The mess in Kenosha

August 27, 2020 • 9:00 am

As most of you know, at least if you’re American, you’ll have heard about the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, paralyzing Blake from the waist down. Riots ensued in the city (not far from where Greg lives), with burning, looting, and, after the National Guard was called out but wasn’t able to stop the violence, the arrival of “militia”. These appear to have been mostly white men armed with semiautomatic weapons, determined to “bring order” to the city when the authorities couldn’t. That was a bad idea, like tossing a match on gasoline.

The result: two people were killed and one wounded. The suspect: 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse (a white teenager) from Illinois.  Rittenhouse, now charged with intentional homicide, had a history of supporting the police (the Washington Post said he was “fixated on supporting police”), and even entered firefighter and police cadet programs. The New York Times has a good article tracing Rittenhouse’s movements that evening, including his alleged shooting of one person in the head and another in the chest. As the article reports:

Mr. Rittenhouse was arrested early Wednesday in his hometown, Antioch, Ill., which is about 30 minutes southwest of the protests in Kenosha, just over the state line.

Multiple posts on his social media accounts proclaim support for pro-police causes like the Blue Lives Matter movement and Humanize the Badge, a nonprofit that he ran a Facebook fund-raiser for on his 16th birthday.

His posts also suggest a strong affinity for guns, with videos showing Mr. Rittenhouse taking backyard target practice, posing with guns and assembling a weapon.

Illinois law does not prohibit ownership of semiautomatic weapons, also classified as “assault weapons”, although Chicago and Cook County do. But Rittenhouse is from Antioch, which is in Lake County. His gun may have been purchased legally, then, though I’m not certain that a 17-year old can have one. State law mandates that if you’re under 21 you can still own a gun if you have written permission from a parent or guardian who themselves can legally own guns. It’s not clear if Rittenhouse’s gun was his own, nor if a 17-year-old is of sufficient age.

Jacob Blake’s family, to their immense credit, called for an end to rioting and destruction while deeply mourning their badly injured relative. One would think such a call from the victim’s family would calm things down, but passions run high, inflamed by the George Floyd murder but also by armed right-wingers like Rittenhouse attracted to riots and demonstrations like flies to dung.

As for the shooting of Blake, the videos certainly make it look as though the cops shot him in the back multiple times without sufficient provocation, though we should await a formal investigation by the Department of Justice (not the local authorities). But the Kenosha police haven’t been exactly professional about this. One report says this about the local police:

Moments before [the shootings], local law enforcement thanked the alleged shooter, 17-year-old former police cadet Kyle Rittenhouse, and his so-called “militia” colleagues for being on the scene. One sheriff’s deputy then gave Rittenhouse a bottle of water.

Videos widely-shared on social media verify the police department’s interactions with both the vigilante group and the alleged murderer.

Well, water I might forgive if they were dispensing it to everyone, but thanking a militia of armed thugs?

Finally, we have the odious Tucker Carlson actually justifying on Fox News the actions of the militia. Here’s a video tweeted by Carlson himself (note: it’s violent, and shows the shootings).

First, the “looting and arson” didn’t accelerate to murder in the sense that the looters and arsonists committed murder. It was an armed teenage militiaman who’s alleged to have committed the murder. Yes, perhaps local law enforcement didn’t do all that they could, or weren’t prepared for rioting, but there is absolutely no excuse for armed teenagers to “enforce the law”. Carlson concentrates more on the violence of the rioters, which is itself inexcusable, than on the murders, far more inexcusable.

The only thing Carlson gets right is that most Americans do not want this kind of rioting to go uncontrolled.  And I don’t know what to think about his pronouncement that “this is not a race war; this is a class war.” I’m not so sure. Did the militia descend on Kenosha, at least in part, because many of the rioters were black? Rittenhouse’s post that “Blue Lives Matter” hints of racism.

This has all combined to depress me:

1.) Teenagers can get semiautomatic weapons in many places in America and carry them openly.

2.) The police have again shot an unarmed black person, though of course we should reserve final judgement until the DOJ investigation

3.) The police apparently had a cozy relationship with the armed militia the night of the shootings.

3.) A group of people, including Rittenhouse, descends on a city to keep order, with the predictable results.

4.) Despite the laudable calls for calm and peace from Blake’s family, some people continue to justify the kind of rioting, arson, and looting resulting from a possibly criminal police killing. I cannot excuse that kind of violence, just as I cannot excuse Rittenhouse’s militia-style invasion of Kenosha, with the resultant killing

5.) People like Carlson tacitly excuse not the rioting, but the militia and attendant murder (again, we have to await a trial before Rittenhouse’s acts can be said to go beyond “alleged”).

The only laudable behavior in this whole mess is that of Blake’s family calling for an end to rioting, looting, and arson. Is it any wonder that some of us are depressed? This incident involves a whole concatenation of attitudes and actions that are increasingly common in America, including pervasive gun ownership, tribalism, whether it involve races or classes, and a feeling that one has the right to destroy and riot as a political act, combined with a feeling that one should take one’s gun and go up north to act like the police.


195 thoughts on “The mess in Kenosha

  1. The video’s I saw didn’t show what precipitated the first person that was killed by this 17 year old. Some are saying it was self defense, but I’m not sure on that. There is another video where a group of people then start chasing him and attacking this kid, and he then ends up shooting two more people-one in the chest and one in the arm. The guy who was shot in the arm was pointing a handgun at the kid. It really all hinges on what precipitated that first shooting, but the second and third person shot seem like a clear case of self defense from the video. Of course we can argue he shouldn’t have been there or shouldn’t have been armed, but if he wasn’t breaking the law by doing either of those things then what we think isn’t really relevant on that.

    1. The fuck is a 17-year-old child doing with an assault rifle in a situation like this anyhow?

      It’s entirely foreseeable that the officious little intermeddler would panic and tragedy, ensue.

      1. Exactly. The existence of militias and unprofessional, untrained (or self trained) citizens interfering in an emergency situation like this is ludicrous enough…add the age to it and it’s just doubly shocking that police would support this at all. Should have told him to go home or get arrested.

        1. There’s strong seam of Rambo that runs through the culture. The renegade hero with an automatic weapon who, “saves the day”.

    2. What precipitated the first shooting was an armed civilian trying to play soldiers in a real life violent situation.

      He may have been acting in self defence, but he should not have been there at all. If he wanted to help, he should have stayed at home and watched it on TV.

  2. I do not think there is any saving Wisconsin from their own ignorance and gun loving cult they have become. They may be nearly as bad as Texas and other ignorant locations on the issue. No halfway reasonable person would openly demonstrate in public in a country that allows 17 year old juveniles to own such weapons or any people to own these weapons. Demonstrating of any kind in public may be your last.

    The police of this area only show their ignorance in killing this person and how they treat juveniles with assault weapons. A real video for tourism in Wisconsin…

    1. In an analogous situation evolutionary arms races happen even if the overall outcome is no net gain but increased costs.

      If you believe people hostile to you have guns, and there is little chance of police deterrence, then it might be perfectly reasonable to get a gun yourself even if the overall outcome is no net gain but increased costs.

      I rather expect that gun ownership went beyond any simple measures to reverse it several decades ago. YMMV.

            1. Indeed it is.

              The gun genie can be kept in the bottle by gun control… but the genie is already out of the bottle. It is perhaps possible that the genie can be coaxed back into the bottle by the sustained pressure of many small actions, but it would probably take decades even if the will exists.

              1. Well, if it’s going to take decades, what better reason than to start now.

                I’d start by making it illegal to carry a firearm on your person in public spaces e.g. on the street, in shopping centres or on business premises where the public may expect to be (like shops and restaurants).

                Any punishment would include the immediate confiscation and destruction of the firearm in question whether or not the person is convicted at a subsequent trial.

      1. This kid traveled from his home town to a different town, with a gun, ostensibly to quell rioting.

        That act of going to a different town takes this completely out of the scenario of “if you’re worried about other people with guns, that may prompt you to carry your own.” He chose to put himself in a situation which he could’ve easily avoided simply by doing nothing.

  3. I think that when people were burnt out on fighting overseas beyond a shadow of a doubt, that same Savior Instinct was just applied domestically. If I remember correctly, both crime in cities and police shootings had actually been trending downwards for severals years. Then we decided to liberate inner cities from the police, with predictable results. Then those with the means to do so will move on and leave a wreck in their wake like a discarded toy.

    Note, I like to think I am ideologically consistent in that I’ve pretty much had the same complaints about both situations, even though the Iraq War was associated with the Right and Defund the Police is associated with the Left. I didn’t suddenly switch my approval or disapproval based on partisanship, I think this is a naive, living-in-a-bubble error no matter who makes it.

    1. I suspect you are living in a bubble if you think what goes on in Iraq or Afghanistan has anything to do with crime and violence in the U.S. cities. The wide open gun laws of this country are such that shootings and dying by guns are simply the natural process of this dysfunctional society.

