Without a doubt, police have been hated by various and sundry segments of society for as long as anyone has ever tried to preserve civil order. That should be a surprise to no one. But we are now living in a time of particular infamy.
The old caricatures are still alive that police routinely cover wrong-doing for themselves and fellow officers as well as get legal cover from the organizational brotherhood of blue. Those distortions of reality and broad-brush characterizations will never go away simply because it is easier to make “the man” the enemy than it is to change the things in this fallen and sinful world that make it necessary to depend on police protection in the first place. It is also easier to cry and scream about the one officer that steps over the line than it is to use the same energy toward the less exciting task of building up the others.
We live in an especially toxic time right now because any single officer’s sin is broadcast and hyped nationwide. Anarchists, race-baiters, the Democratic Party and federal agencies at the highest levels are vilifying law enforcement with skillful seductive double-speak.
President Obama is complicit in seven years of rhetorical and legal victimization of law enforcement. This year his Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has opened more than twice as many investigations into police departments than the previous five years. The DOJ has now expanded its focus of investigation to include “implicit” or even “unconscious” bias. When Eric Holder took over the DOJ, he instituted a policy of working with private advocacy groups during official probes.
The epicenter of the venom is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and now, after the Democratic National Convention, the fostering of shameful divisive false narratives. But facts are stubborn things and reality is always the best antidote for movements built on emotionalism or raw political pandering.
But BLM is a shameless pimp of grief. The five mothers who presented themselves for Democratic use were genuinely grieving but that should not excuse false images. Out of those five situations, two of the men were killed by civilians not police, two died attacking police and one committed suicide in jail.
The University of Toledo analyzed homicides (legal, negligent and criminal) from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for the years 2009-2012. Its findings along with the Washington Post’s effort to stoke the fires yielded truth that exposes the utter deceptions. The non-black population contributed 12 perpetrators out of each million people but the black population was the source of 60 perpetrators out of each million people. Yet, at least in 2015, when police responded with deadly force, only 26% of those killed were black while 50% were white. When there is only one sworn police officer for every 221,400 people, that is amazing restraint toward a group that is five times more likely to kill the officer. On the average, the same number of people died from a confrontation with nature, lightning strikes, as did from a police encounter (.00012 of 1%).
None of these realities minimize suffering and death. But there is also no way to face a tragedy if the focus of the fix is on the wrong thing. In 1994, the city of New York started a trend in policing that actually made sense and worked called Compstat. Police leadership gather crime data and look for patterns. They strategize in regular weekly meetings, target worst areas with more resources and hold commanders accountable to deal with crime outbreaks.
What a thought. Target crime where it is without worrying about the racial or ethnic makeup of the source – even if your target is inner city minority neighborhoods – and hold leadership accountable. Equally important, allow cities to mold their practices to their situation without interference from a corrupt DOJ.
In the end, the problems are not police abuses or widespread racism in America’s legal system. Instead they are the propensity of sinful fallen human beings to kill each other and the shameless use of that fallenness to spawn more hate for personal agendas or political purposes.