Conflicting Gun Violence Narratives

Conflicting Gun Violence Narratives August 14, 2014

So, a couple of years ago, the jiu jitsu on the Right about gun violence against blacks was the standard “We need more guns” panacaea that always comes from Gun Culture.  Here’s the inimitable Ann Coulter issuing the standard party line:

All would be well if black people went around armed to the teeth, ready to fight off violence against them.

Sarah Silverman saw comedy gold in this and did not hesitate to exploit it.

But, of course, she is a godless left winger so the mantra went marching on that it is vital to get as much technology of mass slaughter into as many hands as possible, because free citizens will need it when Obama sends the 101st Airborne in to impose shariah law and march us into concentration camps.

The vision of the Uprising of Citizen Soldiers against the imminent totalitarian regime is one of the most cherished myths of gun culture, enabling it to overlook 30,000 real deaths every year in favor of the millions of imaginary deaths it will prevent when ObamaHitler comes to take all our guns.

Only, well, here’s the thing: when the Police really do behave like Police State police, killing unarmed black kids, arresting politicians and journalists who are trying to see what they are up to, and behaving exactly like the occupying army of NRA fantasies, suddenly the scenari0 becomes concrete–and not at all according to plan for a lot of gun culture.  As a reader wrote:

You’re living in a neighborhood where men in bulletproof vests who have already killed an unarmed teenager which is how this whole thing started, are at war with your friends and neighbors. They’re setting off flash grenades (which can cause burns and injuries), they’re spewing tear gas directly at people in their own yards, they’re driving around in armored cars, they’re brandishing guns. Chances are you’re going to grab what weapons you have that might actually work to protect yourself and your neighbors from the bastards. If you happen to have a gun, it won’t be much good because of all the flak gear, right? Throwing a rock or a two-by-four might work but probably not. Okay, you’ve got glass bottles, you’ve got accellerant of some kind, you’ve got matches? Let’s roll.

And yet, strangely, when this NRA dream scenario of Citizen Soldiers Fighting the Power takes place, the people who are most fanatically supportive of the NRA as guarantor of protection from the Police State suddenly side with the jackbooted thugs who haunt their nightmares and presume the guilt of the subject population, even when the jackbooted thugs are arresting the press that is trying to find out what they are up to.

The rather clear message being sent is this: White guys with guns shooting at people and blowing things up when fantasy evil black Muslim Obama comes to impose shariah, take their money, and give it to worthless welfare blacks and Latinos are courageous patriots like Cliven “Let me tell you about the Negro and use women and children as human shields” Bundy.

Black guys with guns shooting at people and blowing things up when real police state goons are shooting at them are thugs.

That’s not to say I think civilians rioting and blowing stuff up in Ferguson, MO are justified anymore than the nutjobs who almost went to war in Nevada were.  It’s to say that the whole fantasy that roving mobs of civilian vigilantes are going to re-establish the Second Continental Congress is insane, as is so much gun culture rhetoric.  And it’s to say that if you don’t think race is a factor in what we choose to see and not see when it comes to gun violence, you are in denial.

And it is most of all to say that it is vital to unplug from the rhetoric of the human philosophies that govern our discourse in this country and return to the Church’s teaching and its preferential option for life, in which the first question is “How do we do all we can to minimize harm and violence to the human person?” and not “When do we *get* to harm and kill people?”

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  • Ken

    The bad news for all these people is that the gov has bombs and tanks etc so carrying around your weapon really won’t do anything to protect you from the gov. Perhaps we shouldn’t give the gov unlimited spending power on the military. When we spend so much money on weapons the gov feels an obligation to use them. We spent so much money on the military they are giving stuff away to local police who now feel an obligation to use this stuff on us citizens. The only good thing coming out of this situation is that a lot of this is coming to light.

    • Joseph

      We? Who’s ‘we’? Oh, I get it. You’re still under the impression that this is a democracy or something like that. Haha! That was a good one.

  • Jonk

    Of course, let’s leave out the actual use of so-called “assault weapons” to defend person and property against looting in Ferguson. It doesn’t fit the straw men we’re building here.

  • kirtking

    The black people who are shooting at people and blowing things up in Ferguson are not taking on the police state; they are attacking private individuals that had nothing to do with the shooting. Cliven Bundy was/is a criminal stealing public resources, and should be in prison himself.

    • Dave G.

      I’m not sure your observation fits the narrative.

    • m

      Some irrational people who are getting very very angry might destroy other people’s property in order to express their anger… I recall an incident when Ii was a young child: My mom witnessed a young teen boy who was hitting our landlord’s fence with a baseball bat. My mom asked him why he was doing it, and he replied that some other boy, who was nearby, had done something that made him very angry. So my mom replied: “Then why don’t you hit him instead of the fence?” That defused that situation, but it is an example of something that can happen when there is a lot of anger. And the more people, the more anger and probably the more irrationality… As far as your mention of “shooting at people”, I am not aware that any of the Ferguson demonstrator actually shot at police, only that one man pointed a gun at an officer, without shooting, and was justly arrested.

  • jeanvaljean24601

    You may not be old enough to recall Malcolm X. When He told blacks to acquire guns, the NRA went nutzi.

    • You may want to talk to this guy

      • jeanvaljean24601

        Malcolm’s idea was “community-based” militias. Not individualistic cowboys walking into Starbucks with AK-7s. The NRA of today is not the NRA of 50 years ago. Today it has become a parody of a paranoid-sounding shill for gun manufacturers. (And, have you noticed how the price of both firearms and ammo have more than doubled since the hysterical screaming began about how da gummint is going to “take away” everyone’s guns? It used to be a responsible organization advocating safety. I don’t think its members, especially life members like my brother, appreciate what Wayne LaPierre is doing.)

        Of course, being old enough to remember what actually happened means nothing when compared to the revisionist theory of history expounded (and pounded, and pounded) by the talking heads on TV.

        • I wouldn’t know much about TV, having disconnected for a decade now. I’ve met some open carry advocates. Their point is that open carry starts conversations and stops anti-gun hysteria. I think that they’re wrong but I am less sure of my arguments than I was five years ago.

          Are you unable to spell the and government, or are you just engaging in a social effort at othering to try to discredit an argument that you are not able or willing to face head on?

          Stop being a creep.

          • jeanvaljean24601

            My dear friend, your sentence, “Are you unable to spell the and government, or are you just engaging in a social effort at othering to try to discredit an argument that you are not able or willing to face head on?” made no sense. It is wise to review one’s words before hitting the “send” button (and I have been guilty of hurry myself at times.)
            Best wishes, The Creep.

            • Now that is some fine concern trolling.

              • jeanvaljean24601

                You have convinced me. You are not worth talking to. Good bye.

                • Benjamin2.0

                  To consider someone who refuses to submit to the indiscriminate drawing of party lines as unworthy of conversation is a strangely inverted concept. If this was motivated by a particular confusion, perhaps I can help. Mr. Lutas used the words ‘the’ and ‘government’ in the offending sentence in a way which might be well illustrated by placing apostrophes around them as I have here demonstrated. In context: “Are you unable to spell [‘]the[‘] and [‘]government[‘], or are you just engaging in a social effort at othering to try to discredit an argument that you are not able or willing to face head on?” He was calling out your use of ‘da gummint’, an attempt to color the NRA as a bunch of southern separatists, as an illegitimate means of dismissal: an ad hominem.

  • Jared B.

    So, if my sympathies lie with both Cliven Bundy *and* the Ferguson rioters, then I’m a gun-nut but at least a consistent gun-nut…?!?

    • chezami

      If the shoe fits…

  • Dave G.

    “the USA is no longer a nation in any meaningful sense of the word except for lines on a political map.”

    I saw this in an article about this whole thing, and can’t help but believe it’s the most accurate assessment of all the messes we’ve commented on over the last several months.

  • Angelus77

    Because it’s not at all possible that none of us know what happened that night, and it’s possible that while the boy was unarmed, the police officer felt his life was in jeopardy that night? I’m so tired of people jumping to conclusions on matters like these, or buying the media narrative. We don’t know. It’s not for us to determine, and I hardly think such a sad death warrants days of protest, looting, and the like. These police officers have families who miss them, and are constantly worrying. I’m sure many of those officers would much rather be home than dealing with this mess night after night.

    I also notice that all the police methods were not put into play until the night of looting, burning down a gas station, and a gun being pulled on an officer. Mr. Shea, I’ve enjoyed you, but as of late, your constant ranting is growing tiresome. You’re a good man, but this gets old. Especially the part where you can only see things from one perspective. I’m hoping you’ll lighten up soon. …

    • Joseph

      Exactly! And if you feel your life is in danger, shoot the boy 8 times just to make sure you’re safe! No need to try and incapacitate like the good ‘ol days. Kill ’em, then kill ’em again to make sure their dead… even better, kill ’em 8 times.
      Maybe the over-zealous cop thought that the boy was actually a cat. Maybe he thought that if he’d still have one life left. Yeah… that’s the ticket.

      • Angelus77

        Again, let’s get the facts before we determine what happened. Certainly if the police officer shot him more than necessary, he should be charged, but we DON’T know what happened. None of us were there, so we cannot determine for ourselves what occurred. Why is this so hard to grasp?

        • Joseph

          He shot the boy EIGHT times. EIGHT. Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Think about that. If someone broke into your home at night and you grabbed your trusty 9mm to protect your family, are you gonna shoot your weapon eight times at the intruder?

          • Angelus77

            Depends. There have been reports of adrenaline making a person who has been shot continue to aggress beyond the first few shots. So if someone continues to come toward me after being shot, yes I would continue until they leave me alone. People don’t always go down on the first shot like in the movies.

            Just saying. ..

            • Marthe Lépine

              So adrenaline would have made Brown turn around and run back towards the officer (that is, if he was fleeing by running away). And if he was retreating by slowly walking backwards, with his hands up, as I think I have read somewhere, Brown would suddenly change pace (after having been wounded) in order to begin to run towards the officer. This seems to me to be difficult to do quickly enough, even with adrenaline, to seem to be very threatening.

              • Angelus77

                But then, “I read somewhere” is hardly definitive evidence is it?

                There were also reports that the kid attacked him at his car, beat him, and tried to take the gun away.

                I revert back to what I said before. No one knows the full story, so all of this conjecture is going nowhere. We are all clueless until a full report comes out, and we have to wait and see!

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Attacking someone sitting in a car hardly qualifies for the death penalty… Surely there should have been a trial where a jury would decide if the death penalty was justified.

