ACAC


ACAB is a pithy summary, but now we learn that All Cops Are Cowards, too.

Community members including relatives of students expressed anger and frustration Thursday about the time it took to end the mass shooting at an elementary school here, as police laid out a timeline with new details about their response.

Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a briefing that the now-deceased gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, lingered outside Robb Elementary for 12 minutes firing shots before walking into the school and barricading himself in a classroom where he killed 19 children and two teachers.

Mr. Escalon said he couldn’t say why no one stopped Ramos from entering the school during that time Tuesday. Most of the shots Ramos fired came during the first several minutes after he entered the school, Mr. Escalon said.

So what were these cops doing while hanging about outside the school? They were roughing up the parents who had rushed to the school as soon as the news got out.

A Border Patrol tactical team went into the school an hour later, around 12:40 p.m., was able to get into the classroom and kill Ramos, Mr. Escalon said.

Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, said that she was one of numerous parents waiting outside the school who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school sooner. After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for actively intervening in an active investigation.

Ms. Gomez convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free. Around her, the scene was frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them.

Ms. Gomez had more guts than the cops, I guess.

But, you know, the guy inside had a gun. The parents were unarmed, so they were a preferred target by the police.

Videos circulated on social media Wednesday and Thursday of frantic family members trying to get access to Robb Elementary as the attack was unfolding, some of them yelling at police who blocked them from entering.

“Shoot him or something!” a woman’s voice can be heard yelling on a video, before a man is heard saying about the officers, “They’re all just [expletive] parked outside, dude. They need to go in there.”

Parents can be heard yelling to each other that their kids were inside the school and that they needed to get in. A woman can be heard yelling at a police officer, “He’s one person! Take him out!”

Police aren’t there to stop crime. Their job is to bully civilians.

After the confrontation ended with Ramos dead, school buses began to arrive to transport students from the school, according to Ms. Gomez. She said she saw police use a Taser on a local father who approached the bus to collect his child.

“They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us. That’s how it felt,” Ms. Gomez said.

On a more positive note, there was one person there who was more useless than the cops.

“God is here with us tonight,” Pastor Tony Gruben, of Baptist Temple Church, told the people gathered at the Uvalde County Fairplex. “God still loves you and God still loves those little children.”

A local resident comments.

The Uvalde police department has a $4 million budget. I don’t think the citizens got their money’s worth.

…Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “it is a fact” that due to the quick response of law enforcement officials, “they were able to save lives. Unfortunately, not enough,” in a press conference Wednesday. Abbott went on to list more than 20 state and federal agencies, including more than two dozen law enforcement agencies, involved in responding to the shooting. (These included immigration enforcement agencies housed under the Department of Homeland Security, which promised to refrain from deporting and arresting people in the area “to the fullest extent possible” for the time being.)

Comments

  1. microraptor says

    Post Columbine, the official response to active shooters in schools was changed. Instead of waiting, cops were supposed to attempt to enter the school and confront the shooter as quickly as possible. Responses like this are what we’re talking about when we say defund the cops.

  2. jsrtheta says

    I read your stuff just about every day. I really enjoy most of what I read. I usually agree with you.

    But this nonsense of ACAB and ACAC is beneath you. I spent many years working in law enforcement as a prosecutor. I’m very proud of the work I did. And I can tell you that I’ve known many, many cops who were outstanding cops as well as fine human beings. I’ve known a lot of cops who cared deeply about the communities they policed. I’ve known cops who, instead of just locking people up, looked for ways to avoid that. I’ve known cops who helped convicted felons get out of crime. And I’ve known cops who had no illusions about what forces destroy lives, and who tried to redirect people from horrible behavior to being assets for their families and communities.

    I’ve seen plenty of vicious, racist and violent cops. There are plenty of them. They need rooting out. Some of them should be in jail. But these blanket slurs, writing an entire group of people off, might make you feel better, but you are very wrong about this. And very unfair.

  3. fentex says

    What, I wonder, would have happened if parents carrying firearms tried to gain access while these miserable excuses for police stood around.

    And this bit…”Abbott went on to list more than 20 state and federal agencies, including more than two dozen law enforcement agencies, involved in responding to the shooting.” …is absolutely damning – does that idiot not see how more than “two dozen law enforcement a agencies” having to react damns them?

  4. raven says

    I spent many years working in law enforcement as a prosecutor.

    Well OK.
    Then, why don’t you address the point of PZ Myer’s post rather than making a blanket condemnation.

    I had the same concerns and questions PZ did when I read the first news reports.
    Apparently, the Uvalde police stayed outside and did nothing for 1 hour while the shooter was locked in a classroom with a lot of grade school kids.
    21 people ended up dead.

    WTF!!!
    They had a lot of time to get a plan together and go after the shooter. I would definitely want to have body armor, a bullet proof shield, helmet, flash bang grenades, tear gas, etc.. Not 100% effective but would do a lot.
    Dangerous? Sure.
    That is after all, part of their job, why they get paid, and have the authority to push around and arrest the rest of us.

    In the end the Border Patrol came, found someone at school with a key to the classroom, went in, and shot the murderer.
    What is so magic about the second group of Law Enforcement rather than the Uvalde police?

  5. raven says

    What, I wonder, would have happened if parents carrying firearms tried to gain access while these miserable excuses for police stood around.

    The door was locked.
    So nothing would happen until they got into the classroom somehow.

    I have no idea whether they could shoot the lock out or destroy the door.
    If they just shot at the door knob, they might destroy the lock without opening it
    If the door is steel, not unusual in public facilities, it is going to be hard to destroy with an axe or whatever.

    As it turned out someone did the sensible thing and realized that…the school has keys to their locks and found someone with the key. They put the key in the lock, turned it, and twisted the door knob to open. Someone did something right at least.

    And this bit…”Abbott went on to list more than 20 state and federal agencies, including more than two dozen law enforcement agencies, involved in responding to the shooting.”

    Abbott is just babbling here.
    It’s irrelevant.
    It is for sure that the vast majority of those 20 state and federal agencies were notified and reacted long after the massacre was over with.
    I’m sure the FBI/DHS showed up hours later and started asking questions about terrorists.

  6. kingoftown says

    “After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for actively intervening in an active investigation.”

