Tuesday, April 14, 2015


David Brooks will go along with body cams for cops but he won't be happy about it, because it will interfere with the citizen's naturally cozy relationship with officers of the law:
Cop-cams chip away at [privacy]. The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you. When a police officer is wearing a camera, the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional.
When a traffic cop pulls him over in this brave new world, Brooks will have to fold the hundred-dollar bill more tightly before he tucks it under his license so that the camera won't pick it up.
Cop-cams will insult families. It’s worth pointing out that less than 20 percent of police calls involve felonies, and less than 1 percent of police-citizen contacts involve police use of force. Most of the time cops are mediating disputes, helping those in distress, dealing with the mentally ill or going into some home where someone is having a meltdown. When a police officer comes into your home wearing a camera, he’s trampling on the privacy that makes a home a home. He’s recording people on what could be the worst day of their lives, and inhibiting their ability to lean on the officer for care and support.
I imagine some Harry Guardino sort of tough detective crying, "Dammit, you're turning us into a bunch of babysitters!" You don't call cops for social services, you call them because you wish to expose a crime to the state -- which is pretty much the opposite of seeking privacy.
Cop-cams insult individual dignity because the embarrassing things recorded by them will inevitably get swapped around. The videos of the naked crime victim, the berserk drunk, the screaming maniac will inevitably get posted online...
Oh no, oh no come on, he can't be that --
... — as they are already.
My God, he pulled a Goldberg -- that is, he refuted his own point but didn't bother to rewrite the passage! Goldberg usually emits a cloaking fart of irrelevancies to cover for himself -- let's see what Brooks does:
With each leak, culture gets a little coarser.
Ah, culture -- I forgot this was the Times!


  1. . . . the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional.

    Ah! The intimate friendship of getting 8 rounds of 9mm slugs in your back! Only my closest friends place me in a chokehold until I stop breathing. And I will certainly feel a deep and keening loss that the cop who pulls me over will no longer be willing to kick the shit out of me just because he doesn't like the way I look.

    In the end, the only possible reason Brooks could have to writing that entire screed-de-fece is because he knows that he will never face an out-of-control cop.

  2. In the end, the only possible reason Brooks could have to writing that entire screed-de-fece is because he knows that he will never face an out-of-control cop.

    Why you gotta ruin my dreams?

  3. mortimer200010:19 AM

    Remember, this cri de coeur for police officer's privacy is written by the guy who thinks it was Edward Snowden who "betrayed the privacy of us all," not the NSA.

    Coincidentally, I left a comment on the Times' site about how Goldbergian this column was but for a different reason: Brooks begins by saying he favors cop-cams, then lurches 180 degrees with 800 words explaining why they're actually a terrible idea. He then swerves back to conclude that "on balance, cop-cams are a good idea."

    It's like a little trip on Mr. Load's Wild Ride -- but for a few "for the record's" and "by my lights" it could have been farted up by none other that the Boy Historian hisself.

  4. Magatha10:20 AM

    I actually got out of the boat on this one to go directly to the comments. There's some good stuff being written there, especially under "Reader's Picks". One commenter mentions something I hadn't really thought about that much: police in the U.S. are scared (I guess the militarization both comes from that and exacerbates that) because (thank you NRA) so much of our populace is armed. I mean, that's sort of tangential to the whole subject of how much more vulnerable black men and boys are to police violence in this country, but it's still an important component that just raises the overall tension even higher.

  5. Ellis_Weiner10:20 AM

    Just spitballing here, but is Brooks white? (And does he mention the excellent stats from, inter alia, San Diego? http://tinyurl.com/npvfxyf )

    Meanwhile, this book is literally being published today, 4/14/15: David Brooks on "The Road to Character." http://tinyurl.com/l8zfp4j

  6. susanoftexas10:21 AM

    When a traffic cop pulls him over in this brave new world, Brooks will have to fold the hundred-dollar bill more tightly before he tucks it under his license so that the camera won't pick it up.
    I will bet you anything that Brooks is a "Don't you know who I am?" type. This whole camera problem might force him to start forking out the money however. No wonder he's so concerned.

  7. susanoftexas10:24 AM

    Pardon the off-topic but guess who else has a book out? That anti-gay but oh-so-sensitive soul "Rod" Dreher. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/dante-and-the-road-home/

  8. Bufflars10:26 AM

    Brooks' argument is so dumb. Does he realize that there are many, many professions nowadays (most of which with far less potential for abuses of power) in which one is filmed nearly all the time? If you work in retail, chances are very high that your entire day is being filmed from multiple angles. This hasn't seemed to fundamentally change the employee-customer relationship. If anything it has likely improved most employee-customer relations in a numbers of small ways since you probably can't as easily get away with... well... abuses of power anymore.

  9. JennOfArk10:27 AM

    Oh, brother....

