Policies Matter

Not so long ago, a not overly bright person on a community forum called me a “racist” for asking “what does Black Life Matter” actually want?”

One might wonder if BLM is “racist” for finally answering my question.

Thing is, their ideas aren’t entirely wrong:

1. End “broken windows” policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.

Broken windows policing has always been controversial.  But it’s worked; it was a key element in turning New York from a crime-sodden wasteland in 1975 to one of the safer cities in America in 2005.

It did lean hard on “communities of color” – because some of those communities have had all sorts of problems, both “broken windows” and crime.  We can debate the reasons for that – and a lot of African-Americans disagree with BLM on that; it’s usually they who are asking for more, and more integrated, police presence in their communities.

Is it possible to get good policing in a trouble community without impacting those, in the community, who are trouble?

2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face.

I don’t disagree in principle:  groups investigating themselves never works.

But community review boards, especially in Democrat-run cities where most police problems are, inevitably turn into political footballs.

Better idea?  Make police carry individual liability insurance.  It’ll have the same effect it has on drivers; it’ll show us who the “bad” ones are, and fast.

3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force.

Excellent idea.

4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

This would seem to make good common sense.

5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.

A passable-sounding idea in principle; very hard to carry out in practice; if applicants for police service reflect the larger American community – 12% Latino, 11% black, 2% Asian, 75% white – what is “the community” supposed to do?  Assign cops to precincts on the basis of race?

Is it a good idea, though?  If our idea of “justice” is “bean-counting based on skin color”, then haven’t we really lost?

6. Require officers to wear body cameras.

Fine idea in practice, and I support it in principle.

The devil is in the details.  Can we allow officers to turn off their cameras?  Do you want officers stopping at Superamerica to take a dump preserved on the public record?

I’m not asking to be funny or gross.  If you allow officers to turn off the camera for purposes of bodily functions, then you create an opportunity – several, in fact.  Unethical officers will use that facility.   Bureaucrats will create more rules and procedures around cameras, which’ll take more time away from policing.

I’m in favor, but with questions.

7. Provide more training for police officers.

Not a bad idea, provided the “training” is useful.

8. End for-profit policing practices.

We’re talking about civil forfeiture, and even if the other nine proposals had been complete hogwash, this alone would be worth it.  Using funds from “crimes” that haven’t even gone to trial should be stopped, now.

9. End the police use of military equipment.

I’ll meet ’em halfway on this.   The hero gear gets way too much of a workout.  When you have armored cars and police in full battle rattle knocking down doors to serve warrants for non-violent crimes – pot dealers, people who owe the city money, that kind of thing – that does kinda send a message about what you think about “a community”.

10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Now that is going to be interesting to see out in practice.

BLM’s got a few useful ideas.  Where they go wrong is in relying on politics and politicians to do the reforming for them.

Diversity Now!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If a White male lawyer represents a landlord in an eviction case where tenant is represented by a Black Lesbian lawyer, who should win?  

 If you said “The race, sex and orientation of the lawyers doesn’t matter, what matters is the law and facts of the case,” then why does every law school give bonus points to women and Black applicants?  Why does the Bar Association have a Diversity Outreach Program?  Why does the Judicial Selection Commission have Affirmative Action requirements to appoint women and minorities as Minnesota judges?  Why was it necessary to confirm a Wise Latina to the Supreme Court?

 The very things that we insist are irrelevant to justice are the things the administrators of the justice system emphasize above all else.

 It’s as if the goal isn’t to enhance justice, it’s to enhance self-esteem.  Promoting a few of the downtrodden allows elites to assuage their guilt toward all the downtrodden without actually getting their own hands dirty lifting up any of the downtrodden.  It’s virtue-signaling, a balm for the conscience.

 And yet we wonder why the downtrodden believe the justice system doesn’t produce justice?

 Joe Doakes

Weird, huh?

Putting On Squalid Airs

One of the aphorisms that I’ve always used to guide my life is an old Hungarian saying; “the best way to become wealthy is to appear as if you already are”.  It’s not just about money; Dennis Prager notes a similar principle when it comes to happiness.   Prager and others note that when all else fails, the best way to bring love back to a loveless relationship is to act as if you are still very much in love.  More mundane?  Innumerable business books advise young would-be up-and-comers to dress for the position they want, not the one they’re in.

Ameircan slang also renders the saying as “fake it ’til you make it”.

And it’s not bad advice; the best way out of poverty is to stop acting poor.

Unfortunately, government is spending a lot of (your) money to promote the idea that acting poor is good for you.

Along these lines, a friend of the blog writes:

Last week, before Philando Castile was shot, a friend of mine, who is black, and I were discussing racism in Minnesota. He was shaking his head, wondering why black people are told to act, dress, and talk a certain way when he sees Somalis “getting a pass.” “And they’re the ones trying to blow us up!” he says.

What would he change? Well, when he was born, his parents lived in Cabrini Green. So, he has a good perspective. He would stop building subsidized housing for black people. He would stop forcing everyone to take the bus. “I’d never let my kids on those things.” He’s told me before that he’d told his family to do whatever they need to in order to afford a car- even if it means giving up a lot of other things.

I have a feeling that many other black people feel the same way. And I think it is great that the protests are happening at the Governor’s mansion, because obviously Dayton is part of the problem in terms of what my friend would fix. But, it’s too bad that Black Lives Matter is just another activist group with no more intention of helping people than any other activist group- my friend’s message will never get heard over the special interests.

 It’s both symbolic and eminently practical; our government is trying to jam us into “high density” lifestyles, which is code (!) for “how poor people live”;  to live, work and travel crammed together like passive-aggressive sardines.

