American Elephants

What if the Claims Of The Black Lives Matter Movement are Plain Fiction? by The Elephant's Child

Five American police officers have been killed in just the last four days. All were killed in the line of duty. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said that at least three other U.S. law enforcement officers died from gunfire in the line of duty just this year, and we’re not even halfway through February. Abingdon, Maryland; Fargo, North Dakota; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Riverdale, Georgia.

One hundred and twenty four officers died in the line of duty last year —more than two each week.

A television ad for Hillary Clinton’s campaign that is now airing in South Carolina shows Hillary declaring that “too many encounters with law enforcement end tragically.” She adds later “We have to face up to the hard truth of injustice and systemic racism.”

Bernie Sanders tweeted dramatically about “fighting hard to end racism and reform our broken criminal justice system.” Then he went on ‘the View’ and said “It is not acceptable to see unarmed people being shot by police officers.” Apparently candidates believe that building on the propaganda of the Black Lives Matter movement is the appropriate way to court minority voters.

Heather MacDonald is a recognized expert in matters dealing with policing, with crime, and with the criminal justice system in general and distinguishing fact from fiction. She says:

But what if the Black Lives Matter movement is based on fiction? Not just the fictional account of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., but the utter misrepresentation of police shootings generally.

To judge from Black Lives Matter protesters and their media and political allies, you would think that killer cops pose the biggest threat to young black men today. But this perception, like almost everything else that many people think they know about fatal police shootings, is wrong.

The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year to try to correct acknowledged deficiencies in the federal counts.

Fatal police shootings make up a much bigger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black deaths. In 2015, officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. The majority of the victims of police shootings were attacking the officer often with a gun. It is also a myth that white officers are particularly prone to shoot innocent blacks.

A March 2015 report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed. A study of crime scenes where gunfire is involved in 2015, found that black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014, compared with 5,397 homicide deaths of whites and Hispanics combined.

Blacks make up roughly 15 percent of the population, but are 26 percent of police-shooting victims. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. The Black Lives Matter movement has been effective in encouraging attacks on the police, which in turn makes policemen reluctant to police black neighborhoods. And a notable consequence is that fewer young men are ready to sign up for the police academy and police work.

Of course there are some bad cops, there are some bad teachers, there  are poor performers in every profession. But police officers sign on to protect the citizens, knowing that they may face danger or death every day, and they just want to be able to go home at night. And the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not quite what you think it is, and not quite what they pretend to be.


We Need More Communication About Militarization. by The Elephant's Child

Police militarization has worried a lot of people. Some of the vehicles that police departments have acquired are distinctly scary. Most of us whose encounters with the police are limited to exceeding the speed limit can’t imagine being confronted with an officer in full military gear, helmet and assault weapon.

Policing is intended to protect civilians and communities, it is defensive in nature. But there are exceptions, and there are crazy people, and there are riots and armed standoffs. Apparently one of the worst situations is a confrontation with meth-cookers who can be heavily armed and high on drugs.

We want our police to be safe. They apply to do dangerous work, and train in how to deal with bad situations. Domestic disputes can elevate into something truly dangerous to everybody nearby.

The solution, as in most things, is communication. Show the vehicles and the equipment to the public. Kids would love to see an ex-military MRAP (Mine-resistant ambush-protected) vehicle. A community that understands why their department acquired such a vehicle, why the department thinks it necessary, and something about their training and goals.

Panic comes when police show up with unexpected and unnecessary force. Understanding defuses scary situations.

On the other hand, I don’t understand why the Agriculture Department needs a swat team armed with machine guns.

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