        • Joseph

          You sound like all of the apologists for the Muslim community which is doing nothing to stamp out their own KKK running rampant and free in their own backyards. ‘You just don’t understand’, ‘You just don’t have all of the facts’, ‘How do you know he’s not scared?’, ‘Don’t be such a meanie’. 8 times.

          • Angelus77

            I sound nothing like the sort. I just don’t see the need to become hysterical over a case when I do not possess the details. I’m sorry if my rationality is offensive to you, but both parties are innocent until proven guilty. Curious, do you have definitive proof that he was shot eight times or just hearsay? Are you the judge and jury?

  • Mike Blackadder

    First of all, Ann Coulter is right. Second, we don’t yet know what happened with Brown. Whether or not Brown was completely innocent and the officer is guilty of murder it is somewhat problematic that because Brown was black and the officer white that this blows up into an accusation of racism based on zero facts.

    Has everyone already forgotten about the Trayvon Martin incident and jumping to conclusions about supposed racist motivations?

    It’s very confusing for Democrats I know, who see this is some kind of contradiction to the narrative, but Republicans have this very strange notion of applying a different standard not based on people’s skin, but based on whether an individual is abiding the law and respecting other people’s rights. See we think that a responsible adult and law abiding citizen ought to be treated as such and be permitted to own and carry a gun when they have given no reason not to be trusted. And when individuals engage in vigilante behavior, or start setting buildings on fire, looting buildings we expect police will restore order even if that means that they need to disperse what may be peaceful protests in the midst of less peaceful protests.

    • jroberts548

      Cliven Bundy wasn’t obeying the law. That didn’t stop him from being a hero of the right. When he trespassed on federal land, Republicans expected the cops not to do anything, and threatened to shoot cops if they did.

      And if the cops have some justification for shooting Brown, they should release it.

      • Mike Blackadder

        I don’t really know anything about Cliven Bundy. I’m assuming that his conduct was something similar to the lawlessness discussed here. Did he kill someone?

        The Brown case is under investigation right? Since the police are not releasing certain information to the public does that mean we should assume it is because the cop is guilty of murder, or that he was negligent? Does that mean we should be pullings guns on cops, burning and looting buildings and reverting to lawlessness?

        By the way what Obama had to say concerning proper conduct of police and protestors seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Don’t you agree?

        • jroberts548

          Cliven Bundy has been trespassing on federal land for twenty years. When the government attempted to seize his cattle in support of a judgment against him, scores (or hundreds) of militiamen showed up at his ranch, threatening the BLM. He was championed by the conservative press and Republican politicians. You can’t tell me, with a straight face, that Republicans care more about whether someone is law abiding than whether they’re white. Anyone who supported Bundy’s militia and opposes the protestors is a racist, or at least is motivated by anything but the rule of law.

          If the cops had a justification, they would have said so by now. They haven’t. Even taking them at their word – there was a confrontation inside the car with someone (presumably not Brown, or they would have said Brown), and then the cop shot Brown who was unarmed and about 35 feet away – the cop committed some form of criminal homicide.

          You know who shouldn’t resort to lawlessness? The cop who murdered Brown. Also, the wannabe soldier cops who don’t know the difference between Call of Duty and police work. Forget the militarization of police – people with actual military experience think these cops look like they’re playing at being soldiers.

          Out of thousands of protestors, there were a few dozen looters Sunday night. How does that justify anything the cops did Monday through Wednesday night? Just compare what happened those nights – against the wannabe solder cops – to what’s happened tonight with state troopers who are more interested in talking to the protestors than intimidating them. But sure, Republicans just care about the rule of law and not race.

          • Mike Blackadder

            “You can’t tell me, with a straight face, that Republicans care more about whether someone is law abiding than whether they’re white. Anyone who supported Bundy’s militia and opposes the protestors is a racist, or at least is motivated by anything but the rule of law.”

            Roberts, Democrats have zero credibility calling Republicans racist. You are the party of slavery, of opposition to civil rights and of a perpetual mindset that cannot get over the color of people’s skin. Republicans have been your adversary on every one of these fronts.
            And since we are generalizing I’ll also point out what I see as a general issue with progressives, which is that they tend to do a poor job of applying good judgement. As a rule, doing what feels good and choosing policy based on what feels good maybe is a poor substitute for being rational (at least in the long term).

            So in this case progressives aren’t distinguishing between passionate protestors who are calling out authorities for allegedly murdering someone and ‘fake protestors’ who are turning vigilante and destroying property and turning to violence either for fun or because they abandon all notion of the validity of laws or because they don’t believe their personal conclusions or sense of justice should have to wait for an inquiry. This seems to be the position YOU advocate as well.

            It’s also bizarre and ironic from a rational point of view to make the argument that right wingers are racist or hypocritical even as left wingers declare unconditional support for the lawlessness of Ferguson protestors while vehemently opposing what THEY themselves describe as a similar situation with Cliven Bundy.

            Democrats seemed to be so lost in their misguided philosophies on race that they lost any ability to think straight when they approach issues involving both black and white people. This maybe explains why they are more comfortable under visions of society dominated by race-identify and segregation rather than adopt the ideologically messy vision of Martin Luther King and other Republicans that men are men and that law and personal judgment ought to be color blind if we are to actually seek truth and justice.

            • jroberts548

              I’m not a democrat. But cool story bro. In every presidential election, I’ve voted either green or libertarian. I voted for the democrat for governor once, but only because I really hated the incumbent Republican. I voted, in a different state, later, for the Republican for governor, but only because I really hated the quasi-incumbent Democrat. I don’t know why you’re accusing me of being a Democrat. That hurts.

              I’m not supporting the looters. The cops should arrest the people who looted stores on Sunday. They mostly did. I don’t see how looting on Sunday justifies the violence used by cops Monday through Wednesday.

              If the Ferguson protestors were championing the right of people to trespass on federal land for personal profit, I would not be on their side. If Ferguson protestors were armed, I would not be on their side. The Ferguson protestor who pointed a gun at the cops, and got shot for it? I’m not on his side. I’m not criticizing the cops for that, assuming what they said is true. If the Ferguson protestors formed an armed militia and tried to take over government land after losing at court, I would not be on their side.

              But the vast crowds of hundreds of unarmed protestors, with their hands up, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot”? I’m on their side. And when the cops shoot tear gas and rubber bullets at them, I’m still on the protestors side.

              If you look at the peaceful protestors, and you look at the Bundy militia, there are only two things that separate them. The Bundy militia is armed, whereas the Ferguson protestors are unarmed. The Bundy militia is also white. So when people who cheered for Bundy – despite Bundy’s manifest lawlessness – criticize the peaceful, law-abiding protestors of Ferguson, there’s only two reasons that could explain the difference. Do you think the critics of the Ferguson protestors would be quiet if the Ferguson protestors formed an armed militia? So guess what the reason is.

              Of course, not all Republicans are racists. Just the ones that were on Bundy’s side when he formed a lawless armed militia, and on the Ferguson cops’ side when they shot tear gas at peaceful protestors.

              • Mike Blackadder

                Sorry Roberts, but your narrative doesn’t add up. You might not be a Democrat, but you seem to reason like one.

                On the one hand you acknowledge that looters and vigilantes and those turning to violence against local police ought to be reprimanded which is only to say that you agree with the position of some Republicans who are also looking at this conflict from the side of authorities trying to restore order to the situation.

                On the other hand you then claim that you can think of NO reason why Republicans would be speaking out in defense of the police except that they are RACIST.

                You sum up by saying: “Of course, not all Republicans are racists. Just the ones that were on Bundy’s side when he formed a lawless armed militia, and on the Ferguson cops’ side when they shot tear gas at peaceful protestors.”

                Again, very like the imprecise reasoning I attribute to many ‘progressive’ thinkers. Which Republicans have ever said that they are on the side of Ferguson cops shooting tear gas at ‘peaceful protestors’?

                You also said ‘If you look at the peaceful protestors, and you look at the Bundy militia, there are only two things that separate them. The Bundy militia is armed, whereas the Ferguson protestors are unarmed. The Bundy militia is also white.”

                Once again, you try to prove your point with an unfounded assertion rather than an argument. You have omitted to mention the OTHER difference which is that amidst the Ferguson protests there is looting and arson and disorder which is ALSO disruptive to people who live and work in Ferguson who are not protesting. If you acknowledge, like President Obama, that some ‘protestors’ have contributed to the deterioration of the situation by deviating from the standards of a lawful protest, then doesn’t that serve as a perfectly good explanation for supporting the mandate of restoring order in Ferguson that doesn’t require assuming someone is racist?

                Isn’t it also possible that people who declare support for Ferguson cops over protestors might do so based on an incomplete version of the story? Why do you immediately jump to the conclusion that they are racist?

                If Bundy’s militia went and burned down a neighboring town in an act of vandalism in protest of government interference are you saying that you think Republicans would be supportive of Bundy and his militia because they are white? Is that really what you think?

                • jroberts548

                  You don’t have to shoot teargas at peaceful protestors in order to restore order. In fact, what the cops did was the exact opposite of what was needed to restore order. Arresting violent protestors restores order. Teargas doesn’t.

                  Republicans supported trespassing on federal land. They supported stealing grass, which he used to feed a million dollars worth of cattle. If you supported Bundy, you supported white guys with guns stealing. What makes it wrong for Black people to loot, but okay for white people to trespass and steal?

                  I suppose incomplete information could explain it. There might be some reason the Ferguson critics would generalize from the looters to the protestors. On the one hand, there were a few dozen looters, and they were all going into and out of stores. On the other hand, there were hundreds of peaceful protestors with their hands up chanting. What characteristic did the protestors have in common with the looters?

                  When it came to Bundy, there were people with all sorts of insane theories about how the 10th amendment, article IV, and the Nevada constitution somehow meant that Bundy wasn’t breaking the law. They did their research. It was wrong and insane, but they did their research. Why are the people who put so much thought into how the Bundy militia is okay suddenly incapable of finding out information about the looters? Why would someone generate insane theories in defense of Bundy, yet just immediately assume that all the protestors getting teargassed are looters?

                  The whole entire point of the Bundy protest was law-breaking. It was to prevent the BLM from seizing what was then the BLM’s cattle. At no point in the process was the Bundy militia not breaking the law. The BLM lawfully had the right to seize the cattle. The Bundy militia unlawfully threatened to shoot the BLM for doing just that. Law-breaking wasn’t mixed in with with Bundy militia. it was the whole thing.

