April 5th, 2018

A soldier on police shootings

This is probably the most rational, calm, even-handed thing I’ve ever read on the topic. Coming from a guy who did his policing in a literal war zone, it’s pretty hard to disagree.

A few small excerpts:

In the months we were in Diyala, our troopers faced constant attacks. IEDs claimed lives. Men died to ambushes. Indirect fire was a frequent threat to our combat outposts. Our troopers fought pitched battles in the streets, called in air strikes, fired thousands of artillery rounds, and killed, wounded, and captured dozens of terrorists. By the end of the deployment, they’d reclaimed thousands of square kilometers from al-Qaeda and left it a broken, spent force.

Do you know how many innocent civilians we killed in that entire deployment, which spanned hundreds of engagements with the enemy? Exactly two. One to small-arms fire and one to a wayward artillery shell.

But rather than emphasizing odds, probabilities, and patterns, training sometimes fills cops’ minds with ideas like, “The worst can always happen” or, “Any encounter can go bad.” These statements are true, but incomplete. They’re not the same thing as saying, “Every encounter is equally likely to go bad.” Good officers, like good soldiers, know that each encounter takes place against the background of a much larger context, with multiple factors influencing the outcome.

A person can be concerned about officer safety and realize the truth that officer safety isn’t the mission. A person can believe blue lives matter and understand that accepting sometimes extraordinary risk is part of the job. A person can support the police and still demand a very high level of tactical and strategic awareness even from the youngest officers. To put them on the street is to declare to the public that they are up to the job.

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

March 26th, 2018

Before the march

There is little that hasn’t been said about this weekend’s massive protests.

But I still find it difficult not to react when I look at a television and see an 11-year-old kid basically saying “People are being murdered and I can’t tell if anyone cares or if anyone is ever going to do something to stop it.”

When little girls can no longer live blissfully unaware of such horrors, we adults done screwed things up.

The weekend’s activity managed to lead me back to something one of the organizing youths said earlier this month:

But, he clarified, he doesn’t feel like he’s the one who should be calling for this. “I shouldn’t have to! I’m 17,” he said, but he and his classmates feel that adults — both voters and policymakers — have failed them. “When your old-ass parent is like, ‘I don’t know how to send an iMessage,’ and you’re just like, ‘Give me the fucking phone and let me handle it.’ Sadly, that’s what we have to do with our government; our parents don’t know how to use a fucking democracy, so we have to.”

Whichever way you lean in the debate, the point applies:

We have not, in all the many long years for which this has been a political sticking point, settled this question. Not in any way that everyone agrees on. Not in any way that either side agrees on. Not in any way at all.

We have left it to a bunch of teenagers who are only bothering to clean up our mess because it seems to them like the most effective way to avoid getting shot at school.

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

March 9th, 2018

Don’t care for Apple devices, but damn that manufacturing….

The battery swelled on this thing, so I put it in salt water to neutralize before tossing it. This shot is from 24 hours later, still underwater:

IMG_20180309_160034
(Click to embiggen)

In: ComputersNo Comments

Whois

IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org