Disgusting behaviour by Hawthorne police

There’s a story getting a lot of attention which I find shocking. Police in Hawthorne, California, while arresting a man shot and killed his dog in the street. You can read the story here and here (The second link contains a video of the incident which could be disturbing for some people). In a nutshell, Leon Rosby was watching the police with the music on his car playing loudly. He refused to turn it down, did not resist arrest but then his dog jumped out the car window to protect him. Supposedly to defend themselves, the police shot and killed it.

Obviously there are a couple of aspects to the story. If a policeman’s life is threatened he should be able to defend himself and that may require deadly force. Rosby should have turned down his radio when instructed. The question then is whether the actions taken were reasonable under the circumstances. I think they were not and constitute excessive use of force. Continue reading

Move away from the culture of violence

There is a culture of violence in South Africa which is retarding any efforts to move the country forward. Violent protests end up causing more problems than there were originally and, even worse, those aggressive tendencies are manipulated by politicians in order to maintain power. We know there is a problem with violence when we look at crime but at times we become so used to it that we seem to forget to call it out when it happens.

The most notable recent violence has been the Marikana massacre where 34 striking miners were killed by police and around 80 injured. Obviously such an event is a tragedy and there will be an inquiry into the events to find out exactly what happened and what went wrong but one aspect of the problem is already obvious, the culture of violence in South Africa. Whether the police were wrong to respond the way they did I don’t think we can just dismiss what the workers themselves were doing. Professor Pierre de Vos seems quite happy to ignore their actions. Continue reading