Tag: Ferguson

Howard Husock talks with Shelby and Eli Steele about their new documentary, What Killed Michael Brown?, and Amazon’s refusal to make the film available on its Prime Video streaming platform.

The documentary is written and narrated by Shelby Steele, a scholar at the Hoover Institution, and directed by his filmmaker son, Eli Steele. It is available through their website, whatkilledmichaelbrown.com.

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  Yesterday, I came across this post by Christopher Tremoglie at the NRO Corner. August 9th was the 5th anniversary of the justified shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren sent out this tweet in honor thereof; Preview Open

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From the Gospel: Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, […]

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“Four Hours,” A Sermon


I have a question about the story we heard from Matthew 28 this morning. Why did the Chief Priests and elders bribe the soldiers to tell a lie? I mean, this may sound like I’m stating the obvious … but lying is wrong.

It wasn’t even a very good lie. Even a casual reading of the story brings a lot of questions to mind: Like: if the soldiers were asleep, how did they know that it was the disciples who had stolen the body? How could the disciples, or anyone else, roll a heavy stone away from the opening to the tomb without waking everyone up? And why would they do this, given that stealing a body was considered a downright sacrilegious offense and punishable by death in those days? Not to mention the punishment that awaited soldiers who conked out while on duty?

My Hipster Church and Ferguson


Some months after Ferguson (which is about 10 miles away from my house, as the crow flies), I wrote my pastor to carp about about how Christian pastors of hipster churches are not willing to be clear-eyed about the issues plaguing our black friends and neighbors. He invited me to be part of a roundtable discussion about race. We were evenly balanced racially and the discussion that made it to YouTube was thoughtful and productive in that the two views — white and black — were represented in a manner consistent with our faith. But neither side seemed to budge.

My resolution was that white racism, however it might exist, is nowhere near the most-pressing issue facing the black community. The week we taped the video, there had been a murder in Kansas City where drive-by shooters murdered a little girl who was playing in a home that had been riddled with bullets. I asserted that I cannot be non-racist enough to prevent people I have never met from shooting-up a home and killing a child. My black friends were simply having none of it. I sensed that they were affronted by my pointing-out black criminality, and rejecting racism as a meaningful cause.

Taking the Risk out of Crime and Putting It on You


shutterstock_150668036Over the last two years, much of the national conversation has focused on problems in policing. The basic assumption is that use of force is grossly excessive and frequent. It’s not: Barely one percent of officers use deadly force annually – 80 percent never do.

But the substance of the positions of police “reformers” proves they are more interested in taking the risk out of criminal acts – pushing it onto cops and society – than addressing even the few incidents of truly unjustified police violence. “Reformers” really want to decriminalize crime.

In Pasadena, the case of Kendrec McDade has been front-and-center of this conversation and illustrates exactly this agenda.

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Lies stacked on top of lies create the [CoC] “mess” we’re witnessing in Columbia, Missouri. Clever faculty members, in my opinion, baited a small group of misguided black students into stirring a racial [CoC] “storm” strong enough to attract Twitter-addicted journalists looking for their next relevancy hit off the Black Lives Matter crack pipe. The absurdity of […]

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Taking Back the Neighborhood


When I hit the bricks as a new police officer, I wanted to help good people and arrest bad ones. Sometimes, helping people is giving them directions to a particular location; other times, it’s taking them to a particular destination, like booking, which certainly helped the people in a neighborhood that could behave themselves.

I spent some time working the parks in the city. I always took ownership of any area that I worked. If it was a neighborhood, then that was my neighborhood. If it was a park, then it was my park. Working the park meant talking to kids and their parents as Officer Friendly and to other people as Officer Not-So-Friendly. There were those that used the parks as shooting galleries (heroin users). There was the occasional wienie-wagger (sorry, cop jargon). There were individuals who would carve a small hole into the partition between two bathroom stalls and wait, usually for kids. As the song says: what a wonderful world.

There were times that I had to use some muscle to remind certain individuals that this was my area and they were going to do things my way. I have never felt the need to apologize for that. Some people are just slow learners and will not stop their self-absorbed and entitled behavior until you physically stop them.

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Thanks to the ongoing War(s) on Terror, there are now thousands of National Guard and reserves who have extensive training and experience on how to quell an armed counter-insurgency operation in an urban environment. They learned how to secure a neighborhood and make it safe, how to work with and not against the local populace […]

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Why Hillary’s Lies Don’t Matter


shutterstock_287370743The only thing that seems to be multiplying faster than the national debt, Donald Trump’s audacious comments, or the left-wing punditry’s gasps of horror over the death of what was apparently the globe’s favorite mammal, is Hillary Clinton’s accumulation of prevarications about … well, nearly everything she’s ever said for the past generation or so.

