On September 4 at a South Carolina gas station, a white highway patrol officer shot a black unarmed man at a routine traffic stop after asking him for his license. The incident happened so quickly and the shooting so without provocation, that the victim, Levar Jones, was dumbfounded as shown in this exchange:
“Can I see your license please?” [highway patrol officer Sean] Groubert asked.
But something quickly changed. As Jones turned around and reached into his vehicle, Groubert could be heard shouting, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!”
The officer then fired multiple times.
Jones stumbled away from his vehicle with his hands in the air and then fell to the ground. As Groubert radioed for medical help, the two men could be heard talking.
“I just grabbed my license. You said get my license!” Jones said. “What did I do, sir? I don’t know what happened. … Why did you shoot me?”
“Well, you dove headfirst back into your car,” Groubert said.
While this incident shows how important dash cams are (Groubert has been fired and is facing aggravated assault charges with a possible 20 year jail sentence), it also speaks truth to every fear that a black person has when he or she is stopped by the police. Being black is not a crime.
Team Blackness also discussed Eric Holder stepping down, the NAACP report on racial profiling, and a Texas man accused of buying school board votes with cocaine.
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Did you see where the prosecutor that might be handling this case said “He had a clean shot.” The possible prosecutor is a former cop.
Hear about this incident? >.> http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/man-says-officers-pulled-him-away-dead-stepson-tas/nhT9b/
The wingnut excuse du jour on this one will be that, while he was reaching for his license, Jones should’ve assured the cop calmly that he was indeed reaching for his license when he was asked to…reach for his license.
Which is complete horse hockey, of course. In an alternate reality when Jones does softly coo that he’s reaching for his license and is shot anyway, the wingnut excuse is that he shouldn’t have said anything because the cop would suspect he was reaching for a gun if he said the opposite because carrying the one dividing by derp times blackity black black equal the cop is always right.
In similar news, the California Highway Patrol has come to a settlement with the woman who was beaten by a CHP officer and the officer has agreed to resign (union rules make it difficult to fire someone outright, so this is actually a good thing). The CHP forwarded their internal investigation results to county prosecutors and recommended that charges be filed.
It does sometimes seen that Highway Patrol-type officers are held to a higher standard than other police officers, and I can’t quite figure out why. More interaction required with the general public for things like accidents, flat tires, etc.? PR? Departments are set up differently?
This cop is so bad anyone he pulled over should be worried. Someone that jumpy and with such poor judgement shouldn’t have a badge, a gun, and the authority to use either.
No. Less local. More local = More corruption = More representation of local bigotries. This is what ‘State’s Rights’ ultimately means. They only bring it up when they lose at the federal level, but they’re well aware that the broader the audience, the less their personal bigotries are tolerated.
It’s not a crime, but it is a health risk. What I want to know is when black folks are going to acknowledge the NAACP is a joke and come up with new, data driven responses to this threat to our lives?
The NAACP destroyed itself by going to a system of complete local chapter autonomy, which basically means some part time preacher with no experience in law, statistics, or social policy decide when to fight, and what about. It’s a throw back to the tactics of a century ago.
One upon a time, at the zenith of its stature the NAACP legal team gave us Brown v. Board of education. Now it can’t even manage to mobilize popular anger against the outright murder of a kid assassinated in a Wal-Mart over a fucking BB-gun.
The pattern of oppression via parking ticket , fees and fines in Ferguson are not just some aberration, it is the implementation of a libertarian philosophy to shift the criminal justice system from one of the most fair outcome to a profit center funded by the poor.
We don’t need an army of protesters, we need an army of lawyers.
Wait, let me guess — they had to taser the reverend because he wouldn’t calm down after finding out that his (step)son had been shot to death. Because normal people take that kind of news calmly and thoughtfully.
Highway Patrol/State Patrol is run by the state, rather than some hinky-dink police department with 50 employees. And of course Highway Patrol primary responsibilities are traffic violations, traffic control and helping stranded motorists. They’re not expected to behave like they are encountering armed criminals all the time, because they don’t
I strongly suspect that a lot of it is because they are state-level employees and not county/city level employees.
It’s been my experience that, contrary to the storyline I was fed as a youth, the higher up the chain of local -> state -> federal government you go, the more likely it becomes that an agent of the government will actually be held accountable for misdeeds.
