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‘BlueLeaks’ Exposes Files from Hundreds of Police Departments (krebsonsecurity.com)
501 points by itcrowd 52 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 343 comments



>“Netsential confirmed that this compromise was likely the result of a threat actor who leveraged a compromised Netsential customer user account and the web platform’s upload feature to introduce malicious content, allowing for the exfiltration of other Netsential customer data.”

So they are spinning it as a user's fault? Not the fault of Netsential for allowing malicious content to be a problem...


That's the first thing I thought, too - sounds like they are trying to spin it as some malicious user "broke in". If a "customer user account" is able to upload a malicious payload and exfiltrate huge amounts of other customers' data, there's a much larger, underlying problem here. Hard to see how Netsential could get through this fiasco and still have any business.


Legally speaking, if you find a bug and abuse it (to e.g. extract data), you're breaking the law; I know people don't want to hear it and want to protect whistleblowers, but it's factually illegal to steal data like this.

That's what whistleblowing is all about though; purposefully breaking the law or a contract (like an NDA) to expose shit. Some countries will protect whistleblowers, others have to flee and seek asylum abroad.

So don't deny whether or not law and/or contract was broken, instead focus on whether the action was justified. Yes the system was broken and open for exploitation, but the attack was not accidental: they intentionally uploaded a malicious payload, intentionally extracted data, and intentionally uploaded it to the internets.


I wasn't commenting in any way on the legalities. IANAL and, frankly, I just don't think it's germane to my point.

Netsential clearly had a massive security vulnerability in their system that allowed one user to access the data of all other users. That's very much on them.

Consider a company that provides physical storage units and advertises that they are secure and can only be accessed by their owner. Then it turns out that there was a back alleyway running behind all the units that allowed any owner who had access to one unit the ability to access any other unit, without a key. I don't think anyone would suggest that would be anything other than a massive security oversight by the storage company. Yes, what the thief did was illegal and should be dealt with. But you'd have a hard time convincing me that the company itself wasn't primarily at fault for such a huge oversight in the first place. And I certainly would never use them again.


I don't follow.

No attack is accidental. If a vendor fails to follow appropriate operational security, it is certainly the illegal actors fault. But it is also the fault of the vendor's negligence, and might also be the fault of whoever failed to properly vet the vendor. All three are potentially culpable.

Moreover, I took the parent comment to be referring more to customer flight rather than some judiciary judgement. 'I got mugged' is not what you want to hear from the person entrusted with your data security.


Actually this is not whistleblowing. Technically, you need to have legal access to the data to whistleblow. If you have to acquire access to the data illegally to then release it its just illegal.


Worked for the Pentagon papers.


>>Legally speaking, if you find a bug and abuse it (to e.g. extract data), you're breaking the law; I know people don't want to hear it and want to protect whistleblowers, but it's factually illegal to steal data like this.

I dont think anyone is saying it was not illegal are they? but just because it is illegal does not resolve the security issue at the service provider

If I leave my home unlocked it is still illegal for you to steal my TV but you can bet my insurance company is going to give me crap (if not deny my claim out right) due to my negligence for not securing my property

>>That's what whistleblowing is all about though; purposefully breaking the law or a contract (like an NDA) to expose shit.

It can, but not always, and in the case of true whistleblowing there are laws in place that would provide an affirmative defense to otherwise illegal acts (like breaking an NDA). This is akin to self defense. Murder is always illegal but self defense is an affirmative legal defense one can use to justify their action making them "not guilty" of the law under those special circumstances. Whistle blowing as a few of these affirmative defenses as well


Yes but "the law" cuts deals all the time to address bigger crimes. (for example)They let off a small time drug dealer with a couple months in jail for ratting out a hitman for the mafia. I think sometimes it takes lesser crimes to bring justice bigger crimes like police brutality and murders that go unprosecuted because cops/DAs protect one another. I think that might be the case here. Independent hacktivists can now comb through that data and find cops that have lots of repeats offenses that obviously show a pattern of abusing the system and citizens whereas before that couldn't happen because such information was hidden from the public.


Probably just a way to justify a new contract for Netsential. Notice most of the leaked info is damaging to witnesses and victims, not the police.


Big companies don't hire properly for sysadmin/security - you don't think law enforcement knows what they're talking about here, do you?


* Lifelock enters the chat


This smells of legacy PHP where any PHP file uploaded to a web-accessible folder can be executed.


Likely, I've unfortunately had the displeasure of being a victim of that, probably an off-the-shelf scanner that exploited a Wordpress weakness.

That said, I do think PHP software should be distributed in such a way that the files are both locked for editing by the PHP process itself, and verified regularly. I've been using XenForo on my website for a while and it's giving me e-mail warnings that a file has changed (I did a customization), so it does exist.

But yeah, that particular category of error can be mitigated via config; disallow PHP execution in an upload folder, disallow PHP to add or edit files in the application folder, etc.


The main thing I do to avoid this is to host files on a separate server w/o PHP or a block storage service like e.g. S3 or B2. Make sure the domains are different too so you can't steal cookies.

You can also run a ClamAV scan to catch very obvious threats.


Modern PHP frameworks solve this problem just like the other languages solved this problem from the beginning - any inbound HTTP request goes into an entry point (the HTTP router library) which then loads the different classes and dispatches the request accordingly. The web server never executes anything but the entry point PHP file, regardless of what path the request is actually for.

The problem is all the legacy applications which are a mess of random PHP files and rely on the web server itself to dispatch requests based on the path of the file - in this case any PHP file can get executed if it happens to be in a location served by the web server. Rather than disallowing PHP execution in select folders, how about allowing PHP execution only for specific paths - those that you expect incoming requests to hit? That way no malicious code can run unless it manages to overwrite an existing file.


The article mentions a compromised user account so the attackers were probably able to just upload files directly through the compromised hosting account. Plus what's interesting is they don't mention the server itself being compromised. I'm wondering if this was a permissions issue that allowed the attackers to traverse directories on the server to the other hosted sites.


Or a sqli in the client portal?


If that's the goal, they're doing it poorly, because the only spin I smell from this description is the tacit admission they failed to successfully security-compartmentalize one user from attack via another user's credentials.


The fault is spread though. Sure, the data portal was broken, but if you store secrets which can put people's lives at risk, you have to assume the portal is broken. There should be a number of checks on top of basic authentication and also in the LE network. If they found out about the leak from the leak itself, there are many teams that failed.


But not the sales team! Good job guys!


Looking at the netsential website does not exactly inspire confidence that they employ state of the art infosec methodology.


I’m disappointed that U.S. police departments would use such low a quality service with no focus on security. Looking at Netsential’s website, their services look very basic and inexpensive. There’s not even a mention of security on its site. It was only a matter of time before they were hacked.

https://netsential.com/default.aspx?menuitemid=280


That website is ancient. The layout is done with tables and there are bits of code in there specifically for IE7.

That means it'll work on anything. The old desktop PCs that sit around in public offices for decades will display it with no problems. Compare that to a beautiful, modern website from a rival that plain won't load let alone render on that ancient computer.

The one with the working website wins the contract.


But there are many enterprise saas products out there with solid security, decent UX and support for older browsers.

I think that they won these contracts with more “who you know” advantages than technical.


The trick for government procurement has always been to respond to the RFP with something that's like 98% a solid proposal, and then 2% stupid bullshit and gotcha style requirements that only you can fulfill. Then should they accept your proposal, and move to RFB, you've already won even before pricing comes into play.


If only we funded the police with trillions of dollars, then they could use that funding to update their computer systems. Awe well, guess it comes down to the old saying "you can't have your assault vehicles and system security too"


> then they could use that funding to update their computer systems

But why? It seems like a waste of money.


I interpreted your parent as pure sarcasm. The US government did throw hundreds of billions of USD at state and local police, anti-terrorism, and surveillance (including fusion centers for each state). They have no excuse for screwing up the security of their intelligence exchange (except we have come to live with low expectations for government organizations).


I interpreted said post as sarcasm that implied that the US police should have gotten rid of their older computers and get new ones that can run fancy JS and electron. Nothing to do with security, only about wasting money.


If they current pcs cant run electron, they likely can't run latest office either. It's probably still the age of win7 there, might be 32bit as well. With ancient Acrobat reader as well.

This has everything to do with security. They are one click away from getting whole department pwned.


> If they current pcs cant run electron, they likely can't run latest office either

I honestly doubt that. Office is surprisingly much lighter when compared with any electron application.

Anyway, chances are that they are running more than one program at once. Plus they do not really need to use office.

> It's probably still the age of win7 there, might be 32bit as well

funfact: win10 also has a 32bit version, and it works just fine on computers with limited ram

> With ancient Acrobat reader as well

Should have used Zathura instead.


What does table based HTML have to do with functional and web-accessible websites? Especially in the age of mobile which represents ~50% of traffic .


What does table based HTML have to do with functional and web-accessible websites? Especially in the age of mobile which represents ~50% of traffic.

Lots of things.

- Screen readers expect HTML tables to be tables. If there aren't things like a caption the screen reader can inform the user of a problem.

- In a lot of cases the table won't inline in to a logical structure for reading out. A screen reader will read cells out from left to right, which interleaves content from one column with content from another when that isn't the intent. CSS layout will usually read better.

- Table-based layouts use a lot more code than CSS layouts, which is more to download and more to parse.

- In the case of that website in particular, there's a ton of inline styling which is more unnecessary data to download.

- Using tables for layout makes it much harder to develop truly responsive layouts for mobile; doing things like hiding download/battery intensive page elements is much harder (especially if those things span several cells). That site does have some media queries for controlling styles, but it could be doing more.


That missed the point of my comment. Wasn't arguing 'for' table designs.


As the poster above hinted a lot of public offices have outdated hardware and software that is not a consideration for a lot of developers. Mobile represents ~50% of traffic among the public - not among the people who were selecting the developer using the "archaic" technology that they have in their offices.


