pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
Forget it being illegal to record cops, I can't understand why it's not mandatory for them to have cameras broadcasting 24/7.* Sometimes citizens and cops disagree on events. It's not reasonable to expect citizens to carry cameras broadcasting to a tamper-evident server all day. Or at least not to keep it running 24/7, smart phone battery life being what it is. But it seems perfectly reasonable to me to expect the cops to do so, now that there's no technical barrier.

If cops viewed being unfairly accused of abuse of power as a credible threat to them, they'd be demanding webcams on their badges. From the fact they're opposed, I surmise that the benefits of abusing their power currently outweigh the risks of not being able to prove you didn't abuse your power. So even if the witnesses are lying in any given situation, I don't care, because the cops are the ones I view to have the power to change the system, and this is the leverage I have.

*You would have to secure it, since detectives may be learning privileged information, but beat cops?
pktechgirlbackup: (amen)
For me, The Shield peaked at season 3. Season 4 did best by continuing some threads from 3, but it was downhill from there. The execution stayed excellent, but they changed how evil the strike team was in ways that never really made sense to me, and dropped my favorite story lines (parenting autistic children, praying away the gay long enough to get married, the superb exploration of the consequences of rape, how a system lets a predator like Mackey survive) in favor of some stuff I didn't care so much for (Lupus, the ex-captain's political career). I enjoyed the last three seasons, but not nearly as much as the first four.

And then came the finale.

I've criticized shows like Lost and the Sopranos for trying to come up with something that is both well justified by the text and surprising. You can only do one of those. Desperately chasing an ending with shock value means doing something disconnected from the journey, which rightly leaves viewers feeling cheated. But The Shield provides a strong counter-argument. The ending follows perfectly from what came before, in both a logical, "this could really happen" way and in a story logic "this provides closure and meaning" way. Never has the term Shakespearean tragedy been so apt. And while they maybe could have gotten to the ending in one season fewer, I'm not convinced that's true, and those three seasons were completely worth the ending.

That leaves The Shield's protagonist as its biggest problem. To my mind, Mackey was the ultimate villainous protagonist; he was great at it and it made for an interesting story. Apparently a lot of people viewed him as the good guy and his ex-partner who screwed him using his own methods as the bad guy. This makes me worried for our species. And while unsympathetic protagonists are fine, there is a difficulty in having such a good liar in a medium that doesn't allow for getting inside people's heads. Some of my differences in opinion over Mackey's character may stem from me assuming he was lying when other viewers believed he was telling the truth. It's a very open question as to whether in the end, Mackey sold out his second to last principle in service of his last, or if he used his last as an excuse to violate his second in order to save himself. It works as an ambiguous story, but I really wouldn't mind a little more solid ground.

And I just want to give some kudos to the show for showing a friendship between a straight man and a straight woman that never turned sexual. There aren't many of those in television or film, especially if you exclude fat best friends, and it's something I really wish was given more oxygen. Admittedly, neither Claudette nor Dutch were sex symbols on the show, but both were portrayed as sexual beings at points. Have a gold star, The Shield.

I now plan to watch everything the show creator (Shawn Ryan) did, and consider the appearance of any actor that was in The Shield a strong vote for any show or movie. Not right away though, I need to watch something less depressing. Maybe King Lear.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
Headline: Computer snafu is behind at least 50 'raids' on Brooklyn couple's home

Story: Real address entered as default address in form for police raids. Several times a year (exactly number hard to determine, article clearly written by innumerate) police are too stupid to enter real address or recognize that the home they're raiding isn't the one they meant to raid.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
I read The Agitator, so on any given day I hear more about false arrests, police brutality, and bad forensics than I do about good police work. I'm also highly familiar with the good work the Innocence Project has done to free people who were unjustly convicted of crimes DNA evidence later proves they did not commit, and think they're a fabulous program that raises really troubling questions about our justice system. And yet, when I watch Innocence, a documentary on the project, I really have to fight to suppress the voice in my head saying "well even if they didn't do that crime, they must have done something and they clearly deserved to be in jail." The Just World Fallacy is strong.

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pktechgirlbackup

May 2014

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