      1. I’m not sure what you mean. If it wasn’t clear, my point was that Americans seem to have a particular love of smashing hierarchal systems of authority in places they don’t have to live, then dusting off their hands and walking away when chaos inevitably ensues.

        I don’t think anyone sees authoritarian systems as the ideal (and let me be clear, I am not in any way comparing the authoritarianism in Iraq to the police here – they are of course different by an exponential scale, but they do both represent keeping order via a hierarchal authority that is punitive.) Of course order via cooperation and investment in the place in which you live is much, much better than order by fear of some manner of punishment or harm coming to you. But I feel we as Americans just can’t get past the response of “Don’t like! Smash! Problem solved!”. And then you have chaos – riots, looting, fires, and now vigilante 17-year-olds shooting people.

    2. Then we decided to liberate inner cities from the police …

      When is it you claim this “liberat[ion]” occurred? And by what means?

      1. I mean they have made it pretty clear, explicitly and implicitly, that law enforcement has to back off in terms of arresting people, and that has already happened to a substantial degree (although that trend will probably continue.) Crime has shot way up in places like NYC because police presence has been rolled way back.

            1. 2019 is, of course, the last year for which full annual statistics are available. What’s happened in less than eight months of a completely atypical year in a city ravaged by a pandemic is hardly the same thing as your initial claim that crime is on the rise because “we [whoever “we” may be] decided to liberate inner cities from the police.”

              1. The last few months is exactly what I was talking about, sorry if that was unclear. I guess I assumed that was the only obvious referent.

  4. Bear in mind that after nearly three months of nonstop “peaceful protests” that inevitably turn into smash-loot-and-burn riots, an awful lot of people — Black, White, and everything else — are exceedingly tired of the Antifa-BLM festivities and the police being restrained from stopping them.

    Citizens are already forming their own neighborhood “militias” to keep their shops and houses from being attacked, because nobody else is doing it. This is the inevitable result of bad policing, and decrying the idiot actions of those thug cops and that fool teenager in Kenosha will not prevent it. Neither will any ham-fisted anti-gun or anti-assembly laws.

    I can think of three workable solutions, but I don’t see anyone in power proposing them:

    1) Instead of “defunding” the police, spend the money to arm them lavishly with stun-weapons — hand-stunners for close range, stun-batons for medium range, Tasers for long range — and train them extensively in the use of the same, so that cops will automatically reach for a stunner rather than a firearm in any confrontation.

    2) Formally declare both Antifa and BLM to be “terrorist” organizations, and use existing video evidence (of which there is plenty) to go out and arrest every member thereof who has been caught on camera committing violence, vandalism, arson, intimidation and/or assault.

    3) Make the effort to train all those armed citizens on how to properly organize and use a legal “militia”, and to keep out the nuts and hysterical teenagers.

    In any case, make it clear to the self-righteous cops, protesters and defense groups that, no matter how righteous your “cause”, there are some things that you just plain may not do.

    1. There are no citizens in my community arming themselves in any form of a militia. This is true of most communities in America.

      The solutions that work will require engineering and administrative controls. All police should have training commensurate with what a commercial airline pilot undergoes. Gun laws should be highly regulated and available guns should be engineered to make it very difficult to kill people.

      There are simple social, economic, and educational methods to solve these problems. Fear is often a barrier to implementing these solutions. But the more familiar reason is that such violence is so distance form most of our lives we, pragmatically, don’t have the time to change society in order to minimize these types of events.

      1. i can’t comment on most communities in america, but in my present community there are people who call themselves militia and train in the woods, near my house (north georgia).

        we had the same in my last community in south georgia.

      2. Agree. AIUI the rate at which police kill civilians is reasonably well anti-correlated with things like police training, policies against lethal force, use of serious investigations into police misconduct, etc. Those may be unsexy solutions that don’t satisfy the immediate cry for justice, but if they work, they are at least a partial solution and we should support them.

        Personally, I think state and local governments should pass explicit policy guidelines or laws that say “it is illegal for police to use lethal force to prevent someone – even a suspect – from leaving the scene of a misdemeanor crime.” Because that seems to be a lot of what goes on here – the police want someone suspected of some minor lawbreaking to comply, the person decides to walk away, the police shoot them in the back.

        For goodness’ sake, Blake was getting into his minivan with his kids. He’s not some criminal mastermind – if he doesn’t comply with your request to stop, just take down his plate number and send an officer to his house to talk to him or arrest him later.

        1. “just take down his plate number”
          I’d guess that’s the standard policy in many countries of the West. Shoot to kill is really imitating the mentality of the O.K. Corral, which has always been close to the hearts of Americans.

  5. These “militia” knuckleheads are basically cos-players with live ammunition. Pretend soldiers playing war like a bunch of 8-year olds. That the actual police in Kenosha let these guys roam the streets and ENCOURAGE them is outrageous. The entire police department needs to be dismantled top to bottom. Clearly, they are less about the law and more about the enforcement.

    Notice the armored personnel carriers rolling through the streets. OMG, they are cos-playing, too! This is madness.

  6. The suspect: 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse (a white teenager) from Illinois. Rittenhouse, now charged with intentional homicide, had a history of supporting the police …

    Also a history of supporting Donald Trump. Here he is in the front row at Trump’s January 30, 2020, rally in Des Moines, Iowa:

    1. This is classic example of results expected from the actions of Trump. The cult and everything about it just screams this stuff. First make sure every person is armed and loaded with the most extreme weapons. Then feed the cult with all the BS and stir. This is a known outcome.

  7. “As for the shooting of Blake, the videos certainly make it look as though the cops shot him in the back multiple times without sufficient provocation, though we should await a formal investigation by the Department of Justice (not the local authorities).”

    I’ve seen it now from two angles, and I disagree. He was being held down by the police, he managed to get free and went for the front seat of his car. That is sufficient provocation as he was defying police orders, and the police must assume at point that he was going for some kind of weapon. If you think that’s irrational, take a look at this:

    Where I think that the police can possibly be held at fault that 3 of them failed to de-escalate the situation in the first place…why did it get to a point where there was some kind of physical fight?

    1. You can’t prevent the actions of others. I mostly agree though and it’s been reported less lethal measures like as taser were attempted to subdue him and they have also confirmed a knife being found right where he was in the car. It wasn’t clear if he went to the car with the knife or to get it, but the fact is the police cannot prevent people from resisting or doing stupid things.

    2. In the video you are showing, it appears the police are in bad form all the way through. They never should have allowed the guy to get out of the car and if he tried, they should have told him to get back in. With two cops, there should never be a situation where both of them are close in fighting with someone. One should stay back far enough to keep his weapon on the person and shoot if necessary. They did everything wrong here.

      1. They may not have had the best tactics, but it’s really pretty simple. Mr Blake had a warrant out, fought with police, was tased, broke free, continued to disobey orders and go to a car that had kids in it. He was either armed with a knife or attempting to get armed. His actions is what caused this and the police responded. The fact is if he wasn’t black this wouldn’t have made national news and hardly anyone would be saying the police were in the wrong. But his skin color and the skin color of the cops should not matter in the least. Being black has become central to many people’s identity therefore to them the fact he was black is an important factor.

        1. Here is the odd part. I never mentioned black or white. Yet that seems to be all you can talk about. I would say you have a problem.

          1. I don’t think he has a problem mentioning color.
            Even way over where I am the obvious mismatch in reporting when it comes to the color of victims or perpetrators is obvious.
            And a deep concern.

        2. … or attempting to get armed.

          This is an as-yet un-evidenced assumption on your part. All we’ve been told from publicly available sources is that there was a knife on the floorboard of his car.

          1. Do you think it’s just a coincidence the police were yelling at him to drop the knife as he came around the car and then a knife is found in the car right next to where he was shot? If so that would be a pretty big coincidence, but yes I’m just assuming at some point he had the knife in his hands or was attempting to pick it up. It’s my assumption he had it when he was wrestling with cops and then pulled it out. That’s probably why they backed off and followed him around the car with guns drawn and yelling at him to drop the knife. But yes, that’s just an assumption. But even if he didn’t have it in his hands he went directly to where it was found in the car.

        3. The fact is if he wasn’t black this wouldn’t have made national news and hardly anyone would be saying the police were in the wrong.

          The shooting of a father seven times in the back in front of his three children is going to get media attention anytime it happens to anyone across this nation.

          That it happened to a black man in a nation wherein there remains such unequal treatment of the races is bound to garner additional attention in the black community and among white people who care about such unequal treatment.

