Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Outrage is Needed When Outrage is Due

Personally, I like to avoid public outrage over events. But outrage is needed when outrage is due. I think that outrage is due in the shooting of Darrien Hunt on September 10th of this month.

A few days after the Salt Lake ComiCon, police in Saratoga Springs fatally shot Darrien Hunt, a 22 year-old black man who was wearing a loud red shirt and had a replica sword.

Fantasy role games are extremely popular in Utah. In addition to ComiCon, the state boasts multiple Renaissance Fairs and one often comes in contact with people engaged in cosplay (costume play) in parks and on the street. The biggest Fall social event in Utah County [aka Happy Valley] is the Halloween Half Marathon with thousands of costumed people. Three days after this shooting, Provo organized a scavenger hunt with 2097 attendees!

Costume play is not unusual in Happy Valley. The only thing that was unusual about Darrien Hunt's  cosplay in Happy Valley was the color of his skin and his curly afro.

FWIW: I recently came between two brothers in their teens brandishing swords playing out a war between the Nephites and Lamanites. These kids were swinging their replica swords over their heads. A Picture by Jocelyn Hansen shows that Darrien Hunt had his replica sword sheathed just before the fatal confrontation.

The initial reports of the shooting said that officers shot Darrien as he lunged at them with the replica sword. News Reports claim that a private autopsy ordered by the family shows that Darrien was shot in the back.

In a really bizarre twist, reports claim that the officers involved in the shooting have not been officially interviewed. It is as if the investigators are more concerned with protecting the government than trying to find out what happened in this horrible event.

If I were investigating an incident, I would want one team to engage in intense interviews as soon after the events as possible. I would then have a forensics team gather data then scrutinize differences between the witness reports and forensics reports.

From what I've seen in the media, it appears that the Saratoga Springs police are more engaged in the media campaign around the investigation than on the investigation itself.

According to KSL ( www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=31573619 ). The Saratoga Springs police put out then removed the following statement on their Facebook page:
“Everyone should remember that the news outlets have ratings they need to gain. They don’t report facts. They use innuendo, opinion and rumor and then report it as fact. The same thing happens here on FB and other social media. The real facts are being determined by an independent investigation, and not in a rushed or haphazard manner. … There is no coverup and there is no corruption.”

Criticism of the media is a propaganda technique. One should be wary whenever one sees a political group leading into a story with criticism of the media. Ironically, this very post is exactly the type of media that the Saratoga Springs Police Department is criticizing. This post is using innuendo on social media platform to influence public opinion. The post is an example of projection. Classic projection is an act in which one accuses others of one's own faults to deflect attention.

My hinting that you use innuendo to win your your arguments is innuendo.

But what is really interesting in this post is the use of the word "fact." The Saratoga Springs Police seem to be claiming that whatever is in the official report is fact. The people writing the report are human. So, it is possible for a report to contain errors or have intentional misdirection.

The people doing the investigation might state what they believe to be facts. These stated facts might not be the actual truth, just as stated facts in the newspaper might be wrong.

The facts I want to put forward are that people in Utah often engage in costume play was was seen at ComiCon. (This ComiCon girl is carrying a really scary weapon.) In the same week as this shooting two people showed up at a Scavenger Hunt in the same county. This data was measured and verified by Guiness and Google.

Thousands more will run in costume events this October.

The Saratoga Springs Police appear to be engaged in a media campaign to deflect attention from the shooting in which the primary cause of the shooting appears to be race.

While the outrage in Ferguson may have been over the top. Both the shooting of Darrien Hunt and the response of the Saratoga Springs Police Department deserve outrage.

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