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There are race riots in Cincinnati. It may be politically incorrect, it is tragic and it may be a mere symptom of an even more insidious evil, but despite the perversely well intended intentions not to call them what they are, there are race riots in Ohio.

CNN had downplayed the rampage as a “disturbance,” failing to mention the rampant outbreak of black-on-white hate crimes. “Disturbance”? Yeah and that unfortunate incident in Mogadishu must have been a “misunderstanding.”

Meanwhile members of the radical New Black Panther Party swarmed the streets inciting unrest pouring rhetorical gasoline on the fires of racial hate. Rioters donned masks or gangster-type bandanas. Sympathizers laughed and cheered, waving signs with racial pride slogans like “Honk if you’re black” while white citizens feared for their lives.

Not surprisingly gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed in Ohio, Kentucky and nearby Indiana outside Cincinnati as white people armed themselves fearing violence from black rioters.

One rioter shot a cop, who escaped harm when his belt buckle blocked the bullet. A white female motorist in one of the city’s neighborhoods was not so fortunate. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported a mob of black youths stopped the woman’s car and dragged her into the street, beating her until other neighborhood residents rescued her.

Long ago and far away I used to teach soldiers how to combat riots. There are a few axioms that still linger in the scar tissue of my gray matter, and they are worth noting.

Crowds can turn into mobs and mobs into riots because of certain very real psychological elements. “Anonymity” is the shield of invulnerability that permits an otherwise reasonable person to get sucked up into the “contagion” of mob activity.

In this era in which individuals are apparently no longer responsible for what they do or don’t do and consequences are something to be ascribed to others but never personally assumed, the perception of anonymity permits the already deluded, pumped-up mob participant to assume (im)plausible deniability for their actions. “Hey, it wasn’t me that pulled that old white woman from her car and stomped her. It was the mob.”

A contagion that seems benign when you jump up and sit down for a “wave” at a football game takes on a far more sinister reality when you throw a brick through a store window.

Perception and reality, form and substance are old themes that once again merit attention.

What started the social scab to festering in Cincinnati?

Reportedly an unarmed teen-ager — 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, shot and killed by a Cincinnati police officer — was the 15th black male to die at the hands of the Cincinnati police since 1995. That is not the reason but rather a very bad excuse.

However that statistic: 15 black males killed by Cincinnati police deserves some analysis. It represents about 2.5 black males killed by the police each year. But who were the other 14? Defenders of the indefensible lawlessness in Ohio are quick to say, Thomas was “only” sought for misdemeanors. Sure he ran away from police, but he shouldn’t have been shot. Recently, in another city, police shot and killed another young black man who reportedly was reaching for a cellular phone. Sitting in the comfort of your home such a shooting may seem grossly inappropriate — unless you had to make a split-second decision in the adrenaline-induced excitement of the situation and distinguish between a cell phone and a gun. Ultimately the decision to use deadly force is a function of fear and perceived intention. If the officer was in fear of his life, deadly force is appropriate.

I have heard bleeding-heart apologists suggest police should use “rubber bullets” or “shoot to wound” or, even more absurd (no doubt a leftover from watching Roy Rogers), shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand. Puh-leeeez! At least 13 of the 14 others shot and killed by police needed shooting. Here’s a partial list of the alleged “victims”:

  • Adam Wheeler, 21, died in a chaotic shootout with police. Wanted on three open felony warrants, two for aggravated armed robbery, one for attempted abduction, Wheeler was shot after screaming, ”You want a war? You got a war!” One police officer also was shot in the incident.

  • Jeffrey Irons was shot and killed during a scuffle with police in which he grabbed one officer’s gun and wounded another. He had been convicted locally of a dozen offenses in the past six years, including felony drug abuse and resisting arrest.

  • Courtney Mathis, 12, and officer Kevin Crayon both died on Sept. 1, 2000, after Crayon tried to stop a car being illegally driven in Mount Airy by the underage motorist. When confronted by Crayon, Mathis sped away in the car, dragging the officer nearly 800 feet. While clinging to the car, Crayon fatally shot Mathis in the upper left chest, then was killed instantly seconds later when his head slammed into another car.

