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World & Current Events > Police: protective or oppressive?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments I hear in some/many countries a citizen seeing a policeman is not particularly happy that, hey, he's protected and it's safe to be around, but is rather concerned not to fall victim to possible harrassment.
While US shows lowest confidence in police in 22 years:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/183704/con...
and rogue police officers being among most popular characters for Hollywood film industry as well as for many writers, I thought it'd be interesting to have some feedback on how these brave or arrogant law enforcers are perceived?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments These are indeed difficult times as far as issues of police brutality are concerned. There have been cops willing to harass, threaten and physically assault people throughout the history of this country but recently the amount of actual killings has propelled the dilemma into the national crisis zone. It's one thing for cops to give a hard time to the town drunk but it is something else entirely when a 14 year old black child is shot to death in Wal-Mart for holding a piece of store merchandise. It is one thing for a black man to be stopped because he is driving a luxury car but it is another thing when a black man (who is already handcuffed) is choked to death by a police officer. Do you realize it takes almost 240 seconds to choke someone to death?

Having said that it is also true that the more extreme cases will always get media attention and in the case of civil rights violations this certainly should be the case. but there are very vocal and very strong rallying points on both sides of the issue. On the one hand you have members of society who have been perpetually marginalized and only view the police as bullies and tyrants. Many of these people live in impoverished or crime infested neighborhoods and they may see sides of the truth that the rest of us are unaware ofor don't want to admit. Or their own brushes with the law have left them prejudiced and resentful. I suspect the truth is in the middle. Then there are those members of the society who see the police as heroes who can do no wrong. Their own worship of these authority figures is either genuine respect and admiration or it is a latent racist view that sees the police as armed barriers between themselves and the black America they hold in contempt. Again, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

but those two factions are part of the extremes - polar opposite viewpoints that lead to conflict and incite protest. These two opposing forces are the loudest and will get the lion's share of media coverage. But I think it is important to realize that the majority of Americans are firmly in the middle. There are many of us who have grown up with the idea that police officers are the shining knights who will protect us from evil so we can sleep better at night. We see them as the well trained, civic presence in our hometowns and cities who look after us and make our communities safer and stronger. The truth is that this description fits 90% of America's police force. It is the rogue 10% who are giving police officers a bad name. Because of their heinous abuse of the public trust many Americans have been forced to see the police as a threat for the first timein their lives. We have had no choice but to see the deep, divisive issues hiding under the surface of law enforcement that are leaving some of our citizens dead on the streets because of the color of their skin. Personally speaking, as someone who has always seen police officers as superheroes I am hurt that there are those who would wear that uniform and disgrace it by their vile actions. I am also hurt that these criminal cops have done so much to destroy the reputation of the men and women who put on that uniform every single day and go out there to serve the public - who put their lives on the line simply because they took an oath to serve and protect. It is these officers of the law who are as much a victim in this tragedy as anyone else. But their victimhood is not equal. The safety of the citizenry is the chief concern of the state and when that very safety is threatened by police officers who are supposed to ensure it then something has to be done.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Tara wrote: "Because of their heinous abuse of the public trust many Americans have been forced to see the police as a threat for the first timein their lives.."

I think police and sometimes other law enforcement officers develop a little different psychology. With the time they often stop seeing themselves as the servants of the public, but rather the bosses of the street and of civilians. The power corrupts. They need to be tough and they need to be bossy, but sometimes the thin line between the proper and improper conduct blurs and you can hardly tell a ganster from a cop.

In former USSR, for example, cops superseded street mafia and now many collect 'protection' from businesses, pimps, drug dealers and so on. Hardly anyone there comes to work for a salary. It's the 'extras' they care for. If in the States you believe 90% are 'clean', there the 'clean' ones are hardly a majority...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Completely agree. Things won't change here in the US because blacks protest or beg public policymkers for reform. It doesn't matter how many unarmed civilians are killed by members of law enforcement until the general population demands change. When those who are financially secure and lead lives far removed from poverty and crime say 'this has got to stop' then we will see police brutality decrease. people have got to realize that the police aren't violating the civil rights of 'those people' but of all people. If the poor and downtrodden can be victims then someday we can all be victims of a law enforcement system gone rogue. Any of us could then be at the receiving end of a police officer's rage - then we will look back on the days when we didn't care, when it didn't affect us, when the only people being shot dead in the streets by the police were 'those people'.

Excellent article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/1...


message 5: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Many times these cops don't even need to kill a suspect. If you see the new one of the white kid who decided to commit suicide by cop, he wasn't making quick movements, and his hand didn't race to his pocket - there was no reason the cops couldn't place a well-aimed shot and wound him. Just like the incident in Chicago was it? The black kid basically traipsing down the street and the cop lets out 16 shots! Another one who didn't make any sudden moves and could have been taken down with a non-lethal shot IF the cop truly thought he was a threat.

But part of the problem (and this really doesn't have anything to do with the race issue involved) is that there is a mentality that dead men tell no tales. A wounded suspect can challenge the officer's statements in court and it is very likely a jury could side with the defendant. On the other hand if the suspect is dead, there will be no trial. The public does not get to hear the dissenting statement.

I worked part time through college with a young man who was going to school for criminal justice. He was the typical cocky youth, but he would mouth off on that very same sentiment - if you fire on a suspect you make sure you kill him with the first shot. It is truly disturbing that we have people like that in the ranks of our law enforcement.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments JJ
Chilling. I always depend on you to take the conversation to interesting and unexplored places. Thank you.


message 7: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 12 comments I’m prepared to be alone in my opinion here, but I have to put it out there anyway.

I know some people try to pigeon-hole police officers as either superheroes or remnants of the old west’s gunslingers, but neither of these are true characterizations. I work with police officers every day and I can tell you they are just people. And while each recruit (at least in my county) goes through a psychological evaluation before being handed a gun and a badge, not EVERY one of them is a good fit for the job just as not EVERY teacher, store clerk, nurse, or bus driver is a good fit for their jobs.

Now I know you’re going to say say, “yeah, but those people don’t carry guns,” and I agree with you, but there is a reason they do. And there’s a reason they all wear kevlar vests and, in many areas, body cameras. Every day these men and women put their bodies and their lives on the line to keep the peace and protect the citizens from those who would do them harm - directly or indirectly. Not everyone in this world is a law abiding, peace loving citizen. They are acutely aware that every traffic stop, every seemingly innocent street contact they make, could be their last. Especially with the temperature on the street right now amping up tensions on both sides. For most, drawing their weapon is the absolute last thing they ever want to do, and will only consider it as a last resort.