    Privacy is important to the development of full individuals because there has to be an interior zone within each person that other people don’t see. There has to be a zone where half-formed thoughts and delicate emotions can grow and evolve, without being exposed to the harsh glare of public judgment. There has to be a place where you can be free to develop ideas and convictions away from the pressure to conform. There has to be a spot where you are only yourself and can define yourself.

    Privacy is important to families and friendships because there has to be a zone where you can be fully known. There has to be a private space where you can share your doubts and secrets and expose your weaknesses with the expectation that you will still be loved and forgiven and supported.

    Privacy is important for communities because there has to be a space where people with common affiliations can develop bonds of affection and trust. There has to be a boundary between us and them. Within that boundary, you look out for each other; you rally to support each other; you cut each other some slack; you share fierce common loyalties.

    Unless the bodycam is a special new kind of device that can record your innermost thoughts, it's hard to see how it intrudes on anyone's "interior zone"; likewise, as long as the camera is being worn by the cop rather than placed inside the home to record every interaction, it's not going to be capturing anyone "sharing your doubts and secrets and exposing your weaknesses..." unless people choose to do that only when a cop has been called to the scene which would be, let's face it, pretty damn weird. The same goes for communities - unless the cop cam is Big Brother, it's not going to be on the scene recording every social interaction for posterity.

    No, it's only going to be recording what goes on when a cop is on the scene, presumably because they've been called there or because someone screwed up and drew their attention while driving, walking, whatever. The video it records is just as likely to prove that a cop was acting properly (if he was) than it is to catch him doing something wrong; in the case of a false accusation against an officer, it becomes an impartial eyewitness and is thus as much for his protection as it is for the protection of citizens he's supposed to be serving. Since we, the public, are his employers, and we have an interest in both, you've got to flail pretty hard (as Brooks has here) to make any kind of an argument as to why mandatory body cams are not a good idea.

    Funny, I've never heard Brooks bemoan the fact that call center employees regularly have supervisors listening in on their calls, violating the sacred privacy between a telemarketer and the person he's interrupted during dinner. I wonder why that is?

  10. Tallmutha10:29 AM

    Communal bonds--Is there anything that won't undermine them?

  11. With each leak, culture gets a little coarser.

    Heavens to Betsy! Can we find a couple of interns to help Delicate Dave over to the fainting couch?

    Turning a blind eye, or even better, cheering them on, when cops and vigilantes shoot minorities with impunity. Nothing coarse about that!

  12. In the end, the only possible reason Brooks could have to writing that entire screed-de-fece is because he knows that he will never face an out-of-control cop.

  13. David Brooks: A Jew so stupid he actually believes the real Episcopalians think he's one of them.

  14. Cop-cams chip away at [privacy]. The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you.

    Oh no, we won't be friendsies anymore if we implement oversight of the poor benighted police to encourage them not to shoot unarmed people? That is very sad.

    But why stop there? There must be other important friendships at risk here we need to protect. Let's see...

    "Banking audits chip away at [financial innovation and free-wheeling gumption]. The audits will undermine communal bonds. Conducting an audit on a banker is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you...."

    "Environmental regulations chip away at [unbounded free market insouciance]. Regulations will undermine communal bonds. Regulating a polluter is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you...."

    Ah yes, the perennial cry of the authoritarian to leave off oversight of those frail, innocent institutions that serve right-wing interests. If only we'd let good, America-loving entities police themselves while focusing our time and energy on controlling our real problems - the poor, minorities, and Democratic presidents - we could rehabilitate the public trust and this country could be great again.

  15. coozledad10:45 AM

    The videos of the naked crime victim, the berserk drunk, the screaming maniac will inevitably get posted online...

    And them my ex will print them and put them on her goddamn refrigerator.

  16. JennOfArk10:47 AM

    Or they'll be on the next episode of Cops.

  17. coozledad10:48 AM

    I was reaching for the taser when I grabbed the baguette instead.

  18. Ormond10:49 AM

    But shop clerks need to be surveilled because of the notoriously sticky fingers of the worker (today the till, tomorrow the taxpayer's pocket!) and the necessity of ensuring that they provide proper deference to their betters - the folks who had the good sense to loot the public from inside a corner office. Watching the watchmen just makes it harder for the state to use violence to enforce morality on the undeserving poor.

  19. Bitter Scribe10:50 AM

    Oh how I wish Brooks could get Tased, just once.

  20. Mr. Load's Wild Ride

    Not only am I upvoting for this, I'm going to steal it shamelessly.

  21. Ormond10:51 AM

    Wars in the Middle East.

  22. I think the future former Mrs. Brooks shares this sentiment.

  23. *sigh* Bufflars Bufflars Bufflars...

    don't you realize that there's a difference here? Of course the proles need their every waking moment filmed. They're the underclass, the mob, the reeking idiot masses of people who -

    -aw goddamnit, I typed too slow. Ormond said it already.

  24. susanoftexas10:55 AM

    I did research for a joke about that (yes I am pathetic) and it seems they have reconciled. They just bought a nearly 2 million dollar house together.

