Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Invalid Arguments From Alex McDonald

"His crime, as far as I understand it, was walking away from a police officer."
The first problem with this letter and some of the subsequent statements is based on a false premise. You acknowledge that you really don't know what transpired to cause the incident, but you make the assumption it was because the man was black and he dissed a cop. You quickly make reference to race in your opening line of this letter.

I think it is imperative to find out if your first premise is true before painting the police with a broad stroke. You also seem to have a big issue with race. Is race the first thing you see about someone when you meet them? You throw around black and white like it is important and must be said to describe someone.

If you looked into what happened to cause the taser deployment you would find the suspect actually hit the arm of the cop away not once, but twice. After the first time he was warned that doing that was a crime and he did it again. Then when he was told he was under arrest he started to leave. That is not something you can do.

Believe it or not, the use of a taser is lower "force" that fighting someone. So in other words when the cops are going to have to get physical they would tend to use a taser before laying hands on someone. This is because of the amount of after effect. If I were to hit someone they could get cut and bleed. Have a black eye, or even get a broken bone depending on where the hit took place. Using pepper spray causes discomfort and pain for nearly an hour. Plus there is a lot of decontamination time. Using a taser gun lasts five seconds. Once the shock is done the pain is gone and there are no lasting physical cuts or broken bones.

I will agree the use of it looks very frightening. It is because a taser uses two things. It uses pain compliance as well as immobilization for five seconds. You will find that other than those five seconds of discomfort, that people are not hurt and are typically willing to cooperate which really allows everyone (cops and suspects) to walk away without lasting injuries.
"Students thronged around the scene as a multiplicity of white officers surrounded their own."
You make it sound like the cop who was assaulted was a white cop. In fact you are wrong. You should research the incident some more before you make more assumptions and paint the cops with a broad stroke.
"Now I know not all cops are bad cops, but I do know at least one of Pullman's officers was out of line last Saturday night."
If your premise was true, in other words, the only thing the guy did wrong was to walk away from a cop and he got tased, then I could agree with you. But in fact there was a lot more to it than that. You are basing this argument on an invalid premise. Therefore this too is invalid.
"How many white students walk away from Pullman officers every weekend without being tased? I'd be willing to bet quite a few."
This is invalid for the same reason the one above it is. If anyone (I don't need to make issues of race, but that seems to be your MO) assaults an officer you can bet they are going to jail. If they choose to disregard lawful orders you can bet force will be used. In the days of old that would be fighting or using pepper spray. Today that will probably be a taser. Once again, you should get educated on tasers. You will find that people who have been tased and pepper sprayed all will tell you they would prefer to get tased. That is cause the lasting pain is only five seconds.

Because you like to mix race into your arguments in order to try to prove a point, I will assist you with it. On that night two people were tased. Two people assaulted an officer. Two people did not follow lawful orders. Does it matter what their races are? It doesn't to me. It didn't to the officers involved. But to you it does. Because you are very race conscious, I will let you know that one of the two was white. Not everyone considers race like you do. Some people actually deal with the person, not the color of their skin. Those who advocate equality should try it.
"According to The Associated Press, the Justice Department reports 7 million American adults are in prison, on probation, or on parole — America, the world's most prison crazy nation."
So this is being presented to prove what? This does not follow your premises unless we make deductive arguments from your earlier statements. I would deduce that you are trying to show that the white cops are part of the system of institutional racism due to the fact that a black man was tased.

Once again, your premises are invalid. It was not all white cops. It was not because the suspect walked away. And it was not because he was black. So when I use deductive logic from your points I cannot come to any conclusion, as all your premises are false.
"But here's the rub: According to AP, "in the 25-29 age group, 8.1 percent of black men, about one in 13, are incarcerated, compared with 2.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.1 percent of white men.""
I can pretty much copy and paste my last comment to this location. But let me add something. You are tying to make the case for racism. But you provide no numbers on all the races and their representation in prison. Is that because it would hurt your argument? What is the population of Asians in prison compared to their population in America?

How come you have no outrage over the "sexism"? Men vastly outnumber women in prison. No outrage over that? Is that because you believe that men actually commit more of the crimes in America? Maybe there is institutional sexism and the cops are only looking for men who commit crimes.

Maybe you believe that men do commit more crimes in comparison to women. Maybe it is possible that some races may be "over represented" in prisons, but that is only because there is an "over represented" number of people in a race committing crimes. Using deductive logic in your last two statements you are trying to argue that blacks are over represented, therefore racism exists. But you do not make such a statement about sexism. Also, it must be the case that the racism only exists against one race, because you make no arguments about such racism occurring to Asians. You are not being consistent in your outrage. And this part of your letter is so far off base when the point of your letter you lose people on this.
"America's undercurrent of institutional racism is strong. While white collar crime goes largely unpunished, young black men fill our prisons. Unfortunately for our brothers and sisters of color, the punishment rarely fits the crime."
Punishment? That has nothing at all to do with the cops and the incident at Mikes. That is the courts and judges there. I don't know why you included this statement in your letter at all. It has nothing to do to back up the false premises that you used to start your letter.

Now I am going to make a jump here. I cannot be sure about this, but you may be arguing that the cops, by tasing the suspect were "punishing" him. If that is the case then that too is false. The taser was applied to affect an arrest with the least amount of pain possible. The punishment is left to the judges and juries. It is the roll of the cop to get the suspect off the street and to the courtroom to answer for the crimes he is suspected of committing.

Overall your letter is full of false statements and you build your arguments off of those false statements. You admittedly don't know what happened to cause the incident at Mike's, but you took the time to write a letter to the editor that served to insinuate that the cops in Pullman are racist.

I believe that you wrote a horribly false and very misleading letter.

1 comment:

Tom Forbes said...

Tsk tsk, Alex. First Wal-Mart now the Pullman Police Department. You and your "used $40 bike" are making quite a splash in Pullman. And all without being "influenced by the liberal indoctrination of the school system."

This whole brouhaha over the taser incident has "CES Department" written all over it.