Bad men.

There was a raid in Detroit and Dearborn yesterday. The FBI went after a radical mosque catering mainly to African-American converts. The leader, who was killed in a shootout with the G-folks, appears in an Olan Mills-ish portrait looking like a character from bad community theater. From what I can tell from reading the story, this crowd looks like a lot of yak, but little jihad shack, if that makes sense. They talked a good game — strapping on bombs and the like — but were mainly criminals operating under an overlay of Islam.

At least that’s the way it looks. It’s hard to be a bad-ass Muslim convert in this country, when the indictments are handed down giving your new name followed by the a.k.a.:

A federal complaint filed Wednesday identified Abdullah, 53, also known as Christopher Thomas, as “a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group.” His black Muslim group calls itself “Ummah,” or the brotherhood, and wants to establish a separate state within the United States governed by Sharia law, Interim U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg and Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a joint statement.

“He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. “Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting.”

The Ummah is headed nationally by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence for the murder of two police officers in Georgia.

H. Rap Brown is still alive? That was my takeaway. Not that these folks aren’t dangerous; I guess I wouldn’t want to meet one in a sword fight. But when I hear of groups that want to establish separate states within the U.S. where they can practice white supremacy or Sharia law or whatever, I mostly think you folks just don’t understand this country, do you? If Christopher Thomas/Luqman Ameen Abdullah wants to live under Sharia law, he can always move to Afghanistan. But that would require learning a new language, and that’s, you know, hard.

Say what you want about Jim Jones, but at least he understood that if you really want to separate from the United States, you have to actually leave the United States.

The feds shot Thomas/Abdullah after he shot one of their dogs. Both died. If anyone shot my dog, I’d have thrown in a pistol-whipping, too.

I gotta get outta here early today — I have a buttload of work to do for my other non-paying job, but that’s good news. It’s election season, and that should be your busy time. We have a very capable bunch of student interns this term, and they’re giving me copy like nobody’s business, but that requires me to edit and offer mentor-ish advice. I yearn for the succinct style of James Thurber’s editor at the Columbus Dispatch, Gus Kienan, who once told him, “Crack this miracle and bring me back the pieces,” but alas. It seems I’m incapable of writing simple notes on student copy. Everything has to be a damn treatise, and most of these folks will never write a single news story for pay in their lives. Oh, well. If they carry away no message other than, “when you write something, people will read it,” that’s good enough for me.

One bit of bloggage: For once in my life, I’m in full agreement with Sarah Palin. I’m taking this as a cautionary tale about paying attention to who your kids are keeping company with. Sometimes these yahoos stay in your life forever.

Our own Moe99 starts chemotherapy today. Hang in there, Moe.

Posted at 9:55 am in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

46 responses to “Bad men.”

  1. Peter said on October 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Good luck Moe! Hoping for the best.

    I said the same thing – H Rap Brown is still alive? Whoa…

    Nancy, I think that’s why so many fringe groups make it out to Idaho – it’s the next best thing to leaving the USA.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Best of luck, Moe. You have an awful lot of people rooting for you.

    Peter, I remember a story several years ago in a national magazine (Esquire? GQ?) where a New York-based writer went out to Idaho. It did sound very much like Caucasion Land. I recall his amazement that stopping into a Mexican or Chinese restaurant was unnerving, because all the staff and the chefs were white. No young minority men or women waiting tables or hustling away dirty dishes.

    I also recall a bad joke involving former L.A. cop Mark Fuhrman, who we may recall unfondly from his involvement in the O.J. murder trial. He fled SoCal for the comfort of life in Idaho.

    “How do you know when it’s spring in Idaho?”

    “Mark Fuhrman is planting gloves.”

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  3. Crabby said on October 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Good Luck Moe!

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  4. MichaelG said on October 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Get well, Moe. We’re all pulling for you.

    I saw young Levi on the TV while getting ready for work this AM and for the first time found myself in agreement with Sarah Palin just like our hostess. I can see this kid rooming with Kevin Federline. He looks to be the same kind of narcissistic parasite.

