My older son is a police officer. Soon to celebrate his 35th birthday, he’s served proudly over the last decade with our local police department. He is pleased to be a member of an excellent department where officers are expected to excel at the highest levels. He and his fellow officers are conscientious and dedicated.
Over the last week, I’ve read numerous disparaging remarks (either on Twitter or Facebook or in the blogosphere) and viewed news reports where the broad brush of hatred paints all policemen as pigs. These descriptions don’t comport with what I know to be true.
I’ve already posted my initial reaction to the situation in Ferguson MO. As this situation continues to receive additional sensational coverage from news outlets far and wide, the disturbing aspects become harder to dismiss. Before I revisit the matter, though, I think it’s important to emphasize all the facts are not yet known to the public. As with any situation of this serious nature, facts should trump rumors. Discovering what happened ‒ in toto ‒ is the only acceptable path.
At the same time, facts are subject to interpretation. In this case, we already know several facts including the fact (based on clear security camera images) that Mr. Brown accosted and intimidated a store clerk, and then proceeded to leave the store with merchandise for which he hadn’t paid. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a stretch to conclude from this one security camera image-capture that Mr. Brown was a garden-variety thug who, given his large (300 pounds) and menacing presence, was capable of (and willing to use) physical intimidation.
Minutes after the store footage captured Brown’s act, the encounter between Mr. Brown and Officer Wilson took place. Had Mr. Brown already completely repented and reformed from his recent thuggery? Was he behaving as a model citizen would? In contrast to his criminal maltreatment of the store clerk, was Mr. Brown suddenly respectful and congenial to the police officer? That’s not a question I can answer but again, it’s not a stretch to surmise his previous conduct (with the store clerk) would set the stage for his conduct with the police officer.
Yes, I think it’s heartbreaking that a man of eighteen, anticipating the launch of his college experience, would have his life so abruptly ended. Yes, I understand his family must be devastated by their loss.
Further, let me emphasize my belief that, once the facts are determined, if Officer Wilson is found to have acted with reckless disregard, he should be judged accordingly.
Every time one of these incidents occurs, the racist component unfortunately takes center stage. Race hustlers come from far and wide to get their share of the publicity. Then, once the furor subsides (it never completely dies down), the race hustlers disappear and an unsettled status quo returns … until the next incident.
For me, I’m tired of it! (I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I hope not.) The live-and-let-live mentality in our country has allowed (even encouraged) young thugs (white, black and brown) to proliferate in our communities. This has to stop!
Parents (when and if they’re even present) find themselves unable to bring their teenage sons (many of whom are large, muscle-bound and aggressive) to account for their bad behavior. Unruly young people aren’t the fault of police … but too often, the police will end up having to confront such unacceptable or unlawful behavior!
An interesting exchange took place today on Meet the Press.
Writer Jason Riley provides an unexpected rationale as to why news organizations should stop wringing their hands in an effort to cleanse and do penance for their white guilt. Mr. Riley recites some facts about how the black community has tolerated thuggery, allowing bad actors to decimate their ranks from within. (And that fact remains completely apart from how abortion has devastated the black community.)
I appreciate Jason Riley’s perspective and his willingness to go against the conventional thinking that when bad things happen to black people, racist whites are solely to blame. Criminal behavior is never acceptable; we should refuse to tolerate it in our midst … whether we’re living in Ferguson, Missouri, the south side of Chicago or any other community across the country.