Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. EddieInCA says:

    What’s worse than working until 3/4am on a Friday (Fraturday?)

    Working until 3/4am on a Monday. This week is gonna suck.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Nothing in my career has ever come easy. And no surprise, this isn’t going to come easy either, I’ve always said I’m going to go until the wheels come off. And they finally have fallen off.”

    – Julian Edelman

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republicans push ‘tsunami’ of harsh anti-protest laws after BLM rallies

    Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said there have been “waves” of anti-protests bills introduced at state-level since late 2016, but not on this scale. “This year it’s proceeding at the clip of a tsunami,” Eidelman said. “It’s not just waves anymore. It’s different both in terms of numbers and in terms of the breadth of the bills.”

    In 2017, amid a swell of anti-Trump activism, more than 30 anti-protest bills were introduced, prompting the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to complain to the US state department, while legislation was also introduced in response to demonstrations against the Dakota access pipeline. In 2021, it’s the widespread Black Lives Matter protests of previous summer that seem to have prompted the anti-protest backlash.

    “It’s disappointing but not terribly surprising, because we had a really powerful and expressive summer of protest,” Eidelman said. “And as we have seen consistently in the last five or so years, legislators have chosen to respond to protests spilling out, people expressing themselves, by trying to silence those people, rather than trying to engage with their messages.”

    Many of the bills working their way through state legislatures share common provisions, whether creating vague and ill-defined new crimes, or increasing penalties on already illegal conduct.

    Not all of the bills will be passed into law, “but even the fact that they’re introduced is a serious problem”, Eidelman said. “Not only do these bills seek to impose monetary and criminal penalties, but there are also provisions in a number of states that would bar people from public employment, public benefits, and public office, which I think is really dangerous and troubling, especially during Covid when people are really requiring things like public benefits.”

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  4. Jen says:
  5. @Jen:

    Only 6 cases out of millions of doses but better safe than sorry I guess.

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  6. Teve says:

    The one-click civilization

    Fulfillment. We all seek it. But in his new book by that title, the ProPublica investigative reporter Alec MacGillis makes us look again at that word.

    It is a book about Amazon, the retail monopolist, and what it does to our communities. For the sake of our “fulfillment” and instant gratification, a swelling underclass of workers toils in “fulfillment” centers, their work often temporary and grueling, their careers often a shadow of what they once knew in more stable industries, whose carcasses, in the form of steel mills and other plants, become Amazon warehouses.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: @Doug Mataconis: It’s an overreaction.

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  8. Teve says:

    Marijuana Legalization Has Won

    The headline’s a bit exaggerated, but good article.

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  9. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, an overreaction. But it could cause people to question the safety, leading to lower vaccination rates. And, it’s a great deal easier to transport, store, and administer so even a temporary delay is going to set us back.

    Bummer.

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: It will cause people to question the safety.

    shrug

    I’ve been on blood thinners for clots for the past 15 years. They happen. I got the J&J vax 3 weeks ago and I’m not worried about it.

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  11. Teve says:

    On the one hand you want the public to know that the government is paying close attention to any potential adverse effects. On the other hand you’ve got sensationalistic media that will likely blow this out of proportion, and it’s six cases out of 7 million.

    Anybody know the background rate on blood clots?

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  12. CSK says:

    I, too, received the J&J vaccine in March. So far, so good.

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  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    WSJ had a front-page photo today showing protestors at (I assume) police headquarters in Brooklyn Center, MN after yesterday’s shooting. Facing them were a line of police geared up like Imperial Storm Troopers. Need to restore public confidence? Yeah, that’ll do it.

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  14. Jen says:

    @Teve: Blood clots are not uncommon. I think the issue here is the type of blood clot, and the fact that they aren’t treated the same way as standard:

    “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” the statement said.

    The fact that all six were women between age 18-48 is interesting. I wonder how many of them were on the pill/hormonal birth control. I have migraine with aura, which puts me at higher risk for stroke, and was taken off of hormonal birth control because of it.