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  5. 4dbirds said on October 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Thinking of you and wishing the best Moe.

    I’m with you Nancy. I don’t understand why people come to this country and then get upset that their children get westernized. So upset that sometimes they kill them. Huh? Why did you move here?

    It seems to me that when natives want to separate and form some sort of authoritative government, they assume they’ll be the ones in the position of authority. As Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be the king”.

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  6. judybusy said on October 29, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Best wishes, Moe! Please see my (late) longer note on yesterday’s blog posting.

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  7. coozledad said on October 29, 2009 at 10:37 am

    This is right cute. Somehow I doubt Fox or Jake Tapper will flog this. I guess fictional prostitutes make for a more compelling story.

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  8. Dorothy said on October 29, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Sending lots of virtual hugs to you today, Moe. I too posted a comment at your blog. You will be on all of our minds today.

    I think Palin is a blithering idiot but I have to agree that Levi J. should have had his 30 minutes of fame over and done with a long time ago. Let’s hope the rest of the country and media wises up and starts to ignore him very soon.

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  9. Jean S said on October 29, 2009 at 10:48 am

    thinking of you, Moe.

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  10. ROgirl said on October 29, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Best to you, Moe.

    These guys in Dearborn and Detroit are caught up in a 1960’s timewarp: Black Panthers, Islam, armed combat with the police, plans for a new homeland. Is Fidel in this picture anywhere? Viva la revolucion!

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  11. Laura said on October 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Moe, chemo gets easier with each round–promise! Also, your nurses will load you up w/so many anti-nausea drugs that it’s unlikely you’ll get sick. Watch good movies, suck on hard candy, and hang in there!

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  12. LAMary said on October 29, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Moe, I still have the ancient Irish nun, the Scottish rebbe and Father Ciccone, possible cousin of Madonna, sending up prayers for you.

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  13. jcburns said on October 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    “like a lot of yak, but little jihad shack”….no, that doesn’t make sense to a white bread guy from Ohio. Sending all my extra karma points to Ms. Moe from here, which, if it’s Thursday, must be Monterey, CA.

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  14. Sue said on October 29, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Sending good thoughts your way, Moe. Beat those odds, girl!

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  15. MarkH said on October 29, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Makes sense to this white bread guy from Ohio, JC. Seriously, Nance, I have been using “all yak, no shack” since college, when I first heard it from, of all people, 55-year old white woman in a bar, apparently chastising her husband about something. Until this very day, I had not heard anyone else use it. Most folks, like JC, just give me a look that says, “huh?”.

    Prayers going forward to you, moe, from the bitter cold (+2 deg. this AM) of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem! Hang in there!

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  16. nancy said on October 29, 2009 at 11:49 am

    That’s amusing, Mark, because the person I first heard it from was our mutual friend Becky, and I’ve never heard anyone else say it. My quest to spread the slang of my early adulthood continues.

    One of our number had a colleague who used the phrase “it’s the whip” to express approval. We tried to make it spread. Never could.

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  17. beb said on October 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I suppose it derives from “All hat and no cattle,” a Texas term that surely defined George W.

    Obama visited Dover AFB this AM to mourn the returning dead from Afghanistan sldo something W. mever did.

    It was weird reading that the FBI had a major shot-out from some radical muslem – er, black guys. Now that you mention it, it does sounds like a 70s flash-back. And looking at it from a safe distance I’ve got to wonder: “They killed a guy for shooting a dog? Isn’t that a little harsh?”

    My thoughts are with moe today. It’s comforting to knowo that the fed have been ordered to back off on presecuting people using medical marijhuana one of whose uses is in the control of nausea from chemotherapy.

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    • nancy said on October 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm

      They didn’t kill the guy for shooting the dog, they killed him for having a loaded gun and firing it in their direction. I doubt he would have stopped with the dog.

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  18. Jenflex said on October 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Moe, thinking of you….

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  19. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    One alternative viewpoint about Levi Johnston.

