While I find this story interesting, we have seen this movie before in Watts, the LA Riots, and in Crown Heights: a shooting under murky circumstances, a leftist media that creates more confusion, and the protest-industrial-complex that exploits aimless, angry minority youth as the source of its power. It’s Trayvon Martin Part 2, complete with the “victim’s” propensity for violence.
Three important facts have emerged since the initial shooting. Brown was a violent crook, who earlier that day assaulted a shopkeeper and stole some cigars. (Even if the arresting officer did not know this, it says something important about who initiated the violence of their encounter.) Two, Brown may have charged at the policeman who shot him and had earlier been involved in some kind of confrontation in the officer’s car. Three, Brown was not shot in the back, contrary to his criminal accomplice’s initial statements. As with so many shootings, rumor and speculation have done much to fuel increasing unrest, but the emerging facts have undercut that narrative.
Of course, it is not beyond belief a policeman had a bad shoot. They can make mistakes, and in some cases they may even be bad people. Every shooting should be investigated, and criminal shootings, even by police, should be prosecuted. But here the facts suggest that, while the shooting may not have been an absolutely necessary, it wasn’t a lunatic decision. When you carry a gun, every fight is a gun fight. And why is that? Because someone–in this case a 6’4 300 pound someone–can easily take your gun and kill you.
I do find it pitiful that the release of the strong arm robbery video was criticized and attempted to be suppressed by the Holder Justice Department. Not only is the government trying to perpetrate a cover up, but it is doing so openly and shamelessly. We have a classic situation of local communities dealing with tangible problems like robberies, shoplifting, and disorder fighting a two front war against criminals and the civil rights establishment that is woefully indifferent to law and order. Instead of these two law enforcement agencies being on the same side, the federal government is on the side of the instigators.
From the other side of the spectrum, certain conservatives and libertarians have suggested that this episode is a phenomenon arising from “miltiarized policing.” I completely disagree. Officer Friendly or not, police depend on authority and at times force to use their job. In spite of their “militarization,” police shootings have gone way down since the early 70s. Further, the militarization is related mostly to the “guerrillaization” of criminals, whose weapons, tactics, and support from dysfunctional communities make the police’s jobs very difficult in decaying urban areas. Even the “peaceful protesters” embrace a way of thinking that leads to more crime and disorder, namely, failing to give the police some background respect and benefit of the doubt in the dangerous, crime-ridden world we live in. When people cooperate with police and reject the antisocial “snitches get stitches” thinking of the ‘hood, we can live in a safer world where police use less force, and we all benefit from less crime. Instead, in a world where the chief threat to young black men is other young black men, we focus disproportionately on the rare and preventable episodes of violence where whites are involved, while implicitly sanctioning the background violence from which those events arise.
Probably the most sad thing about this whole episode is that America was promised Obama would do something to support the cause of racial peace. That his very presence would tamp down the alienation, violence, and disorder that characterizes so many minority neighborhoods. Instead, we see as much mutual hostility as ever, and we see arrogant people who have little exposure to the anarchic disaster of the inner city, waxing eloquent about “how policing should be done,” while remaining conspicuously silent about the way “life should be done” by those who populate these ruined communities.
As I wrote at the time of the Trayvon episode:
The one potential positive of the Obama presidency, the one that I think led many moderate whites to vote for him, has never been exploited at all. He could have, like Nixon going to China, called out all the charlatans, frauds, flatterers, phonies, and crooks that have demoralized and brought shame to America’s troubled black community. Instead, and perhaps reflecting an insecurity of identity due to his mostly white upbringing, he has only stated the party line or remained silent on these issues. At the same time, he has done little to show he cares or understands America’s whites. So he has become a leader of a coalition of the alienated, and an alienator of the rest of the nation. Like Mayor Dinkins and Mayor Washington, he may unwittingly unify the very whites who were so hopeful that he would do something to reverse the festering dysfunction and hostility of “urban” America.
Obama is a failure, in other words. And this episode is just the most salient proof to date.