Police Threaten Murder Using False Logic

This came across my desktop today.


It presents a point of view about cops being murders and have killed more people than terrorist. All true. But I my analytical mind was not happy with how they made the case. I responded to it with the comment “False Logic.”

Inevitably the person who posted said image responded in disagreement with a response that had nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. So I started to write a response and it turned into something longer than what I would like to post in a Facebook response so here I am putting it out to the greater world. I get to make a logical point and talk about police brutality all while getting a blog post out of it. That’s multitasking

“When you see these lights, you are being threatened with murder.”

This is a logically false statement. I will show the minor things that are false first that can be dismissed with poor phrasing for dramatic effect while still logical then proceed to remove the logic from the statement.

Think of it in terms of scientific proof. “When X happens, Y happens.” Where X is “You see these lights.” And Y is “You are being threatened with murder.” X referring to the lights of a police car. But you can see the lights of police cars when they are intended for someone else. It is not always meant for you. While not always true it can be logically assumed that statement X refers to times those lights are meant for you. While not completely true it does not make it logically false.

The opening hypothesis is followed by a series of statements meant to reinforce the hypothesis; the “proof” follows a logical path from light flashing to high speed chance to being detained to being murdered. It makes the false assumption that every time you do not pull over for the flashing lights you will be chased. Every state has its own guidelines to what crime can proceed to a high speed chase. I believe in California to pursue over 90 MPH it has to be a crime involving a gun. There are points where cops will not chase you do to regulations. Thus the “Proof” is not without holes. I would still, at this point, not call it logically false. It is still logically true with conditions.

Now we come to where the logic breaks down in the proof. “…And if you attempt to defend yourself, they will escalate to violence, and if you are able to fight them off, they will murder you.” First not everyone will be able to fend off a policeman. Those people will, in all likelihood, not be threatened with murder. Then comes the “they will murder you.” They will defiantly assault you, mace you, beat you with sticks, and/or choke you. None of which are murder. The police can and have murdered people in situations like this. But it is not an exclusive response.

If you look at the dictionary and legal definition of murder, it has includes “Prior intent” to kill or, in the case of second degree murder, intent to harm without regard to life. To say you are being threatened with murder at the point when those lights are flashing behind you is not logically true.

The threat on your life is not made at the light flashing to pull you over for a broken tail light. There is no assumption of intent by the police to harm you. While being arrested or detained there can certainty be threat of murder. “On your hand and knees or I shot!” is a phrase I’ve heard cops say. That is a threat of murder.

Police in America have killed more civilians than were killed by terrorist including 9-11 during the same time period. The point that the photo is trying to make is a valid one. It uses false logic to make it. The reason I said so “False Logic” is in the hope that we all can make our points better. The smarter a point is made the harder it is to be ignored.


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