Even amongst people whose worst encounters with law enforcement involved a speeding ticket, there is an “us and them” mentality that is at least partially unwarranted. I don’t dispute for a minute that blacks in this country have faced discrimination from police. I don’t dispute that these issues need to be addressed. But no one has taken a worse hit over the last three months than our country’s brave men and women in law enforcement – many of whom, it’s easy to forget, are black themselves. With plenty of politicians, pundits, and reporters sticking up for Michael Brown and his supporters, who will stand in defense of our cops?
The police aren’t perfect. Officers in every jurisdiction are given an enormous amount of trust to go along with their badge and gun. With that trust comes great responsibility, and we have laws that are meant to protect the citizenry from officers trampling constitutional rights. But they also face enormous dangers, and that is a fact that has gotten far too little attention in the months since Ferguson.
On Monday, the FBI said that 76 law enforcement officers were killed while on duty last year. Nearly 50,000 were assaulted. Those numbers aren’t an anomaly. You can say that people know what they’re getting into when they take the oath, and that may be fair, but I don’t think the vast majority of the population has a true appreciation for the risks our officers take each and every day.
Judging From Afar
When I hear idiots in the press try to second guess Darren Wilson’s actions on August 9th, it makes my blood boil. It reminds me of Mark Wahlberg claiming that he would have taken out the terrorists if he had been on one of the hijacked planes on 9/11. It reminds me of people who said they would have shot and killed Aurora shooter James Holmes if they had been in that theater. It’s easy to be a tough guy from the comfort of home. It’s simple to theorize alternative strategies when you’ve had three months to think about a single incident. To act in the moment, when rational thought is replaced by adrenaline and survival instinct? That’s a whole different story.
When cops cross the line, I have absolutely no issue with calling them out. They have the guns, they have the authority, and they need to be just as concerned with protecting civil liberties as they are with putting people in handcuffs. But here’s the thing: most of them are. The media falls all over themselves to draw a distinction between peaceful protestors and “select instigators,” but I don’t see them making the distinction between bad cops and law enforcement as a whole.
And I’ve yet to see a single shred of credible evidence that makes me believe that Darren Wilson was in the wrong. Was another, less deadly outcome possible? Maybe, but it looks as though only Michael Brown had the power to change what happened. Only he is responsible for his own untimely death.
This week, the news media has continued their unfair critique of St. Louis police officers. After criticizing the military-style equipment they rolled out at the beginning of this ordeal, they turned around to blame them for not doing the same on Monday. Liberal pundits seem incapable of seeing their own hypocrisy. They’ve decided to side with the protestors, and that means attacking the cops no matter what they do.
Twice in the last week, Obama has reminded us that we are a nation built on the rule of law. But he doesn’t seem to understand that those laws are meaningless if they aren’t enforced. In his rush to improve the way police interact with minority communities, maybe a little bit of focus should be on improving the way these minority communities interact with the police.