I’m so tired of outrage being the new fad in America. Everybody is outraged about something. You have already picked a side in our current pseudo race war. Either you believe that America is racist and our police are murdering black men at an alarming rate, or you believe that criminals are out of hand and that all order is on the brink of collapse.
As a nation, we have no choice but to try and bring back some kind of reason and intelligence to our collective thought process. The truth is, there are facts. Real, solid facts that prove that no, black men are not being harassed by police and no, police aren’t killing people in the streets at an alarming rate.
Let me preface this post by admitting that I am a skeptic of public employees, including many police practices. If you know me, you know I do not trust the government and individual liberties are of utmost importance to me.
I do believe police go beyond their authority sometimes. I think many drug laws are ridiculous. I see no reason for unmarked cars or police being able to sit in hiding to stop traffic violations. Police often ask leading questions to try and coerce their subjects into admitting guilt or giving up their rights. I think there are some trust issues within the police community. Many of that can be stopped if people just know and practice their personal rights.
But, if you honestly believe that police are racist, that they are treating black men unlike they treat anybody else and they are killing black men because of a personal sentiment of racism, you are ignorant. You are a person who does not observe facts and evidence to reach a conclusion, and you are the gasoline that pours onto the flames of outrage in 2016 America.
There is no police brutality epidemic. Police are less violent today than they have been in our nation’s history. If you believe otherwise, you have decided to completely ignore facts, and for that, your voice carries no weight in the discussion we need to be having.
As I said during my thoughts on gun control, if you are in some kind of ‘protest’ right now, you are the person who is only outraged by what fits your narrative.
If you are truly outraged at the loss of black life, where are you in Chicago? Where are you in inner-city New York or Detroit? Black men are literally killing each other in truly alarming numbers every single day of the year. But your voice is silent until an officer faces a life-or-death situation.
You don’t believe it was truly a life-or-death situation? We’ll break that down later, keep reading.
In Chicago alone, 2,090 people have been shot this year in the streets. How many of those were police shootings? Nine.
Let’s do some math, shall we? I know, I hate math too, but the nice thing about math is that it’s usually pretty good at proving things. And all we want in these situations is the truth, right?
All of these numbers are public statistics taken from the FBI, the census, or the Justice Department. You can find these numbers yourself if you’re skeptical of them.
In 2012, there were over 300 million Americans. There are just over 600 thousand police officers. To give perspective, that means to every one thousand people, about two are police.
Those police officers come into contact with about 16 percent of the population in the year, or 53 million people. That means they stop them for traffic violations, serve warrants, arrests, victims, etc.
That is millions of police-citizen contacts per year. Of all those, 26,000 complaints for excessive force were filed. Now to the simple mind, that sounds like a lot, but it’s because, like me, you aren’t good at math. This is one half of one percent. That is 0.049 percent of all contacts.
Of those 26,000 only 2,000 were sustained.
That math equals out to mean that out of millions of contacts with police each year, 0.0039 percent of them are found to have committed brutality. Mathematically, there is no epidemic of brutal police.
But this is about black men, right? You want to tell me that the police disproportionally kill black men? You’re either wrong or ignorant. Pick one or the other.
About 400 people are killed by police each year. Of those killed, 61 percent of them fit into a certain racial demographic. Think you can guess which one?
Black men make up about 6 percent of the U.S. population. But in America, that is a nation of 300 million people, black men commit about 40 percent of all murders. Let me write that again so your brain will comprehend it.
Of all murders in the U.S., black men, just 6 percent of the entire population, commit nearly half of them.
You still want to keep talking about disproportional racial statistics?
One more statistic to give you, and this is a big one.
Of all the black people murdered in the United States, 90 percent of them are killed by other black people.
Did you read that and really, truly think about it? Of all black people killed in the U.S., 90 percent are killed by their own race.
Stop spreading your lies about police killing black men.
Now, if you’re one of those people who says, ‘one is too many’ and you ‘won’t stop until that number is zero’, fine, but I hope to God you’re devoting the same tireless work to police officers killed in the line of duty.
Now that we have mathematically proven that there is no police brutality epidemic, and that black people are tenfold more likely to be killed by a black man than a cop, let’s talk about the individual cases that have produced catch phrases, t-shirts and unfortunately the murders of police officers.
In Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was killed by police. Alton Sterling was black. Alton Sterling was not innocent.
We are talking about a man who had a rap sheet that went back into the ’90s. A man who threatened to shoot a homeless man for not giving him money. A man who was armed with a gun, resisted arrest and continued to fight police on the ground.