Eh – at least in Ohio the state Highway Patrol is responsible for stopping drug trafficking along the interstate highway system. They interact with potentially armed criminals a lot more than you might think.
Another Holocene Human
What amazes me (and I have visited SC a number of times) is how sorry, sad, ramshackle, broken down and just broken SC is. In Charleston I’ve been shocked at the deep and wide and unrepentant racism of its white population. Being poor is utterly miserable in SC as the government Does. Not. Care. It’s a laggard on development measures although not as bad as the Miss. delta/gulf states. The sorriest stop on the East Coast.
But SC law enforcement — I wouldn’t say the prison system or any of that — seems to have their fucking act together. I don’t know what the history of that is, but they put in the resources, manpower, training, to solve homicides, something a lot of states (cough, Florida) don’t seem to give a flip about if it’s the “wrong” victim.
The swift response by law enforcement to the excessive force charge is really surprising to me as I think states to the north and south of SC could be caught digging in on something like that more likely than not. I can think of a case in MD, of course there’s NYC, GA of course, and FL with its wingnut AG I have no doubt has been burying stuff although we found out that they’re not as tone deaf as rust-belt midwestern law enforcement. (Yes, I am damning with faint praise. Vote Bondi Out!!)
Even though voting patterns clearly show that white voters in the traditional Confederate South and Appalachia strongly disfavored Barack Obama and were way out of line with white voters in other regions, it seems like being in the Black belt, the daily exposure, the sharing of political power since VRA, has all had a salutatory effect on attitudes surrounding police violence.
And the question becomes, what can be done in the Springfields of the US? The KC’s, St Louis’, Cincinnattis and Clevelands? What can soften these hardened, segregationist attitudes and reverse the notion that any killing by a cop, especially of a young, Black male, is justified?
Villago Delenda Est
@ET: Yet the man is a 7 year veteran of the SC highway patrol.
Sorry, Elon, but it’s very obvious that being black IS a crime in this country…and this has become quite apparent over the last six years. It’s wrong, but what is right and what is legal are two totally different things. Perhaps this incident will cause that to change. It must change. If it does not change peacefully, it will change by another means. I dread that…because we don’t know what that sort of change will bring.
Another Holocene Human
@NonyNony: It’s about powerbase, usually a statie lodged out of their home county doesn’t have it.
Found out the other day the Romans did that with naturalized foreign soldiers, took in the whole tribe in a battalion, deployed somewhere other than their home turf.
Are you sure about that, because the police seem to disagree.
Grumpy Code Monkey
Several years ago, the Austin Chronicle ran a story about problems the APD was having with officers who were recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and how they were having trouble making the transition from an active duty infantry mindset to a civilian police role. The one example that sticks in my mind was of a new recruit shooting into a crowd of people at a fleeing suspect. His partner shut him down before anyone got hurt IIRC, but still; that shouldn’t be your first reaction.
I’m wondering if the issues we’re seeing recently isn’t all part of the same thing; war veterans moving into a police role, but behaving as though it’s still wartime.
Or it could just be that a greater proportion of LEOs really are assholes with authority issues. I don’t know.
Another Holocene Human
@Villago Delenda Est: I think the police subculture, reinforced by their supervisors and bankrolled by a racist public, feeds a lot of this extra-judicial violence. They’re constantly telling each other these fairy tales (or are they, with a compliant prosecutor?) about how to enact violence on someone you can overpower yet not get in any trouble afterwards. Also, the constant fear mongering, the pants-pissing dialogues of what could happen. Sometimes good comes of it, like move over laws on highways because getting hit by a car on a traffic stop is a very likely and very deadly risk.
Look at what happened with that Tsarnaev kid. He’s wounded hiding in a boat. Cops surround the boat. Some ossifer startled and fired, all the others fired because that one fired, friendly fire situation and they nearly kill their prime suspect. It was an almost inevitable outcome of a culture where they all think they’re Dirty Harry’s and calm and strategy and rationality are discouraged.
Are you shittin me?
Another Holocene Human
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
These issues are pervasive and pre-date the wars. And while APD may be different, a lot of police forces actually have terminated programs that made it easy for military to come in. They now want full civilian training/certification instead of fast-tracking veterans. I know a guy who was an MP in the Army and was really disappointed to find out that he would have to do the same training as everyone else, even though essentially he was a cop in the Army already. (So he ended up taking a job to pay bills while his wife finished nursing school, she will make more money hands down.)