We could have literally bought 140,000 late-model used cars for $10,000 a pop for the money we spent on the Green Death Machine.  That’s more than enough to equip every impoverished family in Saint Paul with a reliable vehicle – a portal to better jobs, to school choice, to opportunity.

But no.  We spent $1.4 billion so they, and a lot of middle-class people, could be poor…on tracks.

We sent the poor people to failing schools so they can be poor…with administrators with really great pensions.

What’s wrong here?

Vacuous Hipster Lives Matter

While I don’t support Black Lives’ Matter Twin Cities’ strategy or leadership, I don’t doubt for a moment that black people have every legitimate reason to protest against perceptions of excessive police violence…

…while noting that the loudest calls for more police in neighborhoods like the North Side of Minneapolis, the lower East Side of Saint Paul, and the North End come from…

…black and other minority residents, who are the main victims of crime in those neighborhoods.

I also will not pretend to be qualified to judge the violent demonstration that broke out Saturday night in Saint Paul – although Governor Flint Smith Dayton’s statements on the Castile shooting were deeply stupid.  I do think that the subtext of these protests is to try to drive everyone to one extreme or the other – to “Frame” them, in Alinskyite terms.

WIth all that out of the way?  Here’s the mug shot gallery of those arrested at the Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday:

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I’m shocked – shocked, I tell you – to see that all but five of the 46 arrested were visibly annoying, Whole Foods shopping, oil-belching-Subaru driving and/or cargo-bike-up-Snelling-At-Universty-at-11PM riding, non-profit-“working”, amateur-“Professional-Protester”, Sanders-voting lilywhite hipsters.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, of course – but then, I won’t beg forgiveness, since what are these protests but judging all humans by skin color – for and against?

Falcon Heights And Dallas

I’m going to take a moment to cite Berg’s Eighteenth Law of Media Latency:  “Nothing the media writes/says about any emotionally charged event – a mass shooting, a police shooting, anything – should be taken seriously for 48 hours after the original incident.  It will largely be rubbish, as media outlets vie to “scoop” each other even on incorrect facts.

Yesterday was a pretty crappy day for everyone – except the “let’s force everyone to one extreme or the other, for easier framing” community.

We’ll come back to that.

First, let’s talk about Falcon Heights.

On Edge:  Watch this video:

Kinda scary, huh?

Kinda makes you want to curl up in an armored coccoon, doesn’t it?

Sources in law enforcement tell me that this video is shown to most new police recruits on or about their first day of training, these days.

Not a video of a cop settling a dispute between errant neigbhors.

Not a video of a cop catching a sex trafficker (let’s assume they’re real, while we’re up).

Not one of a cop setting a young stalker straight before he seriously screws up his life.

No – the impression that police departments start their rookies off with is that “any situation you’re in, any contact you make, anything you do and anything you don’t do, can end up with you being gunned down like Old Yeller by the side of the road.  Be careful out there.

What message does this send to new cops?  “There are two kinds of people out there; people in badges, and people who might kill people in badges.  Be careful out there”.    It’s a sort of siege mentality.

We’ll come back to that.

Take a little siege mentality.  Add in what may have been really poor training; the Saint Anthony Police Department has come in for some criticism even before Wednesday’s events.

Part of that poor training, perhaps?   In carry permit training, students (of all races) are warned; handling cops if you get pulled over is one of the most dangerous parts of having a carry permit.  All cops get cautious when the “g” word comes up; some of them go way beyond (notwithstanding the fact that carry permittees are a couple orders of magnitude less likely to shoot anyone, much less a cop, than the general public).  If it turns out Castile was a carry permit holder, and he was (as his girlfriend pointed out in the video she shot from the scene) reaching for his permit as most people are taught in their carry permit training, then at least one cop needed some better training on that subject.

Was Castile the victim of racism?  Perhaps.  Although the herd consensus that there’s an epidemic of racist cops killing black people is not exactly statistically clear-cut, much less unanimous.   All shootings, including those involving the police, are complicated.

So on the one hand, you have a police force that operates from a basis of “force protection”, rather than “protecting and serving the community” – more of a military than civil concept – and a community with some serious beefs over how that works in the community, at a time when racial tensions are the highest they’ve been in fifty years (thanks, President Obama, for all that racial healing), in a state where the dominant political establishment is politically tied to both the police unions and the non-profit “social justice” sector”.

Sound like it’ll be hard to unravel?  You’re probably right.

Dallas:  And any chance of unraveling that first Gordian Knot got blown away in a fusillade of sniper fire last night in Dallas.

I can’t begin to comment; Berg’s Eighteenth Law applies to me, too.

More on the show tomorrow.

Another Shooting

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about the story of the day:

White cop from St. Anthony department shot Black man at traffic stop on Larpenteur at Fry in Falcon Heights.  Passenger took video, protests and vigils occurring.

you might want to reiterate your policy of refusing to comment until facts are known to stop speculation on SITD.

As with all shooting stories; the first 24-48 hours of media reporting will be absolutely squalid.    I’ll be withholding most comment.

Doakes continues, speaking about the narrative from the video (which I’ll include below the jump):

Passenger says cop asked driver for his wallet, driver reached down for it and while reaching, told cop that driver had a concealed carry permit and was carrying (which they tell us in training you’re supposed to do).  Cop told driver to put his hands up, driver brought his hands back up and officer opened fire because driver was making threatening movements, possibly bringing up the gun.

I’m guessing young cop, twilight, Black guy, gun . . . yeah, that script pretty much writes itself.  Girlfriend and child in the car watched it all.

