Opinion Extra

Stopping the war on cops

Law enforcement officers salute Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens before his funeral Wednesday; Mr Ahrens was one of five officers were slain by a sniper during a protest last week in Dallas.
Law enforcement officers salute Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens before his funeral Wednesday; Mr Ahrens was one of five officers were slain by a sniper during a protest last week in Dallas. AP

There’s a virtual war on cops. It has been ginned up by grotesquely distorted accusations of anti-black police racism, and the tragic irony is that a thoroughly denounced, less proactively aggressive police force has resulted in more murderous misery in already beaten-up black neighborhoods.

PARKER: Eye of the beholder

SCOPPE: What if they were your neighbors?

ANALYSIS: Divide between Black, Blue movements widens after shootings

This virtual war began to take on aspects of the real thing when a mentally demented, hateful, black sniper in Dallas shot 12 policemen, killing five. That was followed by screeching protesters in another setting throwing concrete at police.

The Dallas horror, planned for some time, had been preceded only a few days earlier by fatal police shootings of two black men. Nationwide protests against police racism were generated by videos that, without question, were dramatically disturbing. But they did not supply all the details needed for a final verdict nor demonstrate that whites would not have met the same fate.

After all, in 2015, police shot 494 whites compared to 258 blacks, and while blacks are just 13 percent of the population, they commit far more crimes than whites. Here is a point too many analysts miss, but not Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute think tank whose just-published book is titled, The War on Cops. She observes that blacks commit 57 percent of all murders and 40 percent of all police shootings. Black murders are mainly committed by blacks, and the annual number is around 6,000, more than whites and Hispanics together.

Lots of statistics could be piled on these, but what they add up to is that police on a daily basis are confronting far more blacks in difficult, threatening situations than whites. It should not be surprising to any intellectually honest person, then, that they shoot more blacks as a percentage of the total than whites. Precious few of those shootings have been proved unjustified, and various reputable studies say they are not racist, including a recent one by a black economist at Harvard.

Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings

But protestors are not convinced, numerous pundits do not seem convinced, and President Barack Obama has not seemed convinced. In a memorial speech in Dallas, he said many positive, heartening things: The nation is less divided than it sometimes seems, police have tough jobs, and much is being asked of police when “we ask too little of ourselves.” But he repeated his core charge that there are all sorts of racial biases embedded in the criminal justice system, not only feeding misbegotten attitudes but leading to wrong solutions.

We all know most blacks are law-abiding people who contribute mightily to this nation. We know racism still afflicts them. We know there are bad cops out there, just as there are bad people in any large group. But if this particular discussion leaves out mention of black crime rates, an essential part of the context is missing. For instance, you get all kinds of federal interventions in local police forces that do more demonizing than teaching of tactics that, if the teachers knew anything, might help.

What’s needed is more attention to interracial cultural problems that happen to be hitting blacks especially hard. One is single-parent homes that make it far more likely children will later involve themselves in crime.

Re-establishing family is no easy matter, but showing more respect for cops is. From 1993 to today, gun homicides in America came down by almost half, and one reason among several was almost certainly more and improved policing.

Right now, owing largely to government-abetted outrage over police shootings (including the one in Ferguson, Mo., in which the Justice Department found the officer guiltless), police seem to have become less proactive, Mac Donald says. Last year and the first quarter this year, homicides have been increasing significantly in the nation’s largest cities, meaning large numbers of black deaths. Respect for cops is needed. Don’t black lives matter?

Contact Mr. Ambrose at speaktojay@aol.com.

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