Another Holocene Human
The other issues for cops today is that their supervisors now became cops during the peak of the violence in the 20th century, when very young perps involved in the drug trade were callously shooting witnesses and cops had just upgraded their ordnance in response to some encounters with military weaponry in the 1980s. They were scarred by overwhelming violence and lousy morale because the “tax revolt” had gathered steam and nobody wanted to pay for police so they just would let homicide after homicide go cold. Or collar the wrong guy and call it a day. A lot of cops were dirty. Dirty, dirty. So that raises questions about who’s still around. Civil asset forfeiture. Planting drugs after bust raids. “Third degree” interrogation in precincts that resisted cameras in the interrogation rooms until very late.
So these psychologically battered or personality disordered supervisors inculcate a lot of broken, messed up attitudes and no-longer-relevant fears to new recruits, who are now kitted up for the wave of supercriminals that never materialized. Not in the late 1990s. Not in the early 2000s. Not even after 2008.
They never showed up, but these cops are ready. Production for use. If the “subject” doesn’t give them a reason to escalate, they’ll invent one. Any slight movement at the wrong time triggers the bloody denouement.
Hey, now. The NAACP gave Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling a Lifetime Achievement award and was preparing to give him another one. They know what’s important!
@Mnemosyne: “It does sometimes seen that Highway Patrol-type officers are held to a higher standard than other police officers, and I can’t quite figure out why.”
State governments are usually less corrupt and racist than local governments.
The victim was pulled over for . . . not wearing his seatbelt.
Maybe we could rethink allowing cops to stop motorists for seatbelt violations alone?
De jure, no…de facto, well, that seems to be different.
Another Holocene Human
@Richard Bottoms: There’s a need for grassroots organizations, I think the issue with NAACP is that it’s an old peoples’ club and the youth are making their own organizations. Also, NAACP is useful to a certain tranche of white people so they are always at risk of being coopted, but I don’t think a top down structure would improve that because it would just be big corporations instead of local car dealers doing the coopting.
Grassroots can be a lot more flexible, fast, and effective than a top down org. NAACP is clearly broken but still has some life in it. I don’t know what the answer is.
Another Holocene Human
@kc: Only New England refused on this. Dunno, maybe we actually believe in liberty as something more than a white supremacist cosplay slogan.
@Violet: They are old, feeble and have forgotten what that organization used to be about. It happens, something will replace it. Something always does.
Another Holocene Human
@Chickamin Slam: Why are black bodies a battleground? What the fuck is wrong with (white) people?
@Another Holocene Human: Point to those other organizations so I can help. I’d start one, but I’m old too.
@Another Holocene Human:
That can be good or bad, though — to go Full Metal Godwin, there’s a reason the Nazis primarily used non-German concentration camp guards. It’s easier to other someone if you don’t speak the same language.
‘ Did you see where the prosecutor that might be handling this case said “He had a clean shot.” ‘
I am not sure what “He had a clean shot.” is supposed to mean. Whenever an officer has “a clean shot”, the officer should shoot? Is that the reasoning? That should be very comforting to every citizen of SC, but most particularly African-Americans in SC. Do you have a link? Context would have to do a lot of heavy lifting to make sense of that.
Tone In DC
I am so damn tired of reading this shit.
Elon and others need to post it, though, so I can see what we are all up against. Unreconstructed, unthinking, pants-pissing fear, knee-jerk and extreme violence, and unreasoning hatred. Lee Atwater would be proud.
I am just relieved that Jones is alive. Unlike Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell and so many others.
Being black is not a crime. That much is true. But if you’re a believer in the prophetic capabilities of big data (which I am not) then being black may soon make you a criminal…
@Tone In DC:
” I am just relieved that Jones is alive. ”
That is very surprising given that the officer unloaded, what, five or six rounds at point blank range. I thought I was misreading the first story, when it seemed like the victim was still alive. I made a mental note to look out for info about the fate of the victim as I read additional stories. That aspect of the officer’s impersonation of Barney Fife is an advantage in this case.
@Another Holocene Human:
Huh, I thought all the states had folded on that. Good for the holdouts.
