Thursday, December 31, 2015

Black Men and Cops: Why Race Matters...

Last week a Grand Jury in Cleveland declined to indict two white police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old black boy who was shot while holding very real looking toy gun. This of course comes on the heels of a number of instances over the last few years of black men being killed by white cops.

I was listening to the radio with the host discussing the grand jury’s decision and talking about various elements of the relationship between blacks and whites and police. Many of the black callers felt they were treated in ways that whites weren’t. The host, who seemed to play devil’s advocate depending on the perspective of the caller, agreed that race certainly did impact interactions. Frankly, how could it not?

The reality is, race plays a big role in life. It is not a determinant of success or failure, but it plays a role, including interactions with police. This conversation made me think of a number of things I’d read recently. The Washington Post ran a piece that looked at the differences in gun deaths in the US based on race. Eighty percent of white gun deaths are due to suicide. Eighty percent of black gun deaths are due to homicide.

There were also a number of pieces about malls and theaters being shut down due to violence or mayhem caused by large groups of black teens. This on the heels of the “Knockout Game” we read much about and saw videos about in 2014 as well as the rioting in places like Ferguson and Baltimore. (In most, but not all, the perpetrators were black.)

There should be little question as to why cops, whether they are black or white, are more highly concerned when interacting with black men. The reality is, black men are staggeringly disproportionately represented among violent criminals in the US, according to the FBI, committing approximately 32% of all violent crime yet representing only about 6% of the population.  Compare that to non-Hispanic white males, who make up approximately 25% of the population and are responsible for approximately 45% of the crime.  White men commit violent crime at a rate of 1.8 times their size while black men do so 6.4 times... more than three times the rate.

The question should instead be, why is it that so many young black people across the country seem to engage in activity that is anti-social at best and brutally violent at worst? And this is not a white black issue. There are plenty of violent scumbags who are white, and it does happen that you sometimes see videos of groups of white “teens” behaving badly. The difference is however one of degree and the disparity of gun deaths is indicative of that problem. While white violence and anti-social behavior exists, it’s not overwhelming… In the black community it’s catastrophic. Murder is the number one cause of death for black men between the ages of 15-34. Indeed 44.7% of all deaths of black men 15-34 are murders. Compare that to white males of the same age cohort. Murder comes in at 4th place, accounting for 8% of all deaths. Even 8% is too high, but it’s tiny compared to 44%.

All of which brings us back to race and the feeling that many blacks have that they are looked at and sometimes treated differently than whites. That may indeed be true, but focusing on such an alleged disparity is focusing on the symptom rather than the disease. It is most certainly the case that most black Americans are law abiding citizens who are as troubled by black crime as whites. Indeed, given that the victims of black crime are overwhelmingly black, they are probably certainly more troubled.

Because police spend a disproportionate amount of their time interacting with black criminals and dealing with groups of black “teens”, it’s not surprising that officers are on higher alert when dealing with black citizens. That may not be fair, but it’s life in the real world with real people. If the goal is to have colorblind police officers who have no emotions, no experiences to draw on and no potential for discriminatory behavior, then we need Robocops rather than real police. There are bad police out there, and there is a need for training in some cases – as in the case Tamir Rice – but those are exceptions rather than the rule.

The solution to the problems between black Americans and the police is not turning the police into emotionless robots or meter maids, but rather creating an environment where police aren’t forced to exist on a heightened level of anxiety. If the black on black violence were to decline, if the major problems in black communities were truancy and vandalism rather than murder and assault, one would expect a less adversarial relationship to develop. The problem with trying to fix the relationship by heeling the police is that the real problems for black communities only get worse. Baltimore provides a perfect example of what happens when police are intimidated from doing their jobs… In 2014 there were 211 murders in Baltimore. In 2015 there were 344, an increase of 133, or 62%. That means that over the course of the year over 100 more black Baltimoreans were murdered than might have been had police not been intimidated into fearing to do their jobs. And that Ferguson effect is being felt around the country, with similarly tragic results for black communities. Unfortunately for the black men and women living in those communities, who are "championed" by movements like BLM and activists turned politicians like Barack Obama, actually solving community ills is much more difficult than protesting and race pandering…

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gratitude at Christmastime... For our Freedom of Speech

Christmas is, among other things, a time for gratitude. Gratitude of course comes in many shapes and sizes. Some people feel gratitude for family, others for health, others for prosperity and some for all of those things and more and no doubt some for much less.

