Four years ago five Dallas police officers were killed, 11 injured, and two civilians were also injured during an ambush at a protest against police brutality. Sadly, it was inadvertently broadcast on live television. Yesterday, Dallas PD caught up with a trend seen from some law enforcement at protests encouraged everyone to “take a knee” (despite the optic some oppose) as the panacea for racism:
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) June 11, 2020
I appreciate their desire to signal their willingness to reform policing (and deescalate tension), but really, what does this do? Taking a knee in protest was popularized by Colin Kapernick and became a point of contention during football season and beyond. I did not support Kapernick’s protest, but not for the most often discussed reason. His protest was peaceful and disrespectful, but the First Amendment says “peaceably to assemble,” it says nothing about “respectably doing so.” People can dislike it all they want but protests mustn’t be respectful for them to be peaceful, these words are not synonymous, and advocates of smaller government toe a dangerous line in an era where the definition of “respectful” is subjective. I didn’t support his protest not because he chose to do it during the National Anthem, but because I disagreed with the reasoning on which his protest was predicated: that cops kill more black Americans than white Americans annually. This claim is not substantiated by data. Heather MacDonald in the Wall Street Journal:
However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.
In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.
The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.
Did you know?
A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.
Many have tried, all have failed, to demonstrate that the police are "racist." pic.twitter.com/MUgiKf7G1w
— PragerU (@prageru) February 3, 2020
Via The Marshall Project, with data from the Washington Post:
As of Jan. 15, the Post had documented 987 victims of fatal police shootings in 2015, about twice the number historically recorded by federal agencies. Whites were 50 percent of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent. By comparison, whites are 62 percent of the U.S. population, and blacks, 13 percent. The ensuing debate has largely centered on whether the disproportionate number of black deaths was a result of police racism or the relatively high rate of crime in black neighborhoods, which brings black men into more frequent, and more fraught, encounters with the police.
The piece also discusses the “unarmed” aspect of data:
In August of 2015 the Post zeroed in on unarmed black men, who the paper said were seven times more likely than unarmed white men to die by police gunfire. The article noted that 24 of the 60 “unarmed” deaths up to that date — some 40 percent — were of black men, helping to explain “why outrage continues to simmer a year after Ferguson.” By year’s end, there were 36 unarmed black men (and two black women) and 31 unarmed white men (and one white woman) among the total 987 victims. The rate at which unarmed black men were more likely than unarmed white men to die by police gunfire had dropped, but was still six-to-one.
But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. It is worth looking at the specific cases included in the Post’s unarmed victim classification in some detail, since that category is the most politically explosive. The “unarmed” label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly-charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.
Townhall also examined these numbers last election and found that there was no statistical evidence to support the claim that black Americans are disproportionately killed by police as compared to other ethnicities. Data does support the claim that there are more black Americans stopped by police than white Americans, yet there are not more black Americans fatally shot by cops than white Americans. This truth doesn’t erase the very real friction between the black community and police nor does it undermine the justice deserved in cases of bad policing, especially those resulting in fatality. If you demand that people believe that there are more black fatalities than fatalities of any other ethnicity, you’re asking for people to disregard hard data to support what you think to be true but unsupported by data. Are we now to forfeit intellectual honesty for the purpose of conversation? This solves nothing. How is it an honest, real conversation if facts must be disregarded to continue it? This isn’t to say that racism doesn’t exist anywhere or at all — that claim is ridiculous, however that racism does exist does not make true the claim that there are more black fatalities than other fatalities. Is this to say that a lack of trust doesn’t exist between the black community and police? Not at all. That friction absolutely exists. There are absolutely bad cops who abuse authority. The Houston Police Chief is one, for example:
Wow, seriously? I simply criticized the hypocrisy of you lecturing law-abiding Americans while publicly supporting the disregard of federal immigration law. No one “misrepresented” you. It’s surreal to see a chief reacting to free speech this way. https://t.co/fwe6xpkikZ
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 23, 2018
P.S. Dana, I Forgot to thank you for making my point in my response to your kind request for an appearance on your insignificant show. Before I close for the last time, did I mention court of law? I retain my right to explore the limits of your twisting of the truth in court. https://t.co/xbGm1ubuKl
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) May 23, 2018
A free people have the right to call to account elected or nominated political figures. I will continue to excercise my free speech and do so. You can continue to threaten censorship and surveillance. I’m sure that’s a good use of taxpayer dollars. https://t.co/ZW3QVkfadH
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 23, 2018
(This cop threatens publicly — can you imagine how he behaves or what he does privately?)
