The Black Lives Matter movement was created in 2012 after a young unarmed black male, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by a male neighborhood watch volunteer.
Fueled by a sense of injustice when the man who killed Trayvon, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of the crime, the black community band together and collectively decided now is the time to expose the “institutional racism” that supposedly exists within the American police force. With every new case of a white (or just non-black usually does the trick) on black homicide, they unhesitatingly assume the black victim is undeserving and the white perpetrator’s motives are race based. Even going as far as to accuse the judicial system, after due process, of knowingly letting a guilty man walk free, for reasons other than evidence in support of innocence or against guilt. This is utter ridiculousness.
This movement has become particularly focused on the use of force by police officers as evidence of racism.
In fact, the majority of Generation Y has acquiesced to this ill-informed notion of widespread police brutality, to the point of it becoming hip mainstream rhetoric. They have a bizarre view that a cop’s use of force must be equal to that of the person they are using the force on. A young man resisting arrest and flailing around is no excuse for a cop to wrestle him to the ground. If the person begins increasing his effort in resisting the officer, and the officer responds with a disproportionate increase in force to keep the situation from escalating further, he is out of line and abusing his authority. Just another power hungry racist pig.
This mentality can only exist in a mind void of consideration. Any honest look at things from the perspective of an officer reveals a life filled with anxiety and necessary suspicion in the face of seemingly mundane situations. The mere fact that they have a holstered gun on their hip at all times requires them to assume they are in the midst of life-threatening danger every time someone puts their hands on them. This potential risk that accompanies every instance of physical contact necessitates what would otherwise be an unnecessary escalation of force in response to ostensibly non-threatening situations and gestures.
It takes only one instance of an officer letting his guard down when dealing with someone with nothing to lose, for it to be the worst day of his life – and the last.
Imagine walking around with a gun holstered, everyone aware of this fact, and having to deal with uncooperative people, up close and personal, every day. Being on edge is almost a mandatory state of mind in ensuring one’s safety on the job. With underlying anxiety, suspicion, and risk a factor in every encounter, it is expected that once in a while a cop will make a bad call and do something that leads to undesirable consequences (this is not meant to nullify their agency, of course, they are accountable for these bad calls. It is meant only to highlight their honest motives behind most bad decisions). Condemnation of character and motives is not the warranted response to this, as members of Black Lives Matter so often do. What should be done instead, is make an effort to understand the officer’s situation, and how his perspective of the situation led to the less-than-desirable decision being made. Of course, we hold that officer accountable and assign the correct punishment, but more importantly, we must use that knowledge to take action in an effort to mitigate the chances of it happening again. The latter is being done already, obviously, but it would be more effective in achieving the desired result if these anti-cop SJW’s understood the officer’s perspective and acted accordingly; not resisting arrest under any circumstances, instead taking the fight to the courtrooms; not surrounding an officer trying to make an arrest and vehemently yelling “police brutality” in his ear; not selectively recording the part where the cop takes down the suspect, while ever so conveniently leaving out everything that led up to that moment, then posting it on Facebook as further evidence of the out of control police force. You know, just basic civility really.
People also forget that most officers are not talented boxers or trained Jiu-Jitsu fighters.
There is a discussion to be had about a better-trained police force, but as it stands now, going toe-to-toe with a criminal is not a situation in which most cops can guarantee a successful arrest. Given that apprehension of people is in their job description, and given that they cannot reliably do this through hand-to-hand tactics, they need tools like tasers and guns to ensure the upper-hand belongs to the officer.
The gratuitous hysteria about rampant sinister cops at large is embodied in the case of the Michael Brown shooting on August 9th of 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer:
“Shortly before the shooting, Brown stole several packages of cigarillos from a nearby convenience store and shoved the store clerk who tried to stop him. Brown was accompanied by his friend Dorian Johnson. Wilson had been notified by police dispatch of the robbery and descriptions of the two suspects. He encountered Brown and Johnson as they were walking down the middle of the street. Wilson backed up his cruiser and blocked them. An altercation ensued with Brown and Wilson struggling through the window of the police vehicle for control of Wilson’s gun until it was fired. Brown and Johnson then fled, with Wilson in pursuit of Brown. Brown stopped and turned to face the officer, the Brown moved toward him. Wilson fired at Brown several times in total, all shots striking him in the front, with the possible exception of the two bullets fired into Brown’s right arm. In the entire altercation, Wilson fired a total of twelve bullets; the last was probably the fatal shot. Brown was unarmed and moving toward Wilson when the final shots were fired. Witness reports differed as to what Brown was doing with his hands when he was shot, but none of the witnesses who said Brown had his hands up in surrender were later found to be credible.” (Wikipedia.org).
