We’ve brought up a whole generation of people who think the appropriate response to problems is to bring out a gun and shoot them…and the bigger the problem the bigger the gun. We’re dealing with racism by shooting black people, dealing with trigger-happy cops by shooting random police officers, and presiding over it all, the gleeful NRA. Wayne LaPierre does look like a good avatar of death, doesn’t he?
This is not going to end well.
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
Finally realized the obvious meaning of the acronym NRA = National Rifle Assholes
I don’t support violence in itself, but let’s be real: NOT shooting cops has done exactly zero to improve the situation. The trend for “Blue lives matter” laws was started before this happened, when violence against police was (and statistically, probably still is) are record low levels.
But props to Dallas for literally using a robot suicide bomber, rather than simply shooting a guy. That’s some pretty dark creeping militarization stuff right there.
Note that dozens, possibly hundreds, of police–well trained, well armed “good guys with guns” failed to stop the shooter until he’d shot 12 people. Even then they weren’t able to stop him with a gun and resorted to a suicide bomber robot* to stop him. Guns are crap as defensive weapons. This was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how a bad guy with a gun could be stopped by a good guy with a gun and they failed.
*A phrase I never thought I’d be writing outside of the context of science fiction, but whatever.
I love to ask all the ammosexuals I know why one isn’t allowed to carry a firearm into Nationalist Racist Asshole headquarters. I have yet to get a coherent answer. Just gibbering about the 2nd amendment.
Bernard Bumner says
Have you considered that the racism that drives cops to disproportionately kill black people is not generally based in the pleasure of killing POC, but is instead based in fear and the expectation that black people are likely to be violent criminals?
What do you think the murder of cops by an anti-white, anti-police black man will do to that perception? Do you think that will improve the situation for POC?
Aside from that, are you really flirting with advocating terrorism as a response to police brutality? It could appear that way.
Lincoln screwed up. Let the South secede right now, or even kick ’em back out, and let the Drumpfh states join ’em. Unlimited “carry” there should be LaPierre’s dream in this new NRA country.
“…and presiding over it all, the gleeful NRA.”
…and the zombie GOP who, under the controlling influence of a tiny band of wealthy, ever-greedy and obnoxiously paranoid parasites of civilization, have long recruited the stem louts of society to accomplish their aims, steadily cultivating a culture of irrationality and bigotry until it gave birth to the turd that is Drumpf…and not a one of these abject scoundrels will accept responsibility for what they have unleashed.
Whatever happened to the charge of treason, anyway?
@Dianne#3: Yes. The atrocious experiment has been performed, and the louts are blind to the results.
TopGear catalogue doesn’t have robot tasers or robot tranquilizer guns.
How come no one’s shot LaPierre yet?
PZ Myers says
NO ONE should be shot. Not even the odious LaPierre.
Shooting people is not a solution.
A few things. One: I personally don’t have a problem with using a robot if you couldn’t talk him out of it. My question is how hard did they really try given the circumstances. I have a hard time believing they put in that much effort. Two: it’s not that guns make crappy defensive weapons, the shooters just had a major tactical advantage. If you don’t know where you’re opponent is then every weapon is crappy for defense. Three: the shooters likely behaved the way they did because they’ve watched(and possibly been a part of) organizations trying to make changes through peaceful means and make zero headway. The only thing I find surprising about this is that it only just happened now and that it doesn’t happen more often. Human beings are more averse to violence than most people realize but given sufficient time, frustration, lack of opportunity and access to the right hardware you have a recipe for disaster. Rampant inequality, no opportunity, a massive double standard in your justice system, a society awash in firearms and a machismo culture. You’d be foolish to expect any less.
It’s not okay that people do things like this to each other. I don’t want to appear as though i’m saying its okay PZ, i’m just saying that i’m not surprised it has come to this given the problems people face in your country. People can only take so much before the worst parts of them come out.
I certainly understand that the police were quite upset over the whole mess, being shot at because of how you are dressed or whom you are affiliated with is extremely disturbing. But everything I have heard is that they had the shooter/suspect trapped, trapped in a location from which he was unable to harm anyone. The suspect was not going anywhere unless they allowed him to leave. All they had to do was wait. I am sure that local restaurants would have been willing to bring them food and drink while they waited for the suspect to fall asleep, give up, or otherwise be able to be cuffed and read his rights. All they had to do was wait. Instead they planned how to kill him and then killed him – no arrest, no hearing, no trial, no jury, no judge.