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  15. CSK says:

    I think I recall reading somewhere that because the J&J vaccine was developed later than the Moderna and the Pfizer, it was somewhat more effective against at least one of the variants.

    @Jen:
    That is interesting.

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  16. 6 clotting cases with the J&J vaccinations out of 6,800,000 is .000088%

    This seems like an overreaction that will lead to vaccine hesitancy.

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  17. Jax says:

    If any of you, or your family members, get insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, I highly recommend re-submitting your application. Since 2016 I’ve always fallen into the grey area where I qualify through the Marketplace, and my kids are supposed to be able to get insurance through Medicaid or KidCare/CHIP, but the state always denies them. I was able to get both of them covered after re-submitting the application last night.

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  18. CSK says:

    The Republican National Senatorial Committee has made a up a prize especially for Donald Trump: The RNSC Champion for Freedom Award!

    Rick Scott presented the silver bowl to Trump. It’s the first of its kind, and, one hopes, the last.

    Donny got his participation trophy, I suppose.

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  19. Kathy says:

    About the latest police shooting in Minnesota, I’m having a bit of trouble taking the “I thought it was a taser” explanation.

    I know little about using guns. One thing I do know is all guns have a safety, and that’s always on until one decides to use the gun. Naturally it’s easy to disengage. But this officer would have had to disengage the safety and shoot, all while thinking she was using a taser, which likely doesn’t work, look, or feel the same as a gun.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible. I once tried to read an elevator display with my eyes closed, and for a long moment I didn’t understand why I couldn’t see it (and no, it didn’t register I could see nothing else either). And I’m not saying she used her gun deliberately.

    But when one has ready access to a deadly weapon, and the clearance to use it, this kind of mistake, if that’s what it was, is completely unacceptable. There’s a level of criminal negligence.

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  20. wr says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: “protestors at (I assume) police headquarters in Brooklyn Center, MN after yesterday’s shooting. Facing them were a line of police geared up like Imperial Storm Troopers.”

    I saw that on the news last night, and all I could think was what a foolish move by the police. Why not have them come out in regular police uniform and try to talk to the protestors? Why not show the citizens that they are people just like them? I’m sure the answer would be “but they may throw rocks.” Well, have the storm troopers in reserve, back in side.

    It seems like so many police forces have no idea why so many people are mad at them.

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  21. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “This seems like an overreaction that will lead to vaccine hesitancy.”

    I think it’s more likely for people to justify their pre-existing vaccine hesitancy.

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  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    One of the ass-wipes at Fox News just managed to somehow father a child, and is now suddenly all about Family Leave, after previously condemning it.
    Like Dick Cheney and Rob Portman suddenly became pro-gay-marriage after their offspring came out.
    Like staunch anti-socialism zealot Ayn Rand jumped on Medicare the very instant she got sick.
    It’s a tragic shame that Republicans lack the intelligence, and imagination, to have empathy for anyone else but themselves.

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  23. KM says:

    @Kathy:
    Muscle memory is a bitch as anyone who’s done something repetitive can tell you. The interesting thing here is she’s essentially claiming muscles memory took over….. meaning she’s done this often enough to not think about it anymore and not notice a difference until after firing. How f*cking often do you draw, Officer that you don’t even think about it?? Additionally, it’s best practice to wear your taser and your gun on different hips specifically for this reason – that way, you unconsciously associate each weapon with a specific location so muscle memory goes for the right one. In fact, you’re supposed to wear your weapon on your off-hip so it’s harder to draw and go for the taser instead.

    The excuse is BS because it was an entirely preventable “accident”. Her instinct was clearly to draw & shoot often and she wore her weapon in a such a fashion that it made the non-lethal option the default. This is manslaughter, not murder but she needs to go down for it all the same.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    One of the ass-wipes at Fox News just managed to somehow father a child, and is now suddenly all about Family Leave, after previously condemning it.

    Megyn Kelly went through the same thing about a decade ago.

