Mr. President, crime, like football, is a contact sport. Those who choose to participate run risks that ordinary citizens do not.
Much as in football, any number of determined individuals stand between the offensive player and his goal. These include homeowners, shopkeepers, security guards, neighborhood watch captains and police of various stripe.
Their resistance comes in many forms from killing the offenders to arresting them. Even arrests, as we have seen, involve contact that puts both the suspect and the arresting officer at risk.
For instance, each year, for the last five years, more than 100 police officers have been killed in the line of duty, and countless thousands have been injured.
Yet when you talk of “police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-Americans, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions,” you seem to have forgotten that those “individuals” are the ones who provoked the “troubling” part of the interaction.
Starting in Cambridge in 2009, it was your friend Henry Louis Gates who gratuitously slandered an upstanding police officer just doing his job. In that case at least you made a stab at an apology.
In Florida, in 2012, your would-be “son,” Trayvon Martin, gratuitously and viciously attacked a neighborhood watch captain just doing his job.
You never apologized for backing the criminal. You never reminded these “individuals” that crime is a contact sport and that those who commit it may very well suffer severe consequences. Hell, you’ve encouraged them.
For months, you allowed your Justice Department to give the impression that Ferguson’s Michael Brown was the victim of a rogue white cop.
You never thought to say that when 300-pound “individuals” rob stores, manhandle clerks and attack the police, they run a certain risk even, as in this case, when the officer does his job exactly as he ought to have.
You never thought to say either that when 400-pound “individuals” with heart conditions, like Staten Island’s Eric Garner, swat away arresting officers like mosquitoes, they ratchet up the contact when it does occur.
You never thought to remind “individuals” like Walter Scott that when they bolt after a routine traffic stop, wrestle the arresting officer to the ground and reportedly shoot him with his own taser, they have no guarantee that the police officer will keep his cool and perform as expected.
I know. Police officers average about $55,000 a year, roughly what a scheduling assistant makes at the White House. You expect more out of them.
These same cops, however, make more than 12 million arrests a year, and in a contact sport like crime, something is bound to go wrong on a fairly regular basis.
Freddie Gray accounted for 18 of those arrests since turning 18, four of those in the last four months, including arrests for burglary, assault and malicious destruction of property.
In resisting his final arrest, Gray assured that the contact would be rough. How could it not have been?
Yet in a city with a black mayor, a black police chief and a predominantly non-white police force, Mr. President, before you even knew how Gray was injured, you implied racism was the reason.
In your remarks, Mr. President, you said “we have seen” too many such race-based interactions, and they surface, “once a week now, or every couple weeks.”
Has it ever occurred to you that the media choose to show us only those interactions that reflect the race-based narrative you and they have been pushing?
To put this in a football perspective, it is as if broadcasters only showed replays of white defenders making illegal hits on black ball carriers.
Did you know that police shoot and kill nearly twice as many white suspects as black? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the years 1999 to 2011, the count was 2,151 whites to 1,130 blacks.
Mr. President, do you know the name of any of the white men killed during those 12 years. Do their lives not matter?
During that same period, more than 50,000 black people were killed by other black people? Do you know any of their names? Do their lives not matter?
It’s not like you don’t know what the real problem is, Mr. President. On Father’s Day 2008, on the campaign trail, you addressed the congregants of the Apostolic Church of God in the South Side of Chicago.
“If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that too many fathers are also missing,” you told them. “Nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community.”
Then, Mr. President, you shared with them the consequences, namely that boys who grow up in fatherless homes are “20 times more likely to end up in prison.”
They are also 20 times more likely to end up in an “interaction” with a cop in Ferguson, North Charleston, Staten Island, or Baltimore.
You’re a sports fan, Mr. President. You know that in any physical interaction between opposing forces, mistakes can be made and people can get hurt.
Speaking of which, just last week you admitted “accidentally” killing two hostages with a drone strike. You got away with an apology.
In South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager will almost assuredly go to prison. He won’t get anything like a fair trial. And he only killed one person.
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