Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“‘The Good Guy With a Gun’ Myth is BS” called into question.

I was not happy when I found out that there had been a three-hour delay when the shooting started at Pulse Night Club in Orlando and 'SWAT storming the building' -- especially in light of the 911 call that started caroling, "ISL Daesh is coming to town!"

(New info, it now appears that the initial reports were wrong. Police had control over a majority of the building within minutes after the shooting started. Marteen had retreated to a smaller enclosed area, was cornered and that's where he was when SWAT took him out three hours later. Still for anyone trapped in there with him ...  well, what I'm about to say still applies.)

My grumbling drew some criticism including being told, "Shame on you!" (Wow, that's a new one.) But from that I had a major realization about why the "Good guy with a gun myth is BS" has always made my teeth itch. And here is the ammo to shoot back when someone tries to use it.

Let's start with a few points:

A - There are times when all your choices are terrible.

B  - Building on that, a friend of mine pointed out that when you assume a leadership position you have to stop thinking in moral-based terms and start thinking in result-based terms. (For example, the military took over from the FAA the day three planes crashed into buildings killing thousands.
Let's say you're the strategic air commander that day. All other aircraft have been landed, but you have still have one up in the air. There are innocent Americans on that airplane, but it's off course, heading for DC and not responding. What do you do ...?) This is the true meaning of lesser of two evils. You must make a choice -- usually the option that saves more lives. Make no mistake even if you make the best call possible, it's still terrible. In these  kinds of cases, by your decision, people are going to die. Knowing that, these decisions still MUST be made.

C  - I am often accused of being a cop apologist and utterly pro-cop by cop haters. But actual apologists and pro-cop types don't like the fact that I point out problems with modern policing. (And believe me, there are lots of them.)

D - I am aware of the difference between LEO and military goals, Rules of engagement (ROE) and restrictions. And that is a huge and complex issue. Part of what makes it complex is the policy (which under many different circumstances actually works very well) of the police falling back from engaging, creating a perimeter, and letting the negotiator take over -- until the negotiator unleashes SWAT (including the negotiator tricking the guy to step in front of a  window).

E- I'm really not advocating cops storming in without a plan and dying like flies to save people's lives. Officer safety is a really big issue and -- quite frankly -- my concern for it is what gets me accused of being pro-cop by cop haters. And yet we do have to balance out officer safety with public safety -- especially  the survival rate of those trapped in with or wounded by terrorists. You  want ultimate officer safety? Hit the club with a missile. Oh wait, wrong ROE...

F  - Here's the problem. You have two competing doctrines -- and I cannot stress this enough -- BOTH WORK. With the caveat that both can fail miserably as well.  Fast recap of those ...
***
Now  a little birdie might have told me -- once upon a time -- that there is a fundamental difference in responses between a crime that goes sideways and ends up with hostages, barricaded individual with hostages versus an active shooting event -- especially when mixed with terrorism. In the former, you bore  them into surrendering. In the latter, quick reaction time is critical especially in light of a common tactic among terrorists is to  pretend to negotiate while:
a) further entrenching themselves
b) increasing the death count by denying medical treatment to the wounded and
c) setting bombs and traps in preparation for the breech
***
Which call to make is an absolute MUTHA of a problem and I do not envy the commander who has to make such a decision.

G  - The world is changing. I live about thirty miles as the crow flies from Columbine High School. That event changed the rulebook about dealing with active shooters. And quite frankly the argument, trying to fix the problem is still not settled. But now a new player is on the scene  Terrorism. Yes we had 9/11 and the response has crushed the old-style terrorist system. Pretty much gone are the days of the big terrorist operations, 9/11, Beslan, Moscow Opera, Madrid train bombings. But that's created a different problem. As was  described to me, in destroying the big organizations we created a situation where terrorism has survived as 1,000 miles wide and a quarter of an inch deep. That is the 'supposed lone wolf' or active shooters. I say 'supposed' because ... well it's not quite that simple. But what they are is really cheap to pull off and almost impossible to stop preemptively. Literally for under a $1,000 an organization can send out these lone wolf shooters to pop up anywhere there's crowds. These kinds of attacks are becoming if not more common, a very real factor. Fort Hood, San  Bernardino, and now Pulse.

H- So which doctrine do you follow -- LEO or anti-terrorist -- given that this happened on U.S. soil? That is NOT an easy  question because you're talking people dying here.

I  - It's time to talk about the elephant in the room. That is making a call means career and political suicide. A door kicker isn't thinking about politics or the media when making decisions. But a civilian authority who has to make the call is.

J- With that in mind, I can pretty well guarantee you every decision made was covered by and justified by policy. This includes the three hours ...

It sucks, but there it is.

About one of the people who objected to my grumbling. A  self-identified 'door kicker' argued that the three-hour delay between when the shooting started and when SWAT stormed the building is not only understandable, but is in fact damned good response time. It was that he was hostile and insulting is what got him a less than pleasant response from folks. But here's what I have to say to the people who got bent out of shape with him ...

I don't disagree with him. In fact, I actually agree.

It takes time for personnel and equipment to arrive. (Like getting SWAT and  the Bearcat there). It also takes time to plan an effective raid. ALL of which are true. But what is also true is how fast the call for these goes out and when the order 'to go' is finally given influences the time between when an incident starts and when it ends.

Straight  up, I don't question the door kickers or blame them for the three hours. (Besides who doesn't want to rip down the freeway at 80 mph in an armored vehicle at 2 am?) I might want to have a discussion with the guy who appears to have not wanted to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
But the door kickers? No. Never.

That is not, however, the point of this.

One  of things that I talked about in my booklet, "Writing Violence IV: Defense" is the importance of time in a violent encounter. I argue that guns are a distance weapon that rely on time and distance to ensure the shooter's safety. But they are in fact not so hot for blocking or deflecting an incoming attack. Unless you shoot someone just so in the brain pan, death is not instantaneous. Usually immediate incapacitation doesn't happen either (unless specific criteria is met.) It's usually the distance that gives the bullet time to take effect. Basically his leaking way over there messes up his aim and lessens the chance of him getting close enough to be accurate with his return fire-- thereby  keeping the shooter safe. It doesn't necessarily mean he's dead, it means he's incapacitated. If he's shot, the same bleed out issues apply to him as to the people he's shot.

Understanding that sets a  base for this: About ten years ago, I had an ER doc tell an entire class that if someone with a single gunshot wound got to him within two hours he'd have about an 80 percent survival chance. Now that is dated information about triage and gunshot wounds. Triage has improved since then, and I  don't know what the current survival rate is. But I'll bet you twenty bucks it hasn't gotten worse. That being said, multiple GS wounds obviously make it harder, but still ...

