What is the caselaw regarding cops killing people?

bullet with police badge and kkk maskHere in the United States it feels like a week can’t go by without a white cop killing an unarmed black man. It’s a distressing situation made that much more overwhelming by all the complicated and unresolved social problems it brings front and center for all the bobbleheads to poke and prod and jabber about but do nothing to change.

I don’t think I’m capable of adequately understanding and addressing all of those issues. Hell, I know I’m not. However, one question I can at least scratch the surface of is the question of caselaw. I spent a recent Sunday quaffing coffee and Googling the shit out of terms like “officer-involved shooting”, “deadly force”, “excessive force” and “police brutality”, and now I am an expert on the subject.1

What I gleaned through my Cyberian wanderings is that the caselaw deals with three subjects: the criminality of the officer’s conduct (Did s/he commit murder/manslaughter?), the liability of the officer (Can the victim’s family sue him/her personally?), and the liability of the officer’s employer (Should the state/city/agency compensate the victim’s family?). In other words, we’re dealing with criminal law (Should the officer go to prison?) and civil law (Can the officer/police department be sued?).

I’ll relate what I found regarding all of these, but we’ll start by defining our terms. Next I’ll talk about the civil law. I’ll end with a discussion of the criminal caselaw. Continue reading What is the caselaw regarding cops killing people?

I’m all out of give-a-shit: the difference between giving a shit and giving a shit about pretending to give a shit

Bow Ties Blue and Red Fucking AnarchistI bought Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck the other day. It was one of those caffeinated-out-of-your-mind-while-wandering-around-Barnes-&-Noble kind of decisions. I’ve read about half of it now and have to say that it’s something of a primer. The reality is that, as Knight herself attests, she’s something of a #zerofucksgiven newb. I meanwhile have been giving zero fucks for most of my life. While a funny book that imparts advice many people really need to hear; as a primer, Knight’s book misses much of the nuance involved in not giving a fuck. So I’ve dedicated this blog post  to one of those nuances. Continue reading I’m all out of give-a-shit: the difference between giving a shit and giving a shit about pretending to give a shit

Does sentience make us special?

From the time I was a kid, I was told I was special. I was special because my parents loved me. I was special because Caucasian Jesus loved me. I was special because I was born in the Muthafuckin-U-S-of-A. Et cetera. And I’m not alone. I suspect most of us grow up feeling somehow special, somehow significant. We all feel like the star of our very own Truman Show. One reason we spend so much of life being pissy is because we don’t understand why other people don’t treat us like the rock stars we feel we are. Continue reading Does sentience make us special?

Why redneck women are so hot: the theory of Natural Light selection

I whiled away my teenage years and much of my twenties in Northwest Florida where rural communities are plentiful as are the redneck women and men who inhabit them. And a question that came up again and again was: Why are there so many beautiful women living out in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere? I mean, you stop in one of those towns where the gas station is also the general store–you go inside and it’s like a mini Walmart/redneck petting zoo–and this mud-caked pickup truck pulls up beside you, and out hops this gorgeous woman with long, flowing hair, a golden tan and a six pack that Ciara would muff-dive Monica for; and she’s wearing camouflage and hunter orange; and the guy riding shotgun has a beer gut, neck hair and a half-empty Natural Light can for a spit cup; and you think: What the fuck? Continue reading Why redneck women are so hot: the theory of Natural Light selection

Jakob E. Wagner, Wisconsin Antigo High School prom shooter, and the Tragedy Troll

Jakob E. Wagner's Instagram Profile
Jakob E. Wagner’s Instagram Profile

Jakob E. Wagner, of Antigo Wisconsin, shot two people at the Antigo High School prom this past Saturday night. His motive is still unknown. Chances are, by the time it is known, the national media will have moved on. After all, a so-called “mass shooting” where the only fatality was the shooter is hardly big news. But, while the news media might have the attention span of a 3 year old on crack, the internet rarely forgets; and its bottom-feeders are usually the last to move on.

Continue reading Jakob E. Wagner, Wisconsin Antigo High School prom shooter, and the Tragedy Troll

Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

What makes a good Christian or Muslim or Jew?
What makes a good Xtian/Muslim/Jew?

In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.

It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

Daedalus with Icarus
Daedalus fashioning wings for himself and his son, Íkaros, so they might escape the Labyrinth Daedalus had constructed

In Book VII of Plato’s Politeia, at 540c, Glaucon declares that, with his words, Socrates’ has “made the rulers consummately beautiful (καλόν) men…just like a sculptor.” Earlier in Book VII, at 529e, Socrates refers to the works of Dædalus as worthy of study. As stated in footnote 135 of Sachs’ translation of the Republic, Plato mentions Daedalus (Δαίδαλος) several times in his dialogues: at 97d in Meno and at 11c in Euthyphro. In Texts on Socrates, West also identifies 121a of Alcibiades I (p.55, n.33). In reading these various texts*, I noticed recurring references to Daedalus, and it made me wonder: Are these references random or do they form a logical pattern of some sort?

Continue reading Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

The Show Show: The Satanic Perspective

Several years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea for a show called The Show Show. The idea was to create a fictional talk show about other nonexistent shows. Whether the idea was meta or stupid doesn’t much matter since it never got off the ground. But I did write one script for a skit for the first episode. In it, the host interviews a self-proclaimed Satanic priest who wants to develop a TV show to broadcast his beliefs to the unwashed masses.

The Satanic Perspective: S1E1

Continue reading The Show Show: The Satanic Perspective

Oppositional narrative, myth-shaping and ideological idiopathy

Definitions

Idiopathy is generally a medical term, but its usage here harkens back to its Greek roots. “Idio-” is from the Greek ídios (ἴδιος), meaning something private or entirely one’s own. “-Pathy” is from the Greek pátheia (πάθεια) meaning “feeling” or “suffering” which in turn derives from pathos (πάθος), meaning a condition or state (generally of suffering). Continue reading Oppositional narrative, myth-shaping and ideological idiopathy