Sunday, April 25, 2021

Three Recommended Articles 4/25/21

All three articles are related in a general sort of way.

Start with Jonathan Turley, who offers a law prof and defense attorney's view of:

The difficult realities of lethal force

He explains the principles that govern the use of lethal--or potentially lethal, to be more exact--force by the police, and he offers apt and specific case examples.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar thinks officers who come upon someone about to knife another person should shoot into the air, as a warning. Zhou Baiden has long maintained that police officers should shoot armed suspects in the leg.

However, there is a reason why police manuals do not say “aim for the leg” or “try to shoot the weapon out of the suspect’s hand.” It is called “imminent harm,” the standard governing all police shootings. ...

In the slow motion videos of shootings played on cable television, there often seems to be endless opportunities for de-escalation or alternatives to lethal force. ...

When officers use lethal force, it is meant to “neutralize the threat,” not to kill someone. They are trained to fire for the center of the body because it minimizes the chances of a miss while maximizing the chances of neutralizing the suspect. Shooting for the hand or leg or weapon can endanger others and may not neutralize a suspect. Likewise, officers are not trained to use nonlethal force, like a taser, to stop a lethal attack. Tasers are sometimes ineffective in neutralizing suspects. [However, tasers sometimes kill people--they are at least potentially lethal.] If there is an imminent threat of lethal force, officers use lethal force to end that threat.


By definition, the use of lethal force is justified only when a threat of death or serious bodily harm is “imminent.” At that point, even if trick shooting or firing at limbs were feasible, an imminent threat must be neutralized without delay. ...

A similar scene unfolded recently in Knoxville, Tenn. Police there confronted Anthony Thompson Jr., 17, in a bathroom stall after being called by his girlfriend with a domestic abuse claim. When they tried to handcuff Thompson, he reached for a gun in his hoodie. It discharged, and officers thought he was firing on them. They shot and killed Thompson. Even with this close proximity and shooting for the center of the body, some shots apparently missed and hit another officer. Indeed, in the confusion, police thought the wounded officer had been shot by Thompson.

I have both sued and defended law enforcement officers. They work in a violent, unpredictable environment that few of us ever experience. These scenes are adrenaline-driven, chaotic moments that often allow few seconds for critical decisions. Even with extensive training, officers can shoot each other or bystanders in the flash of an encounter.

Yet, on CNN and MSNBC, hosts and guests insisted that Officer Reardon could have waited and that knife fights are common between teenagers. CNN guest and Rutgers University associate professor Brittany Cooper declared that “no Black person is truly going to be safe if we cannot be having a bad day, if we cannot defend ourselves when we think we're gonna get jumped.”

Of course, most people who police meet are having “a bad day,” which is why the police were called. Lethal force is used in only a small percentage of these encounters. Studies show the vast majority of the roughly 1,000 civilians shot annually were armed or otherwise dangerous. According to the Washington Post, in 2019, police shot and killed 55 unarmed persons, including 14 Black and 25 white individuals. ...

The "I was having a bad day" defense. If only. But that's what we're being asked to accept, at the risk of other people's lives.

Next up, Roger Kimball:

Slow-Motion Suicide of the West

Some people thought James Burnham’s identification of liberalism with civilization’s suicide was hyperbolic. In light of American institutions’ embrace of anti-Americanism, what would they say now? 

Basically we all know that people in a democracy get what they vote for--whether they like it or not. The real question is, Why do they vote the way they do when an objective examination would tell them that they aren't going to like the results? And yet instead of changing the way they vote they blame the results on someone else. If suicide is the result of madness, then the Suicide of the West is the result of a societal madness--a view Eric Voegelin espoused. What we're seeing now illustrates that madness. For example:

One of the strangest things about the current [regime] (I hesitate to call it the “Biden Administration” because Joe Biden is clearly just a puppet in the hands of the factions and personalities that engineered his “election”)—one of the strangest features of the [regime], I say, is the breathless velocity with which they are proceeding to bring about that “fundamental transformation of the United States of America” that Biden’s predecessor and (possibly) puppet master Barack Obama promised.

