@VannevarB      About      Pittsburgh Murals
January 31, 2014

Rocco the Dog, Pittsburgh, and the Veil of Ignorance

Yesterday Rocco the police dog died. He was stabbed on patrol with his handler and died from the wounds. It is very sad, and my condolences to his handler. The mayor has put flags at half-staff and the city is in mourning.

I posted this on Facebook,

B&W Pittsburgh.
Police beat innocent black kid (example, Jordan Miles)= no biggie.
Police dog dies = city in mourning.
City subsidizes three profitable pro stadiums,
City won't keep August Wilson Center open.

There's a technique called the Veil of Ignorance that deals with analyzing justice in society and it suggests this thought experiment: suppose a "veil of ignorance" fell over you, and you could not tell anything about your own wealth, social position, race or class. How would you see the society? How would you change things? Would you be content/relieved/sad when you discovered your own social status?

So let me ask you this. If the Veil of Ignorance fell over you and you watched Pittsburgh this week, and you knew that when the veil lifted you were going to be either (1) a young black man or (2) a police dog, which would you prefer to be? Is a police dog more important than a young black man in Pittsburgh?

Related: Are the stadiums more important than the August Wilson Center?

Edit to add: Elwin Green

13 comments:

Rusty Red said...

It is far easier to pay homage to a valiant fallen officer than to acknowledge the shame of the department.

Anonymous said...

Or, you know, a mother of five, just trying to scrape by: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/01/28/Woman-25-dies-in-McKeesport-shooting/stories/201401280115

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is somebody not recognizing a dog in a battle with a criminal that gets killed

Brandi Fisher said...

So true Rusty!

Anonymous said...

That dog is no more important then a black police officer in Pittsburgh<Why does everything have to be made into a race thing.

Teresa Gerken said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Rocco in many peoples eyes may "just be a dog" but it TRUE REALITY he was SO MUCH MORE!!!!! He had to go through more extreme training than a human and at ALL TIMES, MUST maintain his obedience and full control of his actions. This "just a dog" was a FULLY SWORN IN, POLICE OFFICER!!!! Where is it written that to do ANY TYPE OF JOB, you have to be human????? Put your race card away, OPEN YOUR EYES, quit booo hooing, hike up your pants and be a real human adult. If a Police Officer makes a mistake it is because he/she is HUMAN and HUMANS do make mistakes and, YOU WILL PAY THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THOS MISTAKES. They may not be in everyones time frame but it will happen. I do not and will not condone an Officer or any form of person "in charge" to utilize thier "power" to beat up anyone physically or mentally for any reason. A lot of people think Police Officers, Firemen, Soldiers, and any other person in the Public Service are "Super People" and have to be perfect all the time. GUESS WHAT FOLKS....they are HUMAN AND MAKE MISTAKES!!! APPLAUD them for the fact they put thier lives on the line so you can be safe instead of throwing stones and castrating them when things dont go they way you want them too. QUIT BEING SO SELFISH!!! As far as your comparison on the August Wilson center, who ever is in charge of making sure the center made money did a VERY bad job. You should be blaming those people not the City. From a business prospective it was smart for the City to help finance the stadiums. They will bring in 4 to 5 times more revenue than the August Wilson Center. So, again PUT THE RACE CARD AWAY!!! Live is not about Blac vs. White. Its People vs. People. YOU CANT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY. If you are so passionate about saving the August Wilson Center DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Contact the people in charge and see where you can use your resources to help fix the problem instead of sitting on your lazy ass making unsupported comments and EXPECTING the GOVERNMENT TO STEP IN AND FIX THINGS. This country was built on the fact that people wanted LESS GOVERNMENT and the ability to prospor them selves. Remember the slogan "The United States is the LAND OF OPPORTUNITY"?? MAKE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITY!!!

flybylight said...

None of this seems to me to be constructive commentary. The more appropriate way to express these sentiments would be to point out that we as a whole seem to be making a bigger fuss over a fallen officer (who was catching a bad guy, a task we all hold in esteem) than over innocent victims of unwarranted brutality, that previously government paid an awful lot of heed and money to sports venues and maybe now the Sports & Exhibition Authority could take on the August Wilson Center.

I do seem to recall very many people making very much ado to address the wrongs done to innocent victims. For instance, I recall City Council holding a public hearing in Homewood not long after Jordan Miles was so horribly injured; Mr. Miles was there, and so many of us spoke caring and supportive words with him.

Instead of presenting this absolutely accurate information in a confrontational way, it seems more appropriate to simply point out that we may not be making a big enough fuss, and to clearly draw the parallels between the stadiums and the August Wilson Center - and schools that we are closing in the city even though young persons who are soon to have families are now moving in - and other buildings we are wasting like so much trash when neighborhoods and citizens and populations could benefit from them.

Okay, so shame on us. Your words say that well enough. When do you call the first meeting of those who care about the August Wilson Center? Maybe a lot of us will come.

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Teresa! Well said, although I am sure there are many who disagree, those are the same people who always see the dark side of everything! What were they saying when we lost 3 officers b/c a stupid mom called 911 over dog poop, and neglected to mention that her house had an arsenal and an equally Faux News addled son who never did and never will offer anything to society!?

Anonymous said...

The second picture of German shepards attacking people during the Civil Rights stuggles only shows that that breed, like pit bulls, is only as evil as it is trained to be. That was like comparing apple to oranges!

Anonymous said...

But the government did STEP IN AND FIX THINGS for the sports teams that make enough in revenue to have financed the stadiums themselves.

Anonymous said...

So why is then that the body count in the Africa American community (yes, that's black on black crime, about 90% of all crimes against black people) continues to be ignored? It's just so easy to concentrate on what you think is the usual old Bad Cop or Bad White Man story. And, of course there are those that fall into to these categories. You also act like the Jordan Miles was a slam dunk case of bad racist cops, when the case has been adjudicated at least three times. If you don't get your narrative, then it's obviously racism, huh? Yeah, pretty bad history at times here in America. Nothing to proud of. And yes, I voted Barak Obama and would do it again and again.

Sam Thorp said...

Any sort of "police worship" bothers me. Yes, its sad when someone is hurt or dies on the job.... But it's sad when ANYONE gets hurt or dies on the job. These "police worshippers" try to outdo each other in public displays of mourning with their "I care more than you do" social network posts. Meanwhile, they never met the fallen in real life. We erect statues, memorials have charity benefits and sell t-shirts; all to elevate the fallen to saint- hood, in a forced, uncomfortable fake way. The real problem arises when the still- with us officers that start believing they to have a God- like status. These few (and seemingly increasing #) act as if they above the law, above the constitution, above humanity, above us little peons; who are expected to worship their badges and bow our heads in their presence. There will always be the "few bad apples", but we don't need to CREATE more. And now we are doing it with the dogs..... while over -stuffed shelters kill off hundreds of animals every day.

Anonymous said...

Who read the definition of veil of ignorance before posting on this article? Exactly...

Post a Comment

Comments and Feedback? Love that stuff. Please leave your thoughts in the box below--