Patterico's Pontifications

4/22/2021

Remembering the Good Old Days When Teens Could While Away the Afternoon Hours with Harmless Knife Fighting

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:17 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Charles C. W. Cooke, one of the sharpest wits in conservative journalism these days, counters the reactionary tendencies of our host by leaping to the defense of Valerie Jarrett, Bree Newsome, Sherrod Brown, and all the other stellar intellects who have argued that attacking another teenage girl with a knife was no reason for a cop to get all antsy and shoot Ma’Khia Bryant. With due respect to the memory of the late Miss Bryant, the estimable Mr. Cooke deploys a Swiftian sense of satire that is worth reading in its entirety. But to whet your appetite, here are some great paragraphs:

Just when I thought that America couldn’t possibly get any softer, people start suggesting that there’s a role for the police in preventing knife murders. The snowflake generation strikes once again.

Is there any tradition that the radicals won’t ruin? As the brilliant Bree Newsome pointed out on Twitter, “Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons.” And now people are calling the cops on them? I ask: Is this a self-governing country or not? When Newsome says, “We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon,” she may be expressing a view that is unfashionable these days. But she’s right.

[. . .]

In all honesty, I worry that this sort of helicopter policing is making us weak. Back in my day, the people who survived a good stabbing came out stronger for it. I learned a lot of lessons from my time in the ring: self-reliance, how to overcome fear, the importance of agility, the basics of military field dressing. And, given the turnover, I also learned how to make new friends.

When the world has become so frustratingly obtuse, about the only way to cope is through relentless mockery of the lunatic voices who are unfortunately given prominence. One last exhortation: go read the entire piece: Charlie Cooke and NRO deserve the pageview.

– JVW

Democrat Politicians Continue to Demagogue Race and Police Shootings

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



The rank demagoguery continues:

What does “justice and accountability” mean in this context? The plain facts of the death of Ma’Khia Bryant case show that the officer who killed her was justified in doing so. (By the way, by saying that, I have revealed myself to be an “asshole” in the words of a writer for The Atlantic:

Well, she’s not wrong about me, anyway.)

LeBron James tweeted out a photo of the cop to his 50 million followers and said “YOU’RE NEXT” with the hashtag #ACCOUNTABILITY. He later deleted the tweet and blamed his critics for it.

This is insanity.

I showed you the video yesterday but watch it if you didn’t. Bryant was swinging a knife at a girl in pink and just about to stab her when the officer shot her.

There is now garage security camera footage of the same incident from across the street:

The neighbor whose camera took the footage says he believes police had no choice.

The officer should be given a ticker tape parade. He is a hero. There is no doubt in my mind that he saved the girl in pink from a violent attack that could have killed her.

You do realize that teenaged girls are capable of killing one another with knives, correct? This story came out of Cincinnati yesterday:

A 13-year-old girl, accused of killing another 13-year-old girl, appeared in court for the first time Wednesday. Officials say Janiah Pate fatally stabbed Nyaira Givens with a pocket knife on Monday.

Police responded to the scene on Topridge Place in the city’s Winton Hills neighborhood at 9:08 p.m.

Responding officers found Givens suffering from a stab wound to the right side of her neck. Fire personnel responded and rushed Givens to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where she later died.

Yet the Joe Biden administration, which reliably demagogues every issue with a potential racial angle, rushed to portray this shooting as an example of systematic racism:

Cory Booker was not the first senator to invoke racism. That “honor” went to Sherrod Brown:

Meanwhile, the media continues to mislead the public:

It’s no wonder we have a moral panic about police shootings and race in this country. Democrat politicians should be added to Big Media and social media as part of the triumvirate of culprits driving much of America insane with this obsession.

UPDATE: As the evidence that this girl was justifiably killed adds up, the demagoguery multiples.

“I’m gonna stab the fuck out of you”:

Meanwhile, Rashida “no more policing” Tlaib weighs in:

4/21/2021

Palette Cleanser: Florida Wedding Caper

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:49 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The news has been pretty heavy this week, so here’s a crazy little story from Florida about a couple who planned to hold their wedding at a luxurious estate. Problem was, they didn’t have the owner’s approval:

Two lovebirds thought a palatial mansion in scenic Southwest Ranches was the perfect place to tie the knot.

