What Responsibility Do Black Americans Have to Prevent Police Shootings?

The job of the police is to deal with the dangerous, deranged people that the rest of us would rather avoid. Because of that, a number of police officers are going to kill people who pull out guns, attack them, act in a bizarre and dangerous ways that makes them think they have a weapon they are about to pull out, etc., etc., etc.

Under perfect circumstances, even if everything is followed to the letter of the law, the police are going to kill people every year.

This is an unavoidable reality.

Additionally, it is also an unavoidable reality that some people from all races, including black Americans, are going to be killed by the police. The good news if you are black is that you are no more likely to be killed by the police than people of other races, but, don’t take my word for it. Here’s the ultra-liberal New York Times,

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California.

Moreover, many more white Americans than black Americans are killed by the police. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it. According to the ultra-liberal Washington Post, there were almost twice as many white Americans killed by the police as black Americans in 2015.

Federal tallies of lethal police shootings are notoriously incomplete; the Post sought to correct that lacuna by searching news sites and other information sources for reports of officer-involved homicides. The results: As of Jan. 15, the Post had documented 987 victims of fatal police shootings in 2015, about twice the number historically recorded by federal agencies. Whites were 50 percent of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent. By comparison, whites are 62 percent of the U.S. population, and blacks, 13 percent.

If anything, given that “Blacks commit violent crimes at 7 to 10 times the rate that whites do,” black Americans seem to be underrepresented in the number of people shot by the police.

Taking a human being’s life is an enormous thing and any time a cop does that, he should face an intense investigation. If it’s found that a cop killed someone needlessly, then he should face a trial for it. Furthermore, more police body cams are a good thing. So are better training and improved community relations efforts from the police.

However, the crux of the problem IS NOT THE POLICE. Let me repeat that; the crux of the problem here IS NOT THE POLICE.

The real core of the issue that no one seems to want to address is that a significant percentage of black Americans seem to believe that they should be able to do dumb and dangerous things around the police without facing any repercussions for it. Of course, there are people of all races who do dumb and dangerous things around the police. However, the difference is that if some white guy with a rap sheet as long as his arm resists arrest, attacks a cop and gets shot, there aren’t going to be any white people walking around with “Stop Killing Us” signs. On the other hand, if the situation is identical in every other way but the criminal in question is black, people will come out of the woodwork to defend his behavior and there may even be riots.

Even after rioting had begun in Charlotte over Keith Scott being killed, local NAACP Leader Corine Mack said, “I think the most important part is the contrast in him having a book versus a gun. But in my mind and in most of the community’s mind, it really doesn’t matter if he had a gun.”

That is simultaneously profoundly stupid and correct. It’s correct in that apparently, most of the people protesting in Charlotte didn’t care whether Keith Scott had a gun or a book in his hand when he was shot. On the other hand, it’s profoundly stupid because if you start behaving erratically around a police officer and have a gun in your hand, he is justified in shooting you. If you want to say that’s not justified, then you are essentially saying that you don’t want to have a police force because you are asking cops to be willing to die rather than kill someone who’s putting their lives in danger.

Since police officers are not willing to die at the hands of the Michael Browns and Keith Scotts of the world, they’re starting to avoid black communities altogether which creates a spike in crime. As Heather Mac Donald explains, the Ferguson effect is real and it is killing people.

How did the Ferguson effect affect Ferguson, Mo., last year? Precisely as you would expect. The little city of 21,059 already had a disproportionately high crime rate, as anyone observing the behavior of Michael Brown before he was fatally shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in August 2014 would have guessed. In 2014, Ferguson’s violent-crime rate was 545 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, considerably above the 2014 national average of 362. But in 2015, the number of violent crimes in Ferguson surged 65 percent, from 115 to 190. Ferguson’s violent-crime rate in 2015 was 790 per 100,000 residents, over two times the national average of 373 in 2015. By comparison, the FBI estimates that the absolute number of the nation’s violent crimes rose nearly 4 percent in 2015, and the nation’s violent-crime rate rose 3 percent.