So bottom line, everything else aside, when shot your survival strongly depends on help getting to you ASAP. If there's still an active shooter in the immediate area (or it's turned into a barricade situation) that is going slow down help getting to you. And it turns out -- straight from the words of a self-identified door kicker -- three hours is a damned good response time for SWAT to come busting in.

Stop and think about that -- especially if you're one of those in need of medical help.

Not too long ago in a Planned Parenthood Clinic (PPC) in Colorado Springs you had a mass shooting -- arguably a situation started elsewhere -- but the  shooter took refuge inside the clinic and it turned into a five-hour standoff. Was his target the PPC all along or something else? (There  are still questions because the shooting started outside.) Interestingly enough, it appears that the early exchange of gun fire derailed the 'plan' and gave people time to escape so the clinic was mostly empty when he went inside.

I give you the Colorado Springs PPC example, but I'll throw out the question of: How many of these situations turn into stand-offs? Stand-offs that can deny the wounded immediate medical attention?

As I thought more about the "three hours  is good response time" statement, the idea came to me that time had raised its  head again. But this time in regard to how fast or slowly people get medical attention.(I should also mention the indications that there were people inside Pulse getting other people out factored into my  thinking.) Then it hit me ...

A strong contention --  read knee-jerk screech -- by the anti-gun crowd is the "good guy with a gun myth is BS." Or worse, "that there has never been an instance where an armed civilian stopped an active shooter." Then my all time favorite -- people shooting back at a shooter increases everyone else's danger.

Few points about those
a- The first is using a very specific definition of 'good guy' -- specifically not police, security, military, or federal officers. (Face it, cops, guns, dead shooter is the result of almost all of these.)
b - is a dismissal by calling it a myth
c - if not factually wrong, are unsupported contentions.

Here's  why. A blanket claim of BS (or it's a lie) is easy to say -- especially  with conviction. But it doesn't provide supporting credible evidence to the contested point or support one's position that shooting back doesn't work. In fact, it's kind of an appeal to authority -- except the  authority is the speaker. "It's bullshit because I say it is so," which, face it, is a better tactic than copping to parroting what you heard someone else say.)

I've spoken elsewhere about the  distinction I make between active and mass shootings. (Everyone is a  target versus specific targets). Also something else I talk about is how  most active shootings are ended via a gun -- whether the shooter is shot by others or suicides. (A big factor in the latter is target denial.)

The second  contention of 'never stopped by a civilian shooting back' is just demonstrably wrong.

The  third contention of higher casualty rates and Wild West shoot-outs is where we have to lift our hands and say, "Wait a minute. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Possible but ..." That's the one I really want to look at.

Here's the basic question. What's going to create more casualties? Three hours before SWAT comes in or more bullets in the air?

And more bullets in the air comes in one of two forms. One is an unopposed active shooter shooting more people. Two is somebody shooting back (and thereby creating a two-way shooting range).

Except this time we also have to ask, "Despite there being more bullets in the air does shooting back buy time for others to get out, much less get others out, as well? This even if the person who is engaging the original shooter goes down too? Or hell, maybe the guy shooting back gets lucky and the original shooter is now on the bleed out team. The point is that we don't know which of these choices is going to result in the fewest deaths.

Remember I started out by pointing out that sometimes all the choices suck? Well, it's back.

Three hours or more bullets in the air? Personally, I'm not a cheerleader for either option. What I am flat out against, however, is the demand that everyone be forced to wait for three hours against avowed terrorists or active shooters.

The truth is I'm not arguing for everyone to carry a gun. Personally, I hate carrying a firearm as a  day-to-day thing. It's not something that is practical given my current lifestyle. Ordinarily I'm not in danger nor operating in dangerous  environments, so I don't usually feel the need to be armed in this manner. But it is a choice that I make. I do not insist on others making  the same choice -- or being forced to be disarmed.

If someone wants to carry a gun that's his or her choice. The key word here is choice.

Now the flip side of that argument. I am a big fan of property rights. If a business owner doesn't want guns in his or her store or a homeowner doesn't want them on his or her property -- that's  their right. It's been both upheld in court that your right to carry a  gun doesn't extend to other people's property or trump the Federal Gov's ability to say 'no guns on our property or in schools for minors.' Now how different states handle guns in businesses that sell booze is another can of worms.

But the constant in all of those is you DON'T have to go there. (I will for the record state that I am  seriously bothered by pro-gun people who go on about 'mah right rawr  rawr' and insist on going armed into businesses and onto properties posted for no guns. No, it's not your right and you're pissing on the rights of others. On the plus side, most of them are only putting their concealed permit in danger. But personally, I think insisting on carrying in such places is just tacky.

If someone chooses not to carry a gun, well good on them. Congratulations on living a lifestyle where that is a viable choice. But if you do, kindly do me a favor and don't demand that everyone else be disarmed, too.

Because in  light of that three-hour delay before SWAT comes crashing through the  wall (followed by medical help) your supposed concern about 'more bodies' if someone shoots back is a little ... problematic.

M

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why this behavior will not only get you arrested, but bodyslammed by the cops

Oh the wailing and  gnashing of teeth of police brutality -- and I quote -- “all of this over a noise complaint.”

While I normally tell people to watch the video with the sound off for the first time, on this go ahead with the sound. I want you to get the full effect. Get the feelz and the violations of one’s ‘rights.’
https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/videos/995532953873092/?pnref=story

I was asked about this use of force. Specifically I was asked “Was all this necessary from the police?” My answer -- which isn’t simple -- is below.

However, after I wrote it I realized the honkyesque nature of the people getting arrested by the cops ruled out any claims of racism by the police or white privilege because a few people ended up on the ground getting cuffed. I have an important news flash for people. A super majority of the people who are killed or roughed up by the cops DO HAVE a common trait. It’s not skin color. It’s not socio-economic status. It’s not religion. It’s.... drum roll..... How they were behaving.

The best advice I have ever heard directly from the mouth of a cop is “Do not fail the personality test.”

Do not fail it overtly. Do not fail it subtly. Know what non-compliance is and don’t try to slick about it -- especially thinking that it’s going to keep you from getting arrested. You’ll still get arrested but also have your ass slammed too. But most of all, do not disobey lawful orders from a cop in the execution of his duty and pretend that isn’t what you’re doing.

****
I'm going to start with a distinction that Rory Miller first made. That is there are two 'bad' uses of force. One is excessive force. (Think Rodney King.) The other is unnecessary. One can make an argument that this was unnecessary.