          1. I would challenge you to name 5 white people killed by police in the last 5 years in which those stories made the national news or dominated the news anywhere near what the stories of black people killed by police have. I’m sure almost anyone can name 5 black people killed by police fairly easily if they pay attention to the news at all. More white people than black people are killed by police, yet that gets nowhere near the coverage. I’m not suggesting it should as a vast majority of those instances are completely justified, but the same is true when black people are killed by police. The unequal coverage creates an impression that it’s just black people or largely black people being killed in these ways and that’s simply not true. Do you notice that when a black person is killed by police that alone is often taken as evidence of racism? That doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s the way it often happens.

      2. You aren’t understanding. The point I was making is that when somebody breaks free from the cops and runs to the front seat of their car, it’s not to get a lollipop for the police. As we saw right in this video, people can and will grab a weapon to use against at the police.

        With that knowledge in hand, you can now hopefully understand why those police in Wisconsin had to assume the worst and respond accordingly.

          1. Seriously? Then why go all the way around to the front of the car? You seem completely unable to put yourself in the position of an officer facing this situation, having to make a split second decision about a credible threat of violence that could cost her life and/or the lives of bystanders.

            I literally just linked footage of a suspect going right to his car and GETTING A GUN TO SHOOT THE POLICE.

            1. If everyone getting into a car on the driver’s side is subject to being shot in the back because they might have a gun then nobody is safe from death by cop.

          2. Jacob Blake was shot simply because he provoked the officers in an almost suicidal way. Instead, George Floyd was handcuffed and lying on the ground when he was killed by a sadistic policeman.

            1. I thought policing was a profession. Cops that shoot people in the back because they are “provoked” are in the wrong profession. We deserve far better.

    3. Has anyone noticed that most of these deaths occur in the context of someone resisting arrest? Certainly no one deserves to die for simply resisting arrest, but it’s also true that no one deserves to be assaulted for walking through a dark alley at night. People should not knowingly put themselves in dangerous situations.

      Since I’m anticipating some flack for this comment, for what it’s worth I’ll go ahead and reiterate that I don’t believe anyone deserves to die for resisting arrest.

      1. Resisting arrest (if that indeed was what Jacob Blake was doing) authorizes law enforcement to use sufficient force to effect the arrest. This can include tackling and restraining the resister, or the use of non-lethal means such as a taser or pepper spray.

        It does NOT authorize the use of deadly force. This is basic police procedure everywhere in the United States.

        1. Resisting arrest merits a taser, which was tried. Pulling out or reaching for a deadly weapon while ignoring orders from the cops does justify deadly force. Current reports say Blake had a knife either in his hand or on the driver’s side floor. (It was recovered from the floor.) Note also the nearby children whom he may well have been endangering. More info may come out of course, but this may well have been a justified shooting.

          On the larger point, cops certainly fuck up and make bad decisions, hasty shots, needless extra rounds, etc. But deadly confrontations are almost always precipitated by the suspect’s behavior. People who don’t create chaotic situations by brawling with police, ignoring orders to stop, brandishing weapons, running and moving in unpredictable ways, etc. don’t get shot. Cops should be held accountable when they make criminal mistakes, but they pose essentially no danger to the average person of any color.

          1. A knife was “found”? In some cases the cops carry guns and knives which can be planted so that a murder can be seen as self defense. Just a couple of years ago this was caught on tape. As a black suspect was running from the scene, he was shot in the back and killed by the cop who quickly planted a weapon on the ground in front of the body. There seems to be a level of corruption here that needs to be addressed. Training and support for good policing is a part of that, but how can you train the thousands of cops across America while permitting anyone with $200 to own a gun? Cops will feel paranoid knowing that any traffic stop could end in their death. Issuing a ticket becomes a pressure cooker situation.

            1. He seems to have pulled the knife while initially on the ground fighting with the cops.
              The cops let him go and back away, shouting for him to drop the knife.
              Mr. Blake then walks around to the driver’s side of the car, while the officers shadow him.
              Stills from him walking around the car show him holding what looks very much like a kerambit, which is sort of an unusual knife. It has a very distinctive blade.
              Mr. Blake had also posted an image in his social media carrying exactly such a knife.

              There have been several cases recently where people have claimed a weapon was planted on a suspect, but the suspect had himself posted images of himself with that particular type of weapon on social media.

              That does not mean that police have not planted evidence. I don’t think they did so this time.

              1. If this is accurate (not doubting it, simply acknowledging that we don’t have all the facts yet) then the police certainly had reason to do what was necessary to detain this man. But the shooting is still problematic to me, perhaps even more so.

                He already had the weapon, he wasn’t going for a weapon. Yes, we don’t know that there wasn’t a gun somewhere in the car, but there has been no mention of a gun found as of yet and he didn’t have one in his hand. I don’t think police should shoot someone for fear that they might use a gun unless the person actually has their hand on a gun and indications are that they are likely to actually use it. For example, a recent incident in my town. A man who had already shot 2 people then car jacked another person, was chased by a police officer and got himself cornered in a parking lot with no exit and the police car directly behind him. The officer got out of his car and stood behind his open door, weapon drawn, yelling commands at the man. The man lifted his arm and began reaching out of his car window with a pistol as soon as the pistol was visible the officer fired several shots, killing the man. That’s a fully justified shooting. Fear that a person getting into their car could be going for a gun is not enough reason to shoot someone.

                So why, after following the man, who already had a knife in his hand, as he walked to his car did the police pump multiple rounds into his back as he started to get in? Because he wasn’t doing what they said? Because he was attempting to leave? There is nothing about either of those things that warrants the shooting. I’m not necessarily talking about what police training or the law might currently support. I’m saying that regardless this shooting, supposing the circumstance are as describe above, would be unwarranted and if we need to change police training and the law then that’s what needs to happen.

                This idea that if people would just do what the police say they wouldn’t get shot, as a defense of the police’s actions, is ludicrous to me in the same way a Deepity is. Trivially true (though not all the time, people do die on occasion doing exactly what the police tell them to do) but also completely wrong. This excuse works just as well for Gestapo like law enforcement as any other.

                Note how situations like a belligerent knife wielding person are typically dealt with by, for example, UK police. Hint, they typically manage to restrain, disarm and arrest such people without shooting them or even pulling a gun. Yes, the US is different, special. Maybe we need to change that.

        2. It is true that failing to comply, resisting arrest on its own does not merit the use of lethal force. But if the officers reasonably believe that such resistance involves or will very soon involve the use of a lethal weapon or one which could cause grievous bodily injury, like a knife, steel toed boots aimed at the head, or obviously a gun, then lethal force is authorized.

    4. provocation (grounds) for the police to use force revolve around whether someone gives police reason to reasonably think they are about to act to cause danger to someone.

      ignoring a cop shouting with a gun pointed at you, attempting to flee after assaulting shows a capacity for violence as well as a questionable mental state. the policeman then becomes responsible for what happens next. this might be nothing, or using a weapon on the police or others at the scene. allowing a violent person to leave the scene without any weapon carries risks.

      the initial video was about 8 seconds; milliseconds between opening the door, reaching inside and the shots.

      i see strong reasons to stop this man in the video, and almost no time for decisions.

      we sure need better ways to restrain people.

    5. I had the same thoughts as blitz442 when I watched the two videos of the Wisconsin shooting. As soon as that man wrestled free from those officers, and walked with purpose to his car, I immediately assumed the worst: He was opening his door to retrieve a gun.

      In the heat of the moment, it’s nearly impossible for an officer to assume anything but the worst when someone resists arrest and walks to a car like this man did. In hindsight, it’s easy to be outrage: He was apparently at the house involving a domestic dispute to act as peacekeeper/mediator, his kids were in the back seat, and there wasn’t a gun found in the car. Furthermore, the fact that he was young and black exacerbated the situation, if you consider crime statistics and profiling based on those most likely to commit violent crimes.

      The what-ifs in this scenario could keep someone up at night:

      • What if this man had complied with police orders and not resisted arrest?

      • What if these officers had successfully subdued him in handcuffs while he was lying on the ground?

      • What if he had sprinted down the block after breaking free, instead of opening a car door, which blocked the view of that officer tugging his shirt?

      1. “What if these officers had successfully subdued him in handcuffs while he was lying on the ground?”

        What if he had the reasonable expectation that in these circumstances an office would kneel on his neck for over 8 minutes, until he was dead? Perhaps he had good reason to try to get away.

        1. Pinning someone down with a knee to the side of the neck is a standard police practice generally recognized as safe. Unless Blake had recently overdosed on drugs I don’t think he’d have anything to worry about.

  8. Is what Carlson said objectively true?

    1) Did Kenosha devolve into anarchy because authorities abandoned their citizens?
    2) Did the governor on down fail to enforce the law?
    3) Did WI politicians stand back and watch Kenosha burn?
    4) Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?

    I was not at all surprised that CHOP/CHAZ accelerated to murder nor would I be surprised if it accelerated to murder in Portland and again in Seattle.