This is a consequence of perfectly rational behavior by the police. They know that if some thug high on bath salts comes at a cop with a knife and gets shot, there aren’t going to be any riots if he’s white. White Americans don’t look at a situation like that and think, “Wow! That could have been my son.” They think, “Wow, too bad that guy was killed, but he didn’t give the cop much choice.”

On the other hand, if the exact same situation happens and the criminal in question is black, you may have riots, a DOJ investigation, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton calling the department racist, attacks on officers, etc., etc. This may happen even if the police officer who shoots the criminal is black and the police chief is black. In part, that’s because in the aftermath of a shooting, the most ludicrously stupid stories are treated as gospel without waiting for an investigation. “He was standing there with his hands up.” “Oh, he was holding a book when he was killed.” “He was teaching a four year old girl how to read Korean before his church group started when the cop crossed the street to shoot him in the back for no reason!”

All black Americans don’t do this, but there are apparently enough morons who think this way to create an irrational riot almost everywhere and that’s a bigger problem than anything the police are doing. Corrupt or incompetent cops who kill people without good reason can be jailed. The majority of cops, who are good guys trying to do the right thing, can get more training. Officers can also be given body cams to help keep everyone on their best behavior, but none of that fixes large numbers of violent idiots who think it’s acceptable to loot the local Wal-Mart because a criminal with a gun gets shot by the police. You can say it’s unfair to put it like that, but Black Lives Matter Leader DeRay McKesson explicitly defended looting in a course he taught at Yale and judging by the behavior we’ve seen in places like Ferguson and Charlotte, he’s far from an anomaly. Until black Americans look in the mirror and address the bad behavior and illogical thinking that everyone sees in this area, but no one talks about, nothing is going to fundamentally change with the police and more good people are going to die as the cops pull back from black communities.

This was originally published at Townhall.

John Hawkins writes two weekly columns for Townhall. Additionally, his work has also been published at the Washington Examiner, The Hill, TPNN, Hot Air, The Huffington Post and at Human Events.

Facebook Comments




  1. Doreen Gaffney Barr

    EXACTLY RIGHT ON THE MONEY. But any of those same morons after reading this article will blow it off as “Racist ” and instead of learning something they’ll use it as their excuse for the next riot.

  2. Harleyrose

    With a lawful Trump administration, a lawful DoJ and a lawful Attorney General advocating heavy for law ENFORCEMENT, maybe America can finally get relief from our Black Crime Fatigue!
    The liberal cities are taking the brunt of the BLM madness…so far!
    But when Trump wins on Nov.9, it could go nuclear! Especially if the insane Democrats attempt some hostile DC takeover or something. That would just cause flat-out revolution and all bets would be off.
    Even in the best case scenario, the two months between Trump’s win and swearing in will be ….interesting!
    Situational awareness at all times, people!

  3. StillFree2Think

    In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).

    But as data scientists and policing experts often note, comparing how many or how often white people are killed by police to how many or how often black people are killed by the police is statistically dubious unless you first adjust for population.

    According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.

    U.S. police officers have shot and killed the exact same number of unarmed white people as they have unarmed black people: 50 each. But because the white population is approximately five times larger than the black population, that means unarmed black Americans were five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer.

    • Michael Sullivan

      6% of the population, those being young black males, commit 50% of the murders in the United States. Body counts are not open to debate.

  4. StillFree2Think

    No the problem isn’t Police- It IS Police Policy that started this entire MESS. I Do NOT Condone ANY Violence Against Civilians OR Police Example: If Police are using tactical Un provoked methods making a ‘suspect’ react in survival instinct then killing them That is not right either. It Is INDIVIDUALS ON BOTH SIDES Same As It Ever Was. EXCESSIVE FORCE IS A CRIME.Period… BY ANYONE. How can we feel Safer With Police presence if their Policy is to put THEIR ‘Comfort & Safety’ ABOVE Ours? There has always been a few bad on all sides but There also has been a great respect for the hard job police do… but when those few bad [unfit to police] are protected it ruins the balance of respect. Noone argues that an attacking suspect needs to be dealt with. Let’s not blur up the issue. I have seen videos – too many- that are unacceptable in the rush to severe force and the duration of it and it all starts with a lack of respect for the rights of citizens,,, WE KNOW THE CRIMINALS NEED TO BE APPREHENDED- But The Other Unarmed suspect Violence Should NOT Be Tolerated AT ALL. THAT Is the ONLY Way This Will Get Back A Healthy Balance. This Propaganda Just Aggravates from both sides.

