At the close of a week in which America revisited 1968 on streets across the country and Americans decried the lawlessness and loss of faith in its leadership and institutions, a desperate necessity for a calming, reassuring figure settled upon the country.
Barack Obama was in Poland. But before the terrorist attack on Dallas police officers last night, the death toll of which has now risen to five, he phoned in a message aimed at…what, exactly?
These are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. And I just want to give people a few statistics to try to put in context why emotions are so raw around these issues.
According to various studies, not just one, but a wide range of studies that have been carried out over a number of years, African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over.
After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched.
Last year African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites.
African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites; African Americans defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums. They receive sentences that are almost ten percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.
So that if you add it all up, the African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population.
These are facts. And when incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us. This is not just a black issue. It’s not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we should all care about; all fair minded people should be concerned.
Now let me just say that we have extraordinary appreciation and respect for the vast majority of police officers who put their line on the lives every day. They have a dangerous job. It is a tough job. And as I’ve said before, they have a right to go home to their families, just like anybody else on the job.
And there are gonna be circumstances where they’re gonna have to make split second decisions. We understand that.
But when we see data that indicates disparities in how African Americans and Latinos may be treated in various jurisdictions around the country, then it’s incumbent on all of us to say we are better than this. We are better than this.
This was in response to the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings, of course. There is a palpable desire on the part of the American people to come together in the wake of those cases, and also a palpable desire on the part of the American people to address them as incidents where justice must be done.
Obama sees them as a pattern, and he spits out statistics he seems to think will galvanize the public behind his ideological position.
He lectures white people that blacks and Latinos are the majority of the people in jail in this country. He doesn’t note the cause of that fact; that blacks and Latinos commit the majority of the crimes. That black and Latino neighborhoods, overwhelmingly run by ineffective politicians in his own party, are disproportionately war zones where bad behavior is the norm and good behavior which produces good results nearly always predates those practicing it to escape to better locales.
Obama won’t admit the failure of the communities he casts as victims. He won’t admit the trillions of dollars and thousands of laws handed down in an effort to promote equality for those who don’t yet have it, or the progress that has been made.
Partially, perhaps, because there has been little progress. The Democrats’ Great Society anti-poverty programs haven’t touched poverty rates despite the fact America is a far richer country than it was in the 1960’s; rather than recognize how that proves the private sector is far more effective as an instrument of social good than government, Obama decries income inequality. And seeks to impose more government, more misery, on more of us.
And his statistics on police shootings have giant holes in them. Heather McDonald has an excellent new book out called The War On Cops, and here is an essential passage…
In reality, however, police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life and a minute fraction of black homicide deaths. Blacks are killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. To cite more data on this point: in 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop-killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only about 13 percent of the nation’s population. Little over a quarter of all homicides by police involve black victims….
Lies, damn lies, and Obama’s statistics.
The president likely had less intent to cause the terrorist strike in Dallas than Hillary Clinton had to violate Section 793(f) of the U.S. Penal Code. But he’s overdue to act as the president of all of America rather than the Democrats’ constituency groups.
We don’t need another lecture. We need leadership. Tragically, there is none in sight.
Which is a trailer for a Mel Gibson movie. A new one. And it looks pretty good. Gibson is an ex-con who gets called in to save his daughter from a drug cartel which is unhappy with her, and shooting and car chases ensue.