    Is this not a class war? Where are the protests and rioting over men being disproportionately represented in arrests and incarceration? We know men are disproportionately represented because men disproportionately commit crime. Even more so with black men.

    Lastly, police are trained to fire if a suspect (in this case, wanted on an outstanding warrant for sexual assault) resists arrest and reaches for a weapon. Blake did in fact have a knife under the seat of his car and in fact was reaching inside his vehicle while resisting arrest. A non-lethal Taser did not stop Blake.

    I fully expect the BLM-enthralled media to focus on Rittenhouse and not the larger scale mayhem wrought by rioting, arson, and anarchy.

  9. “2.) The police have again shot an unarmed black person, though of course we should reserve final judgement until the DOJ investigation.”

    In the back, in front of his children.

    Also, it’s not clear in any of this who exactly the rioters and looters are. While they may be BLM people or sympathetic demonstrators, it’s equally possible that they are right-wing provocateurs.


  10. The best thing the Trump campaign can hope for is a police shooting every day, followed by demonstrations, rioting, looting and arson. It sees its path to electoral victory through emphasizing law and order. In other words, it’s a campaign of fear. I don’t know to what extent the rioting will help Trump, but it can’t hurt. The failure of the BLM and others on the left to outright condemn the looting is morally indefensible and downright stupid. They seem poised to grab defeat from the jaws of victory. The precipitating incident will lose public attention. The white extremist militias will gain credibility. People like Rittenhouse will be rallying points for the right wing. And so it goes.

    1. The name of the process is – light the fuse and then get the benefit. The republicans have always been for more guns and no control of weapons in America. That is what we have and this is the result. Then call for law and order and by order they mean, order more guns.

      1. I’m sure both sides are trying to benefit from the chaos, but it doesn’t seem to have been Republicans who “lit the fuse” (and even if they did, the Democrat administrations in these cities could have snuffed it out if they wanted) or fanned the flames, to mix metaphors.

        It seems to me that Democrat administrations allowed and continue to allow looting and arson without consequences – in some places there have been zero charges against the rioters – probably to place themselves on BLM’s side. Certainly the mayors and governors speak out first and foremost in solidarity not with people who are beaten in the streets or have their businesses burned, but with the protesters against “systemic racism”.

        Meanwhile, Republicans try to position themselves on the police and “order” side of the BLM/police conflict, while also doing little to actually stop the riots.

      2. The BLM spokespeople and groupies, with their rote sanctification of peaceful looting and arson, are fulfilling the hot-dog Left’s historic function of helping the Republican Party win elections. The “days of rage” SDSers did their bit for Nixon in his day; the electoral geniuses of the Green Party assured George W.’s Florida victory in 2000; Jill Stein assuredly helped Trump in Michigan in 2016, although she failed to achieve that significance elsewhere. The hot-dogs, always hungry for significance, keep trying.

        1. The right wing ideologues wanted power, developed a plan to achieve it, worked hard and waited patiently, resulting in a succession of victories – Reagan, G.W. Bush, and Trump. The left wing ideologues have had no plan to achieve power, probably don’t want it anyway, and are content to vent their frustrations through demonstrations that degenerate into violence. Seemingly doomed to always being the outsiders, they content themselves denouncing racism and capitalism, perhaps not realizing that their tactics make destroying oppressive systems almost impossible. It’s sad to say, but right wing ideologues are so much more politically savvy than their counterparts on the left Extremism, as religion, poisons everything.

          1. At the risk of committing armchair psycho-analysis, let me suggest that most hot-dog Leftists have no plan for either achieving power or for replacing racism or capitalism with anything specific. Their entire program is revealed by what covers everything in places where they briefly have full freedom of action: graffiti. In short, the program is neither anti-racism, nor socialism nor communitarianism nor anarchism: it is exhibitionism.

    2. Conversely, this man is obeying the trump rules, whether he knows it or not, that is to say, it’s all about me, nothing but me, there is nothing out there but me!
      Black, white makes no difference if you have a cool head, perhaps being arrested in front of your children is a sign of weakness to him… a trump rule.
      Nevertheless, the pathetic action of obeying these rules lost him the use of his legs.
      The kid with the semi-automatic is also following the trump rules.
      Interestingly I’ve heard of young boys lying about their age to take part in WWII, this kid is saving America by the call to arms to defend the trump principles.
      All in all it is a catastrophe by negligence, no gains, no vision, no inspiration.

    3. “They seem poised to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.”

      In my mind I can hear Ze Frank saying:
      “Because that is how the left do.”

      Which makes the terrifying possibility slightly amusing, if only for a few seconds.

  11. Besides the obvious frustrations with these events the quality of the discussion in the media / social media is also very frustrating. It is as if we can no longer have any meaningful conversations anymore – have we ever? If you were to believe at face value every characterization that you read then you would be forced to believe that everyone is a fascists or bigoted terrorist.

    We are obviously missing something here.

    1. What we are missing or ignoring really is one simple thing. It is all about guns.

      Give the general public all the guns in the world and this is what you get.

  12. Finally, we have the odious Tucker Carlson actually justifying on Fox News the actions of the militia.

    Odious, indeed. The white-power ranger’s raison d’être for being on Fox News is to keep old white folk in mortal fear of rampaging dusky hordes and to troll the Left.

    He’s always been a snotty little bastard, but once upon a time, a long time ago, Carlson gave voice to legitimate conservative values. Now he’s found his niche providing crappy reactionary content between “My Pillow Guy” commercials.

  13. I’ve watched all available video footage and have seen no evidence that Rittenhouse committed first degree murder, which he was charged with. If he gets a fair trial there’s almost no chance of him being convicted of that.

    In the clearest video available, he was punched from behind, ran, and fell down. Then someone shouted to “get his ass!” and he was swarmed by multiple assailants. One ran up to kick Rittenhouse in the head and that was when he fired the first shot, missing. Another guy with a skateboard grabbed his gun and tried to pull it away, and got shot in the chest. A third guy ran up with a handgun, hesitated after the previous guy got shot, but then charged in and got shot in the arm. Rittenhouse held his shot until the final charge, despite that assailant holding a gun of his own, so he was showing restraint.

    Some reported that while Rittenhouse was walking down the street (prior to him falling down and being mobbed), somebody took four shots at him with a revolver and missed. (You can hear gunshots in some video but can’t see the shooter.)

    Rittenhouse shot nobody who wasn’t physically attacking him as part of a mob. Then he walked down the street to some police vehicles and tried talking to the police.

    Now, one guy was previously yelling that Rittenhouse had shot someone. The prior scene at the gas station is chaos with poor video and several people shooting at each other, but you can clearly see that prior to the shooting the person said to be Rittenhouse is running away from somebody who is chasing him and only shoots after he’s been caught and attacked. He then reportedly called the police to report this, but I can’t confirm that.

    These aren’t the actions of a murderer. They’re the actions of a guy who went there to “protect property” and (perhaps foolishly) put himself in the middle of a chaotic scene where he was attacked and forced to choose between either shooting people or being beaten. If you think it was murder, show the contrary evidence.

    1. Has the possibility occurred to you that, after Rittenhouse shot and killed the first person, the people who subsequently attacked him were themselves engaged in either self-defense or the defense of third persons from the use of further deadly force by Rittenhouse? Or that they were attempting to disarm and detain him pending arrival of the police?

      1. That’s the problem with stand your ground concepts and situations where everyone is walking around armed and ready to shoot – you can have a gunfight where every person shooting can reasonably claim they’re ‘acting in self defense.’ So you get a bunch of victims self-defensed to death.

        Which is no doubt exactly what some of these militia folk were ready to do. Rittenhouse took his gun, got in his car, and drove approximately 20 miles to Kenosha to participate in anti-riot actions with his militia mates. To protect businesses, he said. So very clearly, he was ready to – and expected to – threaten rioters with shooting should they approach him or a protected business threateningly. IOW, he knowingly went out of his way to put himself in a situation where he would be able to self-defense people to death.

        1. The police often are not adequately trained on how to handle tense situations. How on Earth would a 17 year old vigilante know how to reduce an escalating situation to avoid fatalities? In my view he should have been subject to arrest for recklessness and interfering in police activity.

      2. Well if so I think it would be the first case of self-defense in which the “defenders” chase a guy down the street, punch him, scream “get his ass!”, swarm him, kick him, and pull a gun on him. Sounds more like vigilante justice than self-defense to me.

        In the first shooting too, he shot a guy who was chasing and attacking him. But maybe before that he did something that justified the whole chain of “defensive” aggression against him…

        1. If those persons believed that the armed gunman, who had just shot someone in the head, continued to pose a lethal threat to third parties, they would have the legal right to use such force as was needed to disarm him.

          I haven’t said for certain that this is the case. We do not know. I merely pointed out that your wholly failed to consider this possibility in your initial comment.

