Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surpised Slate posted this...

Apparently was an hour too late to post this reply on line to

I am surprised that Slate would publish an essay so strewn with factual errors and obvious mischaracterizations -- the prime example being glossing over the fact that two of three supposedly racist cops were black and the other one was Lebanese -- not that I can think of any reasonable explanation other than some kind of hysteria for firing 32 shots at a person pinned behind a steering wheel.

A true exposition of the Timothy Stansbury killing would reveal a situation that would fit into a situation comedy if the officers had not had guns in their hands. Timothy did not know anyone was on the other side of the roof door in the middle of the night. Clowning for a friend he popped the door open and leaped out hands flying in the air as if trying to shock someone [or so I remembered reading back then -- cannot find it all on the web now]. Tragically, two fearful police officers with guns at the ready were on the other side and human nature took its dumb course. Hardly an example of racism.

In the Diallo case nobody seems to catch on that it was two, twenty shot shootings -- not one forty shot shooting. One of the officers there -- who may have shot prematurely in another incident -- started the shooting and everybody else followed. After 20 shots they stopped -- but one officer fell backwards -- causing the other officers to think he had be shot; leading to twenty more shots at the unfortunate Diallo.

Twenty shots is normal once cops (or soldiers or drive by shooters) begin shooting -- that's what they are trained to do. I read in TV Guide, 30 years ago, the police technical adviser to the Kojack show saying that real life cops don't trade shot for shot with bad guys like in the movies: when one shot comes your way, six are going back the other way. I was there when a cop was shot, over 30 years ago in Tremont IND subway station in the Bronx. The robber shot the cop once (in the arm) and the officer fired six shots back.

[Another late addition: as populist Puerto Rican mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer put it, a lot of this tragedy can be pegged to inadequate training. To wit: under the previous nationally lauded police commissioner Bill Bratton, members of the four-officer teams that these four officers were working in would contain three experienced officers and only one inexperienced. Under the following commissioner Howard Safir these units were over expanded in expectation of quickly multiplying the success of the properly trained and broken in teams -- with the resulting tragedy -- again, not a result of racism.]

I don't know where Kia comes from but somebody ought to tip him off that no ethnic group "scares the shit" out of very color blind New Yorkers.

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