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context: I am a super liberal hippy. I'm really left, like, crazy.

I paused reading your comment at "instead you need to go down several" because I wanted to test my current knowledge of this incident: almost nothing, I know, hard to believe, given the claim at the start. (I've been under a lot of stress at work, it's OK, I'm fine, thanks for asking though :) )

So I read the article... Here is the first paragraph under "What happened in Louisville?"

"Shortly after midnight on March 13, Louisville police officers, executing a search warrant, used a battering ram to crash into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician. After a brief confrontation, they fired several shots, striking her at least eight times."

OK - so, I feel like I completely understand this is a complicated situation, not one where the cops kicked down the door and started shooting.

1. "After a brief confrontation"

This is an obvious "and cut-to," that is, I know lots of stuff happened here. I would expect a reader who isn't completely engulfed in polarizing furor to think about this for a second like I did.

2. Gunshots after a confrontation

I think this might be contentious, or where this is all loaded up... When I see "a confrontation" followed by "eight gunshots" - I actually do assume there was some reason that a reasonable gun toting police offer might have to fire after a confrontation. To me, this sets a pretty clear context.

Let me add some more that came in later paragraphs that helped crystalize my understanding and leaves me feeling like the article here isn't really as biased as you are reading it as, though, I am not accusing you of being biased, or misreading the article. I can't begin to know all the things that contribute to your thinking, and vice-versa!

3. no-knock warrant

While this all sounded like a completely legal entry, and a normal police procedure, here are my personal "let me add some context to how I interpret this" thoughts.

- If I were a POC (I'm not), multiple plain-clothed white men with guns just stormed into my apartment. This is immediately tense. Imagine how you would react. What's going through your mind as a civilian? Keep in mind, police should be trained to do a no-knock warrant. They should be experienced and cool as a cucumber. I want this in our operators who go into dangerous situations, in fact, I expect it. You can train for danger. There is no excuse for imprecision when you are dealing with life and death, especially if, when doing it, you aren't planning to deal with life or death.

4. Her home was searched not because of an actual crime she committed, but because it was a possible drop-off location for a package involved in a crime.

This feels really weak. Investigate the location then. Stake it out. Find your target and gather more evidence. This sounds rushed, and desperate. Storming an intermediate source of evidence rather than waiting for a better opportunity? Welp, it's not my job so I honestly don't know. I'm not in law enforcement so opinions are like assholes, right?

So in summary?

I think NYT speaks to a reader who is open-minded and understands that context is important, and that these subjects are complex. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit? If someone can walk away from the article with your point of view, I must be, time to think about that.

If anyone broke down my door, I would attack them. If I had a gun, I would shoot them, I wouldn't think twice. I sit here, and have no reason to believe someone should kick in my door unless they mean me harm. Let me grant other people the same right.

I expect police to be professional. The details on how this went down are not professional. It think that is safe to say simply because of the outcome.

The police were executing a warrant for a bad person who was not the person who died. How can we accept that they were in control of the situation, and if we cannot, or we think they couldn't have been, why would we send people into such a situation?

I am very flexible when it comes to granting authorities protections and flexibility in interpreting the law. I actually, for most of my life, have had faith in the system. I can imagine a scenario where I think many objective individuals would agree a no-knock warrant would make sense, so I can agree that they might be useful. I can also agree that ill-equipped people given tools they don't comprehend, or are not thoughtful enough, or well trained enough to use, will ultimately abuse and/or misuse them.

I can imagine a scenario where I think many objective individuals would agree a no-knock warrant would make sense, so I can agree that they might be useful.

There is a danger in this tabula rasa sort of thinking. If we think only of imaginary scenarios and "in theory this is how it works", we're likely to ignore the very real consequences of this awful practice. Ms Taylor isn't the first person to die in this situation (innocent person killed entirely due to police incompetence); neither is she the thousandth. Lots of police die from no-knocks gone awry as well. There is no reason for any of this. If police know where the suspect is located, they may collect her or him at any time. When the suspect is a regular person with a regular job, why not make an arrest when she or he leaves the house to go to work in the morning? How about arresting the suspect at work, with no opportunity to hide evidence or resist?