      3. Legally speaking, if someone retreats, and you chase after them, even if they have attacked or killed your friends, even in the most stand-your-ground friendly state, you have forfeited any claim to self-defense. At that point it will be considered a discrete incident, separate from the first, and it will look like you are out to take revenge. You might be able to have your culpability diminished by claiming heat of passion in the event that you attack or even kill the person in retreat, but unless you are a police officer, do NOT chase after a shooter in retreat and expect that any violence you might do to stop them will be considered self-defense.

        1. Your analysis turns entirely on the assumption that the shooter was solely in retreat and, despite having just killed one (apparently unarmed) person by shooting him in the head, no longer posed a lethal threat to others in the vicinity.

          1. Was he going around shooting more people when he very visibly has the opportunity to do so? No? Then he’s in retreat, legally speaking, because it’s no longer reasonable to assume a threat to other.

            And the first guy was not unarmed, he threw some kind of projectile at the shooter (some are saying it was a molotov cocktail, but that’s disputed).

    2. It’s not 1st degree murder, that’s for sure. Doesn’t fit.

      Second degree? Very likely.

      Would any of this happened had he not bee running around with an assault rifle? I doubt it.

      Would any of this happened had he just stayed home (took no action at all)? No.

      What the hell was he doing, in someone else’s town, running around with an assault rifle? I can say what: Looking for trouble. He found it.

      1. Trevor Noah of The Daily Show did a segment (and a tweet) on it: “Nobody drives to a city with guns because they love someone else’s business that much. That’s some bullshit. No one thinks, ‘it’s my solemn duty to pick up a rifle and protect T.J. Maxx.’ They do it because they’re hoping to shoot someone.”

        Or at least to play soldier and have some excitement. I don’t believe shooter thought beyond that.

    3. These aren’t the actions of a murderer. They’re the actions of a guy who went there to “protect property” and (perhaps foolishly) put himself in the middle of a chaotic scene where he was attacked and forced to choose between either shooting people or being beaten. If you think it was murder, show the contrary evidence.

      This officious, jejune vigilante had no business being out illegally after the Kenosha curfew, and had no business illegally carrying an assault rifle at his age.

      After the shootings he fled across state lines to hide at his parents’ home, without — so far as any publicly available information suggests — contacting Kenosha law enforcement to inform them he had shot three people. Whether his were the actions of a murderer is yet to be determined, but they certainly appear inconsistent with someone acting in legitimate in self-defense.

  14. Just as a point of pedantry, “semi-automatic weapon” is not synonymous with “assault weapon”. I know this has no bearing on the specifics of this circumstance, which are pathetic and disgusting, but as Sam Harris has pointed out, when those who are trying to argue against gun use or for restrictions on gun availability misuse terms it harms their credibility among various more neutral parties, some of whom are lawful gun owners/users, or former owners, but who might be sympathetic to the point being made.

    A semi-automatic is any gun that, when firing a round after a trigger pull, ejects the casing and loads another round from a magazine (or similar) into the chamber. It fires once per trigger pull. AR-15’s and similar assault weapons ARE semi-automatic, since fully automatic weapons are, I believe, almost entirely illegal for private citizens in most places even in America. However, a .22 target pistol is also semi-automatic. Any pistol that’s not a revolver of some kind (or a single-shot hunting pistol) is a semi-automatic weapon.

    1. Well here in Washington state they passed a resolution legally defining semi-automatic weapons as assault weapons, so there! 😛

    2. Yes, and the equivalence is also true in Illinois, as Wikipedia notes:

      Chicago has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it defines as assault weapons, as well as laser sights.

      1. Well, “certain semi-automatic firearms” ARE assault weapons, there’s no doubt about that. That seems at least a little more specific than Washington, which I would expect from Chicago. I imagine they even specify which models, or give criteria for inclusion. I wouldn’t blame them if they banned almost all firearms within Chicago proper.

        1. Never a problem for Chicagoans, as Indiana is right-next-door and doesn’t have those pesky regulations on who you can sell to or background checks.

    3. When I hear such hair splitting, I feel I’m being told to shut up and go away. Unless I’m a gun expert I should have no opinion on gun control policy. I probably should buy an assortment of guns and take gun safety classes from the NRA and become conversant with the arcane terminology. Only then am I allowed to go into the voting booth and vote for gun legislation that is so weak it’s useless.

      1. This is normal, though, as all political issues are going to involve some party claiming that the experts have resolved the issue, that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and that it’s not up for debate. We have heard that for the past decade about tax rates, healthcare policy, gun violence, institutional racism, criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization, and more. “Go read a book” or “I have a degree in X” seems to be a favored form of argumentation in our politics.

        1. On the other hand, having some understanding of issues is important to an informed citizenry. Being reasonably familiar with science is important as a foundation in our complex modern world. I’d be the first to insist that all students take science courses. Also, courses in government and critical thinking, etc.

      2. Not at all. At least, that’s certainly not MY intention. The arguments are absolutely legitimate against the notion of a 17-year old parading through the streets with an assault rifle, which is what happened. It’s absurd; he had no business being there, and was clearly not competent to use a gun anywhere outside a training range with a qualified instructor, if there, when he put himself in the situation on his own. But it CAN tarnish otherwise very good arguments – and can be used in a calculated way by those engaged in manipulation of the story for their own benefit – when simple factual conflations are made, and it can distract those who might be ambivalent from even considering very valid points…such as that it’s nonsense for a teenager to think it’s okay for him to take the law into his own hands and to bring a powerful and inflammatory weapon into a tense situation that’s already swimming in testosterone and male primate dominance displays. And it’s nonsense that he was ABLE to do so.

        I didn’t really mean to distract from the issue at hand, just wanted to suggest a care of wording to prevent either opportunistic or even innocent distraction…which maybe I’ve now been guilty of myself. Apologies.

        1. No need for apology. On the one hand, we should have a reasonable grip on the technology we wish to legislate. On the other hand, I think there’s quite a bit of irresponsibility on the part of those trying to turn the argument, as you say, in a calculated way. Let some of the burden fall on those who advocate for an Old West, gunslinger, society.

      3. People get hung up about the scary appearance of “assault rifles”. Functionally, they are really no different from any semiautomatic rifle, including many (most?) large game hunting rifles (“deer rifles”).

        The vast majority of homicides (and suicides) are committed with handguns. Only 3% are with long guns (of any kind, including shotguns).

        Rifles are hugely more accurate that handguns. So, from anything beyond 50 feet, a rifle is much more dangerous than a handgun (but, again, very few murders are committed using long guns).

        Handguns are easily concealed and quick to use and harder to be disarmed of.

        Since no one I know of is proposing banning handguns or hunting rifles, the measures proposed don’t seem very useful.

        1. I’ll amend that comment to state:

          I am in favor of sensible gun control measures, for example:

          – Register all guns (law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from this)
          – Background checks for all buyers
          – No guns for people with mental illness
          – Red flag laws
          – Close the “gun show” loophole
          – Require gun owners to safely store weapons (safe or trigger locks)
          – Require gun owners to be legally responsible for the location and use of their gun until they sell it, give it away, or destroy it. Require reporting to law enforcement on any of these actions for an individual gun.
          – Don’t allow any machine gun ownership (nix the exceptions for collectors)
          – Make all bump-stocks and similar modifications illegal
          – Prosecute shill buyers vigorously

          1. Just a guess, but I assume a lot of these restrictions are in place in other countries. Now that the NRA is tangled up by the NY prosecutors, maybe there will be a chance to legislate.

        2. While the vast majority of homicides are committed with handguns so called assault weapons have become the tool of choice for spree shooters. They penetrate police body armor, they are designed for working in an urban environment, in buildings. This was why they were designed, a combination weapon usable in open grounds as well as in buildings.

          An AR-15 carbine is about 26″ long over all. Most hunting rifles the barrel alone is 22 – 24″ long with another 12″ for the stock/receiver. Using a long gun in your average hallway is a bit of a pain, though more doable in the large hallways of schools.
          Assault rifles are tailor made for homes, businesses and schools. It’s the perfect weapon for the militia cosplayer.

          Rifles are of course much deadlier causing much more damage due to the much higher velocity of the bullet.

          One of the reasons the firearm homicide numbers have gone down in the US is because American hospitals have become so very good at treating gun shot victims. They get a lot of practice. The US had about 70,000 gunshot injuries in 2013 that didn’t cause death.

          Not too long ago it was extremely common for gun rights supporters to state no mass shootings had been committed by people with assault weapons. No longer.
          Now they say that about machine guns, or did until Las Vegas, although the pedantic try to say the shooter didn’t use ‘true’ machine guns. But if they quack like a duck and fire like a machine gun…

          This is all just an FYI of sorts, my two cents. I agree with your proposed laws. I’m getting mighty tired of seeing extremely young children shooting themselves and others. There is no excuse yet in many states the owner of the weapon is never charged.

