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Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt 604

Posted by timothy
from the for-your-own-protection-forever-and-ever-amen dept.
Should Boston have been put in a state of lockdown on Friday as police chased down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Pragmatic Bruce Schneier writes on his blog: "I generally give the police a lot of tactical leeway in times like this. The very armed and very dangerous suspects warranted extraordinary treatment. They were perfectly capable of killing again, taking hostages, planting more bombs -- and we didn't know the extent of the plot or the group. That's why I didn't object to the massive police dragnet, the city-wide lock down, and so on." Schneier links to some passionate counterarguments, though. It doesn't escape the originator of a recurring movie plot terrorism contest that the Boston events of yesterday were just "the sort of thing that pretty much only happens in the movies."
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Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt

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  • Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dadelbunts (1727498) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:52AM (#43504303)
    All this showed to me sadly was how quickly people are willing to give up their own freedoms because of fear. This is a sad slippery slope we are on. While this was a horrible event, only three people died, and the whole city got shut down. Three. How long till they lockdown the city because two people die. How long untill they lockdown the city because a gunshot was heard. Untill they come into our homes to look for suspects. And the worst part is, no one will even say "No". We will welcome them with open arms, and claim that we dont mind being being forced to stay indoors, to let police into our houses whenever they want, to be under constant surveillance, because there are "madmen" on the loose and we have to catch them. Its like a mass case of stockholm syndrome.
  • Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:01PM (#43504365)

    The authorities said "please stay inside, don't go to work or anything". Most people did, either because of the perceived danger (desperate fugitive with explosives and guns and a willingness, even perhaps a desire, to use them against random citizens) or because they wanted to do what little they could to help authorities catch the perpetrators of the marathon bombings.

    Nobody got arrested for not staying inside. It was a temporary measure, and a ruinously expensive one in economic terms -- so they're not likely to do this again except in equally extreme situations.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:03PM (#43504377) Homepage Journal
    Says the brit whose country is PEPPERED with an intrusive, Orwellian, CCTV system. Is "feer" the British spelling?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:03PM (#43504381)

    If two people with makeshift bombs can cause a major city to go on lockdown, isn't the message to terrorists that a multi-city disruption -- say, shutting down from Boston to Philly -- wouldn't take very many people or that much coordination?

  • Oh the iirony. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:12PM (#43504449)

    The guy was found when they let people out of their houses and one of them stumbled across the guy. If they had let people out earlier would he have been found earlier? Funny thing is if they had waited until night to lift the ban he might have slipped away.

    What's more consider what happened. The people hid from one militant guy. Compare this to 1776 when British militants walked on a town. Citizens decided to gather together to oppose them despite the risk to their lives (, and many did die ). Boy how this country has changed.

     

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:14PM (#43504471)

    I live in Boston and I don't see what "freedoms" I just gave up. This was a one-time deal; it does not have to be the standard response for every event. If a police lockdown became overkill and burdensome for some set of circumstances, and possibly encouraging to terrorists, then residents would let their officials know that they need to lighten up in the future. This was not one of those times.

    Sometimes you guys seem so intent on spinning off on your political abstractions that common sense is ignored. The lockdown made it a lot easier for law enforcement to do their jobs without worrying about crowd control, collateral damage, the suspect blending into the street scene, etc. And the police did do an excellent job.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dadelbunts (1727498) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:18PM (#43504497)
    Thats why the suspect was found AFTER the lockdown, by a guy walking around outside his house.
  • rediculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:20PM (#43504523)

    This entire thing was ridiculous and made so by the police. 2 men shut down one of the largest cities on earth. These sorts of attacks happen all the time most other parts of the world. Imagine living in Israel or Syria. If they ever get 20 guys again like 9/11 and they all just get rifles and randomly start shooting people all over the country like the Washington sniper did this countries going to become a police state if the police react like this. More people were killed in Massachusetts in the past week in car accidents then by these bombers. Where was the police presence to prevent those fatalities? Oh, that's right, they were busy firing thousands of rounds at a 2 guys in a residential neighborhood.