The "nightmare scenario" that cynical police spin for credulous judges is that drugs might be flushed down a toilet. But drug prohibition is itself cynical and evil. Prohibition has only ever harmed American society. As we collectively wake from our long nightmare of drug enforcement, we must do away with all the insidious menaces that it has inspired. Our police will not be replaced overnight with "responsible" authoritarians, so we must not "imagine" we can safely allow them the tools of authoritarian tyranny, on the off chance that they might not be used in the way they have always been used. You write as if it's only because of "unprofessional" actions that Ms Taylor was killed. In fact, "unprofessionalism" is why we are blaming the police, but people like Ms Taylor are killed in no-knock raids even when every action is performed in adequately "professional" fashion. Occasionally no one dies senselessly, but these raids are always dangerous and unnecessary. That is a practical truth, which overrides "objective" theory.


Great comment. Ending prohibition would drastically alleviate so many problems. Not just in the US, but in the whole Western hemisphere. And with almost no downside, since it doesn't even fucking work to begin with.

Came here for this thread. The whole incident rests on top of a chain of policy consequences which shouldn't exist, for either Constitutional or moral reasons. The way to fix this insanity, and alleviate a LOT of the issues which are currently being debated, is to somehow elect a group of representatives that don't START with the assumption that the "War on Drugs" is necessary in the first place.

Thanks for that comment, and while I didn't mean to make my comment come across as broadly accepting of "good willed police authority", it totally reads that way, and I can't say that I didn't mean that in my head!

I hope folks read your comment and follow the link, it's worth the read.

Thanks for conversing in such a friendly and reasonable way. b^)

Wow, that "nightmare scenario" looks more like the exact thing that needs to be flushed down the toilet.

Either the amount shouldn't matter or you shouldn't be able to flush it all at once (also, as if "plumbing forensics" didn't exist)

Did you read the entire article? You think that it was OK for some gunfire after some confrontation, but didn't question what the brief confrontation was?what about the past where the police claimed to break the door down and we're immediately meet with gunfire? So what was the brief confrontation? And where does it come from? I don't think anyone involved said there was a brief confrontation. And why did the boyfriend call 911 and report someone kicked his door in and shot his girlfriend?

Personally I would be questioning the need for a no knock warrant on a house that "might" have been a drug drop.

One thing I don't get, is how three officers managed to miss the guy shooting at them.

I really can't believe that anyone thought that having plain-clothed cops serve a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night with no squad cars or body cameras for a case where the suspect was already in custody made sense. It also doesn't seem like they were expecting armed resistance, probably because they knew the suspect was in custody. Instead, I suspect that these are dirty cops who were essentially trying to burglarize a drug dealer's apartment and got caught off guard when the accidentally broke into the home of some armed but law-abiding citizens.

Oh wow. That may be taking it too far, but is there a reason to believe that might be a possible scenario here?

They claimed that they announced themselves which suggests that they didn't know that the warrant they were serving was no-knock.

Their shots apparently hit the apartment above. With a breaching entry and an unknown target, random positioning in the horizontal plane may be expected but in the vertical plane it is definitely not. That suggests that they were holstered when they kicked in the door. Further, the gunner shot once and hit while the "police" shot many times and only managed to hit his girlfriend which suggests that they were much more panicked than someone that was asleep 1 minute before the encounter started.

what does the evidence look like when the police decided to rob you?

Evidence looks like the police came in unprofessionally, unprepared, and embarrassed. This is not excusable. They are lucky more lives weren’t lost.

Wow. I did not realize the other apartment was located above. I thought it was next door.

Just, wow.

There's the stat that the police take more in civil forfeiture than all burglaries, but that's the "perfectly legal" theft by police. Invisible theft by police - seizing drugs or money and then not registering them as evidence but instead taking themselves - is almost impossible to quantify, since it happens under strong omerta.

>is there a reason to believe that might be a possible scenario here?