Not an accidental discharge, by the way, several shots fired.

Driver age 32, employed, no serious criminal record if he had a concealed carry permit . . . bad scene all around.

Not just employed; employed by the Saint Paul Public Schools, apparently, in a position for which (I’m informed) one needs to pass a background check.

My focus would be additional mandatory training for law enforcement and for permitted carriers: What, exactly, are permitted carriers supposed to do if stopped when carrying? Play-act it.  Drivers need to know so they don’t alarm officers, and officers need to have a standard method of handling the situation.

Joe Doakes

While I neither confirm nor deny I own or carry any firearms, I have sat through carry permit training; the most prudent course seems to be to inform the officer only when there’s a likelihood of a search – like, if you’re asked to get out of the car.    This was posited for exactly the reasons that seem likely to have occurred in this incident;   an incident that started as a fix-it ticket (apparently) escalated because a (law-abiding, black) man told the (apparently jumpy, possibly rookie) cop that he had a permit and gun in a manner that had likely been prescribed to him in his training.

We don’t know all the facts, though.

Indeed, that’s my only real answer to everything in this incident; we don’t know the facts yet.  Everything that everyone is saying is conjecture at this point.  Not pure, unadulterated conjecture; the video shot by the girlfriend an interesting wrinkle to this case (statements made while the incident is still in progress are admissable under Minnesota rules of evidence, although I’m not sure of any limitations that might apply); her story, for what it’s worth, stays very consistent through several retellings on video.

Question:  if Philando Castile was shot unjustly, was it because of paranoia over black men, or over the new plague of urban paranoia over gun owners?

Anyway, I’ll urge everyone to reserve judgment, knowing full well nobody will.

Video follows:

Continue reading

Cop’s Gonna Cop. Grievance Pimp’s Gonna Pimp Grievance.

Preface:  I don’t have a whole lot of pet peeves.  I really don’t.  I’m one of the most easygoing guys you’re likely to ever meet, ever.

But I do have a few:

  • Using the term “begging the question” as a synonym for “that brings up another question”.  It’s not.  It’s just not.  “Begging the question” means “using your conclusion as evidence for your conclusion”.  That may come up in this story.
  • The phrase “right not to get shot“.
  • People who bring a conversation – usually a business meeting – to a screeching halt with either of the following:
    • “Let’s take a step back”
    • “I”m just trying to understand, here”
  • Anyone who pronounces the word “processes” like “Pro-se-SEEZ”.

But the biggest one of all is people who try to tell me what I’m really thinking.  People who know what I’m thinking better than I do, and aren’t afraid to tell me not only what it is, but why it’s a horrible thing.

Attention:  You – whoever you are – are not qualified to tell me what I’m really thinking.

Ever.

I don’t like it when people do it to me, and I don’t much like people making constant habit of doing it to other people.  Telling people what they really think (especially because that’s what your narrative says they’re really thinking) is no less noxious than telling them what they really are.

OK.  On to the actual story.


Tony Cornish is a former cop.  He’s also been among the most steadfast protectors and advocates for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the Minnesota legislature, so he’s one of the good guys.

He’s raised a kerfuffle among the kerfuffling class with a recent op-ed in the Strib that gave some fairly radical advice:

In a letter to the Star Tribune, Cornish lays out rules for interacting with police:

  • “Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police.”
  • “Don’t rob people, don’t use or sell drugs, and don’t beat up your significant other.”
  • “Don’t hang out on the street after 2 a.m. Go home.”
  • “Don’t make furtive movements or keep your hands in your pockets if told to take them out.”
  • “Don’t flap your jaws when the police arrive. Don’t disobey the requests of the police at the time. If you think you are wrongfully treated, make the complaint later.”

“Don’t hang out and yell at people after midnight,” he said over the phone. “Don’t be involved in crime. Don’t give police a reason to be there in your face.”

On the one hand, the small-l libertarian in me thinks some of those – especially the whole “don’t be out after 2AM” when you have every legal right to be out at 2AM bit – veer a little close to “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about”.  And you’d have to be a serious pollyanna to think that some cops don’t abuse the whole “lawful order” thing.

And as far as “making a complaint later”?  Yeah, that never works.  You’ll be making a complaint about cops, to cops.  Or to people whose best interest it is to stay tight with the cops.  Either way, what’s the point?

On the other hand?  If there’s anyone who’ll make you sympathetic for cops, warts and all, it’s some of their critics:

Cornish says his letter is a response to the activist groups wondering how to reduce the use of police force. He says it’s not complicated, and he provides a list for how to not get shot by police.

In a phone interview with WCCO, Cornish says he’s tired of news stories about police violence in which the *cops* get blamed for using excessive or deadly force against people he calls “thugs.”

“You see all these cop videos where they give order after order, and they just stand there and something bad happens and they wonder why in the world that happened,” he said.

I want to ask “is it too much to wish that everyone in the world, citizens and cops both, had the good common sense not to be idiots and pocket tyrants?”, but if you study any human nature at all, you’ll know it’s really only a rhetorical question.

Speaking of rhetoric (I’m adding emphasis):

[Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima] Levy-Pounds called the letter “racist,” and “intolerable,” with coded language aimed at the African American community.

Coded language.

See my preface above.  When someone accuses someone of “coded language”, what they’re saying is “you’re not saying what you  think you’re saying, and you’re not thinking what you think you’re thinking.  You’re saying and thinking what say you’re saying and thinking.  And boy oh boy, are you an awful person for saying what I’m saying you’re really saying!”

I get it.  Political rhetoric ain’t beanbag.  But invoking “coded language” is the weasel’s argument.