    So in a state where it’s legal to shoot someone because you’re “standing your ground” this is what it takes to be arrested for vigilantism?

  7. John Morales says

    jsrtheta:

    And I can tell you that I’ve known many, many cops who were outstanding cops as well as fine human beings. I’ve known a lot of cops who cared deeply about the communities they policed.

    Uh-huh.

    I’ve seen plenty of vicious, racist and violent cops. There are plenty of them. They need rooting out. Some of them should be in jail.

    Huh. So, each of those many, many outstanding cops as a matter of course don’t tolerate but rather denounce that plenitude of vicious, racist and violent cops; they blow the whistle on them as soon as they notice their nature, so their pernicious influence is removed. They ensure the force is clean.

    Right?

    (Right?)

    “Every one is responsible: The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our army and the environment in which we work. If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it.”

    (David Morrison speech)

  8. consciousness razor says

    PZ, you might have included prosecutors too.

    It’s hard to comprehend how there are “fine human beings” who’ve seen our criminal justice and prison systems in this country, learned all about it and had numerous other options in life, said to themselves “I want to work for that!” and then after many years of doing so were not convinced (or not prepared to admit) that this was all a horrible mistake.

    I can understand how they might not have a kink for strangling small furry animals — not necessarily and not all of them, that is. And I’m sure many are often pretty nice to their friends, family, coworkers, and so forth — the ones they actually care about, at least.

    But beyond that? Just not credible. I think I would have an easier time believing in Bigfoot.

  9. lochaber says

    It’s not difficult to kick open most doors with a bit of training. And by “a bit of training”, I mean like an afternoon, spent kicking open various doors, instructed by someone else who has previously successfully kicked open doors. It’s surprising easy, and I can’t imagine with all the militarized training cops are getting lately, that someone there hasn’t kicked open a couple doors or so.

    Was there any fire department vehicles nearby? borrow a hooligan tool or even a basic fireaxe. Hell, with all those cops, didn’t somebody have a battering ram or at least a crowbar in the back of their car?

    These cops claim their job is so dangerous that it’s reasonable for them to mistake a mobile phone or a candybar wrapper for a gun, and unload on someone in a couple seconds, but when faced with an actually dangerous situation, suddenly they find some calm and patience?

    The cops were detaining parents from attempting to rescue their children, how much worse does the situation need to be to convince you bootlickers?

  10. hemidactylus says

    PZ said: “Police aren’t there to stop crime. Their job is to bully civilians.”

    I’ve had a very hard time dealing with this. PZ more than makes up for my inability to express myself. I usually think in terms of demilitarizing cops instead of defunding. This time they apparently couldn’t get militarization right early when an effective tactical team may have helped reduce the tragedy.

    The border patrol, from what seems to be the case, did sent a tactical team in. Were the other LEOs roughing up parents instead? Was crucial time wasted outside on the response?

    https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Robb-Elementary-school-shooting-Uvalde-Texas-cops-17195770.php

    “DPS Regional Safety Director Victor Escalon Jr. said responding officers arrived on the scene four minutes after shooting began at the school but a tactical group that killed the gunman didn’t arrive until an hour later.”

    It’s a fucking horrific world when a tactical team needs to be sent into an elementary school long after the stuff I cannot even fathom happened. That such weaponry is easily obtained to commit such [words escape me] that elite tactical teams are needed to…well…neutralize the target that had so much time to…I’m done. I can’t

  11. whheydt says

    Re: lochabar @ #10…
    That “hooligan tool” is properly named a “Halligan Bar” after its inventor, Hugh Halligan of the NY Fire Dept. in 1948.

  12. lochaber says

    whheydt@12:

    ¯_(ツ)_/¯ thanks for the correction and info, maybe I should have figured “hooligan tool” is a little to apt for a tool used to break into things…

    I just had a bit of practice breaking doors, windows, walls, etc. with one for a bit while I was doing some urban combat training whilst enlisted, and the enlisted training method, of being trained by people with 2-3 more years of experience than you (who were also trained by people with 2-3 more years of experience, rinse and repeat, etc.), is pretty prone to passing on incorrect bits of trivia. The practical, hands-on training (like kicking in doors…) isn’t too bad though…

    hopefully I’ll remember this next time it comes up…

  13. says

    @2: Yeah, the cops at Uvalde did go into the building, apparently. To get their own children. But f-ck all them other kids and their parents. Who cares about them? 🙄

    Just stop trying to defend these knobs. They don’t deserve it and it makes you look like a knob yourself. #ACAB #ACAC

  14. says

    jrstheta @2: “…I’ve known many, many cops who were outstanding cops as well as fine human beings.”

    Cool. I note that your phrasing, that you’ve known LEOs “who were outstanding cops as well as fine human beings”, implicitly states that you have also known LEOs who were not “outstanding cops as well as fine human beings”. May I ask what the “outstanding cops” of your acquaintance did, when they were witness to the sorts of acts which inspire laymen to claim “all cops are bastards”?

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    …, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them.

    Amazing – the Uvalde cops didn’t blast away at all three?

  16. Chabneruk says

    Have to agree with #2 here. As someone who’s parents are both police officers (in Germany, so there is a difference in training and methods, but still) I know that there are many problems within the force but there are also those who are actively trying to improve lives. And using phrases like ACAB isn’t going to help solving the problem, because they exacerbate the problem that police officers tend to stick together.

    Yes, reforms are needed – in the US especially, where police officers are almost untrained and make up for it in access to deadly firepower. A very volatile situation. But one thing has to be kept in mind:

    Even with the best training being a cop is a shitty job. You regularly have to deal with the lowest elements in society. You rarely get thanks if you do something well, but you will get insulted and assaulted regularly and have to deal with that. Every situation could turn volatile (which, in the US, apparently may involve assault rifles). You witness dead men, women, children, babies. Getting psychiatric help has long been seen as weakness. This job leaves people damaged.

    And yet, it is a job someone has to do. Police officers are appointed by the state – ideally speaking, all of us – to indeed “serve and protect”. As long as there are criminals we will need a criminal justice system. You could argue for “firing all cops” in the US and rebuilding the force from the ground up. But… lets be honest, that is completely unrealistic. At least in the short term. Also, it would harm those that really try to be better. Reforms have to include the people already working as police officers.