                  If you measure protests based on whether they’re law-abiding, the Bundy protest fails, completely, while the vast majority of the Ferguson protest doesn’t. So either the pro-Bundy-anti-Ferguson commentators hate the law, or they have some other thing that separates the Ferguson protestors from the Bundy militia.

                  Again, there could be non-racist Republicans, somewhere. Rand Paul, whom I will almost certainly vote for in 2016, isn’t racist. He condemned the over-militarization of police, and has been one of the few Republicans with a sane attitude towards law enforcement. But if you cheer for a white militia whose sole purpose is law-breaking, while assuming that hundreds of peaceful protestors deserve teargas because of a few dozen looters, you’re probably a racist.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    Roberts, I have never advocated that it’s OK for police to be firing rubber bullets or tear gassing peaceful protestors. Who has?

                    From what I’ve read of the situation in Ferguson I think that you are understating the level of disruption accompanying the demonstrations.

                    I read more about this Cliven Bundy character and what actually transpired. I can definitely see where you are coming from comparing one situation to the other. In fact I think that what Bundy has done, the extent of his lawlessness, etc is much worse than what has been going on in Ferguson. It sounds like him and his militia has done far worse in the area of assaulting and intimidating officers, and basically taking the authority of the law upon himself.

                    There might be more to the situation, but it seems to me that it’s reasonable for Bundy to also have to pay to maintain a permit to use the land. There may be interesting legal questions about whether BLM are justified in claiming management costs for the land, but it definitely doesn’t make sense that Bundy, who certainly doesn’t own the land, should adopt exclusive access to the land for his own purposes.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    “If you measure protests based on whether they’re law-abiding, the Bundy protest fails, completely, while the vast majority of the Ferguson protest doesn’t. So either the pro-Bundy-anti-Ferguson commentators hate the law, or they have some other thing that separates the Ferguson protestors from the Bundy militia.”

                    Yes that is also my conclusion. Not that the standard is always about complete obedience to the law. Sometimes laws are unfair and unjust and you make a conscientious decision to not comply and face the consequences, and when you aren’t compromising other people’s liberty or hurting them in the process that CAN be a righteous thing to do. I just don’t see how that’s the case with Bundy even if some people do. It’s not inherently unjust (even from a Libertarian point of view) to expect that you’d have to pay SOME compensation to use land that you don’t own when it isn’t available to everyone.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    “When it came to Bundy, there were people with all sorts of insane theories about how the 10th amendment, article IV, and the Nevada constitution somehow meant that Bundy wasn’t breaking the law. They did their research. It was wrong and insane, but they did their research. Why are the people who put so much thought into how the Bundy militia is okay suddenly incapable of finding out information about the looters? Why would someone generate insane theories in defense of Bundy, yet just immediately assume that all the protestors getting teargassed are looters?”

                    Haha, I like that. I’m thinking quite honestly that those who see the law in this particular light are not necessarily the same people who immediately jump to the defense of law enforcement in Ferguson. Just as some Democrats are strong defenders of free speech, while others advocate censorship, it isn’t that Democrats are hypocrites as much as it is diversity of opinion amongst Democrats.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    By the way Roberts, the following discussion on Fox seems to do a reasonable job of addressing the situation in Ferguson. Does this appear to be a racist take?


              • TexTopCat

                Sorry, but the pictures of the the “protestors” breaking the windows in stores and using gas bombs is not “unarmed” in my book. A brick is a deadly weapon. Also, careful viewing shows than more than one of these individuals had guns in their waist bands.
                When you are in a group of looters, it is not reasonable to believe that you are not guilty also.

                • jroberts548

                  And if the cops start using tear gas on people breaking store windows, I’ll support that. Thus far, admittedly with limited access to information, I’ve seen lots of videos of cops using tear gas on journalists and peaceful protestors, and videos of protestors protecting stores from looters, but none of cops doing anything to looters.

                  • TexTopCat

                    People breaking store windows, need more “force” than tear gas.
                    As far as using tear gas on journalist and peaceful protestors, is not desired, however, how can anyone separate the good guys from the bad guys when they are all mixed in together? If you are in a group and some of the group are committing felonies, then you need to either leave the group or get blamed for their felonies.

                    • jroberts548

                      Have you seen the pictures and video of looting and of cops shooting tear gas at protestors? If the cops can’t tell the difference between, e.g., a camera crew and tv truck, and a bunch of people breaking into a store, the cops need to open their eyes.

                      For instance, these guys: Clearly not looting anything.

                      These guys are also clearly not looting:

                      It’s pretty easy. People busting into stores and taking stuff are looters. People standing in the street chanting are protestors. They don’t really have anything in common, and should be easy to tell apart.

                      Is there some characteristic common to the protestors and looters that makes them hard to tell apart? I don’t see it.

                    • TexTopCat

                      Well, not sure what your video shows or does not show.
                      My question is that if these protestors were interested in a non-violent protest, why were they out doing this after dark and not in the day light with signs and not distributing other people in the area?

                    • jroberts548

                      Are you speaking some weird dialect of english where “non-violent” and “after dark” are words that have any conceptual relationship? I don’t see how the earth’s rotation changes non-violent behavior into violent.

                      But the main point is that they’re not looting anything. They’re clearly not looting anything.

                    • TexTopCat

                      Some of them are not looting. I agree.
                      If your goal was to get your story out, why would you want to hide your actions by doing your protest at night?
                      And there are plenty of pictures of brick, bombs and looting also in the mix from other sources. Police also have been shot at during the protests.
                      Not sure about the laws in MO, but some things are minor infractions in the daylight but grounds for using deadly force if at night in TX.

                    • jroberts548

                      No one in the videos was looting. Every video I’ve been able to find of cops using tear gas was against peaceful protestors.

                      You’re going to have to be more specific about Texas law letting you kill people over minor infractions committed at night.

                    • TexTopCat
                    • jroberts548

                      Right. The police are ignoring looters, and attacking peaceful protestors. That’s what I’ve been saying.

                    • TexTopCat

                      Ignoring looters – yes
                      “attacking peaceful protestors” – no evidence of such and does not make sense. Why would a police officer ignore a serious crime to focus on a minor crime?
                      And I still think that there is a question of “peaceful protestors” doing their protest in the middle of the night and under cover of darkness. It seems that the authorities have been very open in allowing all sides to have their say in non-confrontational venues.
                      As it seems at this point, Brown was fleeing from committing a violent crime.

                    • jroberts548

                      Most of the country does not live in the lawless wasteland that is Texas. Just because something happens at night doesn’t magically make it violent in most non-wasteland states.

                      Did the link not work? Did you see a different video than me? I saw a bunch of protestors protesting at night. I have no idea why reasonable, non-racist, non-fascist cops would focus on that and ignore looting. I also don’t know why they would murder someone and pretend they don’t even need to try to justify it.

                    • TexTopCat

                      MO violent crime rate for 2012 = 450.9 ( +0.8 from 2011) per 100,000, TX = 408 (unchanged from 2011)

                      So, MO is more of a criminal wasteland than TX by FBI numbers on violent crime.

                      “I also don’t know why they would murder someone and pretend they don’t even need to try to justify it. ” – first of all “murder” has not been proven and likely not the case, second no official statement should be expected until after all of the evidence is collected and analyzed.

                    • jroberts548

                      So when they shot a guy on Monday for pointing a gun at the cops, and immediately released that statement, they didn’t need time to collect and analyze all the evidence?

                      When cops have a justification, they give it. Unless the Ferguson cops just really love using their riot gear, they’d disclose any justification they have. Even when they almost have a justification, they rule it out (e.g., by stating that the stop was unrelated to the robbery). Any other PD in the country would have said why they shot him.

                    • TexTopCat

                      He grabbed for the police officers gun and then attempted to flee. It seems that was out rather quickly. Why do you think there needs to be more justification.

                    • jroberts548

                      Since you seem to think you know, could you tell me what the legal standard is for when a cop’s use of lethal force is justified? And how does the cops’ version of what happened meet that standard?

                      ETA: I’ll answer for you. I already gave you the answer in a different thread on the same topic:
                      “Self-defense or defense of third parties requires that the party asserting it has a reasonable or good-faith belief (depending on the state) that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the imminent application of deadly force against the defendant. Brown was unarmed and 35 feet away. Brown didn’t pose any sort of threat to the cop. Defense of others applies the same test, but the cop would stand in the shoes of the person they’re defending. Nothing suggests Mike Brown posed an imminent threat to anyone.

                      That leaves using the privilege of using lethal force against a fleeing suspect who has a committed a serious violent felony, and who poses a danger to the officer or to the community, and who isn’t apparently unarmed and nondangerous. The shooting is treated as a seizure under the 4th amendment. Not even burglary is sufficient to automatically justify killing the fleeing person. Let’s be super generous to the cop, and say that the crime at issue is whatever happened between the cop and Brown when the cop stopped Brown, and not the jay-walking that was the grounds for the stop. The cop still loses because Brown was apparently unarmed and nondangerous, and due to being unarmed and 35 feet away, didn’t pose a threat to the cops.”

                      So, the answer is that the cop’s version isn’t a justification. It’s not even a good attempt. We need a serious violent felony, a showing that he’s a threat to the officer or others, and evidence that Brown was not unarmed and nondangerous.

                    • TexTopCat

                      He could be considered armed because of over whelming force and fact he was not alone. Secondly, the officer did not know if he was armed or not until after he was down and searched. Since we do not know the detail of the struggle and words exchanged, it is possible that he was in fact he had one of the weapons from the police car. In any event what possible good can come by accusing the police officer before any of the facts are known? There will be a review by internal affairs and that will tell a lot more of the story. If there is reason for a grand jury, there will be an indictment or no-bill. If there is a trial we will all know what the evidence is.

                    • jroberts548

                      1. Why don’t you apply the same standard to the looters? We don’t know all the evidence. If they were really looting, there’ll be an indictment or a no-bill, and we’ll get the evidence at trial. Maybe they were there to pick up a lay-away. What good do you accomplish by accusing the looters of breaking the law before all the evidence is in? Why not apply the same standard to Mike Brown. We don’t have all the facts. Maybe he’d already paid for the cigarillos. Maybe he was working undercover for the DEA.

                      2. “Not alone” isn’t the same as armed.

                      3. Cops don’t get to presume the person is armed. Cops don’t know if anyone is armed unless they see a gun. You don’t get to shoot first and search later.

