[Discussion] Police, White Nationalists, and the Rise of Fascism

More Than Half of Police Killings Are Mislabeled, New Study Says

New York Times wrote:

Police killings in America have been undercounted by more than half over the past four decades, according to a new study that raises pointed questions about racial bias among medical examiners and highlights the lack of reliable national record keeping on what has become a major public health and civil rights issue.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and published on Thursday in The Lancet, a major British medical journal, amounts to one of the most comprehensive looks at the scope of police violence in America, and the disproportionate impact on Black people.

Researchers compared information from a federal database known as the National Vital Statistics System, which collects death certificates, with recent data from three organizations that track police killings through news reports and public records requests. When extrapolating and modeling that data back decades, they identified a startling discrepancy: About 55 percent of fatal encounters with the police between 1980 and 2018 were listed as another cause of death.

The findings reflect both the contentious role of medical examiners and coroners in obscuring the real extent of police violence, and the lack of centralized national data on an issue that has caused enormous upheaval. Private nonprofits and journalists have filled the gap by mining news reports and social media.

“I think the big takeaway is that most people in public health tend to take vital statistics for the U.S. and other countries as the absolute truth, and it turns out, as we show, the vital statistics are missing more than half of the police violence deaths,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which conducted the study.

He continued: “You have to look for why those deaths that are being picked up by the open-source investigations, looking in the media and elsewhere, aren’t showing up in the official statistics. That does point to the system of medical examiners and the incentives that may exist for them to want to not classify a death as related to police violence.”

Researchers estimated that over the time period they studied, which roughly tracks the era of the war on drugs and the rise of mass incarceration, nearly 31,000 Americans were killed by the police, with more than 17,000 of them going unaccounted for in the official statistics. The study also documented a stark racial gap: Black Americans were 3.5 times as likely to be killed by the police as white Americans were. Data on Asian Americans was not included in the study, but Latinos and Native Americans also suffered higher rates of fatal police violence than white people.

The annual number of deaths in police custody has generally gone upward since 1980, even as crime — notwithstanding a rise in homicides last year amid the dislocations of the coronavirus pandemic — has declined from its peak in the early 1990s.

The states with the highest rates of police killings were Oklahoma, Arizona and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia, while the states with the lowest rates were Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota, according to the study.

Researchers estimated that about 20 times as many men as women were killed by the police over the past several decades; more American men died in 2019 during police encounters than from Hodgkin lymphoma or testicular cancer.

Unexplained or violent deaths in the United States are investigated by coroners or medical examiners, who use autopsies, toxicology tests and evidence like body camera footage to determine the cause and manner of death. The death certificate does not specifically ask whether the police were involved — which may contribute to the undercount identified by the study — but many medical examiners are trained to include that information.

The system has long been criticized for fostering a cozy relationship with law enforcement — forensic pathologists regularly consult with detectives and prosecutors and in some jurisdictions they are directly employed by police agencies.

Yet pathologists have also complained on occasion that law enforcement does not provide them with all relevant information, that they have been pressured to change their opinions, or that coroners, who are usually elected and are not always required to have a medical degree, can and do overrule their findings.

The researchers found that some of the misclassified deaths occurred because medical examiners failed to mention law enforcement’s involvement on the death certificate, while others were improperly coded in the national database.

...

The National Association of Medical Examiners encourages the classification of deaths caused by law enforcement as homicides, in part to reduce the appearance of a cover-up (a homicide may still be deemed justified). But classification guidelines differ from office to office, and there are no national standards.

Roger Mitchell Jr., a former chief medical examiner of Washington, D.C., and an expert on investigating deaths in custody, has long said that death certificates should include a checkbox indicating whether a death occurred in custody, including arrest-related deaths as well as those in jails and prisons.

As long as medical examiners are not specifically asked to include that information, he said, he would not jump to conclusions about why they do not do so: “If it’s a function of training, a function of bias, a function of institutional and structural racism — all the things we can assume — we can identify that once we have a uniform system.”

A federal law passed in 2014 requiring law enforcement agencies to report deaths in custody has yet to produce any public data.

So this study validates the various open source, investigative police killings databases that were started after the deaths of Eric Gardner and Michael Brown in 2014. Those efforts revealed that police killings were about double what was officially reported through the FBI.

Now this study shows the same thing happened going back to at least 1980 and it's largely due to how medical examiners and coroners code deaths. So I guess in addition to ACAB we now have SMECAB.

