Reinoehl And The New Regularity

She’s not wrong, but she’s missing a salient point.

Of course he should have been arrested and had his guilt determined in court rather than be “killed by a motley of federal law enforcement.” The missing detail is that in order for that to happen, he would have had to allow himself to be arrested rather than . . . something.

“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the Marshals Service said in a statement. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Produced a firearm? What exactly does that mean?

“As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” Lieutenant Brady said. He said four law enforcement officers fired their weapons.

By saying “there was gunfire,” what Brady failed to say is that the gunfire came from Reinoehl. He didn’t say that Reinoehl pointed a gun at anyone. He didn’t say a lot of things, except that four cops fired and, as it turned out, Reinoehl was dead. This means Reinoehl doesn’t get to tell his side of the story, because he’s dead. There were no body cams, because there weren’t. And so all we have to go by is what Lt. Brady says, and he does a piss-poor job of it. Unless, of course, he’s doing the best job he can given what in fact happened.

Michael Reinoehl, 48, was being arrested for the killing of Aaron Danielson. Had he chosen to go down in a hail of bullet glory or did the cops decide to do a “hit job”? Under the old presumption of regularity, one might be inclined to believe that the cops wouldn’t do such a thing and that the police statement that Reinoehl threatened the officers there to arrest him with a gun is accurate. Or at least, sufficiently accurate to believe that this wasn’t some conspiratorial Trumpist fascist execution.

But cops lie.

To the extent our trust in the police narrative has been diminished, cops did it to themselves. It’s not that they always lie. It’s not that they’re all liars. It’s that cops lie, and once you’ve demonstrated that you’re a liar, you don’t get to be believed this time. And we know cops lie because it’s been conclusively demonstrated over and over. And we know that cops don’t always lie, but that doesn’t mean you get to be believed when it can’t be proven either way, except on your word. You sold your word when you lied.

But then, what’s the flip side?

Michael Reinoehl is the guy who killed the fascist in Portland last week. He admitted it and said he was scared the cops would kill him. Well, now the cops have killed him.

I am extremely anti-conspiracy theory. But it’s not a conspiracy theory at this point in time to wonder if the cops simply murdered him. The police is shot through with fascists from stem to stern. They were openly working with the fascists in Portland, as they were in Kenosha which led to dead protestors.

This is from Erik Loomis, a history prof at the University of Rhode Island, whose self-characterization about conspiracy theories might be a bit exaggerated. But he’s not wrong to say it’s fair to wonder “if the cops simply murdered him.” It is. But can it be assumed? Can it be believed? Without any evidence beyond the word of the cops, no one knows what in fact happened, so it lends itself to any question or belief. Since this “extremely anti-conspiracy theory” prof says the cops “were openly working with the facists,” he might be inclined to believe that this was the “hit job” Manisha Sinha suggests it could be.

Jonathan Turley notes that Loomis’ concern is whether the tactical act of killing a fascist is good for the cause, not whether killing a fascist is a bad thing in itself.

In responding to a comment that “Erik, he shot and killed a guy,” Loomis responded “He killed a fascist. I see nothing wrong with it, at least from a moral perspective.” He then added that “tactically, that’s a different story. But you could say the same thing about John Brown.”

So it is merely a tactical not a moral question to stalk and murder someone with opposing views?

Turley provides no source link to the quote, which is unfortunate as any controversial assertion quoted needs to be source. But then, Turley isn’t a liar, even if you disagree with his views, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, unlike the cops. And what is concerning is that on the one side, we are asked to trust the police version of the narrative, something that tests the mettle of the presumption of regularity.

On the other side, we are asked to see what happened through the “extremely anti-conspiracy theory” academic who believes that it’s morally cool to punch murder someone with whom you vehemently disagree politically.

The cops have squandered their integrity. Loomis has squandered his morality. Reinoehl is dead. Danielson is dead. What to believe?

The purpose of the Presumption of Regularity is to provide a default basis within which to understand what our government does. If the president says it’s daytime, we can believe him without more until he’s proven wrong or a liar. If the cops say they killed Reinoehl because he had a gun and threatened their lives, we could believe them without more until they’re proven wrong or liars. We need the presumption to function, but they’ve ruined it.

Then again, if the alternative is believing Loomis, who (in his spare time when he’s not teaching children) believes killing people with whom you politically disagree is the moral thing to do, we’re doomed.

24 thoughts on “Reinoehl And The New Regularity

  1. Quinn Martindale

    “ Without any evidence beyond the word of the cops, no one knows what in fact happened”

    There are at least four witnesses to the shooting who have gone on the record, though their stories contradict each other wildly. One witness who came forward yesterday claimed no warning was given at all before the cops fired and that Reinoehl wasn’t carrying a gun. Another witness, Chad Smith, has different accounts in the Oregonian (Reinoehl produced a assault rifle and fired at the cops) and New York Times (He heard shots and then saw Reinoehl walking backwards holding a gun).

    Brady, whose department is leading the investigation, has also stated explicitly yesterday that he only knows that Reinoehl had a handgun and has no information about whether he produced it or fired it.

          1. Dave Landers

            What happened to Jim? The comments section of SJ are the best on the internet. I remember him posting quite regularly.