    Obviously, he is a cad and a fame whore. I’ve no interest in the viewpoints of a man so callow he chooses the middle name Easton for his son because it is his favorite brand of hockey equipment.

    That said, let us remember how the boy was used by the McCain-Palin campaign. Instead of putting Bristol and Levi deep into the background with an explanation that it was a family matter and not germane to the issues at hand, he and the pregnant Ms. Palin were paraded around the RNC like the homecoming king and queen. He was among the family members who came onto the stage after Ms. Palin’s convention speech. He was part and parcel of scores of photo shoots and videos. I guess it was intended to show that while poor Bristol had gotten pregnant –such an embarrassment to the abstinence only backer Ms. Palin– she would still enjoy a storybook ending by marrying her beau and raising a family.

    In other words, young Levi was used as a prop by the Palins and the McCain campaign advisers. When relations turned sour with his would-be in-laws, he sought revenge. He is quite a young creep. No question. But he would not be in a position where a major network outlet interviews him if the campaign advisers had not made him part of the whole Palin schtick.

    They are reaping what they sowed and so is Our Lady of Wasilla.

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  20. Jolene said on October 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    beb, I’d normally be hard-pressed to defend Dubya, but he did meet w/ the families of people who died in Iraq and Afghanistan on a number of occasions, and he also visited wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.

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  21. MarkH said on October 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Even further to Nancy’s point, beb, if you read the story, the feds had an arrest warrant they were trying to serve on him and ten others. Not only did he resist, he pulled the gun and fired. Whatever he hit was inconsequential. Pulling a gun on police is a death sentence.

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  22. Rana said on October 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I wrote this in yesterday’s thread, but it’s worth saying again – moe, I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that today goes as well as it can.

    It seems I’m inca­pable of writ­ing sim­ple notes on stu­dent copy.

    One “trick” you might try, Nancy, is what I call the Three Main Things approach – at the end of the essay, point out the three most important things that the student would need to know in order to revise the paper. Usually there’s at least one thing that the student did well, so point that out and explain why it worked. Then use the others to point out major problems with the work – that they have problems with evidence, for example, or that they need to work on organization. If you want, you can reference specific parts of the the essay as examples of the problem (“On page 2, in the second paragraph, for example, you have several ideas fighting for attention. You might consider giving each one its own paragraph, so that it’s less confusing for your reader and you can do a good job supporting each one.”)

    It’s really hard, but another thing to do is to not let yourself near a writing implement until you’ve read the essay and are ready to write the three main things. This saves you from getting bogged down in typos, spelling errors, badly worded sentences, and the like. If they’re truly awful, and getting in the way of the writing, then pick one paragraph to shred into bits, and use it as a reference example in your main things section – you don’t need to shred the whole paper – just one paragraph to show what you’re talking about.

    If you’re spending more than 20 minutes on a paper, especially a paper that may be revised later, you’re doing too much work. (This is true regardless of length for all papers less than 7 pages long – strangely, it takes as much time to grade a 6 page paper this way as it does to grade a 2 paragraph essay.)

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  23. Julie Robinson said on October 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Ronald Reagan gained my respect the day he greeted the families of the 37 sailors killed in the USS Stark attack by Iraq back in May 1987. It took forever for him to go down the long line of grieving families. He seemed to have plenty of time for each of them as I watched with tears streaming down my face and over the newborn son I was nursing.

    Of course, he lost my respect again within days, but the basic human decency shown was noble.

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  24. Deborah said on October 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Only in America can a young man get famous for knocking up a vice presidential candidate’s daughter and then turn into a soft porn star among other things. Just weird. Sarah and Levi, they deserve each other.

    Moe, thinking of you now. I think about you a lot actually.

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  25. mark said on October 29, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    jeff b.-

    Other than the RNC convention, I don’t recall Levi attending any campaign events or being “paraded around” anywhere. Vanity Fair say that was his only campaign appearance/activity. I think you are exaggerating things quite a bit.

    moe- Good luck and much strength to you.

