The haze of preemptive violence “to save” rather than take lives is a common rationalization for police dynamic entry or sneak attacks in war. The mediated versions of explanatory narratives tell a more complex interpretive story as the killing of Breonna Taylor has shown. Even after the out-of-court financial settlement and the protests, the narrative is complex, despite how easy it was to produce multiple random gunshots in a residential structure as part of a “war on drugs” that demands criminal justice reform. This is the “political economy of violence” offered by American policing.
The New York Times visual investigation team released 3D diagrams and photos in an 18-minute video on Monday that show how the Louisville police killed Breonna Taylor.
The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was fatally shot by Louisville police officers during a botched drug raid on March 13. Authorities didn't find any drugs at her apartment.
A grand jury indicted one of the officers involved, Brett Hankinson, with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shooting her neighbor's apartment. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not charged.
The death of Taylor, along with other Black Americans killed at the hands of police, caused nationwide protests this summer as people rallied for justice.
The Times investigation shows the pathway of the 32 bullets the officers fired that night and past interviews from the officers and Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, who struck Mattingly in the leg as the officer's beat down their door that night. Walker told investigators they did not hear police announce their presence before entering the apartment.
The Times was able to reconstruct Taylor's apartment where the shooting took place using 3D imagery, statements, crime scene pictures, documents, and SWAT team video to visually show the officers' reckless actions during the raid that led to Taylor's death.
Watch the full video below from The New York Times:
A 41-year-old Louisville woman's home burned down on Christmas. She was known for cooking for activists supporting Breonna Taylor, and the community is raising money to help her rebuild.
A grand jury has declined to charge 2 of the 3 Louisville police officers involved in Breonna Taylor's death
The only charges in the Breonna Taylor case are for shooting into her neighbor's apartment, not for killing her
The police weren't wearing bodycams that night, in violation of policy, but our recreation shows how officers lit only by a dim outdoor light, hardly visible to Taylor and Walker, stepped into the "fatal funnel" of Taylor's doorway and fired blindly into her apartment
One last thing: Our video shows it took 30 minutes for Taylor to receive emergency medical attention, even as officers patched up their wounded colleague. We saw this in our investigations over and over again this year. The life of the suspect never seems to be the priority.
Narrative is generally known as having two components; the story presented and the process of telling it, or narration, often referred to as narrative discourse. Film narrative theory seeks to uncover the apparently “motivated” and “natural” relationship between the signifier and the story-world in order to reveal the deeper system of cultural associations and relationships that are expressed through narrative form. As Roland Barthes has said, “narrative may be transmitted through oral or written language; through static or moving images, through gestures and through an organized mixture of all these substances. There is narrative in myth, legend, fables, fairytales, novellas, novels, history, novel, epos, tragedy, drama, comedy, pantomime, pictures, comics, events and conversation. In these unlimited forms, narrative exists at all times, in all corners of the earth, in all societies. Narrative begins with the history of mankind.” Films use a combination of dialog, sounds, visual images, gestures and actions to create the narrative. Narrators, usually in a voice-over format, are very popular in documentary film and greatly assist in telling the story while accompanying powerful shots.
We’re all too conditioned to images as illustrative of letterform or text. Media literacy is more about relations of intertexual interpretaion. Relations among text, intertext. and image are important for assessing the meaning and message of cultural phenomena. Some meditative literatures use that ability to assess intertexual relationships, which resemble operational awareness but become less reflexive in dynamic situations. Media and mediated reality alter those perceptions and subsequent cognition. One example of such interpretive analysis could be the Breonna Taylor shooting in Louisville, KY.
Even pacifist traditions such as Buddhism have a parallel tradition of preemptive violence. Understanding the cognitive tradition of one variety can tell us more about the specific situation of preemptive violence, not as meditative, but as a means of assessing the cognitive situation of just action versus so-called trained muscle memory.
Ultimately it is the failure of planning and tactical execution that is at the heart of law enforcement’s version of preemptive violence. Its moderation is more about demilitarizing the police than reforming “training”.