Mark Sanford was governor of SC when it happened. He made a bunch of noise about freedom and shit, and then went along when the legislature passed a law limiting tort remedies for drivers involved in wrecks. That was how he justified it. Just mind-boggling “logic.”
Also, too, careful readers of the story I posted above may notice that the plan is to put the settlement into a special-needs trust for Ms. Pinnock. That is because, as with so many victims in these kinds of police brutality stories, Ms. Pinnock has struggled with mental illness for years, so she needs extra help beyond a stack of We’re Sorry money.
I’m 1/2 Latino and look entirely white, and I still get so scared of something like this happening to me with all these nutty incidents that I leave my hands high on the steering wheel in plain sight while the officer approaches. When he or she arrives I recite a long litany of proposed actions to the officer asking for my license and registration.
“Officer, my license is in wallet, which is in my bag here on the passenger seat next to me. It’s black, and about 3″ x 5″. I’m going to reach into my bag slowly with these two fingers and remove my wallet. My registration is in the glove compartment, which I’ll open slowly after that, and reach in with these same two fingers to withdraw it. You should be able to see the inside of the glove compartment clearly from where you’re standing. Does that work for you?” If the officer assents I move really, really slowly.
I never used to have to think like this, but at some point in the last thirty years, cops decided it was far more important to protect cops than it is to protect citizens, so I have to act like I’m addressing an explosively violent maniac just in case I am.
@Grumpy Code Monkey: APD’s problems aren’t vets. It’s systemic and it always has been.
” The victim was pulled over for . . . not wearing his seatbelt. ”
I’m not so concerned that the police can stop you for a seat belt violation. If they want to stop you they can make something up.
It is very surprising, or at least is should be, that the officer thought a random driver pulled over for such a minor thing would present an imminent threat at the slightest move. Unless the game there is to only stop black drivers for minor violations like that, and look for pretext, or get jacked up imminent Threat of a Black Planet showdown (because of racism) , which would not be so surprising.
Tone In DC
Dirty Harry-wannabe Groubert shot him in the hip, according to MSNBC.
But, yes, we agree. Fortunately, this Rambo clone is a piss poor marksman.
Mike in NC
@Another Holocene Human: South Carolina’s broken infrastructure reflects the priorities of the Tea Party governor and legislature. All they care about are tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations. The bottom 99% don’t count, particularly if you have a dark complexion.
@jl: Given the officer’s poor shooting ability (so many shots, Jones still alive), it’s also kind of amazing that bystanders, vehicles and the gas pumps weren’t hit as well. Where did the shots go?
@srv: Good try and I hope it keeps you safe. However, if not, with 20/ 20 hindsight, it will be discovered that you left something out that was very important to keep an officer from shooting. Maybe everyone should keep their ID and whatever papers in a standard place and print out a protocol. Two copies, one for you and one for police. Maybe investing in Google Glasses would help, so you can follow the rehearsed motions precisely as you perform the protocol.
Years ago when I was a kid my family and I were visiting my aunt and uncle. We’d gone out to dinner and were about two minutes from my aunt and uncle’s house, which was back in a subdivision. It was dark and suddenly behind us were police lights and a siren.
My uncle pulls over, cop asks for license and registration and then tells my uncle his tail light is out. We’re all surprised because the vehicle was a company vehicle and maintained by the company but my uncle says, “Okay, thanks. I’ll look into it.” Gets a warning from the cop.
We drive home to their house–again, about two minutes away. We all pile out of the vehicle and go to the back. My uncle stays in the car and presses the brake and does the lights and turn signals and all that. The tail lights are fine. No problem at all.
No idea why the cop pulled us over. Made up reason.
@kc: Not gonna happen. This is how it works in California:
1. Cop sees no belt.
2. Cop pulls you over.
3. You were breaking the law so now the cop has “probable cause” to search your car.
It’s a “probable cause” generator, in short, and the cops and legislators love it. Generates income, keeps prison guards in work, and the legislators can point to it and give the soccer moms a quick fix of “security”. Everyone wins except minorities and people who believe in civil liberties, and they don’t count for shit.
