Trust Me. I'm Not Very Nice.

People with more agreeable, conscientious personalities are more likely to make harmful choices. In these new obedience experiments, people with more social graces were the ones who complied with the experimenter's wishes and delivered electric shocks they believed could harm an innocent person. By contrast, people with more contrarian, less agreeable personalities were more likely to refuse to hurt other people when told to do so.
As subsequent studies will doubtless show, bikers are the most trustworthy of all. Interdisciplinary research is already pointing in that direction.

37 comments:

Cass said...

And yet some bikers are also linked with organized, violent crime and lawlessness. So clearly just being a biker doesn't make one less likely to hurt anyone.

That tendency to oppose the restrictions of society and civilization is very much a sword that cuts both ways. I imagine that within a given social circle, the pressure to conform socially and the desire to belong work pretty similarly. I have a hard time believing that bikers (who voluntarily join gangs) aren't subject to those very same pressures.

It's just that their group loyalty leads them in a different direction - they can be trusted to be loyal to the gang, and to treat outsiders differently than members of their chosen group.

Which is pretty much the same problem you've identified wrt to the police. It's a human problem.

Grim said...

So, what you really need is to find bikers who are not nice enough to join an organized criminal group. :)

Cass said...

Case in point: our discussion about Sons of Anarchy.

You watched that show and glossed over the fact that it's filled with violence and rape and all sorts of "hurtful" behaviors. After I pointed them out (that's why I couldn't make myself watch it - I couldn't get past being encouraged to view violent, criminal behavior as somehow normal/expected), you admitted that you really hadn't thought about that aspect all that much.

Loyalty can bind us, but it can also blind us. And I apply that to myself as well, FWIW.

Cass said...

So, what you really need is to find bikers who are not nice enough to join an organized criminal group. :)

I think so. There are bikers who ally with other bikers to oppose criminal gangs, and individuals who avoid groups altogether.

I'm probably one of those. I see all the reasons we need group loyalties but for most of my life have been disinclined to fully identify with any group. So I vote independent though in practice I almost always vote Rethug.

I don't know whether this is good or bad. It just "is".

Cass said...

I don't think "niceness" is really the issue here, though.

Niceness can be a veneer or it can be a fundamental part of who you are. Niceness and deference to authority figures are different qualities altogether.

That experiment is really kind of a lousy proxy for doing something wrong IRL because of the assumptions people make about the scenario. I'm willing to bet that if you stripped it of the official trappings, you'd get different results!

Of course, I could be wrong :p

Grim said...

Do you remember where and when we had that conversation about SoA? I remember it a little differently.

Of course, it's a TV show -- one that is intentionally structured around Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which many violent and horrifying things happen. Given our TV culture's much more explicit forms of portrayal of such evils, it's not very surprising that it's become graphic and upsetting. But I also think it's gotten worse in recent years; the first two seasons included some graphic violence, but nothing on the scale of the later seasons. But only some of that is a problem of SoA; some of it is a problem with our current culture, and TV culture, which includes a number of horrifyingly dark shows from what I understand.

As for how well the TV show maps to the reality, I suspect the answer is not very well. There has probably been some change since this documentary from the 70s was made, but it shows guys who are mostly just Vietnam veterans or guys who don't fit in the rest of society coming together to live their own way.

But you know, these clubs are to some degree an urban thing too. There's only one outlaw club I know of within fifty miles of here, and they're mostly old guys -- Vietnam era, I think -- with Old Southern heraldry. The impulse to band together is often self-protection, and our cities are becoming more hostile (even though they are also becoming less dangerous, mostly; the last 20 years has been a golden age of nonviolence in American cities, with violent crime rates at all time lows in spite of the increasing urbanization and, of course, record firearm sales).

What to make of that, I wonder? Racial/ethnic tensions, probably, coming from the mass-scale immigration over the same period. The place feels more dangerous than it really is, because social cohesion and a sense of common values have broken down.

