Pick Wayne's Brain

December 4, 2016

Deadly Force Is Not Always Justified

After posting some cryptic messages on his Facebook page on the morning of November 28, 2016, 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a refugee from Somalia, drove his car over a curb at Ohio State University into a crowd of people, then exited the car and began attacking people with a butcher knife. Officer Alan Horujko arrived on the scene within a minute and, as a police spokesman put it later, “eliminated the threat.” That’s cop-speak for “he killed him.” But did he really have to? Was killing Artan the only option available to “eliminate the threat”? You and I weren’t there but, even so, I seriously doubt Officer Horujko had no other option to “eliminate the threat.” And what exactly does “eliminate the threat” mean? Which was the “threat”? Artan himself or the butcher knife he was using on people? If Artan was disarmed of the knife, can one automatically assume he was still going to continue to try to kill people? It’s certainly possible, I agree, but can it be automatically assumed, and therefore used as justification to say that killing him was the only option available? Don’t cops carry several kinds of weapons? Don’t they have batons with which to beat down on someone’s arm to knock a knife out of his hands? Don’t they have tasers? Don’t they have any other options besides guns? And even with the guns, do they always have to shoot to kill? Is it because they’re such bad shots (more…)

November 7, 2015

Adrenaline Rush To Judgment

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 2:51 AM

There is a misunderstood problem in America that is not being talked about from the proper perspective. There are police officers, few in number to be sure, but there nonetheless, who have killed unarmed people who were absolutely posing no life or death danger to the police officer whatsoever. What has exacerbated the problem are the fruitless attempts to hold these police officers criminally liable for taking those lives. Time after time, a police officer caught on video killing an unarmed civilian has walked away free and clear of any punishment for his (or her) crimes. And they clearly were crimes from a moral standpoint. There shouldn’t be any way to defend these actions, should there? Well, if you don’t consider being human as part of the problem, there apparently is.

We are human beings, which means we are animals. I’ll give the more religious ones of you out there a moment to absorb that fact……….[looks at watch]………that’s enough time. And as animals, we have things called survival mechanisms. These are the natural, innate reactions we have to (more…)

April 25, 2008

The Police Should Not Use Deadly Force For Imaginary Reasons

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:06 PM

The acquittal of three New York City police officers in the execution of Sean Bell (he was shot fifty times, with one officer firing thirty-one times) raises some very serious questions for me. In this case, as in many similar previous cases (around the country, not just in New York City), the justification allowed by the police rests entirely on what they imagined was happening, not what actually was happening. Though the details of this case don’t matter, it turns out that the police had reason to believe that someone at the party had a gun. Does that justify mortally firing at someone, repeatedly, even though they did not see any gun? The problem rests on equating two different kinds of beliefs: those you arrive at through deductive reasoning, and those you arrive at through inductive reasoning. One is usually based on actual facts, the other is usually based on one’s imagination. (See explanation here.)

Deductive reasoning starts with the more general and works toward the more specific to reach a conclusion. Inductive reasoning works the other way around. (more…)

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