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NZ Police Must Wear Body Cameras (plus Tweets)

I was tweeting a bit a couple of days ago, especially about one of my pet topics – gun safety in the US. As a result I felt the need to do a short post to include a few of those tweets. You’ll have to excuse my solipsism here – there are quite a few of my own tweets in this post.

As I said in my last post, the New Zealand Police have killed less than fifty people in the last century. It seems that all (as far as I can find out) had weapons, though not all those weapons were firearms. One controversial case a few years ago I particularly remember the young man had a machete, for example.

With that number of deaths, which I’m sure readers in the US will consider very low, many New Zealanders are still complaining that some police officers are acting like Rambo. That’s because they’re not comparing our Police with US Police, but with British Police. Our rate of police shootings is about the same as that in Great Britain despite the huge difference in population. (New Zealand has about 4.5 million people, Great Britain has about 65 million.)

Of course, not all New Zealanders are critical of the Police. Plenty are neutral, and we have our own revolting characters too. We had a police shooting just a couple of days ago. The head of the right-wing Sensible Sentencing Trust, Garth McVicar had this to say on Twitter:

Really? “One less to clog the prisons!” and, “Congratulations …”? I already had a pretty low opinion of McVicar before this. He thinks hard labour is a good idea, for example, and that prisons should be harsher. But tweeting a congratulatory message for killing someone? How low can you go?

I have every sympathy for the officer who felt the need to take this action. Killing someone must be an extremely difficult thing to deal with, whatever the circumstances. Our police are pretty well trained and undergo personality tests before being accepted for training to try to weed out those who are likely to show poor judgement. That’s no guarantee against them getting it wrong, but it does make it more likely that they can reasonably justify their actions in controversial situations.

And the killing is being independently investigated. The officer can’t, for example, just say that he felt threatened and get away with what he did. That is not a justification.

One big problem though is that our police still aren’t wearing body cameras. All sorts of people are wearing body cameras here. In some cities, even the parking wardens have them. Ambulance officers routinely wear them too. All prison officers wear them, and reports are that they have significantly reduced violence both against officers and in general.

I can see no good reason for our police to continue to avoid the wearing of body cameras. Assuming they are acting fairly and recounting events honestly, which I think most of them do, body cameras can only help them. There have been calls for our police to wear body cameras for some time, and they get louder with each police shooting. It’s time they heeded the call.

 

Political Tweets

I endorse this completely.
(Via Ann German.)

 

I just have this to add …

 

Ha ha!
(Via Ann German.)

 

Oh dear! I didn’t retweet this, but I felt the urge to use it somewhere all the same.
(Via Ann German.)

 

A responsibility of leadership: providing an example for kids.

 

SCOTUS Tweets

I can see a need for this section coming. I’ve felt that the rule of law is under threat in the US for some time, and that feeling keeps getting stronger. A Trump presidency makes the threat much worse, and the longer he is around the greater the threat. Extreme partisanship leads to both sides doing things they wouldn’t normally consider, but I see the far right as more dangerous as they have the greater proportion of authoritarians.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Gun Safety Tweets

Well, this one was pretty popular …

 

It’s amazing how the change in topic can change the approach.

 

What do you think of this dude’s sign! I love it, of course.

 

One of my regular arguments on why background checks will work.

 

Just sayin’.

 

 

Hunters say they need assault-type weapons. That needs a “please explain.”

 

A visual comparison between school shootings and politicians.

 

It’s the guns, stupid.

 

Human Rights Tweets

This is very cool.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Yet another cruel prejudice. I didn’t know there were people being killed and maimed for their body parts because of this superstition. I thought I couldn’t be surprised by the level of ignorance that still exists, but I am. The good news is some people are trying to do something about it.

 

Some very brave young women in Iran!

 

Religion Tweets

If you’re looking for blog recommendations, Egberto Willies is one I’d give a strong endorsement. He’s an atheist, but a religious background means he can put out pieces like this too.

 

Wow. Just wow. Hanging his hatred out there for all to see. And it’s amazing how many have “bravely” felt able to crawl out from under their rocks since Trump became president.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Ha!
(Via Ann German.)

 

 

Ha! again …
(Via Ann German.)

 

What religion has done to the women of Afghanistan. Also notice the gloves – it probably means she has painted nails. Any type of glorification of the hands must also be hidden from other men in the strictest interpretation of the Qur’an.

 

Science Tweets

Or is it a religion tweet?

 

WTF is Wrong With the World? Tweets

I don’t believe I’m reading this headline!

 

One of the responses it got …
(Via Ann German.)

 

Scenic Tweets

Spain.

 

Fun Tweets

This is brilliant. (Pinched from WEIT)

 

I’m surprised no one did this before!
(Via Ann German.)

 

I love the “God” Twitter account!
(Via Ann German.)