    The behaviour of the cops (yes, I am using the derogative term here, because these guys acted unbelievably shitty) at the Uvalde shooting is inexcusable. It needs to be reviewed and punished. Reforms are urgently needed. Using phrases like ACAB doesn’t help, however.

  17. microraptor says

    Pierce R. Butler @17: They were too busy macing, tazing, and arresting the other parents.

  18. wolja says

    I came here because you used logic to expose fallacies of the church, creationists etc and published science and Octopi pictures.
    Still love that.
    However the lapse of logic when attacking your pet peeves makes it hard to keep coming back eg All billionaires are evil, All cops are bad, all socialist agendas are good, all right of center agendas are bad.
    You are positing false logic as true. Why are these arguments different to those Creationists or Catholics or Islam proselytisers use?
    It’s no better.
    Would you mind tagging your posts logic, science , rantigs from the far left to aid in winnowing out the posts stigmatising others in broad strokes from those that use the scientific method and posit a supposition and try to prove it.

  19. John Morales says

    Chabneruk

    Even with the best training being a cop is a shitty job. You regularly have to deal with the lowest elements in society. You rarely get thanks if you do something well, but you will get insulted and assaulted regularly and have to deal with that. Every situation could turn volatile (which, in the US, apparently may involve assault rifles). You witness dead men, women, children, babies. Getting psychiatric help has long been seen as weakness. This job leaves people damaged.

    Interesting perspective.

    Even with the best training being a lowlife is a shitty living. You regularly have to deal with the cops. You rarely get thanks if you do something well, but you will get arrested and assaulted regularly and have to deal with that. Every situation could turn volatile (which, in the US, apparently may involve assault rifles). You witness dead men, women, children, babies. Getting psychiatric help has long been almost impossible and certainly unaffordable. This living leaves people damaged.

  20. lotharloo says

    @Chabneruk:
    American police kills about 100 times more people than the German police by the numbers and about 22 times per capita. They also target minorities disproportionately meaning per capita murder of black people by the police could be 50 times higher than the German rate.

  21. John Morales says

    wolja (to PZ):

    However the lapse of logic when attacking your pet peeves makes it hard to keep coming back […]

    I have faith in you, wolja. I mean, how many commenters can I address in my not-quite-inimitable style? I do like a bit of disputation.

    Be strong. Hard? You laugh at hard!

    PS

    use the scientific method and posit a supposition and try to prove it

    <snicker>

    Such a good grasp on the scientific method!

  22. lotharloo says

    Also, to make it more clear, the problem is systemic. Being a cop is a shitty job and it’s more shitty in US because all shitty jobs are more shitty in US. On top of that, US cops don’t get as much training and on top of that they need to deal with a civilian population that is armed to the teeth with weapons of war. If take any normal population of people and put them in the same situation as these cops, most of them turn out to be awful creatures as well.

  23. KG says

    they exacerbate the problem that police officers tend to stick together – Chabneruk@18

    It should not make the slightest difference what non-cops say: if they don’t do their utmost to get rid of the “bad cops”, but instead “stick together” with them, the “good cops” are, in fact, bad cops.

    wolja@20,
    Fuck off. Just a suggestion, of course.

  24. kingoftown says

    @20 wolja
    I haven’t read a single thing from PZ I would describe as far left. Did you know that Tony Blair once agreed to disbanding a police force (the RUC) and he’s not exactly a communist.

  25. F.O. says

    @wolja:

    Please, oh, please, tell me, which billionaires you think are NOT evil?
    Please, illuminate us on which “socialist” policies PZ is uncritically supporting.

    I’m seriously, SERIOUSLY done with imbecile reason-bros utterly unable to put together an actually rational argument, unwilling to commit to statements that are positive, specific and unambiguous.

    Reason is a way to refine YOUR way of thinking, not to gratuitously bash others for being irrational.

    So show us your homework, your data, your peer review research, say EXACTLY what you object to without resorting to vague SamHarris-esque accusations, show us you actually did your homework.

    Seriously, put up or shut the fuck up and please, stop putting yourself in sentences that contain “rational” and “logic” because the kind of cavalier attitude you display to actual fucking logic has made a joke of those committed to science.

    You know, you’d expect a self professed rationalist or whatever to recognize a strawman argument when they make one, but no, that would require actually doing homework.

    Narrow minded, intellectually lazy, intellectually coward.

  26. jo1storm says

    @wolja #20

    Concern trolling at its best.

    This is what I call “being so far right off the center that anything slightly left of the center is being considered far left”.

    How about this for supposition: Right wing policies have been tried multiple times, they failed every time they were tried. “Left wing” (in reality, pretty damn centrist) policies opposite those have been tried and were proven successful, until the moment right wing (or low expenses libertarian) government comes into power and cuts the funding for them.

    As for billionaires, members of that class themselves admit they shouldn’t exist.

  27. lotharloo says

    @John Morales
    I fucking love that movie and I remember the line “officer call me” hit me very hard the first time I watched it.

  28. says

    if they don’t do their utmost to get rid of the “bad cops”, but instead “stick together” with them, the “good cops” are, in fact, bad cops.

    This. I’ll accept someone as a good cop when they arrest the bad ones. Otherwise, it’s just words.

  29. oddie says

    @18 Chabneruk. If you haven’t been poor or a minority living in the USA you have no idea what you are talking about and should let the people actually dealing with the oppression of the state in the USA figure out what to do instead of defending the wrong side in a situation you do not understand

  30. specialffrog says

    The idea that police forces can be reformed with improved training is basically a sunk cost fallacy. “Maybe if we gave them 60% of the municipal budget instead of 50% they will do a better job!”

    As for the “someone has to do it” argument there are very clearly many things that police think is their job that in fact no one does have to do. And many of the things people think they should do is what they are worst at.

  31. Alverant says

    @2 As a prosecutor who works with cops, how many times have you put a cop on the stand and they have lied? It’s called “testilying” and it’s such a common problem that it has its own term. How about the times where the cop said something that can’t be proven one way or another like, “I thought I smelled grass on him.” or “I was afraid for my life!”? How many times did you overlook a questionable procedure because you knew you had to work with that cop and/or their friends again and needed to keep a working relationship? How many times have you known one of your fellow prosecutors to “accidentally” overlook evidence showing the defendant is innocent or fail to send it to the defense attorney? What’s more important, winning or making sure that only guilty people are convicted? In other words, how willing are you to drop the charges?