For better or worse, the abstraction provided by examining the signs of an event provide situational awareness whatever the reproduction or representation media. The narrative that becomes a legal defense or prosecution often uses the kind of evidence assembled by the NY Times to visualize events like Breonna Taylor’s killing. The agency and structure of policing remains contentious in the face of contemporary American racism.
I became serious about developing a consistent mindfulness practice when I attended my first retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh (known affectionately as “Thay”), in 1991, seven years into my twenty-year police career.
Thay convinced me that part of the skill set of a police officer was the ability to employ both the gentle compassion of understanding and the fierce compassion of setting boundaries to protect others, including using force to intervene if people were physically harming one another. For a police officer, wisdom is being able to discern when gentle compassion is called for and when fierce compassion is called for.
Thay directed me to focus on my intention. I found it was possible to start any call or street interaction with a commitment to non-aggression and preventing harm.
I know it is possible to aspire to be kind and compassionate as a police officer, and that, that way, the job is safer and more fulfilling. Back at work after my first retreat, I couldn’t understand why everybody seemed to have gotten kinder in my absence — including the people I was arresting.
The crisis in policing today
It pains me to see the unnecessary use of force, especially deadly force, and racism that we’ve been seeing taking place in the police profession. The good news is that the extent of it is finally being uncovered.
This crisis in policing has to do with unnecessary use of force, racial profiling, militarization of police departments, lack of trust between communities and police departments, lack of strategies to address trauma and emotional health of police officers, unconscious and unspoken organizational agreements in police culture, and a lack of informal safety nets for people across the country.
"Buddhism differs in that the act of killing is less the focus than the 'intention' behind the killing" and "The first thing to remember is that people have a penchant for violence, it just so happens that every religion has people in it."
Little is known of the two founders of the Yogacara school. According to Peter Harvey, “Asanga’s writings were deeply rooted in the practice of dhyana,” that is, meditative concentration. This is reflected in the name of the school: “Yogacara” means the “Practice of Yoga.” Whereas Nagarjuna and his disciples used a dialectical approach, based on the analysis of the various meanings of svabhava, Asanga derived his insights from lengthy periods of silent meditation, observing how perceived phenomena arise as mental constructions. He also focused on the psychological processes at the root of these mental constructions, describing the various levels of consciousness, including the all-important alaya consciousness, where karma “seeds” are “stored,” a study we have come to associate with modern day psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Among the many texts said to include Yogacara ideas, the Samdhinirmokaya Sutra, composed between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE, is regarded as Yogacara’s most important source, containing presentations of its basic concepts – the Three Natures (trisvabhava), the basis – or storehouse – consciousness (alaya-vijnana) and the doctrine of Appareance-Only (vijnapti-matra). Asanga wrote a commentary of this sutra, but it is through the works of Vasubhandu – a Sravaka practitioner until he was converted to Mahayana by Asanga – that Yogacara became an influential school in East Asia. A clear and most readable presentation of the tennets of the school is found in Vasubandhu’s Twenty Verses and Thirty Verses.
When I first learned about the three natures, I thought it was an innovative teaching, something completely new. However, after studying some Abhidharmic teachings on perception and cognition, I am thinking that the three natures are a convenient repackaging of foundational Buddhist teachings on perception and cognition which might make it easier for some people to understand and experience. What this answer is saying, is that whenever we cognize an object, there are three aspects to this cognition. Then, the Buddha goes on to explicate these three aspects. Before delving further into the sutra, I'll provide some alternative translations and short definitions.
- Imputational Nature (Sanskrit, parikalpita):The verb “impute” means “to represent, to attribute, to ascribe”. Some other translations: imagined, constructed, artificial. Basically, this is our (unconscious) belief that some dharma inherently possesses some attribute which give it a particular meaning to us.
- Other-dependent (Sanskrit, paratantra); The “interdependent”, the “other-powered” (meaning “dependent” as depending upon). As we learn in Buddhism, all dharmas arise in response to conditions. This conditional aspect is the so called other-dependent aspect of a moment of experience.
- Thoroughly established (Sanskrit, parinispanna): Some other translations: “The consummate”, “the perfected”, “the absolutely accomplished”, “the fulfilled”. As we will see from further study of Yogacarin texts, the “thoroughly established” is simply the other-dependent aspect minus the imputational aspect of a moment of experience.