“He’s drawing upon racial stereotypes that people often use to justify the use of excessive force against African-Americans, even when African-Americans — who are unarmed — are killed by law enforcement,” she said.

While I’m not going to excuse all police shootings – sometimes people make mistakes when the stress is on . And some people, cops included, do just-plain-evil things.

But someone being “unarmed” doesn’t mean they’re not potentially a lethal threat.  Every year, among Minnesota’s 90-odd homicides, some portion are people who are beaten to death – including, every year, a couple of “one punch kills”.  A big enough guy hitting someone hard enough to break a piece of brain loose, or to drop his head on a curb, can kill them just as dead as any gun will.  Circumstances matter.

Levy-Pounds says that’s exactly what the letter is really about — what she calls, “the Jim Crow North.” She’s been leading protests over the over-concentration of police in black neighborhoods, and over-criminalization of African-Americans in Minnesota.

There is certainly a discussion to be had about overcriminalization – and not just of black people in North Minneapolis.  There is also a conversation to be had about the collapse of the black family, which is not helping the black community out one little bit.

But the last person who will start that conversation is Levy-Pounds, who (along with many of her followers) will accuse you of “white supremacy” for, for example, disagreeing with her on any point of her agenda.  Or for taking the last parking spot.  Or for ordering mayo on a sandwich.

If everything is “racist”, then, really, is anything racist?

UPDATE: Commenter Night Writer brought up the good question: Is Chris Rock also a White Supremacist?

As The Narrative Burns

A few weeks ago, Nekima Levy-Pounds went to the Minneapolis park and recreation board, and did what she does best; made a lot of noise, claiming the Park and Rec board was…

wait for it…

wait for it…

racist.

Unfortunately – according to the City Pages – the facts don’t exactly bear out her charges of  “Racism” against the park board (emphases added):

Parks and Rec breaks down its budget into North, Northeast, South, and Southwest service areas. North has 49 park properties and 59,119 residents, according to the 2010 census. Parks and Rec allocated $243 per person in north Minneapolis from 2010-14…During the same time, Southwest received $85 for each of its 120,376 people, and South received $83 for each of the 136,160 residents

Oh yeah, and the Park Board has big plans – and they don’t include the southside:

While parks all over the city will get some funding to maintain what’s already there, neighborhood parks in areas of concentrated poverty will be the only ones getting any funding for improvements — amenities like playgrounds, wading pools, fields — during the first five years.

Parks in wealthier neighborhoods won’t see a cent more than what it costs to prevent them from breaking down.

I’m not sure what the race-relations version of “all moo / no cow” is, but I’ll be looking for it.

What Did Malcolm X Know That Nekima Levy-Pounds Doesn’t?

Rapper Azealea Banks noted something has been screechingly obvious for decades, to anyone who’s not competely left-addled:

On Saturday afternoon, singer Azealia Banks expressed her support for the GOP candidate in a spree of tweets, kicking off the conversation with, “I REALLY want Donald Trump to win the election.”

And…:

Ms. Banks has a point.

It’s a point originally made by none other than Malcolm X himself:

Sixty years ago, 40% of African-Americans voted GOP.  That changed in 1960, when Kennedy reeled in the black vote with promises of civil rights legislation…

…on which he promptly reneged.

As the Democrat party has done, over and over again, for two generations.   Indeed, virtually every problem that the urban African-American community has, these days, springs from their relentless support of the Democrat machines that run their cities…into the ground.

Ms. Banks won’t be able to get a table at Carl’s Junior after this, at least in show-biz circles, of course.   But she – and Mr. X – are both right.

I Love The Smell Of Napalmed Narratives In The Morning

You could practically sense the institutional left’s glee at the thought of conservatives’ reaction to Harriet Tubman being selected for the face of the new $20 bill.  Indeed, reading some of their pieces, I got the impression that the “reactions” were written not only well in advance, but written at some centralized content mill.

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Then, Thursday happened – and the vast majority of conservatives applauded the choice; a gun-toting Republican freedom fighter who not only led slaves on the Underground Railroad but led Union troops back the other way, replacing the slave-owning, genocide-mongering founder of the Democrat Party.

The standard-bearer of orthodox conservatism, the National Review, points out the facts that most Democrats don’t know:

In fact, Harriett Tubman was a gun-toting, Jesus-loving spy who blazed the way for women to play a significant role in military and political affairs.

Indeed, her work on the Underground Railroad was mostly a prelude to her real achievements. Born into slavery as Araminta Ross, Tubman knew the slave system’s inhumanity firsthand: She experienced the savage beatings and family destruction that were par for the course. She eventually escaped and, like most who fled, freed herself largely by her own wits.

 

Which is something the Democrats are doing their best to school out of black people.

Beyond that, though?

Tubman was one of the most valuable field-intelligence assets the Union Army had. She had hundreds of intelligence contacts and could establish new ones — particularly among African Americans — when nobody else could.

During one of her scouting missions along the Combahee River, she became the first woman and one of the first African Americans to command a significant number of U.S. troops in combat. The raid she organized and helped to command freed far more enslaved people than her decades of work on the Underground Railroad. She also was a strong advocate of allowing African Americans into the Union Army. She knew Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the almost entirely African-American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment — the unit at the center of the 1989 film Glory.

So go for it, Democrats.  Tell us something we don’t know.

Contextualized!

The Department of the Treasury has just tossed the slave-owning, Indian-genociding founder of the Democrat party off the $20 bill…

..and replaced him with a gun-toting Republican.