 

Other Animals Tweets

I know people who can (and do) do this!
(Via Ann German.)

 

This has to be one of the best hedgehog tweets ever!

 

Cool initiative.

 

Cat Tweets

There’s something about cats and kittens.

 

What a cutie!

 

That kid’s getting a good start in life!

 

I’d shut the bedroom door tonight if I were you! That cat’s getting you back!

 

Poor kitty!

 

I want a kitten that’s going to grow up to look like this …

 


 

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17 Responses to “NZ Police Must Wear Body Cameras (plus Tweets)”

  1. Mark R. says:

    Nice set of tweets today.

    I don’t know if much can be done re. Bolton. Trump can’t hear criticism, he likes outrage, he likes war, and it’s a simple appointment, with no congressional hearings. But he can be weakened if congress blocks the other two components of his war cabinet: Pompeo and Haspel. Neither are people who advocate for diplomacy or peace. Then again, Trump will keep trying to put in yes-men and women until he finally gets his bottom of the barrel appointees. At this point, it’s just a race to November to elect a democratic congress to offset Trump’s authoritarian regime and to abate the Great Republican Plundering.

    America has many states that are completely broken, governed by right-wing ideologues imbued with greed and religion (with a healthy smattering of hate). On many fronts, Kansas leads the charge.

    I loved the cat with the optical illusion: I destroy what I don’t understand! The mini-mindset of trump when you think of it.

    • I find it hard to get used to how the government of a republic works. I keep forgetting that states are like separate countries in many ways – that government doesn’t work the same way it does in a parliamentary democracy. And because of that, several states are indeed broken, and there’s little anyone can do about it because of the ideology of those in charge. They have the attitude that things like choice in abortion (and even contraception), marriage equality, gender equality, and racial equality are forced on them by evil overlords who don’t understand what God really want. I hate to think what some of them would be like without a federal government.

  2. nicky says:

    So much to comment on.
    If it is true that Mr Boulton is not taken seriously regardless of party lines, we have little to fear, I’d say. Crackpot. Moreover, he is a National Security Advisor, and we know what Mr Trump does with advice. 🙂
    I like the ‘assault weapon’ tweets, but the real great killer in the US is hand guns.
    Note that all the hunters I know are scathing about ‘assault weapons’ needed for hunting. Ridiculous: amateurs, dilettantes, dabblers, palookas (as they say in the US).
    The cat ‘catching’ the optical illusion is interesting. Apparently our optical pathways work the same. (as is to be expected, since both mammals). Wonder how birds (probably the same), a snake or an octopus would react. I guess the latter would show a different reaction.

    • Randall Schenck says:

      I would say – show me a hunter who uses an assault weapon for hunting and you are showing us a nut job who hunts nothing.

      Speaking of body cameras, they certainly had them when they shot the kid in Sacramento the other day. They thought he had a gun (actually a cell phone) and shot him 8 times. 8 hits out of 20 shots.

      I wonder, what are the chances we see Stormy and Spanky in court? I think he folds before they get there.

      • That Sacramento one is outrageous. According to the kid’s family lawyer (Crump) most of the shots were in his back, so he was running away, not towards them. And why did they turn off their microphones?

    • I’d love to see how an octopus reacts. They’ve done some cool experiments with octopuses, and this could be another one.

      Hand guns are the ones that are banned in most other countries. (No one even considers making assault weapons legal for the public in the first place so they’re not part of the equation.) Here, you have to have a gun licence for two years before you can even apply to own a hand gun, and a licence is only rarely approved. Most licences go to people like diplomatic security. It’s almost impossible to get hold of a hand gun. They’re not readily available in gun stores. They have to be especially ordered usually.

      • nicky says:

        Very sensible indeed, methinks.
        In a comparison of 11 countries, only South Africa beats the US in number of police killings. (the table is admittedly not measuring the same year). Countries like Finland and Norway have negligeable numbers of deaths (0), and surprisingly Denmark has 71 per 100 million inhabitants/year. The USA and South Africa stick out in that list with respectively 342 and 634 deaths/100 million/y. (South Africa has, of course a vertiginous crime and murder rate, most (not all) police killings are in shoot-outs with gangs. South African police have a very high death rate themselves).
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_firearm_use_by_country

  3. Mark R. says:

    I’d say some species of octopus actually are optical illusions. 🙂

    • nicky says:

      Did you note that ‘Aliens’ are most often either inspired by either human foetus, or by octopus?Even the arthropod-like aliens in “The 4th of July” has a kind of embryonic ‘humanoid’ inside.

