Jason’s Ranting & Raving

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Archive for January, 2009

Police – Helping or Hurting?

Posted by jaystile on January 9, 2009

I would first like to say that I understand that police have to deal with the worst scum sucking, beer drinking, drug abusing, unintellectual, violent, sociopaths that this country can dish out. It takes a certain kind of person to deal with those lowlifes day in and day out. Secondly, I would like to apologize to all the excellent police officers that do their part to keep the peace and to help their communities. Police officers that have to deal with the ‘bad guys’ also have to deal with normal people and it seems that they have a very hard time adjusting to people who are educated and exercise their civil rights. Does America have a systemic problem with their police officers? Are people rightfully afraid of the police who are supposed to protect and serve?

Excessive Force
Police are armed with deadly weapons and are put into high stress situations. Have you heard about the rioting in Oakland, CA? A crowd gathers around the police and in a panic they shoot a man who is unarmed and immobilized. Do you know what it is called if I shoot someone? Murder. What is is called when a BART police officer shoots someone? …officials are looking into the possibility that the officer thought he was firing a Taser and pulled out his gun by mistake. So, I guess that would be an accident.
BART Police Officer Shoots Immobilized Unarmed Man
Why do people protest? Because they are underrepresented. This is how police detain protesters… by placing a knee on their neck.

The hospitals say the police excessively use force when detaining people. Remember Rodney King? Anyway, doctors don’t want to rock the boat and most cases of excessive force are undocumented. The most common injuries resulting from the excessive use of force by police officers against suspects involved blunt trauma of the sort you get from a punch or a beating. “Fists and feet were cited as the instrument used by 95.2% (95% CI 92.0% to 97.3%) of respondents, handcuffs that were too tight by 73.1% (95% CI 67.6% to 78.1%), night sticks by 48.6% (95% CI 42.7% to 54.5%) and flashlights by 26.9%…” And try and not forget our new meme, “Don’t taze me bro!”
Physicians say Police Use Too Much Force

What happens when a cop is given a gun? He uses it. They roll onto to private property and when they find a dog that they think is threatening, they draw their gun and they shoot it. Tough luck, poochie. Oh yeah, they weren’t wearing uniforms. Why does wearing a uniform make their job so much harder? How does America classify armed men out of uniform in foreign countries? They call them enemy combatants. Follow this link to more puppy murder and mayhem.

Mistaken Identity
The next problem is that Police immediately stereotype people, which is where I think most of the problems are stemming from. Do you know what happens if you are black in a white neighborhood? You get mistaken as a criminal. Specifically, you get targeted as a car thief because you are driving an SUV. Then your family comes out to confront the police who are on their property for no good reason. Your mom gets shoved into the garage. You put your head up from the concrete to ask what is happening. Guess what happens? You get shot in the back, while you are unarmed and laying in a prone position. Police Shoot Man in case of Racial Profiling

There seems to be quite a few cases of mistaken identity coming out of Texas. It seems that if you are black and wearing short shorts, then you are prostitute. Three plain clothes officers tried to arrest a girl in her front yard. Her screaming brought her dad outside where he fought the police and she escaped. Did I mention they were not wearing uniforms? They were responding to a prostitution call that was blocks away. Oh yeah, to put the icing on the cake, the girl and the father are being prosecuted for assaulting polices officers. And she was arrested at her school where she is an honor student. What did the city have to say about this? The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances Did I mention they weren’t wearing uniforms and were trying to force a 12 year old girl into a van? She is having nightmares about police. Plain clothes police do not make sense to me. It’s not like they were undercover at the time. Police arrest 12 year old girl

Shameful Behavior
I would like to share with you something I think I read before (but I don’t have a link and cannot verify it): Criminals and Police Officers tend to share the same psychological profile. They enjoy the feeling of power and using force to intimidate or force people to do something against their will. Anyone, read this before? Either way here are some more stories.

In New York there is a group of people that advocate the riding of bikes to help reduce traffic and stop pollution. They would get together at night and have a huge group of people go for a ride through the city. They had a number of conflicts with police. Well, they decided to find if their actions were illegal. A judge allowed them to keep doing their bike rides since they were not causing trouble and were not obstructing traffic. Well, I guess if you’re a cop and you don’t agree with them you do this:

On the bright side, this officer is getting prosecuted. Let’s hear it for video cameras.

A group called Kop Busters is starting to set stings on corrupt policing organizations. Read more about them here: Never Get Busted Again Here is a video of police raiding a home that was growing…. Christmas trees. You see, police use thermal imaging from planes to find people growing marijuana with grow lamps in their homes. This process is illegal and has been deemed ‘unreasonable search’, but it happened anyway. Kop Busters caught them red handed. Also, a judge signed an affidavit to search the home based on an anonymous tip, which is also illegal.