                      4. The test isn’t “The cop didn’t know he was unarmed.” The test isn’t “Oh, but he had a buddy with him.” The test is, from a reasonable cop’s point of view, whether there was probable cause of a serious violent felony, the suspect posed a serious threat to officer or others, and the suspect was not unarmed and nondangerous. All the elements have to be met. Here, none of the elements are met.

                    • TexTopCat

                      1) I do apply the same standard. Read and saw the reports and actions of the looters. Saw the injuries of the store owners.
                      Shoot unarmed person, justified (this can lead to a claim of “disparity of force”)

                      Since the robbery included an assault on the clerk, he was dangerous by any measure.

                      3) The normal test is would a reasonable person think he was armed with the information known at the time.

                    • jroberts548

                      The cop didn’t know about the robbery. The stop was unrelated to the robbery. So the robbery is irrelevant. I don’t care if Mike Brown ate babies in his spare time. If the defendant (the cop) didn’t know about it, it’s not relevant. If, instead of merely robbing the store, Mike Brown had murdered everyone in the store with his bare hands, it would not matter unless the defendant knew about it.

                      Yes, it is possible to justify shooting an unarmed suspect, if the test for self-defense is met. Self-defense is a different test than the one for shooting a fleeing suspect. A defendant can use lethal force in self-defense if reasonably necessary to prevent the victim or plaintiff from imminently inflicting death or grievous bodily harm on the defendant, or on others. All accounts are that Brown was unarmed and some distance away from the cop when the cop shot him, which is the point of time that matters. Even if he posed a threat, he didn’t pose an imminent threat. Even if what the cop is saying is true, and Brown had lunged for Wilson’s gun, it still wouldn’t matter once Brown was unarmed and several feet away. The threat has to be imminent. An unarmed man 35 feet away isn’t an imminent threat. An unarmed man even 10 feet away probably isn’t an imminent threat.

                      Since self-defense isn’t an option, the cop would have to rely on the privilege to stop a fleeing suspect. You’d have to look at Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). Cops can’t use lethal force to stop an unarmed nondangerous suspect. Cops can use lethal force to stop a violent felon who poses a serious threat to the cop or to others. Brown was unarmed.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      I think that i read somewhere else yesterday somebody who was asking you about your “bar exams”. I assume then that you are going to be a lawyer some time soon. You sound like you would be a good defense lawyer…

                    • TexTopCat

                      “The cop didn’t know about the robbery.” – an assumption on your part, he could have admitted to it during the fight at the police car. Also, Brown may have been known to this police officer based on other violent actions in the neighborhood. The robbery and assault that Brown and his partner did that last day was most certainly not the first or would have been the last, if Brown had not been stopped.
                      Clearly, there is not enough know about Brown’s history and the exact events and logic used by the police officer. So, there is no point in attempting to paint the police officer in a bad light until more information is available.
                      And assuming that the “eye witness” reports have any merit with out cross examination is stupid.
                      If the police officer was not justified, I am all for heavy punishment for the officer, I just do not want him made a scape goat in this issue.
                      The people involved in the riots and looting are the real bad individuals in this whole story. They need to be STOPPED by what ever force necessary. It is about time that the National Guard is being used.
                      The real victims in the story are the business owners that have had their stores damaged and looted. No one seems to care about them.

                    • jroberts548

                      So, it’s wrong to assume anything bad about the cop, but it’s okay to assume that Brown was a career violent felon based on one robbery? But even if that’s the case, so what? It’s not relevant. It wouldn’t matter if Brown was simultaneous a mafia and yakuza kingpin. The test isn’t whether Brown has committed a lot of robberies. There’s no amount of robberies you can commit that makes it legal for the cops to shoot you. Brown could have committed infinite robberies, and the cop would still only be justified if he met the elements for self-defense or apprehension of a dangerous fleeing felon.

                      The Ferguson Police Department said that the robbery was unrelated to the stop. Why in the world would they lie to make themselves look worse? Who does that? What possible reason could the Ferguson PD have for saying the robbery was unrelated to the stop, unless it was true? For instance, if dispatch had incorrectly reported that Brown was armed and dangerous, and the cop tried to stop him for the robbery, and Brown fled, the cop would probably be justified. But the PD said that the stop was for jaywalking. Unless the Ferguson just really love using their riot gear, there’s no reason to say the stop was unrelated to the robbery.

                      I’m not assuming the eye witness reports have any merit. Going solely on what is undisputed – shot multiple times, unarmed, at some distance, no evidence that he was an imminent threat, no evidence that he was a dangerous fleeing felon – it’s murder.

                    • TexTopCat

                      Ferguson PD is not making statements, the political people in charge are making statements. The officer has a spotless record and Brown had just robbed a store and assaulted the clerk. So, I stand by my initial statement, namely, no blame can be put on the police officer until all of the evidence is known.
                      The idea you would assume a thief and thug should be believed over a respected police officer is absurd.

                    • jroberts548


                      From about 6:15 to 7:00, in the video, the Ferguson chief of police is asked if the robbery was related to the stop. He says it was not. I don’t know why you assume a respected police officer is lying.

                      But even if it was, the cops still have to meet the test for either self-defense or dangerous fleeing felon.

                    • Angelus77

                      Okay, you want a good reason? See this article:
                      If he really charged and kept coming, that would be reason enough. Tragic, but justified. That was a big guy, even unarmed, if he was charging, there is risk of harm.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      AS I see it (from my Canadian perspective), the use of lethal force does not necessarily mean trying to kill the criminal. It might also mean that it is acceptable to use a “possibly lethal” weapon to shoot the criminal in the legs. This tactic even seems to have been used recently during gang-related shootings in our area (there has been several this summer); it seems that those criminals came to realize that a conviction for simply crippling their adversaries might be lighter than for murder…

                    • TexTopCat

                      The rule that I have always heard is you never shoot to kill, you shoot to STOP the threat and you do than by aiming at “center of mass” (giving you the biggest target). You continue shooting until the threat is over. The mortality of the criminal is not part of the discussion until the threat is over.
                      This rule reduces the chance of innocent bystanders being hurt.

                    • TexTopCat

                      Note: ” theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief
                      during the nighttime” portion. Neither of these rise to the level to allow use of deadly force during daylight.

                      Part of TX law:

                      A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

                      (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and

                      (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

                      to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery,
                      aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief
                      during the nighttime; or

                      (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
                      immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or
                      theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

                      (3) he reasonably believes that:

                      (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

                      the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land
                      or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of
                      death or serious bodily injury. – See more at:

            • Ken

              Sorry to burst your construction of Republicans as the great defenders Civil Rights. Southern Republicans blocked all major attempts to any Civil Rights legislation for decades. It was only after JFK’s death that a group of Republicans and Democrats got together to pass the Civil Rights Bill. It was actually a great moment of people coming from both sides of the aisle to get this accomplished. I know Sean Hanity and others likes to take total credit for passing that bill but it’s inaccurate.

              Why do you think blacks in the South has been voting for the Democratic Party for so long? It’s because the Southern Republicans were so nasty for so long.

              • Mike Blackadder

                Sorry Ken, in what way am I misrepresenting the history of Republicans/Democrats in working towards civil rights for blacks?

                Under the long history of a strong majority of Republicans (like Martin Luther King Jr.) fighting for civil rights of blacks against a strong majority of Democrats, which specific moment in history are you referring to that I’m ignoring?

                Democrats also converting to the cause of civil rights was necessary for civil rights objectives to be more fully realized. It wasn’t until Democrats converted that there remained a strong overall majority supporting greater civil rights for blacks thereafter. Still, to pretend that Republicans are the party of ‘racism’ is to defy reality.

                • Ken

                  Sorry but MLK was not a Republican. He also wasn’t a Democrat. He refused to join either party but did back certain candidates from each party.

                  Any meaningful Civil Rights Legislation put before Congress prior to the Civil Rights Act was effectively blocked by Southern Republicans. This even included the anti-lynching law.

                  Once it became clear that the tone of the country was changing most Republicans joined in and even led getting the bill passed. Not all, Barry Goldwater famously vote against it despite Republicans begging him not to and really cost him in the presidential election.

                  Actually, once it became clear this was going to pass a lot of Southern Democrats and some Northern Democrats showed reservations towards it. So perhaps they were hiding behind the stiff resistance they knew the Southern Republicans would show in earlier attempts to pass this legislation.

                  This new narrative that Republicans were the champions of Civil Rights and the Democrats were against it is just inaccurate. There were people on both sides fighting for and against it. The reason nothing passed was partly because neither party could get everyone behind it. We, as a Republican myself, need to face the facts of what really happened so we can move forward and appeal to Blacks and get them in our party rather than create a history that didn’t happen. It’s insulting to blacks, since many were alive to see this happen, and it’s immature to create a false history to make us feel better about ourselves.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    Dude, it’s not a controversial point to demonstrate that a significantly larger proportion of Republicans supported every instance of civil rights legislation (including legislation passed by Johnson) than their Democrat counterparts. This isn’t some fanciful Republican talking point.

                    When you’re talking about Southern Republicans you’re talking about the minority party in the South who were acting no differently than the majority Democrats in the South. The early inroads made by Republicans in the South were actually through greater rights of blacks and the importing of civil rights advocates to the south. It wasn’t by becoming increasingly racist like the Democrats.

                    • Ken

                      I don’t think it does us any good to call people Democrats racist just like it doesn’t do anyone any good to say the same about Republicans. The reality is that both parties have made mistakes in the past and have harbored horrible members and have supported positive and negative legislation. George Wallace was a Democrat and Strom Thurman was a Republican, defecting from his party over the Civil Rights Act. History isn’t the study of the way we wanted things to happen it’s the study of what actually happened. We can’t move forward as a party by name calling. The Republicans have a credibility gap with blacks whether it’s entirely fair or not but the way to open the party to them isn’t by jamming selective history down their throats or by calling the people they currently support the worst of names. We have to rise above this kind of behavior it’s only driving more and more people away from the party. The reality is that future elections, due to population shifts, are going to be won by minority voters we have to get them on board.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    Technically you are right about Martin Luther King Jr. being neither a dedicated Republican or Democrat. That is understandable given WHO he was, his vocation and his message.
                    I would argue though that the Republican legacy better represents the message of King.

