Resolved: Law-enforcement-caused death and injury to U.S. citizens are not by epidemic proportion.
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With 6 votes and 35 points ahead, the winner is ...
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It is argued by many that Law Enforcement-caused death and injury has reached epidemic proportion, and the result is that serious changes to America [constitutional-level adjustment?] is necessary. According to definition [see below], an epidemic is any issue [not necessarily related just to health issues, such as a flu outbreak] that is currently increasing in incidents over a common, repeated period of time, such as by year [annually].
Those who argue the position that law enforcement-caused death and injury of U.S. citizens generally overstate the volume of incidents by excessive, and unspecified count of incidents; remarking only that it is occurring “all over the country.” I am declaring the pro position of the argument, that is, that incidents of police [law enforcement]-caused incidents of citizen death and injury is not epidemic, while recognizing that it does occur. I argue that the incident of the issue still requires more preventive measures, but I completely disagree with the claim that law enforcement ought to either be de-funded, or eradicated. My opponent will argue the opposing view; that serious limitations on our police forces must be enacted.
There is a general lack of reliable data from which to draw statistics, even though the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, section 210402, required the Attorney General of the United States to collect and issue an annual report of justifiable and unjustifiable law enforcement-caused deaths in the United States from all 50 states. The complete report has never been issued in 26 years apparently because the bill did not contain any enforcement measures to assure the report would be issued.
Epidemic: [Typically of a disease] Prevalent among a people or community at a special time, and produced by some special causes not generally present in the affected locality. *
Law enforcement deaths: Unjustified death caused by direct police action [by law or policy, and less so by common sense, but it may have application].
Format: Open, but no new arguments in last round; only rebuttal / defense / conclusion
*I habitually use the OED for all definitions. I recognize this dictionary as the ultimate of the English language. Unless one owns either the hard copy 20-volume set, or an online subscription [I have both] it is unavailable for reference. On my honor, I am fully quoting the definitions given.
Nevertheless, I had further argument in mind, and I will explain it now:
I Argument: “Vice is a monster”
I.a Alexander Pope offered us a scintillating example of human behavior in his Essay on Man. Quoting a portion of it, very familiar to some, perhaps new to some:
"Vice is a monster of so frightful mein,
As, to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
We might be convinced that Pope’s words inspired by this 19th century poet were responsible for another commentary we know well: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” However, as is usual with people who ignore history, it was, in fact, this latter phrase that occurred first, centuries before Alexander Pope, by one of the first landmark writers of the English language: Geoffrey Chaucer of the 14th century. Both phrases expose the vile human flaw so vulgarly expressed by my opponent’s first round: contempt for one another, which psychologists often diagnose as first contempt, or, rather, envy, anger, and hubris for one’s self. The referenced article contains the results of a study reported in the August 2017 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: “Among the study's findings were that dispositional contempt was highly associated with dispositional envy, anger, and hubristic (inflated) pride. Since envy tends to be a response to the accomplishments of others, and hubristic pride is related to one's own perceived superiority, the researchers interpreted these links as suggesting that contemptuous people may be more sensitive to social evaluation and status.”
I.b Such personal feelings, brought on by the comparison of self with society, when the self is considered less than adequate in society, produces these feelings of envy, anger, and hubris, yielding contempt. In other words, the accusation made of another being racist is expressed to hide, by contempt, the racist tendencies of one’s self. Chaucer’s original familiarity breeding contempt grew into a further understanding by Pope of a progression of emotions: endurance, pity, and then full embrace. A monstrous condition, indeed, when directed improperly.
I.c And, exemplary of Pope’s attitude, is Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which features the title character’s curious habit of being, outwardly, a gentleman of repute who, inwardly, was a caricature of the very seeds of contempt: envy, anger, and hubris. While Gray appeared somehow timeless as he aged, remaining a handsome sort, a portrait painted of Gray that he kept hidden in a locked room self-denigrated and devolved into Pope’s disgusting monster.
I.d Dorian Gray is a classic literary type. We can look to Oedipus, whose eyes he gouged out himself for the self-contempt of laying with his mother, or Hamlet, around whom virtually everyone dies, including Hamlet, or even the Joker of Batman fame, who, like Dorian, wears a mask as he denigrates society out of self-loathing.
I.e Once understood, the type that expresses contempt for others is on a path of self-destruction. This is not just literature, because literature is, on the whole, a mirror to society. It is why we [socially] are so familiar with these types. As Pogo, the comic strip character by Walt Kelly, once quipped, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” What may be less familiar is that Walt Kelly was offering a parody of historic fact. In 1813, after the United States defeated Great Britain’s Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie, naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry sent a victorious message to HQ: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” Kelly acknowledged his phrase as a parody of Perry’s.
Pogo’s parody is a biting commentary of our own weaknesses. Some, many, are able to overcome them, at least with regard to racism, which is only self-contempt. After all, the discrimination some feel toward others is absurdly skin-deep, literally. It is that shallow. Embraced, it makes monsters of us. Shunned, it makes angels of us. That should not be a difficult distinction to make, and practice, and, in time, perfect such that all around us are celebrated for our diversity, not denigrated for it.
I.f Were we to enable ourselves to embrace, not vice, but virtue, who would then be inclined to murder our law enforcement officers because we accuse them of murdering us? In my observation, for example, I find the murder of George Floyd to have been an obvious, and better yet, on camera exposition of man’s cruelty to man in Minneapolis, in this case, a policeman’s knee at the neck of another man already subdued and in handcuffs; tortured unto death, entirely unjustified and the perfect graphic example of the subject of this debate. However, contrast that death with the one in Atlanta just two weeks later, when police shot a man. Some who are contemptuous of police in general wraps the two in the same package. However, the Atlanta incident is also on camera, and the full video exposes a flaw in the contempt: Rayshard Brooks failed a sobriety test. The police justly apprehended him and attempted to apply handcuffs per procedure. Brooks fought with police to prevent his apprehension, wrestled a taser from one officer, and ran from them. When they gave chase, Brooks turned and fired the taser. He was shot in response. The pursuant action by police was by training and policy. Simply put, resisting arrest is illegal. The time for a due process fight for rights is not at the time of arrest. Arresting a suspect is legal. That is the law. Violate the law; expect a response.
I conclude my argument in this debate. As my opponent has conceded, and, by his actions in this debate, and other issues, has been banned from DebateArt. He is done. I ask for your vote, but also declare victory. Thank you.