The point of a gun (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, April 13, 2021, 11:33 pm.

  2. April 15, 2021, 8:50 am:

    • Comparing the gun Kim Potter was carrying when she killed Daunte Wright with a Taser,

      “A Glock is a very lightweight handgun,” said Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, spokeswoman for the National Police Association and a retired 29-year veteran of the Naperville Police Department in Illinois. “But a Taser is heavier than you think.”

      Still, while the grips on the Glocks and Tasers are made from a similar type of polymer, Glocks have a trigger safety while Tasers do not.

      “They feel differently in your hands,” said Dennis Kenney, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor and a former Florida police officer.

      Also, most police departments, including Brooklyn Center, require that officers carry their guns on their dominant side and Tasers on the opposite side to lower the risk of confusing the two weapons, the experts said. That’s also what Axon, the maker of the Taser, recommends.

      “You can tell from the video that the Brooklyn Center officers were doing that,“ Smith said.

      So what’s more likely, Smith said, is that Potter experienced something called “slip and capture.”

      “It’s not like she looked at her gun and thought it was a Taser,” Smith said. “It’s a horrible, horrible motor glitch that could happen in high-stress situations. I liken it to when you get into a rental car and go to start it up, you automatically reach for what’s familiar to you before realizing that you’re not in your car. The same issue could have happened here with the Taser.”[9]

      But there’s also the question of whether this traffic stop needed to have been made at all:

      After viewing the video footage of Wright’s last moments, the experts told NBC News they saw other deficiencies in how the traffic stop was handled.

      “If this was a normal traffic stop, then why were there three officers there,” [Dennis] Kenney said. “And given what’s [possibly referring to the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of Oscar Grant[10]] been going on, why make a traffic stop at all?”[11]

      Something I noticed early in the COVID-19 pandemic around Pittsburgh was that three police cars would routinely appear at traffic stops. Given how rarely I see anybody pulled over for anything around Pittsburgh, to all of a sudden see this frequently seemed heavy-handed, but I’m guessing these cops didn’t have anything else to do, which might also explain why this stop of Daunte Wright was made in the first place.

    • A wheel sensor failed on my car, leading to a “Check VSC System” indication, so I’ve been down. I’ve been revamping my section on “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated,” updating it largely from my now greater experience with Pittsburgh driving and breaking it up into multiple pages, mostly to make it more manageable.


Polls


This issue first caught my eye when I saw that response rates were down to nine percent.[12] Per my first research methods professor, way back in 2003 or 2004, who was then worried, if I recall correctly, that response rates were down to sixty or seventy percent, they’re supposed to be at least ninety percent, a full order of magnitude higher. More recently, I’m seeing that response rates are even lower, six or seven percent.[13] And it isn’t working out.[14] This can only be viewed as a completely bogus implementation of survey methodology, but remarkably,[15] pollsters still have jobs.

Steven Shepard, “Dem pollsters acknowledge ‘major errors’ in 2020 polling,” Politico, April 13, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/13/dems-polling-failure-481044


Daunte Wright

There is a new blog post entitled, “At the point of a gun.”

Matt McKinney, “Cases in which a service pistol is mistaken for a Taser are rare,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, April 12, 2021, https://www.startribune.com/cases-in-which-a-service-pistol-is-mistaken-for-a-taser-are-rare/600045269/

Corky Siemaszko, “Daunte Wright was stopped for expired plates, but driving while Black may have been his ‘crime,’” NBC News, April 12, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/daunte-wright-was-stopped-expired-plates-driving-while-black-may-n1263878

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Daunte Wright shooting: Officer ‘mistook gun for Taser,’” April 13, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56724798

Corky Siemaszko, “How a veteran officer could have mistaken a Glock for a Taser in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,” NBC News, April 13, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-veteran-officer-could-have-mistaken-glock-taser-fatal-shooting-n1263976


Google

James Vincent, “Google is poisoning its reputation with AI researchers,” Verge, April 13, 2021, https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/13/22370158/google-ai-ethics-timnit-gebru-margaret-mitchell-firing-reputation


Ride sharing

Even the Wall Street Journal argues that Uber and Lyft need to improve driver incentives.[16]

Laura Forman, “Uber and Lyft Need a Sharper Turn,” Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-and-lyft-need-a-sharper-turn-11618311794


  1. [9]Corky Siemaszko, “How a veteran officer could have mistaken a Glock for a Taser in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,” NBC News, April 13, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-veteran-officer-could-have-mistaken-glock-taser-fatal-shooting-n1263976
  2. [10]Corky Siemaszko, “Daunte Wright was stopped for expired plates, but driving while Black may have been his ‘crime,’” NBC News, April 12, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/daunte-wright-was-stopped-expired-plates-driving-while-black-may-n1263878
  3. [11]Corky Siemaszko, “How a veteran officer could have mistaken a Glock for a Taser in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,” NBC News, April 13, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-veteran-officer-could-have-mistaken-glock-taser-fatal-shooting-n1263976
  4. [12]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409
  5. [13]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  6. [14]Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far; David A. Graham, “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy,” Atlantic, November 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/polling-catastrophe/616986/; Steven Shepard, “Dem pollsters acknowledge ‘major errors’ in 2020 polling,” Politico, April 13, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/13/dems-polling-failure-481044
  7. [15]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  8. [16]Laura Forman, “Uber and Lyft Need a Sharper Turn,” Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-and-lyft-need-a-sharper-turn-11618311794

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