Police Brutality – The Myth

Update: Youtuber Sargon Of Akkad does a much better analysis of the statistics than I in this Youtube video. Please check that out if my attempt to explain the lack of bias is unclear.

Let me make clear that I do not in any way condone violent acts by officers in situations that do not call for it. I saw the Alton Sterling videos. I saw a man that appeared to be subdued get shot. In that same vein, I’m still going to exercise healthy skepticism until all of the details are in. That said, this event has brought all of the BLM wannabes out of the woodwork, so we’re going to set the record straight.

First, I’d like to direct your attention to two websites.

killedbypolice.net and The Guardian’s Police Fatality Counter

Isn’t The Guardian a British publication? Why are they involving themselves with the United States’ domestic issues? I guess the world loves to laugh at us gun nuts.

The numbers differ between the two, so we’ll use The Guardian’s numbers since they have a breakdown by race. 566 people have been killed by the cops in the United States. I wish that number were lower, but I don’t know the situations that led to every shooting. I don’t know if I would agree that each shooting was justified. So I won’t comment on it. The Guardian has the tab set to “Per Million (capita)” so it looks like Native Americans get the raw end of the deal followed quickly by blacks. I don’t like this type of comparison. Consider the following situation.

The population of Goldville is 100 people. 30 are Red, 70 are Blue. Crimes are committed entirely by Red people. Whatever the living situations of these Red people are, it just drives them to commit crime. Now Goldville has some cops, some Red, some Blue. Sometimes when they go out to stop the Reds from committing crimes, they shoot them. Sometimes the Red people shot by the Goldville police die. But since only Red people are committing the crimes prompting a police response, only Red people are killed by police. So 100% of police kills are Red people, but Red people account for only 30% of the population. So the natural conclusion is that the cops are racist for only shooting Red people, right? It would be, if you’re a Red Lives Matter activist. But it seems a bit of a poor comparison. Why would you ever expect a Blue person to get shot by the cops when the Blue people aren’t committing crimes that would prompt a police response? Seems batty to me.

So instead, we will do the following comparison. We will compare the percentage of people shot by race to the percentage of people committing crimes. This is a far more appropriate comparison. If we go back to my prior example, if 100% of crimes are committed by a race, and 100% of police fatalities are attributed to that very same race, it makes sense. So I found a table of crime statistics by race for 2013. This comes straight from the FBI so I would be inclined to trust that source. We see from the table that the arrests rates are as follows:

White: 69.8%
Black: 28.3%
Native American: 1.6%
Asian: 1.2%
Pacific Islander: 0.1%

(There’s also another column labeled Hispanic vs Not Hispanic. In which, Hispanic folk are 16.6% of arrests.)

You may have noticed that this adds up to 101% This is likely due to rounding errors in everything being given by the tenths place. Bear in mind that this seems to just be arrests. What we are doing with the following comparisons is assuming that no criminal gets away from the police. Realistically, this is false. Several people kill in a year but do not get arrested until several years later. However, for the purpose of demonstration, this will perhaps suffice.

Let’s compare the percentages of police kills by race.

White: 49.3%
Black: 24.0%
Hispanic: 15.5%
Other/Unknown: 7.1%
Native American: 2.3%
Pacific Islander: 1.8%

Now we run into the issue of ‘hispanic vs. not hispanic’. But let’s see if we can work around it. About 4.8 million arrests are in the hispanic set of columns. The question is whether or not that total (which we’ll call Total2) is a subset of Total1 (the number of arrest reported at the far left) or its own set of arrest, leading to a total of 14 million arrests in 2013. A Google search has led me to believe that they’re to be two separate totals with some kind of intersection of 2 million arrests. Which coincidentally enough is close to the number of arrests for drugs according to the DrugWarFacts.org link I used. But they also cite a different number of arrests compared to the FBI chart. But drug related arrests are accounted for in the FBI table. How inconvenient.

So long story short, my charts are far too different and I have 2 million arrests unavailable for comparison. Since hispanic isn’t included in the FBI table in the full range of races, I assume that ‘hispanic’ is split among what is listed in some way (after all, 2 million arrests are unaccounted for). My guess? The hispanic people are factored primarily into the white column. Why? Because The country is primarily white, so if there are mixed children, the probability of them having a white parent is much higher. Second (and this is anecdotal), latino folk can often pass as ‘white’ to a first glance. But they can also count as black-white mixed as well. In the case of mixed-race, I suspect the attribution to go to black. This is because there’s a culture associated with being black that’s often described as inspiring. Whereas the culture associated with being white is conquering countries and owning slaves.

