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Pres. Oaks and "Black lives matter"


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Black lives matter should be a universally accepted message, Latter-day Saint leader tells BYU audience
By Tad Walch@Tad_Walch  Oct 27, 2020, 11:54am MDT

The history of Black slavery in the United States is shameful and the idea that Black lives matter is an eternal truth that should be universally accepted, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Tuesday on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo.

“Love is fundamental,” the apostle said during the first campus devotional with a handful of live spectators since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March. Tickets were randomly distributed to 1,200 students, faculty and staff who wore masks and sat in physically distanced, assigned seats in the 19,000-seat Marriott Center.

President Oaks talked about the disruption to students’ lives caused by the pandemic and about the increase in anxiety on church college and university campuses, but as he did during the church’s general conference earlier this month, President Oaks said racism is an ongoing issue in the United States.

“The recent nationwide protests were fueled by powerful feelings that this country suffers from and must abolish racism,” he said.

“The shocking police-produced death of George Floyd in Minnesota last May was surely the trigger for these nationwide protests, whose momentum was carried forward under the message of ‘Black Lives Matter,’” President Oaks added. “Of course, Black lives matter. That is an eternal truth all reasonable people should support. Unfortunately, that persuasive banner was sometimes used or understood to stand for other things that do not command universal support. Examples include abolishing the police or seriously reducing their effectiveness or changing our constitutional government. All these are appropriate subjects for advocacy, but not under what we hope to be the universally accepted message: Black lives matter.”

He said he was “thrilled” to hear President Russell M. Nelson’s “powerful doctrinal condemnation of racism and prejudice in his talk at general conference,” in which the church president said he “grieved that our Black brothers and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice.”

President Nelson again condemned racism and called on Latter-day Saints “to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group of God’s children.”

“Now, with prophetic clarification, let us all heed our prophet’s call to repent, to change and to improve,” President Oaks said. “Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can unite and bring peace to people of all races and nationalities. We who believe in that gospel — whatever our origins — must unite in love of each other and of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

A few thoughts:

1. Over all, very cool.

2. I have struggled with the "Black Lives Matter" organization, which seems deeply problematic.  See, e.g.:

3. I think the sentiment of "Black lives matter" is axiomatically true.  It is, or should be, as Pres. Oaks put it, a "universally accepted message."  The difficulty has arisen where, again as Pres. Oaks put it, this message is "sometimes used or understood to stand for other things that do not command universal support."

4. I am happy to see Pres. Oaks reiterate Pres. Nelson's General Conference address, the “powerful doctrinal condemnation of racism and prejudice."  It is also pleasing to see Pres. Oaks reiterating Pres. Nelson's call “to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice."  I found it particularly noteworthy that Pres. Oaks characterized Pres. Nelson's remarks as a call for us "to repent, to change and to improve."  Such universal calls generally should invoke introspection in all of us.

5. Any thoughts from y'all?

Thanks,

-Smac

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Another black man was shot. He deserved some retaliation for wielding a knife, but why all they gunshots. Why not a shot in the leg to disable him? Something needs to be done. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-man-shot-dead-police-philadelphia-sparking-heated-protests-n1244888

I understand the predicament police are in, I wish there were some answers. Has it always been this way, and we're just seeing more footage because of cell phones?

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15 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Why not a shot in the leg to disable him

A leg is just not that easy to hit.  Don't believe all those movies and tv shows where people can hit the knee cap every time.   It tends to be in more motion than the trunk (it moves forward and back in relation to the body while the trunk moves forward) A leg is not that big, pants may confuse where it actually is and a graze might not cripple them.  It would have to tear up enough muscle or break bone to disable.  Pain is not always enough.

They aim for center mass so they are more likely to hit something, anything.

Added:  smac not only got there first, but much better detail.

Edited by Calm
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It was good, except this last line:

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Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can unite and bring peace to people of all races and nationalities. We who believe in that gospel — whatever our origins — must unite in love of each other and of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

No.  The teachings from churches, Christian ones, got us in this mess to begin with.

The best to bring peace and unity is something along the lines of secular humanism.  

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The why so many shots...

