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On balance, police are more responsible than protesters for recent civil unrest in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,193 times Debate No: 77518
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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Just trying to prep for the beginning of debate season. The structure of the debate will be:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Arguments/ Case
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing Arguments

I will be arguing the affirmative that police are more responsible than protestors for causing the civil unrest in America.

I look forward to a good debate.


I accept. I shall argue that the police are not more responsible than protesters for recent civil unrest.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank for accepting the debate and I'm sorry it took me a while to get back I've been busy lately.

1. civil: relating to citizens
2. unrest: angry or violent behavior by people who are protesting against something
3. responsible: being accountable or to blame for something

In this debate I will be arguing that Police have caused these protests to turn violent
Contention 1: Police Militarization

In recent years police have become more and more militarized. Over the past two decades in America there has been a "1,500 percent increase in the of SWAT Teams in the United States"[1] and that just last year "89% of police department serving American cities ... had SWAT teams" [2]. The problem comes when police aim weapons at protesters which threatens them. In St. Louis County County "police snipers perch[ed] on top of tactical vehicles and point[ed] their weapons at crowds of peaceful protesters in broad daylight [and] was "inappropriate" and "served only to exacerbate tensions between the protesters and the police" according to the DOJ report [3]. Not only that but in Ferguson citizens showed up to a demonstration where "they found themselves facing down dozens of SWAT team officers, who showed up to a reportedly peaceful protest fully armed and pointed their guns towards the crowd" and was a way to "intimidate" and "threaten" citizens [4]. A study by Glen Martin at Berkley states "that protesters tend to respond forcefully when confronted by police outfitted in military garb and employing hyper-aggressive tactics." [5]. It is clear to see that police have responded to peaceful protesters too aggressively and therefor instigated the civil unrest in the United States.

Contention 2: Profits over Policing

Police have become more financially incentivized to over use their power, and most of the time this is racially motivated.
In 42 states at least 50% of the money taken from things like civil asset forfeiture and municipal violations. The "[w]idespread hostility toward Ferguson"s municipal court is the tinder that helped set the town on fire after Michael Brown was killed." [6] This "exacerbat[es]... tension. In turn, communities... begin to see police not as trusted partners but as an occupying army constantly harassing them to raise money and pay their salaries and buy new weapons" [6]. It is this thought that police are there to protect and serve but instead there to collect for reserve.

Contention 3: racial targeting

Broken windows is the theory that in order for people to follow the big laws you have to enforce the little laws. However, this usually leads to racially motivated policing. This has led to increase stop and frisk incidents which have "resulted in ever greater tension between communities of color and police" [7]. "The racial biases underlying this disparity extend to other forms of aggressive policing, causing black people to associate police officers with humiliation and injustice, and stirring distrust" [7]. It is clear to see that these racially motivated acts have turned protesters violent.

In conclusion, when we look at the evidence there is a large wave of tension between members of the community and African Americans caused by police due to militarization, policing for profits, and racially targeted searches.
For all these reasons I affirm.

1. // SP

If I didn't cite something and you'd like to know the source just ask me and I'll provide it.
I look forward to my opponents arguments.


I'm gonna throw a curveball into this debate.

Free will does not exist. Given that the concept of free will purports that we control our actions, and given that we assign blame as it is typically known in accordance with what one can control, nobody is responsible for anything. Any situation of heightened civil tensions is simply an inevitable result of human nature.

The above seems logical, assuming I can prove free will doesn't exist, so:

Why do we act? Why do we 'decide'? Preference.

Two important terms: Situation, and preference.

Situation encompasses literally all aspects of the circumstances in which one must make a 'choice'. So for instance, if you're being asked to choose between chocolate or vanilla ice cream, there are, to name a few, several factors composing this situation.

One factor might be how many times you've had each type of flavor in the past. Another might be what your friends have gotten, or what each flavor costs.

The factors above are meaningless without preference. If you have a preference to variety, maybe you'll get vanilla this time even though you're generally a chocolate fan, because you've had chocolate the last 5 times. Or, conversely, maybe you are a creature of habit, and so the fact that you've had chocolate the last 5 times doesn't bug you.

Whatever the case may be, whatever the outcome, it is all driven by an interaction of situational factors and preference. Think about it: every 'decision' you have ever made has been for a reason; that reason being a preference. In any specific situation, one will have a preference towards one particular action.

People often argue that, yes, people always have preferences, but ultimately they must weigh the pros and cons of a decision in order to decide upon a course of action. But this ignores the fundamental nature of preference. If one has a particular preference in a particular situation, the weighing of the pros and cons is set by the preference. That is the very nature of pros and cons, likes and dislikes. They are preferences. The weighing of pros and cons is the weighing of preference. And while we may not always be able to easily define our preferences in specific situations, they're there, and they drive our weighing of the possibilities, and thus, our actions.

One might ask, can one act without preference?

Let's say you're presented with a situation, a set of factors, and multiple options. And you have no preference between one option or the other -- and I truly mean no preference. Not like when you're lukewarm about two options so you just choose one to get it out of the way, but when you truly have no preference. If no factors in the situation -- if no option is more desirable to you than the other, then what will move you to decide? Nothing.

Given this, the following must be true: if preference does not exist, one cannot act. It follows then that all actions taken are done so in the existence of preference.

Final question: do we decide preference? If we could, that would mean we control the determining factor in 'decision-making'.

If we did decide our preference, what would that 'look like'? We could decide on a certain preference based on another preference, but that wouldn't be truly deciding, as the original preference would have governed the act.

It would follow then that the only time in which preference could hypothetically could be created via free will would be in a sort of pre-preference state, a void in which no preference exists. But if this were to exist, then what would lead you to decide on a preference? To choose a preference, one would have to possess some sort of reason, some sort of desire to do so. Without such a desire, no preference could be decided upon.

Since preference could hypothetically be created in only two scenarios, in a preference-creating-preference scenario, and in a pre-preference scenario, and since neither scenario indicates one acting without the determination of preference, it is logical to conclude the following:

One cannot act unless one has a preference, given this, nor can one act to create a preference without prior preference determining the act. Since preference determines one's actions, and since one cannot control preference, free will does not exist. The very concept of it contradicts the nature of how and why we act.

Given this, no person is responsible for their actions, as outlined at the top of this round. If no person can be responsible for their actions, police officers cannot be held as more responsible for recent civil unrest than protesters. On balance, neither group is more responsible.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent's argument is ill based for this debate because no such scientific evidence exists to support the claim that free will isn't real and my opponent has provided no evidence that preference is the reason we make choices and no evidence the free will doesn't exist. I will not spend more time on an argument against my opponent because he has not provided a worthwhile argument to me for the purpose of this debate.


MyDinosaurHands forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Apeck6964 forfeited this round.


MyDinosaurHands forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Apeck6964 forfeited this round.


MyDinosaurHands forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by mfigurski80 1 year ago
Protesters ARE civil unrest. They are the most direct cause.

Some day I'm going to start accepting all of the idiocies people put out there...
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