, I was getting tired of the ideological banter.

  290. “Valdis Kl?tnieks gives us this analogy on Eric’s G+: the cause of your buffer overrun is not strcpy() but the idiot programmer using it. Still, in modern C code we ban the use of strcpy(). I wonder why?”

    Valdis is a good little leftist and has blocked me so I don’t intrude on his echo chamber, so I didn’t see that post.

    Still…get back to me when there’s a Constitutional right to us strcpy().

  291. Jay, guns don’t murder people. (Irresponsible) people with guns murder people. So, keep (irresponsible) people away from guns.

    The US Constitution protects the right to bear “arms”. This is so clear and unequivocal that it follows that citizens have a right to carry nuclear weapons.

  292. “Jay, guns don’t murder people. (Irresponsible) people with guns murder people. So, keep (irresponsible) people away from guns.”

    You’re two for three. The first two are quite correct. The third is not possible, and the only attempts to even try wind up keeping responsible people away from guns without stopping the irresponsible.

    “The US Constitution protects the right to bear “arms”. This is so clear and unequivocal that it follows that citizens have a right to carry nuclear weapons.”

    Yes, and?

  293. @esr
    > As a result the list is full of gang drive-bys and drug-trade crimes from our Swazilands.

    And surely it must be pointed out that in all of those Swazilands they all have the strongest gun control legislation that the Supreme Court will allow them to have.

    > Most of these would be eliminated by legalizing drugs.

    Yes, and it is curious, don’t you think, that all those liberals who are advocating gun control legislation never, ever point this out, even though drug legalization is basically in their cognitive wheelhouse, certainly much more so than for conservatives.

  294. @James Donald
    > Two hundred years ago, my views on race where held by all intelligent educated civilized people.

    One of the curiosities about debating with you is that in a case of “they used to do it in days or yore therefore it isn’t so bad after all” is frequently challenged by the argument “well they used to believe slavery was good and women were property, so you argument is plainly wrong.” However, since you are, in some respects arguing for that, you have to stretch even further back into insanity to find a counterpoint.

    I have often said that the problem with “reductio ad absurdum” is that there is no limits to the depth of absurdity some people will believe.

  295. Government can only deter–not prevent–irresponsible people from getting weapons. Not even maximum security prisons can prevent inmates from making or smuggling in knives, guns, cell phones and drugs and all manner of contraband.

    Deterrence only works against responsible people. Therefore attempts by government actors to eliminate weapons in society will have a disparate negative impact on the very people–the responsible–who are not the source of the problem.

    Or as the old saying goes: when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

  296. > There is no right to live free from violence.

    I’m not sure why you take this position- because it’s not in the American Bill of Rights? Many other documents include such a right- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights binding on all UN member states asserts a right to “security of person”, the Four Freedoms for which the US was ostensibly fighting in WWII include “freedom from fear”, and the American Convention on Human Rights signed by the US describes the right to have one’s “physical integrity respected”.

    In a broader sense, a rights-ethics legal theory (broadly, stating that laws exist to forbid behaviours that violate somebody’s rights) would include this as the foundational element motivating laws that criminalise assault and other violent crime.

  297. @d5xtgr: I fear government actors coming to my house and killing me. Thus, for me to live without fear of my physical integrity being violated we must disband all government.

  298. @ d5xtgr

    The concept of a human right did not exist before the genesis of the species Homo sapiens about two million years ago. And likely did not exist before the advent of civilization less than 10 thousand years ago. And during recorded history, it appears to have been invented in a rudimentary form a few thousand years ago, and has undergone a near-endless progression of evolutionary changes and regressions. For all intents and purposes, human “rights” are nothing more than an agreed upon set of rules that some group chooses to adopt at some point in time and then impose upon its constituent members. This is known as tyranny of the majority in a democracy and just plain tyranny in every other form of social dominance.

  299. @esr:

    >> There is no substitute for an armed citizenry.

    There are so many possibilities for an armed citizenry. The one we have is the worst. Because the mental model is the wrong one. I like how in other places people bury their AKs in their backyards, for when the day comes they might need them. That is a better mental model for approaching the solution.

    There is also a darker side to an armed citizenry. The possibility for endless civil war (e.g. columbia, lebanon, south sudan etc) in extremely divided societies (divided by ethnicity, tribe, sect etc)

  300. > I fear government actors coming to my house and killing me. Thus, for me
    > to live without fear of my physical integrity being violated we must
    > disband all government.

    I imagine you meant this to mock the “freedom from fear”. If you read the description of this freedom in its original context, it’s actually closer than you might think, although the example given is of a weaker country fearing the government, not a private citizen. The upshot is the same, however: a heavily-armed government infringes on this freedom and should be made less threatening.

    > For all intents and purposes, human “rights” are nothing more than an
    > agreed upon set of rules that some group chooses to adopt at some point
    > in time and then impose upon its constituent members.

    Yes, and that would make them the norms for that group. I’m not entirely sure if or how your comment is meant to support Jay’s contention that “there is no right to live free from violence”, to which I was originally responding. Jay is to my knowledge American, and America has chosen to adopt the documents I referenced.

  301. Jessica Boxer on 2015-12-06 at 19:10:10 said:
    > I have often said that the problem with “reductio ad absurdum” is that there is no limits to the depth of absurdity some people will believe.

    Would you like to debate the issue of whether women should be “property”, in the sense that they were socially property in 1960 and legally property in 1800, or do you feel your case is sufficiently served by pointing and spluttering?

  302. @ d5xtgr – “I’m not entirely sure if or how your comment is meant to support Jay’s contention”

    “Freedom from fear” and “security of person” are slogans not rules. Calling them a “right” provides government with endless latitude to oppress it’s citizenry in service to these nebulous ideals. For example, if you claim a right to “freedom from stupidity”, then does that permit government to exterminate the stupid in service to the greater good? Be careful what you wish for.

  303. > “Freedom from fear” and “security of person” are slogans not rules.

    In the framework of rights-ethics legal theory, which is how I think your argument is meant, you are correct in this assertion. The purpose of laws (your “rules”) is to prohibit conduct that violates others’ rights (your “slogans”), but the two are not the same. If you’ve concluded that I mean “slogans are rules”, then you’ve misinterpreted something I wrote.

    For example, you may take a slogan “freedom of speech” as a right you want to protect. Then you see that the Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech,” which is a law prohibiting governmental infringement (although not private infringement, which is why it’s legal for a website operator to delete comments). I do believe Eric considers it an additional moral obligation, in recognition of the freedom of speech, to refrain from abridging this freedom here, in his capacity as website operator.

    > For example, if you claim a right to “freedom from stupidity”, then does
    > that permit government to exterminate the stupid in service to the
    > greater good?

    There’s a couple of nits to pick here- as you noted in your last post, it’s not simply what any individual claims, but what the group is willing to adopt, that we’d recognise as a right. Also, I take your hypothetical to mean you add “freedom from stupidity” to the existing hierarchy of recognised rights (as opposed to recognising only that right, and no others). So when your shiny new freedom conflicts with someone else’s established right to life, which takes precedence? I’d hope your society prioritises the latter.

  304. @James Donald
    > Would you like to debate the issue of whether women should be “property”, in the sense that they were socially property in 1960 and legally property in 1800, or do you feel your case is sufficiently served by pointing and spluttering?

    No thank you. I think my case is made sufficiently by mockery, and I can only assume that that was your intent here because your earnest pursuit of such an argument does indeed demonstrate my case that reductio ad absurdum is undermined by such credulity… or is it jejune chutzpah? It is hard to tell with you.

    But it does seem to be your MO. Make an utterly outrageous claim, and then defend it with your excellent rhetorical skills. I used to do that for fun too. I do an excellent defense of socialism and rape if you would like to hear it.

    But sorry I have to go, my owner is calling me in. Apparently I didn’t make his dinner quite right, OMG, there is going to be hell to pay….

  305. Ah. Rereading, I see that I agreed with this statement by you:

    > For all intents and purposes, human “rights” are nothing more than an
    > agreed upon set of rules that some group chooses to adopt at some point
    > in time and then impose upon its constituent members.

    I would in fact characterise rights as ideals rather than rules, as I described in my last comment. I’m still in agreement with the rest of your assertion. If that’s why you thought I was conflating slogans and rules, the fault is mine for responding with an unqualified “yes”, not yours for misinterpreting what I wrote.

  306. Winter on 2015-12-04 at 07:59:10 said:Then there are inner city areas where the US state has effectively withdrawn. The people living there have basically very little intervention from the powers of the state. Neither police nor tax man will come visiting them.

    A little projection here, perhaps? There may be “no-go zones” in some European cities, but none in the U.S.

    You can’t find a ZIPcode (postcode) in Chicago “where the US state has effectively withdrawn”.

    There are no areas without schools, without trash collection, water and sewer service, mail delivery, property and sales tax collection, fire protection, bus or light rail service, or delivery of various state benefits, including housing subsidies, food subsidies, and old-age pensions. Open a commercial business in an area zoned residential, or an unlicensed liquor shop anywhere, and the city will be on you like flies on honey.

    The police are present everywhere. Complaints alternate between demands for additional patrols to suppress crime and yowling about alleged brutality.

    But then, Europe is different.

  307. Still…get back to me when there’s a Constitutional right to us strcpy().

    One of my major problems with Democratic politicians is I wish they’d cut the bullshit and advocate for what they really want: Second Amendment repeal. It is, granted, not politically feasible in the current climate, but “common-sense gun control” didn’t stop the San Bernardino shooting; meanwhile, there have been zero mass-shooting deaths in Australia since 1996 when the comprehensive gun ban passed. None. Zilch. Nada. For 19 years.

    Let that sink in for a second. By comparison, quibbling about what does or does not count as a mass-shooting death and whether armed citizens could or could not have stopped the shooting is what Gurdjieff called “wrangling with pigs about the quality of oranges”. By banning guns, Australians solved the mass-shooting problem. Gun-related homicides and suicides are down in Australia since the ban, as are homicides and suicides in general.

    It’s time to think about whether it really makes sense to let anyone at all have access to weapons that make killing trivial.

    • >One of my major problems with Democratic politicians is I wish they’d cut the bullshit and advocate for what they really want: Second Amendment repeal.

      I wish they’d be that honest, too.

      Of course, it would utterly destroy the Democrats’ chances of ever winning a national election again (a truth Bill Clinton pointed out in 1994 when U.S. majority opinion was rather less pro-gun-rights than it is now), but I don’t see that as a problem.

  308. @Jessica Boxer:

    I would be in favor of setting aside a piece of land (a country), somewhere on the european continent (certainly not in the new world) where the likes of James Donald get to establish their dreamland.

    It won’t have slavery but it would have everything else he dreams of. Free men and women (all white of course) would be allowed to move there. By moving there, free women in essence chose to become the legal and social property. We’ve seen white european women effectively make an equivalent choice by freely joining ISIS, so I’d expect some women would willingly move to Donald’s dreamland. Ideally it would be the size of of Moldova (monocultural white), or Belgium (multi-cultural white) with access to a sea port of course. We’d call it Donald-stan, and hopefully the other Donald would bankroll the other aspects of its existence.

  309. @uma:

    The only whites that Donald (and I) want in utopia are described as “upper class” in Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. (http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Apart-State-America-1960-2010-ebook/dp/B00540PAXS)

    To oversimplify his argument, he posits that the decline of marriage, reduced work ethic, lack of respect for the law, and diminished religious observance are the four great differentiators between upper class and lower class whites in America.

    It’s the software, not the hardware.

  310. @ d5xtgr

    To define “rights” solely as aspirational ideals is a pretty large parameter space, e.g. freedom from poverty, illness, boredom, microaggressions, ad infinitum. This leads to endless government intrusion into the lives of it’s citizenry; in which the ultimate efficiency lies in reducing the population to biogenic automatons (excluding the elites of course). Sorry, I’m not buying crazy today. Take your Utopia elsewhere.

  311. Jeff Read on 2015-12-06 at 22:32:58 said:
    > One of my major problems with Democratic politicians is I wish they’d cut the bullshit and advocate for what they really want: Second Amendment repeal.