Now before anybody's panties get wet over the idea, let's get somethings straight.
First off there's an important distinction to be made between police brutality and force used to effect arrest against a resisting suspect. In the old days a simple rule of thumb is police brutality was the beating you took AFTER the cops got the cuffs on. These days it's been expanded to landing on someone who is not resisting (keep that in mind because there's some important details we'll come back to). I mention this because if you are not familiar with violence and of the opinion that cops are violent abusive tools of the oppressors, it ALL looks like brutality. But keeping an eye on when the cops stop using force in relationship to when the person stops resisting is one important measure of if the force was excessive.
Unnecessary force is -- technically speaking -- legal and justified under use of force policies. It is however, a public relations nightmare.
It's the stuff where you get cops tasering 11 year olds or slamming grannies to the ground. There is a weird blend of equality for all until we want there to be an exception made. Like not tasering an out of control 11 y.o. or not slamming a granny for disobeying a direct and lawful order. Thing is whether the use of force is technically allowable or not, it still hits a raw nerve when it happens.
Previously I said  it was arguably 'unnecessary.' That's where you have to understand 'resistance.' There are different levels of resistance, but is also equally important is an established pattern of non-compliance. Think of a graph with x and y axis. You can have low level, passive resistance that goes on for a long time. (Say a sit in.)You can have intense resistance that can happens for a very short period of time. (Like a drunk who is quickly overcome by a group of cops) Or you can have intense resistance that goes on for a long time. (Like a single person and single cop).
Now often you can keep any level of resistance to be cut short by apply a higher level of force (such as multiple officers piling on). This keeps it from both escalating uncontrollably and being extended in time. The faster and higher level of force to effect arrest (or cell extraction) is actually safer for everyone involved and less likely to result in injury of anybody and everybody involved.
To put this in perspective I'd like to quote Gen George Patton. "In battle, casualties vary directly with the time you are exposed to effective fire. Your own fire reduces the effectiveness and volume of the enemy’s fire, while rapidity of attack shortens the time of exposure. " (This is a variation of another about death in battle is matter of time, the longer under fire,the more die -- and getting men out from under it ASAP is critical.) Thing is the longer something goes on and the more it escalates, the more likely injury is for both the suspect and the officers. Again, put it on a graph, but this time paint the top and upper-right hand corner red and shade it to pink before you get to the center. That gives you a nice idea of red zone and how things can go bad if it isn't ended quick.
Now we can go to passive and active resistance. Think of a sit in where the protesters chain themselves together, and refuse to move. Now even though they are not actively resisting a lawful order (fighting or refusing to be cuffed) they are passively resisting. Laying on the ground with your hands under you refusing to be cuffed is also passive resistance.
Active resistance is you are fighting being cuffed. Or you are attacking the cop. This is when people think police are only justified to use force. It's not. But it's much harder to understand because hey, they aren't resisting. Or at lease what the public think of as resistance. That's why it's easier to think of it in terms of non-compliance.
One of the most subtle forms of non-compliance is asking questions, demanding explanation and stalling. It's passive resistance. It's also well known dodge that is given extra credibility if the person is pretending to be polite.
Now, here's where what people don't get. Once an officer says 'You are under arrest' an official ball has been rolled. A comparison can be made here to you signing your name to a contract. But it's a verbal contract. Think of saying "I do" when the minister asks "do you take..." except the one saying the official words is the cop.
The situation has moved into 3 N's "Not here. Not now. Not you" There's nothing more for you to do. Your case is now in the hands of your lawyer. Any further action on your part is only going to make it worse -- and this includes not cooperating.
Here is a flat out statement of fact. You do NOT have the right to disobey a lawful order by a police officer in the execution of his duties. You ESPECIALLY don't have the right to resist arrest.
The reason I came up with the 3N's is in response to all the civil disobedience, 'peaceful protestors' and street corner lawyers who don't realize, civil disobedience doesn't mean what they think it means. Starting with it being a planned action to challenge unjust laws from within the system. (Rosa Parks WASN'T named in Browder vs. Gale) You being an asshole is not civil disobedience. You refusing to obey lawful orders is not civil disobedience, it's you refusing to obey lawful order and stepping on your dick at the same time.
(But what about if it's not a lawful order? </ whine> Not here. Not now. Not YOU! )
Now that that's established, let's look at something cops do and it stands up in court. That is they establish a pattern of non-compliance. This is ESPECIALLY effective against nitwits like the guy in the doorway of the video. The pattern is "Ask, Tell, Order"
This also has the added benefit of you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. "Sir, could you please step out of the car?"
Nice, polite, and professional right? It's also a legal order.
"Why?" Now, if you ask this question while you are getting out of the car, there's no problem because you are complying. If you ask this question while sitting still, you have potentially engaged in non-compliance. But one data point does not make a pattern. You may think you're entitled to an explanation but you can get it AS you're getting out of the car. Not getting out brings something else into play.
"Sir, step out of the car" We've moved from asking to telling. THIS is an escalation of force, but it is direct response to your non-compliance. The clear message removes any doubt of miscommunication or -- given your response -- that you are now engaging in non-compliance.
"I said why!" You've already stepped on your dick. Now you've just started pogosticking because you too have raised the level of your resistance. There is no chance that you don't know you're not complying.
Here's the thing, odds are you're operating out of another part of your brain if you're doing this. The Monkey is driving the bus and, for the record, the Monkey SUCKS as a lawyer. It thinks it's doing a fine job skillfully putting this upstart civil servant in his place, when in fact, it's having you commit a crime and giving the cop reason to use physical force on your self-righteous ass.
"I'm ordering you to step out of the car NOW!" The officer has now legally established a pattern of non-compliance and this is the like the official contract I spoke of last time. It didn't come out of nowhere. You escalated it to this point and now it's gone into formal register speech. Oh yeah, and odds are, you're being filmed. IF you continue to engage in non-compliance active or passive the cop is legally justified to go hands on with you -- because of YOUR actions.
The commentary on the clip says this happened AFTER the cop told told the kid, you're under arrest. That's it. It's the 3Ns for junior. "Please let go" and "you are illegally entering" is wrong. The officer, because of the kids resistance and non-complaince is now legally authorized to use higher force. And the fact that a bunch of other cops magically appear tells us that this situation had been going on for a bit.
Who knew a simple question had such a complicated answer?
WELCOME TO THE PARTY PAL! </ John Mclean voice>
"All of this over a noise complaint." No. The noise complaint was the original reason this group of individuals volunteered to have cops enter their lives. All the stuff that lead up to the officer saying "You're under arrest' and THEN the further resistance/non-compliance. No matter how polite, civilized and verbal it was, that is what resulted in the take downs. The fact that it turned from passive resistance to active included him putting his hand against the door frame and pulling back. Get a stop watch and time how long the cop was holding his shirt and STILL talking.
Interfering with an officer in the performance of his duties happened, the other people trying to pull him out of the cops grip and trying to shut the door on the cop.
Was the original arrest something that he could have beat in court? Yes. Most likely. Are the charges that are going to be stacked on him something he can beat? Not only no, but HELL no. This video isn't proof of police brutality, it's proof that nitwit resisted arrest and his friends will be found guilty of interfering with police.
All of it legal and technically within use of force policies.
So why did I say it could be argued that it was a bad use of force? Remember that a bad use of force is a PR nightmare. You have a bunch of people screaming that the kid wasn't doing anything and the cops just went postal on him and his friends.
Could it have been handled differently? Yes probably. But at the same time recognize how much manpower ended up there. There are at least eight cops that had to stop being somewhere else and be there. That's a lot of manpower, money and not providing service somewhere else. So are we supposed to say that they shouldn't have gone hands on? That they should spend the next hour trying to talk this guy out the door.
And by what metric do we say enough is enough? How far do we allow someone to decide their right to resist vs. saying 'no that's enough?" This especially when it comes to active and passive non-compliance?
Flip that coin over, where do we limit and control police use of force? What are those metrics? Where is the accountability? Should we allow police to be used as revenue generators? To enforce revenue generation? ALL of these are important issues that we really do need to address.
See it's not that simple.
Now we come to the issue that there IS a way to talk to the cops and not get arrested. There's a whole complicated dance you can go through that can -- and will -- keep you from getting arrested.
It's way beyond anything you can learn on the internet or can be contained in a soundbite, so don't even think you can do it because of something you read or watched a youtube clip about (which apparently these yo-yos had.)
Here's a hint, it wasn't what dipfuck was doing. It's mostly answering questions a certain way and knowing what NOT to say. Oh BTW, here's a free tip, it doesn't involve you telling the cops what your rights are and what he can or can't do. It's knowing to say no to certain requests and being careful about how you answer certain questions.
For example "Can I come in?" "No, we'll talk out here." (Stepping out on the porch and closing the door behind you.) It's knowing how cops build cases and how to deny them their common strategies. This includes how if they break the rules, you attorney can get the case thrown out (Not here. Not Now. Not you) It's also knowing that cops, until they speak those magic words can lie their asses off to you. Don't get your knickers in a knot if that happens because if you do you're going to step on your dick.
"Really, there was a call about a fight going on inside? Well someone must have misheard. There was no disturbance here. .. I understand you want to see if everyone is okay. How about I call everyone out one at a time and you can speak to them out here?"
This is all predicated on something that a lot of people don't seem to understand. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BREAK THE LAW! While we're at it. A law is not irrelevant just because you think it's stupid. Your fun does not trump the law -- especially if you're causing disturbances, nuisances or safety issues.
If you break the law it is incumbent on you to get away with it. To NOT just assume that because you think the law is stupid, you don't have to follow it. If you're going to break laws be smart about it, because you're going up against professionals who are way better at nailing you and covering themselves by putting up with your shit long enough to articulate (or show film) of your continuing pattern of non-compliance.