    I was thinking about what you describe the other day when I heard Liz Cheney’s comments on Matt Gaetz where she said “As the mother of daughters, the charges certainly are sickening.” I hate this kind of framing–this idea that you have to preface your disgust for sexual misconduct allegations by mentioning your daughters or wives. Republicans were doing this after the Access Hollywood fiasco in 2016. Do Dems ever talk this way? Maybe it’s just rhetorical bluster, but it strikes me as coming from the same place of having difficulty processing a problem that doesn’t affect one personally.

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    This mornings Times had an article addressing how confusing a gun for a taser can happen.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/13/us/daunte-wright-taser-gun.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    TL/DR is that while they look, feel and operate differently, they’ve been confused in the past and it most likely happens when the officers’ dominant hand is used for both weapons. Either because they were both carried on the same side of the body or the taser was holstered to facilitate an across the body draw.

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  26. KM says:

    @Kylopod :
    It definitely comes from the same place as it’s a fundamental element of their being. Situational morality is the core of conservative thinking because it fits well into the hierarchal way they view the world. Bad things happen to bad people because they did something to deserve it or failed in some way; assistance to help them is subverting the natural process of life and consequences of one’s actions. However, when life inevitably means they end up as one of those people, taking the offered help means it’s no longer a bad thing as they can’t possibly be bad. AKA I’m never an unworthy Taker so anything I Take must be something good I deserve unlike everyone else leeching over society.

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  27. Teve says:

    @KM:

    In fact, you’re supposed to wear your weapon on your off-hip so it’s harder to draw and go for the taser instead.

    Florida Highway Patrol used to be cross-draw, IDK if they still are. Local popo are straight draw.

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  28. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    @Kylopod:

    Meghan McCain had a similar awakening.

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  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: I’m inclined to believe it. I’ve seen this sort of thing before.

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  30. Erik says:

    @Kathy: just to round out your knowledge on this a little, some pistols have a “grip safety” instead of the “manual safety” that you might be thinking of. The little lever that you flip up with your thumb to allow the pistol to fire and flip down again to “safe” the weapon would be a manual safety. You have to turn it off as a separate action. Grip safeties are built into the grip (duh), usually along the back, so that the safety is deactivated automatically whenever the pistol is gripped tightly, such as when firing it. This may not make obvious sense (you might ask, “wouldn’t you want an extra step in the way of inadvertently shooting someone?”) One advantage (from a certain point of view) is that you don’t need to remember to turn off the safety so firing is faster. Grip safeties may also better at preventing a discharge when the pistol isn’t being intentionally used, such as when it is dropped, particularly when combined with a “trigger safety” (I will now await the Gun Internet coming to correct my terminology and question my credibility on all things gun related because “technically….”)

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  31. Teve says:

    LOL

    There Will Be No Swearing or Taking God’s Name in Vain on Mike Lindell’s New ‘Free Speech’ Platform

    Kyle MantylaBy Kyle Mantyla | April 13, 2021 11:05 am

    Angered by being banned from various social media platforms for ceaselessly spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation about the 2020 presidential election, religious-right activist and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell decided to create his own social media platform, which he promised would be a bastion of free speech.

    With his new Frank Speech platform set to launch on April 19, Lindell appeared on Eric Metaxas’ radio program Monday to promote it.

    During the discussion, Lindell revealed that speech on his new platform will not be quite as free as one might have imagined, announcing that users will not be allowed to swear or use the Lord’s name in vain because Frank Speech will be “a Judeo-Christian platform” founded on biblical principles.

    “People asked me, ‘You’re going to let everything go? Porn? Swearing? Everything?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely not,’” Lindell said. “We have a thing we found in the Constitution and our founding fathers that defines what free speech is. And Eric, get this, this Judeo-Christian platform we’re going to have here, they go by biblical principles—you know, you get to the Supreme Court, you have the 10 Commandments there—so, in other words, you’re not going to have porn up there, you’re not going to have these sites that contain material that go against our Constitution, go against what our founding fathers put in there.”