    I’m inclined to think that most people here, myself included, would agree with this part of your argument at least.

    BTW, I read a comment somewhere that made me laugh. The left mocks the idea that we can deport 10 million illegal immigrants regardless of legislative action even given the political will, but somehow seems to think that they can easily pass legislation to get rid of 300 million guns is easy; all we lack is political will.

    Politicians — it is all lies, deception and Disneyland. God help any country that lets politicians run the show.

  312. > To define “rights” solely as aspirational ideals is a pretty large
    > parameter space, e.g. freedom from poverty, illness, boredom,
    > microaggressions, ad infinitum.

    You’re either misunderstanding or misrepresenting my position. You stated (and I agree) that a “right” is something (here we differ: you said a “rule”, I called it an “ideal”)
    > that some group chooses to adopt at some point in time and then impose
    > upon its constituent members.
    Nowhere do I say every ideal you can dream up meets that criterion. Freedom from boredom? I doubt you’ll find any evidence of any government adopting or imposing that. Just as, if you identify rights as rules, you can dream up “thou shalt not jump up and down wearing a silly hat” but it wouldn’t be recognised as a right.

  313. >>”It’s time to think about whether it really makes sense to let anyone at all have access to weapons that make killing trivial.”

    No it’s not. Also, our current laws don’t let “anyone at all” have access to firearms.

    It’s time for gun control advocates to think about some new arguments. Prior to the ban, Australia’s gun regulation was still fairly restrictive. The ban wasn’t a total ban on all firearms and exceptions can be granted in the cases of the ones that are prohibited. Let that sink in for a second.

    Would you care to explain how this Australian policy towards guns is preventing any mass shooting in the future or how it is responsible for the lack of them in since 1997? Norway had a much similar approach toward firearms as Australia and it didn’t stop Anders Breivik.

  314. @Parallel:

    I haven’t read the book but have seen a one hour interview with Charles Murray on his book. For me, the America of today with all its problem is better than the America he yearns back to.

    If whites (collectively and on the whole) decide to move to the European homeland, and practice whatever values they want, and declare the entire space as a “Switzerland for eternity” without a single Swazilander or brown Mestizo, or Muslim, or whatever, ever allowed to set foot there, they can have that tomorrow if they want. No one in the rest of the world will question their right/legitimacy to live in their ancestral, homeland which they have inhabited since the ice melted, and live according to whatever values they want.

  315. Jeff: Here’s how you create a gun-free America in 5 easy steps:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnoFKskvSq4&ab_channel=ReasonTV

    Do you honestly think that’s even possible?

    Really now…”It’s time to think about whether it really makes sense to let anyone at all have access to weapons that make killing trivial.”

    If you want a European nanny state with a cradle-to-grave government running your life and preventing you from doing anything that would give anyone a boo boo, you know where to find it. Leave America the fuck alone.

    Now, kutomba mbali!

  316. >> Do you honestly think that’s even possible?

    It is possible. Once you ban guns, you can make the penalty for possessing a gun far more than the penalty of possessing a few grams of marijuana for starters. The law abiding people will hand their guns away. Other well meaning individuals will hide them in places where they cannot be easily found just in case they’re needed for desperate times in the future (e.g. mass uprising, popular revolution, civil war)

    Once you’ve reached that point you’ve already reduced gun related suicides and homicides, and also reduced the possibility of some random teenager who got dumped by a member of the opposite sex to commit mass murder. You would have simply eliminated the easy access to guns which is a contributor to gun-related deaths. A would-be mass shooter would have to go to far greater lengths to get weapons.

    What is not possible is repealing the 2nd amendment, which would be a pre-requisite for doing all that. What is also not possible is collecting every last gun out there.

  317. >[Winter]
    >Antillians are black and are indeed high in murder statistics. But they are just a small subgroup of “black” people in Amsterdam.

    Just one of many groups that the Netherlands – which has none of the problems of the US, because magic socialism and gun control, right? – has entirely failed to integrate, or apparently even civilize. 14.3 is a homicide rate comparable countries like Haiti and completely unheard of in first world countries.

    >The bigger group is from Surinam and another smaller group is from Ghana. Both groups are not much different from other low SES groups in the Netherlands and Turcs and Morroccans. it is the people from the Caribeans that are exceptional. And most Caribean immigrants live in and around another city, Rotterdam.

    The Ghanese I don’t know much about, but they are practically guaranteed to be overrepresented in the homicide statistics, unless this is one of those special groups of very recent immigrants selected for high level of education. The US has had some success with such groups, as well. I could look into the facts if this is important.

    I’ll take your word for the Caribbeans being -exceptional-, against this rather exceptional background of ethnic groups ten times as homicidal as the native Dutch. If so, that’s -yet- another group that the Dutch have failed to meaningfully integrate.

    I am surprised that you don’t see this as much of a problem. To me, it looks like a -catastrophe- and a matter of -national disgrace-. Keep in mind the second order effects of these violent minorities. This is the driving force behind what is called -white flight-, which is the very simple mechanism where increased levels of crime cause the least criminals elements to leave and be replaced by people more tolerant of the unsafe environment. If this spirals out of control and you have a sufficient supply of people with a criminal disposition, you eventually get Detroit.

    Finally, the argument from SES is of course total nonsense, but a very familiar piece of socialist propaganda. If a group of people is underperforming economically, this is an -additional problem-, not an -excuse- for their homicidal tendency. The first problem does not cause the second problem, as much as they both stem from the same root cause.

    [Contrast and compare with Vietnamese minorities everywhere in Europe, which were never particularly homicidal straight off the boats, and are now neither homicidal and poor. Instead, you have a large number of second generation Vietnamese children growing up in Vietnamese speaking homes that on average outperforms the natives in schools and elsewhere.]

    >The high murder rate in Amsterdam is mostly caused by a raging drug gang war in which blacks are actually under represented. This drug war is also called the “Mocro” wars for the Morroccan Maffia involved.

    So apparently you admit that Amsterdam has a -raging drug gang war-, causing an epidemic of homicide. Yet you insisted very recently, that -Amsterdam has none of the problems of US cities-. You have to realize that you make -zero sense, whatsoever-.

    Now, I’ll grant you that Amsterdam is a lot better off than Detroit, but Amsterdam is 10% Black, whereas Detroit is 83% Black, so this doesn’t get us anywhere. Amsterdam seems to have roughly the same problems as US cities with similar demographical challenges, like say New York and San Fransisco, or would you disagree?

    The only defensible position which remains at this point, is that while the Dutch Black minorities have outrageous rates of homicide, there are also other minorities which are nearly as bad. But you keep trying to make a point, that the US needs to learn from EU on how to integrate minorities and enforce law. Having looked at the Netherlands in some detail, the only lesson possible seems to be that large concentrations of certain minorities cause trouble, whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on, and that Amsterdam should learn how to civilize their Turks from Berlin.

    >The most famous criminals involved in the overall war are purebred Dutch, e.g., our local psychopath Holleeder.
    >http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/dutch-drug-gangs-war-over-stolen-cocaine-worth-14m-claims-14-lives-1479465
    >http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/violent-dutch-gang-war-spreads-across-europe-9923371.html

    The 80% majority population manages to contribute some individual criminals and are competent enough to wind up on top of crime rings, overwhelmingly thriving in minority areas, built upon a workforce recruited from minority populations. Does this tell us -anything of value-, when we already know that the Native Dutch have a homicide rate of 0.7, about a tenth of that of the troublesome minorities?

    Couldn’t you find at the very least find a 98% Dutch city with a 4.0 homicide rate, to go with our lovely examples from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague? Or do they simply not exist?

    >Your reflex to attribute the crime nubers to black people is not backed by the evidence on the ground. The same holds for Berlin, where you tried the same.

    I attributed nothing to anything. I merely pointed out that the -lack- of rampant violence in Berlin does not tell us much about how the US should do law enforcement, because Berlin also -lacks- a large Black minority, which is the primary group that the US struggles to police. To treat this in depth one also needs to discuss Hispanics, Arabs, E. Europeans, various kinds of Asians and Native Americans, but we haven’t reached any depth, we are still at the point where I’m trying to demonstrate that whatever works in Europe doesn’t necessarily work in the US, because the demographics are clearly different, and the demographics clearly matter.

    I will re-quote the what you were writing earlier, which prompted me to enter this particular discussion:

    >You do not get more liberal than Berlin, Copenhagen, or Amsterdam. Still, these cities with large minority populations (Berlin is called the second Turkish capital) have none of these war-zones that the US or France have. That is not because they are on a fast track to civil war, there is none of that too, but because they do not see crime as a civil war that has to be won at all costs, but as a social problem that has to be solved using social policies.

    This didn’t survive contact with the facts. The -large- minority populations in Berlin are laughable by American standards (less than 10% Middle Eastern and 2% Black). Going by homicides, Amsterdam does not compare favorably to US cities with similar demographics. It follows that your explanation is a lot of hot air, because there is -nothing- to explain, except your blissful ignorance.

  318. A lot of hot air is streaming, but I do not see anyone taking up the task of telling us how the costs of free firearms are balanced against its benefits.

    Maybe because everyone here knows that the benefits are ephemeral but the costs are far too real.

    Like, the costs of knives in number of lives are a tiny fraction of their benefits. Contrast the recent two lone wolf terror attacks: USA&Guns 14 dead, 17 injured; UK&Knife 2 injured
    (Note that the UK police did not even made the effort to kill the “mad” terrorist with a knife)

    And using personal weapons to defend you against the power of the state?
    Armed citizens are no match for a trained army. The USA has invaded lots of countries, many of which had citizens armed to the teeth. These armed citizens never stopped the US army.

  319. @Rich Rostrum
    “You can’t find a ZIPcode (postcode) in Chicago “where the US state has effectively withdrawn”.”

    Higher up, Anonymous writes:

    For very high rates of homicide, like what you see in Chicago, the homicide rates are dominated by proto-civil war like conditions in the streets – executions within gangs; war-like hostilities between gangs; and strangers being assaulted. The level of -street violence- in Chicago is probably in the ballpark of 500 times that of Tokyo.

    If you take away paramilitary law enforcement, what you get is Detroit, where gangs rule the inner city, productive citizens feel so unsafe that they leave, and civilization completely breaks down.

    This is almost a textbook case of “state withdrawal”. So you are now saying that this is not true? Who am I to believe? The people here that write that the inner cities are war zones (=: no state control) or that assert there is just incompetent policing?

    Grossly incompetent policing, like that Van Dyke in the OP, that could not stop shooting a person lying on the ground, and his partners in crime, colleges and superiors, covering up the murder (like they always seem to do).

  320. @Winter: armed citizens at Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas died at the hands of armed Federal agents. But the losses suffered by the Feds at Ruby Ridge and Waco caused them to handle the Montana Freemen Militia case with much more patience and therefore loss of life. Federal agents also backed down in the face of armed resistance by supporters of Clive Bundy just last year.

    I stand second to nobody in condemning David Koresh as an evil man. The Montana Freemen were committing fraud on a large scale and Clive Bundy seems like a nut.

    But it’s a feature–not a bug–that Federal law enforcement personnel and their leadership are more deterred from rushing in with guns blazing now than before Ruby Ridge and Waco. They rightfully fear becoming the next Lon Horiuchi or his commander Richard Rogers.

  321. @Parallel
    “Federal agents also backed down in the face of armed resistance by supporters of Clive Bundy just last year.”

    For all their eager imitation, the police are not the army. And we already know that the USA police is incompetent. See the OP.

    The Army would simply pound any resistance to dust with long range guns and the air force by dropping smart bombs.

  322. @Anonymous
    “So apparently you admit that Amsterdam has a -raging drug gang war-, causing an epidemic of homicide. Yet you insisted very recently, that -Amsterdam has none of the problems of US cities-. You have to realize that you make -zero sense, whatsoever-.”

    14 murders in a year is an epidemic of homicide in Amsterdam. It includes 0 mass shootings. The victims today are all big shot criminals and a single bystander (mistaken identity). Compare that to your US statistics, e.g., Baltimore of Washington DC. And of all the other problems in USA inner cities, nothing can be found in Amsterdam (or Berlin). Even the Amsterdam murder rate is below the average of the USA.