Always remember, the cop has the pen. If you are stupid about it -- like these folks were -- you can escalate a noise complaint to charges of assaulting officers, resisting arrest and interfering with an officer with your street corner lawyer bullshit. That is a LOT of money -- like 10 to $20,000 that you’re going to spend either beating it (good luck) or paying fines.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Why "There's no such thing as normal" is a dangerous lie.

There's a line out of the movie "Bladeunner." Rutger Hauer's character has just saved Harrison Ford's. His monologue starts with "I've seen things, you people wouldn't believe."
Yes. That.
I've both lived 'off the grid' and dealt with some wild and weird shit. Never mind things that cannot be unseen. There are things that change you. Starting with the fact that 'normal' has an edge. Not in the sense of a knife, but as in a cliff. Except it's a chess board floating in the infinity of space. If you go over the edge, it can be damned hard to find your way back. (But you'd damned well better. Either that or learn the words to "Space Oddity" (Ground control to Major Thom)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYYRH4apXDo
This puts me at odds with people who like to say "There's no such thing as normal.'
I find this to be a very checkerboard-centric attitude. Sure there are all kinds of different squares on that board. Squares that -- within them -- do things radically different, have different rules, and different attitudes. This is both the basis of the 'no such thing...' claim and what gives it credibility.
Credibility, that from a certain 'on board,' perspective makes all kinds of sense. Gawds know I'm not knocking it. Here's why. If you take a good look at those environments, all of a sudden those 'rules' make sense -- including how they've been fucked up. (Years ago I tried to 'scientifically disprove' religious prohibitions. I. Got. Spanked. Turns out that given the environment and then technology, that stuff made sense. Like you and everyone else in your family, village or tribe not dying 'sense.' Here's the real kick in the nuts. From there, things got REAL complicated but just as important.) While we're here I'll never disagree that these localized systems can be fucked up, twisted and turned toxic; conditions that seem to give additional credence to the 'no such thing as normal' idea.
With this in mind, think of it this way. A lot of what we think is 'wrong' is the view from our checkerboard square looking over at another. We see others doing it differently and condemn it.
Or, and this is a lot more common -- and problematic -- we look at other squares, see they're different, and conclude that all rules are bullshit. This is a very 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' attitude. But it is tempered by people not -- usually -- having enough power AND/OR having the rules embedded enough in their subconscious to keep them from really fucking things up.
What is not understood is this attitude can ONLY exist in the comfort and safety of being deep in the checkerboard. Out towards the edge it can get you killed without ever leaving the checkerboard. (That's how they play out there.) Which as an individual sucks, but in the bigger picture is meaningless.
A more practical approach is answering a question with a question. "What is normal?" "Depends, where are we?" Gimme a GPS reading on where we are on the checkerboard and I'll tell you what's normal for the square we're in. This is radically different than there is no such thing as 'normal' -- and therefore you get a free pass to do whatever you want to do. (Or as another permutation has become popular, you get to pick and choose what rules you break, but other people have to follow those rules and can't stop you.)

