Information And Misinformation
As I’m sure we all knew would happen, more news has come out about the Philando Castile shooting. Some of my Facebook friends have been way too willing to believe claims that cast Castile and his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, in a negative light. They have posted links on social media to questionable websites. One of them being Conservative Treehouse, a conservative site that seems to have more than a little conspiracy thinking to it.
They reported that the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office had tweeted that that office did not issue a right to carry permit to Philando Castile. That’s true, they did tweet that message, but Conservative Treehouse did not include the tweets from the Ramsey County Sheriff that stated they may not have issued a permit, that doesn’t mean Castile did not have one. Later, both the Star Tribune and Fox 9 News reported that Castile did have a permit. It was issued through Hennepin County in June 2015.
Conservative Treehouse also claimed a gun can be seen in Castile’s lap in the video streamed live on Facebook by Reynolds immediately after Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile. Look at the still from the video, does that look like a gun? It doesn’t to me.
|This is what Conservative Treehouse thinks looks like a gun.
It may be a gun, but it could also be a wallet, the seat belt, or the belt of Castile’s pants. It is impossible to say that is a gun. But, according to Conservative Treehouse, not only is it a gun, but it resembles the gun used in a robbery from a few days before the shooting. That’s ridiculous.
One thing that conspiracy site appears to have gotten right is that Castile was likely pulled over because he resembled a suspect in the robbery of a convenience store and not for a broken taillight. Well, both Castile and the robbery suspect are African American males, similar in age, and have dreadlocks, so I can understand why the police officer would pull Castile over.
I should say at this put that we don’t know what happened prior to Reynolds’ video. We have her word as she described events, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, that Castile was complying with the police and he was going for his wallet to get out his ID. She tells us that Castile informed the officer that he had a permit to carry and that he had a weapon on him.
I watched the video and noticed that Yanez sounded more panicked that he screwed up than like a badass cop throwing around his authority. And Reynolds was surprisingly calm. That seems weird in such a situation. But both Yanez and Reynolds were under tremendous pressure. They were in a situation that most of us will never be in, so who knows how someone would react?
Internet show host Dennis Michael Lynch presented clips on his internet program showing Reynolds smoking pot and drinking alcohol in the car. There was at least one clip that shows the four year-old daughter in the car while Reynolds smokes pot.
Reynolds may not be in the running for Mother of the Year. She may be a narcissist, as her mother calls her, who cares more about herself than her daughter or her boyfriend. This may all be true, but how is it relevant to the shooting?
Lynch will say it goes to her credibility as a witness. Maybe, but she came up with that story awfully quick and under the pressure of her boyfriend just having been shot by a police officer, who was pointing his weapon at her as she told her version of events.
Listening to Lynch, I got the impression that he might have been thinking that Castile deserved to die and that the cop ought to have shot Reynolds as well. Hell, shoot the kid, too. She’s just going to grew up to be one of them.
I can’t know what Lynch was thinking. It was just the impression I got.
Something else has come out in the reporting on Castile’s shooting. That is, from the age of 19, Castile and been pulled over and cited in traffic stops by police 52 times! Virtually all the stops were for minor infractions. None were anywhere near felonies. Half of the citations were later dismissed and the rest were fines levied against Castile. Fines totaling more than $6500.
There has been plenty of talk over the years that African Americans seem to get a lot more attention from the police when it comes to traffic stops. Is it racial profiling?
Castile may have been a terrible driver, but I can count on three fingers the number of times I’d been pulled over by police. And I never got a ticket.
Some People Really Resent Snopes
I talked about a friend who was one who posted to Facebook the Conservative Treehouse misinformation. He got quite a few comments on his post, including a rather pointed criticism from one of his daughters. Others had posted links to a Snopes article on some of the misinformation spreading about Castile’s shooting.
Snopes is an excellent source for determining the validity of claims and tall tales on the internet. They research thoroughly and cite their sources. They frequently update their articles as new information becomes available.
But, some folks out there, such as my friend, just don’t like Snopes. Snopes exposes the truth about the some of his beliefs and he just doesn’t want them doing that. He wants to hold onto his beliefs, so he’ll look for ways to discredit Snopes.
He thinks he’s found their Achilles’ Heel: Snopes is liberal! So, of course, they are biased. And since he is conservative that perceived bias makes them unreliable. He pays no attention to Conservative Tresshouse’s conservative leanings, because they agree with him.
But, he did something that many people on the internets do: He posted a link to a blog article that he judged by its headline – “Snopes, ‘Liberal Bias’, and Trusting the Internet”. He didn’t read the article. If he had he would have realized that the article was remarking on how balanced Snopes is, not about how liberally biased the site is.
Dallas Speeches And A Little Dance
Both Pres. George W Bush and Pres. Barack Obama attended the memorial for the five fallen police officers killed in an ambush attack during a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas. Both made speeches. I thought both speeches were very good. Pres. Bush spoke for about six and a half minutes, while Pres. Obama spoke more than 38 minutes.
Pres. Obama struck a good balance, I thought, in talking about racial tensions and police actions. He talked about how America has advanced in race relations, but we still have work to do. He praised the Dallas police department for its strides in improving police procedures and its relationship with the communities it serves.
I thought he delivered a fine speech. But, those who don’t care for Obama were upset that he would take that event to make such a speech. I ask those folks to consider if Bush had delivered Obama’s speech would they feel the same way?
And then there was the little march/dance Pres. Bush did during the singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some were appalled. I was amused. Some thought he was drunk or on some medication. I think he was feeling the Jesus in him.
I have seen it suggested elsewhere that the born again Christian types (of which Bush is one) do that little march/dance thing whenever that hymn is played. Do you know if that is true?
Movie Recommendation: None
Ran out of time. You are on your own this week.
Closing song: ‘Angler’s Treble Hook’ by $5 Fiddle
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