What's wrong with making your landing page render for everyone? Mine also sort of works in ie7


There is a difference between using CSS/HTML from 2005 and using server and network security from 2005.


Yeah it was kind of cool that the page loaded in like a couple hundred milliseconds.


Nothing, and you really should, but companies don't because they want to make all modern shiny stuff without putting the effort in to make something that does progressive enhancement properly. That's why contracts for police websites go to companies whose websites look like crap.


It actually doesn't render properly for everyone, and in fact renders incorrectly in chrome: the nav links (Home, Features, Support) overlap with and intersect behind the main content.

Of course, you probably won't notice this unless you're using a dark mode extension like me, because under normal circumstances, those links are invisible, since they render white-on-white.

Also, tables play poorly with mobile and are usually the opposite of responsive.


>The layout is done with tables

You'll be amazed to see how is layout done here on HN.


Looking at that website, there is a close to zero chance that the owner is not a family member / friend of someone with a ton of influence. No other way they landed this contract.


My thoughts exactly! And apparently they won many contracts over several years. From the article:

> Netsential, a web services company used by multiple fusion centers, law enforcement, and other government agencies across the United States


Note the connection may have gotten them in the door initially, but their further contracts could have resulted from the fact that they were the only vendor that could respond to an RFP with proof of a similar prior project. Then they get two fusion centers, then three, then it's like buying IBM/Cisco for the LE leadership that doesn't really understand IT and just wants it all to work.

This kind of vendor lock-out is unfortunate as it effectively keeps startups out of the picture. The majority of contracts I've worked on in this space (barring defense, and that's because we worked in R&D) required similar attestations of experience.


There is a glaring typo in the first title. "Does Netsential have want you need?"

I clicked on the first link to get a description of features, but it leads to an empty page.


On their what's new page it's completely barren aside from the header and footer lmao.

https://netsential.com/default.aspx?menuitemid=283&menugroup...


Did you check out their Software Updates Blog? https://netsential.com/default.aspx?menuitemid=289&menugroup...


I feel like I just took a short trip in a time machine to the year 2001.


But it is running HTTPS!

I once had a sysadmin (!) that said to me, "We're running SSL so aren't we secure?" I went on to explain things like SQL injection and XSS. I mentioned how simple authorization bugs can ruin your security. I think he got the picture... I hope.


I'm disappointed but not surprised.


For all the talk of "defund the police," state and local police departments don't actually have the budget to hire someone who knows which way is up in choosing third-party contractors for online services (much less the budget to contract with services that aren't lowest-bidder).

Actually, this is yet another example of why defunding the police is so important---they don't even spend the budget they have well.


If what the article says is true and PPI is indeed in these documents than these documents are ripe for fraud, criminal use and identity theft. This is worse than a password leak.


If previous incidents have taught us anything, it's that taxpayers should buy free credit monitoring to everyone affected by the leak and be done with it. Maybe throw in $10 to anyone that can prove they suffered losses as a direct result of the leak.


Monitoring sucks. Freeze your credit (don't just lock it) until it's absolutely needed, then refreeze it. This will choke off much of the business of credit bureaus, but too bad so sad. There are a number of interesting approaches to solving the same problems as credit bureaus (risk assessment, identity verification, etc.) that don't carry as much consumer risk as the big three bureaus do every single day.


I'm pretty sure your parent comment was oozing sarcasm.


IIRC, in some places the govt is the collections recording and credit rating agency.


Is there a risk of undercover agents and CIs being outed? If so, does that potentially endangers lives?


tweet with the bittorrent magnet URL and trackers: https://twitter.com/eldstal1/status/1274660276508545025


I got meta parser error for the torrent. Did anyone else had issues?


try with transmission, a number of less capable bittorrent clients don't like single-file 290GB torrents.


This is quite wild. Is there any finer-grained summary of the sort of data leaked, and how extensive it is? Even a million documents could be anything from mundane to incredibly sensitive, depending on the sort of content.


The leak is still too new and too large for a very detailed analysis, but BleepingComputer has an article[1] on it.

[1] https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/blueleaks-dat...


> Stewart Baker, an attorney at the Washington, D.C. office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP and a former assistant secretary of policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the BlueLeaks data is unlikely to shed much light on police misconduct, but could expose sensitive law enforcement investigations and even endanger lives.

But then there was this: https://twitter.com/NatSecGeek/status/1273329710576152581


In a country of 330 million people, I'm sure both antifa violence and groups using antifa as cover or trying to attribute violence to antifa all exist. Showing one doesn't disprove the other. This is political narrative building, not good evidence.

walrus01 52 days ago [flagged]


[flagged]


The Weather Underground never killed anyone outside the organization, which is usually how far left terrorism operates. There are exceptions, but that's why it's not compared to far right and religious terrorism.


I was curious and read up on wikipedia. You left out some important facts.

> The FBI classified the WUO as a domestic terrorist group, with revolutionary positions characterized by black power and opposition to the Vietnam War. The WUO took part in domestic attacks such as the jailbreak of Timothy Leary in 1970. The "Days of Rage" was the WUO's first riot in October 1969 in Chicago, timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970, the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government under the name "Weather Underground Organization".

> In the 1970s, the WUO conducted a bombing campaign targeting government buildings and several banks. Some attacks were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with threats identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. Three members of the group were killed in an accidental Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, but none were killed in any of the bombings. The WUO communiqué issued in connection with the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971 indicated that it was "in protest of the U.S. invasion of Laos". The WUO asserted that its May 19, 1972 bombing of the Pentagon was "in retaliation for the U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi". The WUO announced that its January 29, 1975 bombing of the United States Department of State building was "in response to the escalation in Vietnam".


>Three members of the group were killed in an accidental Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, but none were killed in any of the bombings.

I didn't say they weren't terrorists, just that they didn't kill anyone.


They mainly killed themselves through incompetence with building bombs. The plan with the bombs was to blow up military personnel.


[flagged]


[flagged]


In this case it's a brand new account posting inflammatory claims with no references to back them up.


Where's the lie?


Where's the statue of Roosevelt "toppled by angry mobs"?


Right here: not toppled, but defaced and soon to be removed. https://www.zerohedge.com/political/roosevelt-statue-be-remo...

Where's the lie?


Zerohedge is not a reputable source of information. You might as well link to Infowars. At best it's clickbait, at worst it's manipulative propaganda.


> Where's the lie?

You literally had to correct the lie just now.


Actually, whataboutism is the lost art of putting things into perspective.

Accusations of whataboutism is a cold war tactic - but from the west: to ensure only one sided criticism of what the USSR did was heard.


I see that first link kind of buried the lede in footnote 2: " The number of casualties from attacks by Islamic extremists has been greater than by right-wing extremists, largely because of a few cases like Omar Mateen’s Pulse nightclub attack that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others."

So right wing terrorism is a greater threat, unless you are worried about being killed.


The other part of that is that extends further. And also has its mirror. Who poses a greater threat in Saudi Arabia, the local Wahhabis or foreign secularists? Who would get pursued?

And who poses the greater threat to any community, the police (some of whom are brutal) or the local criminals, gangs and traffickers?


That 2018 article was, as I recall, published before the El Paso attack:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/08/right-wing-terro...


The Venn diagram of "right-wing extremists" and "Islamic extremists" approaches a circle. This is especially true in an attack on the LGBT community.


I'm fairly certain that Venn diagram would be almost disjoint if representing individual people.

But both groups are definately conservative and hold some of the same ideas. They both want the world and power they or their grandfathers had 50-150 years ago.


Yeah, I suppose what I mean by that is if you took the ideologies of both (and abstracted out the language for the specific "god"), you would have a hard time distinguishing between them.


This is pretty much the point Atwood was trying to make in the original novel version of the Handmaid's tale, which depicts a Christian ultra fundamentalist version of the Taliban's brand of Sharia law. Even though it was written a while before 1994/1996. Of course fictionalized for dramatic effect.


If you are killed it doesn't matter how many others died with you. I personally tend to be more worried about things that happen often and are widespread, than things that happen seldom and are more localized.

But if asked "Are you more worried about right wing or islamist extremists?", my answer is "Yes".


My concern from a priority and law enforcement perspective is that in the post-9/11 world, a great deal of funding and effort was put towards deterring and combating the latter.

Whereas something that is well known and homegrown in the USA (Timothy McVeigh, anyone?) has had a much lower level of concern assigned to it until very recently.


Do we know that there is actually less concern?

I think two "issues" are the relatively better protection against surveillance US citizens have (I wouldn't think it's an issue at all, hence the quotes) and the fact that they tend to be lone wolves more than Islamic terrorism, which often works through networks.

So it's not that easy to spot people like McVeigh, Kaczynski, or outside the US Breivik, before they act.


> Timothy McVeigh

Who did he work with again?


He had a couple of accomplices, but he was radicalised by the Waco fiasco and linked to what these days would be called the "milita movement".


And the even bigger fiasco of Ruby Ridge.


So I had to refresh myself on the details of this via wikipedia, and with a 2020 eye it seems almost like the white version of complaints about police brutality per BLM.

- victim becomes a martyr despite being "no angel" (Weaver was a white supremacist, dealing in illegal firearms)

- initial involvement of law enforcement is entrapment (undercover ATF agents)

- lies by law enforcement ("the ATF filed the gun charges in June 1990. It claimed that Weaver was a bank robber with criminal convictions.[27] (Those claims were false: at that time Weaver had no criminal record. The 1995 Senate investigation found: "Weaver was not a suspect in any bank robberies.")

- basic cockups (court date mixup)

- absurdly long quasi-siege

- significantly lighter treatment and more investigation than similar fiascoes for nonwhite people (e.g. Breonna Taylor); the 2020 version of this would probably have just been to drive a MRAP through the shack and use the return fire as sufficient justification for the killings (see e.g. https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/31/actor-steve... )

- they shot the dog. They always shoot the dog

- attempt to prosecute sniper is met with sovereign immunity, case is dropped


From a number point of view, you should be more worried about common crime than terrorism from any side.