God called them there, they said. So the pair, referring to themselves as “the Royal Couple,” posted an online invitation to “our dream home and estate” — a 16,313-square-foot home with nine bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a theater and an 800-square-foot bar.

Trouble was, it was someone else’s home.

The owner was confounded when groom Courtney Wilson and another person showed up at the gate Saturday morning, prepared to set up for Wilson’s wedding to Shenita Jones at what the invite called “the Wilson estate.”

“I have people trespassing on my property,” a fed-up Nathan Finkel told a 911 dispatcher. “And they keep harassing me, calling me. They say they’re having a wedding here and it’s God’s message. I don’t know what’s going on. All I want is [for] it to stop. And they’re sitting at my property right at the front gate right now.”

Wilson, his bride and their guests never made it onto the sprawling $5.7 million property.

Oops:

The wedding was supposed to start at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. A “Red Carpet Cocktail Hour” was to take place immediately afterward followed by a reception that was to last well past midnight until 2:30 a.m.

Guests were invited to return the following day for Sunday brunch from noon to 4 p.m.

“The guy figured it was a vacant house and didn’t realize Nathan lived on the property in a different home,” said Poliakoff, the town attorney. “This guy had no idea he lived there. You know the shock that must have been on his face when he showed up at the gate and the owner was home?”

The individuals left when directed.

P.S. Some months before the wedding, Wilson reportedly visited the property and presented himself as a potential buyer. He then asked Finkle if he could use the mansion for his wedding. Finkle said no.

–Dana

Face It: Big Media and Social Media Have Combined to Stoke a Moral Panic About Police Shootings and Race

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Yesterday, a Columbus police officer shot and killed a teenage girl who was in the process of attacking another girl with a knife. The police department rushed out the bodycam footage and presented it at a press conference:

Typical of the media coverage of the incident was this Washington Post story: Ohio police fatally shoot Black teenage girl just before Chauvin verdict:

Police said at a late news conference on Tuesday that the girl had threatened two others with a knife before the shooting, playing segments of body camera video that showed the victim lunging toward someone in a driveway before an officer fired four shots. A knife is visible in the driveway next to the girl as police perform CPR on her.

You would never know from reading the story that the girl had the knife in her hand and was in the process of attacking the girl in pink when she was shot. But that is clearly what happened if you watch the video.

That story is not an isolated example.

Why would a newspaper not report the clear evidence that the girl was attacking another girl with a knife that was visible in her hand for all the world to see? Why would newspaper headlines make this about race?

Donald Trump poisoned media criticism; even when the media misbehaved, calling it out always fed into a narrative that protected an administration fueled by lies.

But it’s time to call this what it is: media malpractice. This intense hyperfocus on race is spurring a moral panic, causing presumably otherwise rational people to jump to conclusions and trumpet them far and wide.

So far online the reactions I am seeing include:

  • The police should never kill anyone under any circumstances.

    • Why not shoot her in the leg, ar only shoot once? Or shoot the knife out of her hand?

  • Knife fights with girls happen; what’s the big deal?

The widespread insanity inherent in these reactions, to me, is the kind of thing you see in a moral panic. And the media is stoking it by constantly playing up the racial angle, and failing to give statistics that might provide context to what we are seeing (such as noting the disproportionate number of police killed by black shooters, a fact that would contextualize the disproportionate number of blacks killed by police; or noting the currently uncovered examples of police shootings of white people). It’s malpractice and it’s creating a frenzy.

Something has to give.

4/20/2021

Open Thread: Chauvin Verdict — Guilty on All Counts

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:22 pm



[guest post by JVW]

1:20 pm Pacific — It’s been announced that the jury has reached a verdict which will be read sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 pm Pacific Time (3:30 and 4:30 pm Central Time).

2:06 pm — Guilty on all charges. I’ll detail the charges in a moment.

