Straight Talk on the Latest Riots

Riots broke out in Memphis and are rapidly spreading through the usual urban areas. The purported rationale is the horrific beating to death in Memphis of Tyre Nichols captured on video and released by the police. As Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) observes, Nichols’ beating was administered by “Black officers in a majority Black city with a Black police chief.”

The officers involved have been criminally charged, but the media to which every Black killed by a cop is just proof that we are still in the Selma, Alabama world of decades ago -- another case of some innocent Black person victimized by racist oppressors.

The odious Joy Reid at MSNBC highlighted a guest who blames Nichols’ death on “white supremacy” and CNN’s Van Jones opined “The police who killed Tyre Nichols were Black. But they still may have been driven by racism.” 

To the contrary, I blame the death on those who actually administered the beating and the lack of rapid medical treatment, but people like Reid and Jones who refuse to acknowledge the murderous consequences of a savage urban Black culture which time and again ends on tragedy and who stir up absurdly conjured racism are also at fault.

As the deans of colleges and heads of k-12 schools pen their usual pap about this, and the overpaid professional consultants start scheduling conferences and workshops on ending “systemic racism,” it is a good time to review some facts which they steadfastly ignore.

Over at the Manhattan Institute, always a good source of unbiased information, Heather MacDonald sets out the too often ignored facts on police killings, facts which do not support reducing or defunding law enforcement.

Among the highlights of her work are these:

the evidence does not support the charge that biased police are systematically killing Black Americans in fatal shootings.

Much of modern policing is driven by crime data and community demands for help. The African American community tends to be policed more heavily, because that is where people are disproportionately hurt by violent street crime. In New York City in 2018, 73% of shooting victims were Black, though Black residents comprise only 24% of the city’s population.

Nationally, African Americans between the ages of 10 and 34 die from homicide at 13 times the rate of white Americans, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Justice Department.

Community requests also determine police deployment, and the most urgent requests often come from law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods. 

As we’ve grown to expect from past riots, the rioters will cause most damage in Black communities, destroying homes, shops, and neighborhoods of the responsible people who live there. So MacDonald’s observation cannot be startling to anyone who paid attention: Blacks want more police in their neighborhood.

She also refutes the sensational media coverage which creates the false impression that there is an epidemic of police shooting of unarmed Blacks,

For the last five years, the police have fatally shot about 1,000 civilians annually, the vast majority of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. Black people account for about 23% of those shot and killed by police; they are about 13% of the U.S. population.

As of the June 22 update, the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings showed 14 unarmed Black victims and 25 unarmed white victims in 2019. The database does not include those killed by other means, like George Floyd.

The number of unarmed Black shooting victims is down 63% from 2015, when the database began. There are about 7,300 Black homicide victims a year. The 14 unarmed victims in fatal police shootings would comprise only 0.2% of that total.

Ideally, officers would never take anyone’s life in the course of their duties. But given the number of arrests they make each year (around 10 million) and the number of deadly-weapons attacks on officers (an average of 27 per day in just two-thirds of the nation’s police departments, according to a 2014 analysis), it is not clear that these 1,000 civilian shooting deaths suggest that law enforcement is out of control.

A study by Harvard economists showed that when police who were accused of racism, pulled back from protective policing in six cities “there were almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies.”

This is not to say, that continued efforts to improve police practices should stop. Nor does it justify refusing to remove from law enforcement ranks bad cops, it is however, a strong basis to resist the propaganda that excuses Black crime and would increase it by hamstringing law enforcement from neighborhoods which most need it.

I don’t know how active BLM is these days after causing so much havoc in Black neighborhoods. Their officers seem to have pocketed most of the contributions to the organization for their own personal use and are rather quiet these days, but the white privileged brats of Antifa surely seem to be gearing up. Tucker Carlson reports that Antifa is “coordinating riots on both coasts and in between,” including Seattle, Portland, Oregon, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Frederick, Maryland. He asks, who’s organizing these troops whom he dubs “a political militia”? Who indeed thrives in mayhem and chaos?

The video of Nichols’ beating is not pleasant viewing, but as my Facebook friend Randy Bock reminds us “Certainly Nichols’ life is tragically gone, but if you run from the police you are bringing personal vendetta into it. That’s not a good thing and the police should be professional but unfortunately they’re human beings and literally overkill happens. You might think this is inappropriate but Chris Rock covered this topic fairly well in a comedy sketch 15 years ago."

I don’t know a better way to scotch these persistent riots except a clear-eyed view of the facts, and ask most sincerely that you help share these with those whose only source of news is the deliberately false and inflammatory media accounts.

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