I've just laid the framework for all kinds of problems -- including someone with a dysfunctional interpretation of 'how thing are' seriously screwing up your life. But in that last sentence there's a word that is the root for all kinds of problems. It's 'dysfunctional.'
Now when John Bradshaw started applying this term to screwed up family dynamics, it really was a break through. I mean really, seriously. It was needed a tune up to countless peoples' sputtering engines. The problem is 26 years later, people have run with it and twisted it. Basically they use it as an excuse and a basis of their trauma drama narrative.
Here's something to consider. The current definition of dysfunctional is '1) not operating normally or properly. 2) having malfunctioning part or element 3) behaving or operating outside social norms. 4) the condition of having poor and unhealthy behaviors and attitudes within a group of people. (Which given that the prefix dys means 'bad, ill, abnormal' makes lots of sense.
However, dysfunctional is still working.
As screwed up as it is, it's limping along. It's not completely broken down or off the grid. Now a lot of people misidentify other checkerboard squares as dysfunctional. Umm... no. As in just because you don't think that's how things should be doesn't mean holding your breath, kicking your feet is going to make it change. There are a lot of 'unpleasant normals' that actually work. They work because they have components that you aren't looking at, can't, or won't understand. Those components are what allow for it to function -- in that environment.
Is the checkerboard analogy beginning to make sense now? It doesn't really matter where on the board an environment is, what makes it part of the board is: It works. Maybe not well. I've been in places where 'normal' is as fucked up as a soup sandwich. But things STILL limp along. It isn't until you go over the edge (off the grid) that you realize the huge difference between dysfunctional and not working.
Or that things can even get to the point of not working.
If you've ever ended up there or dealt with someone who's stepped off the edge of the board you get one of three common reactions. One is the person is so damaged he or she does a Major Thom and floats away. Two is the person LIKES it. I'm talking getting off on it and goes even faster or harder. (The difference between falling off the edge and doing a double gainer with a half twist off the edge.) Three is you become REALLY fond of being on that board of 'normal,' because both sanity and survival are on it.
So is there 'normal'?
Well technically speaking there are lots of them. They all make up that checker board. Some of them are more stable, others are a lot more shaky and unpleasant than others. But what they all have in common is that they work -- to some degree or the other.
Thing is when people go on about 'no such thing as normal' they're often framing it in term of a 'universal' normal. To which the answer is "no there's not." There is no one square on that board that defines normal. Conversely, just because there are countless, diverse squares doesn't mean it's all bullshit. The rules, attitudes and customs of any square may not benefit an individual, but they serve to get the most number of people through the day.
Which if you look at the death tolls of when it breaks down, yeah, that isn't a bad thing.
Now, on a more personal level, the idea of a checker board actually gives us a lot of freedom -- at least in the West. If you don't like the rules of where you're from (that particular square), you can jump to another square. This however can be unpleasant too. If you don't adapt to or follow the rules of a square you can be pushed out. Although this actually far less common than people think. What is far more common is you are assigned lower status in that square and -- if you don't accept that status -- you can be beaten down into it. This turns the whole checker board idea into a 3-D chess board and beyond the scope of this article. I mention it because a lot of people who are having trouble in a square don't recognize the correlation between their behavior and status -- especially their low status.
Also the consequences of prioritizing other issues is not the same thing as abuse, oppression or injustice. Which is kind of the default targets of blame on all scales (individual 'mommy blamers' to 'society is the root of all this evil that is happening to us.'). What works very well in one square doesn't function so well elsewhere. As friend of min pointed out the traits that allow you to survive and function in poverty, not only don't help you get out of it, but keep you there.
I tell you that because it's the other edge of the sword of 'there's no such thing as normal. How many people are trying to take their normal, their square and trying to make it the whole board? Or insisting that the rest of the board adjust and cater to what they want? This is basically expanding their idea of normal to force everyone else to follow it? You can actually look at the results in history. At the risk of accusations of Godwin's Law, check out how the Nazis, Communists and the French Revolution first secured their power base and then pushed their version of how things should be done. Did those events go over the edge or come close to breaking the board? I'll let you figure that one out.

There's a lot of dysfunction out there. But we have to be careful not to buy into the narrative that confuses dysfunction with not liking the rules of a certain area. In the same way we have to be careful not to confuse abuse, oppression and injustice with the self-righteous anger of the rules you do follow not working outside a particular square.
Spend a couple of days thinking about the implications of what I've said here. As humans we have a bad habit of thinking that our particular square is both 'right' and applies everywhere. Thing is as you move through squares, you need to set those aside and look at how things work here and why they are the way they are.
When you do this you'll begin to see the potential dark side of 'there's no such thing as normal" That is how often it's a "Fuck you, I'm not going to change. I'm going to do what I want and you just have to put up with it."
That's an attitude that's heading hard and fast either towards the edge or the bottom.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

False Rape Allegations

I have a longstanding habit. I find professionals in a field, feed them alcohol and then get them talking shop. I figure "En Vino Veritas" about what is going on behind the scenes. I did this with sex crimes investigators and their answers floored me. 
 
There is a claim by rape industry advocates that only 2% of all rape allegations are false. This low number is why we should always believe the accuser (Does that apply to your husband too Mrs. Clinton? Okay, that was wrong of me, but I'm weak). That 'low number' is also given as why we shouldn't be concerned about false allegations of rape.
 
Au contraire mon ami.
 
Anyway, I've tracked the official numbers of rape for decades via the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. As I say about that, “EVERYONE knows the numbers of the UCR are low.” But ‘how low” is the problem -- and believe me, that’s a big problem. See, the UCR is the ONLY available numbers that does not exclusively rely on the word 'estimated.’ (Yes they use it, but more of an ass covering device.) Why’s that important? Because usually when you see the estimated numbers four things happen. 
 1) The word ‘estimated’ appears once and immediately disappears 
 2) The ‘numbers’ go WAAAAAAY up 
3) Post disappearing act, whatever numbers are presented are set forth as unquestionable facts (it’s in that disappearing word) 
4) Nobody wants to show you how these estimated numbers were arrived at. (The files are confidential doncha know?) 
 
So why do I have such a big problem with such a petty detail? The list is long. Let’s start with I once did the math of 'estimated rapes' by a Denver Rape group and discovered that -- if these numbers were true -- to maintain them every woman in the city of Denver would be have to be raped on a repeating two year cycle. Half this year, half the next. Yes, the 'estimated' numbers amounted to over one quarter of the entire population. Don’t come to Denver, ladies. The Denver rape culture is totally out of control -- at least according to that source. 
 
Yet the 'official reported' number for Denver that year was around 250. It was those reported numbers sent to the UCR, not the rape crisis center’s. Do I believe that only 250 rapes occurred in Denver that year? No. Do I believe that one quarter of the population was raped that year? No, I don’t buy that either. As with so many things the truth is somewhere between those extremes. The UCR is much more transparent about how they get their findings. But since extreme numbers are good for funding . . .
Moving down the list, in ye olde days the FBI regularly reported that approximately 10% of all reported rapes were found to be 'without merit.' (Remember we’re talking yearly fluctuation). Now days, the standard numbers presented are between 6 and 8% are found to be meritless. Ten percent was before the lowering of proof and expanded definition of rape; but even after that we’re not down to the claim of only 2% of allegations are found to be false. 
 