2:10 pm — From the language used by the judge, here’s what Mr. Chauvin was convicted of:

Count one: Unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony.
Count two: Third-degree murder, perpetrating a dangerous act.
Count three: Second-degree manslaughter with negligence, creating an unreasonable risk.

2:35 pm — Just heard a news commentator say that Mr. Chauvin will be sentenced in approximately eight weeks.

Discuss here.

– JVW

Stupid Washington Politicians Can’t Stop Themselves from Commenting on the Chauvin Trial

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:07 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Probably most of you saw this yesterday:

Representative Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) told demonstrators to “stay in the street” and become “more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted of killing resident George Floyd.

[. . .]

“I’m going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice,” Waters told reporters at the Saturday demonstration. “We’ve got to get justice in this country and we cannot allow these killings to continue.”

When asked what protesters should do moving forward, Waters said “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Waters told reporters “I hope we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty,” in the Chauvin trial. “And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”

The judge on the Chauvin case was none too happy about the Congresswoman’s comments, acknowledging that they could provide the defense ammunition should Mr. Chauvin appeal a conviction in this case. You know, in case the transformation of the Hennepin County Court complex into a militarized zone with fencing, checkpoints, and National Guard troops wasn’t an ominous enough sign that the city and county were almost demanding the guilty verdict that the Minneapolis mayor and Gopher State governor had so helpfully pronounced in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Having seen the brouhaha from Congresswoman Waters’ comments, it would seem that any half-sentient federally elected office-holder would steer way clear of commenting on this case until after a verdict is rendered. So it should come as no surprise that President Joe Biden failed to keep his mouth shut and earlier today weighed in on the matter as only his disorganized and frail mind could manage. Being his usual too-cute-by-half self, the President rendered a verdict without letting us know his ruling, declaring “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view.”

Even granting that the President’s addled mind might not quite recall from moment to moment whether the prosecution or defense should carry the day and precisely upon what charge, it’s impossible to believe that this Administration isn’t staffed almost uniformly by people who believe that Derek Chauvin is guilty of one or more crimes, and I would venture to guess that a significant number of them believe him guilty of murder. Jen Psaki, who when not being mostly frivolous is a notorious fibber and dissembler from way back, predictably denied that what her boss was doing could be construed as rendering a verdict on a trial before the jury has their say. As Philip Klein points out, Ms. Psaki has been very busy in recent days convincing the White House Press Corps, who have thus far followed this Administration with a sense of bemused forbearance for incompetence and a willingness to allow the Biden team to set the bar for accomplishment extraordinarily low, that President Biden didn’t really say what everyone heard him say.

I guess that the “return to normalcy” really meant a return to how we covered Administrations from 1993-2001 and again from 2009-2017. I should have figured.

– JVW

The Most Crucial Step We Can Take to Reduce Police Shootings: Stop the Culture of Non-Compliance

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



An update on my post yesterday about the Washington Post‘s failure to update their police shootings database in at least one glaring instance.

First, I looked at their stated criteria and they do evince an intent to keep the database updated, which is good:

The Post’s database is updated regularly as fatal shootings are reported and as facts emerge about individual cases.

Second, I started combing through some of the other 2019 shootings of “unarmed” black men and found no other obvious errors. I did see a lot of shootings that seemed clearly justified, and some that were questionable. But there was a clear thread throughout: the suspects were to some degree noncompliant.

Here’s an example of one of those shootings where the suspect was not just noncompliant but also violent:

But “unarmed.”

This leads me to this observation:

Fixing the culture of non-compliance with police would lower police shooting deaths more than any other solution. Pretending this is false ensures the problem will continue.

This is not to say police are never at fault. They sometimes are. Sometimes egregiously so. But in the vast majority of cases, including ones where they are at fault, full compliance from the outset would have avoided the entire incident. That is a fact and it matters, if you care about these deaths.

Nothing about my point suggests we cannot recognize and address other issues that contribute to these shootings. But non-compliance is the most common thread in these shootings (other than the suspects being male). It’s insane not to notice this and try to fix it.