It is not unheard of for drug task forces to augment their official income by robbing drug dealers. I wanna say one of the major cities in CA had a task force that got into trouble for this as did IIRC Newark and Baltimore (pretty sure it was them but not 100%). It's definitely A Thing(TM). There was at least one story of a particularity systemic case that hit HN.

Yep in Baltimore the Guns Task Force was robbing drug dealers and then reselling the drugs. You can read more about it here: http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/gun-trace-overview/

I feel like my conclusions align in spirit with where you are, but don't want to put words in your mouth.

I feel very strongly, that at midnight, if a door is broken down, into the home of someone who legally owns a gun, it is my expectation that the owner of that gun shoots first and asks questions later.

To be clear: shooting first and asking questions later is stupid. I hope people think more than that, but in a moment of panic, chaos, surprise, and fear, I would do the same.

In this power dynamic, where an organized, state sponsored force is forcibly entering the private home of a citizen unannounced, and plainclothed (though let me admit, I doubt I'd be able to spot a uniform in those circumstances), I do expect the state sponsored force to be trained, experienced, and to be acting in good faith.

I do not read that this situation was acted out in good faith. The fact that there was someone inside with a gun, that the gun was fired, and that happened between a door being kicked in, and any other communication is meaningless to me.

Everything that happened before that is meaningful.

1. All criminals in case already arrested

2. no criminals present at location of raid

3. no (to my knowledge) plan/knowledge/prep for armed people at the location, despite that information seemingly being available (legal gun owner, clear association, I mean, we can assume the police can make that association, since they were able to do so with the ex-boyfriend who was already under investigation? Am I being facetious? Maybe.)

This should have never happened, and what happened after the door was knocked down is not what needs to be reviewed, focus on the top of the funnel: cops executing no-knock warrants on non-violent locations where no criminals are known to be present and also where a known associate of the homeowner is a legal gun owner. Don't kick that door down at midnight in a surprise raid. It's sloppy, and not work I accept.

@dang: could we have a commend option in addition to flag?

This comment, and a number of other comments from both sides in this thread proves that it is possible to have a good discussion on hot topics, and I live that as I feel I have now understood a lot more not only about what happened but also how it could happen.

edit: changed "can we get" to "could we have" to make it clear that this is not a feature request but an idea.

edit2: why I care is because so many of the most important discussions that come up get flagged down because they tend to be usalvagable. My hope was that this idea or something similar could help. I should also note that I don't think it would be easy to pull off as it would lead to accusations about favoritism etc.

You have a commend button, it's the little up arrow to the left of the comment.

Nope, not the same. Ordinary upvotes hasn't had visible results since around the time dang took over from pg.

Commend, if accepted by mods, should result in a visual difference in the display of the post somehow opposite of how flags works: pin to top, really small star or something. Maybe a list of exceptionally good answers in the users the profile.

I was once "caught" for doing something correctly that all teenagers tend to fail on (technical, trivial thing) and ten years later since then I realized I had always got it right after that day when someone told me that they appreciated it.

I don't know if this is a good idea, but I wanted to mention it.

You’re getting downvoted. Welcome to hacker news, this must not be a surprise.

Thank you brave soldier. I appreciate your comment. I don’t care about HN karma, even if I do, but your comment is meaningful to me above an upvote.

I’m a “new” manager, and I am a terrible communicator (and/or I have impostor syndrome). I’ve been trying desperately to improve how I communicate personally and professionally.

This thread is maybe a perverse exercise in that, so your comment is great feedback. Thanks. Hang in there.

> Welcome to hacker news, this must not be a surprise.

I've been here for over ten years in some form or another so it is no surprise by now :-)

In fact while I really like HN I sometimes have to laugh at the voting patterns here.

E.g. Last week I think I got a bunch of downvotes for describing my first hand experience with something that everyone was suddenly an expert on :-)

> I’m a “new” manager, and I am a terrible communicator. I’ve been trying desperately to improve how I communicate personally and professionally.

Not a manager, but I also struggle with this. Also I would be happy if more people communicated as well as you!

> Hang in there.

Thanks! You too!

