Pete's Prep: Monday, March 19, 2018

Should you run from the cops?

On Saturday, the Asheville Citizen-Times ran a story under the headline: "Revisiting the Asheville police beating: Should Johnnie Rush have run?"

The article then spent a VERY long time quoting local African-Americans about their views on law enforcement. It also gave the beating victim, Mr. Rush, a platform to tell his story of the incident last August.

It's hard to reconcile Mr. Rush's narrative of his pleasant and respectful behavior with the cops that night, with the video that was illegally leaked to the AC-T.

To be clear: mouthing off to cops is not a license to get a state-sanctioned beating. And blacks in America have historically been subjected to violence by state agents who went unpunished.

But to answer the question the AC-T headline asks: No, Mr. Rush should not have run.

Had he taken the ticket, he would not have been arrested.

Had he not argued with the officer-in-training (who was respectful to Mr. Rush), he would not have gotten the ticket.

Had he not ignored officers' instruction to use the crosswalk, he would not have been stopped again.

And while we're reading stories trying to explain why Mr. Rush ran from cops, perhaps the truth is the obvious and simplest explanation: he ran because he did not want to get arrested.

Who is behind West's residency challenge?

Former Buncombe GOP chairman Nathan West is running for NC state House House District 115. His residency has been challenged and a Board of Elections hearing is set for tomorrow. 

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

[John Courtland] White's challenge says mail sent to the address where West is registered came back from the post office as undeliverable. West said the issue appears to be a problem with the postal service or a ZIP code.

White said Friday he was recruited to file the challenge via "friends of friends" connected to Real Facts NC. It's a Raleigh-based nonprofit sometimes aligned with liberal causes.

Republicans and conservatives have sent letters similar to the one sent to West to voters around the state in an attempt to have their voter registrations revoked, White said. Real Facts NC says state election officials do the same thing periodically and purge voters from the rolls if mail is returned as undeliverable.

A few things are not mentioned in this article, though.

First, John Courtland White is a Democrat. Very Democrat. He's what you'd call a "Type A Voter" - meaning he votes in every Democratic primary. Even the run-offs.

Second, Real Facts NC not "sometimes aligned with liberal causes." It is a progressive organization. Six seconds on the Google Machine can find this out. Daniel Gilligan and Hannah Hogewood run it. They are progressives. There is no reason to not identify the people running the operation. 

Third, I welcome Democrats' and progressives' new appreciation for the deficiency of the current voter confirmation rules:

Real Facts NC sent mail to some candidates to demonstrate problems with that approach, White said. 

"It's basically the same attack that (Republicans) have been interested in to take people off voter registration rolls," he said.

A March 12 post on Real Facts' blog says it sent mail to all candidates for the 170 seats in the state legislature in February and the post office returned letters that had been sent to 11 candidates, including West.

So, naturally, the lesson here is relax the enforcement - rather than fix it with a more-secure method of verifying identity...

"If mail bounces back for the lawmakers of the state, perhaps legislators should consider less punitive and more expansive visions of voting justice in North Carolina," the post says.

Of course.

We'll be speaking with Nathan today at 3:05.

Is the tide turning against social media?

Admittedly, I am probably a bit too close to the topic of social media saturation - given my line of work. I use Twitter constantly - every day - to help generate topics and show content. Facebook has never really been my jam, but I use it as well, but to a lesser extent.

In my world, it's easy to believe that EVERYONE is on social media. And, truth be told, most people are. About 81% of Americans have at least one social media profile. For young people - it's historically much higher:

98% is one eye-opening statistic for any reader, but that’s how many adults aged eighteen to twenty-four in the United States are reportedly using social media in a typical month. The study, conducted by consumer insight service Experian Simmons, estimates that roughly 129 million people — that’s 41.37% of the total US population of 311.8 million — are using social media to stay in touch with both friends and family.

Which is why I was surprised to see research indicating about a third of young people have deleted their social media accounts.

Today, however, the newest data increasingly support the idea that young people are actually transitioning out of using what we might term broadcast social media – like Facebook and Twitter – and switching instead to using narrowcast tools – like Messenger or Snapchat. Instead of posting generic and sanitized updates for all to see, they are sharing their transient goofy selfies and blow-by-blow descriptions of class with only their closest friends.

To a lot of kids, Facebook is where old people are. Also, it can damage future job prospects while giving away tons of personal data and privacy information.

But older people - notably, those in media - are abandoning some of these platforms, too. Conservative pundit Erick Erickson is the latest.

The feedback loop of mentions can be like a drug. Your mentions and notifications slow down so you tweet again. Not enough? Be provocative. I honestly think Twitter is no longer edifying. The trolls have taken over and they're dragging everyone else down. I don't want to be a part of that. It is not good for my sanctification.

I value the flow of news that comes through Twitter. I probably cannot get away from it altogether because it is so useful for preparing my radio show. But for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to leave it alone. I've deleted the app from my phone. I've deleted the stand alone apps from my Mac. I invited some of my friends into a Slack group that perhaps can serve as one of the twelve steps away from Twitter addiction.

Have you done something like this?

Or maybe you're one of the few who never got onto social media in the first place?

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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