Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Compassion In Action

Read this story and tell me where the logical fallacies comes in.

Done? OK, let’s get to work:

Saying that Eric Garner was overweight at 350-400 pounds and battling asthma, many posters on the sites TheeRant and said the Staten Island father and husband brought his death last Thursday upon himself. They said his health contributed to his cardiac arrest, and that their interpretation of an eyewitness video of Garner's altercation with police last Thursday was that he resisted arrest.

Police said they suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes when they approached him on a sidewalk. He told them he'd done nothing wrong. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

[…] On, one person wrote, "Mayor you killed our effectiveness on the street, when you killed Stop and Frisk. Because of a few bleeding heart liberals and a few ethnic groups who believe they are the only ones being stopped. You shut down the whole system. Because now all those baggy … pants you see walking around are probably locked and loaded."

Another referred to a video tape of Garner's altercation with police that went viral. On the tape, Garner is heard saying eight times "I can't breathe" as police press his head into the sidewalk.

"If you can talk you can breathe! A strong and deadly choke hold would not allow a person to talk," the poster wrote.

Here are the things I want to look at:

a) If he’s 350-400 pounds, then you have to assume a chokehold is a life-threatening event. Period. It’s a fairly safe assumption that the suspect has cardiovascular problems and cutting off his air, even partially could kill him. As a professional police officer, paid and trained to protect the public and to call for medical assistance when necessary, this should be ingrained into your thought process.

b) You can talk if you’re choking. If you are not getting enough air into your lungs, that’s not unlike, in fact, it’s almost exactly like, COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Only not chronic. And the only disease is in the mind of the frikkin’ idiot who put the victim into a chokehold that is specifically outlawed by the NYPD code of conduct. But there are plenty of emphysema and asthma patients who can talk in short bursts as they inhale enough air to support speech. Basically, this victim was dying and in dying, you find a way to exert extraordinary effort to do things that normally are not likely to occur.

What the police officer did in this instance goes beyond shameful all the way to criminal.