HN is one of the highest concentrations of intelligence on the planet, and much could be learned from voting patterns of this demographic. But as far as I can tell, keeping the peace is all that matters. Social good is for other people to do, always and everywhere.

I don't know about intelligence, but we certainly have big egos!

> HN is one of the highest concentrations of intelligence on the planet, and much could be learned from voting patterns of this demographic.

Probably correct for what I know. But that doesn't means that all results here are valid.

The concentration of intelligence is obvious, but that doesn't mean I don't see sloppy reading and weird logic all the time.

Intelligent people also have biases, also read too fast and doesn't catch the nuances, also become hot headed etc etc.

You are correct. It is not difficult to find at least one single fault in any human being.

It seems interesting that a community whose members overwhelmingly work in logical domains, also struggles being consistently logical on an aggregate basis.

And not just that, the abstract topic itself is...rather touchy.

Might there be something interesting to learn here?

> It seems interesting that a community whose members overwhelmingly work in logical domains, also struggles being consistently logical on an aggregate basis.

The bar to become a member is low, and while comments are scrutinized and can be flagged, votes aren't.

And let me be honest: even I vote for or against topics that I wouldn't write for or against.

I think this is often observed in elections as well were people will give a secret vote to something they agree with even if they aren't ready to face their families about it.

FTR: I think the system tries to mitigate this to some degree. I don't think all votes are created equal here.

> Might there be something interesting to learn here?

Absolutely :-)

> The bar to become a member is low

As it is on most any other site. And depending on who signs up and participates on which each site, you end up with some sort of an average intelligence level per site. HN's I suspect would be rather close to the top.

> and while comments are scrutinized and can be flagged, votes aren't.

Indeed they aren't, which is my point.

> I think this is often observed in elections as well were people will give a secret vote to something they agree with even if they aren't ready to face their families about it.

And one might expect the same to occur here, but does it, and to what degree? Is there more, less, or identical diversity of cultural/political beliefs in the general public, or on HN? Based on many years reading comments (particularly dimmed-due-to-downvotes ones, and responses to them) here, I have a feeling that there is less diversity of thought here.

Knowing such things with high levels of accuracy would require a form of omniscience, but that doesn't mean that nothing can be gleaned from user behavior on HN, or any sit for that matter.

>> Might there be something interesting to learn here?

> Absolutely :-)

What sorts of things do you think we could learn if one had access to the HN voting data?

> HN is one of the highest concentrations of intelligence on the planet [...]

Oh please. It's mostly just another tech forum.

Identical to all the others. No difference whatsoever.

It would be funny if people on HN programmed computers in the same way they talk outside of shop conversations.

> I would expect a reader who isn't completely engulfed in polarizing furor to think about this for a second like I did.

You have an extraordinarily large amount of faith in the average reader. I have 2k FB friends that would absolutely love to prove you wrong.

You’re probably not wrong. I do think we should hold our friends and colleagues to a higher standard. We should be able to have difficult conversations and explain why we feel what we feel. It’s hard when people are defensive for totally understandable reasons.

After a confrontation the police fired eight shots

...but the parent comment is saying the confrontation itself involved gunshots?

After being shot at, the police fired eight shots

I might add I know nothing about this case other than what I’ve read in this comment thread.

Yep, I made clear if not in the above comment, in another, that if the police are firing shots after a confrontation, that I believe the police have a reason to do so, so I am not surprised by confrontation also meaning “shots fired by someone other than the police” - it makes sense in this context if one believes the police should only fire shots themselves if they are threatened.

Still, would you agree that the wording of the article tries to create an impression that the police fired first, and tries to downplay the fact that the boyfriend fired first?

I do not disagree that the police was wrong to storm the place, but I think that given the well-known bias of NYT, they are trying to create more rage in the community by creating an impression that the police fired first.

No, In fact, I hope I was clear in my description: my assumption is that if a door breaks down, and a confrontation happens, if the people inside have any weapons, I expect them to defend themselves.

