You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to the North Miami Beach PD: UM... THANKS?
It's Martin Luther King Day, and traditionally, here at You Are Dumb Dot Net, I "celebrate" by searching Google News using the word "racism" and seeing what turns up.
This year, that was completely unnecessary, which in many ways I think is a good thing. Most years, racism is fairly buried in the news, hence the need to search. This year, racism has been front and center, especially the intersection with police work. Racism didn't suddenly become more prevalent, so that means we're paying more attention to it. We're not really doing much about it,, but we're paying more attention to it.
So today, let's take a look at the North Miami Beach Police Department, which got caught doing something that certainly looks racist. And sounds racist. Especially when you add in the dual unmitigating factors of police and Florida.
Short version - the NMBPD rented out a shooting range for what they say was "sniper training". Some National Guard members, using the range after the cops, found the mugshots of six black men with bullet holes in them. And, in the kind of coincidence that makes you cringe deep down inside, one of the mugshots was a fifteen-year-old picture of the brother of one of the soldiers.
So, you know. AWKWARD.
The police say they do this all the time, that it's not racist, that snipers need to be able to distinguish between similar-looking descriptions and find the right target. They also say they have white ones and Hispanic ones, and that nobody violated any policies but they're going to investigate and stop doing it anyway.
On the flip side, the NBC affiliate that first reported the story tried valiantly to find any law enforcement professionals who would go on the record and say that yes, this is a perfectly acceptable way to do target practice. And then there's the incredibly poor judgment of leaving bullet-ridden black mug shot targets lying around for people to find and be disturbed by, relative or otherwise.
According to police, the six targets were picked out of a pool of 22, which raises some serious questions for me just on an amateur game theorist basis.
All six targets were shot. That means that if the exercise actually went down the way the police claim it did, all six people were described and shot at. Now, you'd think that'd mean that people would have found 36 mugshots, with one of each set of six with a bullet hole in it, but let's say that they just left the shot ones behind and took the unshot ones with them, because otherwise they'd be training their snipers not to shoot people who already have bullet holes in their heads.
That means, with 22 potential targets, a police sniper will start seeing the same targets again during their fourth training session. At which point they start knowing who the targets are from memory and the whole exercise becomes the pointless shooting of local residents' mug shots.
So the official explanation is, at best, an unconventional and poorly-designed training exercise. And pretty much anything other than the official explanation is that Florida cops use black faces for target practice, and the list of explanations for THAT is very short and very, very racist.
Oh, and by the way, in Oklahoma, a white guy with an alleged racist past shot a black police chief four times, claiming he didn't know they were cops and that he thought it was a home invasion. Three of the shots hit the chief's bulletproof vest, so he's OK, and the shooter's a white guy in Oklahoma, so he's also OK and was released without being charged. So, you know. Another victory for post-racial America.