Um, No.

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Amy Alkon writes about the the death of Tarika Wilson:

Maybe if the community disrespected women who live this sort of lifestyle she would’ve been less likely to get knocked up six times by a bunch of drug dealers, then taken up with yet another.

And while I’m not a fan of our drug laws, and I agree with reason’s Radley Balko that these door-break searches too often have tragic consequences, and for those who are not perps…the fact remains that the police generally don’t seek [sic] break down the doors of homes of women who’ve had five boyfriends who are all, say, accountants, architects, or managers at Subway.

Not surprisingly, black leaders are outraged. Also not surprisingly, their outrage is not directed at women in the black community who squeeze out litters of fatherless children, or the men who fuck and run, or fuck, deal drugs, and go to directly jail.

Well, there’s a raid making national headlines right now where the police broke down the door of a woman whose husband is the town mayor. They’re both white. Will that work?

How about the 2005 Baltimore raid that took the life of Cheryl Lynn Noel, a married mother of two? How about the 2006 raid that ended with the death of 38-year-old optometrist Salvatore Culosi? The 2006 raid that killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston? Maybe the one that killed 57-year-old Alberta Spruill? What sins, I wonder, did Pam and Frank Myers commit for them to deserve to have their door broken in and their dog slaughtered last November? How about Philadelphia resident Diana Al-Bynum and her husband last September?

I could go on.

Distasteful as I find Alkon’s premise to be (and by distasteful I mean, “dehumanizing and racist”), I’d advise she browse this page. Or this one. She’ll find that “women in the black community who squeeze out litters of fatherless children” actually make up a pretty small percentage of the victims of these tactics.

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66 Responses to “Um, No.”

  1. #1 |  Danny | 

    Flynne,

    A little common sense and personal repsonsibility goes a long way towards self-preservation.

    Personal responsibility goes both ways, dipshit. As I said, she accepted the possible dangers of living how she did. The real responsibility here lies with the cop that busted into a house, not knowing if the real “perp.” was there, not knowing that the person they fired at in the dark was in fact an innocent woman and her child.

    Trust me, I’m a big fan of personal responsibility, but the cop is the aggressor, not Tarika Wilson.

  2. #2 |  claude | 

    Just to play devils advocate for a moment… lets say that she herself is a drug dealer but completely unarmed and doesnt own any weapon. Should she, a drug dealer, but a completely unarmed one, expect to get shot by a cop? If so, then how about an unarmed jay-walker? How about those unrepentent unarmed litter bugs? Should they also expect to get shot by cops?

  3. #3 |  Flynne | 

    Yeah, well, thanks for calling me a dipshit, Danny, that was really mature. Do you know she “accepted the possible dangers”, or is that speculation? I already agreed that the cop was wrong, but that doesn’t totally absolve her from putting herself into that situation. I never said she was the aggresor, I just said she wasn’t too bright for being in that situation in the first place.

    Claude, keep looking for the stat, let me know what you find. I didn’t state it as “fact”, I said “could”.

  4. #4 |  SusanK | 

    I like the rear-end argument. However, the difference is that you are only likely to get rear-ended if you are driving. It is impossible to be “rear-ended” if you are not driving or in a car. Unfortunately, you home can get violently raided by police looking for drugs regardless of your status as a dealer/user/living with one.

  5. #5 |  claude | 

    ” but that doesn’t totally absolve her from putting herself into that situation.”

    Dude, it is NEVER ok for a cop to shoot an unarmed person and the unarmed person is NEVER responsible for it simply because of the company they keep, or being at a certain place at a certain time, or living a certain lifestyle that isnt state sanctioned.

  6. #6 |  Phlinn | 

    “Well in ur world u just blame the victim and then go on to make excuses and/or apologies for the cop.”

    Where do you see anyone on this thread or on amy’s page making excuses for the cop? At most you see people pointing out that Tarika wasn’t a complete bystander here. She did in fact live with a drug dealer. The police are more likely to invade than they would if it was a completely innocent household. I acknowledge that they do sometimes raid innocent households, but mostly they try to avoid that. Believe it or not, fault is rarely all or nothing. And yes, radley has collected a large number of examples of police doing exactly that, but it remains true that they are a depressingly common exception, not the rule.

    Nowhere in the above do I pretend or claim that such raids are acceptable even on guilty parties. They are just more common. Nor do I absolve the officer in any way.

  7. #7 |  claude | 

    “Where do you see anyone on this thread or on amy’s page making excuses for the cop? ”

    In pretty much every post. See, heres the deal…. if she were killed in a drive by from another gang or if another rival gang broke in the house and there was a problem, many of us would have no problem with the “Its partially her responsibility” and “she had a reason to expect that she might some day be shot”. Those things r true, if the action is performed by a rival gang. We would recognize the drug war as the most likely root cause, but she would bear her share of the blame. This however is not the case here. She was shot by government agents. Granted, those government agents r as bad as any rival gang if not worse, but they arent sposed to be. A rival gang didnt bring this violence on her. The government did. A street gang doesnt take my rights as a citizen away from me on an ongoing almost daily basis. Government does.

