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).
- 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.
- The black victimization rate (27.8 per 100,000) was six times higher than the white victimization rate (4.5 per 100,000).
- Black offending rate (34.4 per 100,000) was almost eight times higher than whites’ (4.5 per 100,000), according to the report.
- 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.
- 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.
- Although blacks account for disproportionately more violent crimes, the rate of black felons being killed by police (of whatever race) has actually declined.
- 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.