For the purpose of demonstration, I will focus on black vs white in the following example. In our police kills by race percentage list, we have 22.6% of police killings locked up by hispanic and other.The country is 63.7% white, and 12.2% black (2010 census). If we split 75.9% of that 22.6% between the blacks and the whites, what do we get? Well first is that the black kill percentage goes up to about 25% which matches quite the 28% of crime committed statistic better. And the white kill percentage goes up to about 65% which is also comparable to the 70% of crimes being committed by white people statistic. Which turns out nicely, but again, this is all off of a guess of the ‘hispanic’ and ‘other’ distribution between whites and blacks.

So at the end of the day, I don’t see that much in the way of racism. If anything, Pacific Islanders get the raw end of the deal. Of course when we look at the actions cops take, there’s a ton of racism. Cops take 0.23 seconds longer to shoot black people. Cops are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black people. But that’s all based off of one study, so I don’t want to read into it too much.

Is there racism in the police force? Definitely. Is that a problem? I would not say so. I don’t have any problem with people holding racist ideals (or any ideals for that matter) if they don’t use those ideals to harm other people. I will trust a racist surgeon to operate on me just as much as I would trust a non-racist surgeon to operate on me. Because the racism shouldn’t be relevant to how well you can do your job. Even though the cops may hold racist views, it’s clearly not making them shoot more black people. Don’t hurt our cops. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Police Brutality – The Myth

Washington Post Please

So it has come to this Washington Post. I can’t believe that it has come to this. I have known for a while that your writers have their own agenda to push and I respect that. I’ll still read it every now and again for a chuckle. Kinda like Salon or Slate, but with writers a bit more serious and to the point and not outrageously biased. But now you’ve come to this? Contradicting yourself in your own articles? Let’s take a look at this article. All quote boxes will come from the article unless otherwise stated.

So one thing to note is the title. “Men say they work more than women. Here’s the truth”. Such a title implies that women would work more than men. Otherwise, the title wouldn’t be worded in such a way. Otherwise, the title would be worded “Men work more than women” or something to that effect. So right off the bat, I’m assuming that this article is going to try to tell me that women work more than men. For people with an agenda of equality, such a statement should still pose a problem but whatever.

Since 2003, when government researchers started collecting the data, men have reported devoting more life to paid labor than their female counterparts. In 2015, employed men recorded working an average 42 minutes per day longer than employed women. Women, meanwhile, said they spent more time on housework: 2.6 hours, compared to the men’s 2.1 hours.

Huh. Actually looks like they forgot their agenda. So men do work more per day than women, and women spend more time on housework. However, men still work more overall. There are 60 minutes in an hour, and 42 minutes is 70% of an hour, or 0.7 hours. Women work 0.5 hours more than men on housework. So the net difference is that overall… men work 0.2 hours more than women (12 minutes). Unfortunately I don’t know what the housework totals are for, weekly or daily. I’m assuming it’s per day. So with men working 12 minutes more (on average) per day, over the course of a year men will work 73 more hours than women. That’s over two full work weeks! Oh, but you know that the author needs to push their agenda in the face of facts. So how do they negotiate this obstacle? Part-time employment.

“This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time,” the authors explained. “However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women — 8.2 hours compared with 7.8 hours.”

Ouch, do you hear the sound of a crumbling narrative? Part-time jobs are kind of like a double-sided knife. They tend to offer flexible hours but they’re not always a consistent set of hours. So maybe it is better to consider full-time employees. Except when you do that, it seems men still work 24 minutes more per day. Well then it’s open and shut, isn’t it? Oh no, it’s never that simple when it comes to dealing with people pushing an agenda on lies.

Let’s start with a few massive caveats in the Labor Department’s report. First, the researchers asked each respondent to log their own time. Nobody submitted manager-approved work hours, and research tells us one of the sexes generally tends to overestimate. Secondly, the survey didn’t measure productivity or efficiency. Workaholism isn’t necessarily a sign of value.