  32. Alverant says

    In the upcoming Thor movie, the antagonist is Gorr the God Butcher (who I always felt was more of a hero, but that’s for another time). One of his lines is “Gods only care about themselves.” The same can be said for cops. They have a lot in common. Overinflated egos, no reasonable checks on power, petty, abusive, has legions of brainwashed followers. The main difference is cops are real.

  33. says

    Even with the best training being a cop is a shitty job. You regularly have to deal with the lowest elements in society. You rarely get thanks if you do something well, but you will get insulted and assaulted regularly and have to deal with that.

    Dragnet on cable last night?

  34. raven says

    Wolja

    However the lapse of logic when attacking your pet peeves makes it hard to keep coming back eg All billionaires are evil, All cops are bad, all socialist agendas are good, all right of center agendas are bad.

    It has already been pointed out that Wolja is concern trolling.
    Concern trolling is low effort, passive-aggressive, and boring.

    PZ isn’t anything like you have just characterized him.
    For one thing, he isn’t a socialist. He is more mainstream left of center progressive.

    It’s possible some right of center agendas are OK, but we haven’t seen any for decades.
    Burning books, attacking Trans children, attempting to overthrow our democratic government, promoting a policy of guns everywhere for everyone, supporting Russia because they are vicious and dysfunctional and trying to destroy Ukraine because they are trying to join the 21st century with a lot of success, and notably lately, supporting female slavery and forced birthing.
    That right of center agendas are anything but anti-human is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof.

    Fortunately there is a solution to your mental distress about reading Pharyngula.
    Go somewhere else.
    Try Russia Today, Breitbart, Fox NoNews, or any “right of center agenda” websites.

  35. says

    While I am flattered that anyone thinks I’m “far left”, I’m actually too deeply imbedded in a system of inequities to deserve that label.

  36. says

    And I can tell you that I’ve known many, many cops who were outstanding cops as well as fine human beings. I’ve known a lot of cops who cared deeply about the communities they policed. I’ve known cops who, instead of just locking people up, looked for ways to avoid that. I’ve known cops who helped convicted felons get out of crime. And I’ve known cops who had no illusions about what forces destroy lives, and who tried to redirect people from horrible behavior to being assets for their families and communities.

    So where the hell are all those good cops when we really need them? When have they turned out in sufficient numbers to run the bad cops out of the force and keep them out? When have they turned up at FOP or other police-union meetings to vote out everyone who tries to keep the bad cops from ever being held accountable for even the most deadly misconduct? If there really are so many of those good cops you speak of, why have they not stopped the entire policing system from being inextricably intertwined with bigotry, classism, and just plain routine callousness and sadism? Why are they not ganging up on reich-wing politicians and forcing them to improve police training and non-police social services?

    I really want to believe most cops are good and mean well — but I’m not finding sufficient evidence to support that belief. It seems there’s enough good cops for the bad ones to hide behind, but not enough to force the bad ones to either do better or find other jobs.

  37. Ada Christine says

    love to see the cop defenders come in here and snivel about “not all cops are like this, let’s not judge too harshly” rather than “holy shit what a fucking disgrace they should be ashamed of themselves.” this isn’t about your pet police person that you love so much, it’s about a thing that actually happened and was disastrously mishandled. through an act of collective negligence and moral cowardice 21 people were brutally murdered. and it’s so much bigger than that. how can you be so wishy-washy and hand-wringy about this stuff? don’t you feel sick about this? don’t you feel rage? where’s your goddamn compassion?

  38. Chabneruk says

    @21 Police officers are people, is what I am saying. So are criminals. If we consider what made someone act like a criminal and give that person a chance, we should also consider what made someone become a police officer and give him or her a chance. “All cops are bastards/cowards” simply can’t be a good basis of dealing with the problem.

    @32 I am always willing to learn. But what is your proposal?

  39. fentex says

    Had I been a parent of a murdered child that day, and I had been kept at bay, prevented from helping, by those thugs – I would definitely have been killing them shortly afterwards. Delayed only by the time it would take me to get a rifle and plenty of ammunition – I understand it doesn’t take long in the U.S.

  40. garnetstar says

    The gunman lingering outside, firing shots, for twelve minutes….was he trying to commit suicide by cop? And then, when that didn’t happen, he felt he had to kick it up a notch? That would be even more horrific.

  41. consciousness razor says

    garnetstar, #44:
    Just speculating, and of course we don’t know how solid any of the information is, given how inconsistent the official story from the cops has been….

    They had reported that there was another gun found in his truck. It’s not clear if that one was ever fired. But it might have been, then left behind after switching to the second gun that was taken inside the school. Perhaps they were outfitted differently, maybe also with different ammo or what have you, so that he had one for outdoors and the other for closer ranges indoors?

    While outside, they’ve said he was firing at people coming out of the nearby funeral home, not the school. I’m not sure, but it doesn’t sound like any of them were among the injured (but certainly not killed). Perhaps this was basically just 12 minutes or so of warm-up/target practice on a new gun (whichever gun it was), where he fortunately wasn’t successful at killing anyone. So then, he moved on to the primary target which was the school, possibly because he wasn’t hitting his more distant targets outside and wanted to get inside where people would be trapped and at close range.

  42. donfelipe says

    Gerrymandering doesn’t explain how Texas only votes unhinged Republicans for Senate and Governor. Those are statewide races.

    What about statewide propositions? Is that a thing in Texas?

    I feel for the people who don’t want that but pretending it’s impossible to change because someone won’t allow you isn’t the case for statewide elections. And it’s not like the current state of voter suppression shepherded in Republican crazies, when was the last time your state produced a Senator that wasn’t a fucking nutcase? LBJ?

  43. Jazzlet says

    @donfelipe

    I don’t think you understand what gerrymandering does. If you put most of party A’s voters in two or three consituencies, then split the rest of party A’s voters between all of the other constituencies, it is easy to turn a party A majority into party A never winning more than the two or three seats where you have put most of their voters. Try actually looking it up, there are plenty of examples in the USA to show you how it’s done, not all from Republicans.

