The dash cam and body cam footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott has been released and it’s pretty clear why Chief Putney didn’t want to release it. It shows a confused-looking Scott exit his truck, he looks at the cops around him, and apparently confused about what he is supposed to be doing (remember the video with his wife shouting at the police officers “he has TBI! he has TBI!” i.e traumatic brain injury, which reduces the ability to process information) he turns his back to the officers. He may have been holding something in his hand, it’s hard to tell from the video, but if so, he was not pointing it at the officers in any way, both of his arms were relaxed, not tensed, and his hands were by his sides. And then one officer shoots him.

Yet Chief Putney still continues to defend the conduct of his officers, who quite clearly from the videos shot someone who was not threatening them in any way, who shot someone who looked confused and was moving slowly, saying that the “totality of the evidence” (i.e., the testi-lying of his officers) says it was a good shoot.

There will not be peace on the streets in Charlotte until their chief of police is fired and replaced with someone who doesn’t try to whitewash the death of a man. After looking at these videos I see no reason why Mr. Scott was shot, other than the fact that he was a black man, and we have cowards wearing blue uniforms who are scared of black men. Even if Mr. Scott had a gun in one hand (which is not evident from the video), it is quite clear that he was neither brandishing nor pointing a gun in a threatening manner, he wasn’t even facing the police officers and his hands were relaxed at his sides. Remember, North Carolina is an open carry state. It’s legal to hold a firearm in North Carolina as long as you aren’t pointing it at somebody or brandishing it in a threatening manner.

In short, viewing these videos, I see no reason why Mr. Scott was shot. Chief Putney needs to be fired, and someone put in charge who is more interested in defending the public than in defending an officer who made a bad choice. Because defending an officer who made a bad choice isn’t going to result in peace in Charlotte, no matter how photogenically black Chief Putney is.

Update: I just downloaded the video and put it through all the enhancements I could. The body cam footage is a mess, but I single stepped through the frames and there is one frame where you can see the shape of a gun clearly as it falls away from Mr. Scott after he is shot and jerks his hand upward to where he’d been shot. So yeah, he was holding a gun. He wasn’t pointing it at anybody but he definitely was holding a gun.

– Badtux the Video-watching Penguin

Bad girls

Lake Street Dive, “Stop Your Crying”, off their 2014 album Bad Self Portraits.

– Badtux the Music Penguin

So I walk into the kitchen — and a rat runs away from me and skitters to the corner of the dining room. Nice healthy looking juvenile, about 6 inches long with equally long tail.

“Where’s my cat,” I mutter to myself. I find said cat in the living room, sleeping on his heated cat bed, and pick him up and bodily throw him into the dining room. He goes “Meow?”, looking at me with an expression of betrayal — and then he hears the skittering of little rat feet as the rat scurries past his food bowl, and bam, he’s on the case! He chases the rat behind a tub of electronic parts, I move the tub of electronic parts and the rat skitters through the living room back to the dining room, cat in chase behind him. He tried to skitter up the leg of the kitchen table, and TMF… *RAN INTO THE LEG OF THE KITCHEN TABLE*. Bonk! The rat was right there under his paws, but TMF was too confused to do anything! So back they chased through the kitchen into my office, and the rat ran behind another tub of electronic parts, that I also pulled out so Tux could get behind it. And the rat skittered back into the kitchen and into the dining room but Tux missed it. So I picked up Tux *again* and put him into the dining room, and Tux *again* looks at me like, “WTF?”, and then he hears the skittering of little rat feet and the chase is on *again*.

The rat finally disappeared behind the refrigerator, TMF having utterly failed at catching him despite having had at least three chances to do so. TMF watched the refrigerator for a while, tail wagging, and finally went back to the living room and his heated cat bed and went back to sleep again.

SIGH. The HavAhart and Tin Cat are now deployed. Maybe they’ll do a better job than TMF. They can’t do a worse one!

– Badtux the Rat-plagued Penguin

A friend posted this on Facebook:

“Road kill. So every day I drive down (highway), there is plenty of road kill. A coyote every few days, lots of skunks this time of year. The other day a first. I saw a dead bobcat. Hurts. This is what I tell myself now.

They lived free, and that’s more than me.”