At no point in that account of the incident, did the dial on my racism meter so much as wiggle-and justifiable so. It boggles the mind how so many were convinced of Brown’s innocence based on nothing but anecdotal tales of a good-hearted young boy and false eyewitness accounts.
Ignorant to the good nature of Brown, Darren Wilson saw a 6’4, 300 pound suspected criminal.
Granted Wilson is no small man himself at 6’4, 210 pounds, do you think it would’ve been smart for him to have a hand-to-hand exchange with Brown? Could he have known how far Brown would be willing to take the fight? Of course not. Add on top of this a struggle with Brown for his gun (quite a demonstration of concerning intentions on Brown’s part), and you have the perspective on Darren Wilson. I think, quite obviously, understanding his perspective leads to justification of his actions.
Still, after due process, vast numbers of people believe the verdict was wrong, and let a guilty, racist, malevolent man in Darren Wilson walk free.
This is pure irrationalism motivated by a love for hatred, a need for an enemy, an attraction to victimhood, and an unjustified distrust in the judicial system. This distrust in the judicial system is presumably derived, at least in large part, from the high conviction rate of young black males. It is a curious position that is taken by some people: instead of holding the people convicted of committing crimes accountable for their actions, they blame the people who caught them breaking the law and who put them in jail. It’s like the “what came first, the chicken or the egg” dilemma. Though just as the latter question has an answer (the egg), so too does the former. Take for instance the homicide statistics:
“According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and “other” 2.2%… 84% of white victims killed by whites, and 93% of black victims killed by blacks.” (Wikipedia.org).
Blacks, who make up roughly 13% of the total U.S population, account for 52.5% of homicides, with whites, who make up roughly 70% of the population, account for 45.3% of homicides. That’s a conviction rate difference about 8 times. It is a futile waste of energy to argue that this difference can be accounted for by the existence of “institutional racism” in the police force and judicial system. This empirical fact proves only that a group of people commits murder more frequently than another group. The degree to which family structure, poverty, and lack of education play a role is completely open for debate. What is not debatable, though, is the fact that murder rates per capita are way higher in the black community, and the people who caught and jailed them are not responsible for this.
Often presented is the complaint of the high level of police patrol in black neighborhoods. Purported, again, to be evidence of racism. This, in fact, is a case of justified profiling. Yes, there is such a thing. If old white grandmas were statistically more likely to be pedaling drugs, we would be dividing more of our attention to areas with concentrated numbers of old white ladies on street corners; this would not call for a movement against white grandma prejudice.
In the same regard, a higher level of police patrol in black neighborhoods does not necessitate a movement against racist cops. Regardless of how receptive you are to it or not, the fact is, young black males are more likely to commit crime than any other group of people in America. This does necessitate a bigger police presence in those neighborhoods.
- Every video of an officer using force is not police brutality; Officers have the authority to use the level of force they feel is necessary, within reason, to control a situation. This is not restricted by a maintenance of equivalency between the force used by suspect and officer.
- Cops make split-second decisions every day, and given what is at stake for the officers if they underestimate the severity of the circumstances (his life), they are compelled to overestimate the severity of their circumstances. This inevitably leads to what can be seen as bad judgment calls in hindsight, for which they must be held accountable for, but not falsely condemned as abusive pigs for. Doing the latter makes their jobs more dangerous, as it leads to hesitancy and second-guessing which have no place in their line of work, and only lead to more bad decision making.
- I want to be clear, I am not saying every black person killed by a cop is deserving of it, nor am I arguing that there are no racist cops. Surely there are racist cops, and innocent black lives have most certainly been taken by police officers. I am under no illusions in this regard. However, although you can say “not all” throughout this article and others alike, remember that the phrase “not all” addresses the outliers of trends, and the exceptions to rules.
I expect evidence to influence people’s beliefs. I also expect reason and logic to triumph over biases and hysteria. I have given evidence; I have laid out what I believe to be a logical argument; I have conceded the points I wish to concede. Now, it is your turn. #AllLivesMatter