Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why Civil(ian) Unrest Scares Me

I often tell people I weathered the LA Riots -- and most of them have no clue what that means. Nor do they understand why I fear mob uprisings (especially thick are those who are pushing for such uprisings).   You really do want cops keeping a lid on things and you really  don’t want to be anywhere that isn’t happening.
I'm watching a thread where anti-cop rhetoric is strong -- including singing the 'No cops! Let people sort things out themselves' song. Yeah, about that... I've seen what happens in those circumstances. It ain't pretty.
Here are some ruminations from a guy who has actually been on the ground when the shit hits the fan. Back in ‘92....
When the rioting came within two miles of my house, I spent the day sitting on my porch, smoking my pipe, reading with a shotgun on the table. To be more precise, a riot gun. Just so you know a pistol can be scary, but shotguns carry a very distinct message -- namely, “I ain’t playing.” (The survival rate with shotguns is waaaaaaaay lower than with pistols.) I wasn’t playing.
Let’s talk about ‘not playing’ What was not widely reported is on the other side of the LA  city limit lines, police from different municipalities were geared up and waiting. Mini-riots tried to break out in multiple cities in the LA area, but the local PDs -- literally -- smashed them on the spot. Meanwhile, inside LA city limits, it was the withdrawal of the LAPD that both kept the damage localized to Los Angeles and allowed it to escalate.

This resulted in looters driving into LA from other cities to 'riot.'

Here's some more grist for the mill. The LA riots, contrary to popular perception were not just a "Black thaing." They may have started that way, but at the end, not so much. LA has been described as a 3 piece suit -- Brown, Black and White. You saw Men’s Wearhouse in the rioting and looting. What is of particular interest is how the established Mexican Community very clearly said "It ain't us, it's the Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans” (newcomers).  Which if you watch the raw video feeds and can tell the facial differences of these ethnicities you can see the Chicano claim holds water.  The importance of this is which ‘communities’ had roots and owned homes.
At the same time, REALLY pay attention to when the neighborhoods themselves turned back the rioters.
I want to point something out. The LA Riots are considered the worst (in cost, death and injury) in US history.  Yes the LAPD lost control -- but again, the 'idea' was to pull back and let things calm down.  The hypothesis being that since the Black Community was pissed at the police, no cops present wouldn't provoke them.
(That's the official version, the actual politics of the situation were ... well, somewhat more complicated. But let's stick with the 'we're going to pull back so as not to further antagonize' version.)

Shit exploded instead.
Official numbers of the dead vary. I've heard 54, I've heard over 60. (It depends on how you count.) Over 2000 is the reported numbers injured. While some sources say 10 people were killed by the police, it is generally assumed that most of the deaths and injuries were committed by the rioters. It’s an easy assumption to make; take a look at this clip ...
(Fidel Lopez 3:10, Reginald Denny, 11:50)

Here's the issue with official numbers. They DON'T tell us how many rioters/ looters were killed or injured in/by 'neighborhoods' rebuffing them.
I tell you this because when you watched  live broadcasting of the riots, you repeatedly saw rioters being turned back by coming under fire by someone protecting their property. I can guarantee you they weren't 'warning shots.' (In Koreatown, there were snipers on the roof.)
What else is not widely reported is that when the National Guard finally did roll into town it was done in a way so as NOT to increase the body count. Yes. You heard me.
The broadcast media and helicopters flying over the city were sending the message "The National Guard is coming in at 6 pm tonight. Get yo' ass off the streets before then."
The rioters being given a chance to 'go home' -- BY THE GOVERNMENT -- is what kept the body count low.  This even though it allowed rioting to continue for another 24 or so hours. Had the national guard done what they did in Detroit, Watts and Kent State -- there would have been blood in the gutters. That’s because when troops come rolling in and someone in the mob shoots or lobs shit ... the mob loses.

I tell you all of this because there are no simple answers to this. Police cause problems. Police prevent problems. Civilians cause problems. Civilians prevent problems. But what can be clearly stated -- and needs to be understood -- is cops, unlike civilians -- have rules of engagement, limits and use of force restrictions.
Civilians don't. That’s the other way bodies start stacking up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

About Your Personal Safety...

This is a follow up to the "A Plea... before the bullets start flying."

