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.