Whatever one’s situation here in the United States, we, as a people, have much to be thankful for. Perhaps there is nothing more deserving of our gratitude than the Constitution, that imperfect document upon which our nation was founded. It has much in it that has allowed our nation to not only survive, but thrive. Separation of powers. Limited government. The Amendment process. And of course the Bill of Rights.

Of all of the rights protected by the Constitution, arguably the most important is found in the 1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech. Why? Because human interaction of all kinds is based on communication. Whether it’s talking to a girl in a bar, arguing politics with someone at work, discussing the gospels after church or advocating for less regulation in front of the city council, speech is typically the mechanism through which we share ideas, have our theories challenged, test our persuasive skills.

Free speech is of course a messy proposition. If you allow free speech to flourish, eventually you’re going to come across some speech with which you disagree. Which is of course why the 1st Amendment exists in the first place. We don’t need a 1st Amendment to protect singing Jingle Bells or Sandra Bullock movies or Archie comic books. No, speech that everyone likes – or speech that people don’t care about one way or another – rarely needs to be protected. It’s all that other stuff that needs protection. It’s the Playboy magazine in the 1950’s, it’s the Seven Dirty Words, it’s the right to say your congressman, or president or local sheriff is a jerk. Basically the 1st Amendment protects one’s right to say things that other people disagree with.

And there’s the rub in our holiday ointment. Although the Freedom of Speech is possibly the most important freedom protected by the Constitution, it is coming under fire across the country. From university speech codes and “safe areas” to wishing someone “Merry Christmas”, it seems that the fictional “right” to not be offended is superseding the actual right of free speech. That is a serious problem, and it brings to mind the answer Ben Franklin gave after the close of the Constitutional Convention when a woman outside Independence Hall asked him what kind of government we had: “A Republic, if you can keep it”. When the Freedom of Speech begins to be undermined, the Republic itself won’t be far behind.

Earlier this year a US Senator from Rhode Island suggested using RICO laws to prosecute those skeptical of the “climate change” hoax. Not long after a group of prominent “climate change” professors seconded that suggestion. Although President Obama voiced his support of the notion of Free Speech in the face of recent crybaby university protests, two years ago his administration encouraged universities to ban “any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person”, which might at some point put someone whistling at a girl or commenting about her beauty at risk of official censure. Also on the university hit lists are the countless incidences of conservative speakers being shouted down and turned away from campuses. And then there are the terrorists who attacked the Texas Draw Mohamed contests and Muslims who advocate for Sharia law.

Whether from the government or from aggrieved minorities or even environmental activists, the movement towards silencing critics or opponents is a troubling one because it cuts at the foundation of our liberty and our Republic. The danger of creating an echo chamber is that eventually there are no dissenting voices to highlight possible errors in judgment, miscalculations, biases or simply reality conflicting with theory. And invariably those things end up in legislation, which further diminishes other freedoms as well.

As painful as conflicting ideas might be, as unsavory as offensive speech might be, having them on the periphery of good taste or “settled science” strengthens the core of our Republic. Rarely are ideas or values stronger than when they must be defended. It is in building that defense that we find our ideas or values to be worthy… or lacking, which, at the end of the day is how ideas advance, how values are forged and how our nation prospers. That is something we cannot forget and something we cannot allow governments or groups to undermine.

So this Christmas, with a toast of egg nog, perhaps a nod of gratitude to the Founding Fathers for giving Americans a gift that so few people on the planet enjoy… the right to open our mouths and be found a fool or a genius or a rabble rouser or just another voice in the cacophony that makes up the tapestry of our Republic.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Liberals Shouldn't Be Shocked By Donald Trump's Success In The GOP Race... He's Their Creation

Donald Trump’s call to curtail immigration of Muslims until the government can "figure out what's going on” is probably a bit unworkable. If it’s someone’s goal to kill you, you shouldn’t be surprised that they are willing to lie about it beforehand. How are we supposed to know who’s a Muslim in the first place? Are they still a Muslim if they say they found Jesus just six months before? Two weeks? On the way to the airport?

Trying to limit Muslims coming into the country by asking them is simply unworkable. And doing a background check on every single person from a Muslim majority nation would be impossible. In addition, there are lots of Muslims living in India and Germany as well.