  44. magistramarla says

    I’ve lived and taught in Texas. My daughter and her husband hang out with quite a few cops. I know that those cops are right wing conservatives, and I feel pretty certain that many of them are members of groups like oath-keepers and proud boys.
    The population of Uvalde is 90+% Hispanic. As we watched Abbott (spit!) speaking, my husband and I speculated that this “incident” would be quickly forgotten, and that those poor people would not get the help that they need to try to recover, because they are brown people.
    When we heard about the way the cops acted, we weren’t surprised. I’m sure that they were in no hurry to risk their own lives for the children of brown people.
    If this had happened in a school in a wealthy white neighborhood in Dallas, I’m sure that the cops would have acted much more quickly and professionally.
    This is the kind of thing that I’ve come to expect from Texas, and part of why we left the state.

  45. Rob Grigjanis says

    Jazzlet @47: I don’t think voting for senators and governors goes by district. It’s by popular statewide vote, so gerrymandering doesn’t apply to them. Being the US, there may be some differences between states…

  46. snarkrates says

    For people who want to get past yelling about thin blue lines and that all cops are bastards or cowards, I’ll just drop a recommendation here for “Tangled Up in Blue,” by Rosa Brooks. Brooks is the daughter of Barbara Ehrenriich, who, despite the misgivings of her mother decided to become a DC Police reserve officer and patrol the streets of Anacostia. It’s a pretty good read and rather thought provoking about the challenges of policing in a country like the US. There are plenty of racist cops out there. There are plenty of otherwise good cops who turn a blind eye to the racists because they feel they are under siege. And in most jurisdictions, they are undertrained, underpaid and over armed. What training they do have often exaggerates the dangers they face and encourages an us vs. them attitude. It’s a recipe for a bad outcome.

  47. wobbly says

    @Chabneruk, #42

    First off, I dont see anyone here disputing that cops are human. Being a bastard and/or coward does not preclude one from being human.

    Secondly, it’s honestly absurd that you would try to draw an equivalency here between criminals and the police. What constitutes criminality is incredibly broad and oftentimes shifting due to the edict of the state, so yes, a person’s motivation for engaging in what is at the time considered criminal activity should absolutely be taken into account when judging their actions. By contrast, why should someone’s motivation for joining a known toxic profession have any bearing on our estimation of the Police as a toxic profession?

    The fact is that the police are demonstrably broken and corrupt, and once you choose to become a part of that system, even if you were initially motivated by the best of intentions, you basically have three options. You join in on the culture of corruption (which makes you a bastard), you tolerate and turn a blind eye to the culture of corruption (which also makes you a bastard), or you leave the corrupt institution.

  48. donfelipe says

    @48
    Gerrrymandering breaks up districts, not states. The constituency for a statewide race is the whole state. Cruz, Abbot and Cornyn didn’t win part of Texas, they won the whole thing. Read my comment again, you clearly are talking about district races.

  49. says

    There are plenty of otherwise good cops who turn a blind eye to the racists because they feel they are under siege.

    So, you agree that there’s a deep-seeded, systemic problem that can’t be handled internally in the police force. What do you think should be done about that?

  50. ardipithecus says

    Updated timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdD_rFdl9aM

    Only 5 minutes between crash of vehicle to shooter entering classroom, followed a couple minutes later by 3 cops. Cops continue to arrive a few at a time.
    Sporadic shooting inside classroom, but only one attempt by cops to attack shooter, given up when shooter grazes 2 cops by shooting through the door. The rest of the time, up to 19 cops are in the hallway, doing nothing.

    Active shooter doctrine is to continue engaging shooter until shooter is dead. At least 19 cops, including their commander, disobeyed their training and orders.

    I hope the “there’s good cops out there” propagandists are paying attention.

  51. wolja says

    Appreciate the attacks.
    I didn’t come here to attack rather ask that if you use an argument against one organisation or ideology you use it against all.
    I haven’t parsed the numbers of Angels on a pinhead for 60 odd years so I won’t use the terminology.
    As an example if you were to Say all Catholics are evil – You’d be wrong
    Saying a very large portion of the institutional beliefs of the Catholic church are evil – Supportable argument. Adding individual worshippers can’t be lumped with the organisation – Much closer
    Saying all atheists are immoral – You’d be wrong
    As an Australian I can’t comment on the blanket statement against Republicans but would be more supportive from what I read

    So how is saying All Cops are Cowards, goons any different?
    How is demanding a defunding of the police as a blanket statement any different

    From an Australian perspective where the centre of beliefs has historically been much closer to an actual centre than seemingly the US I agree the far left comment was inaccurate but he’s much further left than most in the US, or Australia.

    As I age I find it doesn’t help discourse to be overwhelmingly negative to everyone. It’s hard as the lunatic right infects the globe. Reason doesn’t always work but it’s better than being a mirror image of the problem. The public utterances of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for example are attractive. They infuriate the right without being blatantly illogical.

    As PZ said don’t debate. it’s a waste of time. Appreciate the reasoned response.

  52. wolja says

    The appreciate the reasoned arguments was sarcasm as I keep forgetting to make that clear when speaking to people internationally

  53. wobbly says

    @wolja, #55
    Honestly, since the response you’ve posted here is so willfully dense and filled with self pity, I have to ask, are you actually here for the honest debate that you passive aggressively imply others here are not interested in? Can you honestly not tell the difference between the catholic church as an institution and the state police? As an Australian maybe you can find it within yourself to set aside your ego and admit that you might not know what the fuck you’re talking about when it comes to American social issues and political climate?

  54. says

    As an example if you were to Say all Catholics are evil – You’d be wrong

    Sure.
    However, if you know the local priest is raping the altar boys and you look the other way, you don’t get to be one of the good ones.
    Agreed?

  55. Chabneruk says

    @51 What you are saying is that basically all police officers are corrupt. All of them. In every state, or, as the statement ACAB doesn’t say AUSCAB, in every country in the world. That is demonstrably not true.

    Let’s talk about AUSCAB then. Can you, without feeling silly, state confidently that every single police officer in the US is corrupt? Not a part of them, not the majority, every single one? If so, please, show me the evidence. No, really. I get that there is a huge problem and that there are many cases where US police officers have behaved abysmally. Even from Germany I could probably list 3-5 off the top of my head.