          I keep harping on this, toddlers regularly shooting people doesn’t happen except in the USA.

          When any idiot can buy a gun, they do. In droves.

          1. Now they say that about machine guns, or did until Las Vegas, although the pedantic try to say the shooter didn’t use ‘true’ machine guns. But if they quack like a duck and fire like a machine gun

            The shooter didn’t use machine guns, he used AR-15s with bump stocks. The reason he didn’t use a machine gun is that he was not allowed to own one and therefore didn’t have one.

            I do not know if the Las Vegas shooter would have caused more death and injury with a real machine gun. However, even with an unmodified semi automatic, he could still have killed a lot of people (perhaps more than 59, since every shot would have been aimed). Even with a bolt action rifle he could have killed a lot of people, maybe not as many as he did.

            The problem isn’t whether it is a machine guns or semi auto with a bump stock or automatic versus semi auto versus bolt action. The problem is guns.

  15. Clearly the answer to these problems is more guns.

    If you think that is stupid, that is a start. I won’t pretend to have answers but the unrest is a symptom, not the problem.

    1. Unfortunately, gun ownership is a version of the prisoner’s dilemma. As long as others are armed, it makes sense for individuals to have one (assuming they can ensure its safety.) My wife grew up with guns and wants us to buy one.

      1. I have a shotgun and two rifles that I use when I pretend to hunt. But I am not a “gun owner” in the sense of the political debate. All other things being equal, there would be little need for a handgun in a healthy prosperous society.

        It is a dilemma. I don’t have answers and I can’t tell how this all will end.

  16. Just for reference here is the Wisconsin statute which Blake appears to have been violating while resisting arrest. Note it is a felony

    946.415  Failure to comply with officer’s attempt to take person into custody.
    (1)  In this section, “officer” has the meaning given in s. 946.41 (2) (b).
    (2) Whoever intentionally does all of the following is guilty of a Class I felony:
    (a) Refuses to comply with an officer’s lawful attempt to take him or her into custody.
    (b) Retreats or remains in a building or place and, through action or threat, attempts to prevent the officer from taking him or her into custody.
    (c) While acting under pars. (a) and (b), remains or becomes armed with a dangerous weapon or threatens to use a dangerous weapon regardless of whether he or she has a dangerous weapon.

    1. Maybe the cops thought that Blake was going to commit child abduction, which is much more serious, and perhaps a life or death situation. What’s the penalty for cops that allow a child abduction to happen?

      1. Or maybe they thought that he was an alien from Mars who was going to trigger an invasion with a interplanetary communication device hidden in the steering wheel!

        The imagination of a police officer is not a legitimate reason to shoot someone in the back.

          1. Yes. HIS kids. You’re suggesting that a cop imagining child abduction is cause for shooting someone in the back.

            I’m dismayed at all of the justifications being offered that rely on imagined actions or imagined weapons. “He might have had a knife.” “He might have been kidnapping children.”

            Every one of us who owns a car is subject to being murdered on that basis. And those of us who don’t own cars are subject to murder because we might have owned a car that had a gun in it.

            1. I suppose that in that situation the cops have to imagine the worse possible scenario, like Blake driving away with the kids and holding them as hostages, or even killing them.

              1. Cops, like everyone else, should respond to reality, not to imagined possibilities. I imagine that you are a notorious terrorist about to trigger armageddon. You fine being shot on that basis?

              2. What do you have to say about the seemingly complete lack of the cops working together as a unit? Why didn’t the other, then, also join in on the shooting, as he wasn’t even dead yet after 7 point blank shots?

                Or did they possibly think, “Shit, there are kids in that car!”

                Since we’re all giving our theories here.

  17. This is a godsend for Trump. The only way for him to win is to repeat his success in the Midwest (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa). I think this assures his victory in Wisconsin.

    People, especially old people, do not like living in fear. They might be able to accept looting and arson in Portland but Kenosha? The mayor and governor are Democrats and they are showing themselves incapable of protecting the citizens without federal help.

    1. I’m an old person. I don’t like living in fear. I wish we could get policing practices changed so that so many of us would no longer be afraid of police.

      This is not 1968.

      1. GB, are you genuinely afraid of the police?

        I am not.

        I am (very) concerned about what they are doing to our black neighbors.

        That said, I comply with whatever the police officer tells me to do. When I get pulled over, I keep my hands visible at all times. I make no sudden moves. I don’t argue with police. I use a calm, quiet tone of voice. If I’ve been speeding (100% true when I’ve been pulled over), I admit it: Immediately.

        One time, I was pulled over by a female state trooper (I was going 65 in a 55 zone). She asked for my driver’s license; and I remembered it was in my backpack, in the back seat or the trunk. I opened the door and started to move to it and she said, get back in the car. I immediately complied (without thinking about it); and I then told her that the wallet was in my pack and it was in the trunk or the back seat (it was in the back seat). She told my wife to hand the pack to me, which she did.

        All that said, I’m sure my luck with avoiding tickets would be very different if I were black.

        Several times in recent years, I’ve driven out main car around for several months with expired tabs. I realize it eventually. (The MN DMV doesn’t seem to be able to get it through their heads that we’ve moved this car from WI to MN!). An old friend from my childhood neighborhood, who is black, asked me: Do you think you could do that if your were black? No, I don’t think so. That’s wrong (our system is wrong).

        1. “Several times in recent years, I’ve driven out main car around for several months with expired tabs.”

          This stuff is so anecdotal and hard to generalize. I’ve been nabbed for expired tags several times over the years. I’ve not once been let off for a speeding ticket or a parking ticket in my life. Yet I’m a white male.

          That’s why we need more studies on these things, rather than people’s hunches and anecdotes.

          1. I am not attempting to generalize my experience at all.

            I am just pointing out that I have been lucky. Lucky, period.

            But I do behave well as well (aside from speeding). And I do because the police officer is carrying a gun.

            For all I know, they just found out that their wife is cheating on them with their best friend. (I don’t want to collateral damage!)

            I’m 60 with gray hair and white; and I present a calm, friendly affect. The police have no reason to fear me. My record is clean. There’s nothing outstanding (legally) on my vehicles.

            The data are clear that “driving while black” is a reason to be pulled over in the USA. The friend I speak of is more well off than I am, lives in a nice suburb of the same city I do. He drives a Jaguar or something similar, typically, and he gets pulled over (and let off) all the time by white police officers.

            Yes, this is anecdotal; but to me it is telling.

        2. What you say makes sense, however reading it I think it’s very sad and very scary that you have to be walking on eggshells if you get pulled over by police. I wouldn’t want to be shot simply because I didn’t hear a command or got confused….some people even have hearing issues.

          1. Hi Diana, I think the reason is because the police have to be afraid for their lives in every encounter in the USA. (See the video that Blitz442 posted below.)

            We have a violent culture and the police are the ones we pay to confront it.

            The sad thing is our violent culture (IMO).

            1. I think it might be more than that. I don’t think the US has a particularly violent culture as someone looking at it from the outside and someone who lives in a culture that is the most like the US more than any other country. I think what the US has is a gun problem. Everyone owns a gun and many don’t know how to use it so police don’t know what they are encountering when they approach a vehicle and they are hyped up to begin with thinking everytime they pull someone over they are going to die in a war against the citizens.

              As a Canadian, I don’t think our police face this though they tend to have similar bad relationships they tend to shoot fewer of us without reason. We can own hand guns by getting a special permit here but we can’t drive around with them in our glove compartments. I don’t think cops expect to get shot when they pull someone like me over.

          1. I should add, jblilie, that there is a context dependent aspect to my fear of police. I’ve had many, many, interactions where I have had no fear at all. I worked with the local district for fifteen years on neighborhood safety concerns with no fear at all, although I can’t say the neighborhood organization has always been treated with sufficient respect by some of the Captains involved.

            But… I have also participated in many, many, political demonstrations over the decades. And there have been many times when I’ve had serious fear that police might respond aggressively.

        3. The trouble is everything you say you do when you get pulled over speaks to fear of the police. I’ve been pulled over by the police four times in the UK and it’s never occurred to me that I have to keep my hands visible at all times, nor that I have to speak in a calm measured tone (obviously, it’s always a good idea to keep your communications with traffic officers courteous, but they don’t shoot you here if you’re a bit rude).

          1. Yes, I agree. I tend to be courteous to the police because they are courteous to me and they are only doing their job and every time I’ve been pulled over (3x in my lifetime so far) it has been in a speed trap. A PITA yes, but technically I’m wrong and each time they’ve reduced the ticket. I don’t think they would have shot me if I mouthed them off and called them pigs. I think it would have gone much worse for me as they passive aggressively dealt with my attitude (make me wait longer, not reduce my ticket, etc) but I don’t think they would have shot me. Of course, it’s possible. Some cops are unhinged and have PTSD. I’ve had some bad encounters just not lethal ones (obvs).