You know, it’s good that they worded it the way that they did. Otherwise they’d be caught telling a lie. The research they’re referring to suggests that men will overestimate their abilities and performance while women will underestimate their abilities and performance. I have anecdotes which suggest the same; however I believe the implication is that men would lie about how many hours that they worked. But it’s weird. They link to an Atlantic article which doesn’t suggest that men lie about the hours they work, just that men take more chances. Women hold themselves back. Which has pretty much been what the wage gap deniers have been telling people all along but ‘muh wage gap’. Why is the Washington Post trying to imply that men would lie about their hours rather than the more natural conclusion that men just work more? And then it states that the survey didn’t measure productivity or efficiency, which might be true. But that was never the point of the survey. The point was just to get a gauge on how much people work. When the data came out, men worked more. But that runs counter to your narrative, so now you’re stuck in a spot in which you need to find a way around it. So you go to “men lie” and “the quality of goods was never measure, women could be making goods the same quality or with better quality”.

You know, in science when there’s a lack of evidence for a hypothesis, we tend to discard that hypothesis. But not Washington Post. No, they continue to pump out clickbait articles which either try to slither around the truth or just outright lie. And I can’t help but feel that in the war of the sexes in labor, the only person that wins is the employer. With men and women competing harder, they can drive down wages and make promotions more competitive.

In one 2005 study, Carnegie Mellon economist Linda Babcock showed people clips of men and women asking for a raise, following the same script. Male viewers deemed the men’s negotiating style smooth, while women using identical words registered as too demanding.

See, I hate this. They cite ‘studies’ but they don’t cite the study itself, rather someone else reporting on it. They did it with The Atlantic earlier, and now they’re doing it to themselves (oddly enough). When someone tells me the result of a study, I’d kinda like to see the study. Of course the article they cite also just mentions the study, rather than citing the study directly. But it’s actually important that we see the study itself. Which I found here (Bowles, Babcock, and Lai). Though truly, the author of this page should’ve cited it directly if possible.

We also need to see how the negotiations went down. There’s more to communication in requesting a raise than just following a script. We in the educated community often refer to it as ‘acting’. What makes Will Smith a better actor than any arbitrary actor? If you follow the same script, either one of you can get hired for the next big movie, right? Wrong. It’s how you deliver lines. Delivering lines has more to do with tone and body language than it does with the lines themselves. When you look at the study itself, it’s Experiment 3, and the experimenters apparently told the actors to deliver the lines in the same manner.

During the rehearsal for the taping, we coached them to enact the script as similarly as possible to one another (e.g., by providing instruction on tone and pace of voice, etc.) – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

But this apparently had its own host of problems.

For instance, women tend to smile more often than men. […] If the female actors’ behavior differed more between the no ask and ask conditions than did the male actors’ behavior (e.g., they smiled relatively less), then that would suggest an alternative explanation for any findings of interaction effects between the gender of the candidate and the ask manipulation. – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Just a note, ‘ask’ and ‘no ask’ refer to

Across the negotiation conditions, the candidates either accepted their compensation offers without comment (no ask) or initiated negotiations (ask). – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

What do we find?

both male and female evaluators were less inclined to work with female candidates who initiated negotiations as compared to those who did not – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Yes. This was observed. However, what they also found that male evaluators were less inclined to work with female candidates initiating negotiations and that female evaluators were less inclined to work with male candidates. Which means there may be more at play here, such as physical attraction. The evaluator likely did not want to feel like they awarded a raise due to physical attraction, which leads to this effect. Which is likely why this was observed:

As shown by the means in Table 7, attempting to negotiate for higher compensation had no significant effect on male evaluators’ willingness to work with male candidates. […] However, the ask manipulation had a significantly negative effect on female evaluators’ willingness to work with male candidates – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Precisely. In fact, this effect seems to be higher for female evaluators of male applicants than male evaluators of female applicants! (looking at the table). This effect isn’t drastically higher, however it is higher nonetheless.

The evaluators were asked to evaluate the ‘niceness’, ‘demandingness’, and ‘competence’ of the applicants. They did this on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being ‘extremely’. So a person rated with a niceness of 5 is perceived to be more nice than someone rated with a niceness of 4. And what we do we find? Women were found to be ‘nicer’ to both male and female evaluators for both the ask and no ask situations. This is likely due to that habit women have of smiling more during the interviews, as noted earlier. Men were found to be more ‘demanding’ to both men and women in the no ask situation and in the ask situation. And the ‘competence’ seemed to be rather close with the exception of male applicants where women tend to find men drastically less competent. Weird.

We expected the competence thing (except for that one condition), because male and female applicants were given the same script and a same resume. So strictly speaking, they should be equally competent. The niceness and demandingness would come down to deliver, which, again, comes down to the acting. If we get anything out of this study, I think we should be getting “negotiate with the same sex (if possible)” out of it.