    @Anonymous
    “I’ll take your word for the Caribbeans being -exceptional-, against this rather exceptional background of ethnic groups ten times as homicidal as the native Dutch. If so, that’s -yet- another group that the Dutch have failed to meaningfully integrate.”

    Antillians are a group of recent immigrants. All are born outside of the Netherlands. They are now where the Surinamese (also black) were 40 years ago, the Turks 50 years ago, and the Indonesians 60 years ago.

    @Anonymous
    “The Ghanese I don’t know much about, but they are practically guaranteed to be overrepresented in the homicide statistics, unless this is one of those special groups of very recent immigrants selected for high level of education.”

    Baseless innuendo. If you cannot come up with evidence, I call BS on this one.

    @Anonymous
    “Now, I’ll grant you that Amsterdam is a lot better off than Detroit, but Amsterdam is 10% Black, whereas Detroit is 83% Black, so this doesn’t get us anywhere.”

    It does get us somewhere. In Detroit, the MAJORITY is involved in excessive crime (80% is NOT a minority). At the same time, a minority group (Antillians) within the black population has excessive crime. The other black groups have the same murder rates as other immigrant groups, and these murder rates are as high as the AVERAGE murder rates of the USA. Your own murder rates for Turks, Morrocans, and Surinamese (“blacks”) show you that the color of the skin does not matter.

    Furthermore, the USA black population are not recent immigrants, but long time inhabitants of the territory. The roots of most white people in the USA go back only a fraction of those of the black population. It is a serious fault of the groups in power (whites) that blacks have not integrated well.

  323. @Winter:

    >> The roots of most white people in the USA go back only a fraction of those of the black population. It is a serious fault of the groups in power (whites) that blacks have not integrated well.

    Absolutely correct. Another interesting fact: Many of the Muslims in France date back to the same time whites were arriving en masse to the US via Ellis Island. They fought for france in WWI and WWII. They arrived in France decades before Turks arrived in Germany in the 1960s. Many of clowns who show up in the Trump rallies and who have been calling for deporting muslims from Europe after the Paris attacks are in fact more recent arrivals in the US than Muslims in France.

  324. @Jeff Read
    Gizmodo is great but perhaps more research is needed.
    Wikipedia Lists 1 shooting massacre since Port Arthur(Three if you work by the reddit criteria… not that i do). The Hunt family murders.

    I’m not saying that gun control did nothing however. Using the incidents on wikipedia as canonical I did a count of both the last 50 years and the last 38 years, split into before gun control and after gun control. The number of shootings did go through the floor after gun control but non-shootings do go through the roof. The non-shootings don’t quite make up for the shootings in number but the other interesting factoid is that all the marginal incidents (i.e. ones that meet the reddit criteria but not the straight deaths ones) after gun control came in were shootings. All the bashings and knifings and arsons are legit massacres.

    Actually the bigger interesting thing is, what the hell happened in Australia in the 1980s? We went from 2 or 3 a decade to almost one every year on average (which lasts until 3 years after gun control).

    • >Actually the bigger interesting thing is, what the hell happened in Australia in the 1980s?

      My guess? Immigration. More specifically, the demographics of who immigrated changed in a way unfavorable for crime rates.

  325. Just in case it wasn’t obvious by my text dump.

    My take on Jeff’s statements :-

    there have been zero mass-shooting deaths in Australia since 1996 when the comprehensive gun ban passed

    False as stated. 1 if you go by regular peoples criteria. 3 if you’re on reddit. However if you dial back the hyperbole, 1 compared to 14 for the same number of years prior is a definite effect on mass-shootings.

    By banning guns, Australians solved the mass-shooting problem.

    Mostly true as stated. We have suddenly gained a rash of mass-knifings which i’d expect ESR/Jay would say is completely unsurprising.

    Gun-related homicides and suicides are down in Australia since the ban, as are homicides and suicides in general.

    That wasn’t what my post was about but i remembered i had a copy of the ABS “Causes of Death, Australia, 2013” report which says the numbers don’t really back you up (based on the “intentional self harm by handgun/rifle, shotgun and larger firearm/other and unspecified firearm” categories (X72/X73/X74) finding the homicide categories is a pain in the neck). You might have an argument on rates per capita, but the total deaths has remained relatively constant so that doesn’t really make your point (roughly the same number of people have died per year but a higher percentage are suicide by firearm).

  326. uma: “It is possible. […] What is not possible is repealing the 2nd amendment, which would be a pre-requisite for doing all that. What is also not possible is collecting every last gun out there.”

    You really need to take a logical thinking class. I was referring to Australian-style gun confiscation as impossible because the prerequisite conditions – that you agree are impossible – cannot occur. If the prerequisites are impossible, so is what they’re prerequisite to. Jeff cited Australia with approval and said “It’s time to think about whether it really makes sense to let anyone at all have access to weapons that make killing trivial.” That requires a gun ban, with all guns being confiscated by the government.

    And you agree that’s not possible, and then say it’s possible with some mumbo-jumbo about disarmed law-abiding citizens cutting down on some things and making it harder for a mass murderer to get firearms.

    You should really learn how to think straight, and pay attention to what people on your side want: total disarmament of the American citizen.

    Then you have a choice to make: either recognize that what they want simply isn’t possible, or continue to make “la la la I can’t hear you!” noises.

  327. Actually I want to correct myself slightly. We haven’t had a rash of mass-knifings. It was a rash of Arsons plus one bashing plus one stabbing plus whatever you want to call the snowtown murders.

  328. @Jay Maynard:

    It is possible in the sense that it is practically doable. It is not possible in the sense that it is politically not attainable at this point in time. So no contradiction. What I should have written was “it is feasible” instead of “it is possible” as that is what I meant. So I stand corrected.

    The video that you linked to incorrectly claimed that it was possible (ie feasible) because every last home would have to be invaded by law enforcement agents to confiscate guns and it would cause a civil war. Not so based on the scenario I outlined above. It correctly asserted that it was impossible because 2nd amendment cannot be repealed which I agree with. Unless of course the democrats somehow manage to put laws on the books that in effect enable them to do what I described above, and those laws are somehow deemed constitutional by the supreme court.

    And no. I am not in favor of disarmed citizenry. So your assumptions are wrong there.

  329. @uma
    “Many of the Muslims in France date back to the same time whites were arriving en masse to the US via Ellis Island.”

    The roots of the indigenous Muslims in Europe, Albanians and Bosnians, go back to the Indoeuropean expansion in Europe. They converted during the Ottoman occupation (15/16th). And there are still some 1 million native Turkish people living in Bulgaria from the Turkish conquests, many of whom are still Muslim.

    There have been Muslims people living continuously in Europe for longer than there have been English speaking people living in North America.

  330. Jeff Read: It is, granted, not politically feasible in the current climate, but “common-sense gun control” didn’t stop the San Bernardino shooting; meanwhile, there have been zero mass-shooting deaths in Australia since 1996 when the comprehensive gun ban passed. None. Zilch. Nada. For 19 years.

    Keep in mind that “common sense gun control” didn’t stop what happened in Norway and in France, either. Interestingly enough, America seems to have a rash of small-ish gun-related mass murders (30 dead seems to be unusually high for such an event), but when they happen in Europe, the death toll seems to be much higher per event. To be sure, this is blurred by population sizes–America is going to have a lot more of such events than any one European country, for the same reason that America is going to have a lot more of such events than any one American State–but the fact that the United States generally doesn’t have shootings of the magnitude that has happened in Europe ought to give one pause.

    As for Australia not having a mass shooting in 19 years: a couple of years ago, I looked into mass murders (not just shootings) in Australia, and found that they had an event about once every 14 years on average; from the list I was looking at, they have had one event since banning guns. In the eyes of gun control advocates, however, it doesn’t count, because it didn’t involve guns. This leads me to conclude that Australia didn’t really have a problem with mass murder before the ban, either.

    Let that sink in for a second. By comparison, quibbling about what does or does not count as a mass-shooting death and whether armed citizens could or could not have stopped the shooting is what Gurdjieff called “wrangling with pigs about the quality of oranges”. By banning guns, Australians solved the mass-shooting problem. Gun-related homicides and suicides are down in Australia since the ban, as are homicides and suicides in general.

    I don’t have the news items available, but I recall seeing recently a story about Australian politicians noticing that banning guns had done nothing about general to stop violent death, even death by guns. It makes me wonder what statistics you are using, and what statistics these politicians were looking at…

    In any case, I would also have to observe that in the United States, violent crime has been going down, even with increased gun ownership and the loosening of gun laws here.

    It’s time to think about whether it really makes sense to let anyone at all have access to weapons that make killing trivial.

    Perhaps. But you would do well to remember that you want to expand the laws of places like Chicago, New York and Washington DC, which are havens for murder–and have extensive gun violence–to cover the entire United States. I honestly don’t see how that can have a positive effect on violence, since the places that have loose gun laws generally have low violence anyway, and the places that would supposedly benefit from strong gun control already have strong gun control.

  331. Myself: In any case, I would also have to observe that in the United States, violent crime has been going down, even with increased gun ownership and the loosening of gun laws here.

    I forgot to mention that this has been happening ever since the Australians instituted their gun ban. I suppose I could say that the Australian gun ban is so effective, it even lowered gun death and other violent crime in the United States…but I somehow suspect that something else is afoot here…

  332. @Alpheus
    “Keep in mind that “common sense gun control” didn’t stop what happened in Norway and in France, either. ”

    Funny, to say a monthly mass shooting in the USA must be just as bad as a a one time ever (Norway) disaster or attacks financed and organized by an almost statelike adversary.

    We are comparing monthly shootings in schools and universities and random workplaces in the USA to once a year happenings in Europe. In this respect, gun laws really do work marvelously.

  333. uma, you keep comparing apples and oranges, and saying that the apples are possible and the oranges aren’t, and that the apples are good enough.

    Jeff (BTW, Jeff: fokof!) wants not only oranges, but enough oranges to make enough orange juice to mix a Harvey Wallbanger big enough to float an aircraft carrier.

    So quit slamming me for saying what Jeff wants is impossible when you agree with it.

    And for someone who doesn’t want a disarmed citizenry, you’re sure doing a good job arguing for one.

  334. @Jay Maynard:

    >> And for someone who doesn’t want a disarmed citizenry, you’re sure doing a good job arguing for one.

    I believe in armed citizenry (to put the government in check, prevent tyranny, and preserve freedom) which is what I believe what the constitution intends (well regulated militias). I don’t believe in easy and unlimited access to tools that make killing so trivially simple be it for “self defense” or any other reason? Creative minds should think hard on how to achieve the the former (armed citizenry to prevent tyranny) without bundling it with the latter.

    Can guns be used for self defense? Absolutely. But not without the cost of added homicides and suicides and mass shootings where a lot of innocent people die. Does an individual’s right to protect himself round the clock entail easy and unlimited access to objects that make mass killings -by people of questionable moral character and mental health- so easy and trivial ? The answer is No.

    Do I support concealed carry permits for individuals of sound mental health and moral character? Yes. Because in the current environment I believe that can often stop mass shooters in the middle of their act.

  335. Abstract discussion of gun control on a blog site is one thing, but if you haven’t noticed, firearm and ammunition sales are way up here in the US. A large cohort of the citizenry is voting with it’s dollars and choosing to be well armed, despite the fact that most of them do not live in areas where crime is rampant.

    Advocating for more gun control is having exactly the opposite effect of the intended goal. At the end of this most-recent handwringing exercise, the testosterone class will be armed to the teeth and the weenie’s will be cowering in the closet screeching for government action to eliminate this imbalance. Reality trumps rhetoric. If you really want to soothe your anxiety, buy a gun and learn to shoot.

  336. @TomA

    >> A large cohort of the citizenry is voting with it’s dollars and choosing to be well armed, despite the fact that most of them do not live in areas where crime is rampant.
    >>the testosterone class will be armed to the teeth

    You call an irrational fear of a non-existent threats “testosterone” ?!

  337. @TomA
    “Advocating for more gun control is having exactly the opposite effect of the intended goal.”