            _concerned for a stranger

  2. Richard Kopf


    Long ago you and I had a dispute about why I generally believed cops. I still am inclined to do so, although it true that you savaged me, properly, for my bias and caused me to think more deeply.

    So, why do I still cling to childish views? Down deep I suppose I presume regularity because the contrary assumption results, I fear (and fear is a huge motivator), in the onset of chaos absent that presumption. The Praetorian Guard protects us, so I pretend, against the mob.

    If we can’t believe cops then we must presume that militant upper class children, who construct a molotov cocktails like art projects, act “morally” to tear at the social fabric that might otherwise bind us in a common goal. In short, in my mind, the default should be to mistrust children who play with fire.

    At least, my presumption is more likely to be accurate–if you detest chaos– than the the other. But, I admit, I’m German. So I suppose I am a fascist and thus I should be killed ’cause that’s the moral thing to do.

    It is no longer cool to say, “ich bin berliner,” as President Kennedy, who got shot in the head by a nut, once said while being oblivious to the fact that he was, according to present day toddlers, a closet storm trooper. The quest for Camelot is no more.

    You have hit the nail on the head.

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      We both agree about the need for regularity, which is one of the many reasons cops (and higher government officials) lying is such a grave problem. If regularlity can’t be presumed, but the alternative is undeserving of the presumption, we are lost to chaos. No society can function in chaos.

          1. John Barleycorn

            Hey now, über alles was never within the Rolling Stones vocabulary.

            The Robed Rider’s sarcasm is not all that tricky, but it can be, even when meekly obedient.

            And besides, he is cool with the edicts/laws (call them what you will) delivered to him from other branches, or something like that…*

            AND that is a “good thing” even if it does stifle his robust -unfortunately for reasons of the obvious- clarity and “learned” opinion.

            The Republic’s inner working are a mystery after all. AND SO FUCKING BE IT, I guess…

            LOL, he could be a fucking Berliner eh? Whatever, he is a Berliner! And that is a good thing too… Less the schnitzel variations his mother burdened him with, and his desire to “ferment” but then again not ferment his red cabbage thoughts.

            Oh well, perhaps one of these days he will pontificate upon why there are only so many cows that make the prime beef cut, and none of them are in Germany.

            We are all Berliners after all.

            * I double dog dare you!!!
            BTW, way, way, way, way,, did “contrary assumption results” just fly off the top of your head regularity or was your brain thinking about mother rabbits before the ground freezes and all the shrubbery is covered and the potatoes are harvested?

      1. Ray Lee

        The post is timely and accurate, illustrating a grave issue that scares me more than any other at this point in time. But the Judge’s comment and our host’s reply really focuses the point of, OK, so now what? I don’t claim to know the answer, and I always agree with the maxim that the alternative to bad is not necessarily good. I’m inclined to believe the only way out is to either suffer our own version of reign of terror / cultural revolution or to somehow get government officials / media / the academy to reinvest in integrity as a necessary trait. It will take time, a lot of time, as once trust is lost, it takes a long time to regain. But the alternative will take as long or longer to work through and it won’t be pleasant.

        Unfortunately, not many seem terribly interested in integrity, especially intellectual integrity. And so we elect and patronize politicians & media & education that eschew integrity in favor of the ends justifying the means.

    2. Kathryn M. Kase

      I’ve been troubled for more than a day by your post and your statement that that failing to reflexively believe the police means we must make presumptions about upper class offspring. That’s not the only alternative. Why isn’t it possible to believe the DNA, the video, the other evidence that doesn’t match up to what the testifying police officer claims under oath? And why does believing someone other than reflexively believing a police officer mean chaos? Your assumptions and your fear of chaos are worthy of further reflection and a blog post by yourself here — and not only because many other members of the judiciary appear to share those assumptions and that fear. (In writing that, I likely have impugned your belief in your own iconoclasm, but with regard these believes, I don’t think you are alone).

      1. Miles

        Judge Kopf’s point is that he defaults to believing the police in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, not despite evidence to the contrary. As for chaos, there has to be some uniform default belief, which is why the law provides for the presumption of regularity.

  3. Jeff

    Jesus. This is a terrible week to read your blog. Current trends are to bring back discrimination. If you don’t agree with said discrimination you’re a white supremacist. Oh, and also, if you’re declared a white supremacist, it’s wabbit season. I don’t support selective facts, because facts are facts whether they’re convenient or not, but…well…

    …well, I can’t think of any way to finish that sentiment.

    Thank god for this pandemic so I can stay in my home. if I don’t interact with anyone, I can’t be killed for any faux pas.

  4. Buncy

    An independent witness told apnews that Reinoehl opened fire first. And Manisha Sinha, I learned from reading a few of her tweets, is a melodrama queen.

    1. SHG Post author

      Another independent witness says that independent witness is a poo poo head. People who weren’t identified as witnesses at the time, but come forward to the media later, claiming to be witnesses, are not always actual witnesses.

      1. Richard Parker

        The problem is that there is no way to know what is true anymore. (Maybe there never was.) Everybody lies with abandon and sheds crocodile tears by the gallon.


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