  25. less than 1 percent of police-citizen contacts involve police use of force

    Huh. Have we adjusted this statistic at all for minority -

    - oh, why do I even ask. And why do I even think it would occur to Bobo to inquire himself?

  26. This is all about ethics in authoritarianism.

  27. susanoftexas10:59 AM

    I want to buy these comments a copy of Alice Miller's For Your Own Good.

  28. Ted the slacker11:01 AM

    Well, I'm not persuaded by Brooks and his sudden ACLU hook-up, but I am not entirely on board with team cop-cam either. Here's what a certain wise English gentleman once said of the police:

    "The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."
    (Should we all be cammed-up all the time? That LOL you hear is the NSA.)
    Putting a camera on every cop (even if you could magically assume they'd always work) does not, I think, help strengthen this arrangement. At worst, it's a sign that we've given up on this ideal. At second worst, it avoids more substantive reforms which are evidently needed - like changing how police killings are investigated and prosecuted, raising the burden of proof for justifiable homicides, dealing with out-of-control gun proliferation.
    I guess I could be persuaded on cop-cams if some of the above was being implemented. But right now, I'm not a buyer.

  29. petesh11:01 AM

    So THAT's why he wants privacy! No fair peeking at the granite counter tops

  30. Ted the slacker11:03 AM

    Barman, this comment's drinks are on me.

  31. Bobo just exudes the White And Wealthy Privilege in this article, doesn't he? There's no indication whatsoever that there's anyone he knows who sees a police officer and doesn't have a moment of panic - I've had friends who felt that way, and I can't even begin (as I've said before) to imagine the feelings of a young black kid confronted with Deputy Dan in what's all too often the adversarial relationship that Bobo frets about.

  32. for whatever it's worth, i'm not convinced body cams are anything but a band-aid to a much deeper problem: google shows 71,700,000 hits on the phrase "police violence videos," and there are websites dedicated to aggregating police brutality stories and images; eric garner's murder was recorded by someone not ten feet away, and we can go all the way back to rodney king's beating. so when we're confronted with these images--and the systemic oppression at the heart of our "communal bonds" that they reveal, what do we choose to do? what happens? we look away: in both of these cases, one historic and the other contemporary, the police were let off scott-free (and l.a. only got its shit together when the city fathers realized that south central wasn't having it).

    that cops brutalize people, and overwhelmingly brutalize the poor and people of color is common knowledge, and this despite the surreal fact, for instance, that <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/08/how-many-police-shootings-a-year-no-one-knows/there aren't official statistics out there on when police shoot people.</a>

    i'm happy to be educated otherwise, but i can't understand how more film, more images, are going to help solve something that our institutions and the great mass of people--david "my old kentucky home" brooks included--don't seem to regard as a problem.

  33. Just live me a credit for right now, bartender; I haven't been homeless long enough to be drinking this early in the day.


  34. What happened to their vast spaces for entertaining?

  35. As I understand it, you can collect all your upvotes and turn them in for cash just like GreenStamps used to be.

  36. So how many do I need for a sparklepony?

  37. BigHank5311:39 AM

    D'you remember a few years back, when a lot of people were muttering darkly about the NSA's hoovering of everything they could get their sticky electric fingers on, and every single right-wing authority figure smiled patronizingly and said, "Now, if you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about, do you?"

    I cannot tell you how much satisfaction if gives me to fling those words back in the face of every conservative boot-licker who wrings his hands over hypothetical cops having a harder time covering up their racism.

  38. John Wesley Hardin11:51 AM

    "I forgot this was the Times!" The Washington Times, I hope. The "logic" on display here is breathtaking, as in: it is so stupid it sucked the oxygen out of the room. I suspect that a little hypoxia-induced brain damage was involved in this column's creation, at any rate.

  39. He takes the dumbest argument against cameras and goes on and on. Sigh. Privacy. Like conservatives give a poop about privacy.

  40. John Wesley Hardin11:55 AM

    "it's hard to see how it intrudes on anyone's "interior zone"" When the cops sodomize you with it. All part of a David Brooks-style 'intimate friendship' with the police.

  41. But he might! Like serial killers, they start with the most vulnerable in society, and work their way up. And Brooks isn't as high on the social totem pole as he may think.

  42. LookWhosInTheFreezer12:00 PM

    Right. I can only assume Brooks is equally outraged at laws that allow employers to run credit checks, demand Facebook sign-in's/passwords, and fire their employees for "privacy" issues such as who they sleep with, who they vote for, which belief/non-belief system they follow. Yes, Bobo your concern for the right-to-privacy for police officers and rich white men (and nobody else) is duly noted.

  43. He's not so admiring of privacy when a woman wants to make a serious medical decision! THEN the state should be hanging over her shoulder, panting.

  44. Those black guys running away are the scariest! Its amazing the way they continue to loom over the cop in a threatening manner, reaching for his weapon.

