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Less than three months after President Obama first took office, a rapist shot and killed four Oakland, CA police officers. The President sent a letter to their funeral. Eighteen months into his second term, a robbery suspect was killed after beating and trying to disarm a Missouri police officer. The President sent an entourage to the suspect’s funeral.
Just a few weeks after the Oakland tragedy, the President hosted his infamous “beer summit.” That hastily concocted “teachable moment” came after he described a Massachusetts police officer as “acting stupidly” while investigating a possible burglary. If you don’t recall, the officer’s error was insisting on getting identification from a man at a house that was reported as being burglarized. The man happened to be a black professor, Henry Louis Gates, who inflamed a simple encounter into baseless racial animosity by steadfastly refusing to simply identify himself. Unfortunately, the teachable moment taught the President nothing about the nuance and consistent uncertainty of policing.
The events last night in Dallas are the responsibility of no one but whomever fired the shots. It is foolish and immoral to blame evil on those who harbor no such intent. But there can be no doubt that America’s leftist political leadership at every level has reinforced an ambiance for distrust of the police by embracing lies, ignorance, and moral ambiguity.
A worldview based on lies and ignorance is no different than that of a schizophrenic wandering the streets talking to people who aren’t there. It can only lead to confusion and frustration.
And that is where America finds itself — frustrated, confused and morally ambiguous.
Last night, in the moments before the shots rang out, a largely black crowd marched through downtown Dallas chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.” The basis of this phrase is a horrible, destructive lie generated to support the fiction that Ofc. Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot a robbery suspect in the back as he surrendered. The physical evidence subsequently proved the absolute lie that is “hands up, don’t shoot,” but the fiction persists because our political leaders — including the President himself — lack the moral courage to call liars liars.
And moral ambiguity has become the rule of the left’s approach to law enforcement.
The worst part of the Dallas march before the shots were fired was the moral smear of marchers who conflated two cases of completely different men. In Baton Rouge, ex-convict and deadbeat dad Alton Sterling was shot as he struggled with police officers who screamed at him about a gun in his pocket. All Sterling had to do was lie still and he would still be alive. Actually, had he simply complied with the police to begin with, he wouldn’t have been harmed at all. But, in the world of Black Lives Matter, police are supposed to allow suspects to actually grasp weapons before defending themselves — giving them literally a split-second to live or die.
Disgustingly, the Dallas protesters and their political sycophants have wrapped the stain of Sterling’s violence around what seems to be a horrendous (and quite possibly criminal) tragedy, the killing of Minnesota resident Philando Castile. Whereas Sterling fought the police, disregarded instruction, resisted force, and fought with officers while in possession of an apparently illegal gun, Castile appears to have complied and cooperated while informing an officer about a gun he legally carried. He was shot within moments and died for reasons that are objectively unclear.
To BLM, motives, intent, and the content of a man’s character are irrelevant. It’s the color of their skin that matters. So, their deaths are treated as equal tragedies and equal crimes.
And their political apostles fall right in line. “Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?” Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton asked Thursday. “I don’t think it would have.” The investigation is incomplete. Literally the only evidence he has is the race of the individuals involved. Yet an elected leader assumes things about all involved based solely on that — race.
I’m fairly certain judging people based on race is racism, but maybe that’s just me.
Drayton repeated the fiction favored among leftist politicians that “no one deserves to be killed over a tail light.” Which is as true as it is irrelevant to use of force. No one should be killed while helping someone in a hospital, but that didn’t keep a criminal from murdering Ofc. Steve Sandberg.
As I write this, the Los Angeles Chief of Police is meeting with Snoop Dogg, a rapper with a lengthy criminal record including incidents in which police officers were injured. What a great message to send to his subordinates.
But this is not unexpected. Chairman of the LA Board of Police Commissioners Matt Johnson has spent the last several months forcing a change to the department’s use of force policy. Strangely, he has not met with officials of the department’s union, the LA Police Protective League. In fact, according to the league, Johnson dismissed an invitation to experience a use of force simulation to better inform his perspective. Allegedly, Johnson, an entertainment attorney, replied that it would be as futile an exercise as trying to teach cops to write contracts for Oprah.
Stunningly, in May, Johnson wrote a 1,600-word OpEd for the African-American-focused Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper about his determination to change the LAPD force policy. In a tome the size of two standard newspaper columns about the primary safety policy of LAPD officers, he made absolutely no reference to the dangers cops face or his commitment to protecting them. In fact, he didn’t reference police officers as people even a single time.
Conversations that make progress require integrity and facts to develop clarity and understanding. The last decade of American leadership has left us with anything but. We are frustrated, confused and in desperate need of leadership.