Ummm, about the use of the term ‘false.’ Just so you know it’s not the same as meritless. Here is where you have to know what “meritless” (or without merit) means. Because there is one hell of a shell game going on here. But to do that, let’s first look at what USLegal.com says about the word merit: Merit is a term subject to various meanings, but in the legal context, merit refers to a claim which has a valid basis, setting forth sufficient facts from which the court could find a valid claim of deprivation of a legal right. http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/merit/
 
Got it? Valid basis, sufficient facts, etc.. One of the ways for a layman to look at this is there’s enough evidence that a crime has been committed that arrest, prosecution and conviction can occur.
However, from the same page: If the evidence defeats the claim, the claim is "meritless." 
 
This is not the same as a ‘not guilty’ verdict. “Not Guilty” is the result of trial. For it to go to trial there has to be a degree of merit. This is something different. Taking the same idea for layman, meritless (or without merit) is there is enough evidence to definitively state, it didn’t happen.
Case closed. Official stamp DONE on the file. The ‘State’ has moved on to something else now. (Like when the North Carolina Attorney General announced at a press conference the Duke Lacrosse Rape case was over and that the accused were innocent -- and then spelled the word to the Press.) In the legal system, it’s dismissed. In police investigation case closed. 
 
 I tell you this because simply stated, the difference between the evidence to prosecute and what it takes to declare an accusation without merit, is the difference between a hill and a mountain. But an even bigger difference between ‘false’ and the official status of ‘meritless.’
 
The supposed microscopic numbers of ‘false rape allegations’ are in fact, based on the accusations the police can definitively and officially say, “Didn’t happen.” That takes a LOT of evidence. That is why most cases are not officially closed. It’s a lot easier to clear an accused individual in the process of an investigation than it is to declare the entire case meritless. 
 
That sounds like legal argle bargle, but think about it this way. We can prove ‘he didn’t do it,’ (security video shows he was elsewhere), but we can’t prove someone else didn’t rape her. As such, many, many cases/accusations are left open -- supposedly still under investigation -- but nothing more is done on them. The investigating officer knows it’s BS, but doesn’t have the evidence to get it officially declared closed. 
 
Since, unless someone is selling something, there’s no such thing as a simple answer, let’s flip this coin over. Often the investigator can get the evidence to prosecute a rapist. (Yay!) But this same lack of evidence also applies when the cop knows the rat bastard did it -- except there just isn’t enough evidence to arrest and prosecute. So this same process is very much a double edged sword. There are monsters out there who know how to get away with this. As my mentor said “The real monsters slip through the system like smoke through a screen.” In these cases, that lack of evidence gnaws on cops guts -- often until the end of their careers, but damnit, there just isn’t enough evidence. 
 
Now there’s another category, that is something happened, but it’s not clear what. This can be understood as either someone is lying or everyone is. And if so, how much? These cases are a real mess. The evidence isn’t enough to go either way, so the case is left open. The investigator isn’t sure what is going on -- not just what happened but what else is going on -- because parts are missing. Want an example? Try investigating a rape at a drug house. An amoeba would starve on the amount of cooperation you’ll get. 
 
In case you missed it, I just described to you why so many rape cases aren’t prosecuted, but instead left open. This huge number ( and yes it’s way larger than either arrests/convictions or clearances) is the basis of the advocates claim that rape isn’t prosecuted hard enough and we need to do something about it. Generally the claim is about 85% of all rapists are never arrested or charged, (although I’ve seen it as high as 97%), 15 of 16 of them will never do prison time etc., etc.. These numbers are why ‘things must change’ Protect the victims! This injustice must stop! Rapists must be punished! Lower the standards of proof for more convictions!
 
There in lies the rub.
 
Remember the feeding the booze to professional sex crimes investigators? And by the way, I mean trained law enforcement here. Not advocates, not academics, not researchers, but cops with the weight of the legal system behind them and specialized training. I’ve asked six of them, from their personal experience what percentage of the cases they’ve worked on do they think were false -- but they couldn’t prove it to the point of meritless.
 
The numbers range between 30 and 50%.
 
Pick me up off the floor and wave smelling salts under my nose, because I just fainted. WHAT? You heard me. The divisions ran, two 30s, two 40s and two 50s. I can’t give you any more because of confidentiality, but I will tell you both of the 50s had special circumstances - one of which was a university in his jurisdiction. (Oh and BTW, I have personal experience with a family member losing a scholarship as the result of a false accusation on campus. SHE wasn’t even one of the ones having sex. That’s what got me thinking outside the box on this issue.)
 
In the assessment of motives, the investigators gave two primary causes for these accusations: 
1) Hell hath no fury ... 
2) Save your ass, by throwing someone else under the bus. 
 
A point of interest, the two 50s - being in different circumstances - put suspected motives in different orders. While trouble was the primary motive in both, what varied was if getting someone else into it (revenge) or getting oneself out of it by claiming rape. 
 
Now there’s something I should point out here. These numbers in no way, shape or form subtract from the legitimate cases of rape and sexual violence that routinely occur. Nor is it in any way meant to try to detract from the trauma and injury caused by rape or the need to sit down and try to figure out what to do about the problem of rape and victimization. Nor is it an attempt to deny that actual rape victims are further traumatized, by the fact that ours is an adversarial court system.
 
What it especially isn’t is a denial that in times past the courts were seriously stacked against the woman saying she was raped. But you know what? Under Sharia law the woman is automatically guilty in charges of rape. The standards it takes to convict a man of rape are impossibly high. If you believe that sort of system is screwed up, then it is screwed up -- no matter who is the protected class and who is automatically blamed. 
 
While we have to acknowledge that things used to be stacked against an American woman saying she was raped, we have a different problem. That is we have to be careful about people calling for a return to the bad old days - but with the pendulum swinging as far the other way. “So you men will know what it feels like!” (Yes, that is an actual quote; as well as a sentiment I’ve heard more than once.) Should we turn our legal system into a kangaroo court system where a woman claiming she was raped is enough to imprison someone? Should we just automatically assume the man’s guilt and -- out of fear of retraumatizing her --the only questions we ask the woman are so we can hang him?
The problems with this approach are obvious. What is not so obvious is the understanding that our legal system is a meatgrinder. That equality means you have a 50/50 chance of losing. That no matter who you are, the suck factor, unfairness and expense is high. Add that to the long list of things I don’t know what to do about.
 