  45. I suppose the sheer number of them will make an impression.

    At the least, the victim can show he did NOT reach for the cop's weapon, something I've never heard of happening even on TV shows or movies.

  46. Ted the slacker12:17 PM

    I concur with your skepticism.

  47. Ellis_Weiner12:19 PM

    As many as you feel necessary.

  48. JennOfArk12:19 PM

    Or laws that allow employers to make employees piss in a cup to prove they're fit to work as a janitor. When the only thing those tests will reliably catch is that the employee likes to take a few puffs off a joint when he gets home from work.

    At least no one is demanding that the cops wear their body cams when they're not at work. Urine/hair drug tests? Those are ALL about finding out what the employee does on his own time.

  49. Jay B.12:24 PM

    Fuck your breath.

  50. Jay B.12:28 PM

    I think cop-cams put the burden on cops to follow procedure, not on the perp. I'm in favor of them to actually protect the rights of the accused and to curb cop behavior, sunlight, as opposed to darkness. I understand the creepiness of it, but it places the onus on the state to do things the right way, which i think is on balance a good thing.

  51. Gromet12:28 PM

    I like "Boy Historian." You could attach that to any one of these nitwits whenever he cites some obscure, irrelevant history fact as if it supports his current self-absorbed point. E.g., "As the Hanseatic League's economic brilliance blamelessly caused undue pain to the Tsar's tobacco trade, so the NYPD in the course of executing its solemn duties effected injury to one Eric Garner..." [Okay, I made that quote up, but it feels true. I feel like George Will at this stage is just handed an article by each of his interns and he picks which one gets printed, and Hanseatic-Tobacco-Garner was his second choice one afternoon.]

  52. Ted the slacker12:29 PM

    England also had a report which declared its main police force "institutionally racist".
    Kind of like what the DoJ Ferguson report should have concluded as a catalyst for meaningful reform.

  53. That's not entirely accurate. When a woman wants an abortion, the state should be down between her legs with a transvaginal wand. Because let's face it: Women have no rights to privacy at all.

    And, tangentially, Brooks's "intimacy" with the cops? I can't help but think that it's the kind of "intimacy" involved in rape. Conservatives really don't understand what the word "consent" means. Not even vaguely.

  54. Ellis_Weiner12:29 PM

    "The police are the public and the public are the police; the police
    being only members of the public who are paid to give full time
    attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the
    interests of community welfare and existence."

    As we say in England, "bologna." Is it incumbent on every citizen to wield lethal weapons when confronting crazed criminals? Is it even incumbent on every citizen to hand out speeding tickets or corral drunken drivers?

    I don't think the above description is even "ideal." Just because I don't want trigger-happy cops killing unarmed men (or women; black or white or etc.) doesn't mean I don't want there to be no cops available. Or am I missing something?

  55. Jay B.12:30 PM

    With each leak, culture gets a little coarser.

    There has to be a German word for someone who is an idiot on purpose. That particular horse is so far out of the barn it died ten years ago.

  56. BigHank5312:33 PM

    Do you really think Eric Garner, Rodney King, and Walter Scott cases are in any way unusual, other than the fact they were recorded? If it wasn't for the recordings we never would have heard about them, because the cops would be the only ones talking, and the story would be on page 14 of the D section of the local paper.

    Right now, it's usually the word of one of those people versus the word of a hero in blue, and we know how that usually plays out. Fixing our police departments (and our laughable "justice" system) will take decades. Cop-cams aren't going to do it, no. But they're a worthwhile step--even if all they ever do is prove that the cops are unable to police themselves.

  57. Gromet12:34 PM

    Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you.

    Doesn't this same argument apply to letting cops carry guns?

    Or letting anyone carry guns?

  58. Ted the slacker12:38 PM

    It's a Robert Peel quote - I agree with it too, the overwhelming proportion of police work is (or should be) basically garden-variety community-focused work. And most police interventions should not result in arrests, fines etc. They should be what any ordinary citizen would do, ask that the jaywalker/public urinator/dog-poop delinquent/asshole playing loud music at midnight, stop doing it. Not use it as an opportunity to raise revenues.
    The dangerous police work, it's essential, but it's the exception. (although to my point about gun proliferation, less exceptional than we'd want it to be)

  59. BG, puppet making crank calls12:40 PM

    intimate friendship

    Hmmmmm --- I don't think I want to know that much about Brooks' fantasy life ---

  60. reaching for his weapon

    While also, you know, running away.

  61. ColBatGuano12:41 PM

    To avoid the coarsening scourge of embarrassing YouTube videos we have to allow the unjustified killing a few minorities. Think about the culture!!!!

  62. Icis Bokonon12:42 PM

    Cloaking fart. Our language continues to evolve and expand in wonderful ways.


  63. Scott P.12:43 PM

    This boils down to 'we need big reform, so we shouldn't do this little reform'. But there's no evidence that small reforms make big reforms harder. I'd argue the opposite.

  64. That's a mighty - interesting - definition of language there.

    Though I don't know what linguistic category farts fall under when used for nonverbal communication. Shartemics?