    But that does not mean that all of them are and you can’t prove otherwise. Let’s say a majority are. Let’s assume a Gotham City situation. Still doesn’t make ACAB a viable statement. Jim Gordon would disagree. But you confidently state “there are no Jim Gordons” (yes, I am aware he is a fictional character…). That is… not scientifically sound, to say the least.

    “By contrast, why should someone’s motivation for joining a known toxic profession have any bearing on our estimation of the Police as a toxic profession?” Have you ever read children’s books? Have you ever heard “I want to become a policeman when I am grown up”? Maybe someone will follow that dream, only to find problematic structures inside their department. And when they are looking for allies willing to foster change, you scream “toxic! ACAB!” at them. I wonder what the result will be.

  56. vucodlak says

    @ Chabneruk, #18

    My grandfather was a cop, a military police officer and civilian police chief after he left the military. His example inspired me to study law enforcement when I went to college with an eye towards becoming a police officer or perhaps joining federal law enforcement when I graduated. That didn’t last long.

    You rarely get thanks if you do something well, but you will get insulted and assaulted regularly and have to deal with that.

    Are you kidding me? The cops are worshipped in the United States. The have parades and days dedicated to them. They have a whole host of special privileges not available to regular citizens. They are held to far lower standards than regular citizens. They’re allowed to assault and arrest anyone who doesn’t show immediate fawning obedience to them. If you have the temerity to bleed on a cop’s boots while they’re beating you, you will be charged with assault. Cops are a special, protected class, so if you’re charged with assaulting one it carries much stiffer penalties than if you’d assaulted anyone else.

    If a cop dies, even in a mundane traffic accident, they’re honored for weeks in the news and with massive funerals and processions. On the other hand, if a cop murders someone, then the victim might get thirty seconds on the nightly news… unless it was such an egregiously heinous murder that people are (rightly) outraged. In such a case, we’ll be treated to months of speculation by “experts” (usually cops) about all the ways in which the murder victim deserved to beaten/strangled/shot-in-the-back-while-cuffed/etc.

    They should try working retail or waiting tables for a week or two. Then they’d really understand what it means to have a thankless job, or to be disrespected.

    Police officers are appointed by the state – ideally speaking, all of us – to indeed “serve and protect”

    That last is absolutely not true.

    My study of law enforcement and desire to be cop ended quickly because I believed that lie about the police existing to protect and serve. However, the very first thing my Intro to Law Enforcement professor asked us was “What is the purpose of the police?” A couple of hands went up, tentatively, and he added “If you were going to say ‘to protect and serve’ then there’s the door: this is not the career for you. The purpose of the police is to protect the status quo.”

    The professor was not telling us this was how it should be– he gave us class materials about the problems of racism in society in general and policing in particular, for instance, and clearly intended to spend part of the class teaching us to be better- but how it is. I stuck around for a few more class sessions, because I wanted desperately to prove he was wrong, but he wasn’t. He was a black man in America, and he knew what the police were about. That was nearly twenty years ago and, if anything, the problem has gotten worse.

    It’s true that the police are hired by the state, but they have little or no accountability to the people or their elected representatives. Any time we try to hold them accountable the police make with the none-to-subtle threats about how we shouldn’t bother to call them if we need help and how we’d better drive very carefully.

    In the United States, police are being taught that they have a ‘duty to return,’ i.e. that their first and most important job is come home safe at the end of the day. We see how that works when they shoot to kill people because those people might possibly, hypothetically, in some reality be reaching for a gun. We see the other side of that in this incident in which they cowered outside the school rather than potentially risking their lives to stop the murders of children.

    Now, in addition to my brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a cop, I have also had some experience outside the law. And you know what? I felt a hell of lot safer around most of the criminals* I’ve known than I do around cops. The criminals, at least, might potentially be held accountable for their actions by someone, if not by the cops, if they harmed me and mine. Cops are untouchable, and they know it.

    *Of course, some of the worst criminals I’ve known were also cops, and there’s no scumbag more dangerous than a crooked cop. Why? Because they know they have a whole army of “good” cops (and prosecutors, and lawmakers) who’ll cover their asses.

  57. wolja says

    @57 the attacks implying an emotional state that can’t be implied are a good example of illogic.

    I’m here because as @59 said you can’t say all cops are cowards when there are examples where they aren’t.

    Human society rarely has examples where a blanket statement is correct for the whole.

    Having been an Intensive care paramedic for 18 plus years logic was critical n my day to day work. However I had to learn to intersperse that with intuition. I also had to learn I was changing, My wife pointed out I was no longer treating equally every patient. She was right and I left the job soon after.

    Given my work history I understand the disadvantages of para militarisation. The Ambulance service was not a para military but the bosses tried to introduce elements of it with little success as flexibility in thought was they key.

    The NSW police force were hugely para militarised and suffered, The wrapping in protocol and only acting when ordered were endemic BUT not all encompassing. However that doesn’t mean they were all as a whole anyone thing. Some were extraordinarily inventive, some were remarkabley compassionate. Some were robots who followed the herd without thinking. Unfortunately the robotic nature was an easier path the longer they were in the service.

    @58 Exactly what I said. Some are evil some aren’t. The priesthood, a part of the organisation not a worshipper, are hard to ignore for the evil they have delivered but even so they aren’t all pedophiles. Not even a majority.

    Please continue the attacks unabated. Allowing thought to intrude is difficult I know.

  58. wobbly says

    @59
    “What you are saying is that basically all police officers are corrupt. All of them. In every state, or, as the statement ACAB doesn’t say AUSCAB, in every country in the world. That is demonstrably not true”

    And here, like clockwork, come the magical shifting goalposts. In a discussion that is specifically, explicitly about policing in the US, suddenly you demand that we consider all policing in every place, at every time, everywhere. Sorry, not falling for it. You’re demanding we consider things entirely irrelevant to this specific discussion.

    “you, without feeling silly, state confidently that every single police officer in the US is corrupt? Not a part of them, not the majority, every single one? If so, please, show me the evidence. No, really. I get that there is a huge problem and that there are many cases where US police officers have behaved abysmally. Even from Germany I could probably list 3-5 off the top of my head.”

    You clearly have a problem with reading comprehension. I stated that to continue to be a police officer in the US you are either corrupt or turn a blind eye towards corruption. Both qualify you as a bastard. Do try to keep up.

