Time for a pause to think, evaluate

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Black. Dead at the hands of white cops. Ferguson, Mo., burned and looted. Protests around the nation. Media stories on racial profiling. Attorney General Holder launching civil rights investigations. President Obama lecturing the country about how deep the roots of racism still run in America. Columbia Law School postponing final exams for students “traumatized” and “disillusioned” by grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in these deaths. Countless signs and chants declaring “Black Lives Matter.”

What in the world is happening? Are police departments being secretly controlled by the KKK? Are Jim Crow laws being enacted up north? Has our system of justice turned a blind eye toward persons of color?

None of the above. The vast majority of law enforcement officers across America put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities without regard for the race (or any other identifying trait) of the perpetrator or the protected.

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What, then, has happened? The black sheriff of Milwaukee County, David Clarke, accurately described the indignation and outcries as groveling and opportunism. By whom? The racial-grievance industry — comprised of the usual race agitators, pandering politicians, and liberal media. They are ever eager to promote a mantra of white racism. In doing so, they are guilty of intentional misconduct and gross negligence. The consequences of their false narrative are tragic.

People have been killed and injured. Communities — including black communities — have been destroyed. And the real epidemic, black-on-black violence, has been ignored.

If “black lives matter” (of course, all lives matter), then where is the outrage over the fact that 90 percent of black murder victims are killed by other blacks? (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2013.) In the St. Louis metropolitan area (of which Ferguson is a part), 1,025 of the 1,138 blacks killed from 2003 through 2012 were slain by other blacks (study by University of Missouri criminologist David Klinger); 22 blacks (less than 2 percent) were killed by white police officers.

Think about that. It exposes the fraud of the racial-grievance industry. According to their words and actions, nine out of 10 black lives do not matter. Their silence is deafening — and inexcusable.

The protestors are “outraged” on a very selective basis — in the tiny fraction of cases involving a white officer and black decedent. What about these 2 percent of black killings? In the St. Louis study, investigations found 100 percent were legally justified.

Let’s look at two shootings currently being protested.

There was nothing innocent or harmless about Michael Brown. Watch the video of him robbing a convenience store just before his confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson. When Wilson asked Brown to move out of the street, he punched Wilson repeatedly in the face, grabbed Wilson’s gun, and tried to use it to shoot Wilson. After initially fleeing, he ran toward Wilson in a full head-on charge, despite repeated orders to get on the ground. These facts are supported by the physical evidence and sworn testimony of multiple black witnesses. Racist cop? No. Anyone — white, black, brown or other — who violently assaults and tries to kill a cop will end up just as dead.

Eric Garner, however, was not a threat to anyone. The officers tried to arrest Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes. He mildly resisted. One officer put him in a headlock and took him to the ground. Garner repeatedly rasped, “I can’t breathe.” No evidence suggests that Garner’s arrest was racially motivated. But the incident raises troubling questions about the New York Police Department’s priorities. Why the aggressive arrest policy? Why not just issue a citation? Garner’s tragic death is a reminder, as Sheriff Clarke indicated, for everyone simply to obey an officer once he says, “you are under arrest.” File a complaint later — but don’t resist a lawful command.

Clearly, more work must be done to foster better relations between minority communities and law enforcement, and police departments must ensure that only qualified and properly-trained officers are hired and retained. But race is hardly ever an issue. The real issues are the magnitude of violence on our streets and the victims of that violence.

The statistics cited in this article are taken from a recent commentary by Deroy Murdoch.

Postscript: The forced apology by the president of Smith College for saying that “all lives matter” is evidence that the inflammatory rhetoric and protests have reached the point of absurdity. It’s time for a pause to think and evaluate.


James Wallace is an attorney, land broker and writer whose family roots in the Natchez area date to the early 1800s.