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  26. Dexter said on October 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Moe, I wish you the best. My cousin is experiencing a long stay in Cleveland for stem cell transplant .

    His wife established a Caring Bridges page so he could journal and receive messages. It’s a nice thing for him…here’s the link , I thought maybe you or a family member could start one for you…

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  27. MichaelG said on October 29, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I like the way you grade papers, Rana. It’s good for both parties.

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  28. Scout said on October 29, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    moe, add my name to the list of your cheering section.

    Levi is a schmuck, no doubt. However. Can’t really muster any sympathy for Ms. Moose for a publicity stunt gone wrong.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm


    Fair enough. He didn’t actively work the campaign trail. But you can’t deny he was made part of the whole RNC rollout, which certainly helped blunt whatever negatives Bristol’s pregnancy might’ve had for the religiously conservative members of the party. Sheesh, I remember John McCain giving him a bearhug on the tarmac at the airport.

    Levi and Our Lady of Wasilla are both hustlers. She’s just playing at a much, much higher level. I’d like for them both to disappear, but that is a wish that will not be granted me.

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  30. beb said on October 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Nancy @19 this is your own graph :”The feds shot Thomas/Abdullah after he shot one of their dogs. Both died. If any­one shot my dog, I’d have thrown in a pistol-whipping, too. ”

    Sounds like they shot the guy because he shot their dog. Just saying.

    MarkH’s comment @22 are also a little disturbing “Pulling a gun on police is a death sentence.” Are the police allowed to use deadly force whenever they feel like it? You’re saying that pulling a gun warrent is death whether or not shots are fired. If no shots are fired than the police should not be firing either and even when shots have been fired the situation may or may not require the shooting to kill of the assaultant. It depends on the situation. Was the situation in the raid one that called for killing? I don’t know, and the newspaper article about is rather vague. Shots were fired, a man is dead. Who shot first? Was the victim really shooting at the police or just the dog? Police have a history of over reacting to situations. Anytime there’s a shot out and someone ends up dead we owe it to the dead to be sure that the police aren’t trying to spackle over their misbehavor.

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  31. Scout said on October 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    re: Dover AFB. I think this may have been what beb was referring to:

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  32. LAMary said on October 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    “…Shots were fired, a man is dead. Who shot first?”

    Probably not the dog.

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  33. Jolene said on October 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    re: Dover AFB. I think this may have been what beb was refer­ring to:

    Yes, I know. I was just saying that the fact that GWB hadn’t gone to Dover didn’t mean he hadn’t shown concern or compassion for dead and injured soldiers on a number of occasions.

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  34. Jean S said on October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    here in Orygun, our governor goes to each and every funeral of a serviceman/woman. Granted, we have a smaller population than most states, but still. Whatever Gov. Kulongowski does for the rest of his life, I will always respect him for this.

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  35. Sue said on October 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Re: Cooz’s earlier post about that S.C. deputy assistant attorney. Check out the title and the visual:

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  36. Holly said on October 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I thought all this fighting started because Palin kept Levi from seeing his son. Anyone hear anything diffrent?

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  37. Rana said on October 29, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Pulling a gun on police is a death sen­tence.

    I have to admit I found that rather troubling, too. Partly it’s the absolutist nature of the statement – it doesn’t allow for the possibility of, say, a mentally ill teenager waving an unloaded bb gun at cops – and it also makes it seem reasonable for cops to kill people who could be dealt with in other ways. Snap judgements are made in the heat of the moment – I get that – but many of these situations don’t go from 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds, but rather escalate as police and suspect ramp up their respective responses. I also dislike the way it implies that the police are judge, jury and executioner all in one; I don’t like the idea of ceding that much authority to hotheads with guns, regardless of whether or not they’re wearing badges at the time.

    Not to say that pulling a gun on a cop isn’t a stupid thing to do, but still.

