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Why #BlackLivesMatter July 15, 2016

Posted by federalist in Police, Social Politics.

First they came for the blacks, and I did not speak out – because I was not black.

The “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement is about two problems: racism and policing.  Critics of BLM confuse themselves by addressing questions of racism when they should really be focusing on what race is revealing about the police.

Nobody denies that as a subpopulation black Americans are disproportionately violent and criminal.  Based on that observation, it is not unreasonable to expect that proper law enforcement will have a disproportionate effect on black Americans.

But BLM isn’t about statistics.  It’s about individuals, and the dignity that every American deserves at the hands of public servants.  And it’s a warning about the kinds of people who are allowed to work as police officers, and the kind of behavior that is tolerated within their ranks.

We know that there are people who, when given the opportunity, will exploit authority for sadistic pleasure.  These sadists will for their own amusement harass, humiliate, torture, and even kill others.  Law enforcement fosters precisely the circumstances that attract and facilitate such sadistic behavior.  BLM is trying to alert us to the widespread institutional failures to address and control such police behavior.

BLM is the canary in the coal mine.  The black subpopulation will be the first to detect a culture of police brutality and corruption, and will suffer its effects most severely.  But every American is at risk when police are given institutional protection to abuse their authority.  BLM critics shouldn’t assume that the “bad apples” in law enforcement only harass black criminals, or that collateral damage is limited to upstanding black citizens who should understand that racial profiling is an unfortunate but necessary evil in our effort to maintain law and order.

Sadistic police can and do target all citizens.  One can readily find daily accounts of abuses perpetrated by virtually unaccountable police cowards hiding behind their fellow officers, their union, and the qualified immunity enjoyed by government agents.

All those who offer unqualified support for this police institution must understand that they share culpability for every incident in which an officer harasses, tortures, or unjustly kills a citizen.  They should also realize that, no matter their race or social status, they could be the next victim of police brutality.


1. Pamela Flynn - July 15, 2016

I confess I’m one who’s dismissed BLM because I dislike their tactics. But your point is well-stated: of course policing will attract some sadistic people. It’s not enough to shrug them off with “every group has a few bad apples” because police have too much power. So far the courts seem to be punishing the worst offenders (after they’ve killed an innocent person), but how hard is it to create a police culture of “zero tolerance” for abuse of power? Are cops encouraged to report police over-reach, much less brutality? Why not?

federalist - July 15, 2016

This is the problem: Though legally cops are required to arrest and charge any perpetrator of a crime they witness, they have been indoctrinated with an “us vs. them” mentality. Not only is their first instinct to “cover” for fellow officers when there’s a questionable incident, but also their unions reinforce something of an “above-the-law” status in contracts and even in state statutes.

The undercurrent of abuse does not frequently rise to the level of clearly prosecutable misconduct. Now that police are almost always recorded while on duty, they have developed all sorts of habits to cover for questionable behavior. For example, they know not to say, “I’m pulling over a vehicle because it’s being driven by a black guy in a white neighborhood, and I’m in a bad mood so I’m going to give him a hard time.” Instead they might wink and say, “That vehicle made an unsafe lane-change.” Or, “The driver resembles a robbery suspect because he has a broad nose.”

When assaulting a citizen they know to shout, “Stop resisting!” even if the person is perfectly compliant (or already unconscious), since that verbal declaration will be accepted as evidence that they were justified in using what would otherwise be excessive (and felonious) force. Neither proximate cops nor cameras can often tell for sure what’s going on, and so the sadist gets the benefit of the doubt, and may even be reinforced by colleagues who take him at his word.

If an officer will not be prosecuted for misconduct, or there is any doubt he will be convicted, virtually no other officer will risk crossing “the thin blue line.” Cops that have blown the whistle on police corruption have been routinely shunned and terrorized by their colleagues. Again, there is ample reading to be had on that problem. Just as an example is this article I found in a police magazine.

2. CJ - August 17, 2016

This is a very interesting post, as well as perspective on the stance of the BLM movement. For the most part, I agree with you about the issue of police brutality against citizens in this country. It is in fact widespread, and it affects every race, and culture in this nation, with a disproportionate aggregate of Black Americans being targeted.
However, I cannot say that I find your argument as a whole, compelling enough to sway my opinion to agree that the BLM policy, is to bring attention to, “…, the dignity that every American deserves at the hands of public servants.”

So far, I do not consider that statement as entirely accurate, due to the focus of a single race that is suffering at the hands of unwarranted police attention, and oversight. Additionally, the name of this organization alone, creates a cultural caricature of sorts, that denies such a statement as true on the face, when it fails to bring a voice to those Americans that have suffered at the hands of police brutality, whose skin color differs from an African American person.

As a supporter of the BLM movement, will you please elaborate as to why you believe this movement serves the above agenda? I ask because I want to understand this movement more, and I would love to hear opinions from the perspective of supporters who voice their views in the written narrative.

Also, I am not a supporter of this movement (which is fairly obvious at this point) though I believe in the general cause of the ideology behind the roots of the organization itself. That is, I believe that the issue of police brutality against vulnerable parts of the population, minorities, the homeless, and the poor, needs to be recognized as a systematic problem America is plagued with; one that needs to be dealt with by addressing the issue with those affected, and doing the affecting towards potential victims.

Thank you so much.


3. NRA crosses a line with #BackOurBlue campaign | Federalist - August 23, 2017

[…] Protect those in need? Well, at least when they feel like it. (And when they aren’t assaulting, robbing, or killing those in need.) […]

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