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The Totality of the Circumstances

There is a concept called “totality of the circumstances” which seems to be lost on most. What it means is considering all factors that play into a situation.

For example, we have seen clips of videos where police are acting horrifically but when we see the whole video, their actions are wholly justified. The amount of manipulation that occurs on social media and the news is staggering. The lengths people go to feed a narrative is saddening. I personally would rather be presented the totality than a biased snippet, obviously.

Having responded to incidents involving known (has a documented history of violence and weapons) armed violent offenders, the precautions and actions we have taken would look excessive if you only saw a single snapshot or short video clip of isolated interaction and not everything leading to the incident. “He is innocent, he did nothing wrong, police brutality” – says the person behind the keyboard without any knowledge of totality of the circumstances. Sometimes behavior of the subjects change when a 3rd party (or their own) camera is involved.

I prefer to wait for more info before making a judgment from one source. What does immediate outrage online accomplish anyway, popularity? The more angles I can observe, the better I can understand.

Matt Landfair

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