Regardless of his specific plan’s viability, Trump is very much on to something. His lead in the GOP race has only increased since he made his comment. (Indeed, just as it did after he made his comments about Mexicans.) And of course the left is going nuts about that…

But they shouldn’t, because, at least in the political arena, Donald Trump’s success is 100% due to their actions. Americans… or at least a lot of them… are simply tired of the first response to a terrorist attack being an admonition against blaming Islam, accusations of Islamaphobia or chastisement for the targeting of Muslims for hate crimes. They are simply tired of the default reaction being “What did we do to make them hate us so much?” They are simply tired of the media and Democrats contorting themselves into pretzels each time such an incident occurs in order to find a way to blame white, Christian, Tea Party types. The reality is, a significant majority of terrorist attacks around the world and the country are perpetrated by Muslims, and even data from Barack Obama’s politicized FBI show that the vast majority of hate crimes are against Jews,not Muslims. Despite the efforts of the left and the media, Americans recognize these facts. (Don't be fooled by the left's attempt to tip the scales by equating violence by common criminals and psychotic killers with terrorism. That's no more true than their suggestion that the greatest danger to black men is police rather than other black men.) America in 2015 finally has the correct answer to the left’s constant insinuation of that famous Chico Marx line: "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Americans have decided to believe their own eyes and Trump is benefiting from that new focus.

Most Americans believe in Freedom of Religion. It’s been part of our heritage for two centuries. It’s written in black and white in our Constitution. But that doesn’t mean that everything is acceptable however as a religion that demands human sacrifice would not be tolerated. That said, the reality is, for many Muslims that is exactly what Islam does, as can be seen by the deaths of 14 Americans enjoying a Christmas party in San Bernadino, 13 American soldiers working on Ft. Hood, or thousands of Americans simply working to support their families on 9/11. Americans recognize that in a world of 1.5 billion Muslims, hundreds of millions of them support the basic tenants of radical Islam such as Sharia law and the death penalty for leaving Islam, and many of those millions are motivated to destroy the United States and the west in their pursuit of a caliphate. Indeed, even here in the United States half of America’s two million Muslims would choose to live under Sharia law if given a chance and a quarter believe violence is an appropriate response to drawing a Mohammed cartoon as well as in pursuit of global jihad.

Despite these vast numbers of Muslims both home and abroad who seek to obliterate our freedoms and use violence to accomplish that task, liberals continue to proffer the notion that Islam is the “religion of peace”. Americans know better, and Donald Trump’s popularity is a manifestation of that reality.

Liberals of all sorts have condemned Trump for his “unconstitutional” proposal, as have most members of the GOP. But the reality is, there’s nothing unconstitutional about it. No one who is not an American citizen has any “right” to come to the United States, whether they are a Muslim coming from Saudi Arabia or a Mexican swimming across the Rio Grande. As much as liberals might hate it, as a sovereign nation the United States has every right to decide who it will allow into its doors. That’s not a politically correct thing to say, but it’s true nonetheless. Donald Trump is merely pointing that out, and more and more Americans are listening.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Speech Barack Obama Should Have Given Last Sunday... But Didn't

My fellow Americans, I’m speaking to you on the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the event that launched the United States into a war against fascists who sought to eliminate freedom and our way of life. That war was long and hard and uncertain… but we prevailed and today the United States is the greatest nation on earth.

Seventy four years later our nation is facing another fascist enemy, radical Islam. The events of San Bernardino last Wednesday, the events in Paris last month make it very clear that we are indeed at war. We may not be at war with Islam, but we are very much at war with radical Islam. In fact, the reality of this situation is that the vast majority of victims of radical Islam are actually fellow Muslims. From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Libya and beyond, by far the largest number of deaths has been among other Muslims. Unfortunately we cannot solve the schism that exists within Islam, that battle is not ours. If Muslim nations seek peace and prosperity for their citizens they will have to face the threats within.

What we can and will do however is utilize all of our resources to eviscerate radical Islam everywhere it may pose a threat to the United States, our allies or our interests. We will use every resource at our disposal to root out terror cells and capture or kill those who wish to do us ill.

On the domestic front we will not allow these radicals to use our freedoms against us. We will not allow a fifth column to grow and metastasize inside our body politic. I am, as of today suspending the acceptance of Syrian refugees until we have a more effective screening process. We will send resources to Turkey and Jordan and other nations to help support them, but we will not be accepting any more refugees for the immediate future. In addition, beginning tonight, persons seeking to travel to the United States who have traveled to any one of 30 different Muslim nations within the last 4 years will be subjected to extra scrutiny prior to being allowed to enter the country. This will no doubt be an inconvenience to many travelers, but it is a step we must take.