From a pure numbers/statistics point of view a great deal more people die from slipping and falling or drowning in their bathtub every year than are killed by either form of terrorism in the USA.

But we still should take efforts to reduce that, whether it's by building showers with textured floors and efforts to counteract terrorism...

https://www.seattlepi.com/national/article/Someone-drowns-in...


However, falling in the bathtub isn’t ideologically driven or at risk of increasing dramatically based on political shifts.

We don’t take terrorism or white supremacy seriously because it poses an imminent threat to everyone right now, we take it seriously because it has the potential to put hundreds of thousands to millions of lives at risk in the future if left unaddressed.


I am sorry to say this but white supremecy does not have the potential to kill millions. It's like saying gang violence has the potential to kill millions.


Except that within the memory of people still alive to witness it, it killed approximately 6 million people in concentration camps...?


Nazism, which formed the ideological foundation of modern white supremacy, killed millions just a few generations ago. To argue that white supremacy doesn't have the potential to kill millions simply ignores not-to-distant history. We cannot ignore what has already happened many times before.


Can't access your link from the EU but fully agree with your point. I did an analysis in June 2015 in the EU, but I am sure it still holds now, by comparing the number of deaths from eurostats for just the year 2011, to all cumulative terrorist attacks in the EU from 1958 per wikipedia:

https://zbpublic.blob.core.windows.net/public/terrorism2015/...

Also modern terrorism is bad but we forget that far-left and state sponsored terrorism was worse in the 80s (numbers as of 2017):

number of attacks over time: https://zbpublic.blob.core.windows.net/public/terrorism2015/...

number of deaths: https://zbpublic.blob.core.windows.net/public/terrorism2015/...

And this is in the EU. In the US I am sure the numbers would be completely drown in the numbers for common crime.


For relevant reasons, I'm more concerned about having my hard-earned money seized through civil asset forfeiture than my house being robbed by some random criminal.


Especially when the people forfeiting your money are also the one criminalizing the drugs that the random criminal needs to rob your house to be able to afford, lacking any support for their conditions elsewhere because that money is put into police budgets instead.

(It's also worthwhile in discussions about "crime" to remember that it's a very loaded term. For example, wage theft numbers absolutely eclipse burglary, yet those are rarely what we think about when we hear "crime")


The idea of terrorism is to fight an asymmetric conflict with methods that affect many who aren't immediate victims, by instilling fear, i. e. terrorising them.


So the “correct” response is to not play their game and not play along with the tactics. Very likely you will never be affected of terror so don’t spend your life worrying about it.

Police should worry a bit about it of course.


My answer is actually “No”. Terror, both from right wing and religious extremists is extremely rare.


My read of what you quoted: White supremacists may be eager to hurt people, but that doesn't translate to lethality.

(Nobody ever gave them credit for competence.)


How are you differentiating Wahabbism from far right extremism? Most Muslims seem to consider Wahabbism both extreme and far right. Perhaps you mean racially versus ideologically or foreign compared to domestic or political versus religiously motivated?

I looked at the articles you linked to. The New York Times mentions white extremist suggesting racially motivated but also mentions international terrorism instead of domestic terrorism. Your first source attempts to define right-wing extremism as a political motivation. That said your point isn’t very clear.

If you are limiting your point to domestic US terrorism racially motivated terrorism greatly exceeds religiously motivated terrorism but the numbers are tiny either way. If you are talking internationally religiously motivated terrorism by far takes the lead when you consider that ISIS is a growing threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan and when you consider the various terrorist organizations in sub-Saharan Africa like Boko Haram.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism


You're trying really hard to not understand what he was clearly saying.

"Right-wing extremism" was clearly intended to refer to the home-grown variety here.

And how "tiny" the numbers are is somewhat subjective. Terrorism works by terrorizing, meaning its intended to affect far more people than the immediate victims by instilling fear.

Just from the last few years, everyone will remember the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Pittsburgh synagogue, the Q/MAGA-superfan mailing pipe bombs, or the Poway synagogue shooting. There are many more that you may have forgotten on wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States...


> You're trying really hard to not understand what he was clearly saying.

I am clearly reading from the material provided. Perhaps we have a difference in reading comprehension.

> was clearly intended

It is defined or it isn’t. I don’t like subjectively inventing definitions to fit a poorly framed argument.


I'm not sure very many police are deny what's claimed here, rather that the executive branch and some news channels are.


They said the same thing about Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden's leaks. Apparently, everything sensitive was so secret that if anyone was hurt or killed as a direct result of the leaks blowing their cover, we never heard about it. Several instances of appalling behavior (read: constituting war crimes) were exposed, though.

Watch them find something KKK-related in here.


I understand what you're saying about what was exposed, but do you really believe that intelligence leaks don't cost lives at some point? I find it harder to believe that identities of spies and TTP being publicized just has zero negative effect afterwards. Those people, though leaked, are likely still classified in some manner so there's no reason for the US or any government to admit that they've lost people or the upper hand in clandestine environments.

Police departments, comparatively, are not that classified or secretive. It's definitely much more likely that there's evidence of undercover operations that were leaked by this, probably. Certainly much more likely than something KKK related, what makes you say that? I admittedly haven't looked to see how far back in time these files go, so something these days seems a little outlandish, at least from what I know right now.


The job of intelligence agencies are to gather intelligence and analyze the outcome. The publications that came out of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden was not published unannounced, nor was the content of the leaks unknown. Common practice is also to request comment on such content a few days before publications, even if intelligence agencies usually refuse to comment. In the case of Chelsea Manning, I recall they even asked the agency a few days ahead in helping them redacting names of people.

So unless they are very bad at their job at gather intelligence and analyze outcomes, leaks don't cost lives unless they allow it. It like a pyromaniac telling the fire department the exact location (down to the meter) and exact time (down to the second), and what exact mechanism they intend to use to light a fire. The fire department will get annoyed and angry, and the police will likely show up, but the risk for someone to die in a fire is quite low.


You're absolutely right on journalists working with intelligence agencies on appropriate redactions on the like, I don't want to ignore that. Happened with Reality as well. Despite that, there is always risk. I'm not trying to downplay the legitimacy of all leaks ever, just stating that as a fact. These dumps are huge, and considering that the agencies in question already didn't want to redact them (and chose to just classify them instead) it's hard to believe that journalists would do that same job better than them. Journalists when they don't get meetings precisely on their terms go into hero mode and try to redact themselves only. Snowden is a great example of this, so I'm not sure why you bring it up.

Mistakes happen all the time, and that doesn't even get into poor redaction methods that can be reversed, ESPECIALLY since the groups being targeted are most likely able to put pieces together that journalists can't. The mysterious nine character name might be a total mystery to the interns at NYT, but if you're an insurgent with the context of the rest of the report and (most likely) a few good names to guess with it's far from real mystery.

To reiterate, the lives in question are likely still classified, and revealing even their deaths can come at significant cost. Telling terrorists that they have the right guy presents about zero benefit to anyone but them, so there's no reason it'd be public information.

Furthermore, lives are a pretty low bar. I don't think it should be controversial to say that the US government, for instance, should be a few steps ahead of violent extremists. Debating the specifics of how and what measures are appropriate is another very important and necessary conversation, but saying that redacted leaks are totally fine is like giving just the suits of your cards to your opponent. Nothing like this is harmless, that's just myopic.


The risk is low but indeed not zero. We can construct a scenario where an operative is capture but which identity is unknown, and five years later the person is still in captivity, and suddenly a leak is announced to be published in which agency get knowledge that the captured person name will be included, and the intelligence agency are for some reason still unable to rescue the person before the article later get published.

There is however a lot of conditions for that to happen, which is why the general claim that a leak could endanger lives should be seen as rare, unlikely, while possible event.

To make a guesstimate, journalist and government official risked more life by the additional traveling by plane and car in order to discuss and publically address the leaked documents of Chelsea Manning than the risk exposed by the leaked documents themselves. The agencies involved was likely competent enough to eliminate all higher risks well before the publication date.

> Furthermore, lives are a pretty low bar

I don't think anyone object to that. Leaks should be seen as having a high risk of disrupting operations and increasing resource costs. I would expect that pulling out operatives, protecting collaborators, replacing operatives, and operations that fails are all very costly. The trade between an informed citizens and costs is something which should be more often discussed in politics. Journalists can sometimes reduce the costs with careful work, but it not a clear cut and sometimes they will make a mistake and sometimes its the government that goes to far in hiding too much information from its citizens.


Yeah, this is a standard part of the spin at this point.

If they really want to keep their means and methods secret, the way to do that would be by giving their internal complaints system enough teeth to never require leaking full documents in the first place.


From the tweet you linked: Even the cops know random damage attributed to #antifa are really "white racially motivated violent extremists...posing as Antifa members."

It is a distinction without a difference.


I don't think I follow what you're saying. People accused of doing something and a false-flag op trying to get people accused of doing something is a distinction without a difference?


No, it isn't. The difference is pretty clear.


[flagged]


I don't see where you're getting "extreme-left white anti-capitalist" from the police description "white racially motivated violent extremists."

'round these parts at least, what they're describing is our local rural and suburban militia-types trying to false-flag violence to kick off what they perceive as an inevitable race war. By their own admission, the people who get caught burning cop cars and such are about as far away from left-wing as you can get.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/boogaloo-carrillo-oakland-mur...


“Antifa membership card”


I took the quote to imply possible categories like copagandists, white supremacists, Nazis, KKK, or even random apolitical opportunists, which is a distinction with a huge difference. After all, Trump did announce something like "Antifa did it" instantly after the riots started while law enforcement across the board has been struggling to find any evidence. It does smell like an astroturfed misinformation campaign intended to drown out criticisms of widespread systemic police brutality.


Stop messing with people, and this won't happen. I don't feel bad for the police.


I too dislike hyper aggressive militarized police who act above the law. But anyone who makes facile generalizations about entire groups of people is merely mirroring the problem, not helping it.