Folks, in case you're wondering what my concern about rising racial and political tensions have to do with personal self-defense the very short answer is...
"It's getting crazy out on the streets."
It's not being reported. But you have a change in street dynamics and a rise in both unpredictability and aggressiveness. THAT is more likely to directly effect you than the bigger issues I’ve been talking about lately. So, now the longer answer.
This aggressiveness is not in predictable ways. I've spoken to lot of old school outlaws, criminals, gangsters and bad men. They're "What the fuck is wrong with these people?" Although it would be easy to brand it "...with these kids?" it's not just a generational issue. It's a serious, toxic mix of out of control emotions, identity- ideology, lack of understanding, 'attitude' and ... what I can only describe as ...a belief in no consequences.
First the elephant in the room and how it's mixing with another issue. There's always been racial tensions out in the street. The first riot I was ever at ground zero for was between Mexicans and Blacks. Seen a lot of ugly since then. But here's the thing, on the day-to-day running of things each side -- even if they didn't respect each other (as most people understand the term) -- they respected that the other side would shoot back. Reread that last sentence again, because it's closely tied to this: That's a great incentive not to start shit.
Now take away "Don't start shit because they'll shoot back" and replace it with "they wouldn't dare shoot back" 
That '’They’ can't or WON'T' respond attitude is B ) --the other issue. It is far more widespread and isn’t just about race. It's extremely pernicious in it's own right.
Combining the two: This means you -- and that is a direct you, not general you -- can be targeted just because of your skin color. This is not new and improved ‘institutional racism,’ this is old school racism of just blindly hating someone for their skin color or eye shape (a game anyone can play). It is the individual deciding to act against you for a whole host of reasons -- including a hatred of your skin color. He does so thinking you can’t -- not won’t, can’t -- do anything about it. He’s got himself a free pass against you. A pass that reads “Do unto those thou hast ‘Othered’ as thou will...”
Getting concerned yet? 
This belief in lack of consequences is actually the bigger problem than someone hating you for your skin color. In many cases I’ve seen this expanded to the level of ‘It’s my right’ to do selfish/illegal/aggressive/destructive /shitty/pick any combo stuff. And I do mean ‘a God given right.’ But it also goes into negative rights. That is to say, while they can say or do anything, YOU do not have the right to stop them. 
While that attitude may be offensive to you, it has much more practical -- and problematic -- manifestations. These are they have no fear about coming at you and no reason not to! They are in fact relying on your hesitation to react to keep them safe from consequences. They can run up, get in your face, scream, howl, bark and drool and you can’t do anything about it. 
Because if you do, you’re the one who is going to get arrested. 
Which brings us to the next problem. Let me give you a ‘No-BS-Reality-Break’ about “Institutional” attitudes of the police, the prosecutors and law makers. Something that is WAY bigger than racism. That is “Somebody has to go to jail.” 
I’ve long bemoaned cops as revenue generators and removal of officer discretion when it comes to mandatory arrest. But now having dealt with our court system I’ve seen first hand the prosecutorial attitude that can be summed up as “If someone died there must be a crime.” While I’ve long had serious heartburn with people carping about being “arrested for self-defense” (mostly because what they did WASN’T self-defense) over the last ten years that has become a reality under ‘Somebody hast to go to jail.’ This is not the cops choice any more, the pressure to arrest and get back out on patrol comes from above. And straight up, a big part of this is them getting the fines you will be assigned by the court in lieu of jail time. 
 Basically, short and not-so- sweet, unless you are damned good about articulation AND stayed in boundaries of self-defense, you will go to jail if you defend yourself. This means street rats know they can fly off the handle without fear of consequence -- because if YOU react -- they’ll be the ones calling the cops on you. Do not think this doesn’t effect their willingness to go off on you. 
The problem with dancing this close to the edge is it’s both extremely easy to go over it anyway, and a whole lot of them just don’t give a shit. Their hatred and rage is more important than not going to jail -- so they will physically attack. Now let me toss another shovel full onto the shit pile. Remember I said OGs, elder outlaws and the like are saying “What is wrong with these people?” It’s not just that there’s no respect for the rules and how you do things, there’s a growing trend of not even knowing these exist. Sound like a vague, hypothetical problem? Try this... 