Likely because of an expectation that many are going to be misses:

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While popular culture has embedded both extremes the hardened mantra of “shoot to kill” and the benevolent private eye (think Barnaby Jones) who expertly inflicts only a flesh wound the truth is that neither practice is a staple of police guidelines. In fact, the most likely result when a policeman discharges a gun is that he or she will miss the target completely. So an officer could no sooner shoot to wound than shoot to kill with any rate of success. In life-or-death situations that play out in lightning speed such precision marksmanship is unrealistic.

In New York, many other municipalities and some federal agencies, guidelines instruct officers to shoot to “stop” and in particular, to stop an assailant who poses a deadly threat to the officers involved or civilians.

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/weekinreview/09baker.html

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In New York, many other municipalities and some federal agencies, guidelines instruct officers to shoot to “stop” and in particular, to stop an assailant who poses a deadly threat to the officers involved or civilians. 

“We do not train our agents to shoot to wound or to shoot the gun out of someone’s hand, we train them to shoot to stop the threat,” said William G. McMahon, the special agent in charge who heads the New York field division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “In the milliseconds a law enforcement officer has to react during a life-threatening situation, aiming to wound is not an option.”

Agent McMahon faced tough questions a few weeks ago when a federal officer in the Bronx shot a suspect in the head, after the suspect had brandished a hand grenade and sped away in a car, dragging the agent 20 feet. That followed two fatal police shootings in Brooklyn, one in which the victim pulled out a hair brush that the police said looked like a gun, and another in which the victim wielded a broken bottle in his hand. Both shootings raised questions about the use of deadly force.

New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year. 

In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed nine people that year.

In all shootings including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance. 

In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them.

Bad marksmanship? Police officials and law enforcement experts say no, contending that the number of misses underscores the tense and unpredictable nature of these situations. For example, a 43 percent hit rate for shots fired from zero to six feet might seem low, but at that range it is very likely that something has already gone wrong: perhaps an officer got surprised, or had no cover, or was wrestling with the suspect.

“When you factor in all of the other elements that are involved in shooting at an adversary, that’s a high hit rate,” said Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner. “The adrenaline flow, the movement of the target, the movement of the shooter, the officer, the lighting conditions, the weather ... I think it is a high rate when you consider all of the variables.”

They don't do warning shots because those bullets have to go somewhere and that means potential hurting an innocent.  They don't want to shoot for a graze or limb or shoulder because more misses and again morerisks to innocents.  Remember if bullets don't hit the target, they will hit something else.  As horrible as killing a suspect is, the possibility of death or maiming of bystanders or even someone unaware of what is going on (bullets can travel far) is worse imo.  Not saying a suspect always deserves it, but they often have some control over the situation and even if it is wrong to require suspects/persons of interest/the guys getting arrested for driving while black that don’t deserve to be suspects to put themselves into humiliating positions in order not to be threatened or shot, they most often have a chance to make that choice and bystanders don’t usually. 

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Candace McCoy, a professor of criminal justice at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said that officers must be intimately familiar with the neighborhoods they patrol, and understand its natural perimeters, so they can intelligently contain an incident and defuse it short of using deadly force. They can find an in-between tactic, experts said, such as using a Taser, a baton or pepper spray.

But too often, Professor McCoy said, such middle ground for officers disappears. Once it does, and bullets start to fly, there is no telling where they will land. 

“You take Olympic shooters, and they practice all the time, and they can hit a fly off a cow’s nose from 100 yards,” said Mr. Cerar, the retired commander. “But if you put a gun in that cow’s hand, you will get a different reaction from the Olympic shooter.”

 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Another black man was shot. He deserved some retaliation for wielding a knife, but why all they gunshots. Why not a shot in the leg to disable him? Something needs to be done. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-man-shot-dead-police-philadelphia-sparking-heated-protests-n1244888

I understand the predicament police are in, I wish there were some answers. Has it always been this way, and we're just seeing more footage because of cell phones?

Spoken like a non-gun user--- In Hollywood the good guys can make impossible shots (which is what a leg shot is). If you miss at a leg shot what is behind the person? Cause that bullet will keep on going.

You must stop the person before they hurt you or someone else, you do that by aiming for center mass, not some Hollywood trick shot!

