Saturday Afternoon Links

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

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67 Responses to “Saturday Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  Other Sean | 

    Bill #46,

    That kind of happens already, as EMS is something a lot of people do while they’re waiting to get into police academies. It doesn’t yield a better result, really not even a different one.

    The cult of officer safety is a powerful thing, powerfully reinforced at all levels by the threat of social exclusion. A cop can speak out against drug prohibition, he can speak out against racial profiling, he can speak out in favor of the 4th Amendment. Those things would just make him an eccentric to his peers.

    But let him say “I think this officer safety hype has gone too far”, and all his friends will become enemies.

    Against that, background and training mean nothing. I swear you could hire cops straight from the American Diabetes Association, and six months later they’d be right there with the rest screaming at a shock victim: “Stop resisting! He’s aggressive. He’s hopped on something…”

  2. #2 |  markm | 

    “Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Rojo #28,

    Hey, just because the homeless shelters crippled by this food ban are full of Lefties, doesn’t mean the ban came from anywhere other than the Left. The fact that the Left devours its own ideological parents (and children) is nothing new. That’s been going on at least since the first Menshevik got a bullet in his brain.”

    Much longer than that – look up Robespierre and Danton.

  3. #3 |  Second St. | 

    I’m all for a ban on feeding the homeless in public.

    Church groups and other do-gooders come my neighborhood so that they can be seen feeding the homeless. This means bologna sandwiches and hot dogs (six or seven times a day at the park across the street from me) and free-floating sytrofoam and plastic everywhere, which is not to mention lack of available toilets. It might also mean listening to hellfire and brimstone all day because some would-be preacher bought a $90 megaphone at Radio Shack.

    I live in a zip code with the highest concentration of social services agencies, which is just fine. These agencies have repeatedly attempted to partner with these groups so that they can serve homeless folks real food, indoors, with clean kitchens, at tables, and where someone might wash their hands and use a toilet. The groups refuse.

    The point of the exercise isn’t the food or feeding the homeless; it’s to be seen feeding the homeless, and more often than not, to proselytize. There’s no dignity in that.

  4. #4 |  Other Sean | 

    Thanks for giving us such a revealing specimen there, Second St:

    “The point of the exercise isn’t the food or feeding the homeless; it’s to be seen feeding the homeless…There’s no dignity in that.”

    Only someone who didn’t care about the homeless, would care about scrutinizing the motives of those who feed them.

    You can’t spread “dignity” on a donated bagel, and it wouldn’t taste any better if you could.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’d like to see the widow (diabetic man’s wife) sue for $500 Billion. First, that still wouldn’t come close to balancing the scales (nothing can bring a person back to life). Second, it would help people understand what a billion is (and maybe fathom what a trillion is). Third, it would completely bankrupt Maryland and force them to start da fuck over (which appears to be the only hope at “reform”).

    However; if we put this case on the watch list, we’ll come back in 5 years and find not much has happened. “Old guy beaten to death by cops while driving home from bible class” seems like the perfect case, but even this doesn’t stand a chance.

    Cops = biggest threat to civilians.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Church groups and other do-gooders come my neighborhood so that they can be seen feeding the homeless.

    So? For this you want to make folks go hungry? You might want to check your humanity subscription as it may have expired.

    Remember that when you criminalize something you say you will use violence to enforce it. That means you’ll respond with violence if someone gives a homeless guy a sandwich. It might just be that I’m currently high, but I have to think there’s a better way.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @ #24 | C. S. P. Schofield

    I agree. Also, I can easily imagine DNR becoming the decision of the state (and we know how they like to keep you alive–for God’s will or something) complete with a 600 page rule book and decision flow chart. That even means that if you have cancer and choose not to undergo treatment, you could be forced to. Cynical folks might say it’s because those expensive cancer treatments aren’t going to use themselves up…gotta keep sales going and having the state enforce it is pretty easy. Yes, a paranoid scenario. But, I wouldn’t be so paranoid if my paranoid scenarios didn’t keep coming true.

    I don’t mean to offend with my reference to “God’s will”, which is why I didn’t say which God.

  8. #8 |  Jim | 

    ‘Cops = biggest threat to civilians.’

    Cops are civilians too.

  9. #9 |  Second St. | 

    Maybe you should read my whole post: No one in this neighborhood is going hungry for want of a park hot dog. Six or seven groups a day pass them out to an assembled 20 or so people. The residents of the neighborhood — many of whom donate to and volunteer at outreach centers — are left to clean up after such “charity.”

    Two outreach centers adjacent to the park also offer meals. These centers have approached the groups passing out hot dogs and have offered to let them use their clean kitchens where people can wash their hands and sit at a table to eat. They continue to refuse the offer.

    This is about wearing one’s religion and “generosity” on one’s sleeve, nothing more.

    One group of suburbanites came to the park yesterday. Foresaking the ample on-street parking, they drove their cars into the park. I’m very happy the police told them to scram.