Grim said...

Niceness can be a veneer or it can be a fundamental part of who you are. Niceness and deference to authority figures are different qualities altogether.

They are conflating "niceness" with "agreeability," and that also with "deference to authority." That's problematic, as you say. Those qualities may not be the same thing -- it's possible to imagine someone who is perfectly nice, but won't give you an inch if he doesn't think you're right, and doesn't care if authority disagrees with him either.

Cass said...

Do you remember where and when we had that conversation about SoA? I remember it a little differently.

No, I don't remember where it was (other than "here, on one of your posts", though I can't find it using Google). Maybe I'm "dismembering" and it was at my place?

I did a quick Google and found an FBI report on criminal gangs. They have two classifications of biker gangs - One Percenters (serious criminals) and OMGs - I kid you not - which appear to be less serious.

I think it may be a bigger problem than you think:

44K members nationwide, about 3000 gangs. Here's the link:

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment-emerging-trends

Cass said...

They are conflating "niceness" with "agreeability," and that also with "deference to authority." That's problematic, as you say. Those qualities may not be the same thing -- it's possible to imagine someone who is perfectly nice, but won't give you an inch if he doesn't think you're right, and doesn't care if authority disagrees with him either.

That would be me :p

Causes me no end of trouble at work and almost resulting in my quitting a job I've held for 15 years last week.

I've lost track of the issues where I've found myself alone or nearly alone on one side of a dispute, yet I prize "niceness" highly. And I'll disagree - nicely, but forcefully nonetheless :p

Grim said...

You know, that report is strange -- it says both "300" in its opening matter, and "3000" later in the report. I'm not sure which one is the typo, because I don't know if they're counting separate charters of the groups as individual "gangs" or not. Of course, the clubs themselves don't consider themselves gangs -- you get "OMG" from "Outlaw Motorcycle Gang" because the FBI is calling them that, not because they do. There's a danger that the FBI is painting them as organized crime whether or not any actual crime goes on.

Similarly, the report seems to have its facts mixed up. The one group they mention in Georgia -- the Vagos -- is a group I've never seen anywhere. The Vagos website says they have a single Florida charter but no charter in Georgia, and that compares to many, many charters in California and Mexico.

So I don't know how well the FBI understands outlaw clubs. My guess from what I've seen is that there are a few charters of some of the more infamous clubs that are really into crime in a serious way -- have taken over drug distribution for a minor city or neighborhood, say -- and a lot more charters/chapters of 1% clubs who are not. I suspect that's true even among the Hells Angels or the Outlaws.

Again, actual violence is way down across the board. If there were 44,000 Mad Max style gangsters roaming the land, we'd see it in the news a lot more often. What we see in the news instead is more like this report from this week:

At first glance, Douglas Peters was a sturdy biker. But at heart, the Algonquin 43-year-old, who handled security for the Dekalb chapter of the Outlaws motorcycle club, was a "big teddy bear," members say.

"He was a good brother," said one member who identified himself as "Westside Dan."

Peters was killed last week in a motorcycle accident in Marseilles shortly after riding in the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run, a show of support for military families ending at the Middle East Conflicts War Memorial.

Elise said...

Yes, my big question is how they're defining/measuring "conscientiousness" and "agreeableness". I suspect their niceness/conscientiousness scale is actually measuring something more accurately described as "people-pleasing" but that's just a guess.

Grim said...

According to the abstract of the paper, Elise, they're using the Big Five questionnaire to define those two terms.

Now, it's an open question whether the Big Five are in any sense really valid subdivisions of personality. It's just an attempt to standardize the traits being asked about across psychology, but I'm not at all convinced that they've chopped the personality into the right bits. :)

David Foster said...

As is common in media reports on social-science studies, numbers are missing. What does "more likely" mean?....a change from 30% compliance to 32% compliance, or from 32% to 60%?

