Tag Archives: Police Brutality

“Day of Anger” — A Different Focus

I am concerned that the domestic security of the United States is being undermined. This is the result of  the increased intensity of the vitriolic nature of the racial war of words and activities being thrown-about, stemming from the anger arising from the killing of unarmed black men.

If we undermine, in the process of venting our anger, the necessary foundation of our faith in those who are sworn to protect us, will the “police” (whatever they may called in your city, county and state) hesitate, stop, reconsider their actions, as a means of  self-protection,  to maintain their job security and their lives? Do less while on duty in order to avoid your (and mine) constant supervision of their performance.

Somehow, it seems to me that we expect law enforcement to have emotional instincts that are better tuned, advanced and a natural part of their special DNA than the average person. In a sense that is true, it’s part of the job description.  On the other hand, you and I don’t know how we will behave in a crisis situation until we find ourselves in its midst. So if we tell law enforcement that if they can’t do the job, as we describe it, and as we will be monitoring on a daily basis, they shouldn’t be in the job. Who among us is willing or able to line up to take that spot on the street? A positon (at no great salary) that carries with it potential danger each day while walking the beat?  I would not want that job. I like my life and love my family.

A dreaded though of mine as I write this blog, is what if law enforcement holds back, in the light of all the emotion in the streets “demanding  justice”. What if, when the police walk the streets, the new tendency will be to look the other way; what if the potential defendant is of a different color, does law enforcement turn away and walk in a different direction; can an officer, when reporting a suspicious person as one of color (so that those joining the chase know whom they seek to arrest) being racist?  And please, give them the ability, the intellect, the emotional stability, and the sharpened instinct to make that decision in a split second or two.

Saturday, December 13, has been proclaimed a “Day of Anger”.  May I suggest that we all should be angry at the amount of killing in this country– period.

There is racism in the country; but the statistics indicate that the murder rate is color blind.

In the television series, Dragnet, the leading character keeps repeating to each of the witnesses to a particular crime: “Just the facts mam, just the facts.”

The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, shows the following FACTS:

83 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders (not law enforcement);

90 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders (not law enforcement);

14 percent of white victims were killed by black offenders (not law enforcement);

7.6 percent of black victims were killed by white offenders (not law enforcement).

  1. The rate of black homicide victims and offenders (not law enforcement) were disproportionately represented, compared to the general population the 2011 Bureau Justice Statistics report found.
  2. The black victimization rate (27.8 per 100,000) was six times higher than the white victimization rate (4.5 per 100,000).
  3.  Black offending rate (34.4 per 100,000) was almost eight times higher than whites’ (4.5 per 100,000), according to the report.
  4. In 2012, it was reported, 386 whites and 140 blacks were killed by police, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data on causes of death.
  5. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of black officers who kill black felons is 32 per 100,000 black officers, which is more than twice the rate of white officers who kill black felons – 14 per 100,000 white officers.
  6. Although blacks account for disproportionately more violent crimes, the rate of black felons being killed by police (of whatever race) has actually declined.
  7. From 1980 to 1998, young black males made up about 1% of the national population.  BUT 21% of those young black males killed a police officer. Young white males made up about 8% of the population but 20% of them murdered a police officer: So 1% of young black men killed 21% while 8% young white men killed 20%, which averages out that young black men murder a police office at a rate almost 6 times that of young white male.

A growing percentage of people killed by police are white, and a declining percentage of those killed are black. With all this background, and as I will repeat, I do not support the status quo. Change must come but it must be balanced and rational.

For example: Let me propose, while we were marching on our Day of Anger, let us also carry a banner for Dillon Taylor. Who you ask? I haven’t heard about him. True, his name is never mentioned at any of the rallies or on sensational cable news reports. His mother is not among those who appear with their attorneys on CNN.  Only last night, on a major cable news outlet, eight or ten black mothers appeared as a group to speak about their murdered children. Mrs. Taylor was not among them, nor was she mentioned.  Nor was Dillon’s picture shown on my television screen with the other young men who had been killed by a police officer.  Senseless killings. There is a reason.

I learned of Dillon by coincidence. Buried  after the last page of news reporting and therefore unseen by you and me, the police in Salt Lake City have concluded their probe into an Aug. 11 shooting outside a 7-Eleven convenience store, when a black police officer, whom local media strangely referred to as “not white,” shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old Dillon Taylor.  Dillon was shot once in the stomach and once in the chest.  This 20 year old was both white and unarmed at the time, but he didn’t put his hands up fast enough for the officer. The police officer is still on the job and no warrant or bill will be issued. Case closed; no national protest; no cable coverage. His family does not get to march in the Day of Anger.

Oh yes, when each of the young, unarmed black men were killed by a white police office, it was argued by their protestors that each man’s  social activities and physiological make-up were immaterial to the investigation into the validity of the shooting by the police. Not so with Dillon, a white unarmed kid shot by a black policeman. His life was dissected publicly.

First and foremost, as I have written: I don’t advocate the status quo. It undermines the very nature of our democracy.  Democracy evolves, it does not remain stagnant.

Second: Please let’s do march! Please let us end the vicious cycle of all manner of discrimination in this country. This is too long overdue in this country.