Now I will tell you this New Sharia has gained ground on universities when it comes to Title IX tribunals. (Odd thing is the tribunals had a legitimate basis for violence against women on Indian Reservations, but it unwittingly [?] slopped over to universities. The reason for the [?] is the question, “Or was it unwitting?” But there was/is a big problem with violence on Reservations because of tribal sovereignty. ) I found once source that claimed under the Obama Administration sexual misconduct trials on campus have gone up by 3000% -- especially since the Office of Civil Rights (remember their involvement in the Rolling Stone Rape story?) sent out their “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.html 
 Here, this might explain that better and why F.I.R.E. is fixing to sue over that letter 
http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/05/obama-is-about-to-get-sued-for-his-sexual-assault-policing/
The decisions of these tribunals are more and more being overturned by the courts because they violate due process and the rights of the condemned. And yes, that word choice is intentional. I know of some campuses where rape victim advocacy groups are pushing that one of their members be appointed to all tribunals regarding sexual misconduct. In case you missed it, that’s like insisting a member of the Westboro Baptist Church be on a panel judging homosexuals.
 
Do I have an answer about how to nail the actual rapists but protect people from false accusations of rape? No I don’t. But I wrote this article, because there are too many people out there calling for changing our system to the point that the accusation of rape should be all that is needed. That the evil that is not punished to their satisfaction warrants the destruction of the lives of innocents. 
 
The cries of “97% of all rapists get away with it!” and “Only two percent of all rape allegations are found to be false!” make it seem like false allegations are such a small, insignificant number. Give up your right of due process and professional investigation to make it all right. After all the numbers are so small, we can afford to be occasionally wrong in the name of greater justice. 
 
Except a bunch of sex crime investigators with a drink or two under their belts tell a different story.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fighting Our Way Back To The Middle

You know things are seriously screwed up when you find yourself thinking that a Fundamentalist, anti-homosexual streetcorner preacher is the voice of reason. Yet, here it is... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTOoYxOf92s

This occurred on Arizona State University property. I don’t know about you, but I kind of hate having to take his side. It is kind of a 'the ACLU defending the KKK's right to hold a rally' situation. ASU /Arizona had a kerfluffle about that dang ol' First Amendment and yes, preaching on campus is protected free speech. So the U -- which takes money from the government -- can’t officially say ‘no.’ However, the hostility of the 'locals' is well known. As this young gentleman so demonstrates with such grace and decorum.

There is something that both interests and concerns me. 
As I've said many times, I'm not a Trump fan (or anybody elses). I do however see his popularity as indicative of a growing resistance -- possible push back, hence the concern -- to the bullying and pushing of the progressive behavior.

I know this is a hot button term, but I ask that you bear with me for a while. The behavior is hurting not just people, but the cause. The behavior isn’t just shutting down communication, but it’s eroding support and credibility. For example, this kid. MSU. Yale. BLM at rallies, Occupy, Deadlocks, etc. The list long and it’s growing longer. It's gotten not just over the top, but they're getting bolder and more aggressive.

Another part of this... well let me explain it this way. Some years ago the PLO/PNA spokeswoman came to speak in Denver and there was a protest. And it was serious. No fancy camera shots to make 20 people look like a mob. There were lots of people. The local News interviewed a cop on the scene and he was... disquieted. His observation was "Usually with protests you see the same faces every time. This protest is different. These are everyday people." When everyday people -- who really don’t have a dog in the fight -- start turning against you, it’s time to reevaluate strategies.

Then comes the next step. There's an old protest quote often attributed to Ghandi "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." ( A sub-variant of this is with 'hate you.') While it's an inspiring quote for those calling for social change, it kind of overlooks the number of times movements have failed miserably. Not just squished, but failed. There are a lot more of those times than ‘wins.’ Often when movements turned toxic and went too far resulting in their allies pulled away. These aren’t everyday people, these are allies, if not your support base.

Something that I'm noticing among all the clamor of all these protests is what voices aren't there. Voices that have traditionally been there for these movements aren't pitching in as much. And that is VERY telling.

I've long made a distinction between Liberals and Progressives (remember, I was raised Liberal). Again, I know this is a kneejerk issue, but please hear me out. I strongly feel there has been a gradual hijacking of the liberal agenda by extremists and special interests. I first noticed this change when I heard the term "Hold my nose Democrat." These were some very smart people saying they hold their nose and vote Democrat -- basically as the lesser of two evils. 

I’m seeing an erosion of liberal support of this behavior; and like erosion it’s not a loud process. It used to be that folks were always there supporting a position out of reflex. Someone says it and you get the 'yeahs' and 'me toos.' But things have progressed to the point where a lot of folks ...well they could be quoting the movie "The Abyss" with "Hippy, quit being on my side." Except they aren't saying that yet. 

What they are doing is not saying anything. 

And that silence is telling. For example, take the Dreadlocks/cultural appropriation confrontation incident that happened at San Francisco State University. The SFGate ran an on-line article about it. Now my feelings about San Francisco is if there was a zombie apocalypse there'd be Zombie Rights activists in SF. (Along with the traditional hip 'yeah' and "me too" support from the coffee shops and microbreweries.) My jaw hit the floor when reading the comment section. At the time, nobody came out in support of her. In fact, the comments were unanimously against the woman’s behavior.

The fact that people from other political positions are beginning to come forth saying ‘enough’ is very telling, but so too is this growing silence. Things might be moving beyond just pretending these problems don’t exist in your own group. Kind of like Christians don’t have a problem admitting that the Westboro Baptist Church isn’t representative of all Christians, people with a more liberal persuasion have an opportunity to actively distance themselves from the more aggressive and hostile elements weaponizing what you sincerely believe in. Do you really want those folks dictating what it means to be ______(fill in the blank)?

At the same time I’m going to suggest that this is a chance -- and please God, don’t let it be the last chance before the SHTF -- for people to start coming back to the middle. 

That means people from different positions talking to each other instead of letting the extremists of their own side tell them what those ‘other people think.’ In case you missed it, that is a shout out to everyone to stop being bullied by the extremists, liars and hate mongers of your side and go out and talk to people who think differently than you. Most importantly, stop listening to the screamers on your side about what the ‘other side thinks’ and actually sit down with the moderates from that side. Yeah, there’s going to be some concern and confusion, but stop and compare notes. Starting with “When you use this term, what exactly do you mean? Because when I use it I mean ______”

I think you will find that you have more in common than you imagined. Including the fact that much of the bullying, abuse and silencing you’ve been subjected to is coming from the more vocal fringes -- who have also been controlling what you can say -- rather than the far more numerous folks who believe a certain way. We’ve been conditioned to be afraid of each other. That’s not a good thing, because after fear comes anger. And a bunches of pissed off, self-righteous people who aren’t actually talking but throwing verbal abuse at each other is just a short step from things getting bloody.

And that’s something that most people don’t want, but the extremists are pushing us towards -- usually by screaming hatred in our ears about what haters those other people are.

If you really want peace, be brave enough to walk over -- with an open heart -- to the other side to find out who they really are. And do it before the extremists on all sides -- including yours -- push us into being cannon fodder for their hatred.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stop Kicking That Dog. It's About to Bite (An open letter to liberals about their hatred.)