            1. I saw a video shot by this guy with cameras mounted in his car. He deliberately speeds so he can get pulled over and swears up a storm at the two cops as they calmly write a ticket. The cops are professional and just ignore the horrible insults. The guy posted it to show how macho he is, but he comes off as a huge jerk. The cops never pull a weapon, never even defy him. They just let him rant. White privilege not to be shot?

    2. Yes, it could be 1968 all over again unless the Democrats start paying at least some lip service to condemning riots and promise to do something about civil unrest.

    3. This seems like it WOULD be a godsend for Trump…if he hadn’t already been in power for four years.

      The problem for him is that it is at least partly down to his pathetic, chaotic, incompetent leadership that all this is happening in the first place. He certainly hasn’t done anything to prevent it and has generally inflamed it whenever he could.

      So the voters face this choice: stick with Trump and expect shit like this to continue escalating(and I have a feeling that there’s a big chunk of his support who are absolutely desperate for it to escalate)…or you can make a change and elect someone sane and reasonable, whose time in office as VP didn’t end with scenes of smoking cities, racial unrest and corpses piled up outside overflowing morgues.

      That’s me laying it out logically of course. That’s how a logical voter would see it. Which means Trump’s probably going to get another four years.

      1. The mayors and governors involved in Kenosha, Portland and Minneapolis are all Democrats but it’s Trumps fault. Did he hire the police and the DAs? Did he fail to write state laws reining in the police? Or did the Democrats?

      1. Well she is a soulless sociopath. She’ll say anything for attention and she doesn’t care what the consequences are who hates her for it. She is a sociopath after all and that’s one advantage to being one – not giving a crap what anyone thinks.

        1. The difference between a sociopath & a psychopath is a conscience. Trump does not have one so he is psychopath. Possibly Coulter is one as well?

          1. Is there really a difference? I don’t think there clinically is. They are people, who among other things, have very low empathy.

            1. According to Vincent Greenwood, Ph.D.,
              “The name of the disorder is psychopathy (the term sociopath is often used interchangeably with the term psychopath, but the latter is the correct, scientific term).

              Here are the 20 items that the examiner is asked to provide a rating of 0, 1, or 2:

              1. Glibness/superficial charm
              2. Egocentricity/grandiose sense of self-worth
              3. Proneness to boredom/low frustration tolerance
              4. Pathological lying and deception/gaslighting
              5. Conning/lack of sincerity
              6. Lack of remorse or guilt
              7. Shallow affect
              8. Callous/lack of empathy
              9. Parasitic lifestyle
              10. Poor behavioral controls
              11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
              12. Early behavioral problems
              13. Lack of realistic long-term goals
              14. Impulsivity
              15. Irresponsibility
              16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
              17. Many short-term marital relationships
              18. Juvenile delinquency
              19. Revocation of conditional release
              20. Criminal versatility


              1. Sure but neither sociopathy nor psychopathy are in the DSM AFAIK and hasn’t been agreed upon enough to enter into it so arguing over terminology and claiming a distinction is rather moot at this point.

              2. The checklist looks like it’s in general use.

                “The name of the checklist is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist — Revised (PCL-R).”

                “The key instrumental change in DSM-III and such checklists was the development of more specific, concrete and operational criteria for each disorder.”

              3. I believe that the DSM lumps these two disorders under Antisocial Personality Disorder under which there are varying degrees of symptoms. Typically phycologists would say that psychopaths are born (a stable trait with a constant prevalence over time), whereas sociopathy is made (appears to be a condition less strongly tied to genotype).

              4. Greenwood distinguishes between Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy. You may be right that the latter is a subtype of the former.

            2. I’ve just read Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, quickly followed by Mary Trump’s book. I’m knee deep in psychos right now.

              1. Ha ha I went through a psycho phase too. I read the The Psychopath Inside (the one where the neuroscientist finds out he’s a sociopath), Confessions of a Sociopath both written by psycho/sociopaths.

  18. I think the National Guard is unable to stop the riots because they are not empowered to do so. When they are given no policing powers and are even sent out unarmed (or with no ammunition), under orders to retreat if attacked, they’re nothing more than paper tigers. And the rioters know it, since there’s plenty of video on the Internet showing their weakness and word gets around. This is part of why Trump’s claims to be restoring law and order are such a joke.

    Yesterday I saw some random Internet guy writing in a forum that he was a member of the National Guard and had been out in some of these demonstrations; he said they were expected to just stand there and be intimidating statues. I predict the extra 250 National Guard they’re deploying to Kenosha will have little or no effect.

    In strictly local news…

    Seattle police officers were forced to kick their way out of an East Precinct exit door Monday night, after rioters jammed it with boards and rebar, and attempted to seal the door closed with quick-dry cement. As the door was being jammed, surveillance video shows several other people building a fire outside the building near the exit door, in an attempt to set the building on fire.

    “I think what this shows you is that these people are intent on killing police officers,” said Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Guild, who called the act “‘clear domestic terrorism'”.

    Meanwhile we’ve passed 90 consecutive nights of rioting in Portland. But we wouldn’t want to take any real action to stop these fine protesters. That might be unjust.

  19. Obviously we don’t want a situation where vigilantes (especially 17-year-olds) feel compelled to step in to “defend businesses”, but nobody else was defending those businesses. We need to make some hard decisions as a society.

    1. If a group of rioters wants to burn down an auto dealership or a federal courthouse, should we let them?

    2. If we shouldn’t let them, how much force are we willing to use to stop them?

    3. If we shouldn’t let them and the mayor or governor or chief is ordering the police to stand down, then who should do the job?

    4. If we let rioters burn things down, how should we compensate those whose livelihoods were destroyed? Who should pay and when? Is there a limit on how much we must pay, and what happens when that limit is reached? Will we then stop the rioters (in which case, back to question #2), or will it just be “tough luck” for any future people whose businesses were burned?

    Hoping that we’ll all just get along isn’t realistic.

    1. Those people who have their businesses, homes, cars destroyed are screwed. Insurance won’t cover them. I think they should get a lawyer and sue as many governments as possible.

      The problem with cracking down is there is very low trust in the police. Many don’t trust the justice system and that is not at all surprising. Police are largely immune from consequences. Rarely do Police face consequences when they lie under oath or in written statements. Prosecutors rarely face consequences when they get caught breaking the law. In some places police, without evidence, take your money, car or boat and there is almost nothing you can do.
      Like a third world country.
      Sheriffs openly say they will refuse to enforce laws.

      Cracking down will likely escalate things unless they can:

      a) Go in with overwhelming force and arrest everyone and keep them locked up. A possibility since the constitution and laws seems to be more of a guideline these days.

      b) Separate and remove anyone who commits violence. A problem since the people protesting don’t trust the police.

      c) Go in and start shooting everyone in sight and make an example of them.

      d) Do what other places have done, (Vancouver, Toronto), document, follow, grab the person(s) and charge them with crimes.
      Get cracking on police reform. When police lie under oath, or on paperwork, fire them and charge them. Clean up the justice system. Stop destroying peoples lives over unpaid fines. Stop targeting minority communities for fines.

      From the looks of many of the demonstrations a number of police are more than happy to escalate peaceful protests into riots. They have not helped. Neither did Trump by using violence on peaceful protesters.

      The police are like many organizations, they have people of various opinions. Some, perhaps more than the general public are in full Trump support mode, and believe the left are evil and BLM are terrorists.

      To believe any government can quickly fix this problem, which has been engineered for two hundred years, is short sighted.

      We’ve seen police with a great deal of patience and we’ve seen police who resort to violence at the slightest provocation. Governments who are doing little, governments who have actively made the situation worse. Nobody is looking good in this. Unfortunately Trump supporters won’t be shown more nuanced takes.

      1. On the other hand, acceptance of police brutality seems to me a sign of distrust in the legal system and the expectation (which I share) that reforms are unlikely to improve it. This is not about good and evil for me: there are trade-offs involved. Being threatened by organized criminals actually seems worse to me than having a government that oversteps legal boundaries somewhat in cracking down on them. I am also willing to accept some semi-legal practices if they serve a practical purpose, like excessive bail amounts intended to keep dangerous criminals of the streets (because there seems to be no good alternative right now).

        1. In other words out of control cops, prosecutors, a criminal justice system that destroys peoples lives over petty issues, is perfectly fine as long as it destroys those other peoples lives and not yours.


  20. My solution? Bring back the Draft, revised and updated. (Though we never really got rid of it.) Or revise the National Guard as National Service. Whatever it is, make it mandatory. Everyone serves regardless of sex, age, class. Non exemptions, but you get to chose the service: military, hospitals, environmental, transportation, whatever.

    It’s way beyond time that American citizenship should finally come with some damn responsibilities.