Hillary’s claims about never having been served a subpoena and maintaining only one device for her emails were lies. Her claim that Colin Powell did the same thing she did — and that she wasn’t required to turn over anything to the proper channels — was another whopper. Finally — and this is the kicker — her insistence that people “should and do trust me” should have generated tears of laughter from pollsters. It was for good reason that the late William Safire once claimed that Hillary Clinton was a “congenital liar.” And that was almost 20 years ago. Matters have not changed at all since that time — and arguably have gotten worse.

The question is whether or not her pathological lying makes any difference to her chances to become the next president. The most likely answer is, tragically: no, not a bit. Why not? Because we live in an era saturated by habitual lying, brazen lawlessness, and spectacular hoaxes.

The Problem In The Pronouns


self-absorption-and-bipolar-disorder-300x199As a theologically liberal clergy person, I receive a lot of drivel masked as thoughtful, contemporary writing addressing the most urgent issue of our day: How can we make life better for nice, middle-class white people? These things come with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, and are often written by black people, but they are really about white folk (and people “passing for white,” which I think includes people like Condi and Ben?)

Two big clues to who these missives are for, and what they’re really about: Pronouns. Also: verbs.

As a representative example, I offer the following, penned by Amira Sakallah and presented courtesy of the Theology of Ferguson project. “Ferguson,” you will recall, is the small city in Missouri where an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer. This is important, because a) Michael Brown is dead; and b) it sparked huge demonstrations and riots that went on all year, and resulted in massive property damage and further loss of life. So: serious business! Something for the clerical-collar-clad social warrior to really sink her straight, white teeth into! The essay is called Being a Do-Gooder, Becoming a Freedom Fighter: BlackLivesMatter:

The Classicist Podcast with Victor Davis Hanson: “The New Dark-Age Mind”


As promised yesterday, here’s the second installment of the Hoover Institution’s new The Classicist podcast with Victor Davis Hanson (don’t get used to this pace — from here on out we’ll be releasing one new episode per week). Fair warning: this episode should probably be accompanied by a tumbler of scotch. Our topic: Victor’s thesis that the West is beginning the descent into a new intellectual dark age — something that he sees signs of everywhere from Ferguson to college campuses to the halls of power in California. Listen in below:

First Baltimore, Now Los Angeles?


shutterstock_140272873Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is as obtuse as ever. Addressing the sharp decline in arrest numbers from the Baltimore Police Department, Rawlings-Blake told a reporter for the Baltimore Sun she expects the officers to step it up. “We know there are some officers who we have some concerns about,” she said. “I’ve been very clear with the FOP that their officers, as long as they plan to cash their paycheck, my expectation is that they work.”

And the officers’ expectation is that if they perform their duties within the law, they won’t be arrested and charged with crimes so as to appease a riotous mob. Or at least this was their expectation. Now, since the arrest and indictment of the six officers implicated in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore cops live with fear that they could be next and are conducting themselves accordingly.

The mayor claims the officers aren’t working. In fact, they are: they’re merely adjusting their work habits so as to bring them into alignment with the current political climate. They’re out on patrol in the same numbers and manning all the posts they were before Freddie Gray’s death, but they’re being far less proactive in their efforts to reduce crime. And who can blame them? Imagine yourself as a Baltimore cop. You are driving the streets in your patrol car when you see someone you know to have a violent history. You see him tug at his shirt or adjust his pants or change his gait in a certain way, any of which might indicate he is carrying a gun. Do you get out of your car and investigate with the knowledge that — if he doesn’t shoot you — he’ll run away and force you to chase him?

Staging Riots


shutterstock_213974764 (1)Journalism is pretty much dead in the United States. Most of the newspapers that used to do the basic work of looking into things have folded, and most of those that remain are, for the most part, in the disinformation business. Do you remember the coverage of the Duke Lacrosse Case? Of the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin case? Of the events in Ferguson? Of the Eric Garner case in New York City? And of the recent events in Baltimore?

The media has a narrative that they desperately want to peddle – which is that you and I live in a viciously racist society. That is what our budding journalists were taught in college, and they are always on the lookout for an anecdote to illustrate that meme. Before carefully examining the facts in any given case, they will leap to the predetermined conclusion.

