Patterico's Pontifications


More Distortion of the Facts of a Police Shooting

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:11 pm

The L.A. Times runs another story on the boy shot by LAPD after he rammed his car into a patrol car. This one is titled Black Leaders Express Anger at Boy’s Death. The sub-head reads: “LAPD’s fatal shooting of auto-theft suspect, 13, prompts questions over why the department has not yet revised its policy on firing at moving cars.” And the opening paragraph says:

As black community leaders expressed growing anger over the death of a 13-year-old boy shot Sunday by a Los Angeles police officer, Police Chief William J. Bratton sought Monday to explain why the department hasn’t changed its policy on firing at moving vehicles, a year after he said it should be revised.

Like the previous story, the initial description of the incident in this version still employs the magic word “toward”:

Officer Steven Garcia, a 9-year veteran, fired 10 shots early Sunday at 13-year-old Devin Brown, who was driving a stolen 1990 Toyota Camry. Garcia, standing outside his police car, opened fire when Devin allegedly backed the Toyota toward the patrol unit.

Late, late in the story, the word “into” makes its sole appearance as part of a police version of the incident:

When Devin, who was driving, allegedly backed into the officers’ car, Garcia opened fire.

No mention is made of the dent in the car.

It looks like this is the version that will run in tomorrow’s paper. It will run on the front page of either the California section or, more likely, section A. And the whispered hint that the driver actually hit the patrol car will be buried well inside the section.

Business as usual at your Orwellian Dog Trainer.

What a Difference a Preposition Can Make

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 10:09 pm

The L.A. Times runs a story titled: Protests Follow Police Shooting of Unarmed Boy. The sub-head reads: “LAPD internal affairs has begun its investigation into whether the officer’s actions were in line with department policy.” And the first paragraph reads:

Angry residents today protested the police shooting of an unarmed boy in South Los Angeles on Sunday morning after police said the 13-year-old auto theft suspect backed his car toward an officer.

Wow. They shot him, and all he did was back his car toward the officer? That sounds bad.

Except that, that isn’t what happened. He didn’t just back his car “toward” an officer. He backed his car into a police car. In other words, he hit the police car.

Into. Not toward. Into.

The L.A. Times story does (sort of) get around to reporting this — eventually. After quoting numerous people on the street talking about how awful and dangerous the police are, we are told:

[Police Commission President David] Cunningham visited the site of the shooting Sunday afternoon, and said the police cruiser was badly dented and scratched, apparently from the impact of the stolen car.

Of course, we here at the Los Angeles Times have no way of knowing whether this is actually true. Was the car actually badly dented from the impact? Heck if we know. All we can tell you is that some guy said so. What are you asking us to do: check out his claim to see if it’s true??

I saw the story on the local news last night. They showed the dent in the patrol car. It wasn’t the biggest dent you’ve ever seen, but the kid definitely hit the car.

Look. I am not thrilled by the fact that LAPD appears to kill any driver who drives a car at a patrol vehicle. Like Chief Bratton, I have serious doubts about whether such shootings are really justified.

But the question is a much closer one if you are told the damn facts up front.

But that wouldn’t make a very compelling story, would it?

UPDATE: The next story is even worse.

What Role Should the Opinions of the Military Play in Whether We Start or Continue a War?

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 9:56 pm

Armed Liberal responds to the “chickenhawk” argument:

Can we just let the military serving in Iraq vote on the war and abide by their choice?

Armed Liberal is, of course, simply making the point that the military strongly supports President Bush’s Iraq war, as has been shown in poll after poll. Those who criticize hawks for not being willing to put their own lives on the line can’t ignore the fact that the war is strongly supported by those who do.

But it got me thinking. To what extent should the opinion of the active-duty members of our armed forces play a role in our decision to start or continue a war?

There are many factors to consider.

The most obvious is that it’s their blood being spilled. Who are we to tell them that the fight is (or isn’t) worth their lives?

Also, the military knows what is happening on the ground. If it really is an unresolvable quagmire, they know better than we do. They’re there. We’re not.

They also have a keener sense of the sacrifice of their brethren, and will be less prone than the politicians to throw that sacrifice aside for political reasons.

On the other hand, members of the military are taught to fight. They see war as the answer more readily than others might. As the saying goes, when you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Some military men think it’s “fun” to shoot the enemy — and as long as they keep their fool mouths shut about it, I can’t deny that we want our military men to have some degree of that attitude. But, obviously, there are legitimate factors that politicians are better positioned and equipped to consider.

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this, but I thought Armed Liberal’s comment, while he may have meant it as a simple refutation of the chickenhawk argument, was worth considering on a deeper level.

As always, I am interested in the opinions of people with different perspectives on this issue.

Kurtz’s Eason Jordan Piece Is Up

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

Howard Kurtz’s piece on Eason Jordan is up, and can be found here.

To me, it seems to be a reasonably balanced piece — but I have a feeling it will be strongly criticized by those who have been making a cause out of Jordan’s alleged remarks. Given the differing recollections of some of the witnesses, I’d still like to hear the tape, if one is available.

UPDATE: Captain Ed has some damn good questions about Kurtz’s piece. I hadn’t been reading Captain Ed’s blog carefully enough, obviously — but if you read this post closely, and follow all the links, it’s clear that there’s enough there to raise substantial questions about whether Howie K. really did a fair and balanced job.

I still want to see the tape. I still don’t know whether there’s anything there. And I am not encouraged by the possible stonewalling that Sisyphus is facing in getting it.

Howie K.: are you trying to get the tape?


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

I have finally gotten around to implementing the code for Blogads. Your ad could be right there, on the left margin, under where it says: “Patterico sells out.” What could be better?

Memo to Sir Paul McCartney from the Grammar Police

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 7:32 am

The phrase “this world in which we live in” has one too many instances of the word “in.” Please take care of this at your earliest convenience.

UPDATE: For one thing, it’s apparently “ever-changing world” — and a couple of commenters also say that it is “world in which we’re livin’.”

Well, okay then.

I’m Taking Bets

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:14 am

Do you think the L.A. Times will correct:

1) Its false statement that President Bush called Iraq an “imminent threat” in a State of the Union speech?

2) Its false statement that James Dobson accused SpongeBob SquarePants of being gay?

If so, when?

If not, do you think they will explain why not? And what will their reasoning be?

Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, enjoy the corrections that the paper is running, such as this one concerning the correct spelling of the last name of Jealous Sound guitarist Pedro Benito.

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