I'm writing this during the 2016 election campaign. However, it’s a concept that has been a long time coming and -- quite frankly -- the potential for violence scares the hell out of me. Stop and let that sink in for a moment ... violence professional ... expert on the subject of violence... scared of the degree and intensity of violence we’re potentially heading for. 
That’s qualifier #1, qualifier #2. I need to say this so you can really stop and consider the point I am about to make: I am not a Trump supporter (nor, in fact am I fond of any of the leading three candidates.) So there is no political agenda underlying this post. (I’m registered ‘independent’ and identify myself politically as a ‘pragmatist.’) Having said these two things: 
What seriously concerns me are the conditions that have given rise to Trump's popularity. 
And part of that popularity can be laid at the doorstep of self-described liberals and their aggressive behavior. Now before you get defensive, I fully acknowledge that conservatives do this behavior too. But 
 A ) If a behavior is wrong, then it is wrong no matter who is doing it. 
B ) Screaming they do it too doesn't help fix the problem (a.k.a. help everyone stop doing it). 
The point here the rise of the popularity of Trump -- and it has a lot to do with anger of his supporters. Why are they angry? Well start with the liberal position has kicked that dog one time too many. People who -- often in the names of their feelings, compassion and superior beliefs -- insist on insulting, condemning and giving themselves permission to spew hate speech about those who dare think differently than they do. The scary thing is how often 'anger' is used as justification for kicking that dog that is now growling and baring it's teeth at the kickers. They don't realize that dog (Trump supporters) are about to bite. 
Here's part of the problem, the kickers are lying to themselves about it. See one of the more interesting aspect of tribal behavior, is you need an 'enemy' to help identify who you are (and why your tribe is superior.) Your group is 'right' and those evil rotten horrible bastards deserve anything you do to them. What's more is your status in the tribe is not just confirmed but increased for kicking that dog. In other words you get Brownie Points -- inside your tribe-- by shouting out what stupid, ignorant hateful, greedy and evil bastards those other are. 
Which hey, if you were truly isolated in an echo chamber wouldn’t matter. But you aren’t. That signal is getting broadcast and others are receiving it -- including those you are spitting on. Yet at the same time, we've been conditioned to believe bald faced hatred isn't a good thing -- especially in this giant (supposedly non-tribal) egalitarian, super-tribe called the United States. Great idea, except that is not how the primitive, tribal part of our bigger brain works. This leaves us in a bit of pickle. On one hand huge amounts of our self-identity is based on embracing open minded egalitarianism at the same time, we're wired to be tribal and bigoted against 'outsiders.' And that is what political polarization is, tribalism 101.
The challenge is to work -- hard -- at overcoming the hateful, bigoted part. And it's a hard challenge because it's so easy to slip into that simplistic primitive part and use rationalization and self-justification to deny we’re there. How do you feed that part (spit hate and venom) and still self-define yourself as 'not a hater? Why you rationalize your behavior and justify it using rhetoric, cherry picked facts to support your beliefs, you use (and pass on) limited and selective sources of information that pander to your primitive, tribal hater. And you do this pretending that you're being intelligent and informed in your contempt for those who think differently than you do. It’s not hatred, it’s a legitimate and rational response to what those rat bastards have done...
But let’s look at the associated behavior. Not the reasons why you think it’s justified, but the behavior itself. First you convince yourself that dog deserves to be kicked. Then you give yourself permission to let fly. You ignore the pain you’re inflicting. But, more than that, you’re not ‘abusing that animal,’ you’re showing others what’s wrong with how it thinks and behaves. You’re going to beat that animal until it learns the error of its ways. And you’re surrounded by people who are cheering you on.
Well, to quote Rooster Cogburn “Drop that switch, LaBoeuf. Put it down, I said. You're enjoying it too much.”
Now in case you missed the True Grit (1969) reference, those lines were spoken with a cocked pistol aimed at the fella with the stick. Now being as the story of True Grit takes place in late 1800’s, no matter how angry and self-righteous as LeBoeuf was in his attack, he realized he would indeed be shot if he continued his behavior. That’s an idea many people who give themselves permission to attack and spew hatred about those disgusting others, have lost sight of. 
Indeed their anger is far, far more important than the anger that their actions are creating. Or, to go back to the original analogy, it doesn’t matter that the dog has turned around and is baring its teeth at you. As such you might not want to keep on kicking it. If you do, what’s going to happen is not just pretty predictable, but obvious to everyone else except you.
I am truly and deeply concerned by the growing potential of a backlash. I see Trump’s popularity -- including it growing every time the media plays favorites, protesters shut down a Trump rally and hateful articles are posted on social media -- as a serious growl. A growl that people -- who have long used their anger as justification their kicking that dog -- are ignoring. Speaking as a violence profession, a person who has spent over five decades studying and trying to understand violence, I ask you. Hell, I implore you... 
PLEASE don’t. 
Now I’ve long made a distinction between liberals and progressives (I liken the difference to the same between Catholics and Inquisitors.) I have many self-identified liberal friends -- who themselves are often victimized by progressive zealots. The problem is that growling dog doesn’t. The often passive support of zealots by more moderate liberals (and this includes not standing up to them from fear of being targeted by them) makes you smell the same as the abusers; at least to that dog that is about to start biting. 
Please, stop throwing kicks. Stop encouraging those who are throwing kicks. And most of all, don’t be silent when someone is abusing that dog. Don’t let these folks keep on kicking the dog because -- even if you claim you aren’t doing it (or you only do it a little bit) -- if that dog starts biting you’re going to end up in its jaws.
And yes, I also encourage people of a more conservative bent to go out and do the same about the barking moonbats of their ‘tribe.’ Acknowledge they’ve been kicked 27 times too often, but the consequences of giving in to that anger are too dire. 
Am I singing kumbaya? No. Not really. We as a nation have forgotten that you have to fight to stay in the middle otherwise the extremists of your side will take over and get you into fights with other groups. 
At the very least, quit posting hater stuff on your social media wall. If you feel real strongly about it -- knowing that you have to fight to stay in the middle - try standing up now and then to the extremists in you own ‘tribe.’ You’ll discover first hand why those other dogs are ready to bite.
I don’t know what the backlash will be, nor can I predict how far it will go or what measures will be put into place to quell these issues. But I assure you, none of them will be good. I’ve lived through riots of self-righteous angry people and they are not fun. But long before things get to that point, there has been stewing and carefully nursed anger building. You may think that anger makes you powerful, but when that smoke in the air is your city burning it’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s kinda too late.
(And yes, I speak from experience about coughing from that kind of smoke.)