    You said you were fond of modelling. So you must know of bad Nash equilibria?
    Everybody does what is best for them personally and we are all massively worse off.

    Public good theory is a way out of this bad equilibrium.

  338. > there have been zero mass-shooting deaths in Australia since 1996 when the comprehensive gun ban passed. None. Zilch. Nada. For 19 years.

    Australia has had quite a lot of mass shooting incidents, for example the Islamic State terrorist incident against Lindt Chocolate a year ago.

    The rate is lower than the US, and the incidents are smaller than the US but that may well reflect the fact that Australia does not have negroes, Australia has control of its borders, and the US does not (hence Australia imports substantially fewer terrorists), and Australia has smaller population than the US.

    Note that the Boston bombing was an IED incident, for which gun control was pretty much irrelevant, and the Bernadino terrorists had lots of IEDs, so if gun control had inconvenienced them, would have gone with IEDs

    Australia has fewer IED incidents than the US in pretty much the same proportion as it has fewer mass shooting incidents, so it is not gun control that makes the difference. It is border control.

  339. > We are comparing monthly shootings in schools and universities and random workplaces in the USA to once a year happenings in Europe

    Terror attacks in France happen almost continually. They just don’t make the news unless Americans are involved, as for example the incident on the 21st of August this year.

  340. @winter
    >> The roots of most white people in the USA go back only a fraction of those of the black population. It is a serious fault of the groups in power (whites) that blacks have not integrated well.

    Sorry, unlike uma, I cannot agree with this non-sequitur.

    It was not “whites” who invented gangsta culture, gangbangers, and the racial hustler industry of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc. Nor did whites get to decide that the NAACP should become a subsidiary of the Democrat Party.

    Well, on the other hand, from the Dept of Stopped Clocks Being Right Twice a Day, perhaps you have a point if you consider the destruction of the black family unit and the disappearance of the black father being attributable to social welfare schemes like the Great Society, promulgated by do-gooder white liberal racist Democrats. But somehow, I suspect that’s not what you mean.

  341. Oh, the reason I mention the NAACP/Democrat party thing in the previous was because I consider the fact that the black population has effectively disenfranchised itself by its slavish devotion to the Democratic Party as an example of an inability to fully integrate. By voting in lockstep for just one party, they have effectively removed any incentive by -either- party to address their needs.

  342. Australia has had quite a lot of mass shooting incidents, for example the Islamic State terrorist incident against Lindt Chocolate a year ago.

    You are correct, and wikipedia didn’t have that one. At 3 deaths and 4 injuries it would count for redditors but just misses out by FBI rules.

    P.S. There is some doubt as to whether that was actually an islamic state incident since one of the guy’s demands was apparently for an ISIL flag. This however is irrelevant to the point that it was a mass shooting incident.

  343. Winter commented on On the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
    > This is almost a textbook case of “state withdrawal”.

    I have not visited Chicago or Detroit. But I visited East Palo Alto when it had the highest murder rate in America, and the place was crawling with cops, like a tree covered in tree ants when you poke their nest with a stick, and people tell me it was crawling with social workers. As a white guy, could not enter East Palo Alto without being stopped by cops.

    So, not state withdrawal. The state was ineffectual in East Palo Alto, but not because of withdrawal. Rather it was throwing gigantic amounts of resources at East Palo Alto, ineffectually.

  344. Winter:
    > Many of clowns who show up in the Trump rallies and who have been calling for deporting muslims from Europe after the Paris attacks are in fact more recent arrivals in the US than Muslims in France.

    And despite being in France for generations, have not integrated, and have been stubbornly and persistently making war on the French for all that time.

    Let us take a look at Mindanao: A substantial Muslim minority has been there for seven hundred years – and it has been war and near war for seven hundred years. If parts of Mindanao are relatively safe, they are safe because of death squads and heavily armed men all over the place.

    And that is the nearest thing to safety people have enjoyed in Mindanao for seven hundred years.

  345. > There have been Muslims people living continuously in Europe for longer than there have been English speaking people living in North America.

    And they have been making trouble all that time.

  346. We are comparing monthly shootings in schools and universities and random workplaces in the USA to once a year happenings in Europe

    Terror incidents in France are almost continual. It is just that we usually only hear of them when Americans are involved, as for example

  347. It was not “whites” who invented gangsta culture, gangbangers, and the racial hustler industry of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc.

    It’s well known in the black community that the popularity of “gangsta rap” was engineered by white record executives, as a counter to the revolutionary message of politically conscious acts like Public Enemy.

    As to the underlying causes behind “gangsta culture”, it wasn’t black folks who brought crack into this country…

  348. Yes Jeff, next I’m sure you’re going to regale us with the tales of how the CIA engineered AIDS to kill blacks.

  349. “Funny, to say a monthly mass shooting in the USA must be just as bad as a a one time ever (Norway) disaster or attacks financed and organized by an almost statelike adversary.”

    To be fair, comparing the United States to Norway and France combined is like me comparing Europe to Utah and Colorado combined. I generally don’t keep up with mass shootings of Europe, and for that matter, the definition of mass shooting is in such flux these days, I have no idea how you are getting the “once a month” mass shootings (nor do I know whether or not the same criteria you are using for America, is being used for Europe)…

  350. as a counter to the revolutionary message of politically conscious acts like Public Enemy.

    Leaving aside the fact that “the black community” is full of conspiracy theories, why exactly do record executives want to do social engineering? This should be quite entertaining.

    Also, it would seem that I need to add “conscious” to the list of words that signify immeasurable quantities of incoming bullshit.

  351. >>“The record companies were heavily invested in private prisons. More gangstas meant more inmates, which meant more profits:

    And your source for this is:

    “That’s what one man claiming to be a former music executive said in an anonymous letter published today by the blog hiphopisread.com.”

    Do people take you seriously in real life?

  352. I keep pondering something not covered in this thread yet – no any other gun thread I’ve seen Eric post – and wondering:

    Suppose we legalized drugs, AND legalized concealed carry, at least, in all of the remaining bastions of gun control in the US (i.e. any place Eric refers to as “our Swazilands”). What would actually happen?

    Now, legalization can take multiple forms – it can be a party with a razor-thin margin barely passing it against popular outcry, or it can be a mandate from the masses. For now, imagine it’s somewhere between the two, somewhat closer to the latter – vocal outcry, but the legalization passes 60-40 in state and city legislatures, and politicians known for voting for gun control measures end up devoting their time to other causes such as taxes or health care or whatever.

    Where would criminals actually go in such a case? They won’t necessarily stop being criminals, even though their lives are now much harder. And there’d be no other major US city for them to seek transport to with their gang buddies. What would they do? What would happen to the Crips and Bloods? Where would former drug dealers likely wind up? How many of them would take up more honest work? How many would probably end up dead, having mugged the wrong civilian? What would likely happen to demographics over the next 10-20 years? I’m asking with my alternate history hat on here. I don’t necessarily expect a libertarian utopia. Maybe somewhat better, but with bumps in the road; what would the bumps look like?

  353. Criminals — except for a tiny handful of sociopaths — don’t commit crimes because hey, I like crime. They have a motive.

    The hardcore gangstas would find a new racket: prostitution, armed robbery, smuggling, etc. They might metamorphose into a legit mafia.

    As to where the drug dealers would go, drug dealing is actually a form of multilevel marketing. The dealer on the street doesn’t make that much money. The kingpins take all the profits but they sell the “lifestyle” to the rank and file in order to build up a distribution network that works for essentially nothing. With the promise of riches for climbing the “corporate ladder” of the drug network dried up, they would have to find a new hustle, possibly seeking legitimate work. Hey, the 420/Pharmacy that just opened on the corner has openings for stockboys and cashiers…

  354. Here’s something that statist ‘lefties’ should understand:

    “NO” means “no”

    Molon labe

    Free people never bend their knee. Deal with it.

    Nobody clamoring for more ‘gun control’ is actual prepared to nut up and do a GD thing about it…they only expect other armed thugs to do their dirty work.

    We will not forget. We will not forgive.

    Your move.

  355. @ Winter – “So you must know of bad Nash equilibria?”

    Classic game theory mathematics can, under certain circumstances, calculate a Nash equilibrium, which by definition is an optimum based stated rules and conditions. The interpretation of this equilibrium can be judged subjectively (such as your characterization of a bad outcome); but the math is indifferent to your opinion.

    The vast majority of gun owners in the US are law-abiding and make a positive contribution to the society (including ensure to common good via concealed carry). And crime declines significantly in areas where citizens are permitted to carry. Only liberals and criminals oppose widespread gun ownership. Which are you?

  356. @James Donald
    >> And despite being in France for generations, have not integrated, and have been stubbornly and persistently making war on the French for all that time.

    Why not blame your white european brethren for failing to integrate them. Much like they failed to integrate everybody who pre-dated them on this continent? See, most of these them fought in French armies, and some of them even fought their own people to preserve French rule in places like Algeria (ie they were the traitors to their to their people who fled to the country they fought on the side of). They can’t really be that committed to the caliphate or Islamizing France when they fought their own people to preserve french rule.. or can they? Of course you cannot be bothered with such “little” details now can you?

    But let’s set France aside for now, and take a look at neighboring Italy where the famous/infamous north-south divide exists there. They northereners (“Polentoni” corn eaters as they’re labelled by southerners because they consume Palenta) have a lot in common with French populations both genetically and linguistically. The southern italians (“terroni”) with their north african roots share they same religion with their northern italian brothers. But they have yet to be integrated in the italian economy. It’s been > 150 yrs since the founding of the italian republic and they have yet to be integrated.

    Now, could we be dealing with some sort genetic defect here exhibited by populations norths of the alps (may be due to neanderthal admixture or any reason) west of vistula all the way to the british isles, that makes those populations unable to co-exist with any other populations that do not resemble them 100% genetically, ideologically? Could their hatred, extreme propensity for violence and war, irrational devotion to imported non-indigenous cultures and religion fanatically and toxically mixed with a sense of racial superiority – could that all be the result of some genetic defect? Let us take the discussion in that direction. If we are dealing with a genetic disorder here, there are really two constructive ways of addressing the problem: a) isolating culpable genes and find a cure – gene therapy b) Shipping your asses to your continental homeland where you can dwell amongst genetic brethren in a country/zoo (a la Donald-stan) designed for your types and your “posterity”.

  357. >Only liberals and criminals oppose widespread gun ownership.

    Tch. You left out totalitarian thugs.

    No, he didn’t!

  358. It’s weird, but the prosecutor seems to be doing one thing right: leaning on the cops for mysteriously losing the audio side to ALL of their tapes. I mean that’s pretty raw Cops Defying The Law. By comparison, the swearing contest around the shooting is normal police blotter stuff.

  359. @James Donald
    > > And despite being in France for generations, have not integrated, and have been stubbornly and persistently making war on the French for all that time.

    uma
    > Why not blame your white european brethren for failing to integrate them

    Because no one has succeeded in integrating them in thirteen hundred years in hundreds of nations, peoples, civilizations and such anywhere in the world.

    Where every you have a substantial Muslim minority, it is always war or near war without end.

  360. Winter on 2015-12-07 at 03:16:07 said:

    @Rich Rostrum

    My name is Rostrom. Learn to read, or at least learn to copy-and-paste. (I always complain when anyone misspells my simple 7-letter name.)


    “You can’t find a ZIPcode (postcode) in Chicago “where the US state has effectively withdrawn”.”

    Higher up, Anonymous writes:
    >For very high rates of homicide, like what you see in Chicago, the homicide
    >rates are dominated by proto-civil war like conditions in the streets…

    This is almost a textbook case of “state withdrawal”. So you are now saying that this is not true? Who am I to believe?

    You can believe the apocalyptic rhetoric of “Anonymous”, or you can believe me, who has lived in Chicago his entire life. And no, I don’t live in a protected upper-class-enclave. Of the six apartments in my building, three are occupied by blacks and one by a Mexican immigrant. A few years ago, there was a gang shooting within a kilometer, and gunfire literally in the parking lot. (Though not since.) On the night of Obama’s election I heard celebratory gunfire.