I’m a limited government constitutionalist, it’s in my American DNA to question authority and be distrustful of my government. So what are the solutions? There are good cops and bad cops. There are more good cops than bad cops, but bad cops can cause a pain that lasts generations. Dismantling and defunding police isn’t a serious proposal. I and the majority of Americans wouldn’t want to live in a town without a police force. What of deterrents and penalties for bad policing? SCOTUS may take up the debate over qualified immunity for police:
Qualified immunity has evolved in meaning over the past few decades. The Supreme Court defined the contemporary version of it in the 1982 case Harlow v. Fitzgerald, according to Lawfare. According to that ruling, a public official could lose the protections of the immunity only when they have violated “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights.”
One of the problems with qualified immunity, critics say, is that legal precedents have set too many obstacles to fight against it in court.
The “clearly established” standard is a high one. An officer could only be found guilty if a judge decided against an officer in a previous case with the same “specific context” and “particular conduct.”
What of evaluations of enforcement required by the lawmakers who write our laws? One example: I railed on this issue after the death of Eric Garner, who came to police’s attention after he reportedly broke up a fight and was subsequently questioned about “loosies,” or single cigarettes for sale without a tax stamp. Michael “stop and frisk them” Bloomberg’s mayoral regime he jacked up taxes on certain items as a way to economically control behavior and ended up cementing a flourishing underground market of savvy capitalists — over 56% of NYC’s cigarettes are from the black market. Garner was one of many who took advantage of overregulation’s consequence, and he was routinely harassed for it. Bill de Blasio even increased tobacco taxes even after Garner’s death, knowing full well he was giving the “loosie” market the equivalent of a steroid shot:
The mayor acknowledged that the cost increase may boost the market for so-called “loosies” and other under-the-counter tobacco transactions. But he insisted the city would “intensify” enforcement in order to counteract any such surge.
“There’s always that danger of additional illegal activity, and what we have to do is do our best to disrupt that and intercept it,” he said. “We don’t ignore that threat, we have to confront it.”
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Florida’s Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, and asked him if it’s helpful for protestors to work with police, to reach out and give them a heads up as to when and where their demonstrations are planned as a way to develop partnerships that clearly identify rioters. He replied that it was, and that many peaceful protests groups did just that by reaching out to his department and he was clearly grateful for the opportunity to build this trust with the community he protects. Policing is a social contract and for it to work every community must feel comfortable going to those they employ to help keep the peace.
As I’ve said on air, we need a national discussion on bad policing and bad cops (and good ones) — but it’s not going to be fruitful if we don’t also address the lawmakers we empower with our vote, lawmakers who write regulations into law along with the penalties for violations. Law enforcement does the bidding of the laws we write and vote for through out elected officials. If you feel you are not properly represented, perhaps you need to change those who represent you. Discuss immunity, discuss police unions, discuss police engagement by race — discussing all of these things and finding solutions together is more fruitful that posting black squares on Instagram or sending out soulless statements. It’s more effective than a bunch of apparently racist celebrities (who knew?) making montage videos “confessing” their “privilege.” It’s more productive than this:
If it looks like a hostage situation, it's because it is. pic.twitter.com/SuLeSgfXIp
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) June 5, 2020
As I’ve said before, I only bend the knee to God in prayer and before His throne, but I will gladly stand with the righteous who seek justice. Righteous cause summons righteous action.
I also have questions about the official organization behind many of the protests, and I’m not alone. Why does the official BLM group solicit donations with ActBlue? The leftist organization reels in hundreds of millions of dollars and since the murder of George Floyd has raised over $20 million. It is owned by a private company and exclusively Democrat:
The fundraising tool, which is only available for Democrats even though it’s owned by a private company, provides candidates with the technology to collect small donations directly without having to go through a PAC or other outside group. It is also open to other Democratic causes.