When you find you’ve miscalculated or crossed a line and are looking down the barrel of a gun, how do you back out of the situation without getting your brains blown into a fine pink mist? 
 Now maybe in your lifestyle this isn’t much of an issue, so not knowing how to do it isn’t a big thing. But back in the day, it was part of the whole ‘respect that they will shoot back’ package. Looking down the barrel of a gun means although you’ve crossed a line, the guy is giving you a chance to change your behavior. As such, it’s probably a good idea not to continue with the behavior that resulted in that view. 
Not getting shot really wasn’t something you used to have to talk someone through in the old days. But these days it is. These self-righteous, ‘I have the right to/you don’t have the right to stop me’ types are at a complete and total loss about what to do when someone does stop them. I’m talking total bewilderment because it’s never happened before. You literally have to talk them through the process -- especially reassuring them that backing off is safe. You need to factor in both they don’t know how to back off and their fear that if they do, you’ll kill them. I’m not joking when I say “You need...” 
(In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, try this, “If I was going to kill you no matter what, you’d be dead by now. Here’s the deal. I’m giving you a chance to walk away and live. If you do that I won’t shoot. You do anything else though... Now what’s it going to be?”) 
Remember that shovelful? Well it’s time to add a wheelbarrow. While I’ve always been a big fan of having multiple force options (verbal deescalation, crime avoidance, empty hand, knives, guns etc.) never before has having ALL of them been so important. 
Okay, granted that given my career and lifestyle choices I needed to have them all to handle the wide variety of things that came my way. I’ve never been a “Les jes’ bash ‘em onna hed” type or “Prep for Road Warrior conditions” type. I say this despite having been in bad situations that have kicked off. I mean beyond gang wars and shooting bad -- like rioting, looting and burning buildings. So that has never been off the table for me. 
 But things are getting crazy out there. To the point that you are much more likely to run into something than you were before. The question, and it’s a big question, is: What degree will it be? 
I can’t answer that. And until you’re in the situation neither will you be able to. The level of what you’re going to be running into is impossible to predict. Hence the need for a full spectrum of options -- especially the lower end. 
 Wait... what? 
I am the first to point out things have not kicked off -- and hopefully they won’t. But that puts you between a hammer and anvil. On one hand, there’s increasing tensions, hostility, violence and craziness. On the other hand, that means you’re going to be dealing with the aftermath and consequences of violence under existing circumstances. That is to say a system that will try to nail you if you are involved in an incident. Yes the system is designed to nail bad guys, but it’s gotten to the point that -- because of over-prosecution -- self-defense is becoming functionally illegal. Not a good thing with rising tensions and increasing incidents. 
 I’m recommending really honing your de-escalation skills, do everything in your power to not get into situations, and meet certain criteria so your actions support your claim of self-defense. (Like you tried to walk away. And why did you stop? Because it wasn’t working.) Now that may sound odd, but in fact, it’s going to help you in a lot of different ways. First is you will have made a good faith effort to keep it from going sideways. Second, surprise surprise, good faith efforts really do work to keep shit from happening. (This should be your goal anyway.) Third, you’ll understand when it’s not working. Fourth, that knowledge will assist you to mentally shift gears to an alternative strategy. (Nope, not working, Plan B). Fifth -- and this is where it sounds counter to common sense -- often you prepping to go will cause the guy to change plans. (Remember the ‘talking him through not getting shot?’ This is where it applies.) Sixth, knowing that de-escalation didn’t work, you’ll have a much cooler head when it comes to scaling force. Seventh, when you are ‘called upon to answer’ for your use of force decision, you’ll be better prepared to articulate WHY -- even though it was violent -- what you did wasn’t illegal, but was in fact, self-defense. 
 All of which go miles for you not getting hurt or arrested. Like I said, it’s getting both crazy and nasty out there, this calls for a different level of preparation than just bangy bangy or punchy kicky.