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
Ehhhh….it does seem that police work does seem to draw a large proportion of assholes. I was told some years ago by a person who’d been both a defense attorney and a criminal court judge that cops and criminals were two sides of the same coin, and both were just as likely to perjure themselves, but cops got away with it. I asked if this was maybe an oversimplification – he responded that yes, it was (not in regard to the perjury thing). His contention was that people got into police work for one of three reasons: the ideal of protect and serve, etc; because it’s a decent civil service-type job with pension and benefits; or because they’re assholes who want to carry a badge and a gun and push people around. Which variety predominates depends on how big a department is and the attitudes of department leadership. There’s a rural county in my fair state where the standard joke about the sheriff’s department is that when hiring, they screen for people who were abused as children and hire those people.
It’s nice (if not for the cop) that the SC Highway Patrol fired and charged this Groumont character, but it does appear to be the exception to the rule. In use-of-force incidents, the outcome in the vast majority of cases is that the officer(s) actions were justified, consistent with departmental guidelines and in keeping with state law….and so forth and so on. Aside from out and out corruption or DUI, there’s very little that a police officer can do that will result in anything other than a temporary suspension (read paid vacation), even in cases which appear to be flat out murder or attempted murder.
Even in cases where video is present, there are ways and ways…..
Anthony Abbate – doesn’t he look like a sweetheart? Who would think he’d get off beating the hell out of a 90 pound bartender?
Philadelphia police (’nuff said) – they had video, but hey, whaddyagonnado?
@Another Holocene Human:
This has been a very common practice of empires throughout history. The soldiers also serve as hostages to hold over the head of the community in case they decide to revolt, which was especially effective because the officers were usually the children of the local bigwigs. There’s also the whole matter of indoctrinating the soldiers into the imperial system, so they’re good loyal subjects when they finally retire.
@srv: That was bitter snark. Doesn’t make any difference what you do, if the cop wants to do something, or is so scared or poorly trained, or psychologically unfit, decides to lose it at any random thing, you will get shot, or surrounded by police cars and thrown around and taken in.
No matter what you did, in retrospect there will be justification for your treatment, no matter how careful you were. Unless there is very hard undeniable evidence, as in this case.
As the Stalin’s head of the Soviet secret police said ‘Give me the man, and I will give you the case’.
@Antonius: I’m 100% white. I got my license back in 1983. I had a grandfather who was a cop and former ATF. He and my mother absolutely drilled me on essentially this procedure. He knew how and why people got shot by cops and he didn’t want his grandkids to be one of those statistics. He said “we can always bail you out of jail, but we cannot bail you out of the morgue”.
And the few times I’ve been pulled over, I do exactly this. Because cops have guns and use them.
@Tone In DC:
Poor marksmanship is a common consequence of rapid fire.
Villago Delenda Est
@srv: Vets do make for a convenient scapegoat to claim it’s not APD’s culture that should be examined, though.
@jl: I don’t disagree, but don’t see how it relates to my observation.
Then again, it’s day 2 after First Day of Fall, which commenters seem to have taken literally. I’m not sure whether this blog needs LifeAlert subscriptions or helmets. /s
@srv: I’m trying to catch up some of the other BJ staff and commenters. I’m waiting for your apology, and ready to rumble.
Villago Delenda Est
That was probably Yezhov, the head of the NKVD from 1936-1938, the height of the Great Purge, which is sometimes called the Yezhovshchina, or “Yezhov Era”. Stalin was good at scapegoating, too.
Quaker in a Basement
It is astonishing how slowly some news travels, even with modern technology.
@jl: I’m sorry you’ve fallen and hit your head. Or something.
The only construction I can possibly put on it would be in reference to the criticism about the officer shooting with the crowded gas station in the background. Maybe no-one else was in the line of fire?
If so, I am completely confident that it was a total coincidence. The general actions of Officer Quickdraw pretty much rule out that he put any thought into the safety of the public in this incident.
Tone In DC
Something else I did not need to see.
It doesn’t work quite like that. Being stopped for a traffic infraction does not give the police probable cause to search your car for drugs; they need something more than that. They can search easily accessible areas for weapons, and any contraband that happens to turn up during that search would be fair game. But to do a thorough search, they either need to arrest you, which looks bad if they don’t find anything, or to have some kind of probable cause that there is contraband.
What happens most frequently is that they ask permission to do a search, and the drivers are too intimidated to say no. If they get permission, they’re home free as far as the search goes.
@Tone In DC:
Yeah. And there’s this :
@rea: “State governments are usually less corrupt and racist than local governments.”
This. I don’t get why people think that representing a larger and more diverse group wouldn’t have this effect. Or maybe they know it will and that’s why the oppose it.