                    • Ken

                      I think MLK is one of our greatest citizens who bravely fought for freedom but he was way liberal when it came to economics. Before he died his plan was to have another march on Washington for the the poor. One of it’s biggest platforms was redistribution of wealth. A lot of his ideas of self determination are Republican but others were way far left of even the most ardent liberals. A lot of what he believed when it came to gov would not and did not go over well with Republicans.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Yes, I understand that. He doesn’t fit into one box in a general sense. I heard that he voted for JFK for example. I’m speaking specifically about the relative agreement on policy regarding civil rights.

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    When you say that Southern Republicans blocked the passage of the anti-lynching bill are you talking about

                    “Although the bill was quickly passed by a large majority in the House of Representatives, it was prevented from coming to a vote in 1922, in 1923 and once more in 1924 in the Senate, due to filibusters by the white Southern Democratic block. The Democrats exerted one-party rule into the 1960s throughout most of the South.”

                    Once again, this is legislation drafted by a Republican and endorsed by the Republican president at the time.

                    Where did you get the impression that it was Southern Republicans who prevented the passage of civil rights legislation? That is historical revisionism.

                    • Ken

                      The Republicans were the majority and could of overcome the Filibuster but didn’t.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      OK, good point. The Republicans didn’t overcome the Filibuster. That’s not the same thing as saying it was Southern Republicans who opposed Civil Rights (per se) and that’s why blacks went to the Democrat party.

                      In 1922 the Republicans had say 55 of the 96 seats. So yeah if 100% of the Republicans voted in favor of this legislation it would have passed. If 100% of Democrats vote against, and 20% of Republicans vote against then it doesn’t pass. The fact that 80% of Republicans voted in favor and 100% of Democrats voted against doesn’t alter your suggestion that it was Republicans who opposed civil rights?

                      The reality is surely not as extreme as what I suggest here. Civil rights and the plight of blacks wasn’t the defining policy of either party (which is why Southern Republicans were much like Southern Democrats in terms of voting on civil rights). But the general policies of the parties in terms of civil rights is reflected in the fact that there are so many more Democrats elected in the South at this point in time.

                    • Ken

                      Yes, agree. You’re right that Republicans did way more for Civil Rights then they get credit for and more then I realized when we started this discussion! So thanks for pointing out some of these things. I didn’t know a Republican introduced the Anti Lynching law. That was a surprise to me.

                      A good book about the Civil Rights Law is The Bill of the Century. It’s fairly balanced and shows that Republicans played a key role in getting it to pass. It does get caught up in some legislative mumbo jumbo that lost me at points but it shows what our country can do when we face up to a great injustice. Wish we, as a country, could face up to some of the pressing issues of today like they did but that’s for another day.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Thanks Ken. It was very informative me for too. I found this article that discusses the history of the Dyer’s Anti-Lynching legislation. You can see that the reality was a much more ‘luke-warm’ support from Republicans than what I suggested hypothetically above. It’s true that generally speaking it was Republicans who pushed for the legislation, but you could hardly say that they were committed to the cause in any way that would satisfy our more enlightened sensibilities on the matter.


              • Mike Blackadder

                Ken, take for example this writeup which describes the ‘Southern Strategy’ which is the moment when some Republican leadership actually seized on defection of Southern segregationists to gain votes in the south.


                Even THAT, which is pretty much the acknowledged ‘moment of sin’ of the Republican party is hardly fair to interpret as the mainstream adoption of racism. If you read through the writeup the example of Goldwater who took the non-mainstream position within the Republican party of opposing the 1964 civil rights legislation did so in opposition to ‘strong action by federal government’ at the expense of state rights; even though he had personally voted in favor of every civil rights legislation that had previously passed. In any case he was unsuccessful on that platform.

                “In some Republican circles, the election after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was termed, “The Great Betrayal”. Even though some Republicans paid a price with white voters — in some cases losing seats — black voters did not return to the Republican fold. Indeed, in some cases, notably the re-election of Senator Al Gore Sr., a majority of black voters cast their votes for a man who voted against the Civil Rights Act.”

                Another coincident event in the struggle for civil rights of blacks was the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Accompanying his death there is a change in the civil rights movement itself; the ‘black power’ movement which stepped up the reaction in terms of civil disobedience. It’s not that this evolution of the movement is inherently wrong or despicable, or even that it was unnecessary, but it is relevant that the emergence of the militant black panthers of the rejection of King’s peaceful opposition and the ensuing escalation (rather than de-escalation) of racial tension added a new dimension to the debate.

                Even today you might say that the Democrats ENJOY the usefulness of the black Demographic for their own ends, while doing very little in their platform to promote ‘equal treatment under the law’ regarding race. On the contrary what they ‘do for’ blacks is support affirmative action, abortion (which is overrepresented within the black communities), and from a cultural point of view, even oppose a vision of greater integration of black and white communities (ie. and mainstream black leaders within the movement have also become segregationists, and so find their place within the narrative of the Democrats, even 50 years ago).

                My view is that the Republican support for equal rights and civil rights have not changed in such a way as to diverge from their history as champions of civil rights, but rather the civil rights movement has itself changed, and in some areas regressed to a mentality of segregation, of pitting blacks against whites and calling into question the standard of a legal system that is ‘blind’ to the color of a man’s (or woman’s) skin.

                • Ken

                  There was a strong pull of militant blacks while MLK was alive but I agree that a lot of the movement has become corrupt. Marion Barry was a hero in the Civil Rights movement but has become horrible. Pray he redeems himself.

                  Goldwater’s failure to vote for the Civil Rights Bill has always been strange to me since he voted for other Civil Rights Bills and was responsible for a lot of headway with Civil Rights in his own State. I get what he was saying about State’s rights but it was going to pass anyway. He fell on his sword.

          • TexTopCat

            You are certainly making a lot of unfounded assumptions. Just as people claimed Trayvon Martin was the victim, until the evidence showed exactly the opposite.

            • jroberts548

              In another thread, I walked through why I’m about 99% confident that the cop murdered Brown.

              Based solely on what’s not in dispute, it looks like murder. There was a confrontation at the car, and then the cop shot an unarmed person multiple times while the person was retreating from the car.

              The cop shot multiple times. That suggests intent, rather than negligence, criminal negligence, or recklessness (if a cop recklessly, rather than intentionally, shot someone multiple times, then Ferguson PD has some fundamental training problems). Likewise, it suggests intent to kill – this guy had been a cop for some period of time, and presumably knew how guns work. You don’t shoot someone more than twice (in a controlled double) without intending to kill them. There might be some justification to defeat that, like if he could show he thought he was grabbing his taser like the BART cop in Oakland. But as it wasn’t his taser, he would have realized his mistake quickly.

              Murder is the unjustified killing of another with malice aforethought. “Malice aforethought” is just a needlessly old-fashioned way of describing the various mental states necessary for murder – premeditated and deliberate, intent to kill (but somehow not premeditated or deliberate), depraved heart, or felony murder. So the cop had intent to kill, he shot Brown, Brown died, and Brown’s death was a result of the cop’s actions. So the question then turns as to whether the cop has any justifications or defenses.

              Self-defense or defense of third parties requires that the party asserting it has a reasonable or good-faith belief (depending on the state) that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the imminent application of deadly force against the defendant. Brown was unarmed and 35 feet away. Brown didn’t pose any sort of threat to the cop. Defense of others applies the same test, but the cop would stand in the shoes of the person they’re defending. Nothing suggests Mike Brown posed an imminent threat to anyone.

              That leaves using the privilege of using lethal force against a fleeing suspect who has a committed a serious violent felony, and who poses a danger to the officer or to the community, and who isn’t apparently unarmed and nondangerous. The shooting is treated as a seizure under the 4th amendment. Not even burglary is sufficient to automatically justify killing the fleeing person. Let’s be super generous to the cop, and say that the crime at issue is whatever happened between the cop and Brown when the cop stopped Brown, and not the jay-walking that was the grounds for the stop. The cop still loses because Brown was apparently unarmed and nondangerous, and due to being unarmed and 35 feet away, didn’t pose a threat to the cops.

              Might other facts exist that provide a justification? Maybe, but probably not. If there were, the Ferguson PD would have said so. They did on Monday or Tuesday when they shot and killed a guy at the protest who pointed a gun at the cops. Immediately, they come out and say that someone pointed a gun at the cops, and they shot him. I don’t even know that guy’s name, because no one is protesting a perfectly lawful act of self-defense. When Ferguson cops have a justification, they disclose it. They haven’t here.

              Even after releasing the police report about the robbery, they still haven’t. The test isn’t whether the deceased committed a crime earlier in the day. It’s whether the cop has probable cause to think the suspect committed a serious violent felony, poses a threat to the officer or others, and isn’t unarmed and nondangerous. There’s still no evidence of a serious violent felony, posing a threat to anyone, or being armed and dangerous. The PD hasn’t even said that Wilson stopped Brown because of the robbery. The more the PD does and says without releasing evidence that would justify shooting Brown, the more convinced I am that it was murder.

              On the other hand, maybe the cops are literally mentally disabled, and are sitting on information that shows the cop was justified. I cannot imagine any reason a minimally intelligent person wouldn’t share that information.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Question: You said that Brown was “retreating”, and a little further that he was “fleeing”. Was Brown “retreating” by running or walking backwards? In that case it would have taken him some time before getting 35 feet away, and it is hard to explain why the cop would have waited all this time to shoot if he felt in danger. And most of the time, as far as I know, “fleeing” is done by running away in the opposite direction. In that case, the cop shot at Brown’s back, which would not require a full autopsy to determine (I learned from reading a lot of murder mystery stories that the exit wound should be larger than the entry wound, but I may be wrong), and would be very hard to justify at all.

                • jroberts548

                  It should be relatively simple for the M.E. to determine whether he was shot facing forward or away, and at what trajectory. Exit wound size depends on what type of bullet the cops use. A solid bullet would make an exit wound only slightly larger than the entry wound, but a jacketed or hollow bullet would expand more. As far as I know, law enforcement typically use hollow bullets, because they have more stopping power and are less likely to over-penetrate and hit someone else. (However, Ferguson cops also don’t believe in dash cams or doing anything that makes any sense. At this point, I would be only slightly surprised if they used a caliber completely unsuitable for law enforcement, like a .22 lr).

                  It is weird that they haven’t released the autopsy report, which would contain information like how many times he was shot, from what angle, etc.

                • Guest

                  The gruesome pictures that are shown of Michael Brown lying dead in the street show him face down, with a stream of blood flowing from his head or out from under his chest. There do not appear to be blood stains on his back (he was wearing a white shirt) so from that minimal info it seems he was shot from the front. Now that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t shot at from behind (and the shots missed) and then he possibly turned around (with hands up as some witnesses have said), and then was shot. I’m basing this on pictures and witness accounts.