In my opinion, the easiest way to explain the three natures is to use a drawing of a cube. When we see the drawing of a cube, we are seeing a representation of a cube, but it is not a cube. This is the imputational or imagined nature. To further highlight the lack of own character of our cube drawing, focus on the lowest left hand “corner”. You can use your will to see that vertex as either coming out of the page or going back into the page. You can do the same thing if you focus on the faces of the cube. Whether we impute one face or one corner as being above or below page, the drawing itself doesn’t change based on how we perceive it. There is no fixed specificity to our imputations. When you are looking at this picture and seeing it as a cube in this moment is the imputational nature in action. What any particular individual sees as the “up” corner or the “down” corner depends on their own karmic or samskaric dispositions. This is the basis of our delusions.
So, what do we really see when looking at the drawing of a cube? We see regions where no light is reflected which we designate nominally as “black lines”, and then we see white coloured regions which contrast with the lines. Our calling this a “black line” depends on our previously assimilated notions of both “black” and “line”. Similarly, there are no real corners, we impute the convergence of three lines at a single point as something which we designate as a “corner”. In addition, the figure you are seeing doesn't arise in your mind on its own. The arising of this visual image depends on many conditions (the presence of light, operational sense gates, the generation of eye consciousness, and so on). This is the dependent or other-dependent nature of this visual dharma.
When we can take this visual representation in without seeing a cube, this is the thoroughly established nature. Just regions of light and dark. Notice, also that “light” and “dark” are relative to one another. When something is relative, it depends on something else. Therefore, the “light” and “dark” regions have no self-nature. They are empty of some essential notion of “lightness” or “darkness”.
So, what is the point of all this? It's not really about looking at drawing of cubes. The teaching of the Three Natures can be applied to any and all dharmas, or moments of our experience. We begin to suffer whenever we attach to the names and attributes we have imputed to an experience. This could be anything from unpleasant bodily sensation like leg or back discomfort to mental anguish which arises in response to a self-narrative which we have about a particular situation. Insight into the imputational nature means that we don't have to conceive of a specific experience in a particular way. Further, how we conceive of a situation is not about the situation per se, rather it is about our own predispositions. Knowing that the source of our suffering is within us, gives us the opportunity to transform these unhelpful dispositions.
- (thesis) Imputational Nature The verb “impute” means “to represent, to attribute, to ascribe”. Some other translations: imagined, constructed, artificial.
- (antithesis) Other-dependent This conditional aspect is the so called other-dependent aspect of a moment of experience.
- (synthesis) Thoroughly established ...is simply the other-dependent aspect minus the imputational aspect of a moment of experience.
There is the Cartesian nature of the filmic space where “a Cartesian space is canonically a vector space over the field of real numbers” only suggests that the filmic space is now digital reality recalling the abstraction of geometric perspective and the development of cinematic photography. There could be a mirror analogy as well as a window metaphor but that work requires a complex effort. A culture of first-person shooters and mediated violence abstracts the reality of firearms use, making necessity into pleasure in the absence of military combat that brought a larger generation to be drafted.
As film scholars, we must constantly return to the cinematic production and manipulation of space and time to reassess how it is affected by our changing perception of the ontologies of space and time and, conversely, how our understanding of these physical concepts in cinema alters our spatio-temporal awareness in the real world. The advent of digital technology, with its formal atemporality and virtual space, presents a further radical challenge to our understanding of these categories, adding another layer of complexity to an already complex topic.
The following are notes for a presentation on the textual problem of media coverage in the context of digital technology. The reality of FPS games is that even the aiming is an unreal abstraction where actual firearms operation is not like the sight picture in a digital simulation.
The term first person shooter describes a specific genre of video-games that have the player experience the world directly through the eyes of their in-game representation (avatar). Traits of this type of game is a 3-dimensional environment, high maneuverability, linear game-design and a strong emphasis on ranged weapon combat.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze aiming mechanics in games and especially examine a certain factor that has been added to modern first person shooters that are becoming more and more standard – the act of aiming down the sights (ADS) to accurately engage the target. I am going to examine the large amount of first person shooters released between 1996 to 2012, single out the ones that use an ADS-mechanic and based on that data discern trends regarding ADS and what type of aiming mechanic they use and how it correlates to the the trend. I will examine the effect on pacing and game-play within the MDA (Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics)-framework and find relations between certain mechanics, dynamics and their resulting aesthetics. The research phase will be the foundation on which this thesis is built on, in the conclusion I shall present organized, analyzed, and measured data on which I shall base my conclusions on.