If you watched the video of the Minnesota shooting, after the woman was removed from the car you heard the panicked swearing of the cop in the background. I don’t believe he walked up to the car with the intention of shooting the driver, I think it was a combination of insecurity instilled by the press’ handling of current events and inexperience that led to the cluster f*** that ensued.

It’s unfortunate that the comparatively few incidents that were mishandled by a scared, under-trained, job misfit are exploded by the media. People tend to generalize and that breeds hate. We can find good and bad in all races and all people. Not all black people are lazy, not all white people are prejudiced, not all Jews are cheap, not all Irish men are drunks and not all cops are out to shoot you. I know it’s a hard thing to do, but we’d all be better off if we took each incident as a stand alone event, and analyzed it from all perspectives before making a judgment.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments But we can't assume that incidents of police violence are only ones in which the officer is nervous or undertrained. There are also situations where the officer is aggressive and looking for a reason to show blacks, hispanics and poor whites who's the boss. Unless we can admit that people have suffered and died needlessly because of race then we can not begin to heal. When I was in college one of my best friends was dating a cop so we all used to go out on double dates or we would be invited to parties and get togethers where lots of other cops would be. I can tell you that most of these guys were the salt of the earth and were and are still my personal heroes. But there were others who would brag about the fact that their badge and gun gave them the right to do as they pleased. Some of them would brag about the fact that they would accept money and marijuana from criminals during shake downs. "Who are they going to tell?" was the mentality. Cops like these are making it tough for good cops out there and worse, they are making our streets unsafe.

What I would like to see is a change in protocol from the top down. The emphasis should return to making our communities safer and not being macho or protecting the brotherhood. So many cops are bothered by what they see and hear but there is absolutely no way they are going to break the blue wall of silence. That is unfair to good cops and to our communities.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Joan wrote: "I’m prepared to be alone in my opinion here, but I have to put it out there anyway.

I work with police officers every day and I can tell you they are just people.."


Hi Joan and welcome!
Cyberspace can be a lonely place sometimes, but I believe you won't be alone in your opinion on this one -:).
Your first -hand day-to-day experience no doubt adds weight to your words.
I bet we'd all prefer the police to be as you describe and I believe most of them are. It's not necessarily about the US police and even there the polls show that the majority still had confidence in it. The results might be a little less favorable now though. The police can be largely corrupt like in some countries, inept like in some others, frightened or heroic in others. It should be protective indeed, but in some countries it's protective for some and oppressive for others.
I absolutely think the media should cover the negative episodes, however reporters are also just people and tend sometimes to extrapolate and manipulate public opinion. Nevertheless, I personally believe it's an important instrument of public supervision, for it's police for the public.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments In America we call it the thin blue line. I'll admit some bias because I live in NYC where the police are heroes. This is why rogue cops make me irrationally angry.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Michael wrote: "I represented LAPD for almost 7 years... oppressive - even towards their own. If you are a cop that gets out of line, your fellow officers and brass will turn on you no different than a suspect on ..."

Here again, in my opinion, personal experience counts more than theories and speculations...
And here we have 1-1, which is statistically insignificant, but means we definitely have of both types...


message 12: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Tara wrote: "In America we call it the thin blue line. I'll admit some bias because I live in NYC where the police are heroes. This is why rogue cops make me irrationally angry."

Maybe it's because I'm from outside, NYC, but these are the same cops who, when two of their own were gunned down, they blamed protestors and the Mayor. The killing was the act of one man, but if you want to turn it into the symptom of a larger problem, it is not because of a bunch of protestors who want to see a change in the way police do business, it is the fault of one cop who ignored the rules and killed Eric Garner in a choke hold that was prohibited practice in the department. I won't argue the merits of putting a suspect in a choke hold, but the whole point of the protests was that the move was specifically banned and you had one cop who could not even follow the rules. But the unrest that led to one man going nuts and committing murder was not the fault of that one cop in the eyes of law enforcement, it was the fault of the public that spoke out on it.

I do hold a nuanced opinion of law enforcement in line with a lot of the things that have said. I think Obama was spot on with his assessment of the current situation when he spoke at the memorial service in Dallas, that we expect far too much of cops and tend to fault them as a whole when a few falter under the extreme pressure. But I found it disgusting when the police union blamed the protestors in NY after two of their members were murdered - blaming the people you are supposed to serve and protect, the people paying your salaries, because of the act of a single, deranged madman. Even the departments in Dallas, and now Baton Rouge aren't out there putting the blame on protestors for the unfortunate tragedies they have suffered.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments JJ
Oh, i completely agree in case my statement didn't make that clear. Blaming the victims works well when cops try to shift the public narrative. And i was especially appalled when the officers turned their back on the mayor and disrespected him during the funeral. How completely harmful and an example of the groupthink that leads officers to cover up for one another. My stepson and some of his friends were among the protesters in Baton Rouge last week. His first hand account and the footage he captured on his cel phone leave no room for doubt - some members of our society are protected and some clearly are not.


message 14: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments From this side of the Atlantic it appears that African-Americans are regularly victims of racist police officers. I've seen too many videos now where black men have been shot for absolutely no reason - in one video the man is obviously running away. For myself, I'm flabbergasted those police officers are allowed to continue wearing the uniform. Aside from racism, I was also watching a video only the other day where an individual (white man) was dancing at a monument in Washington DC (I think it might have been an Abraham Lincoln statue). A policeman came along and told him to stop. The individual said, "Why? I'm only dancing." Other people were obviously shocked at the police officer's bullying attitude and started to dance with the initial man. The police officer gets on his radio and calls in back up. Soon all the people dancing are being roughly handled and arrested. It was absolutely senseless. More people started to dance in protest at the police officers behaviour and now they're being hurled to the ground and handcuffed. Quite bizarre in today's world. I couldn't believe what I was watching...

But back to racism: not so long ago in the UK the Metropolitan Police Chief was forced to admit that the Metropolitan police Force was institutionally racist. That was after the Stephen Lawrence murder (a black teenager) and the utter failure of the police to investigate the case. The reason the police chief was forced to admit institutionalised racism was good journalism. Unfortunately, today, all the good journalists seem to have retired and we're left with reporters more concerned with the eating habits of the Kardashians...

