Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Study: People Take Longer Time to Shoot at Blacks Than Other Adversaries But Only Because They Feel Greater Need to Kill

Cemeteries fill with victims perceived to have been threats, but some researchers are looking at  discrimination and seeing mercy that's not likely to have been in the heart of the shooter. Attribution for clip of Melbourne cemetery below.

The fact that people with guns take a split second longer  to shoot a black person than perceived White or Hispanic fellows seemed to be shown yesterday morning by a few white Twitter users,at least, as a case of "what are they complaining about then?".

But if you read the study through and think about it, the delay is not necessarily out of a lack or lesser of feeling of threat from a black opponent, but from an increased impression of danger, forcing the person with a gun to concentrate longer in an attempt to make a better shot, and possibly plan a few steps ahead.

Even though the author thinks people favor blacks with lack of shooting herself, I disagree

Author (link to report):
James’ study is a follow-up to one in which she found active police officers, military personnel and the general public took longer to shoot black suspects than white or Hispanic suspects. Participants were also more likely to shoot unarmed white suspects than black or Hispanic ones and more likely to fail to fire at armed black suspects.
“In other words,” wrote James and her co-authors, “there was significant bias favoring blacks where decisions to shoot were concerned.”
When confronted by an armed white person, participants took an average of 1.37 seconds to fire back. Confronted by an armed black person, they took 1.61 seconds to fire and were less likely to fire in error. The 24-millisecond difference may seem small, but it’s enough to be fatal in a shooting. (Emphasis mine).
 Yet the author admits:
The recent study analyzed data from electroencephalograph sensors that measured participants’ alpha brain waves, which are suppressed in situations that appear threatening.
The participants, 85 percent of whom were white, “demonstrated significantly greater threat responses against black suspects than white or Hispanic suspects,” wrote James and her co-authors, University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger and WSU Spokane’s Bryan Vila. This, they said, suggests the participants “held subconscious biases associating blacks and threats,” which is consistent with previous psychological research on racial stereotypes.
Thank you mam for that bit of truth which you then try to bury it.

Let me explain:

George Zimmerman didn't just start shooting randomly to scare Trayvon.  I'm pretty certain he was the kind of loser who might spray an area with bullets before bringing down a threatening deer. But that one time he shot straight to the heart, killing the teen deliberately because the fact that the young man was strong and not a coward and black told Zimmerman that his opponent was a guy out of the fantasies of a video game or rap lyrics who must die or kill, even as the teen shouted no in a gesture of ending the fight when he saw the gun (from 911 tapes just before the shot rings out).

Yeah, I'm saying it.  Despite being offered a truce the pathetic pretend neighborhood watch guy satisfied his self defense gun battle dream.

That heightened perceived threat is what made Darren Wilson pump (now acknowledged) 10 bullets into Mike Brown even as the teen ran away, turned, offered surrender, and finally was falling to the ground.

I hadn't been online to thoroughly read the report Tuesday afternoon since first seeing it tweeted about in the morning.

I wanted to make sure I understood what was being "discovered" and how, not just the idea that people with guns were actually favoring blacks in their sites with pacifism over others as some Tweeters seemed to hint this morning.

I've reread it 4 or 5 times, and the greater time used before pulling a trigger (not a lot either) actually seems to be a response to a greater perceived threat and a feeling of needing to make a shot that will kill or at least completely disable a black man if they are going to pull the trigger. And if a shot isn't taken it could mean that the person with the gun didn't want to draw attention from the noise fearing a real gun battle (whether or not the target actually was seen with a gun already drawn).

So this is nothing that mitigates the idea of prejudice, but expands it.  It's the perceived return threat what keeps a shooter from pulling the trigger as fast or at all.  But that can be all the more deadly once the firearm is engaged if the shooter feels more of a need to shoot to kill an opponent. I think reports from Stand Your Ground states would bare this out.

 Picture above of a portion of a Melbourne, AU cemetery was clipped using Windows Snipping Tool and used via Creative Commons Attribution license (CC by 2.0) thanks to flickr user Jo who has no connection to this blog or blogger.