Here is another protector of the people dumping a quadriplegic from their wheel chair.

And another story of Cops Stealing from Toys for Tots. I hope the Marines find them and kick their ass.

This cop stole a laptop. (What laptop?)

Everyone in this country gets hassled by the Police. Senator Leahy was stopped by a Border Agent many miles from the border mind you: It’s interesting – I went through one of those symbolic checkpoints in the state of New York driving back here. It was about 125 miles from the border. In a car with license plate one on it from Vermont. With little letters underneath it that said US Senate. We were stopped and ordered to get out of the car and prove my citizenship. And I said “what authority are you acting under?” and one of your agents pointed to his gun and said “that’s all the authority I need.” Encouraging way to enter our country. Do you live in the Constitution Free Zone?

The Constitution Free Zone

The Constitution Free Zone

Don’t Talk to Cops
If there is anything to take away from this post is, “Don’t talk to Cops”. Watch this video to be astounded and disturbed and be educated on why you should never, ever, EVER talk to cops.

Is it just a few bad eggs or is the system fundamentally flawed? Why do police officers protect their own when those other officers have acted in an unprofessional manner? I really do think that we need to spend our money on good training for our officers. Special attention needs to be given to how to deal with those with mental illness. Additionally, training should be reinforced to protect constitutional rights. Peaceful protesters should not be harassed. We should really be focusing our time, money, and effort on violent criminals and dangers to the public. Now, go forth and be good citizens, keep those cameras rolling, and exercise your 5th amendment rights and your civil liberties.

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Book Review: Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Posted by jaystile on January 6, 2009

Outliers - The Story of Success

Outliers - The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell has done it to me again. The beginning of this book comes out giving you both barrels. A double shot blast to the psyche. It is so profound and simple it has driven me to the point of agitation and a rapid pulse. Are you ready for it? Talent is overrated. You might have heard me rant about this before on my other post on Expert Theory (what does it take to succeed). Malcolm presents you with evidence about junior hockey players. The cutoff date for Hockey Players is January 1st. That means if you were born January 2nd 1990 you would play against other competitors born up until December 31st 1990. An almost 12 month age advantage. This might not seem like a big deal to adults, but in the realm of childhood it has huge ramifications. Those who are the biggest and more coordinated are also the ones born closest to the cutoff date. Those are the same children that get chosen for the elite teams. Then they play more games. Then they get more experience. Then they show up as the ‘best’ next year. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy! Those born in December might as well not even try out. This disparity carries over into college and then into the professional levels. What is the chance that a professional hockey player (or college or elite junior) was born in January, February, or December? 60%! Hockey is not the only field where this applies. It also works for soccer and little things like your education!

Malcolm Gladwell’s evidence backed assertion is that your talents do not matter as much as you think they do. It matters what family you were born to, where you were born, and when you were born. This has become very personal for me. Allow me to explain. My daughter is scheduled to start Kindergarten next fall. She will be 4 when she starts and turn 5 in September. She is two weeks from the cutoff date of October 1. That means most of her classmates will probably have 6 – 12 months of maturity and growth on her. That didn’t bother me so much but Gladwell presented evidence that a student with an eight month age advantage will score about 81% on the standardized tests compared to the 68% by their younger peers. Holy Cow! I have an August birthday and my mom waited to enroll me in Kindergarten until I was 6. I was always just a little bit older than everyone else. This put me in the advanced reading program from an early age. That means, I got more experience reading than my underage peers. This set me up for the gifted and talented programs which gave me even more experience. This has definitely given me something to think about for my daughter. Do I want her to struggle to keep up with her older peers? Or do I want her to smack down her peers education-wise like a 14 year old Cuban pitching in the 12 year old World Series?

The book slows down after the start and continues to show that circumstances lead more to success than any one factor. He demonstrates that a high IQ does not immediately equals success. He discusses the differences between convergent IQ (can you get the right answer) and divergent IQ (how many uses can you come up for with a brick?) He continues to demonstrate that 1830 was the best year to be born to be an entrepreneur (Cargnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockfeller), The best year to become a lawyer specializing in corporate takeovers 1930, and 1955 was the best year to become a software tycoon (Bill Gate, Steve Jobs). The point that is driven home is that you need a good IQ, not the best IQ, you need a good education not necessarily the best education, and the experience (10000hrs) in your field. What you need more than anything is the proper set of circumstances and the opportunity.

I have been exposed to these ideas before, but this book goes more in depth. I enjoyed reading it. The prose is easy to understand and he presents many interesting anecdotes to demonstrate the concepts. I should probably read The Tipping Point next since I enjoyed his other book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Published by Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group. 285 pages.

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