Tone In DC
This news story sounds like a bad episode of Homeland. Sad thing is, no one in Hollywood came up with this.
@Tone In DC:
I’m sensing some untreated mental illness in this story.
/understatement of the year
The NRA is going to blare this story out and talk about how bad it would have been if there hadn’t been someone there with a gun.
So a good guy with a guy shot and stopped a very bad guy with a knife who just happened to belong to the Muslim faith. RWNJ’s are going to revel in this.
And, of course, the victim gets forgotten.
@Tone In DC: Hollywood will be on this pretty quickly. Expect plenty of home grown terrorists in upcoming movies the TV shows.
@Mnemosyne: Yeah, no kidding. Maybe even unidentified mental illness. When people first start having mental problems it’s not necessarily even identified or noted except as “he was acting a little weird” or” “she’d been a little different lately” or “he suddenly seemed interested in [fill in blank]”. Even the identification that there’s a real problem can take a bit of time.
THIS is why I never took wingnut math in school, and stuck with algebra and calculus.
The way things are going in this country today, the “normal” African American father might easily assume his son would be shot by the police if he left the house. It’s always shocking when the police use excessive force, but it’s certainly not a surprise anymore.
I watched this video and as is the norm now, the police officer’s idea about what happened is completely divorced from reality.
“Why did you shoot me?”
“Well, because you dove head first back into your car.”
What the victim did doesn’t look anything like diving head first into his car to me.
One of the problems with police today, and it’s shown quite clearly here, is that they are often too scared to be able to do their jobs well. The days when police accepted that theirs could be a dangerous job appear to be over. Now, they just shoot anyone who isn’t lying face down on the ground — and even that isn’t guaranteed to keep a civilian from being shot. Especially an African American male.
@Tone In DC: I-S-I-O for Oklahoma?
@Mnemosyne: State versus local. Larger jurisdictions get more scrutiny, and generally behave less badly. One reason when in FL I always prefer country sheriffs to local PDs: the banjo quotient is lower.
@Violet: The infuriating part is that the fact that he was Muslim will be the story, as though the religion itself is the issue (same argument Bill Maher always uses). When a Christian asshat terrorizes/murders/rapes, the fact that he is Christian isn’t held out as a motivating factor, though it might be.
I’m not an expert, but I’d bet that most of these home-grown ISIS supporters have plenty of other issues & are using their supposed faith as an excuse to let their inner sociopath run wild.
Also, too: Friendly Officer Chris Webb: http://susiemadrak.com/2014/09/26/friendly-office-chris/
First, they don’t see as many assholes, most of what they do is write traffic tickets and clean up after the worst of us get done making one.
Second, Caryl Chessman.
That’s the common Arabic greeting, Assalamu’alaikum, whose English equivalent would be “hello”, “hi”, or “have a nice day”.
ETA: Of course, I do agree that this attack happened more likely because this man is mentally disturbed than because he is Muslim.
Tone In DC
Sad but true.
Culture definitely influences the expression of mental illness. Right now, ISIL is the Big Bad in the US media, so I’m guessing that in this guy’s sick mind, he decided to become one of the Big Bad.
I also think of the LAX shooter from about 10 years ago, who brought at gun to the El Al counter and was eventually shot and killed by El Al’s security guards. On the one hand, it was officially ruled a terrorist attack, because he was a Muslim (Egyptian) guy who shot at people while shouting epithets about Jews and Israel. On the other hand, his wife had just left him and taken the kids back to Egypt, and it was his birthday. It’s a very fine line sometimes between “terrorist” and “murderous crazy person.”
@kc: “The victim was pulled over for . . . not wearing his seatbelt. Maybe we could rethink allowing cops to stop motorists for seatbelt violations alone?
It looked to me like he wasn’t pulled over at all, but had stopped at a gas station and exited his car to pump gas when the cop approached him, which makes the seatbelt violation claim particularly bizarre–but watch it for yourself.
Recent converts to anything (religion, diet, exercise, etc.) are often the most zealous. I suspect some of them convert to the religion because they believe doing so will make everything better for them. The problem is their mental illness but the religion offers solutions that sound great. Then the two merge and they think beheading someone at work makes them a great follower of the religion. It’s insanity all around.
