Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Monday, December 01, 2014

Shawn Parcells, who played a high profile role as a forensic pathology expert in the case of Michael Brown, lacks the educational background and professional credentials expected of someone in that profession, according to a CNN investigation that included interviews with attorneys, law enforcement and physicians. He also claimed to be an adjunct professor at Washburn University but "is not now and has never been a member of the faculty," school spokeswoman Michael Saunders said. Parcells claimed to have earned a master's degree in anatomy and physiology from New York Chiropractic College, but could not produce his diploma when asked for it by CNN. "Pathologists interviewed by CNN say they're concerned that a man who has no formal education in pathology is giving testimony in court that could possibly help put innocent people in jail or let guilty people go free," CNN reports.


After doing a little research on the CDC's (thanks JPW) WISQARS database it seems that some of my suspicions were correct.

Since the claim in the article was made about children aged 10 - 19, I kept my search limited to that age group. Since the claim was made of an increase in gun deaths over 3 years I included 2011 and 2012 in separate searches and looked for trends. The data is as follows:

1) All three years saw unintentional deaths as the biggest cause of death not suicide... and no, firearms weren't the biggest cause of unintentional death. Motor vehicle accidents were, and by a HUGE margin.

2) Among suicide deaths suffocation, not firearms, was the leading cause in all three years.

3) while the number of suicides using firearms increased for all three years, so did the deaths by the number one choice of suicide methods by kids: suffocation.

While I agree with the later sentiment offered in the article about teaching parents about gun safety in regards to kids in the home, I can only shake my head at the blatant scare-mongering in the beginning of the article.

Suicide by firearm, and even death by firearm whether it be unintentional, suicidal, or homicidal is far from the top causes of death for children. While teaching caution and safety is commendable, the beginning of the article was attempting to elicit the emotional response of fear. The key was when the unsupportable claim was made that many of these deaths may have been prevented" lacking an available gun. As if somehow a kid saw a gun and just thought "Hey! It's there! Why the heck not?" and then pulled the trigger. I think it is just as easy to support the idea that if guns weren't readily available, the already suicidal kids would just turn to the #1 and growing method of child suicide in the country and suffocate themselves.

Of course being a study from the Brady Center to Prevent (Evil) Gun Violence, they won't mention the most helpful tactic in preventing child suicide by ANY method: making child suicides a front and center issue and addressing them and the causes for the issues that drives kids to it. That is a much more worthy subject for a national conversation than the issue of firearms. Unless of course you have another agenda that makes firearms more important than dead kids.

Some things to remember when trying to judge details from a camera:

1) due to the 2d nature of cameras and lens properties, distance will be distorted and sometimes be difficult to judge accurately.

2) camera shake even with image stabilization software can make viewing difficult and reduces detail much more than the human eye in real-time.

3) a camera video played back on a monitor does NOT equal the video resolution, frame speed, or effective image size of the human eye in real-time.

Trying to contradict or judge the cop because you assume that because you can't tell it was a gun the suspect dropped and picked up from the video and therefore assume he had the same faulty view as you is sloppy thinking.

The facts as shown on this video are simple:

1) Cop shows up to a call of threatened domestic violence. Suspect threatened to shoot his girlfriend.

2) Cop asks the suspect if he has any weapons or "anything else that will hurt me". The suspect LIES and says "no".

3) Cop starts search.

4) Suspect flees.

Important to note that regardless of the allegation that the cop is claimed to have felt the gun, the information on the video shows only that the cop chases a suspect that has claimed to have no weapon... and the cop does not fire at this time.

5) During the chase the suspect drops what is confirmed, and RIGHTFULLY claimed by the cop from what he saw, to be a gun and picks it up.

Important: Whether the cop believed the earlier lie that he was unarmed, or felt and SUSPECTED that he had a gun but there was doubt... there is no doubt at this point that the suspect is armed, agitated, and dangerous.

6) Cop immediately fires and kills suspect.

Important: What could possibly make anyone think that if a suspect in a confrontation with a cop suddenly grabs what a cop knows to be a gun that the cop won't shoot them dead?

Justified. This is a slam dunk case.

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