    It all sounds pretty grim, but the actual level is barely noticeable on a day-to-day basis. In 2014, there were 460 homicides in Chicago, of which 390 were shootings, and 2,229 other shootings. Chicago has an area of 588 sq. km., so that comes to less than one homicide and four other shootings per sq. km per year, i.e. one incident every 10 weeks or so. There are hotspots where the rate is much higher (Englewood, Garfield Park), but even in those areas, more than five incidents in a week in a sq. km. block is rare. (The incidents tend to cluster on weekends and in hot weather.)

    The police are cautious in these areas, but still make plenty of arrests. There is no Alsatia or Casbah style sanctuary for criminals. Other government functions (fire, sewer, water, schools, mail, taxation, welfare, transit, licensing) run with only minor impediments. The “collapse of civilization” isn’t happening.

    The street gangs are a problem. But they should not be mistaken for the IRA or the Sicilian Mafia, functioning as a shadow government; they don’t actually control much of anything.

  361. @TomA
    “Classic game theory mathematics can, under certain circumstances, calculate a Nash equilibrium, which by definition is an optimum based stated rules and conditions. The interpretation of this equilibrium can be judged subjectively (such as your characterization of a bad outcome); but the math is indifferent to your opinion.”

    Total rubbish. Every game theoretic problem has a utility function (“benefits”). For every equilibrium there is a total utility that tells us whether the outcome is better or worse for the players combined. That is not “my interpretation”, that is build into the core of Game Theory.

    Arms races are a classical case. By investing in arms, everybody incurs a heavy cost. But if everybody else is doing it, you will be annihilated if you don’t invest in more and better arms. However, if almost no-one has arms, it is much cheaper to invest in gun control. Then you are collectively better off. And the better off is well defined by the costs of investing in arms and gun ownership.

    What you all so desperately try to avoid is to talk about the costs of gun ownership.

    And I know why gun control won’t “work” for Libertarians. Getting safe by controlling gun ownership is a public good. And if there is one thing Libertarianism seems to be unable to supply, then it is Public Goods. But it is public goods that are the foundation of society. Hence, here is the reason why Libertarianism is anathema to society.

  362. @TomA
    “Only liberals and criminals oppose widespread gun ownership. Which are you?”

    Do you really think that I consider being called a “liberal” offensive? In a sense it is offensive, but only because I consider USA liberals too right wing to take seriously. Bernie Sanders a left-wing extremist? Don’t make me laugh.

    Btw, I think a vast majority of humanity supports drastic gun control. European gun control laws are considered too lax by a majority of the Europeans. So, according to your logic, most of the world is inhabited by liberals and criminals. So be it.

  363. @Rich Rostrom
    “You can believe the apocalyptic rhetoric of “Anonymous”, or you can believe me, who has lived in Chicago his entire life. ”

    First, sorry for misspelling your name. And I always prefer eye witnesses. So, if my information was wrong, then my conclusions must be considered wrong too.

  364. @James Donald:

    >>Because no one has succeeded in integrating them in thirteen hundred years in hundreds of nations, peoples, civilizations and such anywhere in the world.

    That is quite simply false. I will give you an example from the European continent. Polish Tatars have been muslims and fully integrated. That is because Polish culture is relatively tolerant by European standards (Hence, the large jewish population pre WW2).

    In other continents: The Hui chinese have been fully integrated in Chinese society and culture for centuries. They are a very different ethnicity than the Turkic Uighurs in west china who have never really been part of China and who are pretty much in the same position as Tibetans vis-a-vis their relationship with the Han chinese.

    We can go on and on. Even address your idiocy on Mindanao and Philippines. But what is the point of doing so?

  365. @Winter
    “What you all so desperately try to avoid is to talk about the costs of gun ownership.”

    We don’t talk about it for the same reason we don’t discuss the strategy of Tic-Tac-Toe. It’s all well understood and has been for quite some time. It’s a thoroughly answered question. Only idiots and ideologues still bring it up. But e.g. at up to 2.4M incidents of self-defense with a firearm per year in the US, it’s really quite obvious that firearm ownership is a net positive for society.

    But that’s the wrong answer to your question…

    Self defense and the ownership of the means of self defense is an in-built human right. It is not subject to the kinds of utilitarian calculations the totalitarians frequently resort to. I might think the cost of the oxygen used by Jeff Read is too high, but fortunately Jeff Read’s humanity immunizes him from people (like you) who would subject him and others to such a question.

    BTW, “public good” is the rallying cry of murderous totalitarians everywhere.

  366. @Michael
    ” But e.g. at up to 2.4M incidents of self-defense with a firearm per year in the US, it’s really quite obvious that firearm ownership is a net positive for society.”

    But this also corresponds to millions of attacks with a firearm. With all your “arms make us more safe”, the US still has a homicide rate 5 times that of European countries. The response to that seems to often be “this is not in my neighborhood”, these are still your compatriots dying from fire arms.

    Excuse us, but I know Europeans do not believe for one moment that these fire arms are making you more safe. For that, you should actually be more safe than we are, which you are not.

  367. “Europeans do not believe for one moment that these fire arms are making you more safe.”

    Of course you don’t. Europeans don’t understand the US and never will. That’s why we’re so thoroughly fucking tired of Europeans telling us hoe to run our lives.

  368. up to 2.4M incidents of self-defense with a firearm per year in the US

    Does anybody have any information on this statistic? How do we know that these incidents are real and legitimate self defense situations, as opposed to self-reported incidents by “testosterone filled” white males drawing their guns at imaginary threat situations.

    • >Does anybody have any information on this statistic?

      Yes. It’s legitimate. In most jurisdictions the police are required to investigate any weapon discharge. We also have police records of civilian weapon uses during crimes and attempts, security-camera footage, interviews with convicts, victimization surverys, and other sources.

      Integrating these provides a pretty detailed picture of defensive gun uses. As long ago as 1993, criminologist Gary Kleck was able to show that five out of six of them do not involve firing the weapon. We also know that cops are terrible shots – when armed civilians do have to fire they are less likely to hit a bystander by a 5:2 ratio.

      Contrary to your racist stereotype, the highest incidence of reported (and verified) self-defense incidents per capita happens in high-crime areas and is more likely to involve an Asian shopkeeper than the dreaded white male.

  369. @ Winter – “Total rubbish.”

    Your opinionated bias is so thorough that you’re unable to see it. For example, substitute private automobile ownership for private firearms ownership and then determine the “public good” utility function. Banning automobiles will save far more lives each year (not to mention associated injuries, medical and insurance costs, lost wages and productivity of injured parties, legal resolution overhead, etc.) than the predicted “public good” of banning firearms. If you really were advocating for the highest net benefit to society, then according to game theory, you should ban automobiles first.

    In addition, these types of examples are narrowly defined abstractions that fail the reality test. In theory, banning illicit drugs will net an enormous public good as compared to banning either automobiles or firearms, but reality demonstrates otherwise. The end result of this public policy is that only criminals benefit from the drug trade. The same will be true if private firearms are banned, only criminals and government employees will possess them, and both will make victims of the unarmed.

    Classical game theory is not used in modeling complex social phenomena. The same mathematical principles are employed, but the analysis paradigm is much different and requires computer based tools. BTW, modeling predicts continued growth of firearm and ammunition sales here in the US based upon the increasing stridency of the gun control movement. Thank you for that. We are all safer as a result.

  370. As a pure outsider to American politics, I ask what exactly are the liberal positions on most issues in the US. Most of the liberal ideas I read about appear based on “appeasement” of one special interest group or the other. It also seems to smack somewhat of “populism”. Am I right, oversimplifying or straight out wrong?

    I think because of America’s avowed dislike of communism (due to the Cold War era) and you cannot have a communist party that would get any kind of popular vote, you have substituted it with a kind of soft-Left liberalism, right?

  371. @TomA
    “For example, substitute private automobile ownership for private firearms ownership and then determine the “public good” utility function.”

    The public good utility function is transportation. The contribution of automobiles to the economy, even to the number of people that can live in the USA, is very big. The main difference with an arms race is that arms are not productive AT ALL. They are a pure cost ,only necessary because others have arms too.

    @TomA
    “In theory, banning illicit drugs will net an enormous public good as compared to banning either automobiles or firearms, but reality demonstrates otherwise.”

    No, banning illicit drugs serves no rational goal. This has been known for so long that we even cannot remember a time when this was not common knowledge (see history of the Catholic church). “Vices” have always been banned on religious grounds. All “health” arguments have always been bogus propaganda.

    @TomA
    “The same will be true if private firearms are banned, only criminals and government employees will possess them, and both will make victims of the unarmed.”

    Prove this. Come to Europe and tell us how “the unarmed” are made a victim.

    @TomA
    “Classical game theory is not used in modeling complex social phenomena.”

    It is. See how Nash equilibriums are used in modern day negotiation. And gun ownership is far from “complex”. Arms races have been modeled with game theory since the early beginnings (also in population genetics).

    @TomA
    “Thank you for that. We are all safer as a result.”

    Yes, with 5 times the homicide rate of Europe, or Japan.

  372. @Jay Maynard
    “That’s why we’re so thoroughly fucking tired of Europeans telling us hoe to run our lives.”

    I lost count how often I have been told that we are on a fast track to a mega death government genocide unless we become true Libertarians. The same about how much safer we would be if we would all start carrying automatic guns.

    All I do is pointing out that your reality in the US does not seem to match the ideology you preach. Like about how inevitable it is that so many people are killed by your police.

  373. >We also know that cops are terrible shots – when armed civilians do have to fire they are less likely to hit a bystander by a 5:2 ratio.

    Is it that cops are really terrible shots or is that an Asian shopkeeper is much more likely to be only 3 ~ 5 ft from from their target with no bystanders in the room when their shots are fired?

    • >Is it that cops are really terrible shots or is that an Asian shopkeeper is much more likely to be only 3 ~ 5 ft from from their target with no bystanders in the room when their shots are fired?

      Huh? When your typical Asian shopkeeper has to shoot someone there are quite likely to be bystanders. Urban robbers don’t mind bystanders, as they’ve been taught not to respond in the difficult way rural people might and may make juicy hostages.

      Besides, there are other lines of evidence that cops are lousy shots. I know of a pistol marksmanship event near me that has a separate division for cops; the organizer once told me this was so as not to embarrass the cops.

  374. > Eric is the expert here, and god knows I am not a fan of murdering cops, but if I was on a jury, my firm belief is that if the first shot was legal, then emptying the entire clip is.

    When I hear people say that if you shoot someone you should empty it out, there’s – not always, but – often an undertone of “no witnesses” and “dead men can’t sue”. Not in terms of believing that it’s in fact unjustified, but rather there seems to be a pervasive belief that not having to prove it in court is worth the other guy’s life.

  375. @Winter “Arms races are a classical case….However, if almost no-one has arms, it is much cheaper to invest in gun control.”

    You make a couple of, or perhaps even several, problematic assumptions here.

    First, that guns are the only arms that matter in an arms race. The fact is that most of us are born with arms–literally–as well as feet, and these by themselves can be used for both defense and offense. This is where the arms race starts, and the next steps up include working out to increase your strength, picking up rocks, sticks and baseball bats, and obtaining pointy sharp-edged objects (particularly knives) useful for stabbing and slashing. If you are small, or old, or don’t have time to keep in shape, you are already at a disadvantage to those who are. Thus, to even out the completely natural arms race, we need to have an “equalizer”, and that equalizer happens to be small arms.

    Second, that there’s no end to what we would arm ourselves with if it weren’t for restrictions. In the United States, it’s perfectly legal to own flame throwers and black-powder cannons that can fire cannonballs and grape shot. I attended a “Colonial Days” event that would fire such a cannon three or four times a day; one person dressed in either American Colonial or Civil War costume explained how vollies of grape shot would be used to turn Confederate soldiers into a bloody mist. Yet, this firepower isn’t used to rob banks, or settle disputes, or whatnot. Why? Partially because it’s difficult to carry a cannon around, to be sure, but also because this stuff is expensive, and the types of people who could afford such things aren’t going to go around shooting at houses.

    Third, that the only thing keeping us from exercising our anger against our fellow citizens is the lack of access to weapons. When a peaceable citizen decides to carry a weapon, they do so knowing that it’s a heavy responsibility. They typically take time to learn self defense law, and to learn techniques to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations.