    Personally, I’d like to drive on their lawns, extoll the virtues of atheism from a bullhorn, and pass out hot dogs to their neighbors. Something tells me that wouldn’t fly.

  10. #10 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #51 the other Sean: “That kind of happens already, as EMS is something a lot of people do while they’re waiting to get into police academies. It doesn’t yield a better result, really not even a different one.”

    Yes this does happen, but the opposite also occurs from time to time. I work in the healthcare security field and have, within the last year, completely abandoned any plans of working as a public sector LEO. The opportunities for advancement/specialization in private security are limited if you don’t have a police/military background (or fellate the right manager), so I have decided to pursue EMS. I also know former cops who left policing for the EMS field.

    When I was a police applicant I–perhaps naively in retrospect–sought to help people during some of the most trying times of their lives. Due to what I have learned about policing in the last several years, I feel that I will have a better shot at accomplishing this goal in EMS. EMS is a fairly young field and is evolving. This seems to contrast sharply with law enforcement. The pay is not stellar (unless you are a fire-fighter/paramedic with a public fire department) but I won’t have to violate my principles on a routine basis. I think I am in the process of choosing the better field and that is worth more to me than a higher salary.

  11. #11 |  Other Sean | 

    Second St #59,

    Maybe you’re right. If you really have six or seven groups competing to help 20 homeless people, maybe it is just a preacher’s corner masquerading as a food bank. Lord knows I hate me some preachers, so you have my sympathy there.

    What I do not take back is the general sense of my argument: Motives are a private matter. They are really only important when planning and evaluating one’s own moral choices. They mean very little when judging the actions of others.

    From your first post, it seemed you meant to discount the value of giving just because the giver had an ulterior motive. That’s what prompted my reaction.

  12. #12 |  Other Sean | 

    Helmut #60,

    It’s crazy and tragic that police have such a lock on those security jobs; talk about a case of asymmetrical information between the buyers and sellers in the security market.

    Cops know nothing about protecting people and assets, they just know how to avenge them after a crime has been committed. Even worse: cops utterly suck at cost/benefit analyses, since they’re used to operating from functionally unlimited budgets. Most of what they do is encourage their new employers to overspend on staff and equipment.

    It makes me scream whenever I see some corporation hand over its security to a former police captain. They’d be so much better of with an economist or maybe an insurance adjuster.

    And hey, if I had any assets worth protecting, I’d hire you before some ex-cop.

  13. #13 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #62 Other Sean:
    Thanks very much for your kind words and for your excellent discussion of protection work vs. policing. The public–and hiring managers–is largely ignorant about the important distinctions between these different fields. This, in addition to rampant badge-licking, is the primary reason that retired cops or even part-time cops get the better security positions. I on the other hand now feel compelled to leave the private protection field even though I have a bachelor’s degree and over ten years of experience. I am most definitely not Paul Blart, but try explaining that to people who think that only the government can really protect them.

    Sadly, the only difference that people, including the police, tend to emphasize is the issue of arrest authority. A number of the dumb ass suspects I have dealt with over the years have given me the same old “you can’t do nuttin” song and dance. This is both simple-minded and incorrect. The proper way to explain this is that a private security officer simply has the same arrest power that any private citizen has. In my case, I just have more experience and training than most people have in this area. But truthfully, police arrest authority (which allows one to detain on “reasonable suspicion” and to enforce court orders) would rarely help me to do my job better.

    Thanks again for the discussion. Even though I’m probably on my way out I still like to talk about this stuff when people are willing to listen.

  14. #14 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Police again mistake a diabetic attack for intoxication. This time, they Tased and beat the man to death.

    How reasonably prudent of the officers as it is officer safety first, beating and tasering the suspect second and covering your ass third.

  15. #15 |  Personanongrata | 

    It’s sad that this article needed to be written. Sadder still, this sentence: Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned food donations to the homeless earlier this year “because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content.”

    Mike Bloomberg fraction of a human being.

  16. #16 |  Shane | 

    As to a detail or two perhaps missing from the account of another death in custody, see this recent item from The Salt Lake Tribune (note that the two responding were inexplicably placed on paid administrative leave, apparently because an arrestee stopped breathing):

    Salt Lake City police say they are investigating the death of a man who died while in custody Saturday.

    Officers were called at 3:35 a.m. to the 700 South block of Laconia Court on a report of a man screaming on the roadway.

    Police found a 44-year-old man who began to have breathing problems. An ambulance was called and the man was medically evaluated, according to police. But he subsequently stopped breathing and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

    The two officers who responded to the call were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. The medical examiner’s office will determine the manner and cause of the man’s death.

  17. #17 |  Douglas Willinger | 

    “But now there are so many 25-year-old bloggers, many of them showing up on the TV talk shows, that the old-timers are struggling to catch up”

    Quin does not know what she is writing about- she sound like she deserves a freeway through her overpriced home.