Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: Rebutting the Claim that Black People Are Disproportionately Shot by Police

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:08 pm

We’re told that we must say “Black Lives Matter” and not “All Lives Matter” because black people are the ones who have the problem with being shot by police. Statistics do seem to show that they are fatally shot in numbers disproportionate to their percentages of the population. But do those numbers truly reflect the threat they pose to police officers, which in turn explains the percentage who are fatally shot?

The answer, it turns out, is no. This is what Big Media has not been telling you:

What if I told you that roughly 34% of unarmed victims of fatal police shootings are black — but 37% of known killers of police are black? Wouldn’t you conclude that police officers are killing unarmed black folks at a slightly lower rate than is justified by the actual threat black people are posing to police officers?

I think you would.

And, as you may have guessed, that is the reality in which we live . . . as I am about to show you.

This is the magnum opus I have been working on for some time. Don’t let the length fool you: it’s 3,374 words, but only about 2,000 of that is the main piece. The last 1,300-1,400 words are the mathematical breakdown of the statistics, both for the benefit of obsessives, and to allow people to check my work.

Which I hope you do, because I want to make sure I have this right. Because I plan to refer to it often in the future. To me, this is the Great Untold Story of why so many black people seem to be shot by police.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

Soon, I will finish my work for paid subscribers on the analyses of 2019 police shootings of unarmed suspects, and perhaps discuss all this in a podcast.

Putting Government in Charge of Speech to Own the Libs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

There are two recent examples of so-called “conservatives” suggesting that we grant power to the government to control speech. For the good of the people, you understand. We’re from the government and we’re here to help decide what you can and cannot say. Could any principle be more conservatismer?

Most obvious and perhaps more concerning is Ron DeSantis’s signing of a bill to regulate social media. I’ll hand the mic to Mike Masnick of TechDirt:

We’ve talked about a bunch of states pushing blatantly unconstitutional social media content moderation bills, with Florida leading the pack as the most eager to waste taxpayer money on something so obviously bogus. As you’ll recall, at the end of last month, Florida really added some unconstitutional icing on the unconstitutional cake by exempting Disney (and any other company that owned a theme park in Florida) from the bill’s social media requirements.

The bill has a few different unconstitutional provisions, but the one getting the most attention is that it bans non-theme park associated websites from removing content or accounts from people running for office. There are also the ridiculous transparency clauses that have become stupidly popular of late, and which really serve as a smokescreen to allow users to sue websites for being moderated.

And despite tons of experts explaining why this is unconstitutional, Governor Ron DeSantis — who made this bill a key plank in his “look at me, I’m a MAGA culture warrior” platform — has now signed the bill.

Absurd. You can recognize that many decisions made by Twitter and Facebook are stupid without reacting by wanting to put the censorious morons who run our government in charge of our speech.

Today we have Mr. Federalist, David “The President Of The United States Should Not Wear A Mask” Marcus, explaining why the government needs to be in charge of regulating fact-checkers:

The First Amendment rightly renders government powerless to regulate news outlets’ publishing content from their own in house fact checkers — they are protected by freedom of the press. But third party independent fact checkers are another story entirely. [Huh? WTF? — Ed.] These are entities such as Lead Stories, Politifact, and even the Associated Press that offer their fact checking expertise to social media platforms so the latter can claim they are not making editorial decisions. But that only works if third party fact checkers are operating objectively and without bias. It is quite obvious that this is not the case. 

Um, everyone has freedom of speech, dude. It’s not just the press.

So what can be done about this dangerous situation? A new bill before the Michigan House of Representatives is a move in the right direction. The bill would require fact checkers to register with the government and carry insurance to cover payment to those who suffer financial damages as a result of a bogus fact check.

Laws like this can establish simple, uniform practices that fact checkers must abide by to provide fairness in the service they provide. 

Regulating the fact checking industry would provide much needed accountability to the American people. Furthermore, regulations that insist uniform standards be applied by third party fact checkers should not be difficult to abide by. It is fact checking after all, not opinion checking, or tone checking, or social responsibility checking.  

Facts are supposed to be stubborn. Either an article or post is factual or it isn’t. At the point at which fact checkers are citing lack of context, or concerns about methodology they are no longer fact checking and should not be allowed to claim the service they are selling is doing so. 

Regulating the fact checking industry would not be any kind of government censorship of the media; it would not deprive any publishing entity from running a fact check. It would merely ensure that companies which sell their fact checking services are applying objective standards when evaluating material.

“Objective standards” . . . as determined by politicians who hate having their lies fact-checked. Yes, that sounds like such a great idea! And so conservative!

Once again, many of the complaints about fact-checkers are sound. I have made these complaints myself, and this is an excellent summary of the problem as it relates to the way fact-checkers have treated sites that have published about the lab leak theory for the coronavirus.