    Fourth, that the types of people who do fight at the drop of a hat (and will often drop that hat themselves) won’t cause any harm if guns are illegal. These types of people are usually already banned from carrying guns, but if they cared what the law was, then they wouldn’t be banned from owning guns in the first place. This is a cultural issue, and it’s not going to go away just because we pass a few feel-good gun control measures. Indeed, as shown by the increase in gun violence in Great Britain, those determined to cause harm will do so, regardless.

    “And I know why gun control won’t “work” for Libertarians. Getting safe by controlling gun ownership is a public good.”

    I’m not convinced that Vermont, or Utah, or Wyoming, or Maine, or Arizona, are going to be all that safer, just because we ban guns. Take Vermont, for example: in 1976, they had 26 murders, by all means (not just by gun). At the time, their population was 476,000; last year, they had a population of 626,562 but only 10 murders. (Incidentally, 1976 was the highest since 1960.)

    Nor am I convinced that Europe will become a magically dangerous place if gun laws were removed overnight: all that such a decree would do, would be to make all the millions of guns quietly owned illegally legal. If Europeans were really bundles of anger ready to spring on the most innocent of victims with the slightest of provocations, it would already be reflected in their murder rates, with or without guns.

  376. @hari:
    I’ll attempt to break it down, here.

    To start with, the meaning of “liberal”. Literally, that means having to do with advancing liberty. That went out the window a long time ago and had been nebulously associated with the political Left for a long time. So instead, I’ll answer what the Left means in the US (which isn’t a much better term, but it’s something).

    Because of the First-Past-The-Post electoral system, it is pretty much inevitable that the country will eventually devolve down to a 2-party mass-appeal system as an equilibrium. Thus there are only two major parties in the US. The Left is generally represented by the Democratic party.

    As a mass-appeal party, it is an amalgamation of many different interests. Most names/categories mine from observation. Notably:
    *) The progressive voting movement. The greatest power for this school of thought was circa 1900. This is a moment which held that more democracy is better. This both led to granting women the right to vote, as well as electing what seems like every single local executive from Governor down to (sarcastically) dog-catcher and (literally) coroner. What little is left of this movement seems to be focused on allowing convicted felons to vote and improvements to corporate governance around minority shareholder rights.
    *) The progressive society-engineering movement. A follow-on to the previous school of thought, most powerful up through the 1930s. The movement holds that we can make a better society through government. This lead to eugenics and also major works projects such as the Hoover Dam. Currently, this leads to projects such as high-speed rail.
    *) The socialist school of thought. Closest to socialism as a philosophy. Characterized best by the quote from Obama of “You didn’t build that”. This holds that making a large amount of money can’t be done alone and therefore must have taken advantage of people somehow. This should be corrected by taxation. Note the emphasis on “The 1%” in American political discourse.
    *) The equality-of-outcome school of thought. This wing holds that people are created equally and therefore any large-scale differences in output must be due to some flaw in the lack of opportunity. This part of the party looks at differences in the outcomes of groups such as women, African-Americans, children of poor parents, etc., and attempts to fix the structure of society or the government, looking at equality of outcome as the measure. This has both worked to reduce racism encoded in the government, as well as to spend lots of money on ineffective ventures. Also leads to thinking that everybody who wants to live in America should be able to do so because it isn’t their fault they weren’t born here.
    *) The “we hate centers of power we don’t control” school of thought. This group is generally opposed to having large organizations that they don’t have any control over. For example, banks, insurance companies, cable companies, hospitals. Generally in favor of regulating how business works and who they must serve. Results in regulations which require cable companies going into a city to make service available to >=95% of the population before they are allowed to start sales. Or limits the fees banks can charge. This school of thought is generally okay with government running/monopolizing things (as it is elected) but not private organizations. At its best, it has ensured that services are available to as wide a group as possible. Current victories include ensuring that sole-proprietorship bakeries must sell cakes to same-sex couples for same-sex weddings.
    *) The labor movement. Mostly dying except outside of the government. Emphasis on ensuring that the workers have equal footing when negotiating with companies for wages, etc. At its best it created and promoted health-and-safety regulations so that people didn’t die from stupid things. Mostly destroyed by the internal corruption of union leaders, the overhead costs of the unions, and the mobility of low-skilled jobs in comparison to the workers.
    *) The environmental movement. Wants to save everything. At its best it has been associated with drastic improvements in air and water quality. At its worst, it involves years of regulatory review and intervention in business.
    *) The anti-war movement. Fairly broad and shallow. Provides good oversight of military spending. Spends a lot of time opposing anything that might be related to war. Thus a large emphasis on opposing nuclear power because it might be used to build nuclear weapons.

    Much like an SNES RPG, combining two or more of these can result in other groups with greater focus:

    *) Equality-of-outcome + “we hate centers of power we don’t control” leads to the emphasis on single-payer healthcare.
    *) Anti-war movement + “we hate centers of power we don’t control” leads to opposition to private gun ownership.
    *) Environmental movement + progressive society-engineering movement leads to mandating low-flush toilets.
    *) Labor movement + environmental movement leads to emphasis on green jobs, wind turbines.
    *) The progressive voting movement + “we hate centers of power we don’t control” leads to voting on anything that might result in somebody being affected, anywhere. Eg. a ban on wind turbines because they might make things look bad.

    This isn’t the definitive list, but it’s one I’ve assembled in my head and covers a good part of the positions and the underpinning philosophy.

  377. @Winter:

    The public good utility function is transportation. The contribution of automobiles to the economy, even to the number of people that can live in the USA, is very big.

    The ‘public good’ function of any item is the combination of its’ benefits, in this case transportation, and any negative drawbacks like carbon emissions.Conceivably, someone who highly values the environment might believe that the carbon cost of private transportation outweigh any possible benefits. Under that scenario, the ‘utility function’ regarding automobiles would indeed incline in favor of mass transit and curtailing private transportation.

    Whenever two people calculate utility functions from different axioms, they will likely not agree on policy matters that rely on that calculation. (At best, they will differ only in a matter of degree.) And on the question of axioms:

    The main difference with an arms race is that arms are not productive AT ALL.

    If arms are not “productive AT ALL”, then neither is brushing your teeth, performing regular data backups, or obtaining a general “liberal arts” (vs. a “vocational”) education—for just like gun ownership, none of these activities ever provide a direct, immediate benefit.

  378. Alpheus, you are correct in listing Winter’s assumptions. They are generic to the common European hoplophobe, who thinks firearms are magic talismans of eeeeevil that turn innocent, peaceful citizens into slavering maniacs looking for an excuse to kill.

    Sadly, there is no reasoning with such. Their irrational fear, couple with an often comorbid condition called “European leftism” which causes them to value the good of society over the rights of the individual, prevents them from thinking rationally. They stop at the nasty icky eeeeevil gun, never bothering to think about the hand that holds it.

  379. Guns used in self defense, what a wonderful fairy tale:

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use-2/

    Most purported self-defense gun uses are gun uses in escalating arguments and are both socially undesirable and illegal

    Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense.

    http://www.vpc.org/studies/justifiable15.pdf

    In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-12-27/how-often-do-we-use-guns-in-self-defense

    Criminologists concur that the unusual prevalence of guns in America—some 300 million in private hands—makes our violent crime more lethal than that of other countries. (See, for example, the excellent When Brute Force Fails, by UCLA’s Mark Kleiman.) That’s the cost of allowing widespread civilian gun ownership: In this country, when someone is inclined to commit a mugging, shoot up a movie theater, or kill their spouse (or themselves), firearms are readily available.

  380. @AlexK
    “The ‘public good’ function of any item is the combination of its’ benefits, in this case transportation, and any negative drawbacks like carbon emissions. Conceivably, someone who highly values the environment might believe that the carbon cost of private transportation outweigh any possible benefits.”

    What is your point? Using cars has benefits and costs.

    To simplify things, economics distinguishes internal costs for operating and maintaining (deprecation) a vehicle paid by the owner, and external costs that have to be paid by others, like death, destruction, and pollution. And these costs and benefits are averaged over all people to get to a net benefit/cost for society. If the costs for all outweigh the benefits for all, there will be a strong pressure to look for an alternative.

    Did they not teach you that in school?

    @AlexK
    “Whenever two people calculate utility functions from different axioms, they will likely not agree on policy matters that rely on that calculation.”

    You will be very surprised how easy it is to monetarism externalized costs (damages) and send you the bill if the monetary costs show a clear negative. Libraries have been filled about this in the economics literature. But I know Libertarians love skewed Gedankenexperiments with fairy tale economics. Everything but real data.

  381. For gun ownership, these externalized costs have actually been calculated. They are remarkably low, I must admit: the average annual marginal social cost of household gun ownership is in the range $100 to $1800. But maybe we can look for more studies.

    What is the social cost of gun ownership?
    http://www18.georgetown.edu/data/people/ludwigj/publication-18264.pdf

    These go somewhat broader but does not get to a figure:
    Externalities and the Dubious Defenses of Gun Enthusiasts
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/externalities-and-the-dubious-defenses-of-gun-enthusiasts.html

    Michael Olenick: The Lesson of Newtown – Time to Charge for the True Cost of Gun Ownership
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/michael-olenick-the-lesson-of-newtown-time-to-charge-for-the-true-cost-of-gun-ownership.html

    This one comes to $700 per capita per year:

    The True Cost of Gun Violence in America
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/true-cost-of-gun-violence-in-america

    Ah, but I know, these “messengers” are all shot because they are not of the true faith.

  382. @ Winter – “Prove this. Come to Europe and tell us how “the unarmed” are made a victim.”

    Just ask the families of the unarmed victims in the Bataclan Theater in Paris.

    The gun control meme has never been about minimizing firearm violence within the citizenry. It is solely about ensuring that government can easily and effectively dominate the citizenry regardless of how totalitarian the government becomes. Parasites have an existential imperative in ensuring government dominance over the productive. This is the only way they can assure their survival during periods or scarcity or extreme hardship.

  383. @Jay Maynard
    “Their irrational fear, couple with an often comorbid condition called “European leftism” which causes them to value the good of society over the rights of the individual, prevents them from thinking rationally. ”

    Meanwhile, I have statistics and you have faith.

  384. @TomA
    “Just ask the families of the unarmed victims in the Bataclan Theater in Paris.”

    As compared to the families of the Newtown shooting in 2012, or the San Bernardino shooting?

    So what is the difference of having the right to bear arms? That teenagers will carry semi-automatic guns into concerts? If that is such a great idea, why don’t the US practice it?

  385. @TomA
    “The gun control meme has never been about minimizing firearm violence within the citizenry. It is solely about ensuring that government can easily and effectively dominate the citizenry regardless of how totalitarian the government becomes. Parasites have an existential imperative in ensuring government dominance over the productive. This is the only way they can assure their survival during periods or scarcity or extreme hardship.”

    I am reading a wonderful article. I am still contemplating whether this fragment of your writing fits in:

    On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit
    http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf

    Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bull-
    shit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “ Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.

  386. Winter, your statistics are textbook examples of how to lie with statistics. That, plus the Left’s fetish for raising taxes based on highly dubious “externalities” calculations, renders your arguments just more European leftist drivel.

  387. esr:

    >>Yes. It’s legitimate. In most jurisdictions the police are required to investigate any weapon discharge. We also have police records of civilian weapon uses during crimes and attempts, security-camera footage, interviews with convicts, victimization surverys, and other sources.

    It is a far stretch to go from that statement to the definitive statement that 2.4M incidents are a “net positive” to self defense. Here is a link on anti-gun website that claims there are less than 1600 verified defensive gun uses in 2014. So which one is correct? The difference between 2.4M and 1600 is gigantic difference of several orders of magnitude.

    http://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/defensive-gun-use-armed-with-reason-hemenway/

    >>Contrary to your racist stereotype, the highest incidence of reported (and verified) self-defense incidents per capita happens in high-crime areas and is more likely to involve an Asian shopkeeper than the dreaded white male.