At home we are going to root out the radicals in our midst. We are not only going to be looking for terrorists, but we are going to begin a concerted effort to find the people who enable them with financing and other forms of support. In that vein I have directed the Justice Department to harness all applicable RICO statutes to find and take down whatever radical Islamist cells may be operating in the United States. That RICO order also applies to organizations that fund, harbor or otherwise support such cells. Those organizations may have foreign elements to them and if that is the case the CIA will be called in to coordinate in taking action. They may also be using mosques and charity organizations in an attempt to obscure their activities. Those attempts will not be successful. Americans and others in our country enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but they do not enjoy the freedom to plan and support those who wish to harm this country and kill the innocent. Indeed, I think it was Justice Jackson who said "The Constitution is not a suicide pact". I have directed Homeland Security make this initiative their number one priority.

On the international front, we will immediately begin bombing ISIS locations across Syria and Iraq and wherever else we find them, particularly those related to oil production. I am today having my Joint Chiefs of Staff alter the Rules of Engagement under which our military can and will operate. Currently the driving force of our ROE has been to ensure no or minimum civilian casualties. That is a luxury we no longer have. No longer will we allow terrorists to set up shop in hospitals and mosques and schools and target our aircraft with impunity. Our troops will begin targeting fighters wherever they are, which may regrettably result in greater civilian casualties.

In addition, we will begin fully supporting and arming Kurdish forces in Iraq as they seek to take back territory from ISIS.

I have also directed the Joint Chiefs to present me with a plan for putting up to 10,000 US troops in Iraq with the objective of training and supporting genuine anti ISIS forces fighting in both Iraq and Syria. Within that number will be special forces who have a list of the top 25 ISIS leaders and enablers. Their objective is to find and eliminate every person on that list. And let me be clear… not all of those enablers are fighters, nor are they all men... and some of them may be hiding far from the battlefield. None of those things will protect them.  When that list is done we will compile a new top 25 list of the next most valuable targets. In addition, we will be imposing no fly zones and no travel zones in various areas of both Syria and Iraq in order to stop fighters from targeting areas that have been freed from the grip of ISIS and stop shipments of oil that the group is using to fund its operations.

There are of course additional measures being considered that I will not go into.

Let me wrap up by saying this: From September 11 to the bombings of London, Madrid, Paris and countless attacks in between, it is now clear that we are very much at war with a strain of fascist, radical Islam and they seek nothing less than the destruction of our way of life, our freedoms, our liberty and our prosperity. Just as the United States did not let fascists prevail 70 years ago, we will not let these new fascists win today. We will not let them manipulate our freedoms to attack us at home and we will not let them hide behind religion and civilians elsewhere. As of today we are no longer fighting a defensive battle. We are at war with the cancer of fascist radical Islam, and we will be taking the battle to them, whether they are hiding here at home or killing innocent Christians, Jews or Muslims on the sands of Syria or Iraq. We may have made some missteps in the past, and we will undoubtedly make some in the future, but let me be clear… this is a war we will not lose. The United States and the world of freedom we helped shape will not acquiesce to those who hate what we and our forefathers have fought so hard for and worked so hard to build.

Thank you and good night, and God bless America.

Monday, December 7, 2015

San Bernardino - As Usual the Left Gets it Wrong on Guns and Christians

As usual, with the terrorist attack in San Bernardino the left gets it wrong on pretty much everything. Of course their first response was to call for gun regulation because… that’s what they do. Then when it became clear that it wasn’t a couple of white Christian Tea Party types who were responsible, they doubled down on gun regulation to try and distract from the fact that it was Islamic terror.

Whether it’s the focus on guns or the meme that it’s racist white Tea Party Christians who perpetrate most of these crimes, they are simply wrong.

Let’s take the latter first. Of the 21 mass shootings since 1990 that have taken the lives of 8 or more people, white men have been the killers in 10 of them, while minorities and or immigrants have committed the other 11. Of those 10, exactly one had anything to do with Christianity, politics or race, and that was in last year’s Charleston church murders. (See list here)

So in the worst of the worst shootings over the last quarter century, despite the left’s focus on white, conservative, Christian perpetrators, the killers actually fit the bill less than 5% of the time. But that doesn’t stop Democrats and their lefty media from seeking to further their agenda by pushing the white racist Tea Party Christian meme every time one of these events occurs.