(No, it wasn’t my line:  it’s David “Iowahawk” Burge…

…and it was too good not to pay homage)

The Red Line

Clearly, all of America’s school problems have been solved.

No, we know this, because thousands of American teachers will be taking time off during the school  year to attend a conference on “white privilege”.

The annual event is aimed at promoting the theory of White Privilege – that American society is hopelessly stacked against minorities and the only way to fix the system is for white people to acknowledge their immense “privilege” and repent.

Which brings up the two questions:

  1. What is “white privilege”
  2. What is it that you’d have us do about it.

The first?  Even asking will get you called a racists (as I found out on one particularly bobbleheaded neighborhood Facebook forum a few weeks back).   But one BLM activist defined it for me pretty well, last summer:  it’s being able to go into a room and not have everyone wondering if you’re “one of the good ones”.

Which sounds, to me, like freedom and equality.  Which may be a “privilege”, but it’s also supposed to be one of this nation’s ideals.

As opposed to this next bit (emphasis added):

“Our vision is to build a community committed to dismantling white privilege, white supremacy and oppression, every day, everywhere,” wrote Eddie Moore Jr., founder and president of “The Privilege Institute,” which organizes the event.

If “privilege” is equality, freedom, justice, and being seen as a person rather than a label, then you’ll “dismantle” it over my dead body.  You don’t gain freedom and equality by taking others’ away.  The Germans didn’t get any more free by killing Jews; the Klan got no more justice by lynching black people.

Repent, my ass.  It’s time to spread “privilege” around to all races, classes, orientations, religions, humans.

If this is the place where the civil war starts, then lock and m********ng load.

Rhetorically speaking, of course.

Virtue-Bellowing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Two men shot and killed five Black people in an ambush shooting at a cookout in the poor part of town. Police had no leads.
TV reporter posts comment on television station’s Facebook page:
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. … They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested.”
She’s been fired because her comment was “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Question: if she HAD been an FBI Behavioral Analyst, would the FBI be required to fire her for giving the exact same profile of the suspects?
Does the Truth depend on the speaker’s Credentials?
Joe Doakes

What?  Is that a trick question?

And I’m gonna guess the FBI’s behavioral analysts are going to be getting a call from HR before too terribly long.

#OscarSoProportional

For roughly the everyeth year in my life in a row, I skipped the Oscars last night.  But I did catch a little bit of Chris Rock’s opening monologue.  And he had a couple good ones:

  • For most of Oscar history, black people had much bigger things to worry about than Oscars.
  • “Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. Neither of us were invited!”

But Alan West notes another inconvenient truth; while this year was a slow one for black nominees, African Americans over the past 20 years have actually won “Actor/Actress” and “Supporting Actor/Actress” statues exactly in proportion to their share of the population:

The problem isn’t that black people are underrepresented at the Oscars.  The problem is that the narrative needed a chanting point for February.

 

When Out And About In Roseville Tonight

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Black Lives Matter Series Feb. 2, 9 and 16

A free, three-part series about the historical roots of the Black Lives Matter movement will be presented at the Ramsey County Library in Roseville on Tuesdays throughout February at 12:30 p.m. Macalester College professor Duchess Harris, author of the new book, Black Lives Matter, will conduct the series.

 

Series dates:

  • Feb. 2 – Part 1: Reconstruction to Brown v Board of Education
  • Feb. 9 – Part II: Civil Rights to the Clinton Administration
  • Feb. 16 – Part III: Black Lives Matter in the Age of Obama

Black History Month Programs Feb. 19 and 26

The Ramsey County and City of Saint Paul Employees Black History Month Planning Committee will host two programs in February. Additional details will be available in upcoming editions of Ramsey News.

 

Program schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 19: The Dred Scott Decision and Minnesota’s Ties to the Underground Railroad, noon – 1 p.m., East Building
  • Friday, Feb. 26: Proclamations and program, noon – 1 p.m., City Hall-Courthouse (catered lunch available for purchase at 11:30 a.m.)

Joe Doakes

Interesting.

Messages

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Al Sharpton is upset the Oscars didn’t recognize a Black actor.  It makes the awards “fraudulent.”

For crying out loud, how dense are they?  There’s an award for every category down to Junior Lunch Caterer’s Assistant, why not add one more?

And let’s be blatant and clear about it – this is not an award for excellence, those awards went to Best Actors.  This is an award to shut up critics.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this year, the ‘Token Award for Black Actor’ goes to . . . .”

Joe Doakes

It’s all about “sending messages”. `

America’s Oldest Civil Rights Organization

In recent years, I’ve had two fascinating interviews on my show, on a subjects that gets short-to-nonexistent shrift in the mainstream media and academia; the role of our Second Amendment in the Civil Rights movement.  Charles Cobb’s This Non-Violent Stuff’ll Get You Killed chronicles the role of armed blacks in protecting the nascent civil rights movement of the sixties, while Nicholas Johnson’s Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms documents the history of armed black resistance to racism.

Another story that needs to be told – especially in the wake of President Obama’s “town hall meeting” about guns two weeks ago, and the wave of the President’s minions trying to paint gun control as a racial issue, is the inextricable involvement of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization in protecting the nascent civil rights movement.

That’d be the National Rifle Association.

A group called the “Deacons of Defense” – largely black military veterans – sprang up to defend civil rights workers and leaders, including Martin Luther King, as well as helping defend blacks in general from the Klan’s depredations.

It wasn’t an academic exercise:

On a hot July night, a cavalcade of 25 Klan automobiles drove through a black neighborhood in Bogalusa, shouting vile comments at women and spewing racial insults. Some Klansmen then randomly fired into some houses. To the Klansmen’s shock, the response was a fusillade of return fire. The Klan members sped away in fear.