Interestingly, about 80% of America's coroners are elected and more than a third of the population lives in a state where being people investigating deaths on behalf of the state don't require any specialized medical training or experience. This seems an area ripe for reform.

Black Americans are 3.5 times as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. That's a huge disparity.

Men are TWENTY times as likely to be killed by police as women. That's staggering.

hbi2k wrote:

Black Americans are 3.5 times as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. That's a huge disparity.

Men are TWENTY times as likely to be killed by police as women. That's staggering.

Racism and sexism are both bad, yes.

This has to be one of the few times where someone confessing to major crimes like this on their deathbed has actually proven to be true.

There might be a better place to post this, but I looked and didn’t find one…

I had an interesting conversation with my right wing conservative friend today. I’m not going to go into details but he made an emotionally charged statement about the Facebook whistleblower which led to a fairly long conversation. We discussed big versus small government, Facebook, billionaires, Fox News, CNN, disinformation propaganda, CRT, and science.

I made the following points in the most respectful way possible… He is believing in right wing narratives that is not necessarily true. He doesn’t understand how science works. He only consumes right wing media and therefore has a flawed understanding of what the left and the center believe. Billionaires are psychopathic villains who can’t be stopped but need to be stopped. His definition of what he thinks CRT is is simply incorrect.

Really, he believes many many right wing narratives which are false and incorrect. I feel pity for him.

How badly did he reject that understanding?

Robear wrote:

How badly did he reject that understanding?

He’s actually a pretty rational guy. He’s simply been indoctrinated to believe in a false narrative. I don’t pretend to believe that I’m changing his mind with logic and reason. He’s been sucking on that teet of self righteous indignation for a long time. Right wing media is a poisonous system of dopamine delivery for white dudes. Logic and reason can’t compete with that. At this point I think it’s best if I can coax him to giving unbiased consideration to a far left point of view. I won’t ask him to believe in it, just to consider it. I feel I should also encourage him to question everything that any major media outlet says. Not to disbelieve everything, but just to consider the possibility that what comes out of the mouth of a talking head might not be completely accurate.

I think more and more we are fighting against an idea. They aren't married to Trump but instead what he represents. They will take anything he says, whether it is contradictory or destructive to their cause and warp it to encourage their boogeyman narrative. What Trump represents allows them to be angry and cling to it. For all this talk of pulling yourself up by your boot straps, it is easier to be hateful, resentful and judgmental.

And what we see as hypocrisy, is just their bark. We might want to consider tolerating their bark to prevent more Jan 6 style bites. The real crime of right wing media is it is the serves the purpose of barking at a barking dog. The dog might eventually use its bark to settle down rather than bark for the sake of barking if enough stimuli are removed.

This includes progressives. We seem to be just as addicted at barking when we focus on "OMG I can't believe what outlandish thing Tucker said last night." In that case, we are barking at the one who is barking at a barking dog. And that never lessens the barking, ever.

side note: People are not dogs. But people lash out when they are hurt, forgotten, or unheard. Lashing out back to them or turning it into a competition does not deescalate.

fang, I agree with you for the most part.

Deescalation is the challenge. At a school board meeting last month I tried to acknowledge the grievances of the crowd in attendance (the first time we'd had more than five people show up). It just emboldened them and left me regretting I'd even tried. The next meeting I just barked at them and told them to elect someone else if they didn't like it. I sure felt better, especially when I got applause from the supporters who outnumbered the anti-maskers, but I certainly didn't help anything with the mob.

On social media my wife responds with facts, targeting the lurkers on the thread who might be swayed by the constant far-right propaganda spewing on our town's most popular page. She never takes the bait from the ad hominems and deflections. It's been pretty effective since she never engages the trolls directly. Unfortunately, the anti-maskers are so livid right now we've decided she needs to lay low, since they know she's married to a filthy politician.

@fang I think your analogy fell apart at the end. If you punch me because of something Rawk told you about me, and I start saying that Rawk’s a liar, how am I culpable for the next punch? Or for Rawk’s next lie? How can me pointing out the falsehood be reasonably considered a reason to keep spitting falsehoods?

The point is that what’s being said or done by the parties involved is not mindless barking, and it’s not equivalent.