    “You’re not going to be able to swear,” Lindell added. “There will be four words for sure you can’t say: You can’t say the C-word, the N-word, the F-word, and you can’t use God’s name in vain. What a concept. Right?”

    “Wow,” Metaxas responded. “That’s really puritanical. I like it.”

    Lindell then insisted that users will also not be allowed to violate the Ninth Amendment by bearing false witness against others on his platform.

    “What I’m not going to do is suppress true free speech,” he said. “When someone goes out there and says, ‘I don’t like what’s going down at the border,’ or ‘I don’t like that our country was attacked and nobody’s trying to know you did anything about it or is doing anything about it,’ that’s free speech. Another thing you can’t do [is] what we define in there is totally defame someone. What’s the Ninth Commandment? I can’t even think now, but in the Ninth Commandment, you’re bearing false witness, I believe it is. So, if you’re putting a complete lie against Eric; if I say, ‘Eric Metaxas did something terrible’ and it’s an out and out lie, that’s not free speech. That is not free speech.”

    That site’s gonna be Super Successful. 😛

    https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/there-will-be-no-swearing-or-taking-gods-name-in-vain-on-mike-lindells-new-free-speech-platform/

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  32. Biden to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021

    https://wapo.st/3mJRF3l

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  33. Teve says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I hope so. It’s long overdue.

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  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I believe I saw some mention of the gun being a Glock. Not my line of territory, but apparently Glocks have “trigger safeties”. Two minute Google found some gun nut bitching about stupid fiction writers saying someone flipped off the safety on a Glock when they don’t have that kind of safety.

    Have to wonder if there isn’t a basis here for a lawsuit against Glock.

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  35. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    About the latest police shooting in Minnesota, I’m having a bit of trouble taking the “I thought it was a taser” explanation.

    Listen to the recording (there’s no reason to watch it, just listen to it). Listen to her voice. That is the voice of a woman who is surprised as fuck that she just shot someone.

    Ever have a morning where you put salsa in your coffee rather than on your eggs? Or sugar on your eggs rather than salsa? Muscle memory has taken over, and there was a hiccup somewhere.

    That’s what happened here. Except with a gun.

    And, we have heard of the same mistake happening several times before, and departments put protocols in place (different hips, etc) to try to lessen the chance, but you can’t eliminate it.

    And, this is someone who we have decided needs to carry both a lethal weapon, and a less lethal weapon at all times as part of her job.

    So, when this all fails, do you criminalize the error? Or do you look at the system of training (likely more time on the gun range than the taser range, etc), and the tools themselves (does a taser have to have the same basic form factor? Would a different grip help?)?

    If they brought manslaughter charges, and I were on the jury, I would have a hard time voting to convict. This was an accident, but with no obvious criminal negligence on the part of the officer.

    30,000 people die in car accidents every year in the US. We bring criminal charges in some of those cases, but only a small minority.

    We do, however, change the design of cars (radio controls on the steering wheel), and create new laws and tech to discourage risky behavior (cell phones… we went from saying not to use them, to mandating hands-free methods, to my phone requiring me to jump through hoops if it detects the car’s Bluetooth)

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  36. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Will saying unkind but absolutely true things abut Donald Trump be banned from this platform?

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  37. Jen says:

    @Teve: Irony is completely deceased. Gone to meet its maker, pushing up daisies, etc. Dead.

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  38. KM says:

    @Gustopher:

    So, when this all fails, do you criminalize the error? Or do you look at the system of training (likely more time on the gun range than the taser range, etc), and the tools themselves (does a taser have to have the same basic form factor? Would a different grip help?)?

    YES. This was a completely preventable accident. This isn’t putting salsa in your coffee because you’re tired; this is hitting someone on the side of the road in the dark because you turned on your wipers instead of your headlights. That’s a death you’ll be held legally responsible for so why wouldn’t this officer? We trust these people to run around armed in a position of authority and power so the standard needs to be a lot higher than for you or me….. and the standard for us would be a jail term.