                  • Guest

                    If there’s an entrance wound on the back, it would be smaller than an exit wound on the front if the bullet went all the way through, but I would think (although I’m not an expert) that an entrance wound(s) would still bleed or be otherwise visible. Based on the pictures, it looks like there’s copious bleeding from just the front or head.

      • Cliven Bundy could simply have had a lien applied to his cattle by the feds and whenever he sold them, the feds could have gotten their money without having to lift a finger and without a breath of violent confrontation risk. When a journalist went to BLM/Interior to ask them why they had rejected that solution, it turned out they had never even considered it as an option.

        The feds have created a bogus narrative that they are trying to protect the land when they are out of compliance with federal law and not fulfilling their own responsibilities to make sure that the land is not overburdened. They’re currently being sued by a number of much more mainstream figures in the state because of the negative effects of their poor management of a majority of the land in the state.

        BLM is supposed to sell wild horses to anyone who asks. They do not. Instead they restrict sale so that horses don’t go to slaughter and as a consequence, their lots are full and they have no room for all the horses they need to remove.

        There is a widespread western movement for retrocession of federal lands. An interesting laying out of the issues in the case of Nevada is here:

        Bundy’s a bit of a loon in how he’s proceeded with this point that it’s not really federal land but he’s a stubborn cuss that survived when all his neighbors and friends got pushed out of ranching by the feds. Surely, you’ve noticed that sometimes groundbreaking decisions are rendered in favor of less than reputable parties.

        • jroberts548

          1. The BLM had a lien. That’s what happens when you win a lawsuit and the judgment-debtor doesn’t comply voluntarily. You go back to the court and ask for a judgment lien, and the court gives you a lien (there might be some weird procedural kinks because the BLM is an admin agency, but that’s the basic framework). So what the BLM had was a lien. I don’t know how getting a lien instead of a lien would help.

          Why would bundy sell the cattle for anything other than cash while under a lien? He’s already refusing to pay what he owes, and willing to threaten to shoot anyone who seizes his property. He’s not likely to sell $2M worth of cattle and then put that money in a bank where he can’t shoot people who try to take it.

          2. But let’s suppose you’re right, and the BLM was obligated to sit on their lien till they could enforce it without risk of violence, instead of relying on marshals or sheriffs to do one of the two things they exist to do. Why not apply the same standard to the ferguson cops? Instead of shooting mike brown, they could have done literally anything else, and it would have been less violent.

          • You’re relying on normal procedure from an administrative body that openly admits that it does not always comply with the law. You assume that the BLM followed normal procedure. That isn’t a safe bet here. There’s decades of experience saying that they don’t on a regular basis.

            I am dubious that cattle is a business that does $2M cash deals. Can you document that?

            As for the Ferguson cops, I think you haven’t read my comments on the subject. My position is that retreading the 1950s is not effective and much of what the protestors have done is downright counterproductive. If the cop murdered, I want him out of a uniform and into prison orange for a long time. If this is a pattern, the people of Ferguson can very simply fire all the police. It’s called disincorporation and reincorporation. Start with a clean slate is my recommendation. If the protestors are telling the truth, they have the numbers to do this and do not need to consult the local powers that be for permission. They just file a petition with the state (or in this case two petitions).

            Looting is completely unnecessary to get the job done. It’s counterproductive.

            • jroberts548

              I agree that retreading the 1950s is counterproductive. I don’t know why all those white cops showed up on Monday through Wednesday with dogs and tear gas, if they weren’t trying to retread the 1950s. At least they managed not to use firehoses.

              • I see what you did there. It doesn’t work though. The 1950s cops didn’t have the body armor and the MRAPs so the match is imperfect.

                The residents of Ferguson have the ability to fix the law enforcement culture. They have the right to vote and the numbers to put in the reforms they like. They can even tear the whole municipality up by its roots, get everyone fired, and start from scratch.

                They have the power. So why are they so stuck in the past? The narrative is that there’s a systemic problem with the police there. So go fix it at the ballot box.

          • TexTopCat

            Bundy was not robbing stores and assaulting clerks. Apparently Brown was a serious threat to innocent citizens, at least that will be the claim of the officer, probably a court will make the final decision.

            • Marthe Lépine

              But he was occupying land that was not his, which is similar to robbing, and the cattle (worth about 1 million $) had been declared to no longer be his because of his illegal occupying of the land, so fighting to prevent the cattle to be taken away seems to me at least to be some form of attempted robbery.

              • TexTopCat

                He also had an agreement prior to the feds claiming the land that it was open range and would remain so forever.
                The legal details are not as simple as you claim, in any event the cattle belonged to him and the improvements on the land belonged to him. The BLM can not “declare” anything and can not legally enforce a court order, so in any event the BLM was out of line. Also, you seem to forget about the dozens of cases pending against the BLM for the mismanagement of the land in the area. The solution to this scandal will not be found until the next administration and the massive change in leadership of the BLM.

      • chezami

        Bundy was absolutely lionized by right wing media as a patriot hero. Hannity made him his special pet and called him his “good friend”. Right up until he came out with a video full of crazy rantings about “The Negro”. A marvelous moment in Hannity’s career.

        • Sparafucile

          Let’s see….who was it who was referring to “a typical white person”? Might you recall?

      • Ken

        In the end this is all nutso super right wing nonsense. The real message is a very disordered view of the gov. The message I get from this is that 1) the gov/police can’t protect you so you have to arm yourself and take law enforcement into your own hands. 2) A bizarre fantasy land where the citizens rise up and go to war with the gov. Hello, the gov has airplanes and tanks. They could drop a drone strike on the Bundy ranch and evaporate all these people. Fortunately, most sane people see this as nonsense but there are people who actually think these are valid and good ideas!!! Please someone save us from the super far right.

        • TexTopCat

          “They could drop a drone strike on the Bundy ranch and evaporate all these people.” – correct. However, the person or persons that gave that order would be in jail or worse immediately after such an order, even if it came from the president himself. We are still a country of law. Should that law ever break down, then expect a new civil war (and a bloody one).

      • Ken

        You think they should release the officer’s name? I’m not sure about that. Couldn’t he be in danger?

    • Marthe Lépine

      I, too, agree with some of what Ann Coulter said in that particular case, although not with all she said. She did make some sense, at least to a foreigner like myself.

  • Carlos

    The conflation of this whole post being that anyone who believes in the right to own guns is also an advocate of killing people. It’s sort of like saying that any country that wishes to have a standing army is also in favor of war.

    • jeanvaljean24601

      Of course any country which has a standing army IS in favor of war!
      The question is whether they are in favor of a defensive war, or a belligerent war.

      • TexTopCat

        As a gun owner, I own guns not for wanting to kill but for wanting to not have to kill. I think most gun owners feel being prepared is the best way to prevent having to kill. In fact, every tactical class that I know of has much time spent on exactly how to avoid using force.

  • The NRA, so far as I know, has been silent on the events in Ferguson. Unless you are a mind reader, you don’t know what’s going on in their heads. I don’t know either. I just pay attention without frothing at the mouth.

    It’s not like these are people who are shy of the limelight. They have very old and very deep ties into law enforcement and the likelihood is that they’re better informed than both me and you. And with all those ties, all that history, they haven’t said a word in support of the police. You have an interpretation of that silence. It’s not the only one possible. In fact, it is probably the least charitable interpretation possible.

    What we know right now kind of smells on the one hand. The audio tape of the regional dispatch has come out. The police on scene neither reported the shooting to dispatch nor to their own HQ. This is remarkable, and not in a good way. It’s the sort of screw up that is consistent with panic. So why did it happen? That’s something that we don’t know yet but it doesn’t look good for the law enforcement side at present. The investigation needs to get to the bottom of what happened and the evidence should lead to justice, no matter where the facts lead. If the police are guilty, I want convictions on the headline charge.

    On the other hand, the riots, besides hurting the community itself, have only assured that if there are to be trials over this, they will not be in Ferguson. A change of venue is almost guaranteed, sort of like moving the Rodney King officer trials to very police friendly Simi Valley. Good work, numbskulls.

    This post is the worst sort of racial arson I’ve ever seen you do. It’s shameful. The NRA has a long civil rights pedigree and in working to arm blacks against the KKK. Since you seem to be reacting to Gateway Pundit’s coverage alone, perhaps his article on the subject of arming blacks would shed some light on how distorted a message you are sending:

    You see, it’s possible for the dead, unarmed teen to also have been a gang member. It’s possible for this story to not be a morality tale but a messy street incident with more shades that we know at present. But the rioters want a morality tale and to hell with blind justice. You seem to agree. Shame on you if you do.

    • jeanvaljean24601

      Rather, shame on the entire internet commentariat — including you and me– for having the effrontery to think differently than the official verdict. (Whatever it is.)

      No one should ever remark on anything until “all” the facts are in. Of course, that means we must reserve judgment on the Fall of Rome, the Norman Conquest, and July 20, 1969.

      Shame, shame, shame, that no one else shares your
      opinions. Shame.

      • Benjamin2.0

        I share his opinions. It certainly is about waiting for all the facts to be in. As it stands, nearly none of them are. It’s also about shaming the race-baiting which escalated this stupidity to begin with. Shame on that. Shame, shame, shame. There are only stupid excuses for presuming racist motives in the absence of evidence.

        • Dave G.

          Let’s be honest. Racial tensions have been higher since Obama’s election. And I think there is more than one reason and one group responsible for that. Adding to the problem at this point is just adding to the problem.

          • Benjamin2.0

            If defined neutrally, racism would be considering race a relevant factor in a decision. If defined as having negative connotations, racism is using race as a deciding factor illegitimately. Regardless, opposition to illegitimate use of race in determination of guilt or innocence, as an iron-clad principle, is the only non- or anti-racist position. Therefore, determining the guilt of a particular officer, or an entire police department, solely as a function of racial disparity, is racism in precise terms, and is clearly illegitimate. The strange inverted symmetry of the Democratic Party’s racism through time (it’s the party of the KKK and Jim Crow, remember) is truly a sight to behold. The white racists may have fled to the Republican Party, but the Democrats are still the racist party in essence.

        • jeanvaljean24601

          Frankly, I regard the last 200 years of the history of the Republic as sufficient evidence. Those who are unaware of this history have not been paying attention. Shame, shame, shame. Ignorance is not an excuse, since it is culpable.