Edit: "populations" -> "groups of people"


Normally I agree, but this is one of those situations where the problem goes far beyond "a few bad apples". The entire police culture in the United States is built on the "good" cops not reporting, fiercely defending, or even lying to provide cover for the bad ones. And at that point, every person who tolerates the bad behaviors ends up enabling them, and therefore become complicit in them.


>not reporting, fiercely defending, or even lying to provide cover for the bad ones. And at that point, every person who tolerates the bad behaviors ends up enabling them, and therefore become complicit in them.

Precisely the same mentality is present in many of the most crime ridden neighborhoods in the US.[1]

Are you able to think objectively for a moment, and see how your reaction to police doing that, is similar the police's reaction to criminals doing that?

[1]https://youtu.be/nFhWpTKvD8E


Sorry dude I live in a small town, our cops look like they're headed to do combat in Afghanistan most of the time, rather than to patrol sleepy suburban neighborhoods.


Yeah dude, police militarization is a huge problem in the US, I agree.

Cheering on indiscriminate hacking/doxxing of any/all police as an attempt to solve the problem is infantile, though, and demonstrates a naive ignorance of the root causes.


How does understanding the root causes help with providing a solution in this case?


When does understanding a problem not help with solving that problem?

"A problem adequately stated is a problem solved theoretically and immediately, and therefore subsequently to be solved, realistically." -Buckminster Fuller

Anyone with any programming experience knows this.


Many times, understanding the cause of the problem reveals that the cause of the problem is inherent and cannot, or should not, be changed. Take, for instance, the problem of unwanted pregnancies. The cause is sex. This naturally leads to thinking that the solution can only be abstinence. This kind of thinking limits you to solutions which sometimes are of the type which can never work.

In this specific case, the problem of police behavior can partially be said to be caused by people behaving inappropriately towards police. Should therefore the solution be that people behave better towards police? How would you go about making that happen? This “solution” is impractical.

The solution to a problem is sometimes unrelated to its cause.


>Take, for instance, the problem of unwanted pregnancies. The cause is sex. This naturally leads to thinking that the solution can only be abstinence. This kind of thinking limits you to solutions which sometimes are of the type which can never work.

If this is the best example you can come up with to support your point, it's now safe to say your argument does not hold up to even basic scrutiny.

It seems like your argument boils down to this: dumb ideologues aren't good at analyzing the nuances of causes and effects because they are blinded by their doctrines, so we shouldn't bother doing it ourselves.

Only religious fundamentalists believe that the solution to unwanted pregnancies is abstinence. Intelligent scientists realized the world is nuanced, and complex, and thus created birth control pills, which has helped prevent untold amounts of human suffering.

>In this specific case, the problem of police behavior can partially be said to be caused by people behaving inappropriately towards police. Should therefore the solution be that people behave better towards police? How would you go about making that happen? This “solution” is impractical.

Learning how to get arrested peacefully and without struggle can obviously help decrease your chances of being harmed while be arrested. As you said, it's only at best a minor partial cause, so you're jumping to silly conclusions by suggesting that anyone is asserting that should be the singular solution to police brutality and militarization.

>The solution to a problem is sometimes unrelated to its cause.

Still waiting on a good example from you to support this seemingly facile hypothesis.


> >The solution to a problem is sometimes unrelated to its cause.

> Still waiting on a good example from you to support this seemingly facile hypothesis.

If your home is burglarized, the source of the problem is the burglar, but the solution might be better social policy. If you break a bone, the cause might be you being careless, but the solution is to see a doctor, who will fix the bone regardless of the cause. If there is a wide-spread narcotics addict problem, the problem is ultimately caused by addicts not having willpower to abstain, but the solution cannot be fixed by making them have more willpower, since we don’t know how to do that; the solution must be sought elsewhere.

Likewise, the problem of police behavior might or might not be entirely caused by citizens, but we can’t affect the behavior of citizens, and therefore we must fix the problem some other way.

There’s an expression which summarizes it: “Fix the problem, not the blame.” Expounded upon, for instance, here:

http://www.holliseaster.com/p/fix-the-problem-not-the-blame/


Classic whataboutism.

EDIT: The commented post was edited after I wrote my original above comment. Now it’s more like victim-blaming.


When two things are directly interrelated (attitudes among police and attitudes among criminals), are we not allowed to discuss them both? Why not? Seems like you're trying to purposefully shun context, which isn't a practical way of understanding reality.


For one thing, LEOs receive governmental and societal sanction, are armed with lethal force, and receive legal immunity, and so clearly should be held to a higher standard.


Agreed! That still doesn't mean Collective Punishment is ethical

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_punishment


Stopping all of agroup from doing something terrible is a far cry frol collective punishment. In fact there's no need to punish at all here, simple eliminate the problem.


That's not what were talking about here. Were talking about indiscriminate hacking/doxing of police, and the people who are cheering that on. How is that going to effectively address the root causes of police militarization?


Defunding police departments (many of which everyone is realizing are grossly overfunded) and taking away qualified immunity (which is a protection entirely made up by the judicial branch, which the police have close relationships with) are not “collective punishment”.


Never said it was. Note the context of this conversation, and the article it is in reference to


You might be trying to explain the behavior of police, but it sounds like you’re excusing it. Discussing causal relationships can sometimes be useful for finding a solution, and sometimes not, but must be done carefully if at all in tense situations.


What precisely did I say that makes you think I'm trying to excuse, rather than explain? Is it merely the fact that I am not completely overwhelmed with rage against everyone who has the same job as the people who killed George Floyd and others?

Often times in intense situations, maintaining objective emotional detachment rather than being overwhelmed by emotional knee jerk reactions can mean the difference between life and death, or a positive outcome and a negative one.


> What precisely did I say that makes you think I'm trying to excuse, rather than explain?

By only pointing a finger to the other side, you strongly hinted that the behavior of citizens was not only the cause of the behavior of police, you implied that it was also the solution to the problem of the behavior of police. This causal link may or may not be partially true, but nobody really cares about the cause, unless it helps with providing a solution to the problem. By only pointing to the cause, you imply that the solution to the problem lies there too, which, in this case, is both very questionable, and classic victim-blaming.


>By only pointing a finger to the other side

You must have missed the very first thing I said in this comment chain: "I too dislike hyper aggressive militarized police who act above the law"

>nobody really cares about the cause, unless it helps with providing a solution to the problem. By only pointing to the cause, you imply that the solution to the problem lies there too, which, in this case, is both very questionable, and classic victim-blaming.

I'm startled to see so many people on a technical forum such as HN speaking as if they have no technical problem solving experience.

Imagine there was a critical bug in some software you are responsible for, causing massive distress for millions of users, even killing some. The first step in debugging an issue is to identify the cause(s), right? Imagine if your non technical boss had the gall to scold you for trying to identify the cause(s), saying "nobody really cares about the cause..by only pointing to the cause, you imply that the solution to the problem lies there too".


The causes in this case are myriad and complex. I should have said “By only pointing to the external cause…”. By ignoring the non-external causal factors, you appear to be trying to shift blame from failure of police themselves to some external factor. Which is victim-blaming.

And, yes, nobody cares about any cause of a problem unless it helps coming up with a solution. If a system is complex enough, it is not logical to insist on analyzing it exhaustively to find all the root causes; it is more expedient to fix the problem some other way. And this is not even what you were doing; you pointed out one external factor and highlighted it, implying that the blame and the problem must be fixed there.


Nope, analyzing various social dynamics between two interrelated parties is not "victim blaming", its basic social science. Anyone trying to use a univariate analysis to explain human social relationships is an anti-scientific ideologue, or just an idiot.


The original post, which is what we are discussing, did not do any “analyzing [of] various social dynamics”. On the contrary, it pointed the finger squarely at one external factor – the behavior of victims of police – and left it at that. If that’s not victim-blaming, I don’t know what is.

> anti-scientific ideologue, or just an idiot

Since you have now proceeded to name-calling, I think I will refrain from engaging further.


The comment was not edited. Perhaps you realized how silly your first attempt at shutting down discussion was, and then tried another baseless and ineffectual dismissal.


I could have sworn that the comment originally contained more text which expanded the finger-pointing towards neighborhood denizens, but I could certainly be mistaken. However, your speculatory accusations of me personally are unseemly, and, moreover, off topic.


'The police' is an institution, not a population.


So what? Institutions are made of people.


But institutions have the ability to enforce behavior in that group.

If these people were really "just bad apples", this wouldn't be a problem anymore, as there have been literal decades to solve this.

See how that's different from a group defined by things you cannot control, like skin color?

I can't blame one person of a certain hue for the actions of a person of that same hue, because they don't share anything in common other than the hue.

Whereas police departments are 100% accountable for the actions of their members.

Today you learned, huh?


>But institutions have the ability to enforce behavior in that group.

You dont think communities of people have the ability to enforce or influence behavior of the people in their community? If you watched the video I posted, or knew anything about psychology, you'd know that to be plainly false.


Yes, that's EXACTLY the same as controlling an officers paycheck. Thank you for pointing out how right you are.


Uhh, what? Nowhere in this conversation did we say anything about controlling an officers paycheck you. Please stay on topic.


So you have the option to leave an institution, which distinguishes it from a population.

When you generalize about a population of people, you're unfairly attributing characteristics to them which weren't decided upon by them (and likely doesn't apply to all of them).

When you generalize about police, you're fairly generalizing about a group of people who have decided to be a part of that institution, have decided to behave in such a way that would not get them kicked out of the institution (ie. they haven't agitated for any significant change in almost every case), and have decided not to leave it with full knowledge and in spite of its abuses.


Humans are made of cells but it's not a useful description of us for most purposes.


It is if you actually care to understand human nature and how it is interrelated with the environment; rather than relying solely on surface level observations, like skin color, for example.


And the KKK and al Qaeda are unacceptable institutions and there's no problem with generalzing there. Every single member there is a problem simply by being a member. If people uphold an atrocious institution then there's no problem saying they're doing something atrocious.