  8. #8 |  Highway | 

    And going along with claude’s analogy there, if she was shot in a driveby, there might be some people trying to hold the shooters accountable. And I bet they wouldn’t get off with a ‘I was scared’ defense. But in this case, that’s what happened.

  9. #9 |  Thomas Blair | 

    Flynne,

    Those are all examples of overzealousness of SWAT teams, yes, yes, you win. Yes, the cops were wrong. But I still maintain that if Tarika Wilson hadn’t been in that particular drug dealer’s house at that particular time, she’d be alive. Prove me wrong.

    One cannot prove or disprove an alternate history. Your question is a sophism on par with me declaring that there is no God and then telling you to prove me wrong. Neither statement is falsifiable.

    That said, I wouldn’t argue that, probabilistically speaking, someone living in a house where drugs are present and/or trafficked. But that’s not the point. The point is that Tarika Wilson died when she was shot by a cop serving a warrant in a fashion that unnecessarily introduces danger and volatility into the mix.

  10. #10 |  Thomas Blair | 

    Flynne,

    Additionally, my whole line of examples was given to demonstrate that one need not be in the business of narco-trafficking to be raided and killed by criminals with badges. People of all ages, races, backgrounds, and professions are killed when cops play soldier while serving warrants.

  11. #11 |  Thomas Blair | 

    Flynne,

    Sorry for the barrage of posts, but I noticed an error on my part. Here is the complete thought from above.

    “That said, I wouldn’t argue that, probabilistically speaking, someone living in a house where drugs are present and/or trafficked is more likely to be killed by a raiding police officer than someone with no connection to drugs.”

  12. #12 |  Max Renn | 

    Ecrite Flynne:

    Thomas,

    Those are all examples of overzealousness of SWAT teams, yes, yes, you win. Yes, the cops were wrong. But I still maintain that if Tarika Wilson hadn’t been in that particular drug dealer’s house at that particular time, she’d be alive. Prove me wrong.

    But, really, Flynne et. al., is it not the case that 90% of those accidentally caught in these raids live, by virtue of their poor life choices, in marginal circumstances? Thus, they are indeed to blame for some of their misfortunes, as if they had lived properly, they would not live in places such as Harlem or Prince George County, etc. And indeed, this applies to all ghetto residents: if they took responsibility for themselves and lived appropriately, they would not have drug dealers around them, and thus would not be accidently shot, nes pa?

  13. #13 |  Andrew Williams | 

    I used to have a lot of respect for Ms Alkon. Then I made the mistake of sending her a link to Peter Breggin’s website. Her response was “my doctor who’s famous says Ritalin’s OK” and a link to a quackwatch entry on Breggin.

    First of all, I was just sending information. Think whatever you want about Breggin—he’s one of the few people out there writing about how to wean yourself from psycho-pharmaceuticals. And who’s the famous doc? And did he actually LOOK at the data, which shows a shrp dropoff in Ritalin efficacy after 2-4 weeks, necessitating either an increase in dose or switching to another ADD drug?

    Meh.

  14. #14 |  Nick T | 

    So an innocent woman is shot to death by an officer acting totally incompetently WHILE part of a raid that is excessive and unnecessarily violent (and arguably illegal), the method was chosen, at the very least in part, because of the desire of the polcie involved to “go all commando and shit,” and again, an innocent woman is left dead and her baby is motherless, AND…..

    ..Ms. Alkon thinks this is a good time to talk about black women hanging out with drug dealers too much. Is that what’s happening here? Just want to make sure I got this.

  15. #15 |  Nick T | 

    Wait a second, that little baby is very likely to be adopted, and probably by a nice family that comes forward with all of the press coverage. Probably a much better life than the baby would have had with drug mom there. So this cop is actually a hero! Can we get some sort of commendation for this guy?

  16. #16 |  FP | 

    SusanK in #17 said:
    “Um, the article is racist, despite the author’s claims to the contrary. I work in the juvenile justice system where there are plenty of white women who spit out litters of kids with drug dealers and there is no stigma attached to it. To say it’s a problem only in the black community is racist.”

    Uhh, what? No sane person thinks its only a problem in the black community but its increasingly a very obvious of a problem in that community and really all western/American socio-economic backgrounds.

    And I’m sorry but if you think white women don’t have a similar stigma you’re living in a PC fantasy land. If anything its just a silent stigma as you get ripped apart for daring to actually state the truth for either community or just relationships in general. As in, “how dare you judge that poor single mother!”. Why not? She has no problem judging me and my lifestyle…