“They finally found out that we really are men,” one Deacons leader remembered, “and that we would do what we said, and we meant what we said.”

The escalating crisis forced the hand of the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously timid about expending political capital against the Klan’s alliance with local police, the DOJ unleashed Civil Rights Division head John Doar. For the first time ever, the DOJ took action against pro-Klan local law enforcement. By the end of the year, the Louisiana Klan had been devastated.

The Deacons were rigidly politically neutral – the snubbed Stokely Carmichael’s “black power” agitation, sticking to self-defense – but their impact was immense:

Black dignity—the responsible protection of family and community—was a CORE value of the Deacons. For centuries, adult black men had been called “boy,” and—because of fear of white violence—often acted in servile manner to those whites who treated them with disdain. No longer.

And that thought alone terrifies the Big Left.

And let nobody forget that the NRA was right there with them (I’ve added various bits of emphasis):

As America’s youngest civil rights organization, the Deacons received support from America’s oldest civil rights organization—the NRA, which, like the Deacons, was dedicated to training Americans in the responsible exercise of constitutional rights. At the time, the NRA was the authorized public representative of the U.S. Army’s Civilian Marksmanship Program, and could sell army surplus ammunition at discounts to NRA members.

So the Deacons for Defense—as NRA members—bought ammunition in bulk, and distributed it for free to individual members. It’s little wonder, though, that the NRA was the Deacons’ arsenal. For most of the 20th century, the NRA shooting range in Washington, D.C., had been one of the few public accommodations in the city that was not racially segregated. Virtually alone among the sporting organizations of the late 19th and early 20th century, the NRA had always remained open to members of all races.

As for firearms, the Deacons already had plenty of their own—especially in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” of Louisiana. As it had back in 1775, a strong tradition of hunting provided a solid foundation for armed defense of liberty.

Initially, the Deacons’ main arms were shotguns, plus some handguns. Over time, there were efforts to standardize the Deacons with .30-cal. M-1 carbines [obtained from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, administered by the NRA] and .38 Special revolvers.

Read the whole thing.

And spread it around.

Rights Matter

Black Lives matter is planning to protest against a police killing in North Minneapolis via the logical outlet of protesting at the Mall of America.  In Bloomington.

The Mall’s management, remembering the chaos during BLM’s protest the Saturday before Christmas last year, has obtained a restraining order against the protest.

BLM, naturally, is having none of it.  Walter Hudson:

Black Lives Matter has responded with typical victim posturing, claiming that the restraining order would violate their constitutional right to free speech. This proves particularly rich given that the group has deleted comments on their Facebook page and blocked this author from commenting. Apparently, their loose interpretation of free speech only applies to their own.

It’s worth noting that when he dismissed previous charges against BLM protest organizers, Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter Cahill signaled that a restraining order such as the one currently sought was necessary to secure the mall’s property rights.

Of course, property rights are on an equal plane with speech rights (or are when courts and legislation haven’t perverted both outside their original intents). BLM seems to have trouble distinguishing between public and private property.

Perhaps staging a counterprotest on Nekima Levy-Pounds’ lawn would get the point across.

Eating The Seed Corn

A long-time friend of this blog writes:

I do have sympathy for the BLM grievances, truly.  But their goals are very undefined, nebulous, etc.  It’s sad.  It is a tragedy about the young man killed by the police.  I don’t know the facts but it is still a tragedy for all who are involved.
I purposefully walked through the tunnel from the HennCo Govt Center to Mpls City Hall this morning.  There is no evidence of the large protest there yesterday.  The graffiti on Wings Financial was not in evidence.  The main lobby of City Hall did not look worse for wear.  I am pleased for the protesters not doing permanent damage to get their point across, that was very good of them.  The clean up crews also did a good job.

That same night [an acquaintance], a white, middle-aged woman left our building unaccompanied as usual.  The bulding is very near City Hall.  Some man leaving the protest walked up to her and started screaming “BLACK LIVES MATTER, BLACK LIVES MATTER!”  She is a very experienced urbanite and just ignored him but he followed her screaming some more.  She was not particularly frightened by the whole incident, felt a bit threatened and will be sure to pay attention to more  “protests” in order to plan her route to evade them.  The moral of this story is that all the BLM energy simply made a person who might be sympathetic to their cause into a person who sees them as complete idiots to be avoided.
The BLM group though reminds me of the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”  I mean they go to protest at Elsie’s in NE Mpls (a fine place) because they heard a “police” function was happening there.  But lo and behold it was a holiday fundraiser for HennCo Sheriff Stanek (I had an invite but was unable to attend).  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Plus the even was over by the time they got there.  Wrong event, wrong time.  This is BLM’s problem.  They have some legitimate gripes.  They have a totally ineffective response.

And here’s the real radical idea (emphasis added):

Maybe they should do something REALLY radical and start showing up, putting forth candidates, and finding support at the REPUBLICAN caucuses!  Guaranteed, they will very quickly find real meaningful results coming their way.  Either the Dems will get so scared, they will actually start doing something or they will find a very welcoming group at the GOP who will also be falling over backwards to assist.
Just a thought.

That would, of course, shake things up.  A lot.

Of course, it won’t be BLM pushing that.  Black Lives matter is funded by liberals with deep pockets, almost entirely with a goal of trying to keep the African American vote jazzed up during a Democrat campaign season where the black voter will be asked to choose among a bunch of geriatric white people.

Qua BLM, it may not be working – but then that’s not the point.

