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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Alton Sterling, Dallas, and the Voices of Unreason


Nobody wants to feel that their life is hanging by a fragile thread, subject to the slightest disruption, ready to snap and fall into the abyss. We want to feel safe and secure. We want to be able to trust that we can go from place to place and not be in mortal danger. We especially want to feel that those sworn to protect us will keep us from harm, not be sources of harm.

These are false expectations, of course. Our lives are constantly at risk. Being hit by a car, struck by lightning, having a seizure or a stroke while on the toilet--these and many more random events take the lives of people constantly. However, we cherish the illusion of security in a random world. This is why the idea of a police officer killing an unarmed citizen is such an abominable thing to society. We don't want to believe that a simple mistake could cost us our lives.

However, for race-baiting opportunists to label law-enforcement as racist murderers is both tragic and farcical. As Dinesh D'Souza pointed out in The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society, there is a difference between racism and profiling. Racism is the belief that one race is inherently superior or inferior to another on biological grounds. The inferiority is an innate, inborn quality that cannot be overcome. Profiling is simply the acknowledgement that different groups of people, for cultural reasons, believe and behave according to patterns. He gives the example of a taxi driver avoiding black passengers. The taxi driver might indeed detest black people in general and thus be a genuine racist. Another possibility is that the driver knows the crime rate in Harlem and doesn't want to go there.

I know, it still feels racist, even as I write it out. But logic doesn't concern itself with such feelings. I had a similar experience in Ecuador. I tried to hire a taxi to take me to the area in which I was serving as a missionary. The driver refused to go, saying it was dangerous, so we agreed to be dropped off at the freeway exit. Odds are that this driver, or someone he knew, had been the victim of the residents of that neighborhood.

Law-enforcement officers interact with a great many people on a daily basis. Much of this interaction is negative. They observe patterns and types of people, not merely racial groups but cultural ones. A group of young people sagging their pants and wearing baseball caps with the tags still on, whatever their race, is going to get more police scrutiny than a group of young men in properly-fitting Boy Scout uniforms. Unfortunately, the culture of sagging pants and disdain for authority figures is more prevalent in some races than others. (If only we could make that culture disappear!) Thus we see that a disproportionate number of certain races will be scrutinized due to cultural cues.

It is culture, not color, that is the determining factor.

It is itself a breed of racism that we tend to identify the two as one. Our DNA does not come with a culture. If it did, there would be only four cultures in all of the world, one for each race. (Some argue that there are five races, but let's not over-complicate things.) Police learn quickly that interaction with the ghetto-welfare culture tends to be negative, and that this culture is much more prone to criminal activity. My term, the ghetto-welfare culture, is much kinder than Ken Hamblin's term, by the way.


With regard to the Alton Sterling case, as with others, the issue is the inherent resistance to authority of the ghetto-welfare culture. Sterling was a repeat offender, in and out of the criminal justice system many times. He knew what to do to be arrested peacefully, and he failed to do that. As a convicted felon, he was not allowed to have a firearm.

Some groups, such as Black Lives Matter, assume from the start that if an African-American is shot by police, the police are guilty. This is ridiculous. They also assume that police are supposed to allow their attacker to get a shot or two in before retaliating. This is also ridiculous. The television trope of a police officer shouting to a suspect "drop your weapon" three or four times before taking the shot is inaccurate and leads people to have false expectations. If a person is resisting arrest and police have reasonable suspicion to believe that he or she has or is reaching for a weapon, police can and will shoot. What else are they supposed to do? If the suspect were allowed to fire first, we'd be running very short on police in this country.

It is time that Black Lives Matter as well as other militant groups (FYF comes to mind) be treated as the criminal organizations they are. According to the RICO statute, originally designed to shut down the Mafia, members of a criminal organization can be charged with crimes of which any member is guilty. Once we establish that those who target police have an association with BLM, we can arrest the whole group and hold it accountable. It is high time that we do so.

Al Sharpton and other career racialists also need to be shut up by a bold presentation of the facts. They'll rant and rave, call us names, and pout like angry three-year-olds, but the truth will out. Voices of reason say, "Look at all of the evidence before you make a conclusion." Voices of unreason, like BLM, Sharpton, FYF and others, say, "Damn the evidence! We're mad!"

It's sad that we have allowed the voices of unreason to dominate the discussion on these issues. An illogical society won't last long--look what happened to the Soviet Union.  

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