In Ferguson, Missouri earlier tonight, it was announced that the grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson in the killing of ‘unarmed teenager’ Michael Brown. If you are like me, your Facebook news feed was filled with friends waxing poetic about how racist America is, and how morally superior they are for calling it out. Since Brown was black, and Wilson was white, the only reason Wilson could have possibly gotten off is racism. Institutionalized white racism. At least that seems to be how the left views it.
The grand jury had access to more knowledge, information, and evidence than anyone in the public, or in the media. So what leg do those who think the jury made the wrong decision have to stand on? Nothing. Those condemning the decision did not review all the evidence before making these statements. It’s all just a moral play. They want to feel good about themselves, even if they, like most people, as well as myself, are ignorant when it comes to all of the facts. What matters is feelings. Emotions. Not logic. Not evidence.
Throughout the saga in Ferguson, people on the political right have repeatedly brought up the fact that 93% of murdered blacks are killed by other blacks in the US. The left tends to respond by calling this a distraction, in essence moving the goalpost away from unfair treatment of minorities by police. I agree in part, it does change the debate. Unfair treatment of minorities does happen, and needs to be addressed. But at the same time, this statistic is brought up not to trivialize or go after the passions of those in ferguson, but rather to take the protesting voices seriously.
“Black Lives Matter” is a key meme that has been thrown around these last few months. If black lives matter, then we should work towards maximizing the number of black lives who are saved, correct? Therefore, focusing on white on black violence (whether its violent police officers, or citizens) primarily, or exclusively, is bad policy, since only 7% of homicide related black deaths are caused by non-blacks. Finding ways to make black communities safer would save far more black lives than spending endless amounts of political capital on a handful of police killings. So isn’t making these communities safer what we want? Or would we rather score symbolic points against the evil establishment?
With my generation, it’s the latter. If you care about reducing the number of police who patrol black communities, in order to stop the next Michael Brown from dying, what you have to do is reduce crime. Any serious discussion of saving black lives should start there. But that makes me a racist. So I’ll shut up now.