To the extent that the effect is meaningfully large. it would be supportive of the (apparently fairly common) view of women who say that "nice guys" are not to be trusted.

Elise said...

Thanks, Grim. I didn't know what those were and didn't have the patience to track them down.

From a very quick perusal, it looks to me like "conscientiousness" includes "acting dutifully" and "agreeableness" includes a "trusting and helpful" nature. I'm sure I'm missing a million nuances here but it seems a little circular? obvious? that someone with those traits would be more likely to do what an authority figure tells him or her to do/is the right thing to do.

Elise said...

And I think I can still make an argument that people who score high on those two types of personality characteristics may often be what I would describe as people-pleasers, which I realize is not a technical psychological term. :+)

Or, perhaps more accurately, I would anticipate that people-pleasers would score high on those two characteristics. I wonder if anyone has studied that.

raven said...

Interesting- so the independent ornery types don't like to be told to hurt people.

There was a real life test done on this- Reserve Police Detachment 101 found the people who refused to murder others were largely the self employed, the artists,the independent cusses. etc. So they found another occupation for them. The rest followed orders-or maybe directives- anyone who could not, or would not, blow out a 7 year old girl's brains with a Mauser was free to leave.
-read that last line again- they were FREE TO LEAVE- and they did it anyway.
I have read a lot of books about the wars, about odd and horrific things- but the conversion of a group of "ordinary men" into wholesale murderers is about the most chilling thing I have ever come across- there was no excuse like "tribal savages" or "religious frenzy" or "lone psychotic" or anything else- you could round up a battalion of men just like them anywhere in the USA.

Ymar Sakar said...

It's about which authority you obey. Social masks suggest that that person obeys the Authority of Society. If Society tells them to be good, they will be good. If Society tells them to raise the black flag and cut some throats, they will do so as well, forever thinking they are right.

People who obey less malleable sources of authority, like their own conscience on the low side and divine authority on the high side, often can't be fooled or manipulated (by human WMDeceptions). They stay on one path and only one path, so it's easier to tell where that path might lead.

Cons generally work based upon the mark getting greedy and wanting a get rich quick shortcut. It doesn't work on people who are too honest or hard working.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/07/01/My-brush-with-Rolf-Harris/


Hollywood and other socially acclaimed popular stars, tend to spell doom for society when society raises them up as leaders. If only because a lot of them target children, and not just for profit.

The Left was only able to infiltrate so many homo promoters into the Catholic church, to create scandals decades later, because the Left had access to an entire population of such. With the Catholic Church closing its doors on certain types of people, not letting them in now that they know, the homosexual predators have to look for targets elsewhere.

"I have read a lot of books about the wars, about odd and horrific things- but the conversion of a group of "ordinary men" into wholesale murderers is about the most chilling thing I have ever come across- there was no excuse like "tribal savages" or "religious frenzy" or "lone psychotic" or anything else- you could round up a battalion of men just like them anywhere in the USA. "

Of course. Even better methods have been developed by human history to brainwash individuals kept in 24/7 interrogation and psychological torture sessions. They come out thinking their allies are their enemies, their loyalties completely mind wiped and reversed. But such mindless cogs tend not to be very effective or flexible.

That's why leaving a little bit of personal free will in a person, so they think they are obeying orders because they want to, creates better SWAT team death squads. Zombie craft and robot crafting.

"(even though they are also becoming less dangerous, mostly; the last 20 years has been a golden age of nonviolence in American cities, with violent crime rates at all time lows in spite of the increasing urbanization and, of course, record firearm sales)."

This is mostly an effect of corrupt police unions destroying records of crimes. When assault happens in New Orleans, the locals write it up as a fight, a misdemeanor offense, even though the two Republican operatives were not... fighting.

The deaths can be easily translated from criminals killing people, to criminals avoid killing people because the police are killing most of the people instead.

Cass said...