The current [regime] is behaving as if it had a huge popular mandate. In fact, it won, if it won, by the narrowest of margins. (I’ll repeat parenthetically here what I have said elsewhere: I believe Donald Trump actually won but that the concerted efforts of his opponents overturned the election.) And stepping down from the top spot, the election of 2020 was a disaster for the Democrats, though not, I predict, as much of a disaster as the 2022 election will be. And yet here they are behaving as if Karl Marx, if not Mao Zedong himself, had been elected instead of a senile factotum who was supposed to bring back “normalcy,” national unity, and political “bipartisanship.”

Kimball ends where the next writer begins, with CRT:

Although it was born in the fetid corridors of academia, CRT (as it is often abbreviated) has escaped from the laboratory and is infecting the population at large. “[I]t has,” Rufo writes, “increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions over the past decade. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human-resources departments, in the form of diversity-training programs, human-resources modules, public-policy frameworks, and school curricula.” ...

Mark Bauerlein offers another version of the "you voted for it" perspective--the "look in the mirror" version--and he focuses on CRT:

Critical Race Theory—You Paid for It, You Got It 

When conservatives decry the advancement of critical race theory they should remember that it couldn’t have happened without the support of the people they see in the mirror

Bauerlein got a PhD in English from UCLA in the 1980s, and he assures us that the early forerunners of today's full fledged CRT were already in the drivers seat of academic departments back then--as those of us of a certain age can also testify.

..., like so many leftist ideas in their current form, it stems from the 1960s, when the civil rights movement shifted from the liberal integrationist vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the aggressive identity politics ... 

It’s an easy memory to lose because the militant racial protests dissipated over the course of the 1970s, by the end of which you heard few national voices speaking in CRT-like tones. Even Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition campaign for the presidency in 1984 favored a positive message of multicultural unity over the bilious talk of white supremacy. 

Here’s the thing, though: Militant identity politics didn’t go away. It took refuge in academia, where programs in Black Studies, Women’s Studies, etc. proceeded to carry out the militant vision in an academic mode. 


Racial identity became a super hot topic in the 1970s throughout the humanities and has remained one up to the present. ...

Yes, my 60s and 70s classmates took over academe, and they're still there. We paid for them, and we--well, not me, and not everyone--voted for the Dems who funded them and advanced them in government as well as in academe. Did you vote for a Dem--ever? Then this is what you voted for. Sorry, that's how things work. Did you vote for a pro-life Dem? Then you were helping Dems keep a majority. The Left is disciplined. You didn't understand what you were voting for? Sorry, that's a personal problem, and one that reflects poorly on you.

Harsh? Some people are slow learners. I'm willing to forgive, but let's be clear about what led to this mess. The Uniparty narrative has truth to it in important respects, but in other important respects it misses the boat. America wouldn't be a perfect place but for the Clintons and Obama--remember the three Bush admins--but it would be a lot better. We would likely have been in a helluva lot better position to slow down, if not fend off, the Gramscian "long march through the institutions."

This brings us to the point with which we started. The race politics these academics contrived through the years evolved precisely into the frighteningly illiberal vision of quotas, accusation, guilt, and reparations of the Woke who are pushing it in elementary schools, workplaces, and government—and we paid for it. Yes, the paychecks the professors collected for doing their identity politics came out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Most of the professors worked for public institutions. They were government employees, paid out of state budgets. 

Most of the citizens in those states would have rejected the race talk of the professors had they the chance to hear it—and I include most 1990s liberals in the group of ordinary Americans who didn’t like such separatist attitudes—yet they were bankrolling it the whole time. In effect, they were paying the professors to describe an America that is racist, sexist, nativist, genocidal, and imperialistic.

Please note what Bauerline is saying here. These government employees were funded and protected and advanced largely by state legislators--who are much closer to the electorate than are federal elected officials. Who voted for these people? It didn't have to happen, but this is the weakness of democracy and it's why the Founding Fathers called America an "experiment."