  4. Mark R. says:

    I don’t want to dominate this thread, but I wanted to respond to what you wrote about NZ police cams. In the US there is ample evidence that body cameras don’t mitigate abuses caused by police officers. Also, there have been cases where it is clear on the camera (visually and aurally) that certain officers were breaking the law and they get off without any repercussions…maybe payed leave. I’m sure we only hear about the negative cases and there are probably many officers who really don’t need them. Either way, I agree that all police officers should be required to wear them, regardless of the cameras not always changing a cops behavior.

    But I would bet good money that NZ police officers are far better trained and paid than their US counterparts. Also, since NZ’s populace isn’t saturated with guns, your police officers aren’t in a constant state of paranoia. In America, if a suspect is holding anything that’s not immediately identifiable, the object is automatically assumed to be a gun…especially if the suspect is non-white.

    That McVicar is a real a**hole. Sadly, there are many over here who think just like him; our current POTUS happens to be one of them. Humans make me sad.

    • Yeah, our police are much better paid than yours – part of attracting the best to the profession. I don’t know what training yours get, but ours are well trained too. I agree that US police in big cities in particular are probably in a constant state of paranoia which must be had for them, but many also don’t seem to be trained to deal with that. I know it’s not all police though. I think some of your police are really well trained – the problem is that it’s not consistent across the country. There’s also a leadership issue. There are expectations of a high standard of ethics in their personal and well as professional lives here, and these days (it hasn’t always been the case) police do not protect bad officers and are disappointed when a fellow officer lets them down. When you boss id Joe Arpaio, you can’t expect to attract good staff, or the police to act properly. In other places, police appear to be making a real effort to change the culture.

      Here, there’s a well know case of a woman who was gang-raped by police over a period of years, and those officers rose to high positions in the force. Eventually the culture became one where they could be prosecuted. Nowadays, she provides education to all recruits that go through police training.

      I think it helps that all police in NZ are part of the NZ Police force. There are no separate agencies for different cities, counties, type of policing etc.

      (My cousin’s husband is a cop. They live less than 100 metres down the road from me.)

  5. Randall Schenck says:

    I don’t want to talk too much either but must say something about the insanity here in the Midwest on guns and poor schools. In Oklahoma today the teachers are on strike. They have had no pay increase in 10 years and are the poorest paid teachers period. The text books are as much as 10 years old and the chairs in the rooms are mostly broken. You would think this is Afghanistan or maybe the Philippines. I live in Kansas and it is just as bad. The state legislature just voted against a bill to increase spending 500,000 million I think, over the next 5 years. Some are saying it is not enough. The state supreme court told the state – pony up the money for education or else. Then we could talk about the bills to arm the teachers or hold the schools libel for a shooting. And some insurance companies already said, if you arm the teachers the rates go way up. So they want to pass the bill and tell the insurance companies they cannot raise the rates. It is all pure insanity folks…

    If it is a red state – it is a dead state.

    • It’s terrible the way teachers are treated in some states in the US. Many states get it right, but others are abysmal. They just don’t seem to understand the importance of education.

      That’s another one where I think our system helps. All teachers that teach in state-funded schools have to be trained teachers. The government is also gradually raising the required education level of teachers too. They are looking at the example of Finland where the minimum education level of teachers is a Masters degree and teaching is seen as one of the most prestigious careers. It improves the quality of teaching which is the #1 thing that makes a difference in outcomes for kids. In some areas your teachers are very poorly paid too, which makes it a really unattractive career for the best people unless they really want to be teachers. People just can’t afford to be teachers in some states, no matter how much they would like to be.

    • nicky says:

      Will Kansas spend 500 000 million USD over 5 years? That sounds like quite a bit, 100 billion/year. Does not sound that little. Kansas having just under 3 million inhabitants that would mean about 34.000 USD/y for every inhabitant. If about half the population is of school-going age, that would mean 60 to 70.000 USD/y per pupil. Does a pupil cost that much per year? Did you not add a zero somewhere?
      Arming teachers, I think we all agree, is inane.

      • nicky says:

        Oops, they voted against I see.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Don’t get your billions and millions mixed up. The state house in Kansas voted against 65-55. The bill was to add $522 million over 5 years. The current spending is $4 billion a year but the state supreme court said not enough. Now there is another bill to add $817 million over the 5 years.

        The previous governor and congress cut taxes so much, they know they would have to increase taxes to do more. They don’t want to do it. Remember, one of the big differences between state govt. and fed govt. is the states must balance the budget. If they spend it they must also raise it. Too bad the fed does not have to do the same.

        • nicky says:

          With all due respect, I think it is you who mixed up billions and millions, not me. 522 million is very different from the 500.000 million (ie. 500 billion) you mentioned earlier, about a factor 1000, three zero’s. I fully agree it is a shame they voted against it, and I’d say it is indeed pathetically insufficient in the first place (about 60 to 70 USD extra per pupil/year). A shame, unconscionable and asinine in the long run. I side with your State Supreme Court there.

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