So in short, I don’t buy the fish, at least not wholly. Let’s go back to the Washington Post article

In the United States, women now financially support 40 percent of homes and tend to take on more domestic chores. They typically spend two hours and 12 minutes on daily housework, while men invest about one hour and 21 minutes into the home. – Washington Post

This is odd, because earlier it was stated that in 2015 men do 2.1 hours of housework per day, while women do 2.6 hours of housework per day. So which is it? Are you citing another study or statistic? Because you did not indicate that you were doing so.

It’s strange that in this day and age that I have to ask for quality articles from the Washington Post. I grew up listening to Sousa’s Washington Post March which (I assume) was commissioned for the early days of this organization’s publishing. The Washington Post March is iconic, everyone (well, not really but you know what I mean) can recognize it by its introduction! I’m just really frustrated with the news. I don’t get it all from one place, but what’s happening now is that I’m not looking for where I can get news anymore. I’m looking for where I can’t get news. Because I’m more concerned that the news I read is total BS from some nutter that found an editor to hire them than it being actual news. My time is valuable and even if I waste a lot of it looking at kittens, it doesn’t mean that what’s leftover to read about what’s happening today or what’s happening in science is not important. I’m just really disappointed. Anyway, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Washington Post Please

Where’s the Media Bias?

A common complaint I see among Sanders supporters is this ‘media bias’. As if the media is out to get Sanders and shut down their bid for the presidency. I do not believe this to be true (at least, not in the way these people mean it) and in this little blog post, I’m going to tell you exactly why I feel that way.

So first of all, I’m going to begin with the statement that all of this is an opinion. In my opinion, none of the candidates have truly been treated fairly in the media. At least, not in the bulk of the media. There are some media in which I beleive some candidates are being treated more fairly than others but, again, opinion. As far as television networks go, I believe Clinton has been treated fairly if not the nearest so. They are the one that has been consistently and reasonably critiqued by the news networks. The only one. If we regard Sanders, he has gotten plenty of coverage for a runner-up. Some may say more than enough. You can complain about the analysis, but you can’t complain that no networks talk about Sanders. Especially when you spout socialism left and right. That was the first thing they touched upon. I’m not sure, but I suggest that when the Sanders supporters claim that Sanders gets no (television) media coverage, what they’re really saying is that no one in the media agrees with them in that Sanders is going to go all the way. But even if it were true, even if the (television) media bias wanted to shut Sanders down, I have to ask the question: does it really matter?

The government, at the advent of public broadcasting, incentivized stations to broadcast news as a means of maintaining a well-informed populus. They did this by funding the stations under the requirement that these stations broadcast specific programming. These programs include educational programs, local news, supporting the arts, the sorts of things that make our culture, well, our culture. And maybe you disagree as to whether or not they’re fulfilling these needs. Well, I’ve got some news for you. I’ve done a little bit of research on television broadcasting. I didn’t read the entire thing. Most of it seems to apply to permits to construct, maintenance standards, and broadcasting (the waves being broadcast, that is) standards. I focused on the issues regarding what you broadcast. It turns out, that these stations can be fined if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. They have to renew a license every eight years or so. They do this by proving that their station held up its end of the deal (the whole broadcasting for public interest thing). But nowhere did I see that the broadcasting has to be unbiased (please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll retract my statements). And that’s actually pretty good news because I don’t think that I’ve yet to see a program that is fully unbiased.

Now let’s remember that running a station costs money. To make money, you need people to be watching your channel. This incentivizes stations to broadcast popular programs. As an unintentional side-effect of this, stations need to broadcast bias. Because the fact of the matter is that people like to be told that they’re right. They like to be justified in their views. Unfortunately, this means that if stations want to reach the most people, they need to broadcast to their audience. They can’t afford to cast open a wide net and hope some people gravitate towards them. Or at least, that would be inefficient. It’s much safer and easier to just form your echo chamber and rail against the gods and have your viewers come with you. Do I like this? No. Not in the least. I agree with the sentiment that these stations should broadcast unbiased news. It SHOULD be fair. It SHOULD be balanced. When it isn’t, it just turns me off from stations. But I am in the minority, I’m an idealist. The fact of the matter is enough people want these echo chambers that the stations aren’t changing their programs.