    • Michael Sullivan

      Propaganda is the right word. The cop in Ferguson was propagandized right out of his job, and same propaganda sparked and supported the riots. The recent shooting in North Carolina same thing–propaganda via social media telling lies about a “book holding” peaceful fellow couldn’t be further from the truth. What should be noted by proud open thinkers like yourself is that the clearly false lies in these two cases (and many others) were adopted as a narrative by the mass media and not corrected. All reasonable people want bad cops, corrupt cops, off the job and in jail. We always have, throughout history, and always will. Largely this is done. What we are seeing now however is the twisting and disregard of Truth in order to create collective tribe-based conflicts in these United States, most likely in an effort to destabilize The Republic. Your attempt at fence sitting, given these facts, is naivety at best.

    • Doreen Gaffney Barr

      Blacks make no bones about how they feel about Police. So Police go into the situation much more defensive. Works both ways.

  5. halimacandy

    Resistance to subjugation and oppression and the call for social equity and parity is in the wind, nothing will stop the fight for liberation and social justice, human rights is must and the struggle continues!!LA LUTA CONTINUA!!

    • Michael Sullivan

      Hi there cutie pie. My, aren’t you a non-working treasonous parasite who wishes to overthrow Liberty. It is interesting to me how you treasonous pukes are always either government workers( for the feds or universities), on the government dole, or attending university. Yes, that is interesting indeed. None of you labor, none of you labor with others; most of you disdain labor, honest work, itself. I suppose you think you are above that.

    • alli

      You have all of that, you simply choose not to choose it for yourself. Your rights are no more important that anyone else’s rights. Stop trying to be a victim.

  6. halimacandy

    No JUSTICE! NO PEACE! no justice! no peace!, every american deserves the respect entitled in the constitution,latest police use of force!!!100++plus bullets !! this is irresponsible!!!, a danger to innocent lives , no other community other than the Black community is placed in danger on both ends”police vs. thieves’ ..the rest of us are in the middle, we know the thieves will be jailed or killed!! the criminal will go to court or killed, but when the police act carelessly there is no reprecussions!! WTF! the people next door maybe shot dead, people/children down the street shot up, everybody on that block , placed in danger by flying bullets,collateral damage!!! iraq,iran, afghan and the ghetto occupied by police force!!! no where else no other community is treated so hapharzdly!!no justice ! no peace! we can not police away social injustice and social inequality!!!

    • Michael Sullivan

      You are so stupid and wrong headed it boggles the mind. Chicago is where kids and Workers are being shot buddy, and it’s not by the cops. The same applies in Ferguson and other cities. The no-snitch norm allows a safe zone for killers and The People suffer as a consequence. All We want to do is go to work, raise families, and live in peace. All you are about is EGO. You are an infection. Don’t mandate the cure buddy, because you won’t like it.

      • StillFree2Think

        Your inability to respect the valid point of another citizen is a problem. Are you in law enforcement? We need to have more respect across the board.

        • Michael Sullivan

          Criminals killers and gang members deserve not respect, but rather death. I am a common worker. No more and no less.

        • Harleyrose

          Y’all do nothing to deserve respect! Exactly the opposite! You are distrusted and disrespected for VERY good reason!
          See ya Jan.21 for President Trump’s Law and Order kickoff!!

    • Katrina

      Just copy and paste the same nonsense over and over. You might at least appear intelligent if you based your comments on facts and some thought.

    • Harleyrose

      Uh, your inequality is because you act like an asshole and won’t get educated. Pretty simple.
      And if we had true justice in our nation (impossible under the Kenyan) your justice would have been meted out after Trayvon and we would not have years of your ignorance, death and destruction!

    • Doreen Gaffney Barr

      No where else do the neighbors and innocent bystanders refuse to help the police arrest the criminals.

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