Do you honestly think all police are like Al Qaeda? Have you ever known anyone in law enforcement on a personal level? I find similar reactions from people who have never known a gay person before.


When I read their comment I first thought it was ever present defense of police "if you're doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear!" Pretty sure their glibness is just poking fun at that.


Actually it is helping it, this is not about some US police. This is about all US police.


This is the same pathos parroted by bigots.


Show me a major urban area with cops that don't look like military infantry when they're out and doing their job, particularly during crowd control


Why do I need to show you that?


Problem is, while Netsential and the cops who use their services may feel embarrassed, the ones really hurt by the leak are going to be the victims and suspects whose personal information (addresses, ssns, employers, banking info) are now exposed. Now they get to suffer even more because of their interaction with the police.


I live in a rather hard hit area. It won't show up on any blighted or opportunity zones because attorneys or land owners connected to politicians can't make money off it. Here are some highlights:

A good month is one without gun shots.

I've been mugged coming out my front door by kids with knives.

An elderly woman was tortured to death during a home invasion.

A fight breaks out, police break it up and leave without arresting anyone, only for the fight to occur again 10 minutes later this time with gunshots. Police show up the next morning and pick up casings and then leave. Little kids were right in the middle of that 30 person brawl too.

Non-stop fireworks to cover up gun shots.

Mom moves into her new boyfriend's place, then break up and leave the kid. So you have kids growing up in a home with zero parents.

Garbage everywhere.

The attitude of always wanting to fight even when they mess up big time. Hitting a car, going through the garbage. Good things stay hidden. Vulgar violent things stare you down because they like getting grounded up.

When something really bad happens, like a home fire, they turn into panicked cowards. All that thug life goes right away on the slightest adversity.

Attorneys and corporate leaders have abandoned the people who got them here just to win at all costs. A vet who fought so they don't have to kills themselves every day. That's not going to last. WTC going down in a fireball should have taught them all something. Can't escape it, no matter how rich you are.

The leaders really are out of touch. They see the violence as like how mechanical bolts preload. People are killing each other. I don't feel it. That's good! It means I'm that far removed.

How can you help people when they don't help themselves. Police just keep a cap on it all so it doesn't take us all down.


How do you point out (quite accurately!) all the systemic problems and external bad actors at work, then end up at the conclusion that those people need to “help themselves”?


If you've ever seen a black kid in school get ridiculed and told to "stop acting white" because they were studying and trying to keep out of trouble, you'd know what they're talking about. There are cultural issues that need to be addressed, in addition to systemic racism.


I've inquired about this and there are some layers at work that may be oversimplified when kids restate this idea as "acting white".

I understand there is an issue in internalizing the 2 main versions (Southern spin vs Northern spin) of 'whitewashed history' in the US. An objective viewer would consider them very sanitized, misleading, and often propagandized versions of history that are somewhat benign to people of European descent but toxic to non-white people that mainline it. It leads to a misunderstanding of how the world really works, came to be, and minimizes the role criminality played in the whole exercise, especially due its exclusion of unbiased economic history.

I think certain populations in the US have the unfortunate experience of being miseducated about who they are and why they are where they are, then spend the rest of their lives (if curious) unlearning/re-educating themselves about how the world really works and filling the gaps that were conveniently excluded from our prevailing historical narratives.

The mistrust of the information in some areas of study is based on intuition that isn't completely wrong.

"Miseducation of the Negro" touches on some of these topics though it is not an exhaustive exploration. We've learned a lot more about the layers of misinformation since 1933 (publish date), it would be interesting to read an updated version.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mis-Education_of_the_Neg...


Perhaps they are pointing out the cultural changes that need to occur to change the patterns of behavior. No amount of police funding can fix a broken home. Not even social workers can make a parent stay if they don't want to, nor stop many types of abuse, nor get a kid to stop looking up to a performer who crows about their criminal history and start looking up to some real role models.

Those are really hard things to tackle, and even talk about. So most people don't.


There's a cultural issue at the root of it. There are places with more racism, more inequality, and more absolute poverty with significantly less violence, and crime has gotten worse while we've made progress on civil rights issues and racism over the past 50 or 100 years. Popular culture within American ghettos glamorizes violence and crime. This is probably a very popular opinion in reality but vocalizing it is, ofcourse, social suicide. Having said that, I support the current riots as police brutality and institutionalized racism are severe problems that needs to be fixed.


"Yea that kid I said got abandoned, totes needs to help themselves."


The focus on defunding is also supposed to be about diverting funds and refunding institutions that can help ppeople. Very few conflicts and problems require a gun.


> Very few conflicts and problems require a gun.

The people reading your post here are not the ones you need to tell this to. You need to tell it to the criminals in many areas of the US who do indeed think that all their conflicts and problems can be resolved with violence. And then get them to believe it. Good luck.


You seem to be putting in a lot of effort to miss the point here.


Sounds like the police are useless if this is the situation they're supposed to be preventing. True, your neighbors don't "help themselves" -- but do they have the resources to do so?

Say you're the kid left at mom's boyfriend's place. Who's gonna take you in and be your role model? The kid with a knife, who will teach you to mug people on their doorsteps.

Alternatively, we could take funding from the admittedly ineffective police, and put those resources into service work. Fund support structures, and provide better role models to the neighborhoods that need them so badly. They're probably there already, but they keep their heads down and act tough when needed, because that's a survival tactic.

It's not that people want to live a life of crime, but when it's all you've ever known, it's nigh impossible to break that cycle on their own.


Sounds like the problem is lack of resources, not lack of police. Why don't you team up with your neighbors instead of trash-talking them? by your own avowal police aren't doing anything useful for your community either; what percentage of the local budget do they get, and why isn't any of that going into your community?


What good will teaming up with his neighbors do for that? It sounds like the local population has given up. Also for the police there are a few other things that could be of concern:

1. It's not a priority area to be fixed. (Police aren't doing much to address the crimes that have been commited)

2. The police aren't getting a lot of cooperation from witnesses ("don't snitch" which benefits gangs and gang retailiation.. again supporting the cycle of crime)

3. Is it the police are being held back from the region (that would be a corruption issue)

---

Anyways, police can fix the problem behavior instantly. Murders don't view their behavior as concerning. They tend not to have a lot of things stopping them on lessor crimes either. Programs take years to be fully affective. (If not decades)


>How can you help people when they don't help themselves. Police just keep a cap on it all so it doesn't take us all down.

This whole comment seems to ignore how ghettoization of a population can be purposely done by the state through regular economic attacks amongst other things.

There is plenty US history that explains why that environment you are describing ended up the way it did but it is quite painful to see what % of the voting population is ignorant of it.


[flagged]


Please don't post like this. If you see a [dead] post that shouldn't be dead, you should vouch for it by clicking on its timestamp, then clicking 'vouch' at the top of its page. There's a small karma threshold (> 30) before vouch links appear.

Cases like this are precisely why the vouch feature exists, and other users have applied it to the comment, so now yours is false as well as off topic.

In particularly significant cases, you can email hn@ycombinator.com and we'll take care of it.


Thanks. I wasn't aware of vouching.


If people downvoted it, they heard it. Complaining about it is against the rules.


The only remarkable fact about this leak is that us plebes get to see the other side of the one-way mirror.


You get to see how the sausage is made in a developed country which is, by far, an outlier in its crime-rate. I'm all for increasing police de-escalation training and policing standards in-general, I just don't think it will solve the problems that the protestors want to be solved when the crime rate is as high as it is. Ultimately, the cops are going to get jaded and stressed in ways that cops in other nations would not, and they will always prioritize their life and well-being over that of the perpetrator.

I was travelling a few years ago, and hanging out in the hotel bar in Portland, Maine, and I listened in on a heated conversation between some guy and a lady whose husband is a cop. They were discussing police brutality and the protests at the time (Baltimore maybe?), and the lady's point was basically "do whatever you want with regulating police behaviour, but I will take my husband coming home at the end of the night over anything else"

It's possible with the falling rates of crime, this may just solve itself (though increasing police training and standards is a good thing regardless).


The crime rate in America is relatively low according to official data:

- https://www.themarshallproject.org/2019/09/30/new-fbi-data-v... - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/10/17/facts-about...

The latter indicates that, depending on which data you use, the violent crime rate dropped 50–75% between 1993 and 2018 (the larger drop is from BJS, which has some methodology for estimating unreported crimes). The property crime rate dropped at 50–70% over the same time period.

Various actors in society—police gangs (sorry, “unions”), public prosecutors, for-profit prison operators, and straight up fascists—have been stoking fears of Americans for decades such that there are people who genuinely believe that America (as a whole) has more crime even when the numbers completely put a lie to that.

I’m certain that the leaks from this will reinforce what we should already know: America is increasingly a surveillance state of its police against its people, that the police rarely end up doing the jobs that they are nominally hired for (solving crimes), and that there has been an overall reduction in crime but an increase in policing outsized compared to the value police forces provide.

Don’t believe the bollocks.


>The crime rate in America is relatively low according to official data:

Come on. And those are aggregate numbers. There is variability between different states, and rural vs urban crime. For example, I just looked up the homicide rate in Atlanta Georgia (17 per 100k), vs Oslo, Norway (0.5 per 100k). That's crazy big.

>have been stoking fears of Americans for decades such that there are people who genuinely believe that America (as a whole) has more crime even when the numbers completely put a lie to that.

Things were really bad in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The downtown cores of most major cities were dangerous. Don't pretend it was OK before. Things like the 90s 'crime bill' didn't just come out of nowhere. It was bad. Things only started changing the late 90s and early 2000s when cities went through resistance and yes, crime started falling.


America has a very easy answer to reducing the death rate, but that it cannot or will not take: get rid of the guns. Get them out of the criminal hands, get them out of non-criminal hands, and get them out of cop hands.