JLS wrote:

Deescalation is the challenge. At a school board meeting last month I tried to acknowledge the grievances of the crowd in attendance (the first time we'd had more than five people show up). It just emboldened them and left me regretting I'd even tried. The next meeting I just barked at them and told them to elect someone else if they didn't like it. I sure felt better, especially when I got applause from the supporters who outnumbered the anti-maskers, but I certainly didn't help anything with the mob.

You just reminded me I wanted to post this, JLS. Here's to you!

fangblackbone wrote:

This includes progressives. We seem to be just as addicted at barking when we focus on "OMG I can't believe what outlandish thing Tucker said last night." In that case, we are barking at the one who is barking at a barking dog. And that never lessens the barking, ever.

This is a very important point.

The most powerful and most effective use of logic and reason is when you turn those concepts on yourself in order to expose you own internal biases. I’m still interested in what a Tucker Carlson type says and does, but not because I get off on raging about it. For one, I’m very interested in knowing the current narratives and talking points of the far right. It’s not possible to fight that type of misinformation if you don’t have a basic understanding of it. Though sometimes I do get angry about the hateful sh*t that comes out of the far right, I find it’s much more helpful to laugh at the utter absurdity of it.

I know labels can be problematic, but… In my mind the difference between a leftist and a progressive or liberal is that a leftist has divorced themselves of the ideology that is promoted by liberals or Democrats. But I should probably qualify that to mean a free thinking leftist. For comparison, Marxists absolutely have an ideology that they follow, and any ideology has the potential to promote inaccurate assumptions.

One interesting thing from my conversation with my buddy is that I’d mentioned Marco Rubio’s anti-wokeness bill, and he hadn’t heard of it. My takeaway from this is that the bill is so laughably ridiculous that the right wing media chose to ignore it completely. This was useful though, because I was able to illustrate how paying attention to opposing view points can be illuminating.

OG_slinger wrote:

You just reminded me I wanted to post this, JLS. Here's to you!

[youtube video]

Thanks. Yeah, we got a kick out of that. I wish our community was that well-behaved...

The point is that what’s being said or done by the parties involved is not mindless barking, and it’s not equivalent.

Absolutely true and I will clarify that I don't want to "both sides" this, and I want to emphasize that it isn't just all bark.

Progressives are not responsible for the hurt, forgotten and unheard feelings of Trumpists. They do need to own that what they are doing is heavily destructive (self, others, country). They also have to own any violence or violent plans they enact.

I think what distinguishes JLS, is action. Yeah, he may have barked at the conspiracist barking, but he is also on the school board.

I feel that a lot of the "own the libs" rhetoric is muscle memory at this point. it seems like it is the only way for them to be empowered. It isn't but its the most available and rapidly so. So we all have to try to deescalate so that we can distinguish the real frustration from the conditioned and reactionary.

I dunno, appeasement of Nazis doesn't exactly have a great track record.

The “hurt, forgotten and unheard feelings” of Trumpists are the culmination of about 35 years of coordinated efforts by Republican politicians and their media echo chamber and wealthy enablers to tell them that they are under siege by evil Communist baby-killing tax-spending brainwashing Democrats who want them to shut up and keep quiet while they are “replaced” by non-Whites, Jews and urban university know-it-alls who never had to do a days work in their lives. They live in a fantasy world constructed of false history and Randian personal ideals, so they not only never have to consider what others think, but actively believe that those others want to destroy them utterly.

There’s nothing genuine about their complaints at this point. Even coal miners in Appalachia still support the bosses who strip-mined their community labor and wealth and stole their health care, and they blame the Black man in the White House for destroying their industry. Heck, Democrats brought them health care they *love*, but Republican governors routinely turn down the money to implement more of it, or take that money and put it towards other purposes. And they hate liberals for “condescending” to try to help.

The entire Conservative movement in this country has been Astroturfed by far-Right radicals. It’s a media industry they are enthralled by, not anymore a single political ideology with minor variants and consistent themes. Republicans *are* The Populist Mob, and they have only begun to act.

fangblackbone wrote:

I feel that a lot of the "own the libs" rhetoric is muscle memory at this point. it seems like it is the only way for them to be empowered. It isn't but its the most available and rapidly so. So we all have to try to deescalate so that we can distinguish the real frustration from the conditioned and reactionary.

Yes. Yes. And yes. It’s an easy and effective means of delivering that dopamine hit that keeps people engaged far longer than they aught to be.