A Plea... before the bullets start flying

Congratulations, you smeared distinctions to create a bigger political block, raising an inclusive banner to seem to present a unified whole for your cause. Good idea right? After all, your PR to create and identify a large, unified group to the outside world worked. Except now everyone else can't tell the difference between you and the troublemakers pulling shit under your banner. 
Any group is going to have extremists. It is both the nature of groups and a systemic weakness they can exploit. That last is to say using the same rhetoric and ideas, they push things too far. It’s hard to stand up to such folks because they are using the same words, terms, rhetoric, ideals as you and that -- this is important -- you believe in. But they’re throwing in a bunch of toxic twists. Twists, that if you dare challenge, they’ll turn their fury on you. They’ll blame you, accuse you of being a traitor to the cause, a sell-out and do everything in their power to silence you or get the group to turn against you. This ratpacking and bullying is a very real factor inside groups. Often what happens is people don’t stand up to this hijacking and pull back to a smaller circle inside the larger group. They quietly self-isolate inside the larger group where they can stick with their interpretation of what the cause is about. In the mean time, the extremists are given free reign to twist agendas, rampage and cause mayhem. 
 Let's talk credibility. Often you're now being viewed as same level as the worst of your 'unified' group and/or judged to be dishonest. By that last I mean by not condemning the actions of extremists (acting under your label) you appear to support or agree with them. You may think saying, "Well that's not real _____(fill in the blank)" is enough of a distancing act from you and the troublemakers, but it's not. Remember that ‘we’re unified’ for political power? Well while it may not have worked for political power, it sure as hell worked for creating an “Us vs. Them” environment. And that puts you in both categories. 
You may think being in an ‘Us’ group empowers you, but there’s a whole lot more people who are looking at you as “One of Them.” First off, your little distinction game is up against a massive, decades long ‘We’re all one’ campaign -- that worked. Second, that distinction is seriously weakened if you’re using the same terms, rhetoric, and ideology -- if not same basic tactics (but toned down) -- as the extremists. This includes standing there mutely while they rampage in your name (that unified ‘Us’ thing again). 
I fear we are coming close to a point where -- if we all don’t start doing something -- the extremists will kick shit off. I don’t care which ‘Us’ you self-identify with. We ALL need to start pulling the leashes of the extremists in our own groups -- and very much be seen doing so. Not just so other ‘Thems’ see you doing it, but people in your own group who have been bullied and cowed into silence about this out-of-control extremism will see you doing it and stand up too. 
And a big part of that is reaching out to the moderates. Open lines of communications outside your own echo chamber. Moderate, reasonable and willing to work with other people still exist. The world is not filled with crazies. Nor are the only sane and reasonable people you and the less extreme people in your group. 
This brings us to a bit of a hitch. One of the words I hear a lot of is ‘listen.’ As in “Would you listen to what we have to say.” I’m a big fan of listening. But I have a question: Are you listening too? 
Listening is a two way street. And while we’re at it, communication is a lot more than just someone else shutting up and listening to what you have to say. Where things really go overboard is when someone not only demands that you shut up and listen, but equates ‘listening’ with you having to accept what they’re saying as unquestionable truth. When this is what is meant as ‘listening,’ any questioning, much less disagreement with what the person is saying means you’re not listening (and are by default, now part of the problem). This is an extremist tactic, and it is often used as the excuse to attack -- or bully. That last is because this is the same tactic used to intimidate people inside the group. As things are developing, we’re moving past the point of the attacks just being verbal... 
 When you are listening you have to set your own priorities and interpretation aside and try to figure out where the person is coming from and why they think that way. Listening includes asking for reasons, facts and perspectives. It does not mean accepting conclusions or disregarding your reasons, facts or perspectives. In other words, listening doesn’t mean automatically agreeing -- especially if the whole process is filled with buzzwords. (Part of the problem with the ‘we demand’ approach is they mix reasons and facts with conclusions until they become one homogenized mess. A combo of conclusion and cause that cannot be questioned). If you disagree with someone’s point, don’t rush to interrupt with why they’re wrong. Ask questions to get them to clarify. What do they mean by that. Why do they believe that? What perspective are they looking at it from? (Example, if you look at certain circumstances from a humanistic perspective you’ll get one answer. If you look at the same circumstances from business, law enforcement, economic or anthropological perspective you’ll get four completely different types of answers.) 
Before you start filtering what you’re hearing through your perspective, try to understand the validity of the interpretation from another perspective (why it looks like that way to that person). It may not be the whole picture -- but from a particular perspective, it can look exactly like what they are saying. Then start running it through your filters and see what the same situation looks like. But you’ve done this after you’ve listened to the other side. This is how communication happens. A lot of what are very real problems have wide ranging and complex contributing factors. But you’ll never know these reasons unless you’re willing to listen.

(Oh yeah, here’s a free tip about getting people to listen to you and something I touched on before. Don’t use the same lingo as the extremists are -- especially just before or while they are attacking. It’s that whole, people can’t tell the difference between you and extremists if you’re both using the same language thing.)
I fear we are coming close to a point where the extremists will kick shit off. My primary concern is a whole lot of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire, And by that I mean people who have nothing to do with your cause or others. (In case you missed it, this gives people who aren’t involved in the ‘cause’ reason to stand up and tell those in the cause to knock it off. Unfortunately, history shows us both who suffers the most and where letting extremists run unchecked leads.) Now the bad news for you, if you march under a banner, if you promote a cause and the shooting starts, you're not going to be considered innocent by those shooting back. The police might view you as such, but not the people your extremists open fire upon. You're part of the group that's shooting at them, which means you're a target.
This is why I am pleading with people -- why I am begging you -- not just to withdraw support from the extremists, but to stand up to them and tell them stop trying to hijack your cause. Call them on their hatred and bad behavior. Don't stand by and let them attack others using your position, cause or group as their excuse, for their hatred and violence. Don't support them, don't defend them, don't excuse their behavior (especially if it's the very thing you're against) but most of all don't think that "No True Scotsman" is going to be enough to keep you safe if the bullets start flying.

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.


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.’

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)
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
 Here, this might explain that better and why F.I.R.E. is fixing to sue over that letter 
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.