The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, has united Americans on at least one matter. Except for some irredeemable racists, virtually all fair-minded people agree that this outrageous act was unpardonable and strong measures are required to stop such abuses in the future.
Floyd’s death was the last straw for thousands of protestors of all races who took to the streets demanding justice. The great majority of those protestors, while frustrated and angry, behaved lawfully. Sadly, but predictably, the protests were exploited by thugs, arsonists, looters, and insurrectionists. Among them were Antifa anarchists with an incoherent ideology and no productive or rational remedies. They’re simply militant sociopaths who foment chaos and bust heads of those they dislike, just for the fun of it.
Condoning the violence and looting, some social justice warriors declared that peaceful protest may have its place but violence is justified when it’s the only option to achieve your goals. This is a very dangerous, slippery slope — and entirely subjective. It’s the mentality of the KKK, 9/11 Muslim terrorists, Black Panthers, Timothy McVeigh, John Wilkes Booth, Earth First, PETA, radical anti-abortionists and the Unabomber, all true believers in their “worthy goals.” One lame-brain compared Antifa to the Boston Tea Party. The Sons of Liberty who dumped the tea in Boston Harbor had no political recourse, no say over the oppression of King George’s governors and were rebelling against taxation without representation. Antifa disdains peaceful political change (duh, they’re anarchists!). Violence is the only tool in their box.
Two weeks of protest have gotten the message across. The people and public officials listened, learned and joined the call for justice and change. Continuing the protests is redundant and along with ridiculous signs reading “ABOLISH THE POLICE” run the risk of squandering the mass public support that’s been won.
The 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, also generated mass protests but general public support waned when President Obama’s Justice Department concluded that Brown was the aggressor and the officer involved was justified in defending himself. Nonetheless, police departments across the country took action to retrain their officers to exercise restraint. Clearly, those measures weren’t good enough. Enforcing humane rules of engagement, to use a military term, are in order and shouldn’t be that difficult.
Some blacks believe they’re the victims of an epidemic of unjustified fatal shootings. That impression is heartfelt, but invalid. According to the FBI, in all of 2019, police fatally shot just nine unarmed blacks, some justifiably. Justified or not, nine fatal shootings isn’t an “epidemic.” However, it’s a fact that blacks are unfairly harassed and disrespected by too many cops. That needs to be ended — without delay. And cops who habitually disrespect or hassle blacks should be eliminated from the force.
A far more difficult task is countering the inflammatory narrative of racism by left-wing politicians, commentators, academics and demagogic black activists. Yes, pockets of racism persist but claims that racism is as bad as ever and is systemic in America are absurd. “Systemic” refers to elements that purposefully and completely inhabit an organism or entity.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball. In the years that followed, blacks became omnipresent in baseball, basketball and football and are revered as heroes by blacks and whites alike. Many black entertainers are beloved by whites. K-12 and college educators condemn slavery as our nation’s original sin, celebrate black leaders throughout history and decry racial discrimination. Hollywood and TV are conspicuously “woke.” The US military, once segregated, is a paragon of integration. Anti-discrimination laws abound. Sanctuary cities defy federal law to harbor illegal immigrants of color who aren’t even citizens. Mayors of color are commonplace in our big cities. The Black Caucus is an influential block in Congress. Governments and businesses practice affirmative-action hiring of minorities and mandate diversity training for their workers. Colleges award preferential admissions to less academically qualified minorities. We elected a black president! Systemic racism would be ubiquitous. Obviously, it isn’t.
I happen to be pro-cop. As in any field, there are some bad apples but the bulk of the police orchard is ripe with good, dedicated and heroic cops. When you’ve been robbed, assaulted or threatened, who do you call? No, not Ghostbusters or Batman. You call the cops for help, whether you’re white, black or brown. A liberal philosophy professor might make for a kinder and gentler cop but isn’t suited to pursue a drug-crazed, armed killer in a dark alley. Abolishing the police would be an Antifa dream come true.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.