  65. Ted the slacker12:51 PM

    If you had a choice, hypothetically, would you choose:
    (a) mandatory cop-cams; or
    (b) mandatory independent investigations of killings by police.
    This debate really is about what type of change is most necessary. If cop-cams are the only thing on offer, then maybe we have to settle for that. But to my mind, there are more important things to be demanding.
    (And a side question, if the fundamental issue is Officer McFuckstick's word always being believed despite the evidence of an unarmed dead guy, how often will cop-cam footage change that? To me, the instructive case is the Garner case, no cop-cam could have produced clearer footage than what we saw there... yet no charges, partly because the cops' words were more readily believed at the grand jury.

  66. I agree that body cams won't solve the problem. Indeed, I think that body cams won't initially make any kind of dent in the problem.

    But the cameras will accomplish a couple of things. First, they will provide at least some evidence in case both egregious and questionable. Cops sez X, victim/perp sez Y, camera shows b2/&.

    Second, the cops who really are psychopaths/sociopaths will be much easier to detect and remove from duty.

    Thus, over the long run, the cameras have a chance to slowly reform the police and the criminal justice system. Although it's a long road, it has to start somewhere.

  67. Post-alimentary frictive?

  68. ColBatGuano12:54 PM

    Why not both?

  69. Ted the slacker12:55 PM

    I'd argue we should be demanding more serious reforms, and not settling for cop-cams.
    Maybe cop-cams are the best deal on offer, but they don't really go to the heart of the issues.

  70. yeah, i hear you, but making body cams a hill to die on has nothing to do with fixing police or making them more accountable. it merely cedes to police the notion that they are untrustworthy, that they kill and abuse people.

  71. ColBatGuano12:58 PM

    Although it seems like they've been around a long time, cellphone video cameras are fairly new and their use to expose police malfeasance is just beginning. While I'd hope that police reform would come from within the departments themselves, I'm willing to allow cop cams to shame them into it. Perfect is the enemy of the good in this case.

  72. susanoftexas12:59 PM

    Those are in between Brooks' ears.

  73. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person1:00 PM

    With each leak, culture gets a little coarser.

    And each unnecessary killing of a civilian doesn't toss another handful of gravel into the great Blendtec of Culture that is America? Did you really go to college to become this stupid? Fuck, you coulda saved a bundle by just doing high school again. Or, maybe you did. Backwards.
    One of these days, Bobo, it ain't gonna blend, and who you gonna blame then? Oh, the suspense is killing me...

  74. AnneMarie Dickey1:04 PM

    The beating death of Kelly Thomas is another incident where we had the video...we had the audio...and the jury lost their fucking minds and acquitted.
    I still cannot wrap my head around that one.
    For real fun, google "shooting death of Robin Pratt".
    The officer who gunned her down 25 someyears ago is boasting of his career on linkedin.

  75. the issue isn't technology; as i note above, the rodney king beating was captured by a vhs video camera, an unwieldly and ancient thing by 2015's standards.

    body cams are a nice neoliberal answer--an overweening faith in technology--to a fix that requires more democracy. an "expert" solution to a challenge that is rooted in how and why we police our cities the way we do. cop cams have nothing--nothing--to do with the fact that the poor and black of ferguson were an atm for the city.

  76. Ted the slacker1:06 PM

    Ugh, I hate intertubz debating forums (so much easier face-to-face)
    This is not, and I thought I made it clear, a literal either-or proposition. It's supposed to test what type of change is seen as more important.
    If I can rank my preferences, and mark them on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how much of a difference they will make, here's how they would look:
    1. Tackle gun proliferation (10)
    2. Raise the legal burden on the killer in justifiable homicide cases (9)
    3. Independent investigations of police killings (7)
    4. Ensure police forces are representative of the populations they serve (7)
    5. Cop-cams (2)
    Maybe 1-4 are pipe-dreams, but they'd go a heckuva lot further than cop-cams in bringing about change. That's all.

  77. BigHank531:07 PM

    I don't think they're a hill to die on. They are (a) not very expensive, (b) potentially useful, and (c) very, very hard to make a case against. You ask, "Why are you afraid to be recorded doing your job?" and even David Wormtongue Brooks can't come up with a decent rebuttal.

  78. yeah, i'm sorry if i mischaracterized your argument. my point being is that it's not a win, in any sense of the word: i've yet to hear of any answer to police violence outside of more surveillance. and is that anything to hope for? and if in fact it is a "first step," what's the next?

  79. Ted the slacker1:14 PM

    Yep, and that's assuming too that cop-cams are used properly.

  80. redoubtagain1:15 PM

    Hanseatic Tobacco Garner Palin

  81. i think ted is explaining much more effectively what i'm abstractly fumbling around to articulate; kudos to him, and my apologies to the colonel and big hank.

  82. Ted the slacker1:19 PM

    No, no, I think your point about this being a technocratic liberal solution is absolutely right. If it can bring about more fundamental change, I guess I'll take it, but I'm not there yet.

