Topic: Decline of the West
As a conservative, I was greatly amused when former Maryland governor and Democratic Party presidential candidate was booed and reviled for saying the following: “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.” His progressive interlocutors were indignant at O’Malley’s supposed slighting of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement, a noisy group of activists with a grudge against the police. BLM claims that the cops are racist, that they target blacks for brutal treatment while giving whites a pass. This claim is unsupported by anything in the way of facts or evidence but as the hapless O’Malley can testify, it’s propelled by a heavy charge of anger and righteous indignation. For his act of thought crime, the candidate was compelled to offer a cringing, servile apology. This couldn’t have happened to a more deserving politician: Besides being Maryland’s former governor, he’s Baltimore’s former mayor.
The closing of the progressive mind has now gone so far as to render the statement, “all lives matter,” controversial if not inadmissible. This perhaps should surprise no one given such incidents as the Kermit Gosnell case and the scandal currently afflicting Planned Parenthood. If you were wondering why progressives are such fervent defenders of late-term and partial-birth abortion, there’s your answer: They want those baby body parts. But let’s return to BLM, which fulminates over the epidemic of police killings of blacks.
But it’s hardly an epidemic. Recently the left-wing British newspaper, the Guardian, researched police shooting to date in the US. As of July 27, US police this year have killed 657 people, 492 of whom were armed. Of the victims, 316 were white, 172 were black and 96 were Hispanic. Per capita, therefore, blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be killed by police. But this disparity is easily accounted for by crime statistics: Blacks in America commit murder at a rate eight times that of the white rate and account for more than half of all homicide and robbery arrests. But even so a black American’s statistical probability of being killed by a cop is very low.
In short, Black Lives Matter has no real basis for its charges of racist police brutality & etc. This is not to deny that racist cops exist or that some police killings of blacks are questionable or unjustified. But let’s be honest: BLM is blowing smoke.
So are the BLMers just a bunch of race-baiting publicity pimps? That conclusion is tempting at a time when a creature of evil like Al Sharpton is held to be a respectable civil rights activist. But on reflection I think not. No doubt the movement has attracted some people of Sharpton’s type. On the whole, though, I believe that its righteous indignation and anger are quite sincere…though sadly displaced.
If you (a) accept the proposition that black lives matter and (b) are able to face unpleasant facts then your indignation and anger should not be focused on the police. Certainly there are bad cops and dysfunctional police departments. But the principal killers of blacks in America are other blacks. Last weekend in Chicago there were 41 shootings including seven homicides. Most of the shooters and victims were black. As a matter of fact about 95% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. For young black men between the ages of 18 and 35, murder is the number-one cause of death. Over the past 35 years, almost 350,000 blacks have been killed by other blacks.
Of course these are deeply distressing statistics. Particularly for black Americans they’re a source of sadness and shame. Black parents know in their hearts that the principal danger to their sons is presented by other black parents’ sons. Human nature being what it is any distraction from this painful reality—claims of institutional racism, white privilege, police brutality—is gratefully embraced. And the police, who by the nature of their job are so closely associated with this epidemic of murderous violence, are made to bear the responsibility for it. Denouncing the shooting of Michael Brown or the death in police custody of Freddie Grey, crying out against white privilege, etc. indirectly absolves those who are really the executioners of so many black fathers and uncles and brothers and sons.
Black Lives Matter will earn my respect if and when it makes the transition from narrative to reality. Until that day—if it comes, which I doubt—BLM will remain part of the problem, contributing to a pervasive and deadly conspiracy of silence.