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2 minutes ago, mnn727 said:

Spoken like a non-gun user--- In Hollywood the good guys can make impossible shots (which is what a leg shot is). If you miss at a leg shot what is behind the person? Cause that bullet will keep on going.

You must stop the person before they hurt you or someone else, you do that by aiming for center mass, not some Hollywood trick shot!

I'm am a total non gun user. Now think, would a white guy get shot multiple times for holding a knife? 

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Note: The following Op-Ed appeared on Page O-1 of the January 1, 2011 edition of The Salt Lake Tribune.

 

Officers sometimes forced to shoot armed suspects

By Ken K. Gourdin

As the son of a career law enforcement officer who spent 43 years on the job, I have little patience for those who endlessly dissect and critique officers actions such as the fatal shooting at the LDS Church's Oquirrh Mountain Temple of an armed subject who refused to obey officers' commands.

Among the objections in on line comments to The Salt Lake Tribune's recent news coverage of the shooting are the following:

1. The officer should have used less-than-lethal force. This option makes no sense. Officers in such a situation would risk not disabling the suspect (instead, simply angering him further), at which time the suspect would have begun shooting real (lethal) bullets in response to those less-than-lethal measures. An officer's job isn't simply to engage suspects in a fair fight. It's to neutralize the threat they pose. Period.

2. The officer should have fired a warning shot into the air. Those who favor this option ignore basic physics: What goes up must come down, and what comes down may injure or kill a totally innocent bystander. Potentially endangering the innocent in order to protect the guilty also makes no sense.

3. The officer should have shot to wound rather than to kill. This option ignores basic police procedure. Officers are trained to shoot at “center mass” (the torso) rather than at arms or legs. Why? Because the adrenaline that kicks in, enabling officers to respond effectively to situations calling for the use of deadly force, also makes them less accurate. If officers shoot at center mass and miss, there's still a good chance that they will strike the suspect somewhere, while if they shoot at an extremity and miss, there's a good chance they'll miss the suspect entirely, leaving him free to harm someone else.

4. The suspect was fleeing, and therefore posed no threat to anyone. Officers can ill afford to give suspects who flee with weapons the benefit of the doubt. Officers are justified in using deadly force if a suspect poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to officers or to the public.

5. Officers should not use deadly force unless they are absolutely sure of a suspect's intentions. For example, the suspect's gun may not have been loaded. [This contention ignores the fact that] a sizable cache of ammunition was found in the suspect's vehicle after he was shot.

Failing to act without absolute surety of a suspect's intentions is a good way for both officers and the public to end up hurt or killed. Such second-guessing is a luxury which those who must make split-second life-or-death decisions can ill afford.

The only thing gun-toting suspects have to do to avoid getting shot is to obey officers' commands. Most all officers do not want to shoot people; they just want to go home safe to their families at the end of their shift. As regrettable as it might be, sometimes it takes using deadly force to make sure that happens.

We do officers a disservice when we demand that they protect us, while endlessly and unfairly critiquing how they do so.

Ken K. Gourdin received a degree in criminal justice with a law enforcement emphasis from Weber State University and was recently certified as a paralegal by the National Association of Legal Assistants. [At the time of this writing, he lived] in Tooele.

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5 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm am a total non gun user. Now think, would a white guy get shot multiple times for holding a knife? 

Yes.  Police officers are trained to shoot anyone who poses an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to themselves or others, and they are trained to shoot as many times as necessary to neutralize the threat.

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I like how Elder Oaks acknowledges that there can be, and sometimes are, legitimate grievances, without giving up ground that cannot and should not be ceded, in order to to maintain peace, law, and order in a free society.  Yes, there are mechanisms for addressing legitimate grievances (and perhaps there are legitimate, viable ways to improve mechanisms for addressing legitimate grievances), and no, rioting, arson, vandalism, looting, aggravated assault and battery, and murder cannot and should not be allowed, no matter how many legitimate grievances one who engages in one or more of such things has.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Another black man was shot. He deserved some retaliation for wielding a knife, but why all they gunshots. Why not a shot in the leg to disable him?