I remember reading about that guy. He was acting out over a personal crisis, which happens to people whatever their faith. If he’d been an Egyptian Christian, say, he might have still have targeted the El Al counter, and said pretty much the same things about Jews and Israel as he tried to shoot up the place. The US media reporting of it would have been quite different, though, wouldn’t it?
@cckids: You can argue this all you want but on this subject, he is not wrong. The murderer is a religiously-motivated murdering asshole. He’s insane only in the sense that ANYONE who murders is insane. Take away the religion and you take away the motivation.
Frequently is, but good luck getting the news media to touch that.
Religion is the reason for what happened in Oklahoma today. Religion’s why that psycho in Florida killed his daughter and grandkids. Religion got Matthew Shepard tied to a fence and beaten to death. Religion is the reason for a lot of murders. The only problem is that the media doesn’t cover murders motivated by the teachings of Christianity in the same manner they’re currently covering murders motivated by the teachings of Islam.
I too believe this about some new converts. Converting to a new faith is a drastic life change; sometimes it may well be a symptom of one’s problems rather than the thing that resolves them. Perhaps people intending to convert should undergo a psychiatric evaluation first. But I don’t see how a nation could mandate that without interfering in religious freedom.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: The psycho in Florida was motivated by religion? I hadn’t heard that before.
I remember reading something about the way that terrorists recruit suicide bombers. We always ask the question of how you convince somebody to strap a bomb to their body and blow themselves up, and apparently one part of the answer is that you start with people who are already suicidal. It’s apparently easier to convince somebody who’s suicidal that they should take a bunch of infidels with them than it is to convince somebody who’s religious that they should blow themselves up.
So crazy people only murder other people because of religion? Um, no. If someone has homicidal impulses, they’re going to find a reason to express them, whether it’s religion or thinking the government is controlling language and grammar. If you take away Loughner’s atheism and make him a Christian, do you take away his motivation to try and kill Gabby Giffords?
@kc: Here in PA not wearing your seat belt is a secondary offense, you can only be cited for it if you are stopped for something else, like a non-functioning brake light, speeding, aggressive driving, etc.. In SC it is a primary offense, meaning someone can be stopped for that only, but the fine is only $25!
Here is the list of States with primary and secondary seat belt laws.
Well, it isn’t on the books. But if you read between the lines and if you observe the system in action, I think, tragically, it IS a crime to be black in these United States.
There are the formal rules of a system and then there are the ways that the game is played. For instance in football, the goal is to stop the ball carrier. In theory the minimal force necessary to stop a player could be used. In practice, hitting the player as hard as possible within the rules is part of the game because it instills fear in the player and makes them less effective. This doesn’t really seem all that dissimilar to that. It isn’t part of the game. But it isn’t NOT part of the game either.
I mean technically his seatbelt wasn’t on. Technically he did “dive” into his car. I’m absolutely positive his defense attorney will claim the officer was afraid the guy was going for a gun and that the cop was afraid and it may not matter that he had asked him to show his license. I’ve already seen people on this blog comment self-righteously about how they would first state that they need to get their license from the car before making a move, as though delaying in obeying a cops order and even starting to seem like he may be talking back is a safe thing for a black man to do. Whereas I’m pretty sure that acting on the cops orders got him shot, just as surely as not acting on the cops orders would have. And those are the only options.
I don’t know. Maybe I am just feeling particularly pissed off at society right now and am at my most cynical when I say those things. I’m fed up. I wish I could do something effective to combat this utter bullshit.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: What was the religious motivation of the guy who killed his daughter and grandkids? I’d read that he was mad at her because he wanted her to pay his (I think) property taxes or something and she wouldn’t do it.
@C.V. Danes: It works both ways. Systematic abuse is all right there is the data, we just have to look. Sue one or two municipalities into bankruptcy and the message will get sent, stop it or we’ll own City Hall.
The cop had to ask if the guy was hit. He didn’t know if he’d hit him? He shot multiple times and didn’t know if he’d hit the guy? WTF? Aren’t cops supposed to know where the damn bullets are? Listen to the cop. He starts going on “Bro” and didn’t even ask the guy’s name. Didn’t look at the id he’d asked for.
It seems he was going to shoot him no matter what. Diving into his car? Bang. Telling the cop he’s going for his license? Bang. And after 5-6 shots, he still has to ask if he hit the guy.