As I’m a little tired of writing, as I’m not sure we’ll reach one another. You may never recognize crime stats for what they are: An imperfect, but best picture we have at seeing real crime, and who participates. Creative minds can try to splinter away parts, but bottom line: How can you say one group isn’t involved (repeat offenders) and not another. And I said it before: A vast majority of any group are NOT involved in crime. The SOURCE of disparities is poverty, and a legacy of racism and exploitation.
These statements should uncontroversial, but for some reason they are. Could it be a New Correctness where anything outside an ideology that’s solely critical of the power structure is deemed apologist at best, and racist at worse? We don’t really need more “thought police.” (I jest. I love George Orwell, but find “Orwellian” and references to 1984 are overly used in culture.)
But to answer a question on police use-of-force, I wrote this in March as my first Medium post:
I’ll write another column about how police are not being held accountable by a factor of 5 to 10, meaning that the 1% of police shootings being held accountable and punished, give or take, is also bullshit. But I’ll also point out that if 10% of police shootings were out-of-line, for an average human no matter race/age/sex, you’re also 110 times more likely to be shot-and-killed by your fellow human (110 bodies to 1 unjustly killed by police). And if black, you’re 175 times more likely to be shot dead than killed in any manner by police (175:1). So who are you fearing, again? The racist? The cop? Or Billy down the street?
It’s my belief that people are sick of “the sky is falling down” hyperbole that’s not substantiated by reasoning, balance, facts-on-the-ground, or nuance. The racist cop isn’t going to kill you 99 times out of 100, necessarily (yes, some do). It’s your neighbor, your husband, your wife (maybe not the girlfriend/wife by a factor of 10+ because murder is still gendered). The police officer (“po po”) may treat you badly ‘cos your skin is dark, and they may very well be treating you badly ‘cos you’re cursing them out or raising your voice when they’re talking to you. What potentially happens when tensions raise? Violence. That doesn’t make the person pulling the trigger always right, but how often do we have to agree every death in custody — cough, Sandra Bland — is emblematic of racial injustice killing people? Or can we simply understand in a country with a gun for every man, woman and child and 1.2 million violent crime arrests per year, and a shit-ton of paranoia, bad shootings will happen. Maybe you know this already.
We can and should do better, and my future argument will address that. As many as 50 to 100, or even 300 police killings can be prevented through radical change in police policy (yet maybe more cops could be killed or hurt, we’ll see). Politicians should seek correctives, in key areas, as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are (though, I see them pandering, as well).
So I come back to what I said this after the Ferguson decision: Let’s not treat one another as “the enemy.” Let’s give some respect. And let’s start by respecting the facts in proportion to reality.