You know, that report is strange -- it says both "300" in its opening matter, and "3000" later in the report. I'm not sure which one is the typo, because I don't know if they're counting separate charters of the groups as individual "gangs" or not.

Except it's not a typo. The 300 refers to 1%ers, who are a subset of the 3000 OMGs (composed of 1 percenters, OMGs, OMG support, puppet clubs). The references are on two separate pages and seem to be clearly labeled.

The page with the 3000 number has a footnote right there that explains what's included.

Similarly, the report seems to have its facts mixed up. The one group they mention in Georgia -- the Vagos -- is a group I've never seen anywhere.

With all due respect, I'm not sure I'd take you not having seen them as evidence that they're not anywhere in the state :p

The table that links OMGs and Vagos is titled "Recent Expansion...". That suggests a new/growing presence to me rather than a large number of them having been there for some time.

Yes, it's possible it's a mistake, but their data on what's going on in Georgia comes from a variety of Georgia law enforcement sources, who I have to assume have access to information on crimes committed statewide.

You seem very quick to dismiss the report as wrong. Why is that?



Ymar Sakar said...

If the feds get their list from SPCL, which is a Leftist affiliated member org, then these clubs are just that: voluntary organizations.

A union, by definition now, is no longer a "voluntary" anything.

Cass said...

This just caught my eye:

The 300 refers to 1%ers, who are a subset of the 3000 OMGs

Umm... doesn't that make the 1 percenters... 10 percenters?

I was told there would be no math on this blog.

Grim said...

Cass:

It's important to read FBI reports with a critical eye. I don't mean to be dismissive, but I've been working with their reporting for years, and it's got a number of difficulties. I think we've talked about the problems with their UCR in the past at some length, for example: that it's compiled by self-reporting from local agencies, who elect how to measure the things the FBI asks them to report. For that reason, it's very difficult to use the UCR as a comparative measure: Savannah may report 'rape' using a different measure than Atlanta, to say nothing of Fredricksburg. Local agencies sometimes change their criteria, so you can't even always compare year to year in a single place with any kind of reliability.

It's still worth looking at, because it's all we have, but it's a real problematic report. This report is similar:

1) The footnote you mention says that the data is coming from the ATF. But the ATF has even fewer resources for this kind of thing than the FBI, and motorcycle clubs are not strictly their responsibility (unless they are smuggling alcohol, tobacco, or firearms). That means that the numbers are coming from somewhere else -- probably local law self-reporting plus figures shared from other interested agencies like the DEA, except now it's third hand rather than second-hand.

The report itself says right up front, "The FBI and the NGIC do not recommend that jurisdictions use the estimated gang membership
totals as exact counts for the numbers of gang members. These numbers are not used by the FBI
or NGIC to rank jurisdictions on gang activity. The FBI and NGIC recommend contacting state and
local law enforcement agencies for more information related to specific gang activity."

2) Their definitions are suspect, because they are breaking the "OMG" and "One Percenter" clubs out by a criterion to which they have no access: specifically, whether the members have made an individual commitment to the use of violence in criminal enterprise. Actually, even the existence of criminal enterprise is suspect; groups like the Devil Dolls MC are definitely an Outlaw club, and wear the patch, but they seem to raise money via bake sales. If you could prove they were engaged in criminal enterprise, you could shut them down whether or not they make an individual commitment to violence.

Grim said...

3) Speaking of which, convictions -- or even prosecutions -- for criminal enterprise are quite rare when dealing with Outlaw clubs. Individual members -- though a small percentage of the total membership -- do get arrested for various crimes, often weapon violations. But only very rarely does a charter get rolled up as a criminal enterprise, and the Federal government has repeatedly failed to prove its cases on the rare occasions it has done so.