“Owning the fascists” is equally as harmful as owning the libs. That type of behavior generally involves dehumanizing language and ad-homonym attacks. The type of critical humor that I enjoy focuses more on hyperbolic analogies which are mostly accurate rather than straw man arguments and personal attacks, which are the only things available to the far right because they have too few accurate facts to work with.

I would also like to qualify that the difference between a mostly accurate hyperbolic analogy and a straw man argument is a matter of nuance and therefore a somewhat blurry demarcation line. I hope I’m not being hypocritical in this.

Isn't one of the slogans of the Trumpists "f*ck your feelings"? I think that should cut two ways.

Mixolyde wrote:

I dunno, appeasement of Nazis doesn't exactly have a great track record.

Remember what I said about how the most effective use of logic and reason is to turn it inward on yourself. I feel like this is the type of dehumanizing language that only does harm. My buddy Chuck does not identify as a Nazi. He is 100% anti Nazi. To imply that Chuck is a Nazi is a gross misrepresentation. It’s akin to an ad-homonym attack and a straw man argument.

Chuck is misinformed. He’s a good person who is listening to the wrong people. If he’s guilty of anything it’s that he’s not being critical of everything he hears. He’s being duped. And worse than that, he’s been duped into believing that centrists and leftist are the ones who’ve been duped. Chuck is truly a well intentioned person. He’s by no means a villain. He’s been brainwashed by the far right propaganda machine. If anything, Chuck is a victim rather than a perpetrator. Rupert Murdock, Jeff Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Musk are the true villains.

Myx, my brother, I do not say these things out of any kind of disrespect. I simply hope to impart the importance of nuance and clarity. Peace and love, bruh!

RawkGWJ wrote:

Remember what I said about how the most effective use of logic and reason is to turn it inward on yourself. I feel like this is the type of dehumanizing language that only does harm. My buddy Chuck does not identify as a Nazi. He is 100% anti Nazi. To imply that Chuck is a Nazi is a gross misrepresentation. It’s akin to an ad-homonym attack and a straw man argument.

Chuck is misinformed. He’s a good person who is listening to the wrong people. If he’s guilty of anything it’s that he’s not being critical of everything he hears. He’s being duped. And worse than that, he’s been duped into believing that centrists and leftist are the ones who’ve been duped. Chuck is truly a well intentioned person. He’s by no means a villain. He’s been brainwashed by the far right propaganda machine. If anything, Chuck is a victim rather than a perpetrator. Rupert Murdock, Jeff Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Musk are the true villains.

But will your buddy Chuck silently and willingly go along with what the Nazis, white supremacists, and fascists do because, deep down, he thinks they're on to something good?

Does he think that 1/6 was a bunch of patriots rightfully expressing their First Amendment rights to protest *waves hands* something terrible or does he see that it was a violent assault on the very foundation of our democracy that very nearly succeeded?

You vote and support bad people then you are no longer a good person. You are bad. How you got there doesn't matter because you willingly drank the Kool-Aid the entire ride over.

Again, no one forces Fox News viewers (or consumers of any conservative media) to watch their programming. Those people willingly consume the misinformation because they fundamentally like it and agree with it.

Rawk did a good thing, social media and the news will not change minds. What changes minds is regular conversations with folks you know and trust. You may not crack their mental egg the first, 2nd or 40th time. But hey he did good work here.

I have family members like this, we all do. Our conversations fall on deaf ears but occasionally we get one back.

I appreciate the effort Rawk.

EDIT: I forgot that I wanted to come here and suggest a listen to an interview or look up Yeonmi Park she escaped North Korea at 13 and her stories are pretty hard to listen to but must be. I always knew North Korea was bad...I didn't realize how bad. The fascists' never died they just went East. Content warning, you can't unhear or read her story. More the reason to hear it and never forget.

I linked to Joe Rogan because it's 4 hours almost of her talking and that is amazing to hear. Look her up regardless.

Edit #2 in other great news the vet who returned gun fire when fired upon randomly by the MPD was found not guilty! The video shows this MPD goon squad riding around in a white van and shooting rubber bullets at random people out on the street. When fired upon this permit carrying veteran thought it was white supremacists and shot back 3 times. He immediately saw what was happening and complied. He was beat up and asked to take a 13 year plea deal. He fought it and all the video exonerated him. Of course nothing has yet happened to the bozo squad or the commanders who let them joy ride a d assault folks.