You’re right that the 90s `crime bills` didn’t come out of nowhere. But they didn’t come out of a “we need to make our communities safer” perspective (that was merely the sales pitch)—because they increased criminal penalties on acts that generally affect low-income and minority “criminals”. They _built_ the problems we have today. The whole idea of a “super predator” was as much a racist invention as Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens in Cadillacs”.

Civil Forfeiture and RICO sounded like a great idea when it was to be used against white-collar beneficiaries of criminal enterprises. Except that’s not how it got used, and so cops in all jurisdictions started rolling up money from regular citizens just like a regular protection racket, except without the protection. It was _meant_ to be used against the cartels, but instead it got used as an income booster.

What made communities safer? It _wasn’t_ giving cops and prosecutors more powers. Reinvestment in those communities. Education. Treatment for trauma. Those things _all_ made far more difference in making communities safer than any single power given to cops since the 90s. Those things just destroyed some of the communities even more. Cities are _safer_ when you have people spending money in them and living there. Suburbs and exurbs and white flight made downtowns more dangerous by taking all of the money out of the cities and leaving people in desperate straits. Reurbanization and gentrification reversed the trends (although gentrification has its own problems).

Related to the use of aggregate numbers, read the Pew link. It talks about the rural/urban variability and about local perception of crime (people believe that there’s more crime across America, but most do not believe that there’s more crime in _their_ area).


>America has a very easy answer to reducing the death rate, but that it cannot or will not take: get rid of the guns.

Color me skeptical. Does banning certain drugs prevent drug-related crime? These kinds of indirect proposals (e.g. ban guns), that purport to solve complicated social problems (e.g. crime-rate) never pan out, but they are attractive because it FEELS like they are the answer - especially if you already have an ideology that underpins that belief.

> But they didn’t come out of a “we need to make our communities safer” perspective (that was merely the sales pitch)

Of course it did. That's exactly why that bill was passed.

>because they increased criminal penalties on acts that generally affect low-income and minority “criminals”.

Because those companies are the most impacted by crime, petty or otherwise. Gated rich communities were perfectly fine.

>Reinvestment in those communities. Education. Treatment for trauma. Those things _all_ made far more difference in making communities safer than any single power given to cops since the 90s. Those things just destroyed some of the communities even more.

None of the things you present as explanations are actually supported by anything. You're putting out explanations that you FEEL are correct based on your own ideology and biases. City, State and Federal governments spend an inordinate amount of money already. Maybe they should spend more, but I don't see evidence that that will lead to outcomes you think it will.

>It talks about the rural/urban variability and about local perception of crime (people believe that there’s more crime across America, but most do not believe that there’s more crime in _their_ area).

Don't gas-light. Pull up the crime and homicide rates of a few American cities and compare to Europe. Clearly, America is an outlier.


Banning guns _absolutely does work_. Ask the people of Australia or Scotland whether gun bans work. It doesn’t eliminate violent crime, but it has an _absolute_ effect on both the terror and spread of same. (Yes, some people switch to knives or bats, but such people are going to find their ways to be violent just as people who want to pretend that gun bans don’t work will conveniently ignore the majority of countries who have gun bans and lower violent crime rates.)

Your assertion that the reason crime bills were passed is “we need to make our communities safer” is nonsense. It’s the reason that was sold to terrified Americans—and most of the terror was provided by the news, not the reality. (IIRC, the crime rates were _already dropping_.) The reasons that they were passed is a) racism, b) profit, c) power, and d) racism.

And yes, America’s an outlier. But mostly because it also has the widest wealth gap in the developed world (_mostly_ predicated on race, but not exclusively).

I’m not gaslighting anyone—I’m telling you straight up that America’s crime problems—such as they exist are:

1. Incorrect, usually radicalized, reporting in a way that supports the _fear_ that there is more crime than there is; 2. Overpolicing and overprosecution, especially of minority persons; 3. the effects of extended systemic racism and the casual acceptance of white supremacy in policing; and 4. poverty and the criminalization of being poor or otherwise disadvantaged.

If people have no hope, what do you expect?


You just assert things as facts. You assert that American gun rights are the cause of levels of crime. You assert the wealth gap is responsible for levels of crime. You assert the intent of the crime bill was "a) racism, b) profit, c) power, and d) racism". That is not true. The 90s were not Jim Crow 1890s. People did actually care about crime and impact of crime and it was really bad. Did people just forget that during the 70s, 80s and 90s crime destroyed inner-cities? That the urban renaissance of the 2000s didn't actually occur until AFTER crime-rates started to fall? Also, it is a well known fact (though conveniently ignored) that the crime bill had the support of minority communities and minority leaders, because it's not pleasant to live and raise children in a neighborhood with gang violence, crime and open drug use.

You have no basis for anything of those things.

>2. Overpolicing and overprosecution

America has an over-sentencing problem. American prison sentences are higher than anywhere in the world. The people who are actually in prison, are guilty of the crimes they are accused of being guilty, the difference is that in Europe a rapist may get probation, while here (e.g. Weinstein) gets 23 years.


Imagine if someone said the cure for cancer is to get cancer out of the body. Okay...but I think there needs to be more concrete steps for actually accomplishing that.


It's not very easy because it requires a constitutional amendment.


No, in fact it doesn’t.

Gun controls are not incompatible with the second amendment—at least they weren’t until conservative judicial activists bought long-discredited and ahistorical views of gun ownership in the ~40s and ~50s with the foot on the gas pedal ever since (except, of course, for the utter silence of the NRA on the banning of “assault weapons” when the Black Panthers carried them…).

Guns were rare, expensive, and often owned by the _militia_ to which the citizen belonged until about 1865. They were then more readily available, but cities and towns (especially the so-called “Wild West”) had fairly strict rules on how/when/who could carry (for reasons both good and bad, especially in the Reconstruction South).

Everyone wants to forget the first clause of the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. It’s not clear what it means, and I happen to think that Scalia was wrong, but I’ll admit that Stevens may have been wrong, too.

In modern terms, I would argue that the amendment absolutely permits strict licensure of gun owners as a precondition of gun ownership.


Yes, in fact it does. You appear to be talking about something else than the post I responded to, which calls for the elimination of all guns.


You're conflating rate of change with the current number. Yes, crime is dropping but the US is a big outlier in violent crime compared to any other large 1st world country. There are 5.35 murders per 100k in the US. The closest comparable country is Canada at 1.68.


More precisely, certain areas of the US (parts of certain large cities) are a big outlier in violent crime compared to any other large 1st world country. The rest of the US is not.


This is a pretty nebulous statement, but I don't think there's a lot of truth here. "Certain areas" makes it seem like the discrepancy is contained, but it's not. Pretty much every decent sized city in the US has a murder rate at least several times greater than any major European city.

If you compare a rich suburb to Europe's average then yeah, it's probably comparable. But any sort of apples to apples comparison will show that the U.S. has a much higher violent crime rate.


> Pretty much every decent sized city in the US has a murder rate at least several times greater than any major European city

Nope. As a poster elsewhere in this thread noted, it's less than the top 100 cities in the US. There are a lot more than 100 "decent sized" cities in the US.


That was me, and again "decent sized" is nebulous. Either way, you said:

>certain areas of the US (parts of certain large cities)

So unless we're counting Boise at 220k and ~100 others like it as "parts of certain large cities" then your statement isn't accurate.


> unless we're counting Boise at 220k and ~100 others like it as "parts of certain large cities"

Yes. There are a lot more than 100 cities in the US, and a lot of places where people are that aren't cities. My point is that citing one single "crime rate" for the US misrepresents what's actually going on; there are basically two crime rates, the "cities" one (or however you want to label it) and the "everywhere else" one, and only the former is significantly larger than other developed countries.


'Two victims died in at least 21 shootings across four NYC boroughs between Friday and Saturday, officials said'

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/weekly-nyc-shootings-s...


You don't seem to understand the argument made by protesters. The argument is not that the police doesn't solve crime, it's that they cause it.

You observe an outlier but fail to put it into context. The police in the US aren't comparable to police in other western countries. As a result, comparing crime rates is disingenuous.

The lady in your anecdote is also painfully disingenuous. Being a police officer isn't really dangerous. The death rate is much higher for landscapers, bartenders, taxi drivers, etc.. Roofers have a mortality rate of 4x the police. Even then, most police officers die in traffic accidents, not homicide [0].

[0]: https://qz.com/410585/garbage-collectors-are-more-likely-to-...


>You don't seem to understand the argument made by protesters.

One issue is that there is no single entity pushing a single policy. You have a lot of people saying a lot of things.

>The argument is not that the police doesn't solve crime, it's that they cause it.

Yeah. That's insanity. Is that backed up by any study? What does that even mean? There is no country on earth without a police department.

>The police in the US aren't comparable to police in other western countries.

I agree with that, and one big reason is that the American crime-rate is an outlier compared to other western countries.

>he death rate is much higher for landscapers, bartenders, taxi drivers, etc.. Roofers have a mortality rate of 4x the police.

Sure - but there is a different level of stress that comes around when your death can be caused by another human versus accidents and negligence. The death-rate of soldiers in Iraq wasn't very high by percentage either and yet it resulted in a lot of PTSD in soldiers that weren't even casualties. The stresses that cops experience are closer to active military servicemen rather than landscapers - wouldn't you say?

I remember watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfi3Ndh3n-g which shows you how quickly things can escalate especially when you're dealing with tense situations. That's what cops have in the back of their mind, for good or bad. And if you're working in a high-crime area, it's going to affect you.

Unlike roofers and landscapers, the police are also dealing with the ugliest sides of humanity. They are called in to deal with murder and rape and abuse all the time.

Having said that, this is a good argument for INCREASED investment in police departments, namely the increasing and continual training for police officers in dealing with high-stress situations and de-escalation tactics. For example, each month, each police officer should take 2 or 3 days just for this kind of training. You can also raise standards for admissions. Those are all good policies, and though expensive still, cheaper than social strife.


> Yeah. That's insanity. Is that backed up by any study?

