Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recipes for Obstructing Justice: Common Core Arithmetic for Grand Juries

Update: The initial narrative of this post is corrected based on the fact that some of the preliminary information it was based on has been clarified and given greater detail

We're back with yet another lesson we learned from the Ferguson execution of Michael Brown. you won't see this one on Sesame Street but you should and every urban school in America should be learning this because, well, *you* could be the next victim.

Let's start with a map that showed up in the New York Times that gives us some baseline numbers and proportions to work with;

Click this link that will bring up the NYTimes page that properly labels everything on the diagram.

Update: Here's the Washington Post's version;

Let's examine the text that accompanies the diagrams.

"Mr. Brown’s body was about 153 feet east of Officer Wilson’s car. Mr. Brown’s blood was about 25 feet east of his body. This evidence supports statements that Mr. Brown continued to move closer to the officer after being hit by an initial string of bullets."
Exercise #1) Brown's body is 6'4" long.  His feet  are closest to the farthest blood stains found at the scene of the shooting (at about 180' based on the WaPo diagram tho this distance seems on the high side and 171 feet or so based on the NYTimes diagram). How far are his feet from the farthest drip of blood? (the WaPo diagram measures his head at about 153', Brown was  6'4).

You would be correct to question the textual assertion that states it's 25' in the NYTimes diagram.

Exercise #2) Brown's body is 6'4" long.  His stride is approximately 3 feet long when he's walking? Using the distance of 21' (based on WaPo diagram) feet between where his feet fall and the most distant blood drop.  How many strides walking could Mr. Brown have walked?

If his running stride is 4 feet and he's getting ready to charge like a football linebacker, how many strides could he have taken?

Exercise #3) The length between Officer Wilson's SUV and the middle of Michael Brown's body is 153 feet. what is the total distance between the start of the measurement at the SUV and the farthest trace of blood using the 21' foot estimate and including 3 feet for half of Brown's body.

Now divide 180 feet by three to calculate the total number of yards involved.

Exercise #4) Draw a bee line between the farthest bloodstain and the hat by the SUV.  Let's call that the longest distance between Brown and the Officer.  Now draw a line across the middle of Michael Brown's back and extend it past the SUV. Let's call this direction the "Final Resting Trajectory".

Do these two lines tell you that Michael Brown was moving in a straight line along the bee line or would you say he would have been zig-zagging to fall forward along the "Final Resting Trajectory"?
Could he have been charging anyone along the beeline that way?  Where would the officer have needed to be standing along the Final Resting Trajectory to have been facing Mr. Brown?

The Washington Post diagram shows the dispersion of bullet casings but gives us no sense of distance between Wilson and Brown although it certainly looks as if Wilson waits until he has caught up with Brown sufficiently to claim that he was in danger based on the legal guideline that would give him plausible deniability.

Exercise #5) Since the majority of bullets were at Mr Brown's head where would the bullets on his arms have been hit if his arms were raised close to his head?

Exercise #6) Calculate the time it takes a 240 lb classmate to grab a banana from the  console section of a mid-sized SUV by climbing through the window and using his right hand.  Try punching the person in the van with the left fist oh the person's right cheek. Now try it again with a 210 lb security guard from your school protecting the banana. Can the classmate climbing through the window throw a punch in that position?

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