Many of you say, ‘that’s no reason to lose your life, there was no justification for his death.’
My question to you is, why do police officers even carry guns? If a large criminal, flailing around on the ground with a loaded firearm in his pocket that is still accessible to his hands (if you argue that, bring it to me personally because as I write, I am looking at a photo from the video and clearly see his hand near his pocket) isn’t grounds to fire shots in self defense, what else is?
What possible scenario could you possibly construct so that the police are justified in using their weapons? Does a gun have to be physically aimed at a police officer for them to be justified in using their weapon?
Well forgive me, but I’m not comfortable with police and criminals having a fair, old-west style draw to determine who is going to win a shootout. That is no different than advocating for police and criminals to have an even playing field, and if you believe that, you are truly a danger to our country’s safety.
During the past few weeks, I’ve had multiple discussions with people about these cases. Many of them have been black people who feel that I carry some kind of ‘privilege’ because I’ve never been shot by police or when I get stopped I don’t go to jail.
The real privilege is those who think the police are on such a low level of society that they don’t deserve self defense.
What I mean by that is that we have become so spoiled by safety thanks to our police, we disregard the true danger they are in daily.
I had a girl literally tell me, “Police know what they are signing up for. If they don’t want to have their lives at risk, they should work at Best Buy.”
What that means to me is, if a police officer kills a threatening black criminal, he is racist, it is wrong on all accounts and he should be ‘held accountable’, but if a police officer is shot or put in harms way, sure it’s sad but it’s just part of their job.
That is trash.
The police shooting in Minnesota the day after Sterling’s death was a different case.
Philando Castile was killed by police in his car. He had been found guilty of over 40 other misdemeanors in recent years. He was pulled over for a missing tail light. Is that not a justifiable stop? If a police officer comes across a vehicle with such a long history and sees yet another violation, is it racist to pull him over? Get real.
He was a a concealed weapons license carrier. That is great news, as long as the carrier understands how to use that license.
According to his own girlfriend in the video, Castile told the officer he would get his license and registration instead of waiting for the officer to ask for those things. The police officer repeatedly told Castile to leave his hands up where he could see them because he needed to retrieve the weapon.
This is how police protocol works anytime somebody is stopped and is carrying a weapon. The first thing the officer does is to remove the weapon from the subject as to remove any threat from the officer. Castile did not allow the police to remove his weapon, and continued to put his hands out of sight despite the officer’s orders.
Again, at what point is an officer justified in using his weapon? Should he have waited until this man reached into his pocket and pulled out whatever he was reaching for to make sure he was in a dangerous situation? Again, get real.
In the video you hear the officer screaming, crying and cussing in remorse and asking why the man had to disobey him. Hardly the reaction I would expect from a racist, bad, loose-cannon cop.
As a child playing with my water guns or toy guns, the phrase I used along with any other child that ever played with a toy gun was, “Stick ’em up!”
Why is that a phrase even children at play use? Because when a person has their hands up, they are no threat to you with whatever they may be carrying. It is a sign of compliance and cooperation. It ensures safety.
If I could figure that out playing Cowboys and Indians as a child, why can grown men not realize that with the police?
When these situations arise, many people truly lose all sense of reason. We begin to make judgements on emotion. We begin to say things like disobedient criminals with guns are victims of police. That’s lunacy.
This is not about innocent black men being shot by police. The only common factor we remember is that these men were all black. What we conveniently forget is that they also have all had criminal pasts, and all resisted arrest or failed to comply.
The argument is that those factors are irrelevant. Really? If two men get shot by police and we’re trying to legally figure out why, you think it’s more relevant to the legal case that they were black rather than the fact that they resisted compliance and had prior history?
That is such a warped view.
The fact is, we don’t have a police problem. We don’t have a race problem. We have an emotion problem. People live their lives on such tension these days, the first reaction to anything is outrage. And outrage, by the very composition of the word, is an emotion. You don’t make laws with emotions. You don’t solve social issues with emotion. You don’t have dialogue with emotion.
We have to stop taking a side as soon as something happens. We should all analyze these situations individually and walk through the steps instead of simply sharing Facebook memes and posts and trying to compare them to each other.
When we let emotions take over, we end up with 5 dead police officers in Dallas, multiple other officers assaulted around the nation, riots in the streets and a divided nation on the brink of a race war.
Let’s get back to reason. Try thinking through things instead of feeling them. Let’s try putting puzzle pieces together instead of repainting the puzzle so the pieces fit. Only then will we pull ourselves out of this constant anguish we all feel. Only then will we be united again.