Now several members of various clubs were arrested here in Georgia recently in an FBI sting. But the FBI appears destined to lose this case, since it is pretty classic entrapment: they infiltrated the club, then set up fake drug deals (at which there were no drugs) for a set of clubs that didn't already deal drugs, and asked them to 'provide protection.' If the clubs had been distributing drugs already, the sting would be about that. Since they weren't, it was about inducing them to commit a crime that they would otherwise not have committed, and which didn't actually involve dealing drugs -- just hanging around and not letting anyone in.

4) Also, not to be cynical, but the FBI's funding is in part related to the size of the problem. Now, I'm sure they are doing their best analysis here; I'm just saying that at some subconscious level, there's probably a tendency to include and shade rather than bracket cautiously. After all, nobody's life or liberty is at risk because of these reports -- the reports don't lead to anyone getting arrested or put in danger of prison. They just help decisionmakers decide how to allocate resources.

And, well, resources are very important.

5) As mentioned, the long-sustained low in violent crime is not compatible with the report's conclusions. It puts total gang membership at nearly two million, or 1 of every 150 people. There aren't that many law enforcement officers, total state/local/Fed, but the presence of law enforcement is obvious. So where are the gangsters?

As for the Vagos, it's true that I don't get regularly to every corner of the state. But the report's from several years ago, and they still declare no presence here. If they were trying to claim territory in Georgia, they'd say so.

Grim said...

Now, I may or may not be right about the entrapment thing, as it occurs to me that these will be Federal charges. Entrapment is an affirmative defense in Georgia, defined:

"A person is not guilty of a crime if, by entrapment, his conduct is induced or solicited by a government officer or employee, or agent of either, for the purpose of obtaining evidence to be used in prosecuting the person for commission of the crime. Entrapment exists where the idea and intention of the commission of the crime originated with a government officer or employee, or with an agent of either, and he, by undue persuasion, incitement, or deceitful means, induced the accused to commit the act which the accused would not have committed except for the conduct of such officer."

The Federal definition may be much looser, to allow for easier prosecution. But we take a dim view of the practice in Georgia, insofar as it's in our power to control. Obviously, the Feds do what they want.

douglas said...

Never trust someone who's always smiling...

As a bit of a scowler, I can say that I think people tend to trust you because you've made it obvious that you aren't quick to do things to be 'in' or 'popular'. I suppose it doesn't work in politics because we seem to want to also 'like' our politicians.

Texan99 said...

I'm happiest with people whose smile or scowl bears some relation to what's going on inside. Given that essential link, naturally it's nice if the smile/scowl ratio is reasonably high.

Grim said...

On a similar note, Tex, I used to apply a test to neighborhoods when we were looking for somewhere to move in a new city. It was called the "Church to Liquor Store Test." As the name implies, you divided the number of churches in the neighborhood by the number of liquor stores.

I wanted a ratio -- you can't divide by zero, and I didn't want to live in a neighborhood where the zoning had driven out alcohol completely, because that implies neighbors who are into getting in other's business. In addition, a certain amount of good beer or fine wine is a part of the good life as I imagine it. On the other hand, I very much was interested in living in a neighborhood where the drinking was conducted in an atmosphere informed by Christian principles of moderation.

It always worked for me. I don't know if smile-to-scowl gets the same results, though, because sometimes what makes people smile is pretty dark.

Joseph W. said...

Grim -- At court-martial the definition is this (which I think mirrors the federal, but I haven't checked):

"It is a defense that the criminal design or suggestion to commit the offense originated in the Government and the accused had no predisposition to commit the offense."

I agree that that is a looser definition than the Georgia statute - since "predisposition" needn't include having actually committed the crime before. ('course in your average drug case, there's evidence the person was in that business before the cops showed up...but they're not all average.)

In the generality,"entrapment" is a hard defense to sell. I was only expecting to try it once...happily, the case got dropped for other reasons so that I never had to. The central issue is trying to show that the defendant had no "predisposition" to commit the crime before the government or its agents came along to convince him to.

It's more believable in the cases you're describing (which I know nothing about, beyond your description) because you could picture them infiltrating a motorcycle gang expecting to find all kinds of crime...and manufacturing a little when it didn't turn up (or in the process of trying to uncover it).