  • by icebike (68054) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:20PM (#43504525)

    If two people with makeshift bombs can cause a major city to go on lockdown, isn't the message to terrorists thatmedia multi-city disruption -- say, shutting down from Boston to Philly -- wouldn't take very many people or that much coordination?

    Where are my mod points!?

    Regardless of constitutional issues, this is the central lesson learned by terrorist wannabes due to this event.

    It wouldn't take much imagination to see even small two man teams in different population centers to disrupt the entire eastern seaboard by bombing Christmas shopping or major sports events or campaign rallies or whatever.

    "Shelter in Place" could become a phrase we come to detest. Especially if the nanny statists decided to let social media solve all crimes in the future.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tp1024 (2409684) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:25PM (#43504553)

    Absolutely. And it wasn't just the lockdown of the whole city, but also a "public safety exception" voiding the constitutional right to have a lawyer. I think we witnessed an object lesson in history. How did fascism take over Germany? One perfectly justifiable step after another. Why didn't people object? Only few did and all the others said "shut up".

    It was a bleak day. [wordpress.com] That I won't forget. [wordpress.com]

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:28PM (#43504565)

    Two devices went off, police were looking for two suspects... there was no particularly strong evidence that there would be dozens of people out there or something. I suspect it comes down to just the word "terrorism" causing people to refuse to apply the kind of logic they normally apply.

    I've lived in neighborhoods where people were shot, and the gunman was an fugitive. It was more likely in those cases that there could be wider involvement of a larger group, because often people who perpetrate shootings are gang members. While it's rare, occasionally these fugitive scenarios actually do end up in a shootout that involves a dozen people. Yet, the police don't lock down all of Atlanta every other week just in case.

    I think the key here is predictability. Neighbourhood criminals have known haunts. We were dealing with people who were extremely mobile and armed with explosives. We didn't know who their partners in crime (if any) were, we didn't know where they were likely to go. They had been located in downtown Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown. Their last known location was Watertown, and that's where the actual door-to-door searching was going on, but the danger was that they'd break free and head in a random direction. By clearing the streets, the citizens of Boston ensured that they'd stick out like a sore thumb. Terrorists hate standing out except while they are actively creating terror. They'd much rather fade into the crowd, unless they're making a suicide stand.

    This was as much a statement by the populace as it was an exercise in police powers. The police routinely do stuff more intrusive than that in the event of natural disaster, but there are invariably holdouts. Wait until hurricane season, and see. Any holdouts in Boston didn't make it to the news.

    Some may claim this is a slippery slope, but I'd say it's closer to "You can run, but you cannot hide". It was actually a turn up from the recent trends that the populace are helpless sheep and the wise people in the government will handle it all. Sometimes the best action you can take is to stay out of the way.

    Human nature being what it is, however, I doubt that any future voluntary lockdowns will be as successful. People will only put up with so much of it. Especially if there's no compelling demonstration that such extremes are necessary.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:29PM (#43504573)

    > You're proposing that people be told it's safe to go
    > about their business as usual even though a
    > dangerous person is out there.

    There's always a dangerous *something* out there. And yes, I do go about my business as usual.

    I am, for example, *FAR* more likely to be run down by a taxi or MUNI bus while crossing the street downtown than I am to be killed in any kind of terrorist attack. And yet, I still leave the house every day, cross streets, ride busses, subways, and streetcars; and even drive in the city in the cases when public transit is unworkable. I even go out clubbing or bar-hopping at night and cross the street and walk down the sidewalk when it's quite likely that there are motorists driving around inebriated. All of those activities present far more danger to me than "teh terrorists" do. And yet I don't cower in my home in fear of an errant motor vehicle.

  • Re:Oh the iirony. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:32PM (#43504583) Homepage

    The people hid from one militant guy.

    I wouldn't really say that most people were *hiding* -- that is, I don't think they were staying inside due to fear of the bad guy -- but rather trying to let the professionals (the police and federal agents) who were searching for this very dangerous bad guy to do their job with the least interference and confusion possible.