  • Alfred Pope died in a hail of gunfire from Cincinnati police in the early-morning hours of March 14, 2000, after the 23-year-old and an accomplice allegedly pistol-whipped, robbed and shot at a group of other men in the hallway of an Avondale apartment.

  • Carey Tompkins, 28, was shot and killed on Oct. 16, 1999, in a West End hallway by a Cincinnati police officer. Tompkins, attempting to flee police, pulled a gun on the officer who shot him four times.

  • After robbing a bank on Aug. 20, 1999, James King was shot and killed by four officers when he refused to obey their order to drop his gun, instead turning toward them with his weapon.

  • Randy Black, 23, a University of Cincinnati student, was shot to death on July 17, 1998, after police say he attempted to rob a campus credit union. Police said Black threw a chunk of concrete at a Cincinnati police officer, then advanced on him with a nail-studded board. An officer fired two shots, hitting Black twice in the torso.

  • June 3, 1998, Cincinnati police tried to pull over a stolen car being driven by Jermaine Lowe, who suddenly sped away. Chased by police, Lowe crashed into another car, then leaned out the car window and began shooting at three officers. The officers shot back, killing Lowe.

  • Daniel Williams, 41, who had a history of criminal and mental problems, flagged down a police cruiser being driven on Central Parkway by a 23-year-old female officer on Feb. 2, 1998. Williams pulled a .357 magnum and shot the officer four times in the leg and abdomen below her bulletproof vest, then shoved her to the passenger side, got behind the wheel and sped away. Though wounded, the officer was able to pull her gun and kill Williams.

  • Lorenzo Collins was gunned down on Feb. 23, 1997, after threatening several officers. After reviewing statements by 17 witnesses, Cincinnati’s Office of Municipal Investigation determined that the officers should not be disciplined. Collins’ family, however, eventually received $200,000 from the city of Cincinnati to settle a suit in U.S. District Court.

  • Darryl C. Price, 42, died on April 4, 1996, after striking his head while struggling with officers. As officers tried to handcuff him, he resisted. Officers then wrestled Price to the ground and handcuffed him. But as they tumbled to the ground, Price struck his head on a metal plate covering road construction, police said.

  • Harvey Price, a 34-year-old ex-convict, was shot five times after he lunged with a knife at officers who had tried repeatedly to subdue him after he killed and partially decapitated his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter with an axe.

Not exactly a litany of “innocent” victims targeted by rogue cops?

According to some reports, families of the white victims of violence and sexual assault may be organizing for a retaliatory strike against blacks. Families of the victims are furious over what they see as the failure of police to go after the rioters and are vowing to “take justice in the streets.” One man stated, “We’re putting together Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs; those black neighborhoods will never be the same.” The families of a sexual assault victim said, “It’s time to start lynching blacks again,” adding, “black neighborhoods will burn.”

So where is the alleged black leadership? Where is the adult voice of reason to defuse the hatred and bigotry? Jesse Jackson was in California trying to put the arm on Silicon Valley execs.

Police have been hobbled by false accusations and the “perception” of impropriety when in fact race has nothing to do with the dead criminals. Anyone, regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, political affiliation or what NFL team they support should expect certain things as axiomatic:

  1. If you are caught in the commission of a crime, it is counterproductive and potentially fatal to resist arrest.

  2. If you attempt deadly force against a police officer, expect deadly force to be used.

  3. When ordered to submit by an armed uniformed officer, comply with the orders — even if you think you are innocent or being targeted for some other reason than the blood on your hands or the gun you are pointing at the cops.

Politicians apparently are more concerned about the perception of a public-relations faux pas than restoring public safety. Who was that Cincinnati official bragging about the city’s “restraint” by “allowing citizens to vent their frustration”?

Will the city demonstrate the same restraint when terrified whites resort to venting “their” frustration? When a group of young blacks break into a store to loot it are shot dead by the storeowner defending his life and property will he enjoy municipal restraint?

There are — or there needs to be — consequences to what we do and don’t do. Blacks, whites, police and city officials are responsible for their actions and inaction. It is not reasonable, or safe to accommodate the wants or needs of a rabid dog.

Notwithstanding race, religion, ethnicity or any other qualifier, some animals (and people) will only respond to an iron fist. That is an axiom that political correctness has tried to atrophy.

“Don’t tread on me” is a slogan and a concept that needs resurrection.

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