Grim said...

If the defense has to prove absence of "predisposition," the Feds may win their case: it may be difficult to convince a jury that people joined an Outlaw motorcycle club without a predisposition to be willing to ignore the drug laws.

It's a strange case in a way, because the accused are mostly old men -- I think the youngest is 35, and the bulk of them are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. I suspect the depth and continuity of the recession in this part of Georgia is partially responsible for such old men being "predisposed" -- if they were -- to take a huge risk at a time when most men are past substantial risk-taking. There's no work, and no hope of any work if you're in that age bracket and have been unemployed since the 2008 collapse; and these clubs frequently have working-class memberships.

There's a reason the Lord's Prayer includes the line, "Lead us not into temptation." The FBI's efforts to lead them into some are not impressive to me.

Joseph W. said...

In the written version of Rumpole and the Alternative Society -- Our Hero is trying a cannabis case on an entrapment theory, and comments on the practice:

"I had brought a number of law reports on the question of agent provocateur and was interested to discover that it was the old hanging judges who regarded these beasts with particular disfavour; it's odd how gentler days have somehow dimmed our passion for liberty."

Texan99 said...

Evidence of voluntary self-imposition of moderation in a society! It's a good thing.

Cass said...

... the FBI appears destined to lose this case, since it is pretty classic entrapment: they infiltrated the club, then set up fake drug deals (at which there were no drugs) for a set of clubs that didn't already deal drugs, and asked them to 'provide protection.' If the clubs had been distributing drugs already, the sting would be about that. Since they weren't, it was about inducing them to commit a crime that they would otherwise not have committed, and which didn't actually involve dealing drugs -- just hanging around and not letting anyone in.

That's a pretty huge leap, Grim. And a circular argument. You don't actually know any of this. That's like claiming that prosecutors don't ever go with lesser charges than what they believe were committed because they are having trouble getting enough evidence to prove the more serious crime. Except they *do* do this, all the time.

You can't conclude from this that there was NO evidence for the more serious crime, just that they didn't have that evidence at the time. Sometimes (as in those rape articles I linked earlier), the evidence surfaces later. Sometimes they had it all along and just screwed up. I think you're inferring more from this than can reasonably be inferred.

FWIW, I don't take the FBI report as the Gospel. It was only introduced to counter your opinion that the problem was overblown. The FBI report itself made no claim that there were 44000 hardened criminals running around - that was your assertion, not theirs.

It wasn't even mine, really.

I'm with Joseph on this one - entrapment is often a BS defense. There are some cases that are clearly entrapment. For instance, when police pressure someone or threaten them. But a case where no one is coerced to commit an illegal act makes an extremely poor argument for them having "no predisposition to commit the crime". We have no evidence of their predisposition, and some pretty good evidence that they were perfectly willing to commit a crime when given the chance. Of course, if it were shown that threats or coercion were used, that would be a very convincing defense.

That seems an odd argument for *not* being predisposed!

Cass said...

On the other hand, if a mere suggestion by police is enough to prove entrapment... aye yay yay.

I would hope most people could resist a simple suggestion from someone they didn't even know was in law enforcement and who didn't try to threaten or coerce them, but maybe that's too high a bar in today's world.

Sheesh. I expected more from my kids than that before they were even teenagers! "But so-and-so SUGGESTED it!" is a pretty lousy excuse :p

Grim said...

That's a pretty huge leap, Grim. And a circular argument. You don't actually know any of this.

What you mean is that the FBI, like the Feds generally, keeps secrets from the public. Since I'm not privy to the secrets of the government, presumably I should hold my peace and trust in the wisdom of our masters.

But there remain some of the old controls still extant, and I am a man of the old fashion. The indictments are public, since we haven't quite gotten to the point of keeping indictments sealed as we now do warrants; and coverage is ongoing in the local papers. The indictments are, mostly, "cocaine conspiracy and aiding and abetting the possession of cocaine and methamphetamine with intent to distribute it."

