CLEVELAND, OHIO – The central section of this city is on a war footing. Everywhere, there are barriers—fences and concrete Jersey barriers and, parked in mid-street, trucks full of sand or gravel—cutting through streets and around parks, turning the area into interlocking mazes, rendering navigation apps almost useless, complicating intolerably such simple tasks as connecting with an Uber or crossing the street. Everywhere, cops in cars and on bikes and on foot, and military in camo, and stern men in suits and sunglasses. Everywhere, there is unease.
This isn’t like the national political conventions I’ve attended in Kansas City, Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and New York City. Yes, things changed after 9/11, and the security level at each convention has risen. But this is like a city under siege because this is a country and a civilization under siege, from Islamofascism and from the War on Cops (“Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!”/“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want ’em? Now!”).
The War on Cops is fueled by the narrative, put forth by politicians named Clinton, Obama, and Lynch (the attorney general), that we are suffering from an epidemic of shootings of innocent, unarmed African-Americans by “white” racist cops. The narrative is a lie, but lying is something that many politicians do quite well.
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, knows the origin of the War on Cops: “The President of the United States validated a false narrative and the nonsense that Black Lives Matter and the media are pressing out there to the public. He validated with his very divisive statements. And now we see an escalation. This has got to end. . . . It’s a false narrative and people [are] politicizing the false narrative . . . ”
Loomis shamed not only President Obama but Governor Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota), who, without any known basis, blamed a questionable fatal shooting by an officer on racism. (The officer, whom the media assumed was “white,” turned out to be Latino.) “That we have a President of the United States and the governor of Minnesota making a statement less than one day after the police involved shootings—Those police-involved shootings are what absolutely has triggered in rash of senseless murders of law enforcement officers across the country. It is reprehensible.”
Loomis asked, “How the hell did we ever become the bad guys in this country? I cannot imagine how we got here. It is the irresponsible reporting of the media and irresponsible statements from people who are credible—like the President, like celebrities.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, during the convention next week at which Hillary Clinton is to be nominated for president, will pay tribute to Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, and Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown. Martin was killed when, unaware his victim was armed, he attempted a (mistaken) gay bashing; Brown assaulted an Indian-American convenience store clerk half his size, then fought a police officer over the officer’s gun in an apparent murder attempt, and was shot and killed by the officer.
The supposed epidemic of racist violence by cops and quasi-cops is a lie. Witnesses and physical evidence cleared George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson in the Martin and Brown cases. It now appears that the police officers in the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore were innocent, and three of them, including the most seriously accused, are African-American.
It is true that there have been questionable cases, and even cases in which officers clearly committed wrongdoing, as happened in Charleston. It’s also true that, in decades past, police were part of the system of state-sponsored discrimination that targeted African-Americans. (See my comments at https://capitalresearch.org/2015/08/regarding-ferguson-its-the-pravda-that-counts/ .) But the numbers disprove the idea of an epidemic of shootings by “white” racist cops. The percentage of cop-involved shootings in which an African-American is killed is lower that the percentage of murders committed by African-Americans, lower than the percentage of cop-killings committed by African-Americans, and lower than the percentage of murder victims who are African-Americans. And “white” officers are apparently less likely than Latino or African-American officers to be involved in the deaths of African-Americans.
It’s a weird sort of racism if African-Americans are more racist toward African-Americans than “whites” are.
Often, in politics, it’s the music, not the words. Politicians abuse language, twisting words so as to express the direct opposite of their words’ literal sense. (Such word-twisting is commonly called “Clintonian.” What a coincidence!)
When someone responds to an act of evil by moving quickly, without prompting, to point out that “There’s no justification for such an act,” he or she is really saying something along these lines: “There’s a rationale, an understandable reason for such an act, but that rationale is insufficient to justify the act. It’s an overreaction to a provocation. It’s counterproductive; the person who commits such an act will hurt the cause he seeks to promote.”
Here’s what Hillary Clinton said after police officers were murdered in Baton Rouge: “There is no justification for violence, for hate, for attacks on men and women who put their lives on the line every day in service of our families and communities.”
Here’s what Barack Obama said about Baton Rouge: “We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: There is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes.”
Here’s what Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, said regarding the shootings of police officers in Dallas: “Americans across the county are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. These feelings are understandable and they are justified. But the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence.”
Notice a pattern?
If not, consider some hypotheticals:
What if, in the wake of the Lincoln assassination, President Andrew Johnson had declared, “I don’t care what they say. There is no cause so holy that it justifies the assassination of a president”? What holy cause is that?
What if FDR had said, “No injustice committed by the U.S. and its allies could possibly justify the attack on Pearl Harbor”? What injustice is that?
Or if George W. Bush, after 9/11, had noted that, “Muslims understandably are afraid of us, but flying airliners into buildings is never the answer”? What do you mean “understandably”?
How about this? “If someone wants to beat up an illegal alien, I get it, okay? But violence in such circumstances is not, y’know, OK.” What if Donald Trump had said that?
The comedian Chris Rock once satirized the Clinton/Obama/Lynch rhetorical trope, when he said of O.J. Simpson: “So you gotta look at O.J.’s situation. He’s paying $25,000 a month in alimony, got another man driving around in his car and [having sex with] his wife in a house he’s still paying the mortgage on. Now I’m not saying he should have killed her. [pause] But I understand.”
I don’t doubt that Clinton, Obama, and Lynch shed tears over the loss of the lives of some of our nation’s finest. I don’t doubt their sincerity in wanting an end to the violence. But I can’t help but wonder, regarding their repeated insistence that no injustice can justify cop-killing: Who suggested otherwise?
To whom are Clinton, Obama, and Lynch responding?
To the voices they hear.