As a novelist, I do try and do my bit. In the 90's I wrote a novel about the first black president coming to power. My tag line was: Colin Powell and a scenario about why he didn't run for power. Basically it was about what the Ku Klux Klan would do and my hero uncovering it. I very quickly got an agent (who happened to be black and was surprised I wasn't). Within weeks of her receiving the full manuscript I was summoned to New York to meet with an editor at HarperCollins. To cut a long story short, the book was never published because, although, junior editors were gagging to publish, the presidents and vice-presidents of all the major publishing houses in New York pulled the plug. The VP of Simon & Schuster actually wrote to me personally and told me I was stretching credulity to breaking point and beyond. He was referring, of course, to America ever having a black president. I had written the story in the rural countryside of Wales and was stunned at the level of racism in the USA.

As a writer I feel duty bound to at least try and reveal this stuff, but boy did I over step the mark there.

I remember something I saw on FB the other day. It was an American white lady stating: "There is only one race and that is the human race." She's absolutely right. Racism is man-made concept to try and make us feel superior.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Really interesting story, Tim.
So you've predicted Obama's coming to power some 15-20 years before it happened? Well done! I guess we'll treat your words as those of Nostradamus from now on -:)
As of the essence, some problems may have twofold roots: racism and general trigger-happiness and excessive brutality.
Agree on the important role of investigative journalism


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Tim
I have two points to make and although it may seem that my first one is nullified by my second one, please know that is not the case.
1. You are absolutely a pioneer, in my humble opinion, and I wish I could clone you :)
2. "There is only one race - the human race" - this particular sentiment is well-meaning but has caused African Americans a great deal more harm than good. For one reason it negates the rich and unique experience of the black diaspora and unwittingly subjugates it to that of the Western, first world one. Another reason is that it creates a false dichotomy within which racists are able to rally others around the idea that everyone within the human race should not demand equality or otherwise point out unfair treatment at the expense of the majority. In addition it tends to cause people who hold this view to question why some people (black people) can't seem to get it right and just make the most of it - they must be doing something wrong.

As for your particular experience with the New York publishers I would give anything to read your memoires!


message 17: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 54 comments Tim wrote: "From this side of the Atlantic it appears that African-Americans are regularly victims of racist police officers. I've seen too many videos now where black men have been shot for absolutely no reas..."

Unfortunately, you only see what the media wants you to see. The media in the United States is mostly involved in partisan politics and usually in the Democrat camp (that's our liberal group). Currently, the liberals are trying to raise all sorts of hell in two minority communities for political gain. The eeeeeevil cops that "kill blacks" is one of those narratives and they'll cut film to show only one side of a confrontation, or only show the "testimony" of some liar who supports their goals, rather than the testimonies of several other people who have a different report.

The truth is that most blacks are killed by other blacks (not cops) and the cops (including black cops) are being shot (in the back) by blacks hyped up on hatred because of the slanted incendiary news.

This is a recent problem. Until a couple of years ago, things were pretty quiet in that department, but with an important national election coming up, things have gotten weird as rent-a-mobs are turned lose (financed indirectly by George Soros -- the man who broke the Bank of England) upon the inner cities and rival political events.


message 18: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Thank you, Tara. I take your very thoughtful and considered points. You've certainly altered my opinion.

Al, I accept what you're saying, but shouldn't it be the police officers to set the example? The police are employed to serve and protect the community - every community. If anyone commits a crime it is for the police to arrest that individual and investigate the crime. They have a responsibility to us and they are duty bound to treat everyone with respect. The common value the UK and America share when it comes to the justice system is, we are all innocent until proven guilty and it is the police services duty to up hold that. From what I have seen and experienced, is African Americans and Hispanic Americans are too often treated as guilty before they are proven innocent. If you allow that to go on you are all in trouble. In the UK, as I said above, we used to have great journalists who would leap on any case where an individual was treated as guilty before they are proven innocent. It can't be the right way to think because there would be too many innocent people finding themselves locked up for no reason...


message 19: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 54 comments In most cases (remember that cops are human and there are good ones and a very few bad ones), if you do what the cop tells you to do, nobody gets hurt. If you resist, the cops (everywhere on the planet) are taught to use immediate and overwhelming force to subdue a resisting suspect (the idea is that the cop gets to go home at the end of his shift instead of the morgue). If you are being arrested for some reason, you'll still end up in handcuffs in the back of a squad car (or paddy wagon if it's a mob scene), but you'll be otherwise unharmed -- just uncomfortable. And the bed in your cell will probably be less comfortable than the one at home.

More blacks and Hispanics (especially gang members) are likely to resist arrest (it's a macho thing) than are Orientals or whites. I used to live in an all-black neighborhood and most of the people I ran around with were black and I know this to be true. I don't have first hand knowledge about Hispanics because there were none in that neighborhood. Also, a disproportionate amount of crimes are committed by these two groups (as a percentage of population), so the police are more often in a confrontational situation with them -- hence the unwarranted idea that cops pick on these two groups.

So, the problem is mostly a matter of perception rather than facts. Remember, the information you are getting is "massaged" by the press (who have an agenda) before you see it.

I don't have any first-hand knowledge of how things work on your island and you don't have any real knowledge of REALITY over here. I wouldn't think of telling you how to fix your problems (as reported in the lamestream media) because the information I get is probably unreliable. Please accord us the same courtesy.


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Guys, the discussion is open for opinions and this thread is global, designed to exchange opinions and data how police work is perceived. As long as opinions are respectful, no problem with them. It's the modern feature now - that violence or tragic incidents go global on the media and I guess spur some reaction and attitude among all of us. And the events in the US probably attract lots of global attention.
There are few dozens of wars/armed conflicts being waged in the world right now, but most of them have very little coverage and have little interest to Western audience. Cruel, I know, yet true.
As an insider one should know better and we (the outsiders) appreciate an 'on-site' coverage and interpretation of the events, broadcast(ed) from elsewhere, sometimes indeed in biased manner.


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) A major problem with how police, and police work, is perceived, is that in most cases we are reliant on the media for our information. Unfortunately, journalists do not have the provision of information as their main concern: their concern is to get high ratings/sell newspapers/etc.

There is therefore an extremely high risk of any information provided by the mainstream media, which does not include original data, being biased in one direction or the the other, depending on what the media outlet thinks will bring in most profit.