  1. Gunfighting has basic rules that must be followed in order to survive. Police for many years have been taught to follow these rules, and, for the most part, they have served well. These rules have been written in blood; people have distilled their essence watching their friends and loved ones die.

    There was a day when more people understood how violence worked, in real life, and it would have been comedy fodder for anyone to suggest that Joy Behar or these other pudding-headed big mouths should have any voice in them. If Joy was putting her life on the line, which she would never do, she'd all of a sudden have a whole different set of principles, no doubt.

    The root of all these problems is ascendancy of people who have no desire or commitment to abide by any sort of social compact. Many of them actively want to destroy the social compact. Part of the social compact was people didn't try to cut other people in the neck violently, and when they did, lethal force would be used to stop them.

    Another part of it was society would stand behind cops and others who risked their lives and emotional stability by acting in a split second to save another's life or enforce the law. The 'new' social order is to fire these police and charge/convict them of a heinous crime!! For trying to enforce the law!

    One other thing I haven't seen mentioned anywhere- that policeman in Columbus made an incredible shot in a split instant, with the knifeman and the intended victim overlapping in his line of sight. The perp was in a full-body windup like a major league pitcher, and there was no time to spare. Credit to him and his training! Somebody like that is both rare and skillful. Joy Behar has a complete lack of skill in anything except vacuously running her big mouth!

  2. It's best to leave when you find out you're not wanted.

    The rules have changed and we have been given notice. Failure to heed that notice will be costly.

  3. Mark, I have heaped praise on you for past insights, but in saying "the election of 2020 was a disaster for the Democrats, though not, I predict, as much of a disaster as the 2022 election will be" you are stating a reality that unfortunately most Americans are missing. There apparently is a poll out showing a division in our country like never before. I would argue that we have rarely been so united. Unofficially I would judge that at least 70% of us are united in our basic decency, our patriotism and our disdain for the 2020 election so-called results. A 30% minority would have us believe the contrary, and even if they comprise the current regime, the media and social media and our 'woke' executives, popular sports and Hollywood people, teachers and professors, they are a minority. Indeed, the constant clamor and the high profile carryings-on meant to intimidate us are having the opposite result. It would be ill-advised at this time to confront the idiots who think they are in charge, and above all no violence or lawbreaking.

    1. That was a quote from Kimball. However I think you're way off on the 70%.

    2. Not 70%? This past week the issue was 'law and order' and policing, the border is from before, taxes, the economy and a risky stock market as well as likely inflation are ahead of us and foreign policy is shaky, to say the least. Give Biden a chance. We'll get there.

    3. "at least 70% of us are united"

      Is it 70% or isn't it? What's this "we'll get there" bullshit?

  4. A long time ago when I trained in and taught karate, we would practice knife fighting. It’s really a no win situation. From getting your hands and arms cut, with wood knives mind you, to slashes to the throat, the variables are immense. It’s a lethal force issue in which the response is lethal force save one, a suicidal subject with a knife to their own throat or body.

    Targeting center mass with a gun is mainly due to stress and it’s effects. The center body is the largest portion to likely get struck by a bullet because stress will cause you to miss a smaller target.

    Yes, use of any force, including lethal, means, for cops, to stop the threat, but even with training, the stress of the situation may mean you empty your magazine even though the first shot dropped the subject, ie stopped the threat. Heck, you may not even stop the threat due to stress.

    Luckily, these situations are rare. Sadly, they are becoming more common generally.

    Being a cop is immensely rewarding, but also dangerous with a whole lot of boring paperwork, which, counterintuitively, may lead to an arrest and conviction of a suspect, especially if you did a little extra to help the detective when he gets your report.

    1. Most people have no conception of just how dangerous knives and knife wounds are--it's possible to argue that from some standpoints they're more dangerous than a gun.

      Most LE are trained to keep pulling the trigger until there's no threat. Again, non-firearms people have no idea how quickly a 15-20 round magazine can be emptied--and how easy it is to miss under stress. All the stats on these situations demonstrate that truth.