So, in other words, not actual possession of cocaine or meth; aiding and abetting someone else in possession (which, apparently, the Feds didn't bring any real drugs; but I suppose it's enough that they may have thought they had).

I think the Feds are in the wrong here, for many reasons I don't think I can convey to you. Our worldviews are too different on this point. I do wish we could try these men under Georgia law, under which they would be exonerated for participating in a Federal conspiracy that had no purpose other than creating some grounds to convict them.

Cass said...

What you mean is that the FBI, like the Feds generally, keeps secrets from the public. Since I'm not privy to the secrets of the government, presumably I should hold my peace and trust in the wisdom of our masters.

You're putting words in my mouth. It would be easier to discuss this if we could confine ourselves to what I actually said, don't you think?

I have never, even once, suggested that you should either stop talking about anything that interests you or blindly trust anyone.

I agree that maybe it's best that I bow out of this conversation. I can tell your feelings run very deep on this and have no wish to upset you.

But I have to say that I don't understand how offering a different viewpoint is reasonably construed as telling you to shut up? I come over here expressly to see what you have to say.

But I don't have to agree with it, and sometimes I don't. You have said many times that you enjoy a good argument, and I have attempted to offer one. It saddens me that you seem to be construing simple disagreement. My position is in no way as extreme as you seem to think it is - for instance, I don't think the FBI report "proves" anything conclusively. It provides some context for the question of whether criminal gangs of bikers are a national problem or not.

I generally try to approach such questions, not by looking at a single anecdote or even a handful of anecdotes and extrapolating from them, but by trying to get a sense of the overall picture.

You generally respond by saying something along the lines of, "You can't trust statistics". Which can be said even more of small numbers of anecdotes :p

The purpose of looking at the larger pattern is to see whether the small sample of anecdotes is truly representative of the entire universe of outcomes or whether it represents only a small portion of them, or somewhere in between?

That is quite literally impossible if you never look beyond a few cases. It's hard to do even if you look at a far larger sample.

One final thing: I often get the impression in these posts that you are defending bikers against some unstated attack. FWIW, I have always assumed, and continue to assume, that bikers (like any other community) are largely good, peaceful people with a small number of criminals and scumbags. I have many times said the same thing about the military.

But I don't think you prove anything about the decent majority by denying there are criminals and scumbags among them, or trying to suggest, as it seems to me you frequently do, that stats on crimes are some kind of corrupt police conspiracy. That seems the same kind of categorical error you are attempting to counter: assuming the worst on no evidence.

But as you say, perhaps we are just too far apart on this. It grieves me that you seem to think I believe something that frankly, hasn't even crossed my mind because it is utterly uncharacteristic of the way I think about life.

In a nutshell, it could probably be distilled to, "Don't assume more than you know - especially if you're assuming the worst of others."

Grim said...

But I have to say that I don't understand how offering a different viewpoint is reasonably construed as telling you to shut up? I come over here expressly to see what you have to say. But I don't have to agree with it, and sometimes I don't. You have said many times that you enjoy a good argument, and I have attempted to offer one. It saddens me that you seem to be construing simple disagreement.

I enjoy a good argument very much. I say here that there is no point in trying to discuss it because I think we are too far apart, not in the areas subject to reason, but in the areas where our ideas are rooted in experience and emotion. I will divide the things that are merely conceptual matters from the things that I think are emotionally laden.

What you said that sounded like "hold your peace if you don't know" is that I didn't know what I was talking about, and thus had no grounds to talk about it. Now I do have grounds -- I have the indictments, which are public. The things to which you were referring, the things I don't know, are things the government has chosen to keep secret (if, and insofar as, they exist). So if I am not to talk about the matter if I don't know those things, I cannot talk about it because the government has elected to keep the secret.