Watch this video, which I linked in my recent Substack newsletter:

The civil rights activist who underwent use of the force training shown in this video concluded with this observation: “I didn’t understand how important compliance was . . . People need to comply with the orders of law enforcement officers for their own sake.”

People who say this on social media these days are roundly mocked and told they are minimizing racism and police abuse. They are told they are advocating a police state and they might as well be Nazis. But you could believe police abuse and racism are widespread and rampant and still advocate compliance because it saves lives.

It’s just a fact. Not a popular fact, but a fact nonetheless.

P.S. This is a theme I’ll likely be taking up more and more in coming days. In particular, I plan to start combing through these databases to look for the factor of noncompliance with police orders. Oddly, that’s not a factor in their database that is catalogued that you can see with a click of a mouse. I wonder why not.

4/19/2021

Does the Washington Post Not Update Their Police Shooting Database When New Information Is Available?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I discovered something interesting yesterday: there is a chance that the Washington Post database of shootings does not get updated to reflect new information — meaning that, for example, shootings where a suspect is described as “unarmed” may not be updated to reflect later evidence showing they actually were armed. (The converse could happen too, I suppose, although such stories tend to get national attention anyway.) I’ll have to do some research to see if I stumbled on an isolated example or if this a pervasive problem, but it’s worth sharing what I found with a promise to investigate further.

Yesterday, in a discussion with Tim Miller about my newsletter on the Adam Toledo shooting, Tim cited statistics about police shootings in 2019. I accessed the WaPo database, which is well known as a universally used reference for data on police shootings, and responded to him. The precise details of our conversation are outside the scope of this post, but the discussion caused me to look up how many people killed by police in 2019 (999) were considered armed with some kind of weapon by the database (925). I then hit the racial breakdown (26 dead “unarmed” white folks, 12 dead “unarmed” black folks, 11 dead “unarmed” Hispanics, and a small handful of others). Scrolling through the 12 dead “unarmed” black folks, I picked one at random to look at the facts of their case, to see what the Post considered to be “unarmed” and what the circumstances of the case were that led to the shooting. The name I selected at random was that of Channara Tom Pheap:

Screen Shot 2021-04-19 at 8.36.31 AM

The entry has a link to a relatively uninformative news story from the Knoxville News Sentinel:

One person was shot and killed and a Knoxville police officer injured after the two got into a physical altercation Monday afternoon following a hit-and-run crash in the 1700 block of Merchant Drive.

Tammy Mattina, a Knoxville Police Department sergeant and spokeswoman, said the officer was responding to a hit-and-run around 5:40 p.m. when the officer and the suspect got into a physical altercation that led to the officer firing shots.

Then I decided to Google the suspect’s name to see if anything new had developed since that initial story. Result number one on Google was this article: Knoxville police officer was justified in killing Channara ‘Philly’ Pheap, prosecutors say:

Knoxville Police Department Officer Dylan Williams was justified in fatally shooting Channara “Philly” Pheap in August, prosecutors announced Thursday.

At a news conference, Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said her office reviewed a slew of evidence — including crime scene photographs, police cruiser video and five eyewitness statements — that all together corroborated Williams’ account he shot Pheap because he feared for his life when Pheap choked him, grabbed his Taser and used it on him during a struggle at a local apartment complex.

“Based upon all the witness statements, the forensic proof and certainly the Taser, we believe that at the time (Williams) did believe that his life was in danger and that Mr. Pheap was in fact going to kill him,” Allen said. “Therefore after a review of all those facts, we’ve determined that it was in fact a justifiable shooting.”

More details of the encounter are described later in the story:

What happened next was not caught on video. Pheap ran to the side of the police cruiser in the parking lot. Williams twice threatened to shock Pheap with his Taser. The officer said at that point, Pheap turned around and put his hands in the air — only to lunge forward and grab the front of the Taser moments later.

Williams said Pheap wrested the Taser from his grasp as he tried and failed to free his police dog from the back seat of his cruiser. Pheap fired the Taser at the officer, and Williams said he felt electricity in his arms and neck.

