America is on the verge of anarchy. Every time a black man is killed by police the community finds itself on the edge and the nation wonders if an inferno is about to erupt. This reality dovetailed with a meme I saw a few days ago: “The Biggest Change Since Rodney King is the Video Quality”. While video quality has improved, one thing that hasn’t changed is negative outcomes from resisting arrest. Some of the names Americans know that demonstrate that include: George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks and Michael Brown. If the media were being honest they would characterize these encounters as what they were, black men killed while resisting arrest.
In every one of these cases and many others, the men who ended up dead resisted arrest, sometimes violently. According to policeviolencereport.org there were 268 black males killed by police in the United States in 2019 (the last normal year prior to Covid). Of that number, 212 or 79% were armed (allegedly) while 182 or 68% were attacking the police (allegedly). Of the 32% who were not actively attacking the police, most were carrying on other actions such as resisting arrest, holding weapons they wouldn’t drop or attacking other people. For comparison, during that same year the numbers for white males was 415 killed with 298 or 68% armed and 281 or 68% attacking the police. An interesting note about that comparison is the percentage of black males killed who were “unarmed”, 21%, is actually significantly lower than that for white males, 32%.
It’s difficult to get a complete picture of what’s going on in America by simply looking at numbers. Luckily we also have videos, including many of the death of George Floyd. While there is much going on in those videos, one thing that is clear from them is that Floyd was resisting arrest. One can make the argument that the police were too physical for too long, but the fact is, he was on the ground as a direct result of his actions. Similarly, Dauante Wright lunged back into his car.
Many people say that Floyd was subdued or that Wright wasn’t a threat, but the fact is no one knows. As the case of Rayshard Brooks demonstrates, things can go from calm, even collegial to confrontational in a split second. Just last week in New Mexico a suspect was conversing with a cop one moment and killing him the next.
The circumstance that America finds itself in today is the result of a purposeful manipulation of American citizens. The facts are that while black men are killed by police at a higher rate than their proportion of the population, they are killed by police at a lower rate than their proportion of perpetrators of violent crime.
The truth is, 700,000 police officers interact with Americans approximately 75 million times a year. Of those 75 million interactions, typically about 1,000 citizens are killed by police. That is a death rate below 0.002% per encounter, which means that 99.998% of police encounters pass without a death. Put another way, out of 1,000,000 Americans, 3 will die each year at the hands of the police. Compare that to 18 from texting while driving, 121 from suicide, 757 medical mistakes, and 2,000 from heart disease. At the hands of police: 3, and most of those were armed and attacking the police!
One of the things that gets lost in all of this propaganda is the job that the police do. They interact with citizens 75 million times a year. Someone stealing from a store, passing counterfeit bills or assaulting someone. There are domestic disturbances, auto accidents, speed stops, bar fights etc. In all of those circumstances and myriad others, police willingly walk into a situation with the goal of everyone exiting the encounter alive. They put their lives at risk every day for people who in most cases they don’t even know. Of course that’s the job they signed up for so it’s not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less courageous.
They of course don’t always get everything right. Police are human and make mistakes and there are bad cops and racists too. We've probably seen videos of cops behaving badly, but the fact is, overall, cops do an outstanding job. If they didn’t, 99.998% of encounters wouldn’t end with everyone emerging alive. There’s almost nothing in human existence that’s that successful, and that number is made that much more extraordinary because a significant number of those encounters include citizens who are armed, violent, callous and perhaps on drugs.
In the face of this widespread assault on them, the police are still expected to do their jobs, and do them perfectly. In going into situations where tensions are already elevated, where bystanders may be distracting or even interfering and where everyone seems to be filming, police are expected to comport themselves flawlessly despite elevated adrenaline and likely experiencing some combination of anger, confusion, fear, disorientation, exhaustion and more. All of this while a subject may be striking them, pointing a weapon at them, reaching into car or simply resisting arrest. Yet they are still supposed to respond perfectly every time. They don’t of course, but overall they do a pretty good job. How many of us when faced with citizens calling us “Pigs” spitting on us or striking us, or even shooting at us would be able to rein in all those emotions and perform perfectly in every instance? My guess is that most of us would fall far short of the performance most police demonstrate.
And the rarely mentioned secret (but easily observed common sense fact) is that the very communities where leftists are calling for the defunding, reimagining or disbanding the police are the very communities who benefit most from their presence. The police pullback has a cost. Murders are up in Portland 255% over the last year in Portland. Chicago 65%, New York 58%, Louisville 87%, Minneapolis 64% and LA 51%. And who exactly have been the victims of that increased murder rate? Black Americans, the very people BLM, Antifa, Democrats and the media ostensibly are seeking to protect.
The truth of the matter is that Floyd, Wright, and Brown would likely be alive today had they not resisted arrest. But that’s not the story that Democrats want to tell. Because telling young black men, or anyone, that respecting the police and not resisting arrest doesn’t make news headlines, doesn’t galvanize citizens and most importantly, doesn’t drive voters to pull the levers for Democrats.
And that’s the key. The reality is, Democrats don’t care about black Americans. They seek power and are willing to sacrifice black Americans to get it. By creating the fiction that black Americans are in the crosshairs of the police they have done an extraordinary disservice to America. The real lesson to be learned by the Floyd and Brown incidents is not that police are shooting black men with abandon but rather resisting arrest or engaging in a violent confrontation with police leads to bad outcomes. The challenges of urban America are legion, from terrible schools, limited job opportunities, and violent crime, and the fiction proffered by the left addresses none of those. What’s worse, it takes any energy that might be available to address those real problems and focuses it on addressing a fictional issue. And that’s the real tragedy here.