Police Problems in Perspective

Monday, June 15, 2020

In his latest column, Walter Williams discusses police shootings, among other things. Shootings were already one of the claimed rationales for the nearly constant civil unrest since the (non-shooting) death of George Floyd in late May, but came to the forefront after the recent shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta:

Image by geralt, via Pixabay, license.
It turns out that blacks, like whites, want better and safer schools for their kids and don't like to be mugged or have their property vandalized. And like white people, if they have the means, black people cannot wait to leave troubled cities.

White liberals and black politicians focus most of their attention on what the police do, but how relevant is that to the overall tragedy? According to Statista, this year, 172 whites and 88 blacks have died at the hands of police.

To put police shootings in a bit of perspective, in Chicago alone in 2020 there have been 1,260 shootings and 256 homicides with blacks being the primary victims. That comes to one shooting victim every three hours and one homicide victim every 15 hours. Three people in Chicago have been killed by police.
This is highly relevant to both the questions of police reform and what Williams calls "the true plight of black Americans."

In less than a month, the public debate about how the police could better serve black Americans has degenerated: From the hopeful start of asking what went wrong in Minneapolis, it has devolved to non-stop, destructive rioting in the name of such outlandish causes as abolishing the police.

Williams is right to urge us to reflect on what good the police do, and how their faults figure into the larger picture he is discussing. And part of doing this includes considering the fact that the left -- which has worked overtime to foment the rioting -- has been in charge of some of the places with the most violence, and for decades on end in some cases.

Republicans have done a poor job of presenting an alternative for black Americans so far, but still: Loudly and violently demanding more of the same is plainly counterproductive, to say the least. I hope Williams has helped get the ball rolling for positive change by reminding us of the value of law and order, and noting that those making the loudest claims of having a solution have already had ample time to create and implement one.

Williams is calling the left's bluff: If they want to turn what had been a clear-cut case -- for examining and correcting the causes of a needless death -- into a violent demand for a laundry list of outrageous proposals, let's do also take a wider look at the problems they have chosen to talk about instead.

-- CAV

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