This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fully Viewed In Context

"This is what kids see out their windows. Four men were shot in a housing complex next to 122 Humber including a 19-year-old with a bullet in his chest, a 17-year-old with two bullets to the face and an 18-year-old with gunshots to each of his legs."
Toronto Star, 2012

"Blacks account for 8.1 percent of the population, they account for nearly 27 percent of all the charges laid for violent crimes -- homicides, sex assaults and gun offences. [The felons are] disproportionately Jamaicans. Our society is deeply conflicted over minority-group statistics-keeping. When it's for socially progressive reasons, such as employment equity and affirmative action, we think it's virtuous. But when it records negative behaviour, we think it's terrible."
Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail, 2002
Kal Dosanjh (L) and his partner Mike Bal patrol the streets of the downtown eastside in Vancouver.Jenelle Schneider/Postmedia News   Kal Dosanjh (L) and his partner Mike Bal patrol the streets of the downtown eastside in Vancouver
"[It is] not necessarily discrimination [carding] and instead, is affected by where crime occurs, victimization, demographics and even policing policies and patterns."
Phillip Atiba Goff, UCLA psychologist, founder, Center for Police Equity

"If blacks are over-represented in the ranks of the imprisoned, it is because blacks are overrepresented in the criminal ranks -- and the violent criminal ranks, at that."
John DiIulio, political scientist, University of Pennsylvania

"Even if racism exists, it might explain only a small part of the gap between the 11 percent black representation in the United States adult population and the now nearly 50 percent black representation among persons entering state prisons each year in the United States."
Patrick A. Langan, statistician, United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
According to Jason L. Riley, raised in a single-parent home, a black man who lost two of his siblings to drugs and who now writes for the Wall Street Journal: "Blacks commit an astounding disproportionate number of crimes. Blacks constitute about 13 percent of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 they committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. So long as blacks are committing such an outsized amount of crime, young black men will be viewed suspiciusly and tensions between police and crime-ridden communities will persist."
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images   Demonstrators block an intersection while protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Nov. 23, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.

It is simply too facile to cry 'racism' when police focus on young black males. Experience has taught them to do so. The over-representation of young black males in North American gangs and the crime scene of any city render proof that a cultural miasma exists that lures these young men to drugs, guns, gang life and illicit activities enabling them to bypass the nuisance of looking for paid employment, deliberately bypassing funding themselves legally, choosing to do so liberally through the commission of crimes.

In Canadian cities police carding has become a controversial topic. This is the documentation of individuals in the interests of public safety through investigations of specific occurrences or suspicions. Black males complain of being stopped repeatedly by police for questioning. Carding, offers Peel police Chief Jennifer Evans, is an "invaluable" intelligence-gathering service. "You're recording data, setting up associations, knowing who's involved (in gang activity)", explained Mike McCormack, police union president.

From 1990 to 2009 the homicide rate in New York City dropped 82 percent. Franklin Zimring, a criminologist at University of California Berkeley attributes most of that drop to policing and the controversial 'stop, question, and frisk' (SQF) protocol. Like police carding, SQF is used mostly in high-crime neighbourhoods, allowing police with a "reasonable suspicion" to question and/or conduct a pat-down if one seems required.

The Supreme Court of the United States found "stop, question and frisk" to be constitutional. And it is an "important part of that record of success" according to former mayor Michael Bloomberg who cited a reduction in incarceration by 30 percent. In 2011, blacks represented 23 percent of the New York City population, committed 73 percent of all shootings, yet represented 53 percent of stops.

"We're so afraid to tell the truth", black policeman Tony Barksdale of the NYPD stated. "Often the entire neighbourhood is black, so of course, you're going to be stopping blacks -- based on their behaviour."

When he shouted "I can't breathe" while in a chokehold during his arrest, Eric Garner's plight pulled a powerful response from the public, highlighting unnecessary use of force by police.

Reality is, on the other hand, that the 350 pound Garner had various health problems, his death being "the unfortunate synergy between his disease of morbid obesity and actions most police perform countless times with only transient discomfort to the arrestee", according to Dr. G. Wesley Clark, writing in the American Thinker. Mr. Garner had been arrested previously 34 times, was out on bail and was resisting arrest

When 18-year-old Sammy Yatin in July 2013 caused an upheaval on board a TTC streetcar in Toronto, a bystander recorded a cellphone video of a police officer shooting him. "Yatim had a stiletto switchblade and had tried to slash the woman's [another passenger on the streetcar] throat", explained Mary Rogan in a Toronto Life cover story. Constable James Forcillo was described as "shy and quiet", and had fired his gun that day for the first time.

"The 10 seconds you see of a man hit with a baton, looks horrible. But you don't always know what that man was doing. Any use of force looks horrible even if it's completely necessary", explained one policeman of the vacuum of context.

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