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Americans' reasoning ability

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 04-10-2012 | in Race, Democracy, Critical Thinking, Economics,

Schools and colleges scheduled more classes in critical thinking to improve Americans’ analytical reasoning skills. The plan is not working according to employers and academic survey findings. It fails because reasoning ability is more than a formula for manipulating information to a conclusion as some schools teach. Reasoning ability is part philosophy of open-minded inquisitiveness. Most public school and colleges students graduate with poor reasoning ability for the same reason they graduate poor mathematics skills. The courses teach them to memorize and manipulate formulas and techniques without understanding math and reasoning principles. In addition, they teach other courses that encourage set beliefs, prejudgment, and fantasy as the foundation for thinking rather than use of analytical reasoning. Attitude affects reasoning ability more than facts do because it sets the reasoning environment. Set belief and fantasy result in close-mined prejudice. Prejudice prevents objective or impartial consideration of a subject or issue. It often influences people’s worldview so they are incapable of considering alternative views. They believe their worldview is correct and that other people that disagree attack them unfairly. You know people a society have reasoning problems if: 1. They believe they are a society of diverse Asian, black, or white racial groups based on the fantasy each group inherited continental cultures of Asia, Africa, and Europe although the people living on those continents do not embrace one culture. They believe this despite the many wars fought among the people on all three continents over political and economic differences during the past 236 years since America became a nation. 2. They live in a constitutional republic with three branches of federal government and fifty state governments. Nevertheless, they hold the President responsible for just about everything that affect the state of the union like unemployment, interests rates, home values, and trade shortfalls as if he or she were a sovereign ruler. 3. They believe their nation is a beacon of freedom although it fought four major wars in foreign nations during the past 60 years, two without provocation, and none of them providing a definitive positive result. 4. They believe their nation can spend billions of dollars each year on hundreds of military bases around the world defending other nations—most of them economic competitors—without adversely affecting their economy. 5. They complain that Congress and State Legislatures’ perform poorly, but vote to retain the same people in office for decades. 6. They complain about high tax rates, but pay their public servants higher wages than warranted and more than workers in private business receive for similar work. 7. They spend more to imprison people for using or selling recreational drugs, about three times as much, as they do to educate their children. 8. They deny enrollment in their most prestigious public universities, tax-supported, to their children so they can enroll students from foreign nations—their economic competitors. 9. They take second or third mortgages on their home to buy automobiles, buy furniture, or pay vacation costs. 10. They believe employers should pay employees wages and benefits based on employees’ needs for income and not based on the value of employees’ labor and skills to the business.

Trayvon Martin and Florida’s shockingly bad law.

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 03-26-2012 | in Government, Ethics, Race, Democracy, Human Relations, Critical Thinking,

George Zimmerman, a gun carrying 28-year-old man, shot and killed a 17-year-old student named Trayvon Martin. More than three weeks later, rallies across the nation protest Sanford police department's decision not to arrest the shooter. The police asserted that Zimmerman's self-defense claim provides him immunity from prosecution under Florida law. This is a shockingly bad law if true.

Zimmerman saw Martin returning home carrying a bag of skittles and ice tea. He reported him a suspicious person to police. Sanford, Florida City manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr. reported this taped exchange between the call taker and Zimmerman.

"Are you following him?" Zimmerman replied, "Yes." The call taker stated, "You don't need to do that." Bonaparte said, "The call taker's suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be required to follow."

The preamble to Florida law, section 776.032, states that, "The Legislature finds that it is proper for law-abiding people to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for acting in defense of themselves and others."

The law says, "A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer."

Section 776.012-"Use of force in defense of person.-A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony."

This section appears to apply to a stand and defend action by Trayvon Martin the teenager stalked by an older much larger man with a gun. It and sections 776.013, and s. 776.031 do not apply to Zimmerman's use of force, because he was the aggressor according to Section 776.041 of the law.

Section 776.041 -"Use of force by aggressor.-"The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force."

Section 776.041 violates the right of the victim and victim's family to equal protection under State laws secured by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Florida's law sets the view of aggressors that provoked the violence as the only standard for deciding if the aggressors have immunity from prosecution for using deadly force against the victim. This standard discounts the victims' view-fear of harm and inability to know what the aggressors intend. Presumably, the victims' view would not count even if they survived.

For example, Zimmerman, the aggressor that killed Trayvon Martin, claimed that Martin attacked him after he had turned away. Obviously, he asserted this claim to show his goodwill intention to withdraw from the contact. However, he still had a gun. I doubt that Martin or a sworn police officer in Martin's situation would consider the threat withdrawn if the aggressor still possessed a gun.

Aggressors that invoked violence against themselves already showed undisciplined conduct and poor reasoning ability. Nevertheless, this Florida law uses the aggressors' opinions about their victims' conduct during the confrontation as the basis for the aggressors receiving immunity from prosecution for using deadly force against victims. This is an egregiously bad law and a virtual license to kill. It is an actual license to kill for the powerful and well-connected people like racist extremists where racial prejudice dominates.


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