Even if you agree with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, it’s easy to feel some sympathy for Trayvon Martin. Here was a 17 year old kid who wasn’t doing anything wrong, who was being followed. It’s easy to see how that could freak him out. Unfortunately, that led to his making a bad decision. He attacked an armed man, fought well enough that he put Zimmerman in fear of his life and then got shot for it. It was a tragic case not only for Martin, who died, but for Zimmerman whose life seems to have been ruined by that day.
Although it’s sad to see anyone lose his life, Michael Brown isn’t nearly as sympathetic of a victim. He robbed a convenience store, assaulted a police officer, ignored his order to stop and then ran at the cop when he had a gun on him. What do you say about someone who gets shot under those circumstances other than he brought it on himself?
There are lessons we can learn from how these cases panned out and they’re not the ones liberals always seem to be pushing in these situations (If someone who isn’t Christian or conservative is offended, he must be right! We need another government program! Even though we have a black President, racism is everywhere in America!)
1) The initial story you hear is probably a lie: If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton show up somewhere claiming that a wonderful black kid who was going to college was shot for no reason and nobody is doing anything about it because of racism, you can safely assume you’re being taken for a ride. The police do make mistakes. The Akai Gurley case is a great example of that. There are also bad cops out there. The cops who tortured Abner Louima in New York City fit that description. But, it's better to let a court sort through the details under oath to get the facts rather than relying on rumors and people who see dollar signs in their eyes every time someone yells "racism."
2) The Left has zero interest in discussing why black Americans are really more likely to be shot by police officers: The numbers can vary depending on whose statistics you’re looking at, but using the best estimate available, black Americans seem to be 3 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than white Americans. Could there be a possible explanation for this that goes beyond racism? Actually, yes.
Today blacks are about 13 percent of the population and continue to be responsible for an inordinate amount of crime. Between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the United States. The black arrest rate for most offenses — including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes — is still typically two to three times their representation in the population. Blacks as a group are also overrepresented among persons arrested for so-called white-collar crimes such as counterfeiting, fraud and embezzlement.
Percentage-wise, black Americans are much more likely to commit crimes and so, it’s not a surprise that they’re more likely to end up in potentially dangerous conflicts with police officers. Encouraging black Americans to be hostile to police officers, which is sadly all too common, only exacerbates the problem by making cops more suspicious and by making black Americans more likely to do potentially dangerous things around the police. The vast majority of black Americans are decent, law-abiding people and it’s sad that some of them are afraid of the police. That’s an issue that police departments should do much more to address, but unless they’re met halfway by community leaders who are willing to work with the cops, any effort is doomed to fail.
3) It’s time for cops to start wearing body cameras: If Darren Wilson had been wearing a body camera, the bogus “hands up, don’t shoot” meme would have never gotten any traction. Not only would body cameras help eradicate fears of abuse from officers, it would protect cops from the sort of false charges we saw in the Michael Brown case. Body cameras wouldn’t be a panacea, but they would probably make life better for both the cops and the people they’re policing.
4) You better arm yourself because you can’t count on the police to protect you: It was widely speculated that there would be riots in Ferguson if the Grand Jury didn’t indict Darren Wilson. Yet, the governor of Missouri refused to deploy the National Guard in Ferguson on the first night. Without the help of the National Guard, the police weren’t able to contain the mayhem and there was rioting, looting, assaults and arson. Even though the state of Missouri officials knew it was coming, even though they could have prevented it – they didn’t. Take that lesson to heart, get your own gun and learn how to use it so if trouble comes knocking on your doorstep, you won’t be waiting for help from the state that never comes.
5) The mainstream media is more interested in promoting the idea that America is a racist country than the truth: The mainstream media helped create the angst over Trayvon Martin and the riots in Ferguson. NBC falsely claimed George Zimmerman used a racial slur and edited his call to the police to make him sound bad while the whole media used an old picture of Trayvon Martin that made people think he was 12. On the eve of the Grand Jury verdict in the Michael Brown case, the New York Times published THE STREET Darren Wilson lives on with his new wife. Beyond those egregious offenses, the mainstream media helped create many of the initial myths about both cases, was slow to correct the facts and habitually slanted its news coverage to portray Zimmerman and Wilson as guilty, even when it didn’t fit the facts. Everyone knows the mainstream media is biased, but when its coverage plays a role in getting people’s businesses burned to the ground, it has gone too far.
6) Most people on the “Left” care more about the narrative than the truth: One of the most amazing things about both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown caseswas how many people didn’t change their minds one bit about what happened even after the initial stories in both cases proved to be false. Instead, many people cared more about the narrative, “White people in general and white cops in particular are shooting black people for no reason,” than what really happened. It was as if Zimmerman and Wilson had to go to jail not because they did anything wrong, but because to proclaim them innocent was a slam against black Americans.
7) “Black Leaders” are looking to ratchet up the tension, not ease it: It’s extremely ironic that most of the businesses that burned in Ferguson were minority-owned because black leaders like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, the New Black Panthers and, yes, Eric Holder and Barack Obama helped make it happen. Yes, they gave bloodless, CYA condemnations of violence, and then went back to hyping people up instead of calming them down. See, when people get mad, they give donations. Peace doesn’t make money. Peace doesn’t get your name in the newspaper. Peace doesn’t get anyone on TV.