    “But that does not mean that all of them are and you can’t prove otherwise. Let’s say a majority are. Let’s assume a Gotham City situation. Still doesn’t make ACAB a viable statement. Jim Gordon would disagree. But you confidently state “there are no Jim Gordons” (yes, I am aware he is a fictional character…). That is… not scientifically sound, to say the least.”

    I honestly dont even know what to say to this level of nonsense. You’re invoking the spectre of completely fictional characters to support your “good cop” narrative”? And you’re not deeply embarrassed by this?

    “Have you ever read children’s books? Have you ever heard “I want to become a policeman when I am grown up”? Maybe someone will follow that dream, only to find problematic structures inside their department. And when they are looking for allies willing to foster change, you scream “toxic! ACAB!” at them. I wonder what the result will be.”

    Even if we agreed to your narrative of wide-eyed, innocent children who were bamboozled into becoming cops because of children’s books, how does that change my initial assertion? Once you are a part of that institution and recognize the corruption, you either join in, turn a blind eye, or leave. I notice that you’ve noticeably failed to address this.

  59. Chabneruk says

    @62 Nope, I was talking about ACAB from the beginning, as this post is about ACAB. “All Cops Are Bastards”. All of them. No goalposts shifted.

    If you turn a blind eye to corruption you are basically enabling corruption. You are part of it. Be snarky all you want, but that is semantics: You are saying every police officer is a criminal. A statement so grandiose and self-assured that, in combination with your tone, you come across as pompously hostile. I do not accept your statement and the burden of proof is on you.

    If you don’t like Jim Gordon (whom I used as a phrase for a non-corrupt cop, not as a real life example), I can call him Joe Goodcop. You still have to proof he doesn’t exist. You still can’t.

    I now state with the same level of unfounded confidence that you display that there are at least 5 police departments in the US which are not corrupt and where good people work. You can continue to do your “only three ways this can go”-schtick, but you can’t proof me wrong. This discussion is pointless, just like ACAB as a statement is pointless.

  60. wobbly says

    @63
    “Nope, I was talking about ACAB from the beginning, as this post is about ACAB. “All Cops Are Bastards”. All of them. No goalposts shifted”

    Go back to PZ’s initial post, jackass. We’re talking specifically about policing in the US. Your whining about “if you cant prove that all police everywhere are corrupt you’re wrong” is just a pathetic distraction on your part.

    “If you turn a blind eye to corruption you are basically enabling corruption. You are part of it. Be snarky all you want, but that is semantics: You are saying every police officer is a criminal. A statement so grandiose and self-assured that, in combination with your tone, you come across as pompously hostile. I do not accept your statement and the burden of proof is on you.”

    Again, you’re lack of reading comprehension fails you. I never said that all cops are criminals. Please provide evidence where I supposedly made such a claim.

    “If you don’t like Jim Gordon (whom I used as a phrase for a non-corrupt cop, not as a real life example), I can call him Joe Goodcop. You still have to proof he doesn’t exist. You still can’t”

    I cant prove they dont exist in the same way I cant prove the Easter Bunny doesnt exist. You’re the one that introduced entirely fictional “good cops” into the conversation, the burden of proof is on you to show that they actually exist.

    “I now state with the same level of unfounded confidence that you display that there are at least 5 police departments in the US which are not corrupt and where good people work. You can continue to do your “only three ways this can go”-schtick, but you can’t proof me wrong. This discussion is pointless, just like ACAB as a statement is pointless.”

    The fact that policing in America is corrupt is clearly demonstrated by their past and current history. Show me the evidence for these “5 police departments” that are supposedly noble and uncorrupted. Of course, we all know you wont because your clearly talking out of your ass, motivated by your perverse police fetishism rather than any interest in practical reality or truth.

  61. Walter Solomon says

    I guess these dumb fucking useless ass pigs only know how to use battering rams and firearms when they’re executing no-knock warrants at the wrong address and when firing on unarmed Black men.

    The cop-apologists in this thread sound like nothing more than Mafia wives and bootlicking shills. Cops don’t have anything close to the most dangerous or hardest job. They are more protected, thanks to the Blue Wall of Silence, than most other professions.

    Policing in this the US is completely fucking abysmal despite the funding and equipment police departments receive. There’s absolutely no excuse for the conduct of the officers in Uvalde specifically and how they treat people generally. If you’re defending policing as it stands, you’re part of the problem.

    FUCK YOU AND FUCK THE POLICE TOO

  62. Walter Solomon says

    we should also consider what made someone become a police officer and give him or her a chance.

    That’s easy — racism and a pathological desire to have power over other people particularly those you consider “inferior.” It’s no wonder so many cops are domestic abusers.

  63. whheydt says

    Re: lochaber @ #13…
    The be fair, a Halligan Bar is often called a “hooligan bar” or “hooligan tool” even by firefighters. If you reference one that way, they’d know what you meant. And, yes, it is specifically a breaking and entering tool. Very effective, especially when combined with a sledge hammer or a flat headed (that is, single bitted) axe.

    For those following along, a Halligan Bar has an adze blade, a spike and a forked blade (like a common pry bar). opposite each working surface, there is flat striking surface. You can get the blade (or spike) in to start and then whack back end of it with a hammer or the back of an axe to drive it home. The spike is especially good at breaking off locks. Wikipedia has a fairly good article.

  64. KG says

    There are plenty of otherwise good cops who turn a blind eye to the racists because they feel they are under siege. – snarkrates@50

    Crap. That’s just like talking about “otherwise good cops who take bribes” or “otherwise good cops who frame innocent people”. A cop who turns a blind eye to the racists is a bad cop. So is a cop who turns a blind eye to the cops who turn a blind eye to the racists.

  65. says

    @wolja

    @58 Exactly what I said. Some are evil some aren’t. The priesthood, a part of the organisation not a worshipper, are hard to ignore for the evil they have delivered but even so they aren’t all pedophiles. Not even a majority.

    If we’re going to discuss numbers, we have to clarify what we’re talking about. If we’re using the example of abuse by Catholic priests, I think the category of “bad” would have to include not only the abusers themselves, but also anyone who knew about it and didn’t report it, as well as anyone who helped hush it up or shuffled priests around to prevent discovery or consequences.

    Would you agree with that standard?