  83. Ted the slacker1:32 PM

    I'm not sure I agree - if I ran a good PD with good community relations and I resisted cop-cams, I'd be pissed if I was called out like that.

  84. BigHank531:35 PM

    Oh, no sweat. (And to answer your speculation above, yes, it is common knowledge how to disable a body camera.) The core problem here is changing police culture, so that malicious fuck-ups aren't reclassified as "mistakes" and mistakes aren't reclassified as "routine". Because that's where we are now, with the cops' #1 job being protecting cops.

    Citizens need to be able to trust the police, not just fear them. Everyone who isn't in uniform knows that already. We need to figure out how to get the cops to learn it, too.

  85. Not exactly sure, but this free republic thread where they dive deep into the conservative roots of "my little pony: friendship is magic" might have some clues.


  86. Coarsening of the culture. Is this a new flavor-of-the-week talking point?. Just the other day some pundit cited said coarsening as a reason, among others, for polarization in politics. To accept the argument you'd have to first believe polarization actually exists; i.e. there's this big group of rabid lefties over here and a big group of staunch unyielding conservatives over there and nobody in the bipartisan middle willing to compromise. Then you'd have to pretend there hasn't been a huge uptick in extreme rightwing radicalism in everyday politics -- fringe views once reviled now taken as acceptable discourse. Then you'd have to pretend that compromise isn't baked into the DNA of Democratic politicians. Finally, you'd have to agree that there actually has been a "coarsening of the culture" and that it's a bad thing.

  87. redoubtagain1:42 PM

    reaching for his weapon


  88. Whenever Jonah farts he says, "Just thinking out loud here..."

  89. <>the conservative roots of "my little pony: friendship is magic"

    Oh sweet fucking jeebus.

    I guess some freeper decided to be all Brony 'n stuff, and, according to the Edroso Choc-o-Mutt Principle...

  90. BigHank531:47 PM

    Granted. But "tackling gun proliferation" is a bit out the grasp of your average community, too.

  91. redoubtagain1:48 PM

    Yep. Impression I'm getting is that "privacy" = "I want to stalk my STBX without anyone finding out about it".

  92. and i think it comes down to that--the issue here should be police reform.

  93. coozledad2:09 PM

    Now that Brooks is moving back in with his not quite ex, I guess neither the cops or his wife will be putting them online. But I'll bet she still sticks them up on the refrigerator in her safe room.

  94. There's always room for a few more prison guards. (The day when even one prison puts cams on its guards isn't coming any time soon, I wager.)

  95. Penniless Moocher2:13 PM

    Most of the time cops are mediating disputes, helping those in distress, dealing with the mentally ill or going into some home where someone is having a meltdown

    And every single one of those scenarios fills me with dread at the thought of a cop responding to them. Had I the stomach or the inclination, I could find an example of each one involving an officer, and turning fatal.

  96. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person2:18 PM

    2. Killing the stupid "War on Drugs".

    Please, ABC, make a miniseries out of this...

    Hari's book is subtitled "The first and last days of the war on drugs". I really hope he knows what he's talking about. maybe if Mr and Mrs Americas knew the story of Billie Holiday and Harry Anslinger, it might come true a bit sooner.

    This is one subject where I can say to the average wingnut, "I feel ya", because bureaucracies really can become entrenched in a government. When it happens in law enforcement, and at a level where funding is measured in billions, it can become a monster. And I wonder, if the War on Drugs is ended, what will become of the DEA? Disbanded? Riiiiight...

  97. Megalon2:24 PM

    Maniac Cop IV: Pundit Patrol

  98. Is he Bob Hope or Bing Crosby in this "Road to ..." adventure?

  99. FlipYrWhig2:33 PM

    Maybe you could consider weighing the relative pipe-dreaminess of your favored policy suggestions before registering your discontent with the practical ones that are already on the floor. Because otherwise we could just stipulate Action Item Zero, which comes before 1-5, and it's this: 0. Make Things Good.

  100. satch2:37 PM

    "Privacy is important to the development of full individuals because
    there has to be an interior zone within each person that other people
    don’t see. There has to be a zone where half-formed thoughts and
    delicate emotions can grow and evolve, without being exposed to the
    harsh glare of public judgment. There has to be a place where you can be
    free to develop ideas and convictions away from the pressure to
    conform. There has to be a spot where you are only yourself and can
    define yourself."

    Of course... THAT'S the reason why the GoPro was such a miserable failure!

  101. There has to be a zone where half-formed thoughts and
    delicate emotions can grow and evolve

    This all sounds like the sheer bullshit sales-speak out of an IBM commercial.

  102. satch2:42 PM

    I can't wait when the Reagan family from "Blue Bloods" starts wearing the cams. I want to see what REALLY goes down at those folksy family dinners...

