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OPINION

How'd We Get to Jacob Blake?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Morry Gash

People look at the Jacob Blake incident and want to immediately condemn the police. They want to play the “what if” game and label all police part of a systemic problem that is predisposed to targeting communities of color, when in fact they should be the ones looking in the mirror.

The Left has, time and again, removed the tools of policing that not only creates an atmosphere for a Jacob Blake incident; it all but guarantees it.

Todays politicians and anti-police rhetoric have enabled criminals to disobey direct verbal commands from law enforcement, emboldening criminals not to comply with officers and creating a generational anti-authority mindset.

Lets say the officers could have used the physical force necessary to control Mr. Blake, using properly taught head and body strikes, even punches, to force compliance over Blake's apparent resistance and combativeness. But then the video would show the police punching a black suspect, and the officers would be demonized by the public, sensationalized by the media, and condemned by their leaders. So that use of force has been removed due to the social media mob, and police officers must resort to another more socially acceptable level of force: a hands-off taser that failed, twice.

As Blake broke loose, officers grabbed his shirt in lieu of placing Blake in a neck restraint, something taught in most police academies up until recently. But neck restraints weren't an option because the social media mob has demonized chokehold out of existence.

So you the public, being manipulated by agenda-driven politicians and revenue-driven media, have removed the very levels of force based on an infinitesimal number of isolated incidents. The same manipulators then act surprised when police officers need to resort to deadly force after perceiving a very real threat of serious physical injury or death during an incident. Nevermind that the incident was allowed to escalate due to a lack of proven tools and hesitation by the officer caused by political and social pressure.

Officers use verbal force -- "F*ck the Police!"

Officers use physical force -- "A group of police beat an unarmed man!"

Officers use a neck restraint- "Police used a chokehold!"

Officers use deadly force- OMG, the police shot him in the back!"

The second-guessing and neutering of this nation's law enforcement – based on 0.001 percent of bad incidents, out of the tens of millions of police-community interactions – have landed us where we are today. Police-community relationships will always have room for improvement, but we need to start that conversation from a place of fact, not fiction and bloviated rhetoric. We must do better as a nation, both our communities and our men and women in blue deserve it.

Rob O’Donnell, NYPD Detective Retired

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