For instance, at the moment, "black person killed by police" is profitable news, because this can be linked in with racism, and thus can be used to increase tensions, which will sell more papers etc. "White person killed by police" is not news, so not worth reporting - partially because it is more difficult to use it to generate controversy and thus higher ratings.

On the other hand, it's very difficult at the moment for Muslims to get "good press", because the zeitgeist is against them. It's not fashionable to say, "Well, actually, Islam's a pretty reasonable religion as far as it goes, and every religion has its fruitcakes. Cough, cough. The Crusades. The Irish Troubles. Abortion centre bombings."

So, if you want to know the truth, or at least to get a bit closer to it, then you need to look at actual data - if it's available. Often it isn't, of course, or it's not complete. But where data are available, it can shine a very surprising light on what's reported by the media.

Take this article, which crossed my desk the other day:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/artic...

The original article on which this is based is here:
http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/conte...

I have obtained, and read (though admittedly not in detail), the full text.

The main conclusion of the article is that black people are more likely to be stopped by the police than other ethnic groups, but once a police stop has happened race does not make a difference in the likelihood of the individual ending up hurt or killed as a result. The researchers describe the race-to-race frequency of injury as "surprisingly congruent", which is strong language for a BMJ publication. They also note that the estimated probability of requiring hospital treatment after police intervention is 5%, as opposed to 7.5% after assault, which the authors interpret to mean that the police are usually in control at the time - an out of control situation would be expected to be more akin to an assault, thus likely to have the same risk of injury as an assault.

Furthermore, among patients coded as hospital-admitted survivors of legal police intervention in 2012, 49% tested positive for alcohol, drugs or both - the remaining 51% were either negative or not tested.

With reference to the greater frequency of black people being stopped, the article refers to several studies in which it was found that - for traffic violations - black people were more likely to be engaging in more severe speeding than white people, which would go some way towards explaining the greater frequency of traffic stops.

You can read the abstract of the most recent of the studies here:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/...

So, with respect to the US police at least, I think we need to take the stories in the media with a large pinch of salt.

The actual data tells a different story - yes, there may be racial/sexual/other stereotyping (and since the police are human, it would be astonishing if there wasn't - everyone applies stereotypes, consciously or unconsciously) but the data do not seem to support out-and-out rabid racism across the entirety of the police services.

The worrying thing about biased media coverage of this kind of story is that it increases the likelihood that "something will go wrong" in future - people (on both sides of the encounter) who feel threatened are more likely to overreact to a perceived threat, and the situation is more likely to devolve into violence. Plus, of course, biased reporting creates incidents de novo - e.g. riots, which then make the situation even worse.

Or, in the case of the UK, where people shoot themselves in the head with a ballot paper rather than a gun, economic disaster. There might be less blood on the ground, but our situation is no less a result of the propagation of lies and misinformation by politicians and the press - the press whose mandate is, allegedly, to inform (not to lie to) the public.

At risk of dragging this off topic, it's very easy to blame "racism" when one group of people seems to be getting a tougher deal than another group. Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that. If you look at epidemiological/population data, socioeconomic status also has a big impact. So does culture - and culture and race are not the same thing, although many people act as though it is.

Looking at medical treatment (and I can probably find the study) in America, one study found that black people received less of a particular treatment on average than white people - but when they controlled for socioeconomic status, the difference disappeared. The difference wasn't due to black people being treated less well: it was poor people being treated less well, and that seemed to be because the local hospitals treating poor areas were less well resourced. So at first glance, it looks like racism - then when you look properly it's a matter of resource availability between hospitals.

With respect to culture, an Appalachian redneck and a New York hipster might both be the same race - but culturally they're totally different. And don't tell me that Barack Obama could get dropped into a Kenyan village and fit in right away. Obama probably has more in common with Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel than with a Kenyan villager or someone of any race in New York's slum areas.

In the UK, here, the section of society least likely to go to university is white working class boys. Why might that be? It's probably not racism, but far more likely to be due to a culture of low expectations and "that's not for people like me", or "if I go to university my friends and family will hate me".

Asians are more likely to go into business for themselves - why is that? Is it because they're unable to take working for someone else, or because they like being able to shaft their clients personally? No - it's probably due to it being, culturally, a far more acceptable career option. Plus the closeness of many Asian families means the extended family often clubs together for startup costs, which is not available to the traditional white British nuclear family.

Likewise, Asians are disproportionately represented in the medical profession, but less than proportionately in the police. Is that because they're being forced into medical school and kept out of the police force, or because, culturally, medical school is seen as a great career but not the police force?

To drag this back to the actual topic, race, culture, and other social factors are a lot more complicated than the mainstream media would have us all think.

When it comes to the police, it should be remembered that they deal, day in and day out, with criminals who may be violent. This is likely to affect their perception of how people in general react to certain situations.

Furthermore, anyone who has dealt with the general public through work knows that the public tends to be unpleasant.

Whether it's working in a call-centre, in face-to-face retail, in teaching, or in the police, many members of the public take advantage of the fact that someone is "on the job" to say and do things they never would to someone in the pub, because they know that someone who is at work will, to a great extent, have to put up with whatever insults members of the public dish out or face disciplinary action.

And, of course, in the face of provocation, what happens? Everyone has their breaking point, whether that means that means they lash out physically, or just decide to make the person's life more difficult - either by arresting them, or being intentionally stupid or slow in serving them (dumb insolence).

So, to conclude (hooray, they said - finally!) with the exception of overtly oppressive regimes, I'd say that the evidence indicates that the police are overwhelmingly on the side of "protection".


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments As an African American with a degree in Political Science living in this country her entire life and married to a social science research professor at Columbia, thank you for explaining police brutlity, profiling and racism to me. How could I have gotten it all so wrong before?


message 23: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Tara wrote: "Tim
I have two points to make and although it may seem that my first one is nullified by my second one, please know that is not the case.
1. You are absolutely a pioneer, in my humble opinion, and ..."


The idea of retaining one's culture while desiring inclusivity is a fine line to walk. The African American community celebrates traditional black colleges and they take pride in traditionally African American communities, but the Civil Rights movement, along with an end to the hatred and oppression and suppression of opportunity, to a minor extent pushed for inclusion into formerly white country clubs and access to housing in white neighborhoods. I do understand the methods of keeping blacks from white institutions can't be compared to the innocent ways blacks often self-segregated for the sake of safety and community. However as we have grown more comfortable with equality and opportunity, the lamentation remains that whites can't have anything to themselves anymore as other communities can get away with, even if we're not trying to be hateful.

