Saturday, December 20, 2014

A disappointing press corps

President Obama held a press conference at the White House on December 19, 2014 prior to his departure for a two week vacation in Hawaii for the holidays.   Watching the entire one hour press conference revealed yet again how fatuous the press has become. 

Two issues that were discussed – the hacking of Sony Corporation and the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba – revealed that the press members the president selected to ask questions are reluctant, if not incapable, of asking difficult questions of the president.   Here are two questions that should have been asked but were not:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reducing tragic police encounters

Amid the debate, protest, and violence that followed the recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York what can be learned?  Can the incidence of violent civilian-police contact be reduced and the outcomes of such contact mitigated?

Some have described the deaths as indicative of a broader pattern of rampant unjustified police violence by white officers motivated by racism against black men. They call for a national conversation on race and the overhaul of police departments.  Others question the linkage of the events with a broader pattern motivated by racism and increasingly reject demands for redress of past oppression. In the end, making race the focal point of discussion will generate a great deal of emotion, but may be ineffective and even counterproductive in reducing violent civilian-police contact.

The pathway to preventing such incidents for Americans of all races is through better policing and the transformation of a mindset, often concentrated in dangerous neighborhoods, that is hostile to acceptable social norms.