People have posted some very, very, very, very sound, reasonable, and, after enough learning and thought, obvious answers to that question.  The real question is, are you willing to hear the sound/reasonable answer, and are you willing to put the learning and thought into seeing why it's so obvious?  I've found, whenever this question has been asked in the past, the person asking is doing so from a position of intense emotion, and is asking the question rhetorically as a way of bolstering their overall point (which is also usually along the lines of "something has to be done".)

So you tell us Tacenda, did you avail yourself of the answers?  Did it change your mind?

2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Now think, would a white guy get shot multiple times for holding a knife? 

I'm not filled with hope, so I thought I'd ask directly.  Because an endless chain of emotional rhetorical questions can get rather frustrating, rather quickly.

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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I notice the blacklivesmatter.com website has revamped it's "about" section.  It no longer contains language about destroying the nuclear family.  That's a step in the right direction, I think.  (At least, to the extent that someone said "whoa, that shouldn't be on our website!".  If the thinking was more like "we're losing donations because of that line", then it's not really a step in the right direction at all.)

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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11 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

People have posted some very, very, very, very sound, reasonable, and, after enough learning and thought, obvious answers to that question.  The real question is, are you willing to hear the sound/reasonable answer, and are you willing to put the learning and thought into seeing why it's so obvious?  I've found, whenever this question has been asked in the past, the person asking is doing so from a position of intense emotion, and is asking the question rhetorically as a way of bolstering their overall point (which is also usually along the lines of "something has to be done".)

So you tell us Tacenda, did you avail yourself of the answers?  Did it change your mind?

I'm not filled with hope, so I thought I'd ask directly.  Because an endless chain of emotional rhetorical questions can get rather frustrating, rather quickly.

There were several police and they didn't have a taser gun? The guy was bi-polar and was shot and killed in front of his family, another bites the dust. I read recently that police aren't trained near as long as other countries out there. But I feel we are veering to much away from the topic. I just want change. I'm sick of the protests as well as everyone out there. 

https://www.wbtv.com/2020/06/13/some-us-police-train-just-few-weeks-some-countries-they-train-years/

 

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27 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

There were several police and they didn't have a taser gun?

Not all police officers are trained in the use of conducted energy weapons, no.  And again, the job of the police is to neutralize the threat posed by those who pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to others; it is not simply to engage them in a fair fight.  And even for those who are trained in the use of conducted energy weapons, their use is not feasible in every case.  Distance, positioning, whether a person is under the influence of illicit substances, and numerous other factors determine the effectiveness of conducted energy weapons in any given case or situation.

27 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

The guy was bi-polar and was shot and killed in front of his family, another bites the dust. I read recently that police aren't trained near as long as other countries out there. But I feel we are veering to much away from the topic. I just want change. I'm sick of the protests as well as everyone out there. 

https://www.wbtv.com/2020/06/13/some-us-police-train-just-few-weeks-some-countries-they-train-years/

 

The training models for our law enforcement are different than those in other countries, yes, but I'm not convinced that this makes their training, ipso facto and res ipsa loquitur, worse or less adequate than that in other countries.  I don't have hard numbers, so if someone would like to point anyone interested to reliable sources, s/he's welcome to do so.  However, not a few U.S. police officers have bachelor's degrees.  Some of them have master's degrees.  And a few of them even have doctorates and juris doctor degrees.  Most all states that I'm aware of require their officers to attend dozens of hours each year in in-service training in order to maintain certification.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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5 hours ago, stemelbow said:

It was good, except this last line:

No.  The teachings from churches, Christian ones, got us in this mess to begin with.

The best to bring peace and unity is something along the lines of secular humanism.  

The true gospel is what will finally bring peace to the earth ... so that we will call every man under the fig tree his neighbor. In this regard it is really sad what the Gentile churches have done to the gospel by their misinterpretations... So to a certain extent you are right... they have caused confusion and a mess. They excused and even promoted slavery. They have persecuted the truth, because they have been blinded by the teachings of men. I am not excusing "orthodoxy" in this regard either. "Orthodoxy" promoted numerous wars.

Sadly, not even the peace of the millennium will last. Your belief that secular humanism can lead to a utopia is pie in the sky.