My Virtual Client Is Obviously Guilty

Joe Doakes from Como Park – who, let the record show, is an attorney – emails:

I don’t understand Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s legal analysis in charging the BLM shooter with assault with a deadly weapon.

When Black people protest, it’s a Constitutionally protected right.  If White people counter-protest, it should be just as protected, right?

Yes, I know, the White people said they were going to stir up trouble.  They know somebody who owns a Confederal flag.  They talked trash on video.  That’s bad manners, agreed.  But filming Black protestors and even calling them names is no less protected speech than burning a cross in somebody’s yard and we know that’s constitutional, decided decades ago in RAV v. St. Paul.  So going to the protest should be good.

If the White guys were racially offensive in implementing their counter-protest, does that negate the shooters self-defense claim?  The standard is:

  1. Did not initiate the physical conflict, must be a reluctant participant.
  2. Attempted to retreat by running away
  3. Reasonably believed they were about to suffer great bodily harm at the hands of an enraged mob
  4. Used reasonable force to repel the attack by firing a few rounds, only one of which injured anybody

I’m sure the prosecutor and the media will portray the White men as the aggressors, not as reluctant participants.  But that doesn’t sound right to me.  If you and I are having a heated discussion, the guy who throws the first punch is the aggressor, regardless how annoying the words are.

There might be such a thing as “fighting words” to justify a quick punch.  But there’s no such thing as “chasing-down-an-alley” words to justify a mob beating.  The Black mob initiated the threat of physical violence, the White men attempted to retreat and used reasonable force as a last resort.  I would think the shooter has a pretty good case for self-defense.  I would expect Mike Freeeman to see that.  I therefore conclude the assault charge is grandstanding to pacify the same mob that initiated the violence.  That’s not a good long-term strategy for maintaining public order.

Joe Doakes

“Progressive” politics is always a matter of balancing respective mobs of constituents, usually against each other.

Why I’m Done Taking Crap From White Minnesota Liberals About “White Privilege”

I was discussion Black Lives Matter in an online forum over this past week or so.

As happens more often than not, one of the BLM supporters in the forum – inevitably white and twenty-something – sniffed down their nose that I should check my white male privilege before asking questions about BLM.

Leave aside the thuggish undercurrent – I can’t ask questions about what people want when they’re blocking traffic all over the damn place? – I realized something.

I’ve had enough of people evoking “Privilege” as a rhetorical trump card.

Not just because it’s cowardly, ad-hominem debate – although it certainly is.

But because invoking “privilege” fundamentally goes against everything this country – and, in theory, Black Lives Matter – stands for.

Let me explain.

But first, let’s step back to the beginning:

Goals:  BLM sympathizers – especially the smug, outspoken, white liberal ones – are pretty lousy at defining privilege.

But some of them are pretty clear about what they want; to “deconstruct” or “eliminate” or “smash” “privilege”.

So what is it, exactly, they’re trying to deconstruct, eliminate or smash, anyway?

My Tribe:  I’ve asked people to define “privilege” for me.  The answers – or, let’s be honest, “answers” in most cases – have varied.  “If you have to ask, you can’t understand” has popped up more often than not.

In frustration, I came up with my own, over the summer; “Privilege is this; my ancestors came from a patriarchal warrior cult who had zero words for “Hakuna Matata”, but more words for “Kill Them!” than the Inuit have for “snow”.  Between this and their geography, nobody ever enslaved them as a culture, thus bequeathing to me a legacy of freedom that is one of the most precious gifts a culture can give its progeny.  Your ancestors, largely from sub-saharan, matriarchal tribes, were easy pickings for the patriarchal, warlike tribes that conquered them.  How would you like us to address this?”

But that was a little less productive than I’d hoped.

But someone – a young black guy, as I recall – did define it pretty well a while ago.  Privilege is going into a place and not having people visibly trying to figure out if you’re “one of the good ones”, and not “one of the ones who’s going to rob you”, or “one of the deadbeat welfare cheats”.

Let’s run with that.

Baseline:  In other words, “privilege” is, apparently, being treated like a regular human being.

Also known as “equality”, and “being seen as a human, not a label”.

Which is supposed to be what this country is about; it’s what the Revolutionaries, and Martin Luther King, and many in between and beyond, fought for.

And here’s the thing:  equality, like any other freedom or liberty, is not a zero sum equation.  You don’t get more freedom, or justice, or equality by taking them from someone else.  I don’t get more freedom of speech by censoring you; I don’t become more secure in my home and possessions by making your home and possessions a freeway for unscrupulous district attorneys; I don’t get more equal by treating you as less of an equal.

You don’t get more of the “privileges” of equality, justice, and freedom – we call them “rights” –  by “deconstructing, eliminating and/or smashing” my equality, justice and freedom.

You don’t get more equality, justice and freedom by taking them away from other people.

And I don’t think most of the white urban liberals who are jabbering about “privilege” get that.

The Privileged:  And they certainly don’t that that, as we discussed a while ago, “white privilege” is not the only kind of privilege in our society – or even, perhaps, the most pervasive.

Think about it for a moment.  Two people walk into Minnesota Public Radio’s executive office; Nekima Pounds-Levy, Ph. D and tenured, termination-proof professor at Saint Thomas University, and Billy Bob Beauregard, small engine mechanic and owner of a thick Alabama accent.

Who gets taken seriously, regardless of the validity of their respective ideas?

Who’s got the privilege?

Class is every bit the privilege that race is.

