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.
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.
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 I 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?