They will not print the news that does not fit. We are fed falsehoods about racist attacks by police on innocent young African-Americans. Next to nothing is said about the racist murder of whites by not-so-innocent young African-Americans (which is far more common). And even less is said about the murder of African-Americans by other African-Americans (which is more common yet).

The Tired Baltimore Narrative


BlackLivesWe know well from the media the tired Baltimore narrative: widespread prejudice and callous indifference, now and in the distant past, built the socio-economic bomb that racist police gratuitously set off, leading to regrettable — but in a sense also justifiable — “rebellions” and “uprisings” marked by cri de coeur looting and arson. “Riot” and “thug” are coded racist words, at least if not spoken by the mayor of Baltimore and the President of the United States. The narrative is usually punctuated by melodramatic warnings from elites of “more to come.” I suppose the subtext is that unless, in our era of $18 trillion in federal debt, more federal money is borrowed and redirected into Baltimore—or unless more resources are devoted to the often personal or careerist agendas of elite critics—then the violence of the underclass may well become endemic and perhaps hit the Upper West Side, Palo Alto or Chevy Chase (though perhaps not Utah, Montana or Texas).

What is startling about this now common story are its glaring self-contradictions. Most of the elite critics, from Marc Lamont Hill to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who blast American society for creating Baltimores never quite explain what it was about their own paths to their success—Intact family? Legitimacy? Mentors? Religion? No criminal record? Drug and handgun avoidance? Generous federal and state programs?—that separated them from the underclass in the street.

Statistics prove irrelevant or worse. It is racist to suggest that if less than 5% of the population, comprised of inner-city African-American males between 15-40 years of age, were not responsible for about half of American crime, then these tragically explosive confrontations with the overworked police might be less common. Nor is there any interest in exploring why Baltimore schools are among the highest-funded in the nation and yet serve their students so poorly. Do the hosts at MSNBC believe that should Baltimore exceed New York in per capita expenditures superb education would follow? Do they really think that stricter gun control of legal and licensed weapons in the suburbs will translate into fewer illegal and unlicensed handguns in the inner city?

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The Left has presented us with a thesis that can be tested against the evidence.  That thesis is that there is a systematic trend of police unnecessarily killing black men.  The Michael Brown killing by Darren Wilson was presented by the Left as the prime example of this trend.  However, in time the evidence exonerated […]

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 I am frequently called to scenes of sudden or violent death. It turns out that this is  something the Medical Examiner’s assistant in Ferguson, Missouri  and I have in common, so I read the transcript of the his testimony before the Ferguson Grand Jury with considerable sympathy.  Preview Open

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I’m going to stick my neck out and respond to the recent calls for a “conversation” about race, focusing on the DoJ’s investigations regarding Ferguson Missouri. In the Libertarian podcast earlier this week, Richard Epstein did us all a service by debunking the DoJ investigation into Ferguson’s police practices, which is based heavily on: (1) […]

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The Libertarian Podcast: Ferguson Revisited


I’d recommend this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast if only because it’s rare to hear Professor Epstein hold forth with this level of passion. Our topic: the recent Department of Justice reports on Ferguson, Missouri — one exonerating Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death, the other alleging a systemic pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. Richard’s less than happy with the political agenda of Eric Holder and his associates. Listen in to hear why (and subscribe to The Libertarian on iTunes or your favorite podcast app to take us on the go):

The DOJ Inflames Racial Tensions in Ferguson


FergusonThough it has scarcely garnered the attention it deserves, the U.S. Department of Justice has released a report exonerating Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown last year in Ferguson, Missouri. As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, the Justice Department should, in the interest of civic harmony, be doing everything it can to call attention to the report’s findings:

What the DOJ now has to do is to acknowledge that the killing of Michael Brown was a justifiable homicide. It must abandon its contrived legalisms and defend Wilson, by condemning unequivocally the entire misguided campaign against him, which resulted in threats against his life and forced his resignation from the police force. Eric Holder owes Wilson an apology for the unnecessary anguish that Wilson has suffered. As the Attorney General for all Americans, he must tell the protestors once and for all that their campaign has been thoroughly misguided from start to finish, and that their continued protests should stop in the interests of civic peace and racial harmony. In light of the past vilification of Wilson, it is not enough for the DOJ to publish the report, and not trumpet its conclusions. It is necessary to put that report front and center in the public debate so that everyone now understands that Wilson behaved properly throughout the entire incident.

At the same time, however, the DOJ has issued a report claiming systemic prejudice in the Ferguson Police Department, an odd conclusion given that the investigation was surely undertaken to identify the “root causes” of Wilson’s misbehavior — misbehavior that they now admit did not occur. As I write: