You Have America's Attention. Now What?
On May 25, George Floyd tragically died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. We've all seen the videos. We're all disturbed by what we saw. And we all have questions that need to be answered.
Black Lives Matter has our full attention.
Whatever you may think about this case, or the other incidents that have followed, one thing is certain: this issue now has America's full attention.
It has so much of our attention, in fact, that the non-stop Covid narrative from the past 100 days had all but disappeared from the news - until recently anyway.
I think it's important to really think about this for a moment because Covid changed our lives.
It changed the way in which we interact with people. It effected when and how and if we worked. And the way we ate our meals. And how we bought our groceries.
It changed what we touched. It changed how closely we stood next to people in public. And it helped teach Americans a new vocabulary that included terms like "social distancing" and "PPE."
It led to more than 40 million Americans filling for unemployment.
And it's the reason most people received $1,200 directly from the Federal Government.
While we're still learning the long-term effects of Covid on the American psyche, it's affect on the American people was profound.
And that narrative was completely interrupted by the Black Lives Matter narrative almost overnight.
Please do not misunderstand my point here. I'm not suggesting the media should have ignored George Floyd in favor of the Covid narrative. Mr. Floyd's story certainly needed to be shared and reported. And to whatever degree the problems exposed by his case exist on a large-scale in America, they need to be fixed. And justice needs to be done.
My point in stating this is that Black Lives Matters now has the full attention of Americans, coast-to-coast.
And my question is, "Now what?"
Black lives absolutely matter.
We all agree that Black Lives Matter.
Sure, some feel it necessary to point out that "All Lives Matter," but in so stating that they are still clearly agreeing with the notion that "Black Lives Matter." After all, "All Lives" include "Black Lives," even though "Black Lives" does not include "All Lives."
While the phrase "All Lives Matter" should be offensive to literally no reasonable person, I'm not going to argue "All Lives Matter" here. (Thought they clearly do.)
I'm simply agreeing with the truth that "Black Lives Matter."
They absolutely do.
(And just to be clear, I'm only agreeing with the statement, "Black LIves Matter," and not the other viewpoints that many in this movement appear to embrace.)
Police lives absolutely matter.
Perhaps this illustrates why I prefer the phrase "All Lives Matter."
If we agree that "All Lives Matter," then I don't have to spend a moment to articulate the truth that "Police Lives Matter," too. I feel we could just as easily agree that we need to respect and cherish the lives of all people.
Still, I understand the message of BLM, which can be summarizd this way: we need to point out that "Black Lives Matter" because society doesn't value black lives as much as they value other lives. I understand that perspective, but I'm not saying I agree that it applies to society at large.
Since "Black Lives Matter" and "Police Lives Matter," we must agree that when law enforcement officers engage or detain a black suspect, certain things must happen.
Put simply, law enforcement officers must apply the law fairly and equally, using as little force as possible to ensure compliance from the suspect. (Ideally, compliance would come without any need for any physical force whatsoever, but law enforcement also must be able to use appropriate force if and when necessary.)
Likewise, black suspects (or suspects of any race, creed or color) should comply with any and all lawful commands.
When this doesn't happen, it risks the lives of those involved in the incident. And when an officer's life is truly threatened by a suspect, they have the authority to use force - including deadly force - to neutralize the threat.
(Since the time I first wrote this article, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police Department Officer after he resisted arrest and stole another officer's taser. We are not going to discuss this particular incident in this article.)
Now what? Reparations?
Reasonable people should absolutely be able to agree that both "Black Lives Matter," and "Police Lives Matter." Unless both sides respect the lives of the other, there will be no solution. Now, I happen to think the vast, vast majority of Americans can agree about this. But agreeing in concept and reaching a political compromise are two very different things.
Well, one side presents the following as legitimate solutions to this issue when they are anything but that:
- Defunding the police
- Dismantling the police
Americans are not in favor of reparations, yet you hear this presented as a reasonable solution in some places.
Asking white Americans who never owned slaves to pay money to black Americans who never were slaves is far from a reasonable solution. But this doesn't stop some from suggesting that America pay $14 trillion in reparations. (By the way, this math comes out to about $300,000 per black American in the form of reparations.)
If someone wanted to exacerbate race relations in America, they'd implement reparations. Put another way, reparations would not improve relations between races, but instead would make them worse. After all, how does anyone think that you could take $14 trillion from one race of Americans (who are guilty of nothing) and give it to another race of Americans and seriously expect problems between those races to improve? If I didn't know any better, I'd think the Radical Left didn't know the first thing about human nature and how the real world works...
Now what? Defund or dismantle the police?
America is a metaphorical tinder box right now.
Race relations are tense.
Unemployment is high.
Political anger rages.
Looters and rioters are running the streets in many American cities - even taking over the City of Seattle.
The last thing we need is less law enforcement.
We need enough law enforcement officers to ensure law and order in society. We don't want a "police state," and we don't want to be fiscally irresponsible in providing these services (though the amount of overall fiscal responsibility at all levels of government is astonishing). But we do need to have the proper number of law enforcement officer protecting our towns, cities and states. And these officers need the appropriate amount of training, resources and political support to do their jobs.
I'm not suggesting for a moment that there is no fat to trim in local law enforcement budgets. But that isn't what the Radical Left means when they talk about this issue.
They are looking for radical change.
And they are perfectly content in using the current racial and political climate to their advantage to achieve their lifelong desire to undermine law enforcement.
We simply cannot allow the Radical Left and anarchists to use these current circumstances to advance their radical ideology under the guise of racial justice.
We're happy to discuss, understand and find a reasonable solution to any problem that may exist in law enforcement, but none of these proposed ideas are part of that.
If the Black Lives Matter movement really wants cooperation from the rest of us, they'll stop talking in platitudes and generalities, and give us something specific that is both reasonable and relevant.
Until then, I'll continue asking, "What now?"