A Masked Avenger says
Yep, it was an execution pure and simple.
“…the shooters just had a major tactical advantage.”
The shooters ALWAYS have a major tactical advantage. They choose the time and place, and they’re not limited by scruples against shooting the innocent (or have decided that their intended victims are “guilty,” which amounts to the same thing).
In LE firearms training we do an exercise in which one person is designated “bad guy,” and stands next to a “good guy” addressing a pair of targets. Both start with hands up at chest level. The “good guy” isn’t allowed to move until the bad guy is moving; the bad guy can shoot at will. The challenge is to be first to fire and hit the target. The “good guy” seldom wins, even though they know exactly what the bad guy is about to do, and are watching like a hawk. The lesson is that even with no other disadvantage, the 0.3-second reaction gap is enough to make the difference all by itself.
Note: I realize that the subtext of my training was to shoot first, and plead this disadvantage as justification. It’s abundantly clear why my training makes me a danger to others, and what amazes me is that there aren’t way more killings by cops. I attribute it to basic decency causing many cops to commit procedural errors that save lives.
See, then they’d have to de-escalate, and if they start doing that, all that ex-military gear goes to waste and they never get to live out their action hero fantasies.
Exactly what I was thinking. This was their big chance to show the only thing that could stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Apparently we are going to need suicide bomber robots now in every home. How long before the National Suicide Bomber Robot Association is formed?
Grumpy Santa says
So you have a guy stating that he wants to kill more cops… how many more should have been put at risk of being killed instead of a robot?
I’m concerned about this robot device. I mean, it goes without saying that police having access to experimental military hardware is deeply worrying, but even leaving aside this problem, why did it have a lethal bomb attached to it? Surely to goodness it would have been possible to create something that merely incapacitated the target? Clouds of mace? Chloroform spray? Some kind of restraining quick-setting foam? Incapacitating white noise? I don’t know, I’m not a biologist, but surely there are plenty of ways to do it.
It’s not the technology I have a problem with – technology advances and it would be silly to say that law enforcement cannot make use of anything useful we develop. It’s the whole attitude and assumption behind having and deploying this particular kind of technology. It’s a lethal bomb on wheels. It’s designed for killing people. Killing people should be just about that last thing the police are equipped or deployed to do.
Mike Smith says
Well given that treason is explicitly defined in the constitution as “waging war against or giving comfort to enemies” and requires two witness for discrete act, a charge a treason is totally unwarranted fuckwit
I saw Purge on Monday and it really feels like, even though we don’t have a Purge in the literal sense, the sort of moral imperatives posited by the film are really prevalent in our culture. Everybody is supposed to have guns, if you’re shot dead, you either deserved it or failed to take proper precautions — the fact that someone may have committed a crime in killing you is an arbitrary concern, particularly if you’re dead and you’re poor or black.
With the police shootings the metaphor is muddled but I keep coming back to Trayvon Martin. That kid was shot dead in the street next to his Snapple and bag of Skittles, and there are a lot of people who seem to be really invested in the idea that not only was his death a murder, or a horrible tragedy or even a regrettable incident, but that he was a “thug” who’s death makes us all better off, and the guy who shot him was a hero, and not just some mall ninja with a complex, or someone that hunted him down in the street — indeed a lot of Zimmerman supporters kinda like the idea that he hunted Martin down in the street. We’re constantly fed the idea that guns and the violence are actually what settle right and wrong, and good and evil, and the legalities, the question of the crime, or even something as important as justice, are just a tangle of hypocrisy and lawyers and police unions and the media. A gun means what it says.
And then you think, wow this is a horrible crisis, but actually we’re doing quite a bit better than we were in the late 60s and 70s*, when protest groups were heavily armed, bombings and firebombing were common, cops would as a matter of course beat the shit out of protestors, and something like 90% of the white voting population was cheering on the cops.
Back then they didn’t have The Purge, they had Joe and the Death Wish movies: in Joe Peter Boyle tries to “rescue” his adult daughter from a commune and ends up massacring dozens of “hippies” (Quixote always has his Dulcinea). The Death Wish films are basically about a man who commits hundreds of George Zimmerman-stule pretext assassinations of “thugs,” while the cops either stand by or winkingly support him. And these are the heroes, the good guys.