  66. wolja says

    @69
    I can’t remember the comment format here so apologies
    Quote
    If we’re going to discuss numbers, we have to clarify what we’re talking about. If we’re using the example of abuse by Catholic priests, I think the category of “bad” would have to include not only the abusers themselves, but also anyone who knew about it and didn’t report it
    Response
    Somewhat simplistic and ignores the power component. The congregation, until very recently, have been beaten into the viewpoint that the priest is a sprouter of gods word and therefore is to be taken as correct. Those in a position of subordination and fearful of excommunication if they bucked the trend would not think to take the priest on, Sort of explains how organised religion is so prevalent. It’s the do as we say or you will be outcast and will suffer eternal damnation control mechanism.

    Now come to the current discussion. Again the prevalent view is all cops are cowards , evil etc. Someone expanded that to cops who didn’t report corruption. Philosophically that is correct but you are ignoring the peer pressure from colleagues and family. Why do you think the thin blue line is as powerful as the sanctity of the frock concept? The people who need the job or the bendiction gained from a stale biscuit are fearful of losing either. Rascism , domestic abuse etc fall into the same area.

    That’s why blanket statements don’t help those getting up the courage to buck the system. If I’m a cop empowered by the events coming out of atrocities but then see the voice of so called reason blaring all cops are evil, remove all cops what do you think they might do?

    Quote
    I think the category of “bad” would have to include …. anyone who helped hush it up or shuffled priests around to prevent
    discovery or consequences.

    Response
    Absolutely but that’s why I try and attack the institution and not the component parts. Institutional Religion is very much about control and subjugation. The worshippers, subjugatee’s are the victims

    I don’t think Dylan Thomas meant hate every one in a class without critical thought when he said “rage against the dying of the light”. Perhaps just the opposite.

    There is no quantifiable difference between all migrants are evil , from the right, and all cops are evil from you lot. While I realise Serpico’s depiction in the media was stylised the kernel was one cop against corruption despite the danger to himself. So right there is a cop who stood up. I know of others elsewhere in the world and I’m sure there are more in the US who did it noisily or quietly through telling there mates to back off.

    To end the diatribe human interaction when reduced to the most basic simple functions doesn’t lend itself to a fostering of understanding.

    /sarcasm Looking forward to the pretence of knowing what emotion that was /sarcasm off. Hint frustration seeing a good concept trivialised with blanket statements that would create outrage if the Discovery foundation used the arguments against you

  67. F.O. says

    There is no quantifiable difference between all migrants are evil , from the right, and all cops are evil from you lot.

    “You lot”….. says the Crusader Against Generalization….

    Also, because you can’t see the moral difference: being an immigrant is seldom a choice, being a cop usually is.

    Being an immigrant puts you in a position where a lot of people (bureaucrats, cops, politicians and traffickers to name a few) have power over you, being a cop puts you in a position where you have power over a lot of people.

    Surprising no one, the Very Rational Person doesn’t seem used to think about moral philosophy.

  68. wobbly says

    “Bootlicket Apologetics 101” must do a number on your critical thinking skills when you can apparantly no longer see the difference between immigrants and the professional purveyors of state sanctioned violence.

  69. Rob Grigjanis says

    wolja @70:

    I don’t think Dylan Thomas meant hate every one in a class without critical thought when he said “rage against the dying of the light”

    He certainly didn’t mean that, because he wasn’t talking about hating anyone. If you’re going to reference a poem, you should probably read it first. Here you go.

  70. says

    jsrtheta @2

    Where are all these “good” cops when the police are deservedly being criticized? They’re not out there adding to the voices that policing needs to be reexamined. All we’ve seen of cops in the last few years is a hunkering down and getting angry at any and all criticism.
    Now, can I assume as a (former?) prosecutor you have lent your voice to a broken justice system where innocent people are put through so much stress that they are talked into signing confessions to crimes they have not committed? I hope you’ve been denouncing prosecutors who work diligently to keep anyone they’ve helped imprison in prison despite new evidence proving their innocence.
    Please forgive me for giving the side eye to someone who was a prosecutor in a broken, corrupt system standing up for cops and proclaiming there are good ones.

  71. wolja says

    @71 I do so apologize for using a contraction in the Aussie way. You lot is Aussie for,well, the lot I’m arguing with. I could use formal rules but would assume all the attacks without thought would be deleted first. Thought not.

    @70 I’d suggest you brush up on artistic license and irony. I know what Bob Dylan was saying. However the sentiment was exact for my point as Dylan was writing about the start of the move to the far right while protesting against the Vietnam war. I do so appreciate the comment though / sarcasm

    Someone asked for a non evil Billionaire – So far Mike Cannon-Brookes isn’t evil in his travails at the windmills of anti climate change sentiment, yes that was artistic license and irony. However evil is graduated. Very few people are wholly evil. I’m sure Mile cannon Brookes has dark spots on his conscience and you lot, Aussiesism to identify the opposition in the debate, are sure to find it.

    End result is I am still disappointed PZ doesn’t apply the same principles of logic to his pets peeves as he does to posts on challenging religious craptrap or his excoriation of racists, misogynists etc. All of those things are worthy of excoriation using logic.

    I have work to do so I’ll have to, with sadness /sarcasm, not partake in the devouring of people with opposite viewpoints.

  72. wolja says

    Apparently I can’t edit, oh well.
    My work is in business. My passion is fighting against religious and right wing extremism on twitter. I’d share my account but I try not to read stuff that has the intellectual integrity of a waste bin

  73. KG says

    wolja@76,
    Not only can’t edit, but apparently can’t distinguish Bob Dylan from Dylan Thomas.

    I’d share my account but I try not to read stuff that has the intellectual integrity of a waste bin

    So, you limit yourself to writing it.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    When you say “Dylan”, he thinks you’re talking about Dylan Thomas.
    Whoever he was.
    Sad.

  75. Rob Grigjanis says

    wolja @75:

    I’d suggest you brush up on artistic license and irony

    I’d suggest you brush up on telling different people apart; artistic license doesn’t generally go quite that far. The poem you quote from in #70 was written by Welshman Dylan Thomas in 1947. Although Robert Zimmerman’s choice of the stage surname ‘Dylan’ was inspired by Thomas’s poems, that did not make them the same person.

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