OG_slinger wrote:

Again, no one forces Fox News viewers (or consumers of any conservative media) to watch their programming. Those people willingly consume the misinformation because they fundamentally like it and agree with it.

They don't but they have weaponized hate and easy arguments to convince you that everyone is freeloading off you and to believe in the free capital market to save you.

I almost fell for this years ago. I came to GWJ in a much different mindset than now. I was bored on my ride home and got sucked into talk radio because of some dumb crap I heard as a kid. I bounced back, others can too. There are plenty of cases where we need to cut off the Fascists' but this one is probably more on the spectrum of winning back. It won't hurt at least.

In all sincerity, F that.

I don't know Chuck so I can't say how far gone he is or isn't, but a duped "good person" is just as dangerous as a true believer. He is a victim too, sure, but he's still siding with and working for the nazis. That he mistakenly believes they aren't nazis doesn't make him any less culpable for spreading or acting on their lies. We can worry about deprogramming people like him after we stop them from destroying things. I'm not saying give up on them, just that they need to be the ones to initiate reconciliation. You can show them the path but you can't make them take it. Stop wasting effort on trying to find the person you used to know them as and recognize them for person they are being now.

I don't think Rawk or anyone here is suggesting we put up with them but attempting to bring someone away from their ideals should be a goal. Don't extend a bridge for their policies but a conversation that you can have will break down more walls than you can know.

I mean every single time this subject comes up I feel like there is a pile on to attempt to attempt to help deprogram or build bridges. We don't support their sh*t but having a conversation is an important part in fighting their ideals.

Hobear wrote:

I don't think Rawk or anyone here is suggesting we put up with them but attempting to bring someone away from their ideals should be a goal. Don't extend a bridge for their policies but a conversation that you can have will break down more walls than you can know.

I mean every single time this subject comes up I feel like there is a pile on to attempt to attempt to help deprogram or build bridges. We don't support their sh*t but having a conversation is an important part in fighting their ideals.

We often have this battle on this thread and others because some of our community will report on their far-right friends and family members and argue, incredibly, for their humanity, rationality, empathy, and endless ability to change. There isn't a pile-on in response, but reasonable, rational people disagreeing vociferously. And I will say with all due respect and all in vain, as usual, that your and Rawk's attempts to downplay how far gone these people are is deeply delusional and I simply don't know why you double down despite the facts. Things are going to keep going downhill politically in this country and these people we disagree about have NO reason to change their views. Why should they? Much of the country, especially corporations and the media, support them.

You all engaged with me and changed my mind. My friend helped me see and not through intervention but by hearing people I respect have different ideals. I changed. I was never a Nazi but I fell for poor by choice narrative and that the GOP were saviors for one election.

So by your note we shouldn't even try? Not trying to pick a fight but I am not rationalizing any human but there is a different between a conservative who is going down the news rabbit hole and a Q anon.

In reading my post I can see how it can feel like I have a bleed heart for them. I really don't. I was simply saying sometimes this is the right approach. Saying good on Rawk for working up the courage to help fight the good fight.

I was not trying to say this is the one and only approach. I probably spoke like I leaned too hard one way.

Hobear wrote:

You all engaged with me and changed my mind. My friend helped me see and not through intervention but by hearing people I respect have different ideals. I changed. I was never a Nazi but I fell for poor by choice narrative and that the GOP were saviors for one election.

So by your note we shouldn't even try? Not trying to pick a fight but I am not rationalizing any human but there is a different between a conservative who is going down the news rabbit hole and a Q anon.

I feel ya. That said, I think, at least in my case, I am exhausted af from having to do all the emotional labor of helping even well meaning people understand that the background noise of systemic racism they help create exists and is the core of how injustice is propagated. It is like being the only asthmatic in an office full of chain smokers who thinks you're a troublemaker for insisting on healthy changes. And every time they insist on "democratic solutions" or "middle ground", you end up getting f*cked in the end anyway.

At a certain point, it is all just too much.

Hobear wrote:

listen to an interview or look up Yeonmi Park[/url] she escaped North Korea at 13 and her stories are pretty hard to listen to but must be. I always knew North Korea was bad...I didn't realize how bad. The fascists' never died they just went East. Content warning, you can't unhear or read her story. More the reason to hear it and never forget.

In America, Safe Space Oppresses YOU! And Other Lessons From New North Korean Rightwing Star!