* read this link it’s fascinating
cartomancer@19 I wouldn’t call police robots “experimental military technology.” A lot of police bomb squads have been using robots for years. The Dallas police department robot was apparently one of those, which would explain why it wasn’t equipped with something non-lethal. Whether they should be used to use lethal force is another question.
@cartomancer, I’ll speak from military experience, to disable a human is to take a very real risk at killing that human.
People are quite robust, disabling to the point of making them innocuous, is rather a non-starter, if one doesn’t accept the risk of them still being capable of causing harm.
The knock out blow in movies is fiction.
That being said, a robot delivering a bomb is a whole lot of insanity. It does speak of military force delivered upon a civilian population. What is next? A B-52 bomb load to be delivered upon yet another civilian?
That is something that I honestly hope to never live to witness, but the trend is clearly present.
Rich Woods says
@A Masked Avenger #15:
I’d cheat and chop “bad guy” in the throat.
Yeah, I get the value of training, and I don’t doubt that this particular exercise strongly demonstrates a point to people who haven’t already realised the obvious. What would be more interesting to know is what you are taught to do to avoid a situation escalating to the OK Corral level, whether or not that has worked for you, and how much the quality of training varies across the country.
Another movie comes to mind, Runaway.
It’s no stranger than anything we’ve been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan (and god knows where else). Naturally a lot of the usual suspects would say that’s totally different, it’s a war, etc. but the pattern historically with all these “innovations”, from urban pacification, to “public information” campaigns, to concentration camps(!), is they’re developed overseas in some war or imperial function, and eventually “reimported” to the motherland.
It looks to me like the motivation of law enforcement in may of these cases is retaliation and revenge and only tangentially protect and serve. The first reaction is to place the accused suspect they are facing outside of the society they are supposed to serve and protect into the society of evil predators on society.
There will always be some form of rationalization for killing the person they are in confrontation with after the fact that will sound some what plausible. No one is ever seeing the suspect as someone who is in emotional distress and is in need of some kind of help.
The details in this case are incomplete at best but unless he was carrying a lot of water and food they only had a few hours wait.
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
Turns out Second Amendment Solutions don’t end well when aimed at actual tyranny and persecution.
A Masked Avenger says
I’m down on LE enough for the both of us, but they’re not morons. The purpose isn’t to “convince them of the obvious.” It serves more than one reasonable purpose. One is to get practical experience of the reaction gap–to develop an experiential feel for how long that is. Another is to observe that superior gun handling MIGHT compensate the other way: a 1.5-second draw beats a 2-second draw even taking the reaction gap into account. Another is to practice those gun handling skills under stressful (but enjoyable) conditions.
Did you read my post? NOTHING. LE are generally not taught de-escalation techniques AT ALL. It’s sometimes available as optional training, and is mandatory for hostage negotiators and such, but LE is NOT taught to de-escalate.
The opposite. They’re taught to always escalate. More precisely, they’re taught to establish and maintain control of the interaction at (essentially) all costs, by always exhibiting force one notch higher on the force continuum than the subject.
(Note that just wearing a badge is a notch on the force continuum. People who lack deference for the badge and uniform are already demonstrating “resistance,” because “normal” people find “commanding presence” sufficiently intimidating. So the force continuum covers the entire range from standing there in uniform to unleashing a fusillade of bullets.)
That was my entire point: LE training makes killing people not only possible, but likely. The wonder is that it doesn’t happen more. One reason it doesn’t is that cops fail to follow their training, and instead act like people. But the pressure grows every year to try and stop them from acting like people.
Bernard Bumner #5
Conversely, this can be read as, “yes, cops are literally murdering black people, but hey, blacks, don’t get violent, because that makes cops want to, uh, literally murder you.”
Take your executions peacefully – or else.
I know that “police brutality” can be interpreted to include street-executions, but that isn’t the general connotation of the word. We aren’t talking about police roughing people up, giving a few whacks with a baton, some unnecessary body slams of handcuffed and docile subjects. We aren’t talking about the fire-hosing and pepper spraying and mass arrest of peaceful protesters at a rally, or disproportionate arrest or convictions or stop and frisks or harassment – we are talking about the murder of unarmed, or legally armed but compliant people in the street.
