The brouhaha over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner shows no sign of dying down: instead, it appears to be escalating. A number of developments have caught my eye.
First, the iconoclastic Fred Reed has some advice for police caught up in this mess.
It is blindingly clear that nothing but trouble results when cops interact with criminals in places of high diversity. It makes no sense to meddle. It is racism. It is irresponsible. It leads to arson. It needs to stop.
And it can.
If you were a young white cop just out of the academy, and asked my advice, I would say, "When on the street, mind your own business." For example, if you see a drug dealer on the corner peddling rock, what should you do? Nothing. Doing nothing protects you, protects the dealer, and keeps the locals from burning the neighborhood. As a police officer, it is your duty to protect.
Do nothing. Here's why: Let us suppose that the dealer is young, weighs 290 and, when you try to arrest him, says, "Fuck off, whitey." You are 35, 180, and haven't been to the gym for a while. What can you do?
You could call for backup and five of you could swarm the guy, but that looks bad to the population. ("Dem white muhfuhs be gangin' up on a brotha.") Your other choices are try to wrestle him down, pepper-spray him, Tase him, club him, or shoot him. All of these are ugly to watch and upset the locals.
All have a chance of ending unhappily. The perp has asthma and the pepper spray does him in, or has a weak heart and the Taser croaks him.
Then here come Jesse and Al, Barack and Eric, the Four Horsemen of the Acopalypse. You will be raped in the media, lose your job and your mortgage, goodbye retirement, and face six months of media circus, death threats against your family, civil suits by the family and civil-rights charges by the feds.
Don't risk it. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Leave drug peddlers alone. Don't get involved.
Nonintervention, note, will please everybody. If your department really is brutal, as all are said to be, you can't be brutal if you leave people alone. Complaints about misbehavior will diminish, pleasing blacks and liberals, and this will make your chief happy.
There's more at the link. Judging by reports from New York city, police there may already be doing precisely as he suggests.
Next, note where minority populations are more dense, and adjust behavior accordingly when in or near those areas. John Farnam's sage advice applies here too (scroll down at the link to find it).
I note that Malik Shabazz, former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, has called on his followers to "build up that army", including "going to the gun range". Frankly, I think this is an excellent idea. After all, self-defense is an individual right. It doesn't apply only to members of certain races. If members of the Black community wish to equip and train themselves so as to better defend themselves, I'm all in favor. If certain groups or individuals use that equipment and training for purposes other than self-defense, that will be an indication that it's house-cleaning time in America. I don't see a downside here.
More and more, as Thomas Sowell wisely points out, when it comes to racial issues and tensions facts appear to be obsolete. The current state of race relations in America is proof of that. Since we can't rely on others to stick to the facts, we'd better make sure we know them, and observe the precautions suggested by them.