About brobrubel

Retired journalist. I've reported and edited for newspaper in Florida, Kentucky, New York, Brussels and London. I also spent a few years as a government flack in Pennsylvania. This blog contains random thoughts on politics, world affairs and entertainment

Cops aren’t trigger happy … in the rest of the world

A few things to consider:

1114The above is what happens in America. But are the situations the same in the rest of the world?

BvbGmKdIQAAqYSWOK. Maybe that’s an unfair comparison. How about this?

In 2012, 409 people were shot and killed by American police in what were termed justifiable shootings. In that same year, British police officers fired their weapons just once. No one was killed.

In 2013, British police officers fired their weapons all of three times. No one died. According to The Economist, “British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014, the police force of one small American city — Albuquerque in New Mexico — shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.

Think about that. In 2013, cops in the U.K. fired their guns three times. Last week, in Ferguson, Mo., a cop shot an 18-year-old twice as many times as every cop in Britain fired off a round in 2013. And the Ferguson cop got of six times as many shots in one encounter with an unarmed black teen as every cop in Britain fired in 2012.

One day, someone is going to give a racial breakdown of all of the U.S. shootings. I suspect the above German photo pretty much gives the answer on what to expect.

Sports Illustrated cover girl

agvtvdhnngr1swtnmj9oBet you weren’t expecting a 13 year old Little Leaguer from Philadelphia, but here she is.

Mo’Ne Davis is the first Little League player to ever make the Sports Illustrated cover. If you saw her last Thursday, you saw why. A two-hit shutout against a powerful Tennessee team. Don’t know if her team will get to the finals, but you should watch her pitch tonight at 7:30 against Las Vegas. The winner goes to the U.S. Championship game, but the loser has one more chance to get into the finals with a game tomorrow because it’s double elimination. The U.S. Championship game is Saturday. And the World Series final is Sunday.

Expect a huge crowd tomorrow. On Sunday, without Mo’Ne on the mound, the Philly team drew more than 30,000 spectators.

Here’s the last inning of the Tennessee game:

The kid is good. And she knows how to handle an interview.

How Ferguson, Mo., police got out of control

The Ferguson police have been reigned in, for now. The governor sent in the Missouri highway patrol.

But the Ferguson police aren’t finished riling up the populace (via DailyKos):

6:53 AM PT: Via CNN: According to sources, they say they believe Michael Brown is in a video of a convenience store robbery and that a “description of the suspect was given.” Presumably of a young black guy.

7:03 AM PT: A Ferguson police report, after Michael Brown had been shot, calling him a “primary suspect” in the convenience story robbery.

7:07 AM PT: So for six days Ferguson police have claimed that Darren Wilson simply told Michael Brown to “get on the sidewalk.” Is that the usual procedure for dealing with robbery suspects? (Deep sarcasm.)

Just a few thoughts:

1) If the police are saying Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery, why did they wait more than a week after the shooting to say that. This is a diversion from the shooting. If he was stopped for a robbery, that is the first thing the police would have said.

2) Are more information dribbles out, the latest is that a guy was seen in a videotape shoplifting cigars. If that was Michael Brown, when did shoplifting tobacco become a capital offense.

The family cannot sue this police department enough. A major overhaul is needed. Especially after we see a police department (and I emphasize a police department) turn a community into a war zone.

The safety of bike share

Via Reuters:

Against all odds – including novice riders, refusal to wear bike helmets and the daily crush of weaving, horn-blaring traffic – not a single rider in New York City’s bike share program has been killed since it launched in May 2013, a Citi Bike representative said.

In fact, experts say no fatalities have been logged in any U.S. public bike share program since the first one launched in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2007. There are now programs in 36 cities, including Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco, with new services planned in Tampa, Florida, Boise, Idaho, Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere.

While there is no central reporting clearinghouse for bike share fatalities, the safety record was confirmed by three alternative transportation experts: Susan Shaheen, co-director of the University of California at Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center; Russell Meddin, founder of the Bike-sharing World Map; and Paul DeMaio, founder of MetroBike, the nation’s oldest bike-share consultancy.

I’ve used bike share programs in Washington, New York and Brussels. And if I ever find them in other cities, I’d use them there, too, because they’re easy to deal with:

I should point out here, that what most people don’t understand is that though there are fees if you use a bike more than a half hour, the way to get around it is to go to another bike docking station within a half hour and swap out the bike. You don’t pay an extra fee for the first bike, and you’re not paying for the second bike because you have a membership. And you can use that second bike for a half hour with no extra cost. I’ve ridden from Washington to Alexandria, swapping out bikes twice and paid no extra fee. Same procedure goes for New York and Brussels. When I was in New York, I paid a daily membership fee and regularly used bike share to get from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan. Swap out bikes, no extra fee.

But what makes these bikes safe? (Back to Reuters):

“The bikes are heavy, with a very low center of gravity, wide tires, drum brakes that keep the braking system dry even in inclement weather, and the bikes are geared so it is difficult to gain considerable speed,” Shaheen said.

That’s right. You really don’t get much speed on them. You set it to the highest gear and pedal as fast as you can, and anyone on a regular bike will pass you without much exertion. But the bikes are convenient and docking stations are all over the place. In Washington in particular, I can get home faster using bike share than using the metro. I just walk up and get a bike. I have to wait for a train to show up. Sometimes the metro waiting time takes longer than the bike ride home.