It Used to Be Called Stating the Obvious

by baldilocksbaldilocks

The bare bones of what you need to know about the topic of Ilya Somin’s op-ed at the Volokh Conspiracy are in the title. Somin goes on, however, to state what makes both crimes against police and crimes by police worse than those which don’t have police officer as perpetrator or victim.

There is a lot to chew on here, and at least one burnt straw man–but that last one is minor in relation to the point. And even with the horrible murders of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the following remains true.

When a civilian comes before a grand jury, he will almost always be indicted, even if he resembles the proverbial ham sandwich. By contrast, police accused of crimes on the job almost never get indicted, in part because they tend to get favorable treatment from prosecutors, as happened in both the Ferguson and Garner cases. While I think the officer in the Ferguson case probably should have been acquitted in a criminal trial due to the conflicting nature of the witness testimony, that does not change the reality that he got special treatment in the grand jury process that would not have been extended to a civilian suspect.

Such double standards create terrible incentives for police officers. As one former St. Louis police officer puts it, “[t]he problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police.” The vast majority of police officers do not engage in abusive violence. But, tragically, the system empowers and protects the minority who do.

Here’s the problem with civilians, police forces and Grand Juries: they are all made up of human beings, flawed since the action of Adam. Seems obvious, right? Well not to many of us. You see, we’ve all been inculcated with the notion that each individual is only as good as his tribe. If that notion isn’t overtly taught in schools, people learn it later in life through much more painful means. One of reasons that tribalism exists is to protect the individual from his/her mistakes. You are your tribe and your tribe is you. Right?

We are seeing two sets of tribalism–one ethnic, one professional–clash before our eyes (actually, there’s a third: legal). And until both parts of Somin’s title are commonplace, all involved will continue look to his/her tribe for protection…

…before they set themselves in array in preparation for war.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015.

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At least we’re doing better than the Huffington Post

This has been a bad year for my blog’s profitability to the point where I’d had to take contract work during the day to make ends meet while writing what I can weekends, evening and in whatever spare time I can find.

Last year was completely different. In 2013 I was paying my writers & the mortgage every month out of DaTipJar, this year I’m managing to pay my writers and maybe the electric bill if I’m lucky.

What does that mean? It means I’m doing better than the Huffington Post in the middle of yet more changes:

Heading into the new year, The Huffington Post is planning to stop using Associated Press stories while increasing its reporter headcount, gearing up for a relaunch and rolling out more international editions.

That’s nice but if you’re paying $300+ Million for a website one would think it would not need another “relaunch” a few years later:

The announcements come as The Huffington Post continues its slog toward profitability a little less than four years after it was acquired for $315 million by AOL, which made heavy investments in talent, global expansion and a streaming video network called HuffPost Live.

“Slogging toward profitability” is another way of saying “still not profitable and never has been.”

At the end of 2013, AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong told Reuters he expected the site to be profitable in 2014. But during an interview earlier this month at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, Armstrong said the ongoing international rollout, which includes about a dozen foreign editions from Brazil to France to Maghreb, had prevented HuffPost from breaking into the black. Annual revenues are in the hundreds of millions, Armstrong said, declining to provide a specific dollar figure.

Revenues are nice, but if they don’t cover expenses it doesn’t mean a thing. All you are doing is paying people and vendors to lose money for your shareholders. If revenues had kept up here we would have added a second batch of seven writers but this is a conservative site so we aren’t going to commit to spending money we don’t have.

Now that isn’t a problem for Arianna, she has pocketed her 300 mil and is still drawing funds from the suckers investors but if you are a stockholder in AOL it’s not so go. You might have been better off checking if you could buy shares in DaTechGuyblog.

True this year you might have gotten little or no return but from what I can see your odds are better off here than over at the Huffpo:

Annoy Arianna Huffington & the left, Hit DaTipJar

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If course if you can do both, I’m  fine with that too.

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