Police vs Civilian

With the recent shootings of black people many people on the Right are saying that these individuals put themselves in that situation and not always even that the shooting was justified. A common phrase used is "Comply and don't die". I was wondering if there were any fallacies with in this but with Dr. Bennett's on women, and they're responsibility with rape I wondered if someone could justify some people saying this.

asked on Saturday, Apr 24, 2021 09:30:14 PM by Electrical

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Regarding fallacies, if someone were to say something along the lines of "the reason black people are getting shot is because they put themselves in that situation" it would be causal reductionism .

In no way does compliance guarantee one's safety, and in no way does the lack of compliance justify a death sentence (in virtually all cases). This is why the "comply and don't die" narrative is false. It would be more accurate to say "comply and reduce the risk that you will die," but even this completely reasonable advice is often seen as "politically incorrect" or even "racist," even though that advice applies to people of every race. This is because it's not just the advice, it is the context as well. "Comply reduce the risk that you will die," is solid advice in isolation, but said right after a police officer used excessive force on a citizen is insensitive at best, and perhaps even racist if the person/outlet saying this has a history of only saying this in response to a black death and not a white death.

A serious problem here is the over correction or the reaction to advice such as "comply and reduce the risk that you will die," by ignoring all personal responsibility—not just avoiding saying this at inappropriate times, but never saying it or teaching it to our children. "Comply and reduce the risk that you will die," is good, reasonable advice that is demonstrably true, and should not be ignored. This doesn't mean we still can't work on solving the other serious problem of excessive and unnecessary force used by the police.

answered on Sunday, Apr 25, 2021 08:29:58 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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richard smith

When it come to police shootings. I would say each situation is unique and should be treated that way. So a Hasty generalization.

"Comply and don't die" - is about reducing the risk of something happening and applies to all races.. Things can always be sorted out later.

Comparing Rape and Police shooting would be a False Equivalence.


answered on Sunday, Apr 25, 2021 08:45:18 AM by richard smith

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Jordan Pine

There is a logical argument for "comply and don't die" as follows:

  • If you resist arrest, you increase your risk of dying in police custody.
  • If you comply, you decrease your risk of dying in police custody.

These are simple statements of probability backed by statistics.

Where the logic gets tricky is when words such as "justified" are used. Here, the ambiguity fallacy can enter the conversation. What does it mean we say a shooting is "justified"? Are we talking about legal rights? Training? Judgment? Is justification based on what a police officer thought was happening or what was actually happening? What the officer thought was likely to happen or what a reasonable person would think was likely to happen? (Some would go even further, believing the "systemically racist" police can't ever be justified in using deadly force against a person of color.)

We've seen this ambiguity in so many cases:

  • Was Officer Rusten Sheskey justified in shooting Jacob Blake because he believed he was going back into his car to grab a knife?
  • Was Officer Nicholas Reardon justified in shooting Ma'Khia Bryant because she was lunging at another person with a knife?
  • Was Officer Kim Potter justified in drawing on Daunte Wright because he was trying to get back in his car and speed away?
  • Were police justified in returning fire through a closed door, killing Breonna Taylor, because her boyfriend fired first?

When people try to answer these questions, you'll notice their definition of "justified" shifts or comes with qualifications. To get clarity on the matter, you have to get pointed. For instance, you might ask: Are you saying the victim (or her boyfriend) is wholly responsible for his/her death (or injury)? The police bear no responsibility here? Etc.

answered on Monday, Apr 26, 2021 12:05:44 PM by Jordan Pine

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