Wednesday, November 9, 2016

More Lessons From The Damned

Ray Tensing is in a lot of trouble.  July 19, 2015 while working for the University of Cincinnati police he stopped Sam DuBose.  What should have been an ordinary traffic stop went bad.  Very Bad.  Tensing shot and killed DuBose while he attempted to drive away.

Those seem to be the facts.  There are some questions about exactly what happened, what Tensing thought and what Tensing feared would happen.  They are in trial now to determine the outcome.

Tensing’s body cam has been examined and an expert claims it doesn’t support Tensing’s claim.  Tensing claims his hand was caught in the car as DuBose drove away and he would have been dragged.  Such a dragging could result in serious injury and perhaps death.
Powerful stuff.

What’s the lead paragraph in the Akron Beacon Journal and others about this revelation?  Not that the cop cam doesn’t support his claim, but that Tensing was wearing a black shirt with a Confederate flag and the words “Great Smokey Mountains” printed on it.  Kind of paints him as a racist, doesn’t it?

I couldn’t believe that any police force would allow a uniformed officer to discard the uniform top and just wear a tee-shirt while on duty.  A little more digging revealed the department requires a black tee-shirt be worn under the uniform top during the summer.

The shirt was also described by others as the kind you might buy at a souvenir shop.  Also not mentioned in the ABJ article was the shirt also had the numbers 1 9 3 4, the year the Great Smokey Mountains became a national park on it.

Oh!  Doesn’t sound so racist anymore does it?

I’m not here to rag on the ABJ, or on Tensing’s actions.  I want to talk about perceptions.  The jury saw that shirt.  DuBose’s death happened more than a year ago and now it’s at trial.  The prosecutor had a year to work on the case, make connections, try out different fact interpretation and find experts who agreed with his theory. 

That shirt doesn’t help Tensing.  The tragedy of one man killing another isn’t enough.  The news media paints him as a racist, that sells papers.  It is also what the DuBose family wants.  Their father/son/husband/brother/buddy was killed because he’s black, so they claim.  Bigger rewards that way.  (Yeah, I’m that cynical.) 

I’ve said this before; don’t stack the deck against yourself.  Personal ornamentation meant to shock or point out the hypocrisy of society, the clothing statement that you’re a rebel and loose cannon can and will be used against you by the media and the justice system.  Don’t make your defense harder than it has to be.  Beside, do you want your neighbors, co-workers, fellow church members, relatives thinking you were looking for trouble?

My firearms have descriptive names - the second model 66 revolver I bought, not the widow maker.  It’s a Glock 17 with a light, not Zombie Slayer.  I don’t have skulls on my guns, little tombstones, or crossed out stick figures.

Save the statement tee-shirts for the backyard cookout and if you do wear a gun shirt that make sure it says something like “Quality since 1911” or “Proud Sponsors of Make-A-Wish” and not “Mess with me and Die with the Rest.”
I had a Springfield Arms shirt that listed all the matches Team Springfield shot in.  That was enough of a statement for me.


Tensing’s trial is in the hands of the jury, that collective organism with a IQ over 1000, more than 500 years life experience and 12 separate BS detectors, some of which are always working.  I wonder what the outcome will be?

New Flash!
A deadlocked jury results in a formal mistrial for Ray.  But he's not off the block yet.  Prosecutor Deters plans to refile and take Ray back to trial.  Deters wants to move the trial to a new location, I'm assume somewhere he thinks he can get a better outcome.  

Also remember, not guilty is not the same as innocent.

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