But the solution is not putting people like Donald Trump or Joe Biden in charge of what you can say.

An actual quote from this piece begins: “This may seem antithetical to traditional conservative values of small government, but …” LOL. Ya think?

A truthful end to that sentence would be: “… but let’s be honest: nobody gives a shit about that stuff anymore in the glorious Trump era.”

What Happens When the Nutjobs Are Put in Charge of Educating Our Kids

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:22 am

[guest post by JVW]

You won’t believe what has been going on in the oh-so-achingly-progressive Boston Public Schools:

As a Boston high school sophomore, Keondre McClay said he was pressured by the head of a district-sponsored youth advocacy program to attend an overnight retreat in Newton, where white adults asked the Black [sic] teenager to wrestle out his emotions on a gym mat with them. They said it would help him purge his trauma from experiencing racism.

McClay fled to his room. Jenny Sazama, the program leader, and other retreat participants chased after him. For more than an hour, he recalled recently, they hugged him on his bed and entreated him to return to the group “counseling” session while he hid under the covers screaming, “Please leave me alone!”

When they eventually left, he locked the door, but someone got the facilities manager to unlock it. McClay called someone to help him get home at midnight.

“I was, for lack of a better word, assaulted,” said McClay, now 21, a former student representative to the Boston School Committee.

This wasn’t some random occurrence that happened after a night of drinking or even an overreaction in the heat of the moment. This assault on young Mr. McClay was part of a particular form of therapy called, in an appropriately Maoist manner, “Re-Education Counseling” which Ms. Sazama had brought to the Boston Student Advisory Council program, the youth advocacy group to which Mr. McClay belonged. More details (all emphasis added by me):

In “RC,” students were encouraged to share intensely personal information in a group, and to cry, yell, or scream, with no professional follow-up. Twice-monthly sessions took place in the basement of Sazama’s home in Jamaica Plain, but the teens also participated in RC gatherings, like the one McClay attended, with adult strangers.

The sessions continued for at least 15 years, with little oversight by the Boston Public Schools, which hired Sazama as an outside contractor to run the council. Sazama, who holds no credentials to provide mental health care, is a lifelong devotee of RC and a leader in the international organization that promotes it.

Jenny Sazama has for nearly three decades run a program called Youth on Board, which in itself is an offshoot of the national YouthBuild USA nonprofit organization. YouthBuild describes its mission as “champion[ing] today’s opportunity youth who aspire to improve their lives and communities by building the skills and resources to reach their full potential,” and it receives taxpayer-funded grants from the Department of Labor. Youth on Board, who recently made its website private, advocates for allowing students to be involved in decision-making within school districts, and aspires to train students for these roles. It’s unsurprisingly big on social justice pabulum as a rationale for “giving kids a voice.”

Incredibly enough, BPS did not have a formal contract with Youth on Board and to the degree which they provided oversight it was merely by assigning an employee named Maria Estrada — who had once briefly worked for Jenny Sazama at Youth on Board — to the task. A concerned staffer allegedly challenged both Ms. Estrada and Ms. Sazama nearly a decade ago on the eccentric practices of Re-Education Counseling being used in student training, but the two women managed to ignore her concerns. If you have as low a view of most big city bureaucracies as I have, you won’t be surprised to find out that nobody at BPS is interested on commenting on the twenty-plus year association they had with Youth on Board. Ms. Sazama has subsequently left the organization.

And Re-Education Counseling is not just some anodyne therapeutical technique readily embraced by a wide cross-section of everyday Americans. Like so much in faddish modern education, it’s pretty controversial to anyone who is not a professional ideologue:

RC has taken root in Boston and nationwide among pockets of progressive activists, who view it as a vehicle for social change. Adherents see the cathartic release of emotion, or “discharge,” as a remedy for healing both personal distress and societal trauma. If enough people and organizations discharged regularly, the thinking goes, the world could end oppression and environmental destruction. That’s why its members often try to recruit others. It’s also why RC theory regards psychiatric drugs as toxic — they interfere with emotional release.

But RC’s emphasis on displaying emotions before an audience, which psychology researchers say increases susceptibility to manipulation, has led critics to deride it as cult-like.

There is more at the Boston Globe article about these manipulative people plying their cultish psychobabble on impressionable young minds, all on the taxpayer dime. Read it at your own peril. It’s in equal measure aggravating and depressing and it serves as a sad reminder that so much of the education of our nation’s youth — especially in large urban bureaucratic wastelands — has been given over to credentialed chuckleheads. BPS has commissioned a report of the fiasco and key administrators are busy insisting that they knew nothing about any of this, so don’t expect any real repercussions just as long as BPS keeps the teachers’ union happy. Maybe some school systems really were better off over the last year when kids were kept away from campus and generally out of the clutches of ideologically-driven lunatics.


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