    So am I to assume 2.4M asian shopkeepers stopped armed robberies of their stories. Or am I to believe the number is 1600. My money is on the latter number.
    There was a fox news interview that I saw the other day. It was O’Reilly interviewing Trump and both were coddling one another while congratulating one another on being “Tough Guys”. It is the kind of interview that the demographic in my “racist stereotype” jerks off to. My reasons for calling BS this 2.4M number go far beyond “racism”.

    BTW, I have learned how to handle firearms at the age of 15. Everything from hand pistols to AKs to even Mauser collectibles. I never felt a need to own gun not one single day, and think that the dangers/risks of having them around and easily accessible far outweighs any advantages.

  388. @Jay Maynard
    “Winter, your statistics are textbook examples of how to lie with statistics.”

    You, however, are going it on faith alone. You do not even bother to disprove my sources.

  389. Arms races are a classical case. By investing in arms, everybody incurs a heavy cost. But if everybody else is doing it, you will be annihilated if you don’t invest in more and better arms. However, if almost no-one has arms, it is much cheaper to invest in gun control.

    Self defense is not a war of attrition.

    What you all so desperately try to avoid is to talk about the costs of gun ownership.

    No, we have measured the costs and found them far lower than the costs of the alternatives.

    And I know why gun control won’t “work” for Libertarians. Getting safe by controlling gun ownership is a public good. And if there is one thing Libertarianism seems to be unable to supply, then it is Public Goods. But it is public goods that are the foundation of society. Hence, here is the reason why Libertarianism is anathema to society.

    Are you seriously trying to use an externality / public good argument against libertarians? I guess the reports of europeans not having balls were false. Outside of the Rothbardian contingent an understanding of those concepts is central to libertarianism, most importantly including the understanding that the best way of dealing with a too-expensive good is to find a way of making it cheaper rather than forcing everyone to pay at gunpoint.

    Besides, anyone supporting a democratic system of government has already lost the moral high ground with regards to public goods.

  390. @FooQuuxman
    “Outside of the Rothbardian contingent an understanding of those concepts is central to libertarianism, most importantly including the understanding that the best way of dealing with a too-expensive good is to find a way of making it cheaper rather than forcing everyone to pay at gunpoint.”

    Except that there are public goods that are essential, irrespective of cost. Waterworks are often such “goods”.

    My favorite example is the area I live in. My front door is a few meters below sea level. The reclaimed land harbors cities and towns (plural). The public good in question is keeping the water out, i.e., managing pumps and water works. These are paid for by taxes. If you do not want to pay taxes, you have to move out. If the pumps stop, we have water flooding our upstairs floor.

    I have asked many times on this blog for a Libertarian alternative for financing this public good, without which there would be no land to live at all. Currently, I have a democratic say in the matter of taxes. You sound as if you can give us an alternative that gives us more FREEDOM and more say in our destiny. Remember, no money for the pumps, no land.

    Your chance to be the first to come up with a true Libertarian alternative to this puzzle!

  391. @Winter: “To simplify things, economics distinguishes internal costs for operating and maintaining (deprecation) a vehicle paid by the owner, and external costs that have to be paid by others, like death, destruction, and pollution. And these costs and benefits are averaged over all people to get to a net benefit/cost for society. If the costs for all outweigh the benefits for all, there will be a strong pressure to look for an alternative.”

    I don’t think I addressed this before, but if guns had zero positive utility, then there would be no reason for police officers to carry them.

    As for the studies that Winter cites: I’m not familiar with them, per se, but I would be very hesitant to believe anything that the Violence Policy Center put out. I once participated in an audit of VPC list of violent acts committed by concealed carry permit holders, made to show how problematic concealed carry permits really are. The actual percentage of events where a person had a concealed carry permit, and that permit was relevant to the death in question, was a very small percentage of the list that VPC had created.

    Bloomberg and Harvard have similar reputations of putting out dubious information on the issue of gun rights.

    @uma: “So am I to assume 2.4M asian shopkeepers stopped armed robberies of their stories. Or am I to believe the number is 1600. My money is on the latter number.”

    First of all, that 2.4M applies to all Americans, not just Asian shopkeepers; and yes, that number might be a bit high. But when you consider that this is 2.4M events out of, say 280 million people (assuming the study was in the 1990’s, which I think it was)…that means that, per capita, there was about 1 self-defense event for every 100 people. Is that really all that impossible?

    Secondly, why do you trust the 1,600 number? That seems very low, especially considering how often crime occurs; and it’s particularly suspect coming from an anti-gun source, considering how often such sources have proved be…how shall we say it? less than knowledgeable, and perhaps even a bit disingenuous…in their statistical rigor.

  392. @Alpheus
    ” I’m not familiar with them, per se, but I would be very hesitant to believe anything that the Violence Policy Center put out.”

    As I predicted, when you have no data yourself, you shoot the messenger.

  393. @Alpheus
    “that means that, per capita, there was about 1 self-defense event for every 100 people. Is that really all that impossible?”

    Yes, outside of war zones, 1 armed self-defense event per 100 people per year is exceptional.

  394. @Alpheus:

    Secondly, why do you trust the 1,600 number? That seems very low, especially considering how often crime occurs; and it’s particularly suspect coming from an anti-gun source, considering how often such sources have proved be…how shall we say it? less than knowledgeable, and perhaps even a bit disingenuous…in their statistical rigor.

    I don’t. That is why I labelled the source appropriately as an anti-gun source whose data is to be taken with a fair amount of skepticism. But I’d wager the number of verifiable defense instances where the gun stopped underway or helped protect property is in the thousands rather than the millions.

    Between enjoying the greatest benefit of an armed citizenry (stopping govt tyranny) and the total insanity of “easy-access” homicides, suicides and teenagers massacring a couple dozen people when they get “micro-agressed” – between all that there is plenty of room for rational, thoughtful people to come up with far better public policies than the ones we have.

  395. Winter: “I have asked many times on this blog for a Libertarian alternative for financing this public good, without which there would be no land to live at all.”

    I do not know the circumstances as to why the Dutch resorted to this method to reclaim land, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the result of people trying to escape government prosecution of one sort or another. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me, either, if the dispute involved taxes that the persecuted didn’t want to pay.

    It seems that people do all sorts of crazy things to escape taxes!

    As for how a Libertarian would approach this topic: I cannot say, because people are very imaginative when it comes to solutions. But one possibility would be to set flood insurance rates on such reclaimed land high enough as a warning that it’s not a good way to build a house, unless the land itself (and all the skyscrapers already built, and farmland in use) are at such a premium, that you might as well build a dike, drain the sea water, and start building on and farming that land anyway.

    On the other hand, there’s also a dark side to government interference that you refuse to acknowledge, and that’s probably because government in the Netherlands is somewhat rosy. But what happens if you have a government that pushes flood insurance artificially low, rewrites zoning laws to allow people to build in below-sea-level areas (as much as I dislike zoning laws, they are, after all, supposed to protect people, right?) and funnels the money intended for the levies into other projects, and perhaps even to line their own pockets? You get New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. The result, in part, because the market wasn’t free to act in a reasonable manner….

  396. Winter: “As I predicted, when you have no data yourself, you shoot the messenger.”

    Very well, here is the study that leads me to distrust anything that comes out of the bowels of the Violence Policy Center:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2095754

    I don’t have the time at this moment to go through the studies you linked to, but I notice that they link to people who have proven to be just as untrustworthy in the past. It’s enough so, that when I see such a “messenger”, I don’t want to shoot them, so much as I want to tar and feather them, and then run them out of town on a rail.

    Winter: “””(Apheus) “that means that, per capita, there was about 1 self-defense event for every 100 people. Is that really all that impossible?” Yes, outside of war zones, 1 armed self-defense event per 100 people per year is exceptional.”””

    Come to think of it, it depends on how you define defensive actions. Sure, that encounter with hooligans might not have come to anything, so hinting that you had a gun and were prepared to use it might not count as self-defense, and it would be a stretch to count it as a “defensive gun use”…but at the same time, these other studies will often “low-ball” self defense use to the point that you literally have to kill someone in order for it to count as a use of self defense!

    Surely, there should be some sort of happy medium…but in a country where you get 12,000 murders a year, you’d think that there’d be just more than 1.600 instances of self defense…

  397. @Alpheus
    “I do not know the circumstances as to why the Dutch resorted to this method to reclaim land, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the result of people trying to escape government prosecution of one sort or another. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me, either, if the dispute involved taxes that the persecuted didn’t want to pay.”

    I do not think you could be more wrong.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/08/27/historical_map_shows_land_reclamation_in_the_nertherlands.html

    http://blogs.umb.edu/buildingtheworld/waterworks/protective-dikes-and-land-reclamation-the-netherlands/

    @Alpheus
    “But one possibility would be to set flood insurance rates on such reclaimed land high enough as a warning that it’s not a good way to build a house, unless the land itself (and all the skyscrapers already built, and farmland in use) are at such a premium, that you might as well build a dike, drain the sea water, and start building on and farming that land anyway.”

    This will not work in any way as a small dyke won’t work. You need to build LARGE water defenses. See map in link.

    @Alpheus
    “But what happens if you have a government that pushes flood insurance artificially low, rewrites zoning laws to allow people to build in below-sea-level areas (as much as I dislike zoning laws, they are, after all, supposed to protect people, right?) and funnels the money intended for the levies into other projects, and perhaps even to line their own pockets? You get New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina.”

    In four centuries, that has not happened. For the simple reason that people are very well aware why they need the water works. Also, this is a case where the powerful drown as easy as the powerless.

    The one time something like this happened was in 1953 when the dykes were not in order in the aftermath of WWII (the Germans had different priorities and the whole country was in ruins for some years).

  398. @Winter
    You have already been given data for defensive uses of guns. It comes from a reliable source.

    The anti-gunners are liars. Always. We are entirely correct to dismiss them out of hand.

    A firearm is a great equalizer in the hands of a woman against a much more powerful male attacker – there are daily occurrences of women using guns to defend themselves from violent males. You would deny her this.
    Why do you hate women so much?

    A firearm is a great equalizer in the hands of an elderly person against a much more powerful young attacker – there are daily occurrences of the elderly using guns to defend themselves from youthful violent attackers. You would deny them this.
    Why do you hate the elderly so much?

    I presume you similarly hate Jews. Blacks. Hispanics. The infirm. The poor. Disabled veterans.

    Why do you hate so many people?

  399. @Michael
    “The anti-gunners are liars. Always. We are entirely correct to dismiss them out of hand.”

    As I wrote for Jay, Faith based convictions.

    @Michael
    “Why do you hate the elderly so much? I presume you similarly hate Jews. Blacks. Hispanics. The infirm. The poor. Disabled veterans. Why do you hate so many people?”

    Strange remark. What did I write that would make you think such things? Or is this another Faith based judgement?

  400. From the articles Winter linked to, about Amsterdam:

    “From 800 to 1250 AD due to a boom in farming and a growing coastal trade, the population of the Netherlands grew ten-fold. To keep up with the demand for food, the Dutch dug up the marshes and sold the peat, converting marshes to farmland. But as the marshes were drained, the groundwater was lowered and the land began to sink. It therefore became imperative to build a series of linked major dikes to protect the land from flooding.”

    While I was wrong about the Netherlands on this (about persecution and taxes, which seem to be the two biggest reasons for colonizing new places), it seems that how I originally described the possibility–namely, building dikes so you could have farmland that is less expensive than land available elsewhere–indeed seems to be the motive for the creation of the Netherlands.

    “It’s a commonplace of economics that they’re not making any more land, but this is a powerful reminder that once upon a time it was actually pretty common for technologically advanced societies to build more land.”

    And it seems that we don’t do this anymore because of economic reasons. This is probably why we don’t build pyramids, either. Granted, there are some projects that only government can do, but there’s nonetheless the question: if only government can do them, are they really worthwhile to do?

    “In effect, local water boards also produced revenue through self-taxation: each village contributed to the upkeep of their local dikes. What can we learn from the democratic, self-regulating and self-taxing water boards as we consider governance and maintenance of key infrastructure? Is there a role for locals in highway maintenance, canal improvement, bikeway development?”