I’m get your point, and I don’t necessarily disagree with what you mean about the best course of action, or the best response. But when Mexicans are being called rapists and criminals and are told they need to be rounded up and tossed out, when Muslims are told they are all terrorist and need to go into databases and be identified, when blacks are being executed in the streets – when all of these brown people are seeing and hearing this every day, more and more loudly, and when a candidate has been propped up that plays to these ideas, further fermenting and legitimizing these ideas and explicitly promises he’ll “do what it takes” and “get tough”, and “torture isn’t enough” and “kill their families” and “in the good old days this would have been handled much more roughly” –
When all of this shit is going on I’ve got to say I’m legitimately surprised more violence hasn’t erupted from these groups.
And these groups are aware of history, many vaguely, many acutely. And they have to ask themselves, “what was the populace doing as Hitler rose to power?” Yes, Godwin. But many are probably thinking about how people were probably saying back then that, yes, things are bad, but, hey, just relax, don’t get violent. You’ll only make it worse. Yes, they’re starting to kill people like you just for not being the right race. But, don’t get violent. Yes, it’s getting worse, but protest or vote or something.
Yes, it might be a bad idea to get into the train. But what are you going to do, be a terrorist?
Again, I’m not advocating violent insurgence in the US or anything. I’m just pointing out that someone can absolutely understand that violence in response to violence can beget even more violence, and still consider violence a possibility.
Because it is not in the nature of some people to go along to get along, keep your head down, speak quietly, ask nicely, keep your hands in plain site and maybe those in power won’t literally fucking kill you, say yes sir and no sir, maybe carry a sign and show up at a voting both if you have to, and maybe things will get better, maybe it won’t be your son or daughter deported, put in the database, shot in a parking lot for having a beard and brown skin, culled in the name of Making America Great Again. Maybe things will get better if you just take it easy, don’t get violent.
Some people are going to think, “fuck it: me, my children, and people who look like me are subhuman? Ok, subhuman you’ll get, because fuck this, fuck you, and fuck it all.”
Meh, I’m rambling. And again, I’m not advocating violence against police or politicians. It isn’t personally at that point for me, despite the fact that I have to look over my shoulder when I’m buying gas to make sure that nobody has confused me with a Muslim, because of my beard and brown skin, and decided to come up behind me and brain me with a brick to do their part to help stop the #whitegenocide and creeping sharia. And despite that people like me are being shot, arrested, convicted and imprisoned for having my skin tone.
I’m just ranting at no one in particular really.
The information I heard about the killer robot is that it was an Improvised Explosive Device, an IED. They took one of their regular surveillance and negotiation robots and attached a radio-controlled explosive device to its manipulator arm.
The robot, one could reasonably expect them to bring with them and deploy in such a situation. The remotely controlled grenade? That seems wrong. Negotiators should be trained to de-escalate, not assassinate. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have waited him out. They had time to harden their positions and set up snipers that covered his exit locations.
Mrdead Inmypocket says
Training domestic police to be paramilitary forces. “Not going to end well” is something of an understatement.
Last few decades I’ve gotten the impression that the US and Britain are in a competition to see who can screw their country up the most. You’re going to lose Britain, we’ve got a Trump card.
@JohnnyCanuck, they created an IED on the end of their robot’s arm because they were afraid that the gunman would hurt them. That was quite well quoted on CNN.
So, we’ve firmly established that, at the least, Dallas police are cowards, but unafraid of using terrorist tactics.
Bernard Bumner says
I absolutely can understand why people explode with rage and hatred when they see systemic racism leading to injustice and ultimately to murder. My point was that if not killing cops did nothing to improve the lot of POC, then killing cops will make things even worse. Now is exactly the time to say that violence in response to violence, murder in response to murder, will only increase the hurt for the people already suffering the most.
I see your point about the threat of “…or else”, but it seems to me that violent opposition could never achieve much. The racism is not explicit and codified, even if policies and procedures have racist effects. Racist police officers are not clad in special uniforms. There is no meaningful and distinct target to hit, only the entire institution, indiscriminately. For those reasons alone, violence is futile. For lots of other good reasons, it is also the wrong response.
I also see your point about the term polive brutality, but it came to mind because I was also thinking about nonlethal persecution of POC. I suppose that my question about terror was in response to what seemed like a rather casual and calm comment; ithe slightly wrong-footed me.