  • by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:39PM (#43504625) Homepage
    As a non-American I find this weird:
    • A couple of people execute a plan to blow hundreds of innocent athlete/spectators' limbs off,
    • The police use technology to work with the public to catch/kill them in a matter of days with no additional casualties,
    • Some Americans then go wallow in self-hatred over either
      • How scared they are of the police intruding on their freedom,
      • Or how easily scared they are.

    I can't believe people are saying to the effect of "only three people died, less than the deaths caused by normal crime." Surely there is a difference between those looking to maim hundreds of innocent people and the sum of everyday crime?
    How can people be so wishy-washy about this? A couple of complete assholes have just ruined hundreds of peoples' lives, and people feel conflicted about the manhunt that ended in their death and arrest?

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:41PM (#43504639)

    Step back a minute and take in the whole situation: terrorist bombing, assassinated cop, carjacking, robbery, shoot out with police involving more bombs, and then escape by one of the suspects.

    Its clear to me that the only goal the suspects had in mind was to cause harm to society in any way possible. So what does society do? It reacts in order to nullify that threat.

    When the city goes on lock down, that is to help the police do there job, but it is also to secure the citizens. Given how the situation played out, it is very possible that the suspect(s) would have killed anyone they came across. So the lockdown was justified.

    "Stay inside because there is a guy out there willing to fucking kill anyone he sees and he has bombs". Its justified in my opinion.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:41PM (#43504643)

    Yes. But luckily, you've got plenty of guns, which once again proved their usefulness on this occasion, by... Oh, never mind.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:41PM (#43504645)

    what is this lockdown people keep mentioning?

    they shut down public transportation, and asked that people stay inside, not like the fucking army came in and blocked all roads and placed a guard at your door with the threat of death

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:41PM (#43504649)

    Which doesn't make the lockdown make any less sense. As it turned out the thinking was correct; the suspect was on the loose hiding at someones house. The guy was pretty lucky that the second suspect was shot up; otherwise had the suspect been more aware he could easily have killed the guy when he went to look in the boat. Happily it didn't turn out that way.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:45PM (#43504673)

    Most people did, either because of the perceived danger (desperate fugitive with explosives and guns and a willingness, even perhaps a desire, to use them against random citizens) or because they wanted to do what little they could to help authorities catch the perpetrators of the marathon bombings.

    Or the perceived danger of being mistakenly shot in the street by a trigger-happy militarized police force.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misexistentialist (1537887) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:49PM (#43504705)
    Since when is "ruinously expensive" an obstacle for the government? A couple of months ago Massachusetts locked down the roads of the entire state, threatening drivers with arrest, for a fairly typical winter storm. This kind of thing is already becoming the new normal, just like it's become normal for police to be indistinguishable from combat soldiers.
  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sribe (304414) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:53PM (#43504737)

    to put things in perspective, guns kill about 100 people per day in the US.

    1) Bullshit. The actual number is 8,000-10,000 per year, which is of course too much, but less than 1/3 your claim.

    2) Bullshit. 25-30 per day in a country of over 300,000,000 are spread out among isolated incidents which police have very little chance of preventing. In Boston, they had a single attacker, shooting at multiple people, and throwing multiple bombs, in a small known area, in a short time, and ***EVERY*** reason in the world to believe that he would continue his attempts at murdering more people until the moment he was captured or killed.

  • Re:rediculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:55PM (#43504753) Homepage

    If they ever get 20 guys again like 9/11 and they all just get rifles and randomly start shooting people all over the country like the Washington sniper did this countries going to become a police state if the police react like this.

    Right; more people are killed by car accidents every day than by 20 snipers taking out people at random across the country. I say in that situation the police should ignore the snipers and go look for drunk drivers and speeding!