(edit: I said Absolutely not... but I changed it to no, I can see how someone would read what was printed as biased/attempting to push a narrative, I just didn't read it that way, and expect better of people who read the news)

That may be where we differ. It's my belief that our homes are private and safe. That's clearly not true given the existence of no-knock warrants, but as long as the two exist together, I will default to the power dynamic being in the hands of the person in the home, not he intruder, legal, or not. Especially when the intruder is a form of authority that I expect to be thoughtful and accountable.

For what it's worth, I might be intentionally ignorant to bias - I read fox news periodically just so I can understand the language used by different views than my own. I am often critical of liberal news sources. I generally agree that news sources, not just the NYT, are involved in low-effort journalism, and a deep lack of critical thinking and introspection. I think this helps me cut through the obvious bullshit, so that when it goes into my memory, it is with less bias than intended maybe? I'm not bias free though.

In this article though, I'm not feeling it, but I will sincerely give it another read with what you mentioned, and try to come back and comment.

> I think that given the well-known bias of NYT

People saying it doesn't make it true. The only argument you've made is quibbling about the order in which the facts are introduced. I see 7 subheadings in the story. The details of who shot when follows the second one. But not putting it first is evidence of an agenda? Come on.

Exactly this. The single most important question with a shootout is “Who fired the first shot?” The Times clearly misleads the reader to think the police fired first after a “brief confrontation,” only later to reveal that this confrontation was the police being shot at by the boyfriend. The fact that the Times did not report the sequence of shots in that straightforward way (in the purportedly dispassionate “What Happened...“ section of the article) indicates their clear bias.

I think this question becomes more complex when it includes "who fired the first shot when plainclothesed men break down a door into an apartment at midnight where there is a legal gun-owner"

1. They should have known a legal gun owner was present. What would anyone expect a gun-owner to do when their home is broken into? Hasn't Charlton Heston said something about all this?

2. They should have been trained and prepared to execute their warrant under these conditions with a plan for mitigating loss of life, especially since the suspects in the crime were already arrested, and none were thought to be present at the address. None of the people at the address were suspected of criminal activity, and no drugs, or criminal paraphernalia were found. The stakes of the raid were not justified in my opinion - but I of course, do not have all the facts, but I feel like I have enough to make these statements.

I absolutely will not accept "who shot first" that's absurd.

To clarify, I’m not denying that the Taylor’s boyfriend had the right to shoot first. My point is that the NYT readers generally don’t believe in the right to bear arms, or for armed homeowners to shoot at intruders. If you reject that premise, it becomes much harder to understand why the police did something wrong. That’s why the NYT buries that fact instead of reporting it in the straightforward chronological order.

What should the NYT have said, and what forms your opinion of how NYT readers interpret an article like this? Personally, I don't think I could even get anecdata on people I know based on their primary news source.

> After a brief confrontation, they fired several shots, striking her at least eight times.


Breonna's boyfriend fearing for his safety fired several shots at the plain-clothed men who had just broken into his home. These police officers returned fired, striking Breonna at least eight times.

When most people read "Kenneth got into a brief confrontation with John. John then fired four rounds at Kenneth." they will assume brief confrontation means "shouting and cursing match" or "physical altercation" not "fired a gun at".

That’s fair. I think there are a lot of ways to interpret how one person or another can... interpret this... with that said, my stance has been clear on the balance of power in this kind of situation.

Your home, your legally owned gun, your panic and chaos, you shoot. I would do the same, I would not be surprised that others did the same.

Expectation of professionalism, and de-escalation is on the regulated authority with power and accountability. If they were well trained, and made a calculated risk for an important case, they may be justified. From all that I can find, it seems clear to me that the police acted unprofessionally, and anything past that is not really a factor until that unprofessional behavior is addressed.

But it can also lead to prejudgement if you reduce the events of what had transpired to that question.

I also understood it that it is not the fact the police responded in kind that is criticised, instead they question the viability of these no-knock raids in general.

Maybe the order could have been better, but I don't see a real problem here.

One could say that the more important question is: Why are there armed persons at the location in question?

If the police had not been there at all, or had been issued a standard warrant, the the "who shot first" issue is not a question that needs to be asked.

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