Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Arbery case

I haven't followed the Arbery case closely, so this post is discussing the issues more from a hypothetical standpoint: 

1. It's a problem when pundits default to a racial motive. This assumes, and pundits are usually explicit about this assumption, that nearly all whites are racist to some degree or another. Ironically, that's a bigoted assumption. It stereotypes whites as a class. A paradigm example of prejudice. 

In addition, it can be a self-fulling prophecy. If you constantly blame whites for racism without specific evidence for specific individuals, that foments racial animus. That foments racial resentment.

Since white folks kill other white folks and black folks kill other black folks, I don't think there's a presumptive racial motive when the assailant is white and the victim is black, or vice versa. 

It's like, suppose I bet on sports teams. If I normally bet on one team, then there's a pattern or bias. If, however, I normally bet on two different teams, if I alternate, then there's no discernible pattern or bias. 

2. Different people have different motives for inspecting a house under construction. In some cases they are looking to buy a house, and they want to see if this is a house they'd consider buying. 

In other cases, they're just curious. For instance, a house might be way outside their price range, and they like to see how the other half lives. This is their chance to see the kind of mansion rich folks live in. 

And in other cases, they're up to no good. 

3. This also raises the question of when we should be prepared to kill someone. We have a right to protect our life and livelihood. We have a right to protect our home and business. And just in general, if someone pulls a gun on you, that justifies killing them. They've threatened your life.

If someone commits armed robbery or armed burglary, I think they forfeit the right to life in relation to the victim because they forfeit the presumption that they won't murder the victim. They forfeit the presumption that they won't carry out their threat. Armed robbery or armed burglary carries the explicit or implicit threat to murder the victim. 

But to kill someone because they may be trespassing on someone else's property or robbing someone else's business is hardly justification to kill them. That's both literally and figuratively none of our business. You might report them to the police, but that's it. Same thing with merely suspicious activity. 

1 comment:

  1. Citizen's arrest laws, even when followed to the letter, tend to encourage vigilantism. In this case, the perpetrators did not follow the law and should surely be indicted.

    I have a friend who hails from the Brunswick area and according to him, the legal establishment in Glynn County--both in terms of law enforcement and the courts--is incredibly dysfunctional. Evidently, plenty of folks from every ethnicity have been subject to serious harassment and worse.

    Perhaps a lot of us find ourselves in an ethical bind, wanting desperately to rid the world, once and for all, of the scourge of racism...without embracing the counter-productive narrative
    that sees racism everywhere it looks, creating far greater divisiveness and resentment than is actually necessary (on all sides).