    Frankly until terrorists are killing more people within the US than cancer and heart disease put together, I don't see much point going after it.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:03PM (#43504795)

    Averaging over the whole country for the whole year, you are (as you noted) far, far more likely to be killed by something "mundane" like a car. However, on the day and in the neighborhood where a desperate fugitive (who's already shown a propensity for killing people) is loose, the odds are significantly shifted. Shutting down too large an area (e.g. a whole gigantic city) might be on the excessive side (where the specific danger is "lost in the noise" of regular daily harms); however, extra caution in a narrower area (e.g. locking down a university campus or suburb) may be well-justified in terms of risk mitigation, where the risk of being harmed within that specific geographic and time window is drastically higher than the long-term regional average risks of daily living.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Holi (250190) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:21PM (#43504937)

    I would hardly say what the Boston PD and FBI did were the actions of a trigger happy police force. All in all it was a text book example of correct police work. They stayed on target and solved this case in record time. It was the media who gave the worst show. So let's not blame the authorities on the failure of the media.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alen (225700) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:22PM (#43504947)

    because there are always some morons who go out into extreme weather conditions and then it costs lots of money to rescue these morons or clean up the mess after they die on the road

  • Re:Bad Judgement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holi (250190) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:28PM (#43504995)

    Correct, though the people may deserve some sympathy what is needed from our politicians is an investigation as to why this plant was allowed to flaunt safety regulations. The greatest respect we can show the victims of the West Texas accident is to hold those responsible accountable, from the owners of the plant to the regulators who failed to perform the required inspections.

    West Texas was completely preventable, and a failure of regulatory oversight.

  • by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:30PM (#43505015) Homepage

    Far more lives were affected by the lockdown than by the bombing itself. Who are these hypothetical "someone"s you speak of? The victims' families?

    I meant affected in a non-trivial way. My life has been "affected" by reading about it, and someone who was advised to stay indoors while they caught the suspects was "affected", but to say your life has been affected by it in a way that can be counted against someone who had a leg blown off is an insult.

    Civil panic would be a horrible way to "honor" the death of one of my loved ones.

    Civil panic being "Please stay indoors while we finish chasing down the other person who did this to your loved ones" ? I guess in that situation you would probably have places you need to be though, and who cares if having everyone moving around while an armed chase plays out makes casualties/hostage taking/escape more likely?

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Holi (250190) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:38PM (#43505059)

    True, but most of us aren't anti gun we are just pro gun regulation.

  • by cweditor (779169) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:41PM (#43505075) Homepage
    There is a continuum on a scale that goes from "I have my own rights and I don't care about anyone else" to "What the individual wants isn't important, it's only the common good that matters." Most of us dislike both extremes and find our beliefs somewhere between the two. In this case, most residents thought the emergency and very temporary needs of their community were significantly more important than their own personal convenience and voluntarily complied with a request to stay in for part of a day. Seems eminently reasonable to me, and so I find it curious to be critical of that.
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:49PM (#43505119)

    Costs more to rescue the xx-number of morons in the snow vs the total daily economic output of the state? Perhaps Mass is far poorer than I believe, but I doubt the numbers justify the loss. The purpose isn't to make the common man safer, it's to remove the *emergency* from the emergency workers lives. But then, I'm a cynic.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @02:55PM (#43505521)

    Just to be clear, "text book correct police work" is to chase a suspect through the night in a car, have them escape, lock down an entire city (not just the area they escaped, the entire city including public transport and air travel) except for dunkin donuts [boston.com], conduct completely fruitless door to door searches all day long, finally admit you aren't getting anywhere and then let the citizens find your suspect for you?

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @02:57PM (#43505533)

    I doubt a whole day's economic output was actually destroyed. Certainly, there was some loss --- but a lot of economic activity just ends up being moved to the day(s) after. If you can't buy groceries on one day, your family probably doesn't eat a day's less of food; you just make a slightly bigger grocery run the next day. Goods scheduled to be delivered aren't tossed in a pile and incinerated. Yes, there will be marginal inefficiencies created, but I suspect that far less than (annual economic output)/365 was lost.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:03PM (#43505573)

    Civil panic would be a horrible way to "honor" the death of one of my loved ones. Speaking only for myself -- the only person I can speak for -- I would find no offense, and perhaps even some small glimmer of comfort, in my community and country opting to follow the British war slogan: "Keep calm, and carry on".