    Kimberly A. Potter was on the force for 26 years and was responsible for training other officers. This is not a rookie making a mistake on her first stop. She really, really, REALLY should know better. Accidents may happen but they are no excuse when it results in a death. “Oops!” is a not socially or legally acceptable pass to kill.

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  39. CSK says:

    BEST. TWEET. EVER:

    “Matt Gaetz must have misunderstood when he was told people use Venmo to make minor purchases.”

    — @MeidasTouch, April 9

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  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    @CSK:

    If you got it in March, the J&J Vaccine is no longer present in your body at this point. Your ongoing protection is now the result of your immune system’s response to the vaccine before it was metabolized.

    Vaccine side effects occur within hours or days, not months or years later.

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  41. KM says:

    @KM:
    A follow up thought – police are (theoretically) trained and responsible individuals who are allowed to use force against citizens specifically because they are a special class of society entrusted due to that training. Insufficient or improper training or not, they *are* given training with the assumption they will have to use this item and that’s why they can legally do that.

    Therefore we need to pick one assumption or the other –
    (a) police can be trusted to use deadly force if necessary and thus be held responsible for the consequences regardless of if they “make a mistake” by killing someone. They are trained and capable of understanding and acting, therefore the agency they demonstrate requires the responsibility of blame for incorrect actions
    or
    (b) are they similar to your Average Joe and therefore should no more be entrusted with that decision by law than anyone else. Random Dude A on the street cannot detain someone and shoot them when they try to leave because he’s Random Dude A with no special authority or training. He’s more likely to make a mistake and have things go badly than someone who is theoretically taught how to handle such matters.

    Cops want the best of both worlds. They want agency with no responsibility, authority with no reckoning or consequences. Poor training or no, they got more training then Average Joe and thus the standards should naturally be higher. And yet so many are willing to accept “oopsie” as a viable rationale – as professionals, they should less “oopsie” prone with being less acceptable as a reason.

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  42. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The blood clots with J&J seem to have occurred within 6-13 days. That’s what I was referring to.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..Frank Speech will be “a Judeo-Christian platform” founded on biblical principles.

    Not to be confused with the Saint Louis radio gadfly Frank O. Pinion.

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  44. dazedandconfused says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    re:

    TL/DR is that while they look, feel and operate differently, they’ve been confused in the past and it most likely happens when the officers’ dominant hand is used for both weapons. Either because they were both carried on the same side of the body or the taser was holstered to facilitate an across the body draw.

    As the SOP is to have the firearm on the dominant side and the taser on the non-dominate, it would be wise for the trainers to insist all training with the taser be conducted with the non-dominate hand. I got a hunch in training they let people use whichever hand they wished to. It would help muscle-memory, which rules in flash situations, if they would never let the trainee hold the taser in their dominate hand.

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  45. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kylopod: How about, “As a human being, I have morals.” Or don’t even preface what you’re about to say with that. Not necessary.

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  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    The article that I saw this AM on the Star Triburne website stated that it is the Brooklyn Center PD’s policy that the taser should be on the opposite hip from the gun, but from what I read it wasn’t clear if the policy addressed the issue of across the body draw. From the NYT article, I drew the conclusion that it is considered the best practice for the taser to be placed so the officer must use the non dominant hand to draw it. Of course the officer could always switch hands after drawing the weapon.

    There is a still pic taken from the body cam vid, that shows Potter aiming the gun, but I can’t remember in which hand and of course have no knowledge as to her dominant hand.

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  47. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Vaccine side effects occur within hours or days, not months or years later.”

    What about the microchip?

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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: 24 hours, tho it can be glitchy for up to 3 days. Or so said M.

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  49. dazedandconfused says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    She’s right handed. If this modifies procedures, it might not as the incidents of this are rather rare, I expect the cross-draw will be banned.

