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Saturday, August 16, 2014

What Happened When I Posted About a Police Beating Near My Home on #Instagram

Yesterday, on my Instagram (which is usually just a lifestream), I posted the above screenshot of an article reporting on a police beating not far from my apartment in northern Manhattan, New York City. Sometimes I post screenshots of news articles like this because it's an easy way to quickly comment about a news story and have it crosspost easily to my blog. The vast majority of the time, this tactic inspires no one to comment on the original Instagram post. If someone does comment, it is always an agreeable response. However, this was not the case with this post about the police beating.

And this brings me to the question that is on my mind.

Why do people try to make arguments that fly in the face of common sense? When I started seeing Few negative comments appear, I could tell there was a general commonality between them. They seemed to be utterly missing my point and completely favoring an emotional and even fearful reaction to my comment. So, I deleted the few comments and then left one, myself, that explained:

You should go to and watch the video before you comment. Oh and read the Constitution, too. ;) I'm all for a cops doing their job but beating up on non-violent suspects who are accused of non-violent crimes is not right. Being a cop is a tough job for sure, but people--even criminals--have rights. Surely five cops can cuff one guy without having to punch him and beat him with a stick.
I thought that encapsulated the mindset behind my post. Maybe it's a little glib, but that's because it's a social network and I always try to keep things as short as I can on the Internet. Oh and here's the video so you don't have to click through to the article:

So, if you notice, I make a statement in my explanatory comment that makes perfectly reasonable sense ("Surely five cops can cuff one guy without having to punch him and beat him with a stick") and someone replies in a comment, trying to make the argument against that perfectly simple and true statement. The argument, the commenter says, is that cuffing someone isn't easy ("have you tried it?").


That is almost the dumbest claim I've heard in my life. Cuffing someone is utterly easy. Especially when the guy is just standing there, as he is in the video. And, hang on, is being a cop an easy job? I'm sorry, were those five cops expecting an "easy" job when they signed up?

"Oh, no! I have to cuff this man and he's too tall! I can't reach his wrists now that I told him to put his hands up! WHAT SHALL I DO? I know, I'll just force him to the ground and, with the help of my four friends, beat him and then I'll force my cuffs on him!"

Even if cuffing him wasn't "easy" (which it is, my God, I was cuffing my little brother at age 10 just to mess with him), if you watch the video, you can see that the man was not resisting. The man was not violent. If five cops can't cuff one calm man easily those cops are the worst-trained cops in the world.

I am kind of amazed at the people who have commented on this post. I've deleted their comments because they were completely ignoring my points and making some ignorant points, too. One commenter said that an accused suspect should have his inalienable human rights removed despite being calm and not having been convicted of anything yet. The commenter said: "You care if a drug dealer gets his head kicked in?"

Yes, yes I do, because a person is innocent until proven guilty--if he were violent toward the police, I would agree that the use of force was necessary but he was not violent. Just. Watch. The video.

Another said effectively the same thing by asking if I thought it was ok to sell drugs on the street corner where their kid goes to school. Frankly, drugs should be legalized and sold in pharmacies. The drug war is a sad tragedy and I don't think the government should tell me what I can and can't put inside of me. Legalize and regulate drugs and you take away one of the biggest catalysts for crime in America. It's because they are illegal that they have to be sold on street corners. If you don't like that this happens in your neighborhood maybe you should move to someplace with less drug activity? Or write your local politicians to support the legalization of drugs so the criminals in your neighborhood have one less thing to sell and one less thing to kill for.

Then, the first guy to comment comes back and says that I'm being lame for deleting comments. So, because someone disagrees with me, I should let my Instagram post become a debate hall for people who seem to have no understanding of the Constitution or the law or common sense? (Cuffing isn't easy???)

I delete comments because those comments indicate that the people who posted them aren't interested in facts and the rules as they stand. When you make a defense for violence you ignore the laws that we have had in place for centuries now. You can't argue for the defense of one law at the expense of another. If it's a law then you must defend it or all other laws become negotiable (or worse, worthless).

I understand cops have tough jobs, but they're tough for a reason. They are forced to follow rules that criminals break. But if cops break those rules, they're criminals, too.

I'm really worried when the loudest voices are the most emotional and least rational voices we hear. Fox News and shows like "24" have made emotional, revenge arguments much more acceptable in society and I think people are suffering for it. I think the truth suffers for it.

We fought two wars because we thought we were entitled to revenge. We should never give in to the urge for revenge. Our main goal should be justice.

There's a huge difference.

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