The questions I want answered are:
What aiming conventions are used in FPS?
What type of game-play does the existing aiming convention cater to?
What are the trends regarding ADS in FPS?
How do ADS-mechanics affect pacing and aesthetics?
4.3 Sight picture
The term for the visual relation between the front and rear sight when aiming properly is called sight picture. Sight pictures differ greatly depending on what sighting system the rifle is using, but across the board the shooter should focus on the front sight, thus making the closer rear sight out of focus. (U.S Department of Army, 1994)
An inevitable dynamic of adding a mechanic that penalize the player for shooting while simultaneously moving will be that the players will only shoot at while standing still - that is predictable and most likely the desired dynamic when implementing such a system. However in regards to iron sights, a less predictable dynamic evidently arises where players preemptively aim at areas of expected enemy presence in order to have the iron sight advantage. Thus greatly slowing down the pace of the game.
no knock warrant (asymmetric information)
bad intelligence / knowledge
simultaneous operation with SWAT
lacking police body cams
warning signs one bystander
(NO Verbal Text)
warning no announcement identifying cops
victim fires “warning shot” at cops
response 4 rounds by one, second emptying magazine of 16 rounds
32 rounds, 20 down the “fatal funnel” plus rounds through the window
“Spray and pray”
victim struck six times (once in the foot, so much for center mass)
practical shooting (as discipline) / impractical “all shooting is impractical”
icon index symbol in a human science of signs
synchrony diachrony structure binary coding
political economy of signs is not identical to visual language as cultural studies
messaging, emitter /encode /code/ decode/ receiver, message commodity and the value form
absolute and differential rents, use/exchange values
reduction to denotation connotation
signifier / signifieds
Levi-Strauss and binary oppositions
reconstruction and reproduction
revisionism and projection /
layers and levels
Film semiotics is the study of sign process (semiosis), or any form of activity, conduct, or any process that involves signs, including the production of meaning, as these signs pertain to moving pictures.
Robert Stam, Robert Burgoyne, and Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-structuralism, and Beyond (1992):
This work highlighted film semiotics as a new tool in art criticism. The book provided an overview of previous thinkers and defined terms critical to semiotic film theory. “This book is intended as a didactic introduction to the vocabulary of the field, not as a series of interventions in film theory”
Rotoscoping is an animation technique that animators use to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. Originally, animators projected photographed live-action movie images onto a glass panel and traced over the image. This projection equipment is referred to as a rotoscope, developed by Polish-American animator Max Fleischer. This device was eventually replaced by computers, but the process is still called rotoscoping.
In the visual effects industry, rotoscoping is the technique of manually creating a matte for an element on a live-action plate so it may be composited over another background. Chroma key is more often used for this, as it is faster and requires less work, however rotoscopy is still used on subjects that aren't in front of a green (or blue) screen, due to practical or economic reasons.
Fleischer's patent expired by 1934, and other producers could then use rotoscoping freely. Walt Disney and his animators used the technique in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs during 1937.
Rotoscoping was used extensively in China's first animated feature film, Princess Iron Fan (1941)
Princess Iron Fan (simplified Chinese: 铁扇公主; traditional Chinese: 鐵扇公主; pinyin: Tiě shàn gōngzhǔ), is the first Chinese animated feature film. The film is based on an episode of the 16th century novel Journey to the West. It was directed in Shanghai under difficult conditions in the thick of World War II by Wan Guchan and Wan Laiming (the Wan brothers) and was released on November 19, 1941.
Journey to the West has strong roots in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology, Confucianist, Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, and the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas are still reflective of some Chinese religious attitudes today. Enduringly popular, the novel is at once a comic adventure story, a humorous satire of Chinese bureaucracy, a source of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeys towards enlightenment by the power and virtue of cooperation.