Monday, April 26, 2021

The Real Tragedy of the George Floyd and Daunte Wright Stories

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 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.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Divide and Conquer: Democrats Turn Americans Against One Another in Naked Pursuit of Power

Evidence of civil war has been playing out in the streets of America for the last year; the reality is it’s been percolating for decades. From the 1999 WTO protests to the hordes calling George Bush a Nazi to Occupy Wall Street, the hyperbole and violence have been ratcheting up for years.

The catalyst that put us on the path to today was the nomination of Barack Obama. Not because of Obama himself, but rather because of the cudgel Democrats crafted from his race. Anyone who opposed Obama’s policies was racist. Suddenly, conservatives who reiterated policies they’d supported for decades were racists as was anyone who opposed Democrat policies.

But race was only the beginning. If you opposed gay marriage: Homophobic. Opposed women in combat:  Sexist. Supported the police:  Fascist.

Such was the beginning of the journey that brings us to America circa 2021.  Today you’re either on the side of angels or the side of Hitler. There’s no middle ground. George Washington was a slave-owning racist and nothing else matters. Michael Brown and George Floyd were innocent victims of racist cops. Period. All women should be believed… unless they accuse Democrats. There are an infinite number of genders. Clearly.  America is systemically racist and any evidence to the contrary is fiction. "Border wall" is a dog whistle for white nationalists.

The reality is, there are racists among us.  So too sexists, homophobes and fascists. There are also bad cops, sexual predators, and evil people. But here’s the thing: Most Americans are none of those. It wouldn’t be possible to build the free, thriving, diverse and prosperous nation America so recently was if they were. If America were systemically racist, we’d never have had a black president: many of the most popular and highest earning entertainers wouldn’t be black; Asian Americans wouldn’t make up 40% or more of the student body at some of America’s best colleges; and minorities wouldn’t own 30% of businesses.

But of course, none of that matters to Democrats. The only thing that matters is setting Americans against one another via victimization and leveraging that conflict for power.

But here’s the other thing about all of this: There’s not an American alive today who can’t claim victim status for one thing or another. If you’re black, you’ll undoubtedly encounter racists. If you’re short you’ve likely been the butt of short jokes, while if you’re 7’ tall “How’s the weather up there?” is a ritual greeting.  Beautiful women are taken for dumb while rich men are in the IRS crosshairs. Fat people or ugly people often find themselves ostracized or worse. An Asian might be expected to be good in math while gays no doubt have heard countless whispers that communicate disapproval or disdain.

The point is, if someone wants to see themselves as a victim, they can… every time. But that’s not traditionally what Americans do. In early 20th century America, when Jim Crow reigned in the south and redlines crisscrossed the country, black Americans moved to places like Harlem and Chicago’s south side and built thriving communities. In the latter half of the 19th century, two million Irish came to America and, despite facing extraordinary hatred, built successful communities. Millions of Jews came at the turn of the century and despite virulent anti-Semitism built a pantheon of successful businesses. Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants had similar experiences. And up until the 1970s there were places where women weren’t allowed to get credit cards or open bank accounts without their husbands’ signatures!

Virtually every American alive today can point to some injustice in their lives or those of their ancestors that they could use to paint themselves as victims. But again, historically Americans have not done that. In fact, American history is a story of a people, a diverse mix of people really, overcoming extraordinary adversity and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to build a nation out of a sparsely populated continent and, in the process, changing the world for the better in virtually every area of culture, charity, science, commerce and, of course, freedom.

That is the story of America. Americans, largely (but not exclusively) white males, built a nation unlike anything the world has ever seen. Americans, again, largely white men, but not exclusively so, united to save the world from self-destruction in two hot wars and one cold. Americans, largely white men, but not exclusively, put men on the moon. Along the way, they invented television, air conditioning, movies, mobile phones, safety elevators, the Internet, the iPhone, the Pet Rock and, sadly, Facebook.

A nation made up of imperfect men and women, in the short expanse of two centuries, has created prosperity unlike anything the world has ever seen. It’s not perfect -- at times it’s even been ugly -- but for the most part, it’s been spectacular. Not for everyone, and not all the time, but for most people of every race, creed, and color, America has been a Godsend.

Not sure about that?  Would black Americans be better off moving back to Africa? Would Italian Americans be better off moving back to Italy? Chinese to China? Mexicans to Mexico? Iranian Americans back to Iran? The answer is likely no in almost every instance.

But again, none of that matters to Democrats. America’s greatness doesn’t matter.  America’s freedom and prosperity don’t matter to Democrats. What matters to Democrats is raw power. The proof is easy to see and can be found in the fealty black Americans pay to the Democrat party. Democrats don’t care about black Americans, but use their votes to get and maintain power. For 50 years Democrats have had a stranglehold on the black vote, and what they’ve done with that power shows exactly how much they value the lives of black Americans. Not much…

And that’s the template for the Democrats’ endgame: Divide and conquer. By seeking to turn every American into a victim, by seeking to demonize the group that played the single biggest role in building the nation that we inhabit today (white males – because of numbers, not because of DNA or some special gift from God), Democrats are seeking to build a coalition of us vs. them, where the “us” is characterized by victimhood and the “them” are evil incarnate in the form of white males.

The beauty of that plan is that, when literally every single person can point to something today or two decades ago or two centuries ago that constitutes a slight or injustice to be rectified, the pool of potential soldiers is bottomless and all that’s necessary is a promise of salvation. Army not big enough? Craft a few more victim narrative promises of salvation and presto, more soldiers.

But the consequence of those votes will be anything but salvation. Once they set the entire population at war against itself, Democrats will step in to pick up the pieces and their literal death grip on power will bring the end of individual liberty, limited government and in time, the Republic itself. And with it will go the prosperity that gave so many Democrats the luxury of focusing on our differences and fabricating victimhood in the first place. Caveat emptor.