    Now that I think about it, this sounds a lot like the types of government we might find in a colonial New England town hall, or from the chieftans of Medieval Iceland. In contrast, what happened in New Orleans seemed to be the result of two or three layers of government, centralized and somewhat distant from the people living there.

    “The one time something like this happened was in 1953 when the dykes were not in order in the aftermath of WWII (the Germans had different priorities and the whole country was in ruins for some years).”

    Oddly enough, for better or for worse, this reminds me of the one time Switzerland was conquered by outside forces: Napoleon managed to create a wedge between the French speakers and the rest of the country, that he was able to conquer them…but the Swiss (including the French speakers) disliked that so much, that when Hitler tried the same thing with the German speaking Swiss, he didn’t find them nearly as receptive as he had hoped….(I’m not going to try to find any logical reason why the one thing should remind me of the other, though, because I don’t see any logical connection at this moment…)

  401. @Winter: I have asked many times on this blog for a Libertarian alternative for financing this public good, without which there would be no land to live at all.

    Which was the original state of the “land” you now live on; it was underwater. How did it originally become land?

  402. @Alpheus
    “it seems that how I originally described the possibility–namely, building dikes so you could have farmland that is less expensive than land available elsewhere–indeed seems to be the motive for the creation of the Netherlands.”

    Yep, in 1100 AD it was all small scale farm land reclamation. Since then, technology has progressed and sea levels have risen. These small scale projects really do not work anymore to get several meters of water out of an area of hundreds of square kilometers. But it was indeed much better than trying to rob some from the Belgians or Germans.

    @Alpheus
    “And it seems that we don’t do this anymore because of economic reasons. This is probably why we don’t build pyramids, either. ”

    The last big land reclamations were completed around 1970. From these times, the value of land has been less than that of the open water, so we stopped investing in reclaiming land and started to invest more in water instead. Our water defenses keep us busy enough as sea levels are rising faster than they used to and our rivers are transporting more water that has to be carried to the sea.

    @Alpheus
    “if only government can do them, are they really worthwhile to do?”

    The pyramids had only religious value. Our land is economically productive. For example, I live there. For me, and for the country, the cost benefit calculations were positive.

    @Alpheus
    “Now that I think about it, this sounds a lot like the types of government we might find in a colonial New England town hall, or from the chieftans of Medieval Iceland. In contrast, what happened in New Orleans seemed to be the result of two or three layers of government, centralized and somewhat distant from the people living there.”

    Indeed. It has been remarked before that if we will all go down together, there is much better motivation to work together.

  403. @Peter Donis
    “Which was the original state of the “land” you now live on; it was underwater. How did it originally become land?”

    It was collectively decided to make it land. The costs were covered by the sale of the land and taxes of those who live and work there. Such a large enterprise is organized by our government. Historically, we had some large reclamation works done by private enterprise. In the end, these were sold back to the government.

    All this is just distracting that the maintenance of reclaimed land is a public good. Give me a better model than taxes. Just abandoning a profitable enterprise, we living on reclaimed land, because you object to paying taxes sound idiotic.

  404. @Winter “As I wrote for Jay, Faith based convictions.”

    No, Winter. Based on evidence. Lots of evidence. SJWs always lie. They have repeatedly been caught in their lies.

    You dismissed the 2.4M number even tho it is well researched and verified and is not published by known liars. You dismiss it based on faith. You’re a hypocrite by your own words.

    “Strange remark. What did I write that would make you think such things?”

    You want the weak to be prey to the strong. You want the peaceable to be at the mercy of the violent. The people in Paris are dead because of you. You are an accessory to murder because you deny them the means to save their own lives. You have blood on your hands.

    Shut up – How many more must die to try to redeem your murderous ideology? Do human lives mean nothing to you?

  405. @ Winter – “So what is the difference of having the right to bear arms? That teenagers will carry semi-automatic guns into concerts? If that is such a great idea, why don’t the US practice it?”

    There were four Islamic attackers in the concert hall versus hundreds of music fans. If just 10% of these fans had been carrying concealed handguns, then the outcome would likely have been much different. France has very strong gun control laws, and all it accomplished was to ensure that the terrorists were heavily armed and the victims were sitting ducks. If you wish to be a sitting duck, that is your choice; but to impose that insanity on others is genocidal.

  406. @Michael
    “You dismissed the 2.4M number even tho it is well researched and verified and is not published by known liars.”

    None of that. I just wrote that 1 use of fire arms in self defense per 100 persons would be exceptional when not in war. I still consider that exceptional, whether it is true or not. Also, to put such a number in context, we must know wheter the supposedly “aggresive” party was armed or not.

    And I prefer (peer reviewed) data over emotional accusations of falsehoods. In my experience, people on this blog are much to eager to call liar and fraud when the data do not suit them.

    Especially when the accusators cannot come up with peer reviewed data themselves.

  407. What is your point? Using cars has benefits and costs. … If the costs for all outweigh the benefits for all, there will be a strong pressure to look for an alternative. Did they not teach you that in school?

    What I was taught in freshman economics was that people will seek an alternative when the direct costs outweigh the direct benefits. When benefits are reaped directly while costs are socialized (such as with private transportation and CO2 pollution) you have a “tragedy of the commons”: no individual willingly reduces the benefit they receive in order to keep the total cost incurred at a maintainable level. The opposite, where costs are direct but benefits socialized, tends to be called the “free rider” problem, and again ensuring sufficient maintenance is received is the core difficulty.

    You will be very surprised how easy it is to monetarism externalized costs (damages) and send you the bill…

    The critical element in either a “tragedy of the commons” or a “free rider problem” is the non-exclusionary nature of the good in question: that specific individuals cannot be targeted based on their behavior. I would very much like to know what you cite as solving the free rider problem, as (at least when I was being taught) this was considered an economically intractable issue.

  408. @Michael
    “Shut up – How many more must die to try to redeem your murderous ideology? Do human lives mean nothing to you?”

    I am rather puzzled by your accusations. Western Europe has a homicide rate of around a fifth of that of the USA. Why is that a murderous ideology?

  409. > Western Europe has a homicide rate of around a fifth of that of the USA. Why is that a murderous ideology?

    You are importing people with a much higher murder and rape rate, and piously overlooking their murders and rapes.

  410. @Alex K
    “I would very much like to know what you cite as solving the free rider problem, as (at least when I was being taught) this was considered an economically intractable issue.”

    For public goods, the comon solution is taxes. That is also a remedy for activities that externalizes costs. Also, activities that causes damages, e.g., polution, can be regulated.

    The free rider problem is only intractable when it involves private parties. I think it is one of the reasons goverments arise.

  411. @Alex K
    “no individual willingly reduces the benefit they receive in order to keep the total cost incurred at a maintainable level. ”

    That is where goverment was invented for. It makes laws, and enforces them, and it levies taxes.

  412. @winter “Why is that a murderous ideology?”

    You’re a self-professed communist. You worship the strong central state. You deny innocent people the means to defend their very lives. You want to import rapists, murderers, and religious death cultists by the millions.

    Those things all spell bloodshed. The communists killed millions. The Islamics will make them look like amateurs.

    But I guess it’s necessary to break a few eggs to make your Utopian omelet, right Winter.

  413. Winter on 2015-12-08 at 16:02:13 said:
    > Yes, outside of war zones, 1 armed self-defense event per 100 people per year is exceptional.

    I personally have engaged in armed self defense. (Asshole government built an apartment block for welfare people in a nice suburb, walking distance from the home that I had purchased to raise my small children in, necessitating a series of violent incidents between myself and people resident in those homes. Subsequently, in response to local pressure, they put a better quality of people in that apartment block.)

    I find it hard to believe I am one person in a hundred.

  414. uma on 2015-12-08 at 07:16:04 said:
    > That is quite simply false. I will give you an example from the European continent. Polish Tatars have been muslims and fully integrated.

    Polish Tatars are far below one percent – and are not at fully integrated at all.

    Muslims don’t organize to systematically cause organized trouble until they exceed one percent. Chronic civil war sets in at ten to thirty percent. To keep the peace at one percent is easy. To keep the peace at thirty percent is possible, but requires terrifyingly and shockingly extreme measures.

  415. @Michael
    “You worship the strong central state. You deny innocent people the means to defend their very lives. You want to import rapists, murderers, and religious death cultists by the millions.”

    You watch too much television.

  416. *Winter* commented
    > I lost count how often I have been told that we are on a fast track to a
    > mega death government genocide unless we become true Libertarians.

    You had a megadeath government not so long ago. You are sending a awful lot of people to prison for thought crimes, which is a pretty good indicator that a megadeath government is approaching, and you are using gangs of state sponsored thugs to prevent political opponents from organizing, which is another pretty good indicator that a megadeath government is approaching.

  417. @Winter – as you applaud, and become complicit with, those government types that deny to ‘others’ the same technology they themselves enjoy to protect their lives – do you feel any pangs of responsibility when your countrymen are killed by violent criminals?

    Without political support from you and your ilk, these dead people would have at least had an option to weigh to decide for themselves whether or not they avail themselves of an effective means of self defense. You took that from them. By force.

    They might be alive today had you not interfered in their lives – by proxy (you would not personally interfere with such people as you are a coward).

    I suspect you feel nothing, and will ridicule the suggestion…because you are a sociopath.

    I own guns because of wretched scum like you. I am thankful you exist on another continent and are utterly irrelevant and inconsequential.

  418. @JAD
    “You had a megadeath government not so long ago.”

    We were invaded by that particular country. Just like the Americas were invaded by other European countries. To the detriment of the original inhabitants.

    For the rest, we have to admit the US to beat us in any of these attrocities. So, come back complaining when the US have less prisoners, less violence and better free speech protection than us.

  419. @winter “You watch too much television.”

    And you never respond to anything that doesn’t fit your faith-based state worship.

  420. @Dan
    “do you feel any pangs of responsibility when your countrymen are killed by violent criminals?”

    Given that so few innocent people are killed by violent criminals, I do not see how carying guns could have made a difference.

    The majority of homicide victims are killed by relatives or were violent criminals themselves.

    There are indeed a few victims of armed robberies killed. But it is questionable whether these people could have defended themselves effectively.

    Anyhow, preventing these few murders would not even compensate for the added shooting accidents from widespread gun ownership.

    There is not even a rational case to make that there would be a net reduction in preventable deaths by private gun ownership, so I do not feel guilty of their deaths.

    Btw, most of the people I know, including pensioners, are even more opposed to guns than I am. The very people you want to “save” by giving them a gun would not want to touch it with a barge pole.

  421. @Michael
    “And you never respond to anything that doesn’t fit your faith-based state worship.”

    Count my comments. I am writing rather large amounts of text about quite a large number of subjects. I even add supporting evidence.

    But there are limits in the number of questions that I can answer.

    And I do not hope that you have any illusion that you can talk me out of my believes without actually understanding the country I live in.

  422. @Dan
    “I own guns because of wretched scum like you. ”

    Are you saying you want to kill me for my political believes?

    Another reason to fight the spread of guns.

    • >Are you saying you want to kill me for my political believes?

      No, he’s armed against thugs attempting to turn your beliefs into action in the U.S. So am I.

  423. > Is it that cops are really terrible shots or is that an Asian shopkeeper is much more likely to be only 3 ~ 5 ft from from their target with no bystanders in the room when their shots are fired?

    George Zimmerman fired one shot directly through Trayvon Martin’s heart and lungs, turning his heart into hamburger. Darren Wilson sprayed and prayed.

    Law abiding people with guns are typically much better shots, and much less likely to panic in an emergency, than cops. Criminals with guns tend to much worse shots, and much more likely to panic in an emergency, than cops.

    That said, Van Dyke panicked because he was in a genuinely life threatening situation, and we should not condemn those that panic in such a situation. On the other hand, we would prefer cops that do not panic in life threatening situations.

    • >Darren Wilson sprayed and prayed.

      Not so. As I discussed in This picture tells a shooting story, Wilson’s technique was quite good considering the extremity of the situation: “The first thing that jumps out at me is that this was not wild, amateurish shooting. Had it been, the distribution of bullet holes would have resembled an irregular blob. The near-linear arrangement suggests a relatively steady hand and a shooter who wasn’t panic”