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  50. Mu Yixiao says:
  51. Teve says:

    @CSK: if they follow the ‘no spreading lies’ rule strictly, You won’t be able to quote Trump on that social network.

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  52. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Oh, Trump never lies according to that bunch. It’s the fake media that makes up all that stuff.

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  53. Teve says:

    I just found out something amusing this morning. There’s a local car dealership whose general manager, a six-figure position, took a week off in January. He got back, and a few days afterwards he was arrested by the FBI. For things he did at the Capitol on January 6. A former coworker of his just told me that he’s facing 30 years. 😛 😛 😛

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  54. gVOR08 says:

    @dazedandconfused: It would seem sensible at this point to give tasers a different feel, maybe a flintlock pistol style grip, or a Star Trek phaser. With maybe a thumb button. I suspect the manufacturer’s marketing people think they’re an easier sell if they look and feel like a gun.

    From what I read the cops spend a lot of time on firearms training. With results that speak for themselves. Maybe they need to spend more time on taser training, fixing that muscle memory. I don’t expect they’d appreciate a suggestion that the less lethal weapon, the taser, go on the dominant side and the lethal weapon take a little more effort to reach on the other side.

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  55. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: yeah the clueless people jabbering about long-term effects from this vaccine annoy me because the absolute longest time to onset we’ve seen a vaccine ever cause any problem in humans is that in rare cases, tetanus and influenza vaccines can cause Guillain-Barre, and no later than six weeks after the vaccination.

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  56. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    How many times do I have to tell you it’s that tracking/sterilizing Gates/Soros microchip we have to worry about?

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  57. Mikey says:

    @Teve:

    influenza vaccines can cause Guillain-Barre

    This happened to my brother. “It sucked” is the most extreme understatement. He was in the hospital for four months. Fortunately for him, the vaccine that triggered it was administered in military basic training so all his care and rehabilitation was at no cost to him. I can’t imagine what he’d have had to pay if he’d been treated under the usual American system.

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  58. Kathy says:

    Vaccine question of the day:

    If I get a vaccine with low efficacy, like Sinovac, can I get one with better efficacy a couple of months later, say Pfizer? If I do, do I get better protection or not?

    I suspect the answer is : No one knows. No one’s done a clinical trial for that yet.

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  59. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    YES. This was a completely preventable accident. This isn’t putting salsa in your coffee because you’re tired; this is hitting someone on the side of the road in the dark because you turned on your wipers instead of your headlights. That’s a death you’ll be held legally responsible for so why wouldn’t this officer? We trust these people to run around armed in a position of authority and power so the standard needs to be a lot higher than for you or me….. and the standard for us would be a jail term.

    I’m really curious about the scenario where someone turns on their windshield wipers instead of the headlights, fails to notice that things aren’t brighter and that the windshield wipers are on, and then runs someone over. I think the fact that they are obviously drunk is a greater problem.

    For a lot of car accidents, we hold someone financially liable, but not criminally liable.

    A better analogy would be keeping your eyes on the road (or the guy you are threatening), reaching to flip on the high beams to flash a warning to oncoming traffic, and accidentally pressing the button for the ejector seat instead, shooting your passenger into the air, onto the roadway and in the path of a truck. (Assuming cars had ejector seats)

    Here we would be asking questions like:
    – Why is the button for the high beams right next to the button for an ejector seat?
    – Why do they feel even remotely the same?
    – Why do you even have an ejector seat?

    If the car came with a standard ejector seat, and it wasn’t an after-market add-on, we might look towards the manufacturers to place blame. If the person added the ejector seat on their own, then they are much more likely to be held criminally liable.

    Granted, the ejector seat is a pretty forced analogy, but we have lots of similar issues that we try to solve with better technology (people have trouble checking their blind spot, so we now have a sensor that lights up when something is there, and which makes screaming noises when you go anyway, etc.)

    And this had led to a point where cars are reasonably safe despite the fact that you have every other idiot on the road around you doing whatever stupid thing they do.