And please let us hire law enforcement officers with something more than a rudimentary education and certainly with emotional maturity.  These traits are easily identified. And most important in the discussion — Let us focus on the facts—all the facts– and not just the ones you like or of those persons with a suspected agenda.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

It’s an ugly world

First let me apologize for not writing for the longest time. I had to deal with a health issue, but that is now history. More important is today’s history. What I am assuming you would want, if there is an international holiday on your agenda during the upcoming fall season, is a place you could travel to and feel secure. You want to find yourself ultimately in a safety zone; also, a zone that does not appear to be seething with trouble. A place that you can enjoy without thought of anything other than the sight in your line of vision. And a plane ride without anxiety.

If you are a Francophile and thought: Paris, there you should worry about those sections of Paris that are truly off limits to a Caucasians. In general, I am not worried about the common pickpocket, and there are plenty of them abound wherever you go (and I have been a victim more than once when I thought I was being careful). I am not worried that my luggage may go “intentionally” astray, and that has happened to me in Germany.

What I worry about is bombs, kidnapping and bedbugs. Without the insight of a local resident, I am worried about the simmering rages that seem to be lingering in the streets of a particular section of a city. I am worried about peaceful protests when the fuse of the initial impetus for the protest can unexpectedly, for a stranger, turn ugly and violent.

I am worried about cities with a shocking financially depressed population and the frustration that must be brewing in their homes. I am worried about visiting a country where you dare not ask a political question of a local due to the fear of putting that person in danger of arrest by the authorities. In Singapore, I was told by an art gallery owner that a question I had posed to him was “inappropriate”. Later he volunteer to answer that same question when we met by accident in a transit air terminal in Japan.

I was appalled when a friend said in passing that the world was ugly. He was not referring to its visual characteristic, but the ugliness of the behavior of its population. And I do not mean politeness or courtesy or even grace. We live in a world whose atmosphere is littered with overhanging hostility at every turn. An Egyptian cartoonist poked fun at the United States during the riots in Ferguson after the death of a young man by an overzealous local police officer. The American press had been critical of the continuing political turmoil in Egypt and, how dare we be so critical when the political and social upheaval in the United States are no panacea.

The National Geographic Channel has taught me that animals only attack other animals for the purpose of food. Many years ago a Russian diplomat told a group of us that a town in Poland, which had been removed from the Soviet orbit several hundred years ago, still “belonged” to the “mother country” and could be “retaken” legitimately . When I responded in amazement, his sharp retort was: “that’s the trouble with you Americans; you have no sense of history.”

Could “our lack of a sense of history” be the cause of our international paralysis or some knee jerk reaction to the political and sectarian genocide across so much of the globe? Where are we as a nation when scores are being slaughtered? It appears we either simply ignore that particular “ugliness” or we send in troops because of our alleged feelings for the “humanitarian claim”.

Or is the real truth that we view all foreign incidents thru a political prism. It seems that our first consideration circles around the question: Is the area engulfed in violence a place that is “necessary” to our wellbeing? Our wellbeing–not the pain of those suffering. And wellbeing is defined for us as either or both the safekeeping of the nation’s financial health or our national security.

We are being faced by those who are certifiable egomaniacs with massive persona who control all those within the sound of their voice. These individuals appear to have a control of human behavior that is by all reasonable standards beyond the pale of decent human conduct. How do you behead a person for world-wide viewing? How do you have people, seemingly rational people, line up asking for the next assignment to assassinate a stranger; and what possesses an individual to volunteer to end their own life, not because of some internal pain, but to kill as many other people as possible in the process. Who are these people? They are barbaric. Why do we tolerate this ugliness?

If you take your eye off the news from Washington for a moment, you will become confused when our supposed allies change sides. Are we really talking to the Syrian government for a “fly-over” so that we may bomb the ISIS troops at the same moment the UAE and Egypt carry out airstrikes against that very same Government? And then in the morning news you read that more than 260 migrants died in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Italy seeking what or more important escaping what? While Germany is outraged that the United States has spied upon it, we learn that Germany has spied on Turkey its ally for decades.

And last, at this writing, reports from all the major news sources –our nations and the world press—herald the news that Hamas and Israel have agreed to an extended Gaza cease-fire. That’s the “Good” news; but we also learn from an exhaustive investigative report by Forbes Magazine how that same universal press and electronic media, especially the NY Times ––the sources we all rely upon each day for all our information –has been terribly and intentionally distorting the facts in favor of the Palestinians.

Whom can we trust in this ugly, not very safe world? Some of us turn to isolation and attempt to ignore the world, and believe we will be safe. During a recent police investigation of police brutality an alleged witness said he was fearfully of the hail of bullets being fired by the police and hid behind a car. Yet in minute detail, with his head hidden, he was able to describe the shooting. How?

A friend once said, and this must have been said countless times by others: “You deal with the hand you have been dealt. “ It’s an ugly world; but let’s deal with it all. And what that entails is that this nation, with our without consultation with its allies, evolves contingency plans for future events well before the need for their implementation. That is what responsible governments do. The potential for horrific events must be anticipated and met head on. That’s what top executives do. We must stop the slaughtering of innocent individuals; the victims cannot wait for endless consultations by the responsible world governments. How can a world leader, with untold resources, publicly admit that his government has no strategic plan in this very violent world?

Richard Allan, The Editor