          • Dave G.

            Who in God’s earth could not be aware with it mentioned a hundred times a day? We are aware that progress has been made aren’t we? As much as we still have a way to go this isn’t Maycomb County in the 1930s.

            • jeanvaljean24601

              Some people seem to be willingly unaware of much which is happening in society. As a congenital gadfly, it is my Mission to remind them. (Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.)

              • Dave G.

                Ah. Well racism is certainly there. Old style and new. And of course exploiting and even agitating it.

                • jeanvaljean24601

                  Having seen both sides for a longish time…

                  in 1966, senior in H.S., I did a paper for English class on John Howard Griffin’s book, “Black Like Me”. One of my classmates, friends since first grade, said, “But– the Bible says blacks (he didn’t say “black”) are cursed.” When requested chapter and verse, he was unable to supply except a reference to Ham. I pointed out nowhere did it say Ham was Black, and that when Moses took an “Ethiopian” wife, his sister protested and was given leprosy (extreme whiteness) for her trouble. He remained unconvinced.

                  In 1968, in college, one of the street hustlers proclaimed he deserved favors due to “400 years of white guilt”. I politely informed him my G-g-great grandpappy came to the US from Germany (where he was a serf/peasant) and died at the battle of Shiloh, explicitly to free the slaves. I then informed the hustler he was welcome. (But, he never said thanks.)

                  Am I Sensitive on this issue? Yes.

                  • Dave G.

                    So am I, as I realize this mess of a nation that is rotting away is what we were supposed to hand over to our posterity. Which is why I’m mindful of ancient strains of racism as they still exist. But also of the newer brands of racism, racism for convenience. Which has begun to make me think that someone who was born and raised to be a racist may not be as bad as someone who declares racism the greatest of evil in one breath, and then either shamelessly exploits it, or even takes part in it when convenient. I call it the only thing worse than being consistently wrong is being conveniently right.

          • Benjamin2.0

            Am I guilty for the sins of my fathers? Why? Because I have the same skin color? This is a racist ideal. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an immigrant, so am I only half responsible? Then again, not many people in Missouri owned slaves. Should we normalize the collective guilt according to slave population and area? Should that area be broken down by state or county? City? Balderdash!

            Here’s my alternative. Banish all racist thoughts from your mind – even the ones you think are useful for fighting racism. Hold individuals responsible for their individual acts. Using racism to fight racism undermines itself. You can not do evil that good may come of it. The only way to curb a disordered appetite is to starve it. Grace can ease the withdrawals.

      • There is no official verdict. There is evidence that has become public. It’s perfectly fine to opine on the evidence released so far but drawing definitive conclusions before there is an official verdict.

        The information so far leads me to have deep suspicion of the police conduct but other evidence not learned yet might change my mind. That you want to shame me for a willingness to let the facts come in before I draw final conclusions is, itself, shameful.

        • jeanvaljean24601

          If you look up the line, I was initially satirizing the “Shame Game” tactics which began this sub-thread. If your skin is so thin, and your willingness to place conversations in context so weak, may I suggest, Grow Up!

    • Guest

      The NRA of old is not the same as its 1977 incarnation via the “Revolt at Cincinnati.” The NRA went from a sports shooting and gun safety organization to a political group for Second Amendment absolutism.

      Others are also wondering why the NRA is silent on this issue. See “The Guns of Ferguson: When Tyranny Really Comes into Town, the NRA Goes into Hiding” at

      And you’re linking to Jim Hoft aka “The Gateway Pundit,” whom Media Matters calls “uniquely incompetent?” That’s mild compared to how others describe him. In other words, he’s not a good source for helpful or reliable info.

      • I used Gateway Pundit because Mark Shea was using Gateway Pundit. Look at the links in the original story. How else are you going to debunk an attack on Gateway Pundit that he is misattributing to the NRA?

        This use of Gateway Pundit as a stand in for the NRA is part of why I’m calling Mark’s post frothing.

        As for the well regulated militia (the Guns of Ferguson link). Did the people of Ferguson call them? Are they entirely overrun and unable to put out a call? I think you know that the answer to both questions is no. I would be curious to read what you expect these people to be doing?

        • Guest

          Mark linked to a google search showing Gateway Pundit links about the NRA. The links provide a window into the thoughts of typical modern-day NRA supporters as reflected by Gateway Pundit, which is a popular conservative site (unfortunately).

          Why should the people of Ferguson have to call a well-regulated militia? They are supposed to be the well-regulated militia themselves against tyranny.

      • Sparafucile

        Did you stop to consider that in 1977 the NRA (finally) considered the Second Amendment to be under grave threat?

        It is the ‘sine qua non’ for all those sports shooting and gun safety resources the NRA advocated for a century.

    • Mike Blackadder

      It’s nice to see a rational response somewhere in these comments. Good for you.

  • Joseph

    Well, thanks Mark! I threw up a little in my mouth reading Ann Coulter and Sarah Silverman in the same paragraph. Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes taste good going down but not coming up.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’d noticed that little bit of cognitive dissonance, and made the same guess as to its cause. The alacrity of the heavy-handed police response should be of grave concern to all Americans, and it is an offense against right reason that it should be lauded.

    Yet another reason, when identifying my political disposition, that I must quickly emphasize that the conservative is a species distinct from, and not infrequently opposed to, the American right-wing ideologue.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Yes a heavy-handed police response should be of grave concern, and the story of this young man who was unarmed being shot without explanation should also be of grave concern. It is also of grave concern when masses of people are turning to setting fires, holding cops at gunpoint and threatening violence without due process under the law. We live in a country where people have a RIGHT to legally speak, they have a RIGHT to legally protest and they have EQUAL RIGHTS under the law. There is recourse in our legal system other than turning to violence, so how can we justify this violence?
      Certainly it is not only right-wing ideologues (whatever that means) who recognize this.

      • ivan_the_mad

        You’re arguing with yourself, not with a position I’ve taken.

  • transvaluation

    Wow, Just Wow.

    How people can write such non-fact based drivel is astonishing.

    To compare two completely different events and somehow link them based on race is perpetuating and fostering the divisions in America. Protecting the peoples land rights vs potentially a bad shooting by law enforcement of an underage child are not remotely related.

    There are little to no facts in the shooting known yet, why would ANY organization or government official (at any level) make ANY public comments until FACTS ARE KNOWN.

    I fail to see how rioting and robbing local african-american businesses somehow makes up for, or protests against, an alleged unjust shooting of a child.

    I am glad that last night the protests became more peacful, the way they should always have been. Could be because of the State Police stepping in, or that the leaders finally realize that two wrongs do not make a right.

    • Mike Blackadder

      The problem is that there is a pattern of behavior of some people who have FALSELY jumped to conclusions of racism in other high profile cases (like the Trayvon Martin case). We’ve seen the fallout of that tragedy where a nation has been divided on accusations of racist vigilantes and a racist judicial system, where ordinary citizens have become victims of race induced violence (ie. the Knockout game) all in protest and indignation of a situation which turned out to be clear self defense and where there was ZERO evidence to support all the hyperbole.

      The initial reaction maybe is to see the situation of Ferguson as recent history repeating itself, but it doesn’t mean that this situation is the same. You also have to acknowledge the fact that just because you and I have very limited facts to go on, it doesn’t mean that those protesting in Ferguson are similarly uninformed about the situation. Certainly close family members, friends and other locals will be better able to judge the situation in context better than us. There is obviously some indication that something is amiss from the point of view of the police department based on the fact that a cop shot an unarmed man to death from 35 paces, and that there is nothing being offered to the public to explain what happened.

      If not for widespread protests would this situation have gained state-wide/nation-wide attention? That’s an important factor especially when the local police are coming across as unresponsive.

      • transvaluation

        I agree with most of what you said, however the locals only have information from the guys buddy, hardly without question. and the 35 paces is also in question.

        There are so many inconsistancies in the stories that it may be a while before all the truth comes out.

        And to find out recently that the reason they were stopped was he matched the description of a suspect from a strong arm robbery near there from a short time before also adds to the picture.

        Not saying the shooting was correct in any means, but without many, or any, facts how can anyone make any appropriate statement. The family is grieving as they should. If the Police officer is found to have been in the wrong, punish him. Riots and attacks on someone who had nothing to do with it should never happen.

        Is society really this fragile?

        • Marthe Lépine

          Yeah, and one of the most important facts, the results on an autopsy, does not seem to be forthcoming… Whose fault would that be?

          • TexTopCat

            Autopsy reports are many times 6 to 8 weeks out based on lab tests that take time to perform. So, this is not unusual.

        • Benjamin2.0

          A society is a fragile as its principles.

          • Benjamin2.0

            AS fragile! AS!

            How’s a guy supposed to be profound without an editor?

            • Sparafucile

              Go back and use the EDIT feature!!!!

              • Benjamin2.0

                We lowly guests don’t get an edit feature. I’d only abuse it, anyway.

        • Sparafucile

          The “guy’s buddy”? You mean the one who participated in the strong-arm robbery with him?

      • Marthe Lépine

        Seems to me your last question answers itself. It could possibly have happened that without such widespread protests, the situation might not have gained such attention. However, maybe giving little attention to such a situation would have simply allowed a total coverup of wrongdoing – with the attendant risk that such wrongdoing would keep spreading and become more and more frequent. I doubt that the family and friends of Mr Brown would have had enough money to pursue the matter with lawyers and the courts, quietly and on their own, in order to prove that had been such a coverup of wrongdoing on the part of the police. It is precisely those widespread protests that did bring proper attention to the situation. At the same time, when such protests erupts, there will always be some people trying to take advantage of that kind of “cover” to try to get away with vandalism and theft. And it has also happened, elsewhere, that some police people have provoked such illegal actions in order to discredit the protesters.

        • TexTopCat

          Sorry, but how exactly can police provoke looting and burning of local businesses?

          • Marthe Lépine

            They certainly can provoke violence which, depending on the location and circumstances, might give rise to looting and burning by people too angry to think. It has happened before. Here is an example from the North-American Leaders’ Summit (Bush, our own Harper and the Mexican President) in Montebello, Quebec:
            Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello:
            YouTube video shows union leaders trying to push back masked men
            CBC News Posted: Aug 22, 2007 1:33 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 22, 2007 4:06 PM ET
            Quotes; “Organizers of the protests at the North American leaders’ summit in Montebello, Que., say they have video
            that shows police disguised as masked demonstrators tried to incite violence on Monday.”
            “In the footage filmed Monday afternoon, three burly men with bandanas and other covers over their faces push
            through protesters toward a line of riot police. One of the men has a rock in his hand.”

