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#216 — September 3, 2020 - Graeme Wood
Making Sense with Sam Harris
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#216 — September 3, 2020

Making Sense with Sam Harris

Graeme Wood, Sam Harris

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People have to become better students of this kind of violence before they have these reactions that seem to justify burning down half a city or writing headlines which attest.... that we have a real problem of lethal racist violence perpetuated by cops. Unless we find out more about the precursors to that event [the Jacob Blake shooting], there's no reason to even talk about race at this point. That's what's so sickening. My hypothesis is that virtually every mention of race is counterproductive now in our society. It's virtually only going to push society in one direction, which is greater polarization, greater derangement, greater hysteria, [and] less contact with actual facts. It's also going to increase the likelihood that we're going to get 4 more years of Donald Trump.

Before Protesting Violently, People Must Become Better Students of Police Brutality

We're living in a society in the US where every police officer has to assume that everyone they are dealing with is either potentially armed, and if they're reaching for something in their car, they are very likely reaching for a gun. This is not the default assumption perhaps in Western Europe, but in the US, it absolutely has to be. Our failures of gun control are relevant here, but the idea that cops are performing some kind of lynching by shooting someone in the back because he has fought them off, ran around his car, and opened the door and reached—that's just completely untrue given a cop's eye view of the world.

Sam Harris' Opinion of the Jacob Blake Police Shooting

If you're not someone who really knows a lot about violence, if you haven't studied it, if you haven't trained in anything, if you just don't know how hard it is to shoot what you're aiming at... If you're just not informed, don't have a strong opinion about these things. Don't go in like, 'Now's a good time to burn down the local sporting goods store over this,' or support others doing likewise, when you just don't know what's going on.

If You Haven't Studied Violence, Don't Have a Strong Opinion on Police Shootings

When younger reporters go into war zones and I talk to them, sometimes they'll ask, 'What do you suggest? What should I know?' The first thing that I say is, 'Danger doesn't always feel like danger. You're going into a situation that is unlike anything you've experienced before. If you've seen movies, they edit out all the boring parts that happen... so you're going to have a very poor sense of what the actual rhythms of a day in Baghdad will be. You'll be surprised at how quickly things go bad, how quickly the danger arrives, and how quickly it passes. These things are extremely difficult to train. They're the kind of thing that you learn by accidentally surviving long enough.'

Kyle Rittenhouse Made a Mistake Open Carrying an AR-15 Into a Violent Protest

The thing that is so disconcerting for me... is to see how things are distorted in what used to be the most reliable sources of news for us... I feel like now I can count on 'The New York Times' to get crucial things wrong with respect to what's happening with protests and police violence—and wrong in a way that just amplifies political partisanship and hysteria on the part of people who actually decide to go in the streets and certainly hysteria on social media.

Media Inaccuracies & Distortions Are a Runaway Train

I'm someone who, as I think you know, is more concerned that we not re-elect Donald Trump than most people. I would certainly put my anti-Trump bona fides up against anybody on the left or the center or among the Trump Republicans.

NPR Interviewed 'In Defense of Looting' Author Vicky Osterweil