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  38. del said on October 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I’m skeptical of the Feds’ involvement in the Arab community post 9-11. Could be the scapegoat prosecution of that 20-something Yemeni guy for a bogus terrorist plot for which a federal prosecutor (Rich Convertino) was later fired after failing to reveal exculpatory evidence. Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, John Ashcroft, defied a federal judge’s (Gerald Rosen’s) order by publicly commenting on that prosecution for political mileage. Maybe it was the raid on a Sunoco station at Michigan and Lonyo and the arrest of its Arab owner for sending money back home – the Feds fed reporters an Arabic term meaning “tithing-for-terrorists” that popped up in several news reports – something like the a.k.a. after the name, I guess. Those charges fizzled. Maybe it was when a Lebanese-American lawyer I know told me that the Feds were leaning heavily on members of the Arab community in Dearborn, offering them deals on their tax-evasion, immigration problems, etc. if they would report on their neighbors’ activities. If you lean hard enough, you’re gonna get bad info.

    As for that Olan Mills bad-portrait black Muslim, my guess is that he was a garden-variety disaffected American criminal, nothing more, nothing less.

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    • nancy said on October 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      I absolutely agree, Del. In fact, I was struck by how much they *didn’t* have on the guy as a so-called terrorist. He talked a lot about taking out cops and attacking the Super Bowl, but it doesn’t look like he made a lot of definitive moves in that direction.

      Except for shooting the dog, of course.

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  39. del said on October 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Rana, that death sentence comment caught my attention too. Several years ago a Royal Oak, MI police officer shot and killed a 20 year old Detroit man in the afternoon after he fled a car dealership where he’d tried to perpetrate a fraud on the salesman. (Some irony there.) The cops had been tipped off in advance and were frustrated when they couldn’t catch him. The de riguer story followed about the officer’s fear of imminent harm, etc.

    What haunts me about that event was a dinner party I attended some days later at which several young professionals took the position that if that young man didn’t stop when commanded by police, and instead panicked and ran, his shooting was justified.

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  40. basset said on October 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    None of which made any difference when he was waving a gun around, and proving it wasn’t a BB gun, Airsoft, or some other kind of replica by shooting the dog. No time to consider how much pseudo-Islamist rhetoric he’d generated, whether he was a real terrorist, whether he was just another street criminal who’d taken an Islamic name – all that mattered at that point was a)he has a loaded gun and has already fired it and b)he’s pointing it in our general direction.

    Don’t try to turn this into “they killed him for shooting a dog” – I don’t disagree that there are plenty of bad cop shootings out there, but if he was doing that in my front yard, I would have dropped him too.

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  41. crazycatlady said on October 30, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Hang tough, Moe! You can do this.

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  42. Dexter said on October 30, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Dateline Toledo: 29 year old African American stabbed his mom with scissors, grabbed a galvanized garbage can lid and two pipes and when the cops came, he put two of T-town’s finest in the hospital; with one blow he broke a pipe over the copper.
    Then, by conflicting reports, the remaining cops put either two in his chest and one in his head, or two in his head and three in his gut. He’s dead.
    Now the debate has started, and Toledo has broken out in riots over similar shootings by cops.

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  43. beb said on October 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Actually Basset, I was mocking the sloppy reporting of the “eats shoots and leaves” variety that implied that C. Thomas had been killed for shooting a police dog, not criticizing the police for using deadly force in the middle of a shoot-out. But it’s always good to have discussions about police brutality because it’s bad policy to let the police think they can shoot first and ask questions later.

    A good example of this is the increasingly indiscriminate use of tasers. The growing number of people who have died following tasering suggests that pumpng 50,000 volts of electricity through a person is not a good idea, is not safe, is not harmless despite everything the manufacturer (and their lawyers) claim.

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  44. basset said on October 30, 2009 at 8:45 am

    >>it’s always good to have dis­cus­sions about police bru­tal­ity because it’s bad pol­icy to let the police think they can shoot first and ask ques­tions later.

    certainly is. but sometimes the one who gets shot has it coming.
    it’s amazing how many shots can get fired in those situations and not hit anything, too… “why didn’t they just shoot him in the leg?” is not an option.

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