Sure it is. In general this kind of data is hard to acquire because the police rarely stop working. When they do though, the results are fairly clear [0]. This study was made after a "strike" by the police. The study attempts to account for under-reporting due to this fact.

Please note that just because _some_ crime is caused by police doesn't mean _all_ is.

> There is no country on earth without a police department.

Something about appeal to tradition. Anyway, as you might know police departments are a very new thing. Policing, in its current form, has existed for <200 years, founded under what is known as the Peelian principles [1]. Principles my previous paragraph demonstrates to have been violated by the police departments.

> PTSD in soldiers that weren't even casualties

The two of us are obviously coming from two very different perspectives. I have a hard time having sympathy for the soldiers who fought in Iraq and I think I'll have a hard time convincing you to feel otherwise.

[0]: Sullivan, C.M., O’Keeffe, Z.P. _Evidence that curtailing proactive policing can reduce major crime_. Nat Hum Behav 1, 730–737 (2017).

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_principles


>In general this kind of data is hard to acquire because the police rarely stop working. When they do though, the results are fairly clear [0].

It's not clear at all. This was a singular event and it wasn't even a police 'strike'. It was a work-to-rule action. Police were still there. To counter your conclusions, we've seen evidence of crime spikes in Baltimore, and even Chicago in areas that are ostensibly police free. Hell, we've seen two shooting and three casualties (and one death) in the Marxist utopia of CHOP, just in the last 48 hours without police presence - so much so that the idiot mayor of Seattle is now having the police coming back to restore order. So no, a single study isn't indicative of anything, and certainly not of what society looks like without a police department. It certainly isn't indicative that destroying a system that works well in every free nation in the world, and replacing it with something else, will lead to better outcomes.

Urgh, the entire thing is so juvenile and idiotic that is boggles the mind. Are you just a disaffected teenager or early-20 something that has you literally believing that dismantling police is the right way to go.

>Something about appeal to tradition

Similarity you don't get a free pass in just claiming that after you destroy the current system, which statistically works very well (the number of people killed by cops is minuscule at the population level), you'll be able to rebuild in an improved way - without even citing one example of where your methodology actually worked.

>Please note that just because _some_ crime is caused by police doesn't mean _all_ is.

Noted.

>Policing, in its current form, has existed for <200 years,

Just around the time Democracy was becoming a thing. Maybe we should give up on this Democratic thing too. Just because policing is new is not an argument for whatever it is you're proposing. It's just a statement of fact not supporting evidence for whatever it is you're proposing. But even with that, policing has, in fact, changed. Let's take your 200 years at face value, that means we have 200 years of incremental improvements based on societal needs that you would be throwing those away.

>I have a hard time having sympathy for the soldiers who fought in Iraq

I never asked for you to show sympathy towards another human being. Thank you for sharing you have none to give.

The point wasn't sympathy, it was that these military servicemen came back with PTSD even though statistically, the death rate was low (and probably similar to working on an oil rig). So the overall death rate is not necessarily correlated with the stresses of the job. But let me try again because you clearly cannot show empathize with a entire group of people you hate ... suicide was (is) prevalent among Japanese office workers. I'm going to go on a limb and assume that working at an office in Japan doesn't run you a high risk of death, but the stress incurred by those workers manifests in depression and suicide.

Do you understand now? And look, you didn't even have to show empathy towards an entire group of young people (and military service is, by and large, a young person's profession).


In general I don't believe in simply abandoning a conversation someone clearly spent time participating in. On the other hand, I'm not going to continue with someone who ultimately isn't able to have the discussion at hand, for various reasons.

My reasons in this case are your 1) purposeful misinterpretations, 2) unequal demands in needed evidence for claims, 3) insults about my person and 4) misunderstanding of the topic at hand.

Don't expect me to reply further.


> I'm all for increasing police de-escalation training and policing standards in-general, I just don't think it will solve the problems that the protestors want to be solved when the crime rate is as high as it is.

Neither do the protestors, which is why they aren't out chanting “increase police funding for additional deescalation training and increased standards”.

Dismantle/defund/abolish isn't about incremental training and increased standards, it's about radical reorganization of basic services and rethinking the role of armed law enforcement within that spectrum.


If cops are quitting like they seem to do currently, you will certainly get the most corrupt police force you have ever had if you plan to quickly replace them. Not saying the current one is perfect, although its numbers were surprisingly good compared to the stereotype of being cowboy cops. Even with a certain number of unreported cases, say we had 20% of those.

But the state of the police and its militarization is due to policies of the last decade, meaning that deescalation wasn't tried at all. The former terrorism has become domestic terrorism, something early critics predicted (wasn't even hard). The loudest voices we hear from seem to not be able to hold a thought, because the other side needs to be silenced first.

Ultimately I believe many cops will quit due to lacking support of their governors or president. But I doubt we will see significant changes. Private security will become an even more booming market. Police departments will lack funding but will be sold expensive riot gear.


I think you're missing the main problem:

US Police is above the law.

They can and do break most any law at will, without consequence.

Any "Law & Order" fan will tell you crime needs to not pay for people to behave civilized. For US Police, crime does pay.


Except that we are protesting not because police is trying to defend themselves, but because they are killing people who are posing no threat, and using self-defense as a convenient excuse to kill.


No one rioted when Mohammed Noor shot Justine Damond.


Maybe they should have, instead of holding a vigil and a march. If they had yelled at cops and the DA they might have seen faster progress, rather than it taking 9 months to charge him.


I don't know what riot means to you, but:

1. There wasn't an 8:46 video showing Noor murder her (no video publicly released until trial?).

2. The PM of Australia immediately denounced it and called for action.

3. BLM protested the shooting and failure to immediately charge Noor in the streets of Minneapolis.

4. The police chief resigned almost immediately.


Crime has dropped by around half over the last 40-50 years so why are there so many people in prison now? I mean it's mind bogging. Plus with how fucked up the prison system is in the US.


>Crime has dropped by around half over the last 40-50 years so why are there so many people in prison now?

I can think of one reason ... high incarceration rates lead to lower crime.

I'm being facetious, but I suspect that has something to do with it. There are other factors no doubt. Freakonomics claims abortion was partially responsible, I read somewhere video games are partially responsible (i.e. incentive to stay home instead of going out). I've also read that higher lead levels in air and water in the past may be responsible for higher crime rates, etc.

I'm sure there are a lot of factors that explain the lower crime-rate.

The problem for you is that cops aren't responsible for the crime rate. They are called to deal with it.

>Plus with how fucked up the prison system is in the US.

You don't actually think the vast majority of people in State or Federal prisons are actually innocent do you? (Because they aren't). Another myth is that there is some huge proportion of inmates serving time for non-violent drug offences and drug possession - that's not true either. Almost nobody goes to prison for simple drug possession or low-level drug offences (prisons are too full for that). Those chargers are usually pleaded down from more serious violent charges.

Having said that, US prison sentences are also an outlier, but that's a double-edged sword too. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual assault and rape (third degree). Having spent time abroad and having family all over the place, in most jurisdictions, he would not get any prison term or would be paroled within a short amount of time.

I see this dichotomy in American thinking all the time. There are calls to lower prison sentences, while at the same time accused individuals (who are usually unlikable - like Weinstein) have the same people calling for maximum sentences so those individuals spend years behind bars. Reducing prison sentences does necessarily imply murderers, rapists, child molesters, would be out in relatively short amount of time (10-15 years typically, if you compare to prison terms in countries like Canada for comparable offenses) - are you OK with that?


Well, crime dropped in lots of places around the world. In most countries, including Germany(where I'm from) we didn't increase our policing...

>You don't actually think the vast majority of people in State or Federal prisons are actually innocent do you?

No, I don't. But the system is still horrible and brutal. I think think prison in the US should focus much more rehabilitation over punishment. In Germany and Scandinavia being removed from society is the punishment. Norway has a recidivism rate of only 20%. I don't know the other countries, it's higher in Germany at 35% but still less than half of the US which is a total failure. You treat people prisoners like animals and you are surprised when they act like animals.

>I see this dichotomy in American thinking all the time. There are calls to lower prison sentences, while at the same time accused individuals (who are usually unlikable - like Weinstein) have the same people calling for maximum sentences so those individuals spend years behind bars.

So I think prison sentences should be reduced generally in the US. I'd get rid of mandatory minimums. But I'm not sure how I would fix it, but I would have charged the bankers, and people involved wit that in jail. I would change background checks too. Norway, and as far as I know, Denmark does this too, but if you're applying for a job, nobody will find out about your crime, just if you're available to work somewhere. For example, if you apply at a bank but you were guilty of financial crimes, they would tell the bank you cannot work there.


This is on purpose. Racism deliberately enables a narrative that allows police to murder black Americans.

Step 1: deny jobs and education

Step 2: leverage racist biases among police

Step 3: criminalize drugs

“Look at all this crime! America is so unsafe. We need military equipment and chokeholds so we can go crush skulls.”


How exactly the education in the US is denied based on race? I cannot talk about rural schools, but city schools are very well funded, pretty much all large cities have decent libraries and tons of free extracurricular stuff for kids of all ages.


There are some very big picture items to read up on (including redlining, you can google this) and some individual level items (head to twitter or somewhere that you can read individual accounts of black students' experiences with white educators).


> How exactly the education in the US is denied based on race?

Two examples of many:

Evidence suggests that teachers are less likely to identify bright minority students for placement in accelerated programs. Evidence suggests that teachers are more likely to treat minority students who "act out" as problem students and place them in remedial programs rather than finding solutions.


It's exactly that attitude to policing that's the root of all this. Yes, we all want our loved ones coming home at the end of the day. But when you go out with the assumption that everybody is trying to kill you, everybody treats you with suspicion and fear. If you're looking for a place to break that cycle, it's gonna have to start with not reflexively defending police who have clearly committed murder.