— kingface_f1 (@KingfaceF1) June 10, 2020
When you click to donate to Black Lives Matter, it takes you to ActBlue. If donated money goes unclaimed, ActBlue disperses the money however they want. These are their top expenditures so far in 2020. pic.twitter.com/hHlaLrBROt
— Jason Buttrill (@JasonButtrill) June 11, 2020
This isn’t a “fundraiser” for justice as much as it’s just a way to funnel money directly to Democrats in the name of justice. I find that especially ironic, given that the major cities where we’ve seen protests over policing are Democrat controlled, Democrat elected, with Democrat policies. People are literally funding the very ideology that created these problems.
Black Lives Matter itself isn’t just a statement or a slogan of a movement, it’s also an official organization with a mission and set of publicly stated policy goals that have to do with a lot more than just police brutality or policing generally. These are their policy platforms. I recently ran across this piece, “Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” by Ryan Bomberger. It stood out to me, particularly these two things:
There is no goal of forgiveness or reconciliation. None. It’s never mentioned on their sites. You can’t talk about the sins of the past and expect to move forward if there is no intention of forgiveness. I’m tired of the deeply prejudiced oppressed/oppressor critical race theory paradigm. It’s not Gospel-centered. This should, immediately, be a deal-breaker for Christians.
Having recently written a book on grace wherein I discuss that redemption is refused and reconciliation not possible as a result, this resonated. If it isn’t Gospel-centered, what are Christians doing with it? If it isn’t redemption-for-reconcilation-minded, then what is the purpose?
When discussing the lack of mention for fathers and the under appreciated family unit, Bomberger writes this powerful line:
I’m not embracing confusion. Loving every human being is not the same as loving every human doing.
It’s not that people are opposed to injustice or that they even disagree that policing should improve. Neither of these things are right OR left ideals. The dissent enters when leftist political ideology does: reparations, identity politics, Marxian economics, and more. The current unwritten rule is that one cannot disagree with any aspect of Black Lives Matter’s political stances without forfeiting concern over justice and accountable policing. You either stand with Black Lives Matter or you stand against justice for George Floyd, this is the false choice presented. The idea that you can stand against injustice and bad policing without supporting the politics of the BLM organization is disallowed — it’s more than that, it’s a cancelable offense.
You also can’t ask why George Floyd was detained in the first place because the interpretation is that you’re suggesting that the stop was due to criminality. It’s an unwritten rule that any inquiry into possible criminal offenses that may provoke LEO response is tantamount to declaring that Floyd’s murder by cop was just penalty. Even if you’re asking about it simply for the purposes of determining whether the potential infraction merited anything beyond simple citation, you are emphatically stating that you believe that George Floyd deserved to die for whatever action. There are no other possibilities. You cannot support justice for George Floyd and also think that reparations are insane. You cannot support justice for George Floyd and think that the concept of “white privilege” is abusive and ironic. The concept of “white privilege” is the perpetuation of continued division. Speaking for myself, I didn’t feel “privileged” when I was raised early on by a single mother. I didn’t feel “privileged” living in small town America with no access to prestigious universities like Harvard, our former president’s alma mater. I certainly don’t feel “privileged” to be blamed for the decisions of old white Democrats made in a century when I as a woman couldn’t even vote and some family ancestors were on Jackson’s genocidal trail. I’m not responsible for the racist decisions of old white Democrats any more than you are (unless, for example, you’re a white Democrat who supports the continued Jim Crow-era discriminatory policy of gun control), nor do I bear any blame, nor special privilege. We are all already privileged as children of God whose inheritance is secure, we’re already privileged as (relatively) free Americans. I know one thing — conservatives have for so long valued black lives that we’ve pushed back against the rebranded-for-third wave eugenics of racist Margaret Sanger and her legacy at Planned Parenthood (this Time piece tries hard to explain away her alarming remarks and can only, shockingly, offer a weak “out of context” which does nothing to mitigate Sanger’s legacy as a racist). Republicans were the abolitionists, Christians felt, and still feel (as I write in my book Grace Canceled) that racism is a moral deficiency, a sin, an ungodly attempt to supersede God and judge His all his creation. Today it is also conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans who support the civil rights issue of our time, school choice. The Democrat nominee does not.
When entities like the Dallas PD issue calls to action, when companies robotically issue statements, when schools and universities invoke popular phrases in statements they think will better appeal to families, when pastors repeat them to their congregations, they need to realize what certain groups stand for and what the respective mantras mean. You can believe that black lives matter without supporting organized groups whose politics you oppose and without taking a knee — because you’d rather lift others up while standing on your feet.