– Badtux the Reality Penguin

I’ve heard that the Clinton Foundation was a scam charity, and I’ve heard that it has one of the best records in the business for actually spending its money on good stuff. So I went and read the actual financial reports.

Wow, what a notion, read the actual financial reports rather than take other people’s word for it!

For 2014, the last report I could find, 6.4% of the charity’s revenue went to fundraising and overhead, while 93.6% went to program funding. This is pretty good in the charity business. So then I looked at the actual programs being funded. Most of them looked pretty much as advertised — programs benefitting schools and children all over the country and all over the world. The one somewhat dubious program I found was that they spent around 6% of the program funding on the Bill Clinton presidential library. While that’s legal, it’s not quite the “all the funding benefits schools and children” that Clinton’s supporters somewhat claim. If you count that 6% out, though, the charity still ends up spending 87.6% of its funds on programs that benefit schools and children. While not ideal (you want to see 90%), it’s still far, far, FAR from being a scam. There’s plenty of reputable charities that spend in that neighborhood for program funding.

Now, I wonder what Donald Trump’s charity spends? Of course, it’s hard to know that, given that people who are listed in the foundation’s records say they had no dealings with the foundation. What records do exist, however, show a charity that pretty much is a scam — just a way to funnel money into his own pockets or cover his own expenses, tax free. Still, my next task is to lay my hands on the Trump Foundation’s equivalent of the financial report that I just read from the Clinton Foundation. After all, while I think the Washington Post has been doing fine reporting on the financial shenanigans around Trump’s charity, that and $2 will get a cup of bad coffee at Starbucks…

– Badtux the Report-reading Penguin

So, the numbers are pretty clear. Gun violence in the United States peaked in the early 1980’s during the peak of the crack epidemic, and after doing a camel hump thing during the Reagan Administration, has been falling ever since the late 80’s. The number of those killed and injured by guns today, as a percentage of the population, are lower than they’ve been since the Eisenhower Administration. We basically live in the safest era that anybody under the age of 60 has ever known.

Yet… somehow it does not feel safe. Why? I don’t have the numbers to prove this yet, but I have a suspicion. The gun violence in the early 80’s was almost entirely related to the drug trade. If you weren’t a gang-banger, if you didn’t hang with gang-bangers, you weren’t likely to be targeted by gun violence. Today….

Well, today you can’t even go to the mall without worrying about being shot by some deranged spree killer. As this article about a spree killing at a mall in Burlington, Washington State mentioned, “the shooting marks Washington’s sixth mass shooting with at least four people who were fatally shot or wounded this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In the most recent shooting, people were shot to death at a house party in Mukilteo in July.”

Now, six shootings is pretty trivial compared to the total amount of crime in Washington State in the 1980’s. But here’s the thing. When most murders are either drug related or domestic violence related, 3 murders is a huge percentage of the small number of murders remaining, let’s call them “non-drug non-family murders”. And that’s just *this* spree shooting…

In short, it’s not a quantitative difference over 30 years ago. But it certainly is a qualitative difference, a difference in nature. And that makes people worried, even if it is much more likely that you’ll die in a traffic accident if you die, rather than die at the hands of a spree killer.

Sort of like cops and brutality towards black men, now that I think about it. Thirty years ago, you had cops using side-handle batons beating down black men left and right. Rodney King was not an anomaly. He was representative of thousands and thousands of black men that the LAPD beat down in those years.

And sure, we got a riot out of it. But here’s the thing: Rodney King lived. Whereas today, they would have shot him dead, and he would have died.

My guess is that we have less police violence towards black men today than we had back during the 1980’s. The problem is not quantitative, it’s qualitative. The violence has become shootings rather than beatings, and needless to say black communities aren’t exactly onboard with that change… just as, I suspect, most white communities today really wish we could go back to the time when spree shootings were drug-related drive-bys by rival gangs, and you could avoid dying simply by staying away from gang-bangers. Getting randomly shot sucks regardless of your color.

– Badtux the Quality Penguin

Pink Floyd, “Jugband Blues”, off of their 1968 album A Saucerful of Secrets. This was the last song that Syd did for Pink Floyd before he totally burned out his brain on Quaaludes and became unable to function. He lived with his mother after that until her death, and then in her home looked after by his sister until his death in 2006.

— Badtux the Music Penguin