I can't think off the top of my head of any specific example between black and white, but the Boy Scouts, a private, religious based organization has been pressured over the the last decade or so to change their beliefs to include homosexuals. I remember, a little humorously I admit, about a decade ago there was a story in the Providence journal about Portuguese in Providence lamenting the growing Hispanic population in their traditionally Portuguese neighborhood.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
Well said as always. A fine line, indeed. I'm reminded of a story I read last year about a wealthy African American couple who raised their son in a posh, upper East side apartment in New York. They gave their child the best of everything, private school, foreign travel, expensive music lessons, country club memberships etc. Unfortunately, they felt that if their son was perceived as a 'safe' black he would avoid overt racism. They dressed him conservatively, stressed to him that he should always be deferential to white authority figures and never associate with too many other blacks. To what end? The young man was spending the summer at an exclusive college prep camp at an Ivy League university campus and he was accosted on his way back from the library to his dorm one evening. The experience terrified him and the father admitted that it has taken a lot of therapy for his son to begin to deal with the situation. He and his wife realize how wrong they were to isolate their son from the realities of racism in America. Their son would have been better prepared for reality and may not have suffered as much. Unfortunately, there are few stats or published research figures for experiences like these so perhaps they don't make an impression on those who are genuinely hoping to understand this complex problem.


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments T. K. Elliott wrote: "A major problem with how police, and police work, is perceived, is that in most cases we are reliant on the media for our information. Unfortunately, journalists do not have the provision of inform..."

Wow, well researched and articulated opinion.
Yes, media prefers scandalous over plain, because not spicy = not interesting.
The range of the opinions here, supported by some poll results, demostrate how controversial is the perception of police work.
But police force is not some weak organization. They usually have spokesmen, press-releases opyions, etc. If there are questions about this or that case, what could be best than to investigate and rebuff ungrounded allegations?
Sometimes it's deemed that 'justice must be seen' principle is even more important than 'justice must be done', because people's confidence in public institutions is deemed more important than a particular result in this or that case...
Somehow, it turned to a semi-racial tensions thread.
It probably shouldn't console anyone, but everywhere there are people who operate by stereotypes applying them to each individual of certain group.
In this respect, I like the quote attributed to Elie Wiesel: "No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them"


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) Nik,

You're right, of course. But the problem with press-releases and investigations is that they are unlikely to boost ratings, so they tend to get buried on page 5, in tiny print - or whatever the online equivalent is. Unless, of course, the conclusion is something that the particular media outlet thinks will be profitable to them.

We have had incidences of that here in the UK - a newspaper prints an article which is either incredibly biased or just plain wrong, printed on the front page in big letters. Then, when a complaint is made, they print a correction in tiny letters in some out-of-the-way place, that nobody is likely to read.

The European Commission even has a page on its website devoted to inaccurate news stories in the UK: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/

Yes, justice must be done, and must be seen to be done - but there are none so deaf as those who will not hear, none so blind as those who will not see - and even for people who are willing to look at evidence, it's difficult if that evidence is not easily available.

It's also amazing how the same incident can be spun, even without omitting important contextual details. I remember reading about the same incident in two books - the facts reported were the same in both cases: that this woman's husband offended the local priest. She embroidered an altar-cloth and gave it to the church, who then forgave the husband.

Book 1 said that this demonstrated the unofficial power of women in society: that it was not a man who healed the breach, but a woman, and in a way only a woman could do it.

Book 2 said that this demonstrated how downtrodden women were, that she had to spend all that time embroidering and then beg the church to accept it before her husband was forgiven, plus, of course, she was the one who did the begging, not him.

The incident actually happened in the fifteenth century, but it's an interesting demonstration of how two academics took the same incident and each interpreted it to fit their own particular views on how they thought women were treated at that time.

Elie Wiesel is right about collective judgements - up to a point.

Take car insurance: on average, women get cheaper car insurance than men, because women, on average, are more careful drivers and cause payouts less often. This is rough on you if you are a careful male driver. But that judgement about driving habits (that women are generally more careful than men) is justified by data, however irritating it is for careful men to be lumped in with the maniacs. It is also the basis on which the insurance industry works: collective judgements about the risks associated with different population groups.

Likewise, medicine operates on collective judgements: where can we allocate the resources - particularly for public health - so they reach the sector of the population that most needs them?

The problem is when people base their collective judgements on erroneous data, or no data at all - and when they don't differentiate between a population average and an individual. On average, men are less careful drivers than women - but not all men are careless, and not all women are careful.

I do wonder what society would be like if the public had easy access to reliable, balanced information.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I wonder what society would be like if we treted one another with equality and respect across the board.

It has been proven time and time again that crime has to do more with socioeconomic factors than race. How then to explain the fact that blacks are accosted, arrested and imprisoned disproportionately and for more extreme sentences than are whites who commit the exact same crimes? How does this explain that in a recent study it was concluded that black children are less likely to be given pain management in the emergency room than white children and that a majority of clinicians state that they feel black children and parents are exaggerating their illnesses/injuries? How does this explain reports by police officers who must remain anonymous that they are encouraged to profile members of the black community so whites in the community can feel safer? How does this explain why police raided a community pool party in a white neighborhood because black teens showed up to enjoy the facilities - slamming a 14 year old girl to the concrete and breaking her ribs?


message 28: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 54 comments WOW!!! This is getting pretty hot on both viewpoints. I suspect that if you're looking for a problem, you're likely to find it, somewhere, to validate your pre-existing viewpoint.

But the good news about all of this is that WE'RE AUTHORS!!! We can use this as fodder for stories (hopefully stories that are interesting enough to sell).

And remember, the story doesn't have to agree with your bias (whatever that may be). You can write it from the viewpoint of "the other side" and try to see that viewpoint as your hero stumbles through his/her life (yes, I know that would be VERY difficult). But it would be good practice for writing up villains, since few villains are "bad" in their own mental world.

If it would make it easier for you, deal with two races that don't include yours. If you're a science fiction writer, you can invent them.


message 29: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments T. K. Elliott wrote: "Nik,

You're right, of course. But the problem with press-releases and investigations is that they are unlikely to boost ratings, so they tend to get buried on page 5, in tiny print - or whatever t..."