 

Fort Apache, The North Side

Perhaps you’ve heard – it’s been in all the headlines – a “Black Lives Matter” protest at the Fourth precinct police station in Minneapolis yesterday turned into a scuffle between riot police and demonstrators ostensibly angry over the death of Jamar Clark.   Clark was killed in a confrontation with the police; the incident is controversial, and still very much under investigation, and we’re not going to get any reliable news about it for quite some time. However, the police union is doing its best to make the officers involved look like angels walking among us on the earth, while the protesters portray them as dead-eyed executioners, and mayor Betsy Hodges, through her stenographers in the media, splitting the difference (maybe just a little on the side of the protesters).

The story on KARE 11 relates the broad details of the scuffle – which include  incoming bricks and Molotov cocktails, and outgoing bean bag rounds – and also gives us one interesting sidelight:

There was an interesting moment as Jamar Clark’s sister drove up on the scene as protesters were shouting down police. Javille Burns opened her window and addressed protesters, clearly angry, asking them what their goal was. “You’re pissing people off,” she shouted. “These officers can’t do nothing for you… you’re ignorant.” When one protester tried to engage her, Burns jumped out of the car and ran at him. “That’s my brother that got shot… my blood (expletive) brother!”

While the investigation into the actual incident waiting to Mr. Clark’s girl is still very much under investigation, one can feel sympathy for Ms. Burns; her brother, whether an erratic wife beater or an innocent victim, is having his name and demise hijacked by a bunch of people whose interests of little to do with him.

More later.

Whose Privilege, Now?

The protests in Missouri have brought the notion of “Privilege” out in the open with full red-faced screaming anger, and jabbed it straight into our faces.

PC Alert!

Oh, sure – “white privilege”.  Yep, that too.

In seeing the iconic photo of Professor  Click calling in “muscle” to eject a student “journalist” from public space, as he tried to cover a protest about “privilege”, I’m reminded of an episode I had recently with a local “Black Lives Matter” sympathizer/activist.

We were on a neighborhood Facebook page, discussing a BLM rally that’d just happened in my neighborhood.

I asked the woman a simple question; with the stipulation that “white privilege” exists, I asked her “what should we do about it?”

Her answer was the sort of condescension that comes from deep insecurity; “you wouldn’t understand, because of your privilege”.

I bit my tongue and refrained from responding “Ma’am?  You’re a professional in one of the soft sciences; you have an advanced degree, a practice, an upper-middle-class income by Twin Cities standards (which means you’re phenomenally wealthy by world standards), and an entree into upper-middle-class society.  I’m a freelance IT user experience consultant.  Who’s got the “privilege”, here?

It’s like when Nekima Levy-Pounds blows up an interview by pulling the “white privilege” lever; she’s a woman with a PhD in a very soft humanities area, and a tenured, all but unemployment proof job and an upper-middle-class salary and lifestyle, lecturing white roofing and siding contractors, delivery drivers and overnight Target shelf-stockers about their “privilege”.

There is all sorts of “privilege” out there; I was privileged to grow up in a family with married parents that stayed together until I was an adult; I’m privileged that my ancestors came to this country of their own free will, from a society with a history of stabbing and burning anyone who’d tried to enslave them, thus avoiding all the social pathologies that befall people with long histories of brutal persecution (white southern Scots-Irish, Armenians, and yes, even Jews).

And above all, class – a “privilege” that most of the American Left shares.  The essential Victor Davis Hanson notes that the left is harping on “white privilege” to draw attention away from  the “class privilege” that affects so much more of society – but benefits the left pretty handsomely.

Get That Popcorn Ready

“Black Lives Matter” has announced that they intend to protest at, and attempt to block, the Twin Cities Marathon.

Let’s make sure this is clear; after months of protesting at things that the DFL elites in Kenwood and Summit Avenue revile (the Mall of America) or are outside their frame of reference (the State Fair, the Green Line during a Vikings game) or that isn’t part of their lives (or rush hour on I94 in the Midway, I35W in South Minneapolis, or Snelling Avenue), they may have finally gone a bridge too far; they’re not just inconveniencing the proles this time; they’re going to mess with one of those things of which white, upper-middle-class, MPR-listening, St. Olaf-alumniing, Volvo-driving, Whole-Foods-shopping Minnesota is most proud; an institution that is one of the A-list faces of the part of Minnesota that wants to look at the rest of the world and say “yeah, we’re a little like New York!”.

As I started thinking about writing, I got an email from a regular reader:

I’ve been minimally following the BLM plans to protest the marathon.  I know people who run the marathon who have never supported BLM, so their reaction is obviously anger.  However, secretly I kind of like that the group is finally disrupting something other than poor and working class people getting to and from work.  Especially when I read comments on Facebook that suggest the mindset of “why are you protesting us?  We support you.” to which BLM protesters respond with something like “if you support us, what have you done to make real changes?” (not exact quotes, but enough similar sentiments on the Facebook pages that [the operator of a local political discussion listserver] linked to) Liberal types who tend to think they’re helping by voting for all of the stuff that Liberals like probably are scratching their heads at that, which at least makes this protest fun to follow.

It’s more than just Schadenfreude, of course…

…although there’s plenty of that, too.

For example:  what must it be like to be Betsy Hodges or Chris Coleman, right now?  They’ve bent over 90 degrees past backwards for BLM – who, being liberal and (partly) black, they consider their electoral property – allowing them to block city streets numerous times without the protest permit every other group would need to bet, much less blocking interstate highways and mass transit over and over again.  And now – after all those favors – BLM ungratefully wants to screw with one of Hodges and Coleman’s marquee events?

Will either of them decide to “get tough”, as the eyes of the marathon-running world are on them?

But beyond that?  As the emailer pointed out – how will “progressive” Minnesota react to their own hypocrisy being sent up on a world stage?