  103. He's the monkey prop on Dorothy Lamour's shoulder.

  104. The police are the public and the public are the police.
    Speak for yourself. I'm no bullying authoritarian thug w/ psychological issues who compensates for inadequacies w/ stick, taser & gun under color of authority.

    I'll grant that belief may have been more reasonable in Peel's 19th century when the concept of policing as we know it began, but the separation of pigs & people has been going on for some time. If the police were to stop referring to their employers whom they are to protect (US!) w/ contempt as "civilians" I might be a little more sympathetic.

  105. Left this, we'll see if the free-speech fans at The NYT approve it:
    Three words, Mr. Brooks, three little words from one of the officers whose "privacy" is so important to you: "Fuck your breath."

  106. Many police officers are not in favor of unfettered Second Amendment rights.

  107. A slippery slope. Next would come prosecuting citizens who deny reality, leaving pretty much the entire right wing facing charges.

    Hey, wait a mo...

  108. The government should dissolve the people & elect new ones.

  109. I believe the adjectival is "ass-toot."

  110. Howlin Wolfe3:17 PM

    Upcoin! Start saving!

  111. petesh3:18 PM

    Which report? I remember them back to the 1960s, and they have come out rather regularly ever since. Plus ├ža change and all that jazz.

  112. Even as we speak, there are people in Chinese prisons being forced to mine the internet for upcoins.

  113. Ted the slacker3:22 PM

    I hear you, but some PDs do seem to aim for Peel's ideal. It's not an unworthy goal in my opinion.

    One of my favorite news stories from last year? Nashville's chief of police telling a concerned wingnut to get lost.


  114. petesh3:22 PM

    Yup. England also has plenty of theft, at all ends of the social scale. A bit light on the murders, there being not so many handguns about. Some rob you with a knuckle-duster, some with a fountain pen.

  115. Jesus. If there's a column out there more reflective of the vast distance between the life of a (white) pundit and what's actually happening, then I haven't read it.

    And this: But, as a journalist, I can tell you that when I put a notebook or a camera between me and my subjects, I am creating distance between me and them. Cop-cams strike a blow for truth, but they strike a blow against relationships. Society will be more open and transparent, but less humane and trusting. made me snort in derision.

    The next time a journo shoots a potential interviewee in the back because they dare run away from a sit-down, please alert Brooks. His disgusting analogy is in desperate need of a crutch.

  116. Howlin Wolfe3:37 PM

    To Bobo, privacy and ignorance are the same thing, I guess.

  117. Ted the slacker3:50 PM

    "there are a lot of police departments that don't view themselves as being responsible to the community in any way."
    I agree, that is the nub of the issue, but will cop-cams fix it? That's where I'm unconvinced.

  118. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person6:07 PM

    contact between an officer and a civilian is ... likely to be like intimate friendship

    Exit camera, we now have...Bobocop!

  119. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person6:10 PM

    when I put a notebook or a camera between me and my subjects

    As an opinion columnist, how often does this actually happen?

  120. mommadillo6:47 PM

    Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him

    So it's kinda like surrounding someone with guards to watch him and make sure he doesn't do anything wrong, yes?

  121. Magatha7:06 PM

    I know, and the increasing us vs. them mentality bugs me more and more. The shooting of Walter Scott was not a fear-based act. It looks more like a straight-up opportunistic hit job done by a guy, Slager, who assumed he could get away with it. And without the video, he very well might have. Then his fellow officers would have felt compelled to circle the wagons around him - no matter what questions or doubts any of them might have had - because it's us vs. them. That kind of shit is as corrosive to a police force just as it's dangerous to the public.

    No decent cop wants to work with a potential rogue colleague. But breaking ranks is hard. Shit, I'm rambling, I know. Our police forces do not need all the leftover materiel from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One small thing they need which would really be quite affordable is more money to hire clerical staff to perform background checks on officers they hire, and to hire enough adequately trained officers that excessive overtime is rare, and individuals can be monitored for burnout, and at-risk officers can be reassigned or let go.

    Also, if there isn't a Pulitzer category for amateur camera-phone documentarians like Faiden Santana, there should be.

  122. Magatha7:21 PM

    Reading Matt Taibbi's The Divide brings that point home on a national scale. Fines and "community service" are being used instead of hiring actual municipal employees.

  123. I assumed at first this was a pretty good parody slipped by the Freeper censorship, but it isn't, is it? Deeply disturbing.

  124. Sorry, officer, I heard the "no no" on your lips but saw the "yes yes" in your eyes.

  125. Buffalo Rude9:01 PM

    Yeah, hope you don’t mind, Mort, but I’m taking that also.

    (And it only cost me 1 upvote!)

  126. ckc_not_kc11:00 PM

    ..."needs improvement"

  127. realinterrobang11:16 PM

    Oh Steve, my Anglican Jewish-curious goyishe heart loves you.

  128. realinterrobang11:17 PM

    Surely a plosive? Or don't we want to think about that?

  129. realinterrobang11:18 PM

    I see what you did there, M. Brecht.

