/u/Plutarch_Rime explains how people become blindly entrenched in their positions, and how both sides of the police debate can stop doing this and be a lot more reasonable

It's a very good thing to get into other people's heads and empathize, but it's a callow mistake to work from the assumption that all sides are equally wrong.

Callow? Really? I would have been on the anti-cop side 20 years ago, and making exactly your point 20 years ago. I suppose I'm losing brain cells as I age.

Strangely enough, this world does contain opinions that are overwhelming wrong.

Indeed. People make this point regularly here on reddit. Every ideologue feels exactly this about the opposition. I suspect the point you're trying to make is, "not counting the constant assertion by ideologues that the opposing argument has exactly zero merit or reason behind it," there are opinions that are overwhelmingly wrong. We might use, say, National Socialism as the customary example.

The point I am making is that the people who are most likely to enter into any discussion as if an adult swim has been declared, and the adult has walked into the room to educate the children, are frequently just as culpable in their own ignorance and blindness as the factions screaming bumper sticker sentiments at each other. That these "adult swimmers" frequently cannot resist condescension makes me wonder just how much they truly understand.

Life is nearly infinitely complex. We inhabit one body, one path through life, and through this life most of us see an insignificant fraction of the world and circumstances. Black people routinely remind white people of this, when they get understandably unhinged at white people telling them what it is like to be a black person ("I don't see any racism. We've come so far!")

If I was reading my words right now, I'd immediately assume what I was urging was a kind of paralyzing skepticism: We cannot know anything, and therefore cannot judge anything and all viewpoints are equal.

I am, rather, suggesting a return to a type of interaction with each other, and with facts, and with reality. We must demand statistics and go into these discussions with minimal prejudice - and learn to suck back our emotions in a way which serves the forum, serves compromise, serves listening, serves a pursuit of the closest approximation of truth we can get to in a complex world with so many players.

In particular, I am urging people to soak in the oppositions thinking, sensibilities, emotions, and thinking, with a set "exit time." It is after the exit that this can be fully judged. Those who are universally pro-everything-the-police does seem to indicate by how they communicate that they have no idea what it is to live in constant fear - rational or irrational - of the police (especially if they are white, and for whom race has no particular connotation).

And I am damn near certain most people have no idea what it is to be a cop where most interactions have ramifications of mortality in them, or what happens when you deal with scumbag after scumbag every day. With soul-withering child abusers. With lying drug addicts with dissipated lives who you've arrested for the 8th or 9th time.

Training is one thing; overcoming the human condition is another (by which I mean: we make mistakes, we have bad days, and our objectivity is colored a lot by our direct experiences in life which may or may not represent trends, or the whole.)

I am all for ending police brutality -- I just want to be sure that everything labeled as such actually is (because I know for a fact that a whole lot of people who are simply being braced for arrest scream it, and I have watched demonstrators put on a childish show of yelling and screaming in mock pain because they're simply being cuffed. These are not exceptional. I've watched Palestinians drag dead bodies around to tell a story to the press after some kind of violent encounter. These are all over the Internet, just like incidents of police being boorish or brutal are.)

In other words, I'm suggesting that it's impractical and foolish to both raise the bridge and lower the river to solve this problem. It's infinitely more practical to raise the goddamn bridge, i.e. improve police officer hiring, training, and disciplining.

And I'm saying that while some of the abuses people complain about are the result of "hiring, training, and disciplining," there are also a lot of cases which:

  • Are not "clean room" scenarios. Someone resists arrest, a police restrains the individual, who begins yelling "police brutality!" at the moment of being restrained. In the process of restraining the individual who is resisting, they become injured. I've seen videos of drunk people on YouTube injure themselves in custody and try to blame it on police. I do not know how often this happens. People who are exclusively pro-cop assure me it happens all the time. People who are anti-cop assure me it happens almost never and I'm an idiot to believe it. If I challenge this, in most cases, the result will be "I'm going to insult this Plutarch Rime guy and his reasoning and his sanity and connection to reality until he agrees I'm right." (you yourself called my reasoning "callow." I'm 42 years old and college educated and have been studying all of this since I was 13. I may be wrong in my reasoning, but callow? Really?) I'm tired of being bludgeoned by "Duh, it's obvious what reality is." - and everyone does it - and angrily - and at complete contradiction of someone else on the other side who's also doing it to me.

I have absolutely soaked and seasoned myself in many political cults across the political spectrum, and none of them seem any more honest - intellectually or morally - than the other, and all of them cut corners when it comes to facts and reasoning. All of them. Including people who should know better.

  • Are the product of politics individual police have no control over, and citizens tend to be unwilling to expend the effort to oversee. If there is one thing that is clear to me about politics in America, it tends to essentially equate to screaming online about how bad everything is, and then - maybe, just maybe - people will vote every few years (not counting the countless people who talk themselves out of it for reasons they think are smart or principled). This is clearly inadequate.

There is this blanket assertion that police are out of control in the United States. Perhaps. But my nightly news says this is also true of American citizens, who you point out, there are many more of. From flash mobs and mall riots to home invasions and people keeping their children locked in cases in the basement, to just acting like a belligerent asshole when drunk and in public, it's not a matter of believing these people need to have their civil rights violated. I have no way of knowing how many times this actually occurs.

"It happens constantly! Blue line of silence! Police unions! You MORON!"

"There are a few bad apples, but you're an idiot if you believe this is common."

I'm exhausted.

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