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Officer Mehserle shoots dangerous criminal, is convicted
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem, you're simultaneously telling me 'it could have been an accident' and 'it wasn't an accident'

Do you or do you not think that in this particular instance that the police officer in this case absolutely could not have mistaken his taser for his gun in this event.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam wrote:
Willem, you're simultaneously telling me 'it could have been an accident' and 'it wasn't an accident'

Do you or do you not think that in this particular instance that the police officer in this case absolutely could not have mistaken his taser for his gun in this event.

I'm saying that if the situation were different, it could've happened. (Doesn't even have to be a big difference.) So, no, he could not have mistaken his taser for his gun in this particular situation.

edit: Fine. It could have happened, in theory, but it's extremely unlikely. I'm speaking in absolutes again, I'm sorry. But I honestly can't imagine it being a mistake in this case.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh. I'll try to say that properly.

It could've been a mistake. It's possible. I think it's incredibly unlikely. In my opinion, there's just too many points at which he could've realised his mistake.

I guess I should just be happy they did convict him for something.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the thing: we have, on video, a clear case of an officer executing a restrained man. He can get involuntary manslaughter by claiming he mistakenly drew the wrong weapon (for what it's worth, I suspect in this case that's very possibly what happened) - but the successful use of this type of defense throws the door wide open for plausible deniability in essentially every case. It means corrupt cops can be caught on video deliberately pulling their sidearm and discharging a round into someone's back, knowing that at worst they can get off with involuntary by claiming it was a "whoopsie."

Either we need higher standards of prosecution for officers like this, or serious systemic changes to the way they distribute and use non-lethals on a day to day basis.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, I'm sorry for being so insufferable. I'm usually pretty passionate about stuff like this and I'm in a pretty bad mood, but it doesn't really excuse me.

So sorry. I'll try to show some restraint (UNLIKE THAT COP AMIRITE) in the future.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
Ugh. I'll try to say that properly.

It could've been a mistake. It's possible. I think it's incredibly unlikely. In my opinion, there's just too many points at which he could've realised his mistake.

I guess I should just be happy they did convict him for something.


So am I, if not just for the fact that this was a man not fully qualified for the restraint actions that he took, and that these restraint actions were already too brutal. Use of a taser wasn't even justified. The man was clearly not thinking.

As for how it can be a mistake, not just possibly but plausibly:

In high-stress situations, even well-trained people do what absolutely seems like retarded or extremely malicious things to the perspective of someone who is analyzing the event in hindsight. Your pulse heightens dramatically and your body is saturating itself with adrenalin and cortisol. In one emergency situation, I watched someone pull out his keys and stare dumbfounded at them, because he was mixing up the response for pulling out his phone and pulling out his keys and his brain was confused with how to dial 911 on his keys. Then when he got his phone out, he forgot that you have to press send. He completely broke down on trying to just call for emergency help. And this guy had been in the military before. He wasn't even in real danger, it was just a stressful situation with a casualty in front of him. And your keys are very, very different from a cell phone. I'm pretty sure I've done equally retarded things in stressful situations, I just can't recall them very well, or what exactly was going on. Rapid cognition failures are the extent of what most military training and police training attempts to mitigate.

This anecdotal situation, though, pales with instances I've watched on video as part of contemporary study into what we now generally call thin-slicing. It was the high point of weirdness in the psychology courses I took. Cognitive, high-stress reaction and the errors in response they cause. A lot of police districts ban high speed chases because of research into how the chases destroy even well-trained, fully professional officers' ability to make intelligent decisions in an arrest situation after the fact. Officers will talk about how they are crazed, disoriented, practically incoherent. Slate and Blink talked about it to some extent.

I also swear to god that Fred, who is more knowledgeable in the subject of rapid cognition, has even brought most all of this up before. I will see if I can't find it.
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:

Sam The Eagle: Relativism is an ugly thing.


Yes, so is forgetfulness.

That you want to go on a crusade about this is commendable, this is a misconduct of justice.

But fair is fair, and injustice is injustice wherever it happened. Why do we hear a lot more of human stuff, one on one thing, than mass killing?. The cop was tried, but neither UN nor Netherlands Army were regarding the other stuff, or other countries in other places. That bugs me, why do we pick this or that event instead of the other?. Do we have a finite amount of feelings?, do I need to my head out of my ass and take a long breath? (yes).

I won't derail this thread any further. My point was I just find it telling that you, or anybody here, feel this warrants more attention, and passion, than say the 15th anniversary of the worst mass murder since WWII (when this thread started) where no one got to face trial for their lack of action. Or the current issue regarding Khmer Rouge trial, or the other stuff that still happens.

Sam the Eagle,

out of this thread.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why do we hear a lot more of human stuff, one on one thing, than mass killing?


this is a subject of civil interest in a field we aren't totally jaded about. It's why you don't hear about darfur anymore hardly; it's a place we're used to hearing that terrible shit happens all the time and life is horrendous and people are always murdering each other. it creates complete interest fatigue, it happens somewhere else, it never changes.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

found it. http://forums.keenspot.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=79076&p=1878271&hilit=shot#p1878271

if the link doesnt work:

Quote:
I'm re-reading the Malcolm Gladwell's Blink because of this thread. It has some interesting things to say about how our minds react in crisis, and the chapter I'm currently reading has some excellent things that police officers have themselves said about unnecessary shootings. I'm trying to figure out how to best summarize those things here. Basically:

1. These things take place much much much faster than I could ever imagine. The time between when Ronald Reagan's security people realized an assassination attempt was underway and when the assassination attempt was over was 1.8 seconds. During that time 4 people were shot. It took 7 seconds for 4 police officers to shoot Amadou Diallo 41 times. In an assassination attempt on the President of South Korea, it took 3.5 seconds for the assassin to shoot himself, then the president's wife, and then for a bodyguard to shoot an 8 year old boy.