            “photographs of the masked men’s and police officers’ boots taken during the handcuffing, (are showing that) they appear to have identical tread patterns on their soles.”

            • Mike Blackadder

              But none of that happens at Tea Party protests.

            • TexTopCat

              “provoke violence which, depending on the location and circumstances,
              might give rise to looting and burning by people too angry to think” – no good people can not be driven to even have looting as an option. Good people can be pushed into killing and destruction of the enemy, but not looting the very stores that keep their community alive. These looters are just evil and no one should have any reason to feel sorry for them.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Nobody is entirely good or entirely evil. Good people, when too angry to think, can be tempted to do things that they would not do with a clear head. We all are – replace “angry” by any other strong emotion that can, at times, lead us to ignore considerations that we would normally take into account. It often happens with lust, for example…

      • TexTopCat

        For one, Brown probably should have been stopped, since he apparently had just robbed a store and assaulted the clerk. Second, normally, if a suspect is running away and the officer thinks that he poses a severe threat to other innocents, then use of force to stop the escape is justified.
        I disagree that the local people have any more reliable information than we do, maybe they have less since the national activists are out in force stirring the pot locally.
        In any event, no matter how wrong the action of the police, there is never justification for looting or burning local businesses.

  • Cal S.

    The NRA was also silent on the Bundy Ranch. I looked it up, and there was no such thing as “NRA statement on Bundy Ranch.” As a rule, unless you’re the NAACP, corporations who have a broad and diverse contributor base (which the NRA does, btw, of all creeds, religions, and genders) like to stay silent until the official verdict is in. Purely out of commercial interest, if nothing else.

    I have no sympathy for looters, of any kind. If you jumped to the “You’re a racist!” thought when I said that, then doesn’t that make you the racist for assuming only African-Americans are looters? It gets my dander up when they overreach and teargas people lawfully on their own property, or arrest/’disperse’ news crews, but there is a certain justification in meeting force with force when people are running rampant and destroying the property of innocents. By the way, I’ve seen pictures showing ‘white’ protestors in Ferguson, so you’re failing with your racism…again. If there was no looting, no violence, no buildings being torched by ‘protestors’, no Molotov Cocktails being thrown, then the police would also de-escalate the situation. For right now, the looters in Ferguson are failing the “innocent party” rule-of-thumb.

    It was a little different with the Bundy Ranch, because he was an “innocent party” since he’d done nothing wrong, yet. He was still in the court system trying to appeal the decision. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, that’s just the facts.

    • Mike Blackadder

      To be fair, when it comes to the outcome of a combative encounter between police and protesters you can’t really draw conclusions based on ‘who started it’, when we just don’t know. And ‘how it started’ isn’t really material to the question of whether the police have done a good job of deescalating the situation.

      But otherwise I agree with you. Looters and property vandals deserve no sympathy. They are only making the situation worse and are taking advantage of the situation. And a part of engaging in a peaceful protest that does not deteriorate into police charging in to restore order is that the protest movement must have some ability to police itself and maintain order internally if they wish to be left alone by authorities.

      • TexTopCat

        Agreed. I also took note of the couple of places where neighbors, store owners, and employees formed “militia” to protect some of the stores. In my opinion, that proves one more time that the founders of 2A built an incredible document that is working even today.

  • “The vision of the Uprising of Citizen Soldiers against the imminent totalitarian regime is one of the most cherished myths of gun culture …”

    Except that it’s not a myth. Statistics for gun violence tend to ignore the alternative, both in comparison to other nations, and (not to be overlooked) history itself. The Founders never intended for too much power of any kind, to be invested in any one branch of government. In fact, after the Revolution, a regular standing army was maintained only reluctantly. Closer to the present, every dictatorship in the last one hundred years had its start by confiscating the firearms of its citizenry.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Yes, and mass slaughter of populace at the hands of their government ensued. An inconvenient truth.

    • Ken

      If we’re concerned about the size of army we should stop spending so much money on it. If people think we have this totalitarian gov why are we supporting it with the most powerful military the world has ever seen? The concept that we should both give the gov more and more resources to build up the military and the way we are going to keep it in check is by having people buy hand guns is incomprehensible. It may make people feel better to own guns and dream about fighting the gov but it’s a bizarre and totally unrealistic dream. What is a person’s gun going to do to a tank?

      • TexTopCat

        Sorry, but the two are not as you describe. For one, the Military is prevented from any police action on US Soil, second, the militarization of DHS and local police is a bad thing and people are starting to fight against such. Second, citizens with arms, is exactly what is needed and is working. If it was not working, do you think Obama and his supporters would be pushing for severe gun control and registration?

        • Ken

          Yes, you’re right. Your gun collection is saving us from the secret Islamic World Order that Obama is trying to implement. I’m sure he’s kicking a chair in Martha’s Vineyard in frustration that he’s so painfully close if it wasn’t for some rifles in some guy’s garage.

          The point is that the story line from the NRA that citizens owning guns save them from the tyranny of the gov is silly and embarrassing to the cause. It may have been true 200 years ago before we allowed our federal, state and local institutions to be armed beyond anything we could ever imagine but now it’s totally absurd. We couldn’t protect ourselves with guns from our local police station much less the power of the federal gov.

          I believe in the right for people to bare arms but to have such illogical positions and to fantasize that we’re going to pick up our Don’t Tread On Me flags and our tri tiped hats and go and fight the gov is embarrassing and obviously ridiculous.

          • TexTopCat

            It seems like a few people with much less capable tools, are winning in the middle east. Your idea that the guns in the local police station would not be with the citizens are wrong. Police are some of the strongest supporters of the ideas that you make fun of.

            • Marthe Lépine

              I doubt that ISIS in the Middle East are just a few people with much less capable tools… Plus, they seem to be dealing, at least in Iraq, with poorly trained police forces who do not appear to fully convinced of which side they are. And if you are talking instead about the other side, the one being attacked, they don’t seem to be doing too well right now.

              • TexTopCat

                ISIS has US weapons given to them. So, no not the example that I had in mind.

            • Ken

              You realize that ISIS isn’t a “few people” they are a well funded terrorist organization. But let’s pretend they’re a bunch of guys who picked up a few guns off of their gun rack and have no experience fighting in wars. The members in ISIS fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. But let’s pretend their experience comprises going to a gun range and shooting at a target. Once the US dropped a few bombs on them they were defenseless. Your guns are not going to stop the power of the US military or even your local police department. This narrative is beyond absurd on any level.

              • TexTopCat

                No, your understanding of the facts is what is absurd.
                First, you assume that most of the military would follow unlawful orders, most would not.
                Second, you assume that most of the police would turn on the citizens, they would not
                Third, you do not understand that drones and bombs are not effective against cities that you want to use after the war.
                Forth, you assume that DC would continue to be control of the military installations located in the war zones.
                Fifth, even the Democrats do not have the stomach to start a civil war.

                • Ken

                  I’m not saying that is going to happen I’m the one you sees it as an absurd scenario. I’m responding to the notion from the NRA that guns in the hands of civilians is keeping the gov from becoming a dictatorship or “slaughtering” it’s citizens. The concept that the US gov, armed with the most powerful military in the history of the world, is being kept in check by somebody’s gun rack is beyond any form of reality.

                  Most countries in the world have strong guns laws and people don’t own guns. Those countries have not enslaved or slaughtered their citizens. In fact, the places with the most guns like the tribal lands of Pakistan or Afghanistan or Somalia live in anarchy where the only law of the land is the war lord with the biggest guns.

                  Our country is being held in check because we live in a prosperous democracy not because some people own guns.

                  • TexTopCat

                    We are not a democracy, we are a republic.

              • TexTopCat

                Take the Ft Hood shooter, it took resources from three Texas cities to bring the base under control after just one lone shooter. What would happen if there were 50 shooters?

          • woss

            tell that shit to the people of Germany in 1938. Or the People of Austrailia, or England, or etc….

            • Marthe Lépine

              Because you are dreaming that if the people of Germany in 1938 all owned firearms, what happened then would not have taken place? However, I had been under the impression that Hitler’s party had been elected by a majority vote in a democratic election, suggesting that many people in Germany wound not have seen the situation the way you are claiming it was all of 76 years ago… Were you even born then?

            • chezami

              So you think England and Australia are indistinguishable from Nazi Germany?

              • woss

                the point is they were all disarmed by their government which left them defenseless. Germany was the extreme..

                • chezami

                  No. I think the point is that gun zealots really can’t see that Nazi Germany is the exception and that countries like UK and Australia don’t have an annual slaughter rate of 30,000 people plus a couple of Sandy Hooks and Columbines each year. But because they live in a fantasy world where Obama is just about to impose martial law, they don’t care about the real mountain of corpses from gun violence and constantly pat themselves on the back for stopping fantasy Nazis instead of seeing the real mountain of corpses.

                  • Sparafucile

                    The moment you conflated suicides with homicides is the instant you proved yourself a lying propagandist, as opposed to a serious person.

                    • chezami

                      Both homicides by gun and suicides by gun are specimens of gun violence. The moment you called me a liar you proved yourself unworthy of my comboxes. Bye!

            • Ken

              Right now countries have extremely rigorous gun laws and their governments haven’t become tyrannical. Most countries have strict gun laws and they legitimate gov running just fine.

  • I think I’m almost as worried about violence by the militia-libertarian “Patriot” groups as by state and local law enforcement. The increased armament by both groups, and in the increased sabre-rattling by the former benefit no one.

    • Sparafucile

      “Increased armament by both groups (militia-libertarian “Patriot” groups and police)” ??

      I suspect you can neither name nor direct me to a single one of those ‘Patriot’ militias, proving you neither know one personally, nor even have any direct knowledge of one — demonstrating that you’re talking out of your butt.

      • Cliven Bundy got together a militia in almost no time because there were already people gathering weapons and gear for exactly that sort of thing.

        Preppers are real.

    • TexTopCat

      I agree that there is some cause for worry about where is the country headed and a potential violent national conflict in our future. Now, I disagree on your description of the sides. I think most police are quite conservative and would be in the side of the civilians wanting strict enforcement of the Bill of Rights and Constitution, (e.g. a much smaller less powerful government). The liberal progressive movement would be my description of the opposing side. I see the east and west coast as going in a very different direction than the rest of the country. Hopefully, the next administration will be able to bring the sides back together to work for some common good.