Which brings us back to guns and the left’s goal on eviscerating the 2nd Amendment. As we’ve seen, they are not above seeking to exploit any tragedy to further their agenda, regardless of how wrong their narrative is. Despite the fact that California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, they claim that we need more gun legislation. Their narrative is that if we could just get Americans to give up their guns – or take them if necessary – then the US would suddenly become a peaceful place.

They are simply wrong, America is already a pretty peaceful place – or at least most of it is. There are over 300 million guns in the United States. Each year 299 million of them are not involved with murders or crimes of any sort. The problem isn’t gun ownership… the problem is criminals on the street. According to a study by the Milwaukee Sherriff’s Dept., 97% of the suspects – and 85% of the victims – in non fatal shootings had criminal records. In homicides the numbers weren’t much different: For all homicides in 2011 -- those involving guns and those that didn’t -- 57 percent of the 72 suspects and 62 percent of the 66 homicide victims had at least six prior arrests. Six arrests! Baltimore has similar numbers and one would expect that they would be reflected in the rest of the country as well. So the problem is not guns, but rather criminals. And to put a fine point on the fallacy of the gun control reduces violence narrative, in Chicago, crime increased after guns were regulated… and dropped when the city was forced to begin issuing concealed carry permits.  Keep the criminals in jail and the crime rate would drop... but that would deprive Democrats of voters.

Something Democrats never mention is that in many countries with more restrictive gun laws than we have, crime rates are in fact actually much higher. Nor are they spared mass killings either. There was of course the attack in Paris last month, and the Smithsonian Magazine writes in a piece titled Outside the Americas, Knives Are Often the Weapon of Choice in Homicides:
In Japan, in 2001 a janitor wielding a kitchen knife killed eight children at an Osaka school where he worked, while a man in Tokyo went on a random stabbing spree with a dagger in 2008, killing four people. In South Korea, a disgruntled man killed eight people in a stabbing spree at his apartment complex in 2008. In Germany, a drunk 16-year-old stabbed 41 people at the opening ceremony of a Berlin train station. And last year, anti-knife campaigns ramped up in the U.K after a 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death.
In addition, in Israel today Jews are being stabbed and run over by cars on a regular basis… and there they have lots of guns. The problem isn’t guns, it’s people with bad intentions.  Get rid of the guns and they will still find knives, cars, bombs, poison or countless other ways to kill people.

Despite the facts, the left continues peddle gun laws as the solution to the problem of crime and a culture of violence they have fostered. Similarly contrary to facts, they continue to blame white conservative Christians for the massacres we see all too often see on our TVs and in our communities. We shouldn’t be surprised however as the Democrats and their media lackeys have a long tradition of manipulating and obscuring facts in order to hide from the failures of their progressive agenda. No doubt when the doors are closed lefties can be heard saying "Hmmm... If there was only a way to take the guns out of the hands of citizens the the government could simply start it implementing the social programs that would eliminate all this crime and racism and inequality and hurt feelings and..."

The founding fathers may not have been able to conceive of the notions of television or the Internet, but they sure understand human nature and the dark side of government.  Thank God - and James Madison & friends - for the 2nd Amendment.

Massacres between 1990 & 2015 with White Male Killers

1) In Sandy Hook 20 year old Adam Lanza had mental illness and was on psychotic medicines… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

2) In the Luby’s shooting 35 year old George Hennard had issues with women… Race, religion or politics were never issues, although he did express anger at white girls in particular.

3) In the Aurora, CO theater shooting 24 year old James Eagan Holmes was socially inept and was found insane… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

4) In the Kinston, AL shooting 29 year old Michael Kenneth McLendon killed his family and was depressed… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

5) In the Charleston church shooting 21 year old Dylann Roof was indeed a racist and targeted a black church.

6) In the Atlanta day trader shooting 44 year old Mark Barton was depressed and had paranoid delusions… Race, religion or politics were never issues, although he wrote that he hoped his wife and children, whom he killed, would see Jehovah.

7) In the Seal Beach, CA killings, 3 years before he killed 8 people, 41 year old Scott Evans was determined to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

8) In the Westroads Mall shooting 19 year old Robert Hawkins had a history of mental illness… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

9) In the Carthage nursing home killings 45 year old Robert Stewart was an alcoholic with relationship issues. Race, religion or politics were never issues.

10) In the Columbine High School massacre teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both psychopaths seeking glory. Race, religion or politics were never issues.