2. During this extremely short and extremely stressful time, without proper training minds fuck up. During the Diallo shooting, every officer believed that the wallet in Diallo's hand was a gun. Despite the fact that Diallo had no gun, every officer believed that another officer had been shot. When your heart-rate raises above 175, you experience a complete breakdown in cognitive function. People in crises often have no idea how to call 911, or are otherwise completely unable to

How long do you imagine it took to wrestle this man to the ground and shoot him 5 times? 30 seconds? 20? I wouldn't be surprised if it was under 10.


Quote:
I don't disagree with you at all. I'm just explaining why I'm not surprised that something like this has happened immediately after a terrorist attack. It's simply not possible for the proper training to be put in place and properly executed in the time period given.

Some more interesting thoughts cribbed from Gladwell: more and more law enforcement organizations are prohibiting their agents from engaging in car chases, because it is during the chase period that the officer's heart-rate rises to this cognitive shut-down level. There is no doubt in my mind that the chase from the street to the subway car was a major factor in this man's killing.

Also, Gladwell quotes a study in which either a black face or a white face is flashed on a screen. Immediately afterwards, either a wrench or a gun is flashed for 200 milliseconds. The viewer is then asked to determine whether or not the object was a gun or a wrench. When "primed" with a black face, more people identify the gun as a gun faster, and more people identity the wrench as a gun. The experiment was repeated, only this time the decision had to be made within 500 milliseconds. To quote Gladwell, "people stopped relying on the actual evidence of their senses and fell back on a rigid and unyielding system, a stereotype."

If you have 5 minutes, you should take part in this study:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/d ... atest.html

I just completed the Race IAT and the Gay-Straight IAT. For what it's worth, my "data suggest a strong automatic preference for White American compared to African American" and "a moderate automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People." At least I'm not as implicitly homophobic as I am racist.

I also completed the "Race-Weapons" IAT. It should be no surprise that my "data suggest a strong association of European American with Harmless Objects and African American with Weapons compared to African American with Harmless Objects and European American with Weapons
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam: I understand, but wouldn't there be a point where Mehserle would be 'staring at his keys', so to speak? Wouldn't there be several points at which he would be able to notice his error? When he reaches for the wrong holster, when he holds the gun in his hand, when he aims, etc? Wouldn't any of these triggers cause him to come to his senses? I know that this is happening very fast, but there are several points when he could notice his mistake. He even pauses to take aim... Or wouldn't that be enough?

Quote:
Yes, so is forgetfulness.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I completely agree. And trust me, I have enough outrage for both. It just sounded like you were dismissing this case by mentioning the Srebrenica massacre.

As an aside: what makes you say the Srebrenica massacre is the worst mass murder since WWII? The Srebrenica massacre was horrible, but there were worse massacres in terms of casualties, no?
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
Wouldn't there be several points at which he would be able to notice his error?

In case you've somehow missed it over several pages, many have point-blank told you that people don't notice their errors when under tons of stress.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Especially since a gun and a taser are much more similar in shape and operation than a cell phone and a set of keys, so you could far more plausibly pull the gun-shaped thing out of the holster, aim it, and fire it before realizing that the gun-shaped thing in your hand is your sidearm and not your taser.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Willem wrote:
Wouldn't there be several points at which he would be able to notice his error?

In case you've somehow missed it over several pages, many have point-blank told you that people don't notice their errors when under tons of stress.

And I'm asking if it is impossible to snap out of it or at least notice something is up after being confronted by various triggers, even when under stress. Sam seems to know a lot about this and I'm asking him to explain it further, because it's pretty interesting.

But fine, keep on acting that way.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short answer: no, it's not impossible. But even by the video, it doesn't appear that he did snap out of it/notice something off/whatever until after it was too late. It was also, in the hypothetical, not just not impossible, but rather likely that he didn't notice the mistake until after it was done, which would be a big reason for the jury to drop him to involuntary manslaughter (beyond a reasonable doubt that he noticed something was off? unlikely...)

That said, I completely understand why you're so upset about a low probable sentence. It's totally reasonable. My first reaction was the same. It's the next step of stepping back and seeing how the legal action should go that's important afterwards.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
And I'm asking if it is impossible to snap out of it or at least notice something is up after being confronted by various triggers, even when under stress.

No, that's not what you're doing. If you were merely asking if it was impossible for this to happen you wouldn't be insisting and continuously arguing that the guy was definitely guilty of murder rather than manslaughter; you wouldn't be saying "there's no way" for him to mistake his taser for his pistol.

All you're doing is repeating the same argument that's already been refuted, over and over with no real variation. It tells me that you're just not prepared to really accept that maybe this actually was an accident and not intentional.
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