    1. In a similar vein, I’d like to see mandatory service with the police, going through basic training, riding along, and responding to calls as a junior deputy – and perhaps not given a firearm, just to reduce the training requirements and liability.

      I think it’d go a long way towards helping the public understand what the police have to deal with and also infuse a lot of average people into the police to moderate their culture.

  21. Ban guns.

    In other but related news:

    New research shows that U.S. political parties are becoming increasingly polarized due to their quest for voters — not because voters themselves are becoming more extremist.

    The research team, which includes Northwestern University researchers, found that extremism is a strategy that has worked over the years even if voters’ views remain in the center. Voters are not looking for a perfect representative but a “satisficing,” meaning “good enough,” candidate.


    The work challenges a model introduced in the late 1950s by economist Anthony Downs, which assumes everyone votes and makes well-informed, completely rational choices, picking the candidate closest to their opinions. The Downsian model predicts that political parties over time would move closer to the center.

    However, U.S. voters’ behaviors don’t necessarily follow those patterns, and the parties’ positions have become dramatically polarized.

    “People aren’t perfectly rational, but they’re not totally irrational either,” Abrams said. “They’ll vote for the candidate that’s good enough — or not too bad — without making fine distinctions among those that meet their perhaps low bar for good enough. If we want to reduce political polarization between the parties, we need both parties to be more tolerant of the diversity within their own ranks.”

    [ ]

      1. Of course a two-party system is non-functional. It is simple psychology: you view the “other” as your enemy. You had this situation in England during the 17th century where Catholics and Protestants were arch enemies. And you have this non-functionality in the UK now as well, resulting in an absurd Brexit. Finland is a good example of a government with 9 parties out of about several dozens of existing parties.

      2. Not sure about that. The UK and Germany have had two large parties that dominated politics for decades after WW2 without experiencing similar polarization. On the other hand, the Weimar republic failed despite (or aided by) the presence of about a dozen parties in parliament. Why can’t you switch if a party disappoints you? I suspect ethnic conflicts have much to do with it. If voting is all about your identity and not about policy, how would more parties help?

        1. “If voting is all about your identity and not about policy, how would more parties help?”

          Well, people should not vote about identities, but about policies. A two party system reduces your choices to identities (fascist, right wing, left wing, religious, atheist, capitalist, socialist, etc). People should vote about policies, such as foreign policies, financial policies, defence, health care for all, employment, welfare, climate change, air quality, education for all, and find parties that support one or more of these policies. Of course all these parties should be represented in parliament, and voting is quite simple, for or against a proposed policy.

  22. “I’m not so sure. Did the militia descend on Kenosha, at least in part, because many of the rioters were black? Rittenhouse’s post that “Blue Lives Matter” hints of racism.”

    From the photos & videos I’ve seen, 1) there were no rioters, only protesters and 2) they were mostly white.

  23. Well, the kid should never have been there. He was a minor, and not old enough to buy or posses a gun. He was not there to defend his own home or business.

    However, at some point, he was separated from his friends, and found himself being chased by a bunch of rioters, one of whom fired a gun while chasing him. He shot one of them, then started heading towards the cops. the rioters again chased him down, hitting him until he fell. The guy who hit him with the skateboard then tried to take his rifle, grabbing it by the muzzle. That shot might have been accidental. The third guy had been chasing him with a pistol. (Maybe he was the person who fired the first shot at the car lot?). All three persons shot were felons, one was a child rapist. After the shootings, the kid walked towards police with his hands up, but the MRAPs drove by him. He leaned into a patrol car to talk to them, but they ordered him to back off. So I guess he went home.

    I think a lot of normal people, especially veterans or retired law enforcement, fell like they should be out there doing something to stop the chaos and destruction, since the cops don’t seem to be doing it. It is typical that the first people who actually show up are the ones too naive or immature to anticipate the risks involved.

    We are at a scary point in this. The cops will not stop rioters from burning down your home or business, but are likely to arrest you if you try to stop them.
    The new fun thing is to approach strangers at restaurants or similar places, get right in their face and demand that they pledge to BLM, while you scream obscenities at them. They can do this with little or no fear of repercussions. Traditionally, if someone acts like that, you punch them in the nose. Not now, as the mob can beat you senseless, and likely will. Same as they do if you accidentally drive up on one of their road blocks.

    I think we need a Flight 93 moment. If I try to hijack an airplane next week, the passengers are likely to literally tear me apart. Before 9/11, a person hijacking a plane could expect cooperation, or at least noninterference from the passengers and crew, even if they killed a few of them. Not any more. If every time the rioters enter a neighborhood, they are met with 1000 angry residents with bats and rifles, the rioting will just stop.

    1. If every time the rioters enter a neighborhood, they are met with 1000 angry residents with bats and rifles, the rioting will just stop.

      Sure hope those thousand angry vigilantes distinguish between a peaceful, constitutionally protected protest and a riot before they start swinging and shooting — unlike, say, the gun-toting McCloskey couple who are facing felony charges for brandishing firearms at peaceful protesters in St. Louis, and who were featured speakers at Trump’s convention.

      1. I agree. It would be nice if there were some organization of professionally trained people who knew the details on the laws regarding such incidents, and could step in and put a stop to the situation when it crosses the line from protest to riot.
        In places where no such organization exists, or where they cannot or will not step in and shut down illegal activity, then people are going to have to do it themselves.
        I guess in most places there is a period where people just huddle in their homes in disbelief that this is going on, and surely, surely the police are going to stop them.

        At the risk of repeating myself to the point of being tiresome, a primary function of the police is to protect offenders from the wrath of the populace.
        What is absolutely no going to happen is the concept that BLM/Antifa will continue their orgy of destruction, with no organized opposition from police or citizens. They do not have the power or support to become the Red Guards or Khmer Rouge, where they become the law.
        Clearly the best outcome would be professional response by the police to arrest the instigators, subject them to justice while preserving the rights of the accused, at which time the majority discover that they are dressed like ISIS executioners, are in fact “the baddies”, and fade away.
        The alternative is that regular people begin to take the attitude that “nobody is coming to save you”. and overcome their normal, conflict averse natures.

        I was watching the unrest when I saw the two old ladies being assaulted on the west coast. As soon as I saw that, I told my wife that I was glad that I did not witness it in person, because I could not have lived with myself if I did not step in. That likely would have led to my being assaulted, then some sort of escalation, and people ending up in the hospital or jail. Likely including myself.
        My impulse to avoid conflict is currently stronger than my impulse to go protect other old ladies in such situations.
        Less stable folks are always going to be the first to join the riot or the opposition. Like the dumb kid under discussion.

      2. Aren’t several speakers facing felony charges or some other rather serious investigation? They must have had a stereotype in mind when they did recruiting.

  24. The reality of this case is that Blake was posing a danger to others. Should the cops let a man who is clearly under the influence of stress and anger drive away with 3 young kids in the vehicle? It’s a split-second decision, how would you protect the kids?

    1. I understand now! If someone is stressed or angry then they most certainly should be shot multiple times in the back! Totally obvious!

      1. You have about 5 seconds to decide if a physically strong, extremely angered suspect – who is actively resisting arrest, trying to get into a car with 3 young kids, and drive away – poses an immediate threat to the safety of others- in which case you are allowed to use deadly force. Piece of cake, right?

        1. Right, right, right! If there isn’t enough time to make an informed decision one must ALWAYS shoot people in the back. Got it!

            1. I honestly think that is exactly what you were trying to say. That shooting people in the back seven times is justifiable because you made the decision in “about 5 seconds”.

              There’s simply no justification for a cop doing this. Period. Twisting yourself into a pretzel to minimize the horror of it is completely unreasonable, in my mind.

              1. as long as we’re imagining, what if he said ‘i’m going to drive this off a bridge’, or made threats against the kids.

                but the likely reason cited will be reaching into a vehicle obscuring hands while attempting to flee after assaulting the arresting officers, and causing the officer to reasonably fear for his life or the life of others.

                most of the time, in such a situation the suspect won’t pull his firearm out of the door storage. there are videos of this happening on youtube.

                the highest risk scenarios would probably be with someone accused of a violent felony, who acted irrationally, who is willing to be violent with the police.

                i think the critical decision time came when he was opening the door, maybe 300 milliseconds.

                who would want to be a cop.

    2. Is there any indication that the police even noticed there were children in the car or cared one whit about their safety?

      1. i haven’t seen reporting on this; was this the car he stole during the alleged rape is another question. it’s pretty clear that mr. blake was willing to expose them to danger. what could cause someone to attempt to get in your car with your children, with a cop screaming not to and his gun pointed at you, one wonders. the cops couldn’t just let him leave, they’d chase, with more people at risk.

        we sure need better ways to subdue folks.

        1. Hell, shooting all four of the tires could have made him rethink that. And “we sure need better ways to subdue folks” is the big understatement.

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