  130. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:28 PM

    Oh,my, God, it's...Diiiiiip!

  131. j_bird11:42 PM

    Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you.

  132. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:45 PM

    the increasing us vs. them mentality

    has been increasing for a long time. I read a book in the '80s

    called Cops: In Their Own Words, in which one retired Lieutenant bemoaned the fact that "it used to be the cops and honest citizens vs the bad guys. Now it's the cops vs everybody else". (Approximate quote). So, maybe 1955 did have something going for it after all...

  133. AGoodQuestion12:38 AM

    Okay, it sounds a little like "cop".

  134. AGoodQuestion12:43 AM

    Now, now, we have to maintain the distinction between plebeians and centurions, or both might start questioning their place in the scheme of things.

  135. AGoodQuestion12:57 AM

    Sounds too much like work.

  136. mrstilton2:57 AM

    As a closet Savoyard I would like to thank you for this post's caption.

    Sir William must have been thinking of Brooks when he wrote:

    "I bloviated at my Party's call
    And never thought of thinking for myself at all.
    I thought so little,
    They rewarded me
    By giving me a column at the NYT."

  137. montag24:19 AM

    Nor does he play well with others.

  138. montag25:15 AM

    I'm reasonably certain that Brooks could fuck a chicken in a Nazi uniform at high noon on DuPont Circle, and for a finale, bite off the chicken's head, chew it and swallow it, and then immediately sit down and write a column intimating that Kanye West and all the hippity-hoppers were destroying civilization as we know it, and that, secretly, everyone just loved Lawrence Welk and Pat Boone and Joe McCarthy and weren't the clams at Howard Johnson's just dee-lish and weren't separate drinking fountains, after all, for everyone's health and safety, and, when you think about it, in retrospect, of course, didn't Orval Faubus have a point?

  139. montag26:19 AM

    Jury duty for me has been an exercise in watching authoritarian followers being led by the nose by prosecutors and in observing jurors use the power over people's lives to validate their prejudices. I doubt that one in fifty jurors even begins to understand the concept behind "a jury of one's peers," or the presumption of innocence, for that matter.

    It's difficult enough to ward off cynicism in this regard, and jury duty doesn't help.

    But, truthfully, I doubt that you'd ever get convictions, since those jurors would have to be convicted by, umm, other jurors.

    I'd rather that we criminally prosecute prosecutors who withhold evidence and condone official evidence tampering and look the other way at gross violation of rights or coerced confessions, because that's the real root of the problem. If such prosecutions were a common occurrence, you can be damned sure that prosecutors would be telling the cops that they'd better not do one single thing to get the prosecutor's ass in a sling, and there'd be a dramatic reduction in convictions due to withheld or manufactured evidence. And, maybe, eventually, the public--eventual jurors all--might be inclined to think that a little more skepticism about the state's case and evidence is warranted.

    As it is now, though, such prosecutions are virtually non-existent, even in the most egregious of instances. The state is just plain no fucking good at policing itself. So, things like this become routine.

  140. I'm sure they feel enlightened and mightily ashamed, 'cause that's how wingnuts roll--with an open mind, respect for differing perspectives and experiences, and a generous ability to admit wrong.

  141. Cops did a lot of walking the beat in those days. It wasn't all driving around in police cruisers, which necessarily separates the cop from the citizen. Efforts at "community policing" are an attempt to get back to this style of police work, where the cop really is part of the community and shares a bond of a sort with the people he serves. Doesn't seem to have worked too well with Officer Glock, unfortunately.

  142. Ripley10:11 AM

    It sounds like Andrew Sullivan's farewell to his loyal readers.

  143. LittlePig11:49 AM

    You cause me more research than just about anyone.

    "Why did he get so many upvotes for that? I'm missing something there...aw, Jeez, watch it be a quote...dammit!, Blackstone and Fromm again!"

    Thank you sir.

  144. LittlePig12:18 PM

    Harry Anslinger

    I was surprised at my very visceral reaction to just reading his name. There's a trigger I didn't realize.

  145. LittlePig12:23 PM

    I think the mandatory independent review boards are not as far off politically as they were, though that is still a mighty mighty big mountain.

  146. Lurking Canadian12:34 PM

    If you did so, you would just get blank stares, because they *don't* think the cops have anything to hide. Everytime some cop shoots somebody in the back, the victim had it coming. The cameras are bad because the race hustlers then use the video to take everything out of context

    /wingnut (just in case)

  147. Magatha8:12 PM

    "...So, maybe 1955 did have something going for it after all..." If I'm reading you right, I agree insofar as municipal services were expected and provided (yes, for white folks only, mostly) and no one was talking about shrinking government small enough to drown in the freakin bathtub. Sure, there were the perennial jokes about so-so work ("close enough for government work") but offices were open, and people were employed, and folks expected things to get done and mostly stuff did. Somehow today we still expect everything to be both hunky and dory and we don't seem to understand that those with the wealth don't care what we expect.