I hate distorted and biased coverage and manipulation of facts and regret journalism becoming shallow, if such tendency exists. Yet, I do believe they have an important role in detection and bringing to public attention any irregularities in functioning of the authorities.
Well, yeah, insurance is totally based on actuarial calculations, which calculates based on statistics. It's not only men and women, it's also 'young' drivers, those above 40 and other categories. Smokers pay a higher premium for life insurance, however in many court cases people failed to prove cigarettes were the cause of cancer. Discrimination? Statistics
Today in informational era, one who looks can find probably any info, but we tend to read the headlines, skim through the rest and rarely re-check the facts beyond these. Mass media knows that ...


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Tara wrote: "I wonder what society would be like if we treted one another with equality and respect across the board...."

We should...
However, with respect to work of law enforcement authorities everywhere, whether they fear to be considered discriminating or not, it's there direct duty to profile any potentially violent criminal or terrorist organizations. Preventive measures are far better than reactive. The race, religion are irrelevant. They need to adequately monitor and attempt to prevent dangerous, murdorous attackes whether they come from KKK, Chinese triads, Russian mafia in NY or radical Islamic groups.. I think for these purpose exactly they all have intelligence units. Even customs has -:) Any citizen of any race can fall victim to whoever starts shooting, planting bombs and cause mayhem.
Speaking of Russian mafia, btw, I wouldn't be surprised if statistics reflected a higher rates of criminals among Russian emigre, because of 'cultural heritage' they brought with them -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments In America it is unconstitutional to profile based on race. It can not be a presumption of guilt or even suspicion. If twenty black females are throwing trash on the city streets the police may not accost me for littering unless they see me doing so. It is simple.


message 32: by Alex (last edited Jul 27, 2016 11:04AM) (new)

Alex (asato) (i've been avoiding joining in, but i thought i'd put in my opinion b/c it's a pretty important topic.)

T. K. Elliott wrote: "Elie Wiesel is right about collective judgements - up to a point."

wiesel wasn't talking about car insurance when he made that statement. instead, he was concerned about life insurance--of the most mortal kind, insurance against the mob mentality.

Al "Tank" wrote: "WOW!!! This is getting pretty hot on both viewpoints. I suspect that if you're looking for a problem, you're likely to find it, somewhere, to validate your pre-existing viewpoint.."

Al "Tank" wrote: More blacks and Hispanics (especially gang members) are likely to resist arrest (it's a macho thing) than are Orientals or whites. I used to live in an all-black neighborhood and most of the people I ran around with were black and I know this to be true. I don't have first hand knowledge about Hispanics because there were none in that neighborhood. Also, a disproportionate amount of crimes are committed by these two groups (as a percentage of population), so the police are more often in a confrontational situation with them -- hence the unwarranted idea that cops pick on these two groups.

So, the problem is mostly a matter of perception rather than facts. Remember, the information you are getting is "massaged" by the press (who have an agenda) before you see it."


Nik wrote: "I hate distorted and biased coverage and manipulation of facts and regret journalism becoming shallow, if such tendency exists. Yet, I do believe they have an important role in detection and bringing to public attention any irregularities in functioning of the authorities."

i'd agree that w/Nik that fact-based journalism is very important to a properly functioning democracy.

while it is true that one can find something somewhere--especially on the internet--to validate one's own biases, if one looks at the more reputable news sources and use one's own critical thinking skills, then one would come around to an understanding of the nature of true reality.

unless one has a wide range of experiences, generalizing from one's own experiences can lead to inaccurate perceptions. a police officer on the west coast in the 80s and 90s would be pretty cautious when approaching "orientals" (which is a very broad term; too broad to be useful, i'd argue). southeast asian gangs we're pretty active around that time. (btw, somewhat off the topic, but relevant in a more "general" fashion is a book on the usage of the term, oriental, Orientalism.)


message 33: by Alex (last edited Jul 27, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Alex (asato) T. K. Elliott wrote: "The original article on which this is based is here:
http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/conte...

I have obtained, and read (though admittedly not in detail), the full text.

The main conclusion of the article is that black people are more likely to be stopped by the police than other ethnic groups, but once a police stop has happened race does not make a difference in the likelihood of the individual ending up hurt or killed as a result."


first of all, thanks for citing your sources. that makes it easier to cross-check and come to some reasonable conclusions.

from the cited page, there was a link to a contrary article:

https://www.statnews.com/2016/07/25/p...

the most relevant criticism is as follows:
An equal rate of injuries per stops and arrests doesn’t mean that those injuries occurred in the same type of encounter, or that they were deserved or proportional to the behavior by the injured person.

“One possible interpretation [of Miller’s study] that is easy to make is that people are treated the same way once they are arrested,” said Joscha Legewie, a sociology professor at Yale University. “That’s not necessarily the case, based on the information we have.”
...
But the data was less than ideal. For one thing, it didn’t capture ER visits, since the emergency rooms weren’t recording patient race for all visits. But many more people hurt by cops go to the ER and then home (about 49,000 in 2012) than are admitted to the hospital (about 2,500 individuals).

Finally, while the study looks at data on a national level, researchers say there may be much local variation that isn’t captured.

There is much follow-up work to be done. Fagan would like to see the analysis validated for cities that have good data on police stops, like his home turf, New York City. Miller said that looking at state-by-state variation would be a good next step — but that he doesn’t have any funding to do so. This analysis, in fact, was conducted mostly on nights and weekends, including some holidays.

“These people need this information,” Miller said. “They really need it. And I’m going to go look at it.”

Some of that information isn’t as much about policing as it is about documenting the reasons behind hospital visits. Currently, while some injuries — like shootings — can be documented as police-related, there’s no standard way to specify that someone was bitten by a police dog, or falls after being pushed by a police officer, Miller said. There isn’t even a code for being shot with a taser — to find those cases, Miller looked for cases of electric shock that also involved law enforcement.

“I think we’re more likely to make good progress dealing with hospitals than we are dealing with police data,” said Frank Baumgartner, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “The hospitals have no particular reason to try to minimize the apparent occurrence of the event.”
so now, we add to that a 12 May 2016 article on police culture--the "blue wall of silence" that aid and abet elements of racism and sexism--in one of the most liberal cities in the US, San Francisco, CA:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/s...

in the history of police in the world and the US, the police was created to enforce the law and the law was created by the elite. only later was the idea of protecting everyone added to their duties.