“I thought he was gonna kill me. I thought he’s gonna shoot this at me, he’s gonna incapacitate me and he’s gonna be able to take my gun and shoot me,” Williams told investigators, according to the memo. “I had time to think, I’m gonna die and thinking about my wife and kid that I’m never gonna see again.”

Williams fired two shots with his service weapon. Prosecutors said Pheap then ran, bleeding, around a nearby dumpster and fell to the ground.

Does that sound like an unarmed man to you?

Whatever the Post thought when it first entered Pheap into its database as an example of an “unarmed” police shooting victim, it’s hard to believe those criteria would apply when Pheap had armed himself with the officer’s Taser before he was shot.

Another weird detail was evident. I work in Long Beach, which contains the largest population of Cambodians outside Cambodia. I have prosecuted many cases involving Cambodian gang members, and based on that experience, the name “Channara Tom Pheap” sounded Cambodian to me. I was curious how this man had been classified as “black” by the WaPo and read this second story to see if I could find anything about that. All I could find was this:

“Hey, do you drive a car down here?” Williams asked, according to audio and video released for the first time at the news conference Thursday.

“No,” Pheap said.

Williams used his radio to ask for a description of the suspect in the hit-and-run.

“Light to medium skin, black male or Hispanic,” came the response.

“Oh, what do you know,” Williams said to Pheap, who was of Cambodian descent.

Due to sloppiness and a failure to update the database, what the Washington Post database describes as a shooting of an unarmed black man turns out to be a justified shooting of a Cambodian man who grabbed a Taser from a police officer and tased the officer with it, before the officer shot the man and killed him.

All of these details were available in 2019. But someone consulting the Washington Post police shootings database today, in 2021, still sees Pheap listed as one of 12 unarmed black men killed by police in 2019.

I’ll be looking into this further to see whether this is an isolated case or whether the database has other failures to update.

4/18/2021

The Constitutional Vanguard: The Reaction to the Shooting of Adam Toledo

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:13 pm



This week’s free Constitutional Vanguard newsletter is up, and it addresses the shooting of Adam Toledo in Chicago.

[W]e are talking barely over .8 seconds total.

Try this experiment: grab a phone and open a stopwatch app. Hit “start” and think to yourself — as fast as you possibly can, but without speaking out loud — the words “oh shit he’s got a gun I’d better fire” . . . and then stop the stopwatch. Do it several times. When I did it, I tended to get between .75 seconds and around a second or so. Racing my mind as fast as I can, I can’t even think those words much faster than 839 milliseconds.

The people opining about this on Twitter appear to have absolutely no concept of a thing often called “perception-reaction time”: the time between perceiving a need for action and the time it takes to take the action. I’m not an expert on this topic, which comes up a lot in auto accident reconstruction cases, and Web research does not reveal any completely consistent standard length of time between perceptions and reactions. Unsurprisingly, perception-reaction time can depend on a number of factors, like whether the event is expected, distractions, visibility, cognitive impairment, and the like. This discussion, which seems to be but one of many available, seems to suggest a widespread consensus that the average time between perception and reaction is slightly over a second, but it can certainly be quicker or longer than that. The point is: it’s not instantaneous. There’s a reason you’re advised to leave a fair amount of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you on the freeway; namely, it will take you a certain amount of time to perceive that the car in front of you is slowing or has illuminated its brake lights. Then you will have to react to that perception and hit the brake with your foot. All of this takes time.

Read it all here, and subscribe here.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 134

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:51 am



It is the third Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß” (A heart that knows its Jesus is living).

Today’s Gospel reading is another record of the appearance of Jesus among the living. Luke 24:36b-48:

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. Number 4, a duet aria, contains these words:

the Savior appears and comforts us again
and through Himself strengthens the struggling Church

Number 5, a recitative, has these words:

May your Hand enclose us,
so that we behold your powerful potency,
which your death and victory has earned us,
and that now, through your Resurrection,
a person does not die, even when he dies in the world,
and that through this we enter into Your glory.
Whatever is in us exalts You, great God,
and praises Your mercy and love;
your Resurrection makes them new again,
your great victory makes us free from the enemy
and brings us to life;
Therefore let thanks and praise be given to You.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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