    You do know that the British took shelter during air raids, don't you? Apparently not - you would apparently consider that a cop out and civil panic. Unless you have a very good reason (antiaircraft crew, civil defense staff) you take shelter during the air raid. Unless you have a very good reason, you stay away from gun battles and man hunts. You don't keep running the buses and offer the terrorist a gift of 60 hostages to soak up the ball bearings in his suicide vest!

    Here is a hint: For the ordinary person, the real test comes after the event is over. Do you return to normal life? Do you hold the next marathon? Do you ride the bus again if a suicide bomber blew himself up on your bus route yesterday. The test is not do you keep running the busses in a area of an active manhunt and firefight so you can have another memorial service after the detonation of another suicide vest.

  • by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:08PM (#43505609) Homepage

    Shutting down a city's public spaces destroys trust, [blah blah blah]. And to what end?

    Catching the people who injured 170 people and killed 3 in a terrorist attack.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:16PM (#43505643)

    Although they didn't actually solve the case in record time, did they? A guy checking on his boat in his own back yard solved the case.

  • Re:The Two Lessons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:20PM (#43505669)

    > but because there are so many medical people and other security forces around

    Not to mention the marathon finish line was only 1.4 miles away from what is arguably the best hospital in the world.

  • Option 1: Police/govt over-react, nothing bad happens: Grumbling about over reaction
    Option 2: Police/govt over-react, something bad still happens: Grumbling that still not enough was done
    Option 3: Police/govt under-react, nothing bad happens: No problem
    Option 4: Police/govt under-react, another attack happens: Everyone "responsible" as good as burnt alive at stake

    In light of the potential outcome of option 4 (which based on what these psychopaths did before and during capture was altogether probable) risk-averse structures, like governments, will choose to over-react every time.
  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @04:59PM (#43506243)

    How did fascism take over Germany?

    By spreading panic by making absurd claims about how their lifestyle was being destroyed by the powers that be, thus necessiating a revolution to return to their glorious mythical past. You know, a bit like you're doing here.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:05PM (#43506275) Journal

    I have to agree the Boston PD acted rationally and with the exception of not reading him his Miranda (somebody needs to be FIRED for screwing that up) they acted VERY professionally.

    For an example of cops more dangerous than the bad guy see the LAPD when that former cop was shooting cops, how many innocent people did they shoot again? 3? 4? I lost count it was bad enough that bloggers in the area were saying if you were a black man or drove a blue truck you had better stay indoors because they were emptying the gun first THEN seeing if it was the guy. Compared to that thumbs up Boston PD.

  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smellotron (1039250) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:06PM (#43506279)

    Thats why the suspect was found AFTER the lockdown, by a guy walking around outside his house.

    That doesn't actually mean that the lockdown had no effect. At the end of the lockdown, more people than usual were in very familiar territory (home vs. work or transit); everyone was vigilant and focused. Had there not been a lockdown, maybe the "background noise" of daily comings and goings would have been enough to mask the guy's escape.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:29PM (#43506375) Journal
    Lawyers removed the right to be an idiot by suing the state every time a moron hurts themselves, see my previous post on the "lawsuit lotto" as an example. why do you think it feels like the state is trying to baby proof the planet? because the relatives of every Darwin award winner promptly sues the state for not keeping Cleetus from hurting his poor dumb ass.
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by notanalien_justgreen (2596219) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:37PM (#43506421)

    A typical winter storm? It dropped 34.5 inches on one town overnight!! (source: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/02/09/snowfall-nearing-record-levels-several-more-inches-coming/ [cbslocal.com]). It was the 5th largest storm in the last 100 years in New England! You call that a "typical storm"? Drivers were told to stay indoor as to not interfere (and cause) with emergencies that required emergency services to use the roads. A couple accidents and suddenly not only do those people need rescuing, but the people who have heart attacks at home suddenly can't be reached because accidents are clogging the roads.