    Therefore we need to pick one assumption or the other –
    (a) police can be trusted to use deadly force if necessary and thus be held responsible for the consequences regardless of if they “make a mistake” by killing someone. […]
    or
    (b) are they similar to your Average Joe and therefore should no more be entrusted with that decision by law than anyone else. […]

    Surgeons. They are licensed and allowed to slice people up (in this case the person being sliced must consent — with police, society as a whole has consented to let them stop and arrest people).

    Mistakes happen. People die. Do we throw every surgeon in jail if they make a mistake? No, we do not, and if we did, people wouldn’t go into surgery as a profession. We only criminalize it when there is clear wrongdoing rather than a simple mistake.

    In the case of people performing vigilante surgery, we hold them strictly accountable, even when the person being sliced consents. (And we really hold unlicensed surgeons to account when they are performing surgery on unconsenting victims — we call that “assault with a deadly weapon”)

    I don’t think we should be relying on just the criminal justice system to reform policing. We should be treating it like doctors — make them get licensed, and carry malpractice insurance, revoke licenses for those who repeatedly screw up, prosecute when it goes into depraved indifference, etc.

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  60. dazedandconfused says:

    @gVOR08:

    Most definitely cross-draw on the firearm won’t fly. Police train for the situation of having to draw in the midst of a wrestling match, so are trained to fend with the non-dominant arm while pivoting the gun-hip away so it’s out of easy reach for an attacker and that arm is free to either defend the weapon or, most likely, draw it.

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  61. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    here’s one analogy. Suppose someone asks whether the food has peanuts, because they are allergic to them. You reflexively answer “no,” and then this person has an anaphylactic shock and dies.

    Is there any criminal liability?

    People tend to downplay allergies (some can be very serious), and not to disclose an allergen they know is present when asked. Does a sincere belief that allergies are no big deal sufficient to excuse such actions?

    IMO, KM has it right. Police are in a special class, given their permission to use force, even deadly force, largely at their discretion.

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  62. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m really curious about the scenario where someone turns on their windshield wipers instead of the headlights, fails to notice that things aren’t brighter and that the windshield wipers are on, and then runs someone over.

    I think a more realistic analogy is the driver who thinks he is slamming on the brakes to avoid a pedestrian, but who actually stomps on the gas. This really happens, people really do fail to realize that they are on the wrong pedal (even as the car leaps ahead), and cars still have those two controls right next to each other.

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  63. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Most likely, if charged, Potter will be charged with manslaughter at some degree. Manslaughter charges cover a range of accidental deaths as a result of the actions of another. A plea deal would likely drop it to a some wrongful death charge. If it goes to a jury, given the mulligan juries give cops, it will likely be some sort of negligent death conviction.

    There is no way this is an, opps sorry and she walks.

    Remember a couple of years ago a black Mpls cop killed the white woman who called the police due to a suspicious activity, and the cop got 12 years, though I can’t remember the charge.

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  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Gustopher: For what it’s worth, Oscar Grant’s killer was convicted on a charge of Involuntary Manslaughter.

    I mean, I’ve got a ticket for doing something that I had no idea I was doing. In fact, I was making an effort to stay within the law, and yet I was speeding (I think my speedometer was on the glitch), and didn’t see or hear the police car trying to stop me. So that’s a bunch of trouble even though I was doing my best to avoid it. I have some empathy for that. AND, I still had to pay the tickets.

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  65. Kathy says:

    Thanks for all the replies. I’ve been swamped at work and not paying much attention. I really thought the safety on guns was more generally deliberate.

    I learned a little about gun safety while visiting Israel in the 80s. I assume things have changed since then. The military people I met there were very serious about their guns, both rifles and handguns, not going off by accident.