Those Baltimore riots were sparked because a man who was in custody suffered injuries that could not have been caused any other way except by the police who held him, and all of them were acquitted. When people see that the system is intent on protecting the police, that means a lot of people aren't going to care whether that woman's husband makes it home or not.

Crime has been falling at the same time as police misconduct (not just the actual abuses, but the protection around them) has become more visible. Somebody needs to de-escalate it, and that would be a great place to start.


>It's exactly that attitude to policing that's the root of all this.

You mean, humanity?

>Yes, we all want our loved ones coming home at the end of the day. But when you go out with the assumption that everybody is trying to kill you

Exactly true - but that's why the crime rate being so high rises the stress levels and enforces these views. Patrolling a Oslo, Norway, which has a murder rate of 0.5 per 100k, is different than patroling Atlanta, Georgia with a murder rate of 17 per 100k. Right?

>Crime has been falling at the same time as police misconduct (not just the actual abuses, but the protection around them) has become more visible.

I think I saw some stats that showed police misconduct has been falling as well - but as you said, visibility has been increased. Maybe this is all being solved, it just takes time.

Having said that, I do think police standards should be high, including admittance, and continual training on de-escalation drills and handling of high-stress situations. That should be simple to implement, and all it costs is taxes (and I think, given the current situation, that cost is worth it)


[flagged]


How are rural communities with low budgets going to meet that hiring standard?


They could try copying rural communities in other countries that don’t have such a big problem with “bad apples”.

For a country which, from the outside, likes to boast about how rich it is, America doesn’t seem to be very good with money.


It's really mind-boggling to me that anyone in the USA can hop online and talk to people from all over the world, yet we still think that stuff they take for granted elsewhere is impossible.


Just get rid of all these small Sheriffs and police departments. One ploice forse for state and one federal works well, most other developed countries have around 2 to 3 main police forces (depeding on how you count). Limiting the number of police departments also makes hiring and common standards a lot easier.


There are some issues with that approach. Example: the county (and surrounding areas) where I'm typing this has significant enough issues with agricultural & rural crime that they set up a dedicated task force to fight it (this is unfortunately now common with counties like ours in CA).

It's not just equipment or product either (i.e. stealing trucks filled with almonds), but there are methheads who actually steal dairy calves up in the central valley.

Sacramento doesn't really care. The dollar figures are relatively low when you consider the size of the state, there aren't a ton of voters in those areas, and a fair bit of those voters tend to lean further right politically than present leadership. So, the locals have to take care of it.

It is roughly the same argument as the (gulp) electoral college: if the coastal megacities make all the decisions, who sticks up for the person in Idaho and their needs? Also, Sheriffs are almost always elected positions, so the public gets an opportunity to directly influence leadership of their local law enforcement.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of our local PD, and enforcing standards is a fair point.


Ideally, state funding paid for by taxes on the more wealthy cities.


> Yeah, this is probably controversial but I think the police should basically be the bullet sponges for the rest of society.

Don't forget police are the FORCE in law enforcement. Want Universal Healthcare, social programs, speed limits, voting rights, etc.?

There has to be force to enforce those laws. Otherwise, toothless laws mean nothing.


> There has to be force to enforce those laws.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_firearm_use_by_country#...

"In some countries including Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland excepted), Maldives, the police do not carry firearms unless the situation is expected to merit it."


Perhaps it should be noted that citizens of those countries almost never carry guns themselves. And when they do(and want to commit crimes), e.g. Brevik, more murders happen while police stand around waiting for the gun units to show up.


First, citizens possibly being more armed than everyday police is not a bad thing. Parking enforcement and process servers are less armed than the people they confront. It generally takes two to escalate - if a moving violation turns out to be a cornered violent felon, you want them to drive off rather than expecting a single officer to control them in the heat of the moment!

Second, firearms could still be carried in every vehicle in case they're needed. For example, the National Park Police does this with rifles - ready to go in case needed in a remote area. This idea that a police officer responding to routine incidents may suddenly need to draw their handgun and start shooting is exactly the problem.


Stephen Paddock shot 471 people (killing 58, and injuring an additional 400+ via the ensuing stampedes, for a total of nearly a thousand casualties) in Vegas in 2017, despite armed security in the hotel and well-armed cops all over the festival and surrounding town.

Norway has a murder rate of 0.53 per 100,000. The US is 5.0 per 100,000. Your assertions don't bear much scrutiny.


Which assertions don't bear much scrutiny? That Norwegians rarely carry guns, or that Brevik was able to kill more people than he would have been able to if a police officer who was already present on the scene had access to a gun?


If you cite Brevik as "cops with guns would help", Paddock is a clear rebuttal of the claim.


That wasn't my argument. What I posted is still available for you to read.


Just what percent of broken laws in the US do you think end up being enforced with guns drawn?

And given that subpopulation, have you considered any of current proposals making the round for nonviolent conflict resolution by specially trained, unarmed mediators?


> Just what percent of broken laws in the US do you think end up being enforced with guns drawn?

Why draw a gun and use force by threat? Imprisonment, fines, wage garnishment, loss of rights, etc. are all equally effective ways of enforcing laws.


100% of all enforced laws are BACKED by the THREAT of guns drawn. That doesn't mean it gets there most of the time, but the THREAT is what backs all laws and the reason why people give in most of the time.

ALL laws are ultimately backed by the threat of death because ultimately if you don't comply and refuse to ever comply and work your way up the violence ladder, it all ends in death.

It amazes me that people don't understand this (though given the current state of education I shouldn't be surprised.)

I laugh at the authoritative far left/right who want to disband the police. Who would oppress the population with their policies if there were no police?


Here in the UK few police have guns and they have to have special training if they want to be licensed to use firearms. Even then, the weapons are kept in a locked safe most of the time rather than being carried by default. There are many other countries that have a similar regime.

The idea that you have to constantly threaten deadly force in order to enforce the law is not at all born out in other countries.


> The idea that you have to constantly threaten deadly force in order to enforce the law is not at all born out in other countries.

It doesn't need to be physical force, it can be taxation, fines, imprisonment, or loss of rights.

But force is force.


No white collar criminal expects to get shot over accounting fraud or insider trading. They go quietly, turn themselves in.

I do understand the libertarian view of things, the first-principles consideration that ends every conflict in a wild west shootout. But in reality most people want to participate in society, and abide by the social contracts therein.

Feel free to consider my original questions, if you want.


How did laws exist before the relatively modern institution of the police?


Through other means of force and/or punishment.


>You get to see how the sausage is made in a developed country which is, by far, an outlier in its crime-rate.

I don't think that's actually true. I'll have to find the stats, but IIRC the number of raw crimes is comparable between Western Europe and the US, but in the US the crime is WAY deadlier due to all of the guns. Canada is somewhere in the middle.


No, it's not. I think what happens is that if you take a national average and compare it's still higher, but not overly so. But there is variability in those numbers. Atlanta has a murder rate of 17 per 100k vs 2 per 100k for Toronto, and 0.5 per 100k for Oslo.

>but in the US the crime is WAY deadlier due to all of the guns. Canada is somewhere in the middle.

That doesn't matter. Cops don't set gun policy. They have to deal with it. Just as cops don't cause vagrancy in cities like LA and San Fran (which usually results from mental illness and/or drug addiction), but they still have to deal with it (because those cities and states won't).


IIRC the number of raw crimes is comparable between Western Europe and the US, but in the US the crime is WAY deadlier due to all of the guns. Canada is somewhere in the middle.

It’s hotspots. Take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC and maybe New Orleans then even gun crime in the US is no worse than Europe.


That's not true. Berlin's murder rate is 1.8 per 100k people. If I count right that puts them at 96th between Santa Clara, CA and Boise, ID:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_b...

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/nov/30/new-yo...


> If I count right that puts them at 96th between Santa Clara, CA and Boise, ID

First, you're only looking at cities. Lots of the US population does not live in cities.

Second, even just looking at cities, do you know how many cities there are in the US? (A lot more than 96.)

All this is telling you is that, as far as crime rates go, the US is basically two countries: certain large cities (high crime rate) and everywhere else (low crime rate).


The GP said take out the hot spots and crime would be comparable to Europe. Unless we're counting 80+ cities as "hot spots" that's not an accurate statement.


> Unless we're counting 80+ cities as "hot spots"

Yes, that's what we're doing. There are a lot more than 80 cities in the US, and a lot of places where people are that aren't cities.


>Lots of the US population does not live in cities.

Where do you think these police abuses (and subsequent protests) are coming from? Pretty much exclusively from cities.


Yes, I know; I'm simply pointing out that "cities" is not the same as "everywhere in the US". So asking for "fixes" to this issue that involve restructuring society everywhere in the US is not reasonable. The policing issues are issues that are local to the particular cities where these problems exist; local governments are the ones that should be held accountable for fixing them.


This random, nameless person’s false equivalency about her husband means nothing in this conversation other than to point out how indoctrinated she is.


Hedge funds and investment banks are comparable to cartels?


Some are. HSBC laundered billions of dollars for the cartels and no one went to jail over it.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/outrageo...



Why would they think that? Matt Taibbi is well-known around here.

Edit: Rolling Stone did take a credibility hit after Sabrina Rubin Erdley came clean about manufacturing parts of her college campus rape story, but that’s the only thing that comes to mind when I think about RS and journalistic credibility.



The original article they're complaining about is pretty fair, and IMO, great journalism.

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/coomer...


Boomers trying to explain 4chan is anything but great journalism.


A few people on HN get stuck on the debunked gang rape story, and feel that it destroys any credibility Rolling Stone had. (I'm not one of those people.)

https://hn.algolia.com/?q=rolling+stone+rape


Thanks for providing the link, I edited my comment to reflect that.

I’m not one of those people either, that had to be embarrassing for them and I’m assuming they changed their editorial practices to avoid such things in the future.


> I can already see some people thinking "but rolling stone isn't real journalism"

Does anyone under 80 think that?


A few UVA alumni likely think that.


Probably some of the senators responsible for regulating banks, so yeah.


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