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5 hours ago, stemelbow said:

It was good, except this last line:

No.  The teachings from churches, Christian ones, got us in this mess to begin with.

The best to bring peace and unity is something along the lines of secular humanism.  

Agreed. Consider this a rep point.

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7 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

The true gospel is what will finally bring peace to the earth ... so that we will call every man under the fig tree his neighbor. In this regard it is really sad what the Gentile churches have done to the gospel by their misinterpretations... So to a certain extent you are right... they have caused confusion and a mess. They excused and even promoted slavery. They have persecuted the truth, because they have been blinded by the teachings of men. I am not excusing "orthodoxy" in this regard either. "Orthodoxy" promoted numerous wars.

Sadly, not even the peace of the millennium will last. Your belief that secular humanism can lead to a utopia is pie in the sky.

The LDS church has done no better than most Christian churches.  In the past, our church excused and promoted slavery,  It does no good to point fingers.  All of us as a nation need to work together to stamp out injustice and racism once and for all.

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6 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here:

A few thoughts:

1. Over all, very cool.

2. I have struggled with the "Black Lives Matter" organization, which seems deeply problematic.  See, e.g.:

3. I think the sentiment of "Black lives matter" is axiomatically true.  It is, or should be, as Pres. Oaks put it, a "universally accepted message."  The difficulty has arisen where, again as Pres. Oaks put it, this message is "sometimes used or understood to stand for other things that do not command universal support."

4. I am happy to see Pres. Oaks reiterate Pres. Nelson's General Conference address, the “powerful doctrinal condemnation of racism and prejudice."  It is also pleasing to see Pres. Oaks reiterating Pres. Nelson's call “to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice."  I found it particularly noteworthy that Pres. Oaks characterized Pres. Nelson's remarks as a call for us "to repent, to change and to improve."  Such universal calls generally should invoke introspection in all of us.

5. Any thoughts from y'all?

Thanks,

-Smac

Of course black lives matter. It is the platform and beliefs of the BLM leaders that is concerning - so I am not for giving the Black Lives Matter moniker any power by using it. Anyone who believes they cannot get justice under a capitalist system... well nuff said. Combined with Christian norms, capitalism has  done more for mankind than any other system of governance and economics in the history of the world... does anyone want to go back to a non-electrical economy? No appliances, no cars, no planes, no trains, no phones, no computers, etc, etc... all invented and brought about in the capitalist system by a free and prosperous people(yes, blacks were free in the US by then and have also benefited by the capitalist system). The BLM leadership is steeped in far leftist ideology. If they want to pursue that somewhere else, more power to them. But insisting the best system in the history of the world needs to be completely overhauled is just not a good plan imho.

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15 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

The LDS church has done no better than most Christian churches.  In the past, our church excused and promoted slavery,  It does no good to point fingers.  All of us as a nation need to work together to stamp out injustice and racism once and for all.

Sadly, there is truth to what you say. There has been a certain exclusionism practiced by the Church. I won't deny that. What I said is the true gospel is the answer - not the Church's current practice of its interpretation of it.

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8 hours ago, smac97 said:

3. I think the sentiment of "Black lives matter" is axiomatically true.  It is, or should be, as Pres. Oaks put it, a "universally accepted message."  The difficulty has arisen where, again as Pres. Oaks put it, this message is "sometimes used or understood to stand for other things that do not command universal support."

Black lives mattering does not currently have universal support.

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6 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Yes, there are mechanisms for addressing legitimate grievances (and perhaps there are legitimate, viable ways to improve mechanisms for addressing legitimate grievances), and no, rioting, arson, vandalism, looting, aggravated assault and battery, and murder cannot and should not be allowed, no matter how many legitimate grievances one who engages in one or more of such things has.

So Jefferson's list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence did not justify the revolution and no matter how many grievances they had it would never be enough?

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7 hours ago, stemelbow said:

It was good, except this last line:

No.  The teachings from churches, Christian ones, got us in this mess to begin with.

The best to bring peace and unity is something along the lines of secular humanism.  

Oh, please. Let me just shoot myself in the head now. Really, that is your enlightened remedy?

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