(i'm not too sure where i'm going with this idea) interestingly, in the US, the federal government is the one who is called in when civil rights abuses are alleged to have been violated by local police forces.)


message 34: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Tara wrote: "J.J.
Well said as always. A fine line, indeed. I'm reminded of a story I read last year about a wealthy African American couple who raised their son in a posh, upper East side apartment in New Yor..."


That's a perfect example of how "opportunity" needs to be more than some fancy buzzword. It's one thing to be tough on crime. I certainly believe the ultimate decision is on the individual. However treating people like criminals before they make that decision - I've mention before the disparity between white and black students when it comes to school infractions being referred to the police vs. treated in house; and I've mentioned before how a conviction shouldn't follow you around for the rest of your life as it holds people back from turning their lives around. But "opportunity" is worthless if we beat down people for attaining it.

I worked with one young black man a few years ago leading a department. Frankly he was a stronger leader and more capable department head than many of the whites. He eventually posted for promotion, and as part of it, they run a background check. And it came up that he had a past conviction that somehow their background check missed when he was first hired. It didn't matter how strong an employee he was or what an asset he was to the company - he was fired for something he had already paid for.


message 35: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Al "Tank" wrote: "WOW!!! This is getting pretty hot on both viewpoints. I suspect that if you're looking for a problem, you're likely to find it, somewhere, to validate your pre-existing viewpoint.

But the good new..."


The thing no one wants to consider is that the race issue in America has been festering for centuries that there is no single issue to tackle or no single, simple solution. It is a web that has to be untangled from multiple angles. However it doesn't make for great soundbites to lay out a thousand page manifest on all the things that need to happen and come together, nor does anyone want to hear how the solution falls on their shoulders as much as it falls on everyone else.

The thing about fiction, is it does allow us to weave social messages and allows us to create worlds where the characters face these issues from unconventional angles. We can create allegories, like you suggest, using other races (or in the case of SciFi, aliens) to create parallels.


message 36: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2278 comments Tara wrote: "How does this explain reports by police officers who must remain anonymous that they are encouraged to profile members of the black community so whites in the community can feel safer?..."

Not sure if you heard of or remember the shooting in Charlotte just a little before the Michael Brown incident, but there was a black motorist who had some sort of car problems after dark. He knocks on the door of a white woman looking for help, but the women gets scared and called the cops instead. Cops show up and shoot the man. I think enough has been said on police shootings, but I just have to shake my head at ordinary people who instantly think the worst of someone without giving them the chance.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
You keep restoring my faith in humanity. This has got to stop lol.


message 38: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 12 comments J.J. wrote: "Al "Tank" wrote: "WOW!!! This is getting pretty hot on both viewpoints. I suspect that if you're looking for a problem, you're likely to find it, somewhere, to validate your pre-existing viewpoint...."

This thread has such a great discussion going, I’m glad the fence I’m sitting on isn’t barbed. I see good and arguable points on both sides.

Yes, there is racial profiling going on. We all know it, and we’ve probably all been victims of it in one way or another regardless of the color of our skin. Whether you’re a young black male, a white girl with green hair and a ring her nose, a Muslim woman in traditional attire, or a homeless person pushing a shopping cart, you’ll be judged for being “different.” Not just by police, but by employers, school officials, taxi drivers, store clerks, our neighbors, anyone we come in contact with will base their interactions with us according to our appearance. Sadly, some of those interactions will end in violence. Although, in some cases, I feel the press tends to blow it out of proportion, inflaming the issue, and stirring up hate and retaliation to make another dollar.

I’ve heard people suggest that racism is in our DNA. That it’s part of our instinct for self-preservation to assess our surroundings (including people) for possible threats. There might be something to that, but I lean more toward the competitive nature of humans to bolster their own self-esteem by marginalizing others—we’re always one-upping each other.

My question is, when does this behavior start? Have you noticed that children, left alone, carry no such biases? Skin color, facial features, designer labels mean nothing to them. Does the DNA factor or the need to show off our feathers only kick in with puberty? Or is it, after all, our responsibility as parents to teach our children respect for all humanity?

I know this is a tall order, but I think the only way this situation will ever be resolved, is if parents everywhere bite the bullet and put aside their generational prejudices for the good of all mankind. What has been gained by twisting their minds and teaching them hate? Way too many people have died in the name of racial or religious purity. The buck has to stop somewhere, why not with us?


message 39: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Joan wrote: "The buck has to stop somewhere, why not with us? "

This.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Great points Joan
It seems that many anthropologists come down on the side of racism being a learned behavior and thus, not attributable to genetic inputs. In fact, there are some studies that point out that babies tend to find interest in faces darker than their own and can even be soothed by them during controlled research experiments. Not sure what that's about but it does support your claim that children are quite innocent when it comes to racism.

It is true that appearance has a lot to do with how we're treated by society but race is not appearance. My great grandmothers were both 'white' with European features and grey/hazel eyes. My ex husband's great aunt Christine had strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes. All were black and were certainly treated as such. If the white women with the green hair and the homeless man were to clean themselves up, wear designer clothes and lead successful lives they would once again be welcomed into mainstream white America with its inherent privileges and assumptions of legitimacy. But even blacks with wealth, power and education can not change their race and all the baggage that comes with it.Venus and Serena Williams have to constantly ignore hateful people who leave ugly messages and banana icons on their social media profiles. The president and the first lady are dragged through the racial mud every day in a way that has nothing to do with politics. I could go on and on.

I think these conversations are healthy and important. As far as I'm concerned there can not be enough media coverage. I grew up in the south and I can assure you that instances of police brutality have long been covered up because America did not want to discuss it, even the media. The media can not inflame a problem that is not there. Sensationalism exists in the media but to blame it for the coverage we are seeing today is to ignore the fact that many journalists with integrity, a lot of whom are freelance editorialists who write well researched think pieces, are dedicated to exploring the truth and shining a light where society may not always want to look.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Forgot to add that I think Joan's solution is really the only solution. If it doesn't start with us and with our families there is no hope of progress. If our kids see us talking the talk and not walking the walk they will not be inspired to become the change our future generations desperately need. In Rowan County, NC the police and sheriff's department instituted a program wherein officers are given free or subsidized housing if they live in the neighborhoods they police. Guess what? There is almost no police brutality in my hometown. Things are not perfect but it is more likely that the police and the citizens know one another's names and wave to one another at church or at Starbucks than that an unarmed black will be shot in the street or a police officer will be gunned down while he is bravely doing his job.