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  66. Grewgills says:

    @Kathy et al
    I had a vague memory of discussions the last time this happened (I think it might have been Oakland), where an officer claimed that they thought they were using their taser.
    A few things were brought up then that I haven’t seen brought up here.
    1. weight, guns are heavier since tasers are largely built of plastic for reasons of conductivity and not needing to be strong enough to house repeated explosions
    2. the safety on guns and tasers are significantly different
    I just rechecked point two with the incredibly lazy method of looking at pictures of pistol and tazer safeties in Google images. The ones I saw look pretty different to me. A typical picture linked HERE

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  67. Teve says:
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM:

    How f*cking often do you draw, Officer that you don’t even think about it??

    […sigh… 😐 …] Yeah, that was the disconnect for me, too. I’m struggling to make sense of that.

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  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Teve: I hope so, too, but not holding my breath.

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Your posting of the link suffers from the same problem as his essay. I’m not quite sure what his point was and how he’s defending it beyond my getting that he was offended by the situation. Then again, I stopped taking Libertarianese quite a few years ago and I’m probably very rusty.

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  71. Teve says:

    @Cecilia F. Carten

    I was one of the million or so cheerleaders for Donald J.Trump in Washington, D.C., Jan. 5-7 – for what has become known as “the insurrection.”Then it was over.
    That was not easy to accept.I believe Trump was the greatest president in the history of the United States.That’s right

    That’s right! His achievements in four years exceeded that of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I loved them all. Reagan changed my politics. But Trump was one of a kind. (Crown emoji, flag emoji)

    @johnfugelsang

    The only things Trump has in common with Thomas Jefferson is wearing wigs and indifference to consent.

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  72. Teve says:

    How f*cking often do you draw, Officer that you don’t even think about it??

    She’d been on the force for two decades. LEO’s practice on the gun range anywhere from once a year to once a month. It’s entirely possible that she’s fired 5,000+ rounds for training. That’s more than enough to make the motion ingrained.

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  73. Teve says:

    I used to be a teacher. I have numerous friends who left science and engineering to become teachers. A woman I know who teaches math at the local High School used to be an Aeronautical Engineer at NASA. And many are the times I’ve seen those friends pass around social media memes to the effect of “Dear Parents: you think I’m indoctrinating your kid? I wish I had such power. I can’t even get your kid to read the fucking syllabus.” 😛

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  74. Gustopher says:

    @Grewgills: In the Oakland killing, there was a significant question about whether the officer thought he had his taser or not. The body cam and the audio of this killing make it very clear that the officer in this killing thought she had her taser.

    Listen to audio, listen to the voice, and there will be no doubt in your mind that she mistook the gun for the taser.

    Whether it was a reasonable mistake, whether she is a fucking moron, whether she was within her rights to taser him, etc — all reasonable issues. But her intent is damn clear.

    And then we have the question — is she a shitty cop with 20+ years of experience being shitty, or is the process of training for drawing a gun so often, and the design of the taser so similar, that even someone with 20+ years of experience can have a brain fart and kill someone?

    If the taser was shaped like a Star Trek phaser (TNG, or first season TOS), and fired with the thumb, I doubt it would have been possible to mistake the two, and this guy would still be alive. If she trained as much with the taser as she did with a gun, this guy would likely still be alive.

    I think she will ultimately walk, unless it is shown that she escalated the situation inappropriately. Or that she is a white supremacist. Or that she has a history of abusing suspects. The prosecution is going to need to hang this on something other than a brain fart to get a jury to unanimously agree to convict.

    I also think we would all be better off if justice for Daunte Wright started with trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening again.

    Police should be held to a higher standard, but not an inhuman standard. Brain farts are part of the human nature.

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  75. Gustopher says:

    Part of the making sure this doesn’t happen again should be asking whether we want police with guns doing routine traffic stops, and having the authority to arrest on outstanding warrants, search for drugs, etc.

    Lower the stakes of a traffic stop, and everyone may well be safer.

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  76. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It’s a little hard to understand the Libertarianese, but I think the author of the post was saying “I was an asshole, and then I had to face consequences for being an asshole, and that’s not fair. #notallassholes”

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