Monday, December 08, 2014

Why Unforeseen Contingencies loves Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo

Unforeseen Contingencies unequivocally endorses the actions of police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo that resulted in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  Here's why.

First, the two cases are completely unrelated, except that racists Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and their lackeys have lumped them together as examples of inappropriate police tactics, and the stupid fools who follow them are in tizzies over these completely legitimate uses of force by the police.  The events are unrelated, and neither has anything to do with abuse of force or selective use of force against blacks. Furthermore, both officers did exactly what they should have done, and should be commended for acting appropriately under difficult circumstances.  All of this is easily established.

1. In the case of Officer Darren Wilson, it's clear that Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery in which he assaulted a shopkeeper.  When Wilson stopped Brown and his accomplice, Brown assaulted Wilson, injuring him, and attempted to seize his firearm, putting Wilson's life in jeopardy. Brown broke off the assault, but then resumed it.  The only sensible  alternative for Wilson was to employ deadly force.  It took half a dozen rounds, but happily Wilson successfully stopped the deranged predator.  It's sad Brown fell to such depths and engaged in such terrible behavior, but given that he did, it's good he was stopped.  It cannot be said that he didn't deserve the fate that befell him.  Stealing cigars does not warrant being shot.  Attempted murder is another matter.  Officer Wilson behaved appropriately and should be commended for his actions.

2. In the case of officer Daniel Pantaleo, it's clear that Eric Garner was resisting arrest; had he not done so, events would have developed very differently.  Once police officers attempted to cuff him, his resistance made it necessary to take physical control of him.  Officer Pantaleo took Garner to the ground in a headlock, not a chokehold.  A headlock grabs the head and neck so that one can make the body follow and direct it where one wants.  A chokehold shuts off either the carotid arteries or windpipe and makes the target pass out.  Pantaleo employed a headlock, not a chokehold.  To emphasize this, note that martial arts that employ chokeholds also employ nonverbal signals -- tapping out -- because when you're in a chokehold you can't say "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."  Here's a very interesting analysis by an M.D. of what caused Garner to die, and it absolves Pantaleo.  Here's another that throws additional light on the matter, including the hypocrisy and racism of those who are outraged.  (The arrest of Garner was supervised by a sergeant who is a black female.)  Pantaleo's actions were appropriate.

Yes, the charges against Garner stemmed from the victimless crime of selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.  This should not be a crime.  Perhaps the anti-tobacco left ought to accept the blame for Garner's death and for setting the police upon him.  But  have my own two cents to add.  I lived in NYC during the unfortunate reign of the corrupt and incompetent mayor David Dinkins.  Crime rates were high and the streets were unpleasant places, where belligerent "salesmen" (and women) interfered with passersby.  They did not necessarily violate one's rights, but they were willing to threaten such.  The streets were a mess. Hawking on a public thoroughfare is not appropriate and yes, it does not bother me that people are not allowed to harass passersby.

Regardless, during my first year in New York I happened to witness an arrest.  A street thug had robbed a citizen, who quickly found a police officer who began pursuing the thug.  The thief was cornered in a doorway and stood with his back to the officer and hands in front at the level of his belt.  The officer began screaming at the criminal to make his hands visible.  I was about 15 feet to the side of the criminal, in a spot where I couldn't quickly get away.  My eyes were glued to the crooks hands, watching to see if he was about to draw a handgun and begin spraying rounds -- something that would have been very bad for me, for the officer, and for many other people.  I don't know what he was doing -- he was up to something -- but no handgun materialized.  A couple of other officers ran up and as a group they mobbed the guy and took him down, no "dangerous chokehold" employed, just a leg grab.  The crook's head slammed the pavement with a remarkable crack.   Contrast that with I saw a few months later of two guys whom I saw the police stalk and grab from behind.  Both had headlocks applied, while other cops grabbed and cuffed them.  Having seen the headlock vs. non-headlock arrest, I'd prefer the headlock.  Better yet, I don't give police officers any legitimate reason to arrest me.

Eric Garner did not deserve to die, but no one killed him, and no one employed deadly force against him.  Completely appropriate police techniques were employed, and only because he resisted arrest.  These did not kill him; his own obesity and terrible physical condition -- for which he was responsible -- killed him.  It's unfortunate, but not criminal.  On the other hand, Michael Brown was a violent criminal bent on mayhem.  I haven't a shred of sympathy for him.  And I have even less sympathy for the savages demonstrating and rioting on behalf of him and the phony charges that America is a racist nation.

But more importantly, Officers Wilson and Pantaleo do not deserve to be demonized.  Both acted completely appropriately and should be commended for their actions.

It's probably considered a bit odd that I, a libertarian, would be writing in defense of the police.  But facts matter, and what we're witnessing is the demonization of all police everywhere on the basis of a disinformation campaign.  Yes, the police are out of control far too often, but that does not justify fabricating stories in order to lynch policemen who behaved properly.  Furthermore, I'm skeptical of the claim that the police in America are in general dangerous and unnecessarily violent.  That's nit my experience.  In every instance I have had a criminal after me, the police have been responsive, supportive, and helpful.  And I've taken multiple defensive shooting courses taught by law enforcement officers.  So yes, when police do their jobs -- our jobs, for us -- they defend our liberty and we should support them.

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