Cop Killers and Black Lives Matter
Did you see this heated exchange between Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and CNN’s Don Lemon on the subject of cop killing and Black Lives Matter? Watch:
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the police have concluded that Gavin Long lured them into an ambush that resulted in three police deaths. Excerpt:
On a social media site registered under the name Gavin Long, a young African-American man who refers to himself as “Cosmo” posted videos and podcasts and shared biographical and personal information that aligned with the information that the authorities had released, so far, about the gunman.
In one YouTube video, titled “Protesting, Oppression and How to Deal with Bullies,” the man discusses the killings of African-American men at the hands of police officers, including the July 5 death in Baton Rouge of Alton B. Sterling, and he advocates a bloody response instead of the protests that the deaths sparked.
“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors,” he said, “have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It doesn’t — it has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back. That’s the only way that a bully knows to quit.”
“You’ve got to stand on your rights, just like George Washington did, just like the other white rebels they celebrate and salute did,” he added. “That’s what Nat Turner did. That’s what Malcolm did. You got to stand, man. You got to sacrifice.”
Elsewhere, the Times writes:
The twin attacks — three officers dead Sunday in Baton Rouge, five killed on July 7 in Dallas, along with at least 12 injured over all — have set off a period of fear, anguish and confusion among the nation’s 900,000 state and local law enforcement officers. Even the most hardened veterans call this one of the most charged moments of policing they have experienced.
Officers from Seattle to New Orleans are pairing up in squad cars for added safety and keeping their eyes open for snipers while walking posts. It is an anxious time: Officers must handle not only vocal denunciations from peaceful protesters who criticize abusive policing, but also physical attacks by a tiny few on the periphery.
Law enforcement officials said it had been generations since the nation endured two separate episodes in which so many police officers were killed.
“We’ve seen nothing like this at all,” said Darrel W. Stephens, the executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and an instructor at the Public Safety Leadership Program at Johns Hopkins University. “The average officer in America, who was tense anyway, their tension and vigilance is going to increase even more. Police officers have always been vulnerable, and they know it. But somewhere inside you, you didn’t think it would happen. But now we’re seeing it happen.”
According to 2015 police statistics, the overwhelming number of murders and other violent crimes in Baton Rouge, a violent city, happen in the wholly or predominantly black parts of town. It’s not even close. Look at this SpotCrime map of Baton Rouge, which aggregates the most recent crime data and plots the incidents on a map: almost all of these incidents in the past two weeks occurred in predominantly African-American areas. The population of East Baton Rouge Parish, which is the city, is 46 percent black [UPDATE: Inside the boundaries of the city proper, it’s 55 percent black]. Poverty in the parish is concentrated in, yes, the black part of town.
My point is this: if you are a BR police officer or EBRP sheriff’s deputy, you spend a disproportionate amount of your time policing the black community, which is disproportionately violent. By no means is this to say that police brutality is justified or is not a problem. It is to point out that police brutality occurs within the context of a badly broken society. Our society overall asks cops — white, black, Hispanic, and Asian — to go into parts of our cities where most of us would never venture, and deal on a daily basis with some of the worst people in the world: killers, drug dealers, pimps, wife-beaters, etc. Many of these cretins are armed. I’m not sure how someone contends with the worst of humanity as part of one’s job without losing one’s own humanity. I wouldn’t last a day out there on the inner-city beat, and you probably wouldn’t either.
I don’t understand why we are given an either-or. Why can’t we be in favor of reforming the police to reduce brutality and stand by the police, recognizing that the great majority of law enforcement officers are good men and women who try to do the right thing in an extremely difficult job?
As a general rule, I reject people who blame violent acts on their political opponents. More often than not, this is an attempt to silence speech they don’t like. If people have a problem with police brutality or what they see as racist treatment of black people, then by all means they have a right to speak out against it. This is true with any issue. Conservatives who rightly despise the way the campus left tries to silence dissent should be very careful not to do the same thing to those protesting against the police.
That said, with eight police dead this month at the hands of black radicals who deliberately targeted them as a political statement, Black Lives Matter is at a crossroads. This kind of rhetoric, authored by BLM’s founders and taken from its website, drives its followers to radical extremes:
We completely expect those who benefit directly and improperly from White supremacy to try and erase our existence. We fight that every day. … When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgement Black poverty and genocide is state violence. It is an acknowledgment that 1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country–one half of all people in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence. … And, perhaps more importantly, when Black people cry out in defense of our lives, which are uniquely, systematically, and savagely targeted by the state, we are asking you, our family, to stand with us in affirming Black lives.
That’s just one example. And this:
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.
This, in a time when 72 percent of all African-American babies are born to single mothers, and that fatherlessness is a strong predictor of whether or not a male will be involved with the criminal justice system.
I don’t blame people at all for protesting against police brutality. What I do object to is the hysterical language (e.g., “genocide”) routinely and repeatedly used by the movement to characterize the situation, and to the decontextualization of the problem such that it makes it appear that police mistreatment is the most significant problem threatening the lives of black people in America.
Ofc. Montrell Jackson’s young black son will grow up without a father, and the boy’s mother without her husband, because a radicalized black man shot and killed him on Sunday, and two of his colleagues. I won’t say this is the fault of Black Lives Matter, because I genuinely believe it’s factually and morally wrong to blame them — this, even though I do not now and never have liked that organization, given its radicalism and its bullying tactics.
But I reserve the right to change my mind on that depending on what happens next.
UPDATE: A pro-Black Lives Matter note was found near a Daytona Beach police cruiser firebombed this past weekend. “F–k The Police,” it also said, charmingly.
UPDATE.2: From the law enforcement presser today in Baton Rouge:
“We’ve been questioned about our militarized tactics, This is why, because we are up against a force that is not playing by the rules.”
— Maya Lau (@mayalau) July 18, 2016