message 42: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments JJ wrote: The thing about fiction, is it does allow us to weave social messages and allows us to create worlds where the characters face these issues from unconventional angles

Absolutely, JJ. Entertainment is the perfect medium to make difficult subject matter more digestible. This philosophy lies at the heart of all my work. I tackled the subject of racism in Raw Nerve, a novel written in '97. It was perceived as too controversial, but, in light of recent examples of police racism, I think I need to re-visit the subject matter. It is in discussions such as this where I am inspired and a story begins to evolve.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Tim
I tip my hat. Harper Lee, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alex Haley anyone?


message 44: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments I know it's not connected to police, but since this thread equally deals with racial issues, I thought it'll be interesting to hear your opinion. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here.
In a country where a racial segregation was finally abolished only about 50 years ago and there are people, who probably still remember how it was b4, where Michael Jackson allegedly strived to become 'white', Obama becomes senator in Illinois and moves further to become a President, voted for 2 terms.
Maybe some undermine this fact, but I think there is a statement right there. For many millions of people came and voted for him, obviously thinking that his race was not an issue.
Of course, it doesn't mean that there couldn't be thousands or millions of racists. But I think, there are not too many countries in the world, where anyone representing any minority would be voted into the very top position. Something that Tim refers many thought was an impossibility not that long ago.
I, as an outsider, may be misinterpreting the entire event, but there are many members from the US that can probably explain.
So, shall Obama's presidency per se testify about 'racial healthiness' of the society?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments In some ways Obama's election was a welcome sign that America is improving in its race relations. Unfortunately it does not represent the big picture. His initial acceptance had a lot to do with the fact that young voters turned out in record numbers to cast their vote. They are less likely to view race in the same way as their parents and grandparents did. It goes back to what Joan said about each generation being taught better. The election also had a lot to do with the fact that the eight years of Republican governance left us with a crippling recession after dragging the country through a costly quagmire of an unpopular war in the Middle East. Anybody would have been welcome in that aftermath. Clinton was too problematic and, in any case, was still a representative of the business as usual Washington political elite. Obama represented the change America was very much wanting. McCain seemed angry and unfocused and his vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin proved to be his undoing. She was an absolute disaster and torpedoed any chance of the GOP convincing the country that it was serious about its concerns and capable of addressing them. And so I give you Obama - intelligent, accessible and naturally 'presidential' with the gravitas of an elder statesman as well as the excitement and allure of a celebrity.
Yet it didn't take long for things to go south. Every flaw, both real and imagined, gave Obama's critics opportunities to undermine him at every turn. Often these attacks did not pretend to be anything other than racial assaults. Sadly, both the president and his family were not immune from ugly, personal mudslinging because of their race. So i would say that Obama's election illustrates America's potential for racial harmony but potential and actuality are not the same thing. I believe racism in America is manufactured and perpetuated by individuals and institutions who realize that as long as people blame their problems on others they won't notice that the privileged few at the top are the ones pulling the strings - keeping everyone else poor, disconnected and fighting for crumbs. If you notice the majority of Americans with the most extreme racial opinions also happen to be the poorest and least educated.


message 46: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments In the UK now, mainly due to the immigration situation, racism and prejudice is once again raising its ugly head. Daily we hear stories of individuals who are abused in the street, and often they are British citizens by 3 or more generations. Due to the colour of their skin they are now finding themselves branded as immigrants and abused in the street, told to go home, that they're not welcome here... It is awful... And I put it all down to the fear created by Muslim factions and IS in particular. People are angry and afraid because people in France and Germany are being blown up, or knifed to death or shot. British citizens are frightened it is going to start happening here, thus, anyone with a middle eastern or Pakistani appearance are being blamed. I feel sorry for the British Indian population who have got caught up in this fear and hatred because of a few Muslims...

So what is the answer? In my opinion it is for the Muslim communities to police themselves better and clean up the mess the supposedly few are creating - it is for them to stamp out this radicalisation. Yet I understand the problem. Muslims can't get on with Muslims. Christians are just as bad - we still have a problem with Catholics getting along with Protestants...

So at the heart of the problem we come down again to religion. I'm an atheist and really haven't got time for all this utter nonsense.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Isn't it all terribly complicated? In my humble opinion religion is seldom the issue. Rather, it is wielded like a club by those who feel angry, disconnected, marginalized and spit upon. It is from this shallow pool that extremists recruit their terrorists. Who is rushing to the front of the line to strap a bomb to his chest and murder innocent people? The young man who has been called 'stupid raghead' by his classmates. Who is signing up to shoot people in a crowded movie theater? The 'loser' who grew up in a neighborhood so rough even the police try to stay away. Who recruits these terrorists? Maniacal psychopaths who use religion like candy to promise these vulnerable people a greater reward and honor. For some of these people their inclusion by terrorist groups is the first time they have *ever* been given attention, unlimited food and clothing, camaderie and a higher purpose. They can't and won't see that they are disposable pawns for the filth at the top.


message 48: by Tim (last edited Jul 29, 2016 02:40AM) (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments I agree with everything you say, Tara. It is easy to radicalise individuals who feel marginalised and disenfranchised. But religion is at the heart of it. The marginalised are drawn to religion because it offers hope. Once caught in the web they are indoctrinated with fear - if you don't believe in god and obey him, her, it you will be cast into the fires of hell for all eternity... The most ridiculous thing is, the radicalised are then told that if they martyr themselves they'll receive X,Y,Z amount of virgins on the other side... LOL... What good are virgins when your penis is minced meat... But they don't see it. They obey blindly due to being indoctrinated and conditioned into some nonsense faith...

Sorry, I get angry about it...


message 49: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15711 comments Like Tara, I also think recruiters often manipulate religion to further their heinous goals. Here is an example about the virgins:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/200...
Suicide is prohibited by religion, but martyrdom is welcome, so they try to capitalize on that.

It's amazing how the same act can be described from different angles.

Take Crimea:
Sounds noble 'to protect Russian-speaking population from savage Ukrainian fascists in Crimea',
BUT
Sounds quite different when you describe it as 'stealing of territory from a fraternal nation'


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Tim
Saying religion itself is dangerous is like saying money, power and guns are dangerous. Clearly what you do with them is what matters. Religion plays an important part in the lives of billions who do not use it to harm others.


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