And to be completely honest, I don’t blame them. This is their business. They’re in this to make money. I would never presume to tell others how to run their business, especially since I have no stock in this business. If you want to make changes in a business, buy stock in them. Perhaps some of you are members of a website or another. Do you realize that every time you log in, every time you enter that space, that you can be removed from it at any time? You have the right to voice any opinion you want on any website. But you need to remember that you are a guest there, and the owner has every right to remove you should they so desire. So when I see people complaining that Sanders isn’t covered enough, I can’t help but wonder if Sanders might have some agenda that is against their self-interest. Broadcasting Sanders in a favourable light can only hurt their business. Why would you demand that someone hurt their own business? So no, even if the stations are Anti-Sanders, even if that claim is substantiated, I’m not sure that it matters. The stations are under no obligation to cover Sanders in the way that you desire. They are under no obligation to broadcast unbiased programs. Hell, every educational program aimed at kids that I can think of eventually has the ‘drugs’ episode and the ‘guns’ episode. And these are topics which are covered in a VERY biased way.

Hold up though. I live in a first-world society. Maybe you do too. We have something called the Internet. Personally, I think that the Internet is a much more efficient, if not also more dangerous information highway. Ideas can spread faster than ever before, even across oceans. The Internet is here, and I fully support our new Google Overlords. And speaking of Google Overlords… maybe you’ve heard of YouTube? It’s a wonderful website full of user-generated content. And people across the world can reach other people across the world with their opinions on this YouTube. And you can hear these opinions at any time, not just at 6PM on Channel 5. Even better! You can pause and rewind broadcasts! You can carefully pull apart something that someone has said, which is a feature not everyone with a TV can abuse. What do we find on YouTube? What sorts of opinions? All sorts. If you want Pro-Sanders media, look no further. The only problem is that you have to slog through so many masses of stuff that it can be hard to find the actual “good” stuff. But like I said at the start, the internet is very messy.

Also, can we briefly mention online pubs? If ever you wanted to find Pro-Sanders media (remember, this is part of the media as well!) you better bring a raincoat because the tsunami comes. Salon.com, Huffington Post, Washington Post, LA Times, all of these pubs feature a fairly heavy Sanders bias. Why, today Salon.com published an article saying that Wisconsin was a total blowout for Sanders. He won in 99% of counties! Wow! Only they neglected to mention that Sanders only won close to 57% of the popular vote! It’s a total misrepresentation of the race! And this is the same bullshit I see coming from the Pro-Sanders camp daily. They note how Sanders wins states but not delegates. They note how Sanders wins counties and not delegates. The popular vote is the important thing when distributing delegates. Sanders got +9 from Wisconsin, barely denting the lead Clinton has over them (still well over 200+ delegates). God damn, I can’t scroll down their article list without seeing tremendously left-leaning articles. The titles make me sick to my stomach. And it gets even better! Notice how all of the TV stations favor Clinton? Many pubs favor Sanders over Clinton! Why is bias on one media acceptable while bias on the other is unacceptable? Tell me that Sanders supporters. Where is the line drawn for the hypocrisy? It’s sickening. Completely and utterly disgusting.

If we want to talk real anti-candidate bias, we should be talking about Trump. I have yet to find an outlet without bias regarding Trump. Either they’re Hitler (by the way, let’s forget that Sanders is Lenin) they’re racist, they’re some kind of extremist that breeds violence. But such claims are just propaganda. Trump has never directly told his supporters to go out and cause trouble. Granted, some violence is coming from Trump supporters, but that’s not Trump. Trump isn’t inciting this violence. Trump isn’t sending their supporters to disrupt rallies. Trump isn’t sending supporters to disrupt private, peaceful events. I recently came across a video of an experiment (in a very loose sense of the word) of a guy pretending to support Sanders and the same guy pretending to support Trump. As a Sanders supporter, it was all thumbs up, peace, and smiles. No one aggressed him. As a Trump supporter? Lots of violence, and one person even admitted that they were supporting Sanders before attacking this host. Why is Trump met with violence, while Sanders is not? Why does the media seem so intent to destroy Trump? Bias

While Clinton ‘may’ have television under wraps, Sanders has the Internet. One is vastly more powerful than the other. And it seems like the entire left is out to paint Trump a Nazi, a nationalist, a racist, and any other kind of non-white bigot. The left is scared of Trump, the right is scared of Trump. If I were Trump, I would be seriously scared of assassination right now. And I’d like to note, when I make these posts about Trump, I’m not trying to support them. I’m trying to support being fair to them. I’m trying to support being fair to every candidate. Which I don’t see happening at all. So to bring us back to where we started, is there a media bias? Most definitely. But I think if we’re going to begin the discussion about media bias, perhaps we should start with Trump.

Artemis Hunt

Where’s the Media Bias?