The murder of five police officers in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) event has changed the game.
BLM began when George Zimmerman was acquitted for the killing of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. After that, the long-simmering notion that the criminal justice system is fundamentally racist began to boil over. From the legal system itself all the way down to the police officers who enforce the law, it’s all set against minorities, according to activists.
Then came the death of “gentle giant” Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Here the revolution began in full. The oft-repeated phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” came from the completely discredited idea that Brown was surrendering to Wilson when the officer fired the fatal shots.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” is still used as a symbol, despite forensic and eyewitness testimony exonerating Wilson. A complete and utter falsity ignited a fire that’s burned wildly out of control, and now five officers are dead.
The BLM movement grabs onto each and every case of alleged police misconduct in which a black person was involved, claiming it as evidence that reinforces their previously held belief that cops are racists. This is known as confirmation bias. Millions of Americans have followed suit. My Facebook feed is lit up with BLM propaganda at the moment because of the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
Specifically regarding the shooting deaths of these two men, it’s far too early to know if the officers involved are criminally culpable. Moreover, if the officers are indeed criminally culpable, we don’t yet know if their actions were motivated by race. Yet BLM activists, as well as hordes of passionate morons on social media, have rushed to their keyboards to declare that the cops involved in the killings are not only guilty, but racist to boot.
Let me add a disclaimer. *DING DING DING* If the officers who shot Castile and Sterling are guilty, they should be held accountable in a court of law. If they were in the wrong, they should obviously be put away. That said, we cannot rush to judgement. We.don’t.know.
Here’s an example of a Facebook post I saw today from an activist:
“Alton Sterling was not a threat to the police. Philando Castile was not a threat to the police. Neither was Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, or any of the thousands of black bodies lost to senseless violence on behalf of the authorities.
Your inability to see people of color as a diverse body, who are capable of acting independently, is racist. You can’t make black people everywhere, or even BLM supporters everywhere, answer for the actions of a few.”
This is sensationalism.
The person who posted this on Facebook doesn’t know if Castile or Sterling presented a threat to the officers involved in their deaths–but he just assumes they didn’t.
He includes Michael Brown in his rant, when it’s been shown–both by forensics and by the eyewitness testimony of dozens of individuals–that Brown did indeed present a danger to Officer Darren Wilson.
He includes Trayvon Martin in his list, despite Martin’s death not having anything to do with the police.
He says “thousands of black bodies [are] lost to senseless violence on behalf of the authorities.” That’s a made up number. There are no statistics to back up his claim that thousands of African Americans die as a result of racist police misconduct. But it’s sensational, so it sounds great.
He tells us that black people shouldn’t be treated as a monolith, and that all African Americans shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of a few. Then he turns around and blames the vague and all encompassing “authorities” for the actions of a few corrupt police officers. Perhaps he missed the irony.
Part of this is a media problem. Every time a black person is killed by a police officer, the media saturates the airwaves with speculation about racist motivations. This type of reporting encourages people to mentally exaggerate.
When most people think about the killing of African Americans by police officers in which the circumstances were dubious enough to gain wide-spread media attention, their mind immediately sees thousands of bodies. But sit down and try to name names. The truth is that the number is much smaller.
Off the top of my head, I can name Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown. That’s seven–though I’m sure there are more.
Let’s set names aside and take a look at some numbers.
Out of the 1,146 people killed by police officers in 2015, 306 were black. Out of those 306, let’s make the ludicrous assumption that half were unarmed black men, and that the shootings were unwarranted and motivated by race. That would mean that approximately 153 cops were corrupt, and racist. That would be tragic, and disgusting. However, there are over 900,000 police officers currently serving in the United States. That would mean that 0.017% of police officers were corrupt.
Even if every single African American killed by police in 2015 was killed because of the color of their skin, that would mean 0.034% of cops are corrupt racists. While such a thing would be heinous, and the persons involved would need to be dealt with, 0.034% is not a systemic problem. One should also note that these are wild overestimations.
Remove the melodrama, and this “widespread problem” boils down to the notion that we live in a world in which there are bad people. Those people should be held accountable for their actions. However, just as one cannot attribute the actions of a few black men to all black men, one cannot attribute the actions of a few cops to all 900,000 cops.
Here’s something we do know. The officers that were killed in Dallas were executed. Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens were killed without having done anything to provoke the man who pulled the trigger. They were cops, and that’s all it took for Micah Xavier Johnson to murder them in cold blood. They were treated as a monolith. They were made responsible for the actions of a few.
Black Lives Matter and their supporters have engineered an environment in which every police officer is a racist, just waiting to kill a black man. When a parade of BLM activists marches down the street chanting “Pigs in a blanket! Fry ’em like bacon!” they’re inflating the idea that cops–period–are racists. This idea, which has metastasized over the last several years, led to the murder of five innocent officers in Dallas Thursday night.
As I mentioned above, there’s a deep irony in this. While BLM and their supporters demand that African Americans be judged as individuals, the climate that their movement has fostered judges police officers as a monolith. They’re doing to cops what they say cops do to them.
But there’s such a deep hatred inside these activists that they cannot see their own fault.
Another Facebook post I saw yesterday put this ignorance and hatred on full display:
“The police officers’ deaths are sad, but I’m pretty sure that putting oneself in harm’s way is part of the basic job description of being a police officer. It’s the system working correctly.”
Bigotry against police officers is a quickly developing cancer. The killing of innocents is never a good thing, and those who are truly guilty of misconduct should have the book thrown at them. No sane person thinks otherwise. However, we cannot blame all police officers for the actions of a minute faction, then dismiss the deaths of good men and women as “the system working correctly.”
Black Lives Matter is guilty of creating a toxic environment. This toxicity has led to good men being murdered senselessly. Just what BLM supposedly stands against.