Now that could apply to a great many things: to the IRS emails, say. How do I know anything about them beyond what has been said in public? There's a strong sense in which I don't know; but Rep. Gowdy is right that a juror (or anyone else) has a right to infer that evidence that has conveniently been destroyed before a legal proceeding was not good for you.

Likewise, when an investigation fails to produce a crime and perforce chooses to try to create one, I think a juror -- and indeed anyone -- can rightly infer that they didn't find much going on.

Now, those are conceptual matters.

Emotional matters include this idea that the Federal government is due some trust or deference, in areas where it declines to present its reasons to the full sunlight in public. I feel strongly that it has proven that it does not deserve either. If it comes to me wanting approval for how it is using power in domestic affairs, it had better be prepared to show its cards.

I also feel that we are emotionally far apart on sympathizing with the desperation of the poor and working class. Some of these people are my neighbors, a few from the next town over, and I see every day how hard things are for people like these. Men who used to take pride in working and providing for their families have had, for years now, to watch from the sidelines as debts pile up and their families lose everything. They are men whose hair is or is turning grey, whom the economy now has no place for and never will again, and they are of a generation which, in Georgia at least, taught them to believe that nearly their whole worth was built around how they provided for their family. I see that suffering almost every day.

In that context, it is wicked -- I feel -- to come down among the people your own government's policies have impoverished, flash money, and see if you can lead them astray and hurl them in prison. It is wicked, I feel, to find middle aged men minding their own business and still try to send them to prison for a decade because, in such hard economic straits, you were able to tempt them into crossing a legal line.

I also feel, and here I am not sure I can even make myself understood, that their chief moral duty toward their family may obviate their duty to a distant and hostile Federal government. It was bad enough when the Feds were coming down here and busting up moonshine stills that poor men were using to feed their families. Now the Feds are finding no stills, and still trying to send people to prison if they can convince you to stand watch while they build one. Or convince you to talk about building one.

It is those emotional issues I don't think we can profit by discussing.

Ymar Sakar said...

The FBI's sting or NSA covered parallax intel raid of the Democrat operative in California was good. That nut was building a bio bomb IED out of some black market website materials, which the FBI just happened to have under surveillance...

However, whenever the FBI, ATF, and other goonies start preying on Americans at Ruby Ridge and the upstarts at WACO.... it's not a good use of resources. Targeting biker gangs in Georgia, falls under that category.

There's no way it would NOt fall under the category. None of my sources have ever indicated a connection between them and terror, while the Leftist alliance and Southern Poverty Law Center have far more connections to Islamic Jihad and terror attacks.

Ymar Sakar said...

The FBI sting in California was not conducted by SWAT doing a no knock raid. It was done by an undercover FBI case officer, checking out the site and the target (personally), using his own data intel sources. Then determining, on site, how the raid would go down, so it went down when the subject was not at home, intentionally. Then when bomb components were found, and not bio weapons as expected, the warrant for the judge was given to capture the Democrat campaign operative on charge of building dangerous IEDs and explosive ordinance.

This contrasts well to the no knock SWAT raids where the SWAT death squads merely carry out orders, with no idea of what they are facing or what the legal justifications are for the raid.

It's quite clear the Georgia investigations were either evidence of nothing, or evidence of the feds making stuff up as they go along. A person that relies on the Government to tell them where to fall, might not figure it out. Independent analysts and individuals with their own judgment, have a better chance of figuring it out.

Now if a biker gang goes out and kills an entire town of kids, like the Democrat demon spawn or Islamic Jihad have, then sources would dictate a reassessment. But not yet.

As for regular crime, unless they are doing the "one knockout" whitey game people are playing now, they aren't nearly as dangerous as what the FBI should be focusing on. Should be, that is, except if their bosses told them to leave those gangs alone. The paid bullies of DC are immune to prosecution. They need em to beat down whiteys and Republicans for a caning, teach em a lesson.