I can understand, in a very limited way, the anger and fear. Certainly, if I can’t fully understand it, I can hear it. I have taken notice of BLM, I’ve taken notice of the effect it has had internationally. Perhaps that is something which isn’t very visible in the US, because the media there gives so much time to extreme voices. However, I am very sure that people around the world are hearing the message, and are speaking out and condemning the violence. I hope, and I perceive, that people in US are also becoming more aware of and generally outraged by the killing of black men by the police.
Pierce R. Butler says
A non-lethal gambit which just might capture a (suspected) terrorist alive for questioning makes much more strategic sense, especially as a first try. When you have ’em safely bottled up, you can always use the boom! option later.
Of course, making strategic sense has been taboo in the US governing class for around three generations now.
As a bonus, silencing Micah Johnson also created maximum plot options for enterprising Truthers™.
This is *exactly* the case 2nd amendment goons advocate.
Defending yourself from an oppressive government.
This is exactly what the sniper did.
And it was the most wrong possible thing to do.
@F.O. #35: Yes, but the 2nd amendment advocates will never own this because they’re too busy spinning themselves fairy tales about guns. The ones I’ve known never have any firm idea of what would constitute a triggering event for their “2nd amendment solutions,” the only concrete event they imagine would trigger it is if the government wanted their guns.
Maybe the people I’ve known are unusually fruity even for the fruit loops but if not, I think the only way to hang this on them would be to stealth up to it. “So you need guns in case the government decides to oppress you, right? Okay, so what would that look like, would government officials targeting you and people like you for extra harrassment and sometimes death count? Okay, so what would you do then, shoot back before they got around to shooting you? Right, exactly like Micah Johnson then.” Then be prepared for utterly shameless and disgusting attempts to worm out of the direct real world consequences of their fairy tales. You know they’ll do that because they’re already programmed for it.
Gregory in Seattle says
You reminded me strongly of the Tenth Plague scene from Nina Paley’s current project, Seder Masochism (a “Sita Sings the Blues” treatment of the Passover story.) And yes, I can definitely see the NRA cast in the role of the Angel of Death.
pipefighter @ 12
Right, but pro-gun propaganda proffers the Good Guy hypothetical to suggest that widespread gun ownership will deter certain kinds of violent, weapons-related crime, à la Mutually Assured Destruction. And we know that doesn’t work because we in the US have become more-or-less collectively unable not to call each other’s bluff. It’s like a culture of constantly escalating threats, fed by paranoia, pride, and bigotry and an unwillingness to back down. If we were actually interested in making gun ownership safer–considering that abolition is off the table at the moment–we’d invest in making training, testing, and licensing mandatory. Doing so, of course, would hurt the gun industry’s bottom line because that process would constitute too much hassle for some people and part of the funding for creating that system would fall to them, so they and the politicians they pay lobby against such measures as invasive violations of privacy and civil rights. These are the same politicians who think pregnant people should jump through inconvenient and in some cases impossible hoops in order to access medical care (which affects exactly no one else). So abortions (which they call murder) need to be regulated, but weapons (which actually cause murder) shouldn’t be because Freedom.
A Masked Avenger says
The goons are discussing this case, and are NOT recognizing this as a case in point. Rather, they are calling this evidence that black people are dangerous and that cops are right to treat them with the fear which leads to killing them.
They are divided on whether they think the “robot suicide bomber” is awesome or scary.
Uh, two people have been shot in Minnesota in the last year by cops, and I’m pretty sure we’re as anti-Confederacy as you can get.
Bernard Bumner #33
I hear you, and if you at all felt distressed about my response – as in you thought you offended me or anything, you haven’t. I absolutely think that you are considerate and compassionate and were giving a thoughtful response in the comment I responded to.
As I’ve said, it is not at the point where I think violent insurgency is warranted in the US. If, say, Trump were elected, AND some people began to be entered into databases, AND some people began to be deported with physical violence, AND certain races began to be executed on the street at an even higher rate – well, my stance on the issue would probably change.
But that isn’t the current state of things. So, I agree with your underlying stance – that violence is not the best response to the current situation. It isn’t the only, the most viable, or the most effective solution in this particular circumstance – and further, will likely only initiate more violence rather than any systemic change.
But still, though it is not at that point, I bristle when I see anything amounting to “if you consider violence as an option we/they will kill you people even more.” It raises my hackles and my gut-level response is, “well then fuck it, fuck them, and fuck you, let them try.”
I legitimately can’t change that response, that’s who I am at a very fundamental level – but I don’t mean to be confrontational to you for promoting peace.