    Secondly, no one was actually put in jail for travelling on the roads - the emergency ban on travel wasn't enforced with such punitive measures - it was just a threat to let people know the ban wasn't a joke.

    Thirdly - I'll agree with you that the militarization of police is scary.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @06:05PM (#43506535) Journal

    I did and I think you're making it up. So, I asked for your source so that I can compare them for credibility. In other words, nothing I found supports your claim. You made the claim, proof is nice.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tran (721196) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @09:01PM (#43507161)

    heh, my favorite tweet I saw that Friday night was, if this had occurred in LA, 9 of the 2 suspects would have been shot dead...

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @10:03PM (#43507385) Journal

    I gave up when you changed the definition of innocent, decided 9/11 wouldn't count, and then went on to ignore (the military) the highest number of people killed by terrorists (even though the subject is people killed by terrorists, these ones don't count according to you). Of course I gave up! It's difficult to communicate with a person who doesn't speak the languages I speak. It's hard to discuss statistics when the person arbitrarily decides that they don't like the actual numbers so they have to narrow the criteria down until they finally have a number that may or may not fit. Hell, you haven't even demonstrated how many INNOCENT people are killed by police.

    The worst part is that I see what you're saying, why you're saying it, and don't think you were wrong in your conclusion other than your crazy desire to just make up statistics. You don't even NEED to make up statistics/facts which is good because the facts don't support your absurd assertion* anyhow. You're on point and 110% correct just to say that the police are too dangerous and/or kill innocent people too often.

    Of course I gave up!!! Obviously I'm insane though because I'm still responding...

    Anyhow...

    If that is what you meant then next time you should be more clear but that surely isn't what you wrote. Not to mention, deciding to completely ignore the 3000 deaths on 9/11 really really does your argument no credence. If you want to ignore facts to make a point then there's absolutely no "winning" or "losing" here though I'm not sure what I'd gain other than some new knowledge if you'd actually posted facts to back up your claim.

    You know?

    I guess you'd be correct if you'd said, "More people, who may be innocent but we don't really know how many people that is equal to, die from being shot by police than are killed by terrorists (if you completely ignore 9/11 and don't count the thousands of military members who have died at the hands of terrorists over the past ten years)! Also we might have to limit it to just home-grown terrorists just to be sure."

    That isn't what you said though nor does it sound as nice. If you're willing to ignore data you can make pretty much any statement you want but that doesn't make it factual. Your statement would look nice on a bumper sticker but it still isn't true. 9/11 and the military members who died certainly count toward the total number of lives taken by terrorists.

    I'm not saying that cops don't kill innocent people, indeed they do, but I am saying that to make a point based on statistics you actually have to have the facts to back that up. Hell, I'm not even disagreeing with your point - just that your 'facts' aren't right according to your claim. It's dishonest, disingenuous at best, to cross your fingers behind your back and claim you're not counting the two largest data sets because you don't like them and because you'd be wrong if you counted them.

    Wow, it's like arguing with a two year old. Are you doing this on purpose? LOL *sighs* I suppose you could have included that you'd like to ignore the data in your initial post but you failed to do so. Hell, it's good that you didn't mention you were ignoring half the data for the past 12 years. Everyone would have told you that that was a stupid point to make. It would have been like you claiming to be richer than everyone on Slashdot so long as we first clean the data so that it only counts people who don't have a job.

    "If you narrow down the criteria enough and select that criteria so as to ignore the largest number of deaths AND assume an unknown variable to be a certain number then cops kill more innocent US civilians than terrorists do." Maybe that is what you should have said. You might want to consider getting it on a shirt though, I think it is too long for a bumper sticker.

    *Also, is assertation a word? It's not at m-w.com but other sites have it and include a definition.

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