Now we have two Democratic presidential candidates saying that a white policeman was committing murder when he shot and killed an innocent black man in Ferguson, Mo. In fact, a tediously careful federal investigation cleared the officer of anything criminal, just the defense of his own life, but that has not stopped Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris from what is either inexcusable ignorance or spirited political opportunism helping to stir up racial enmity.
Their deceptive statements make things worse, not better, after the horrific mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, aimed at killing Hispanics. The leftist concoction today is that it's not just President Donald Trump who is a racist; it's his supporters, most Republicans, confused conservatives and of course cops, police, these villains of society.
The Ferguson incident sparked similar arguments about policemen, and soon enough we had riots in Ferguson and outrage throughout the country growing worse as other police shootings of black people occurred. The fact is that the young man who was shot, Michael Brown, had just recently stolen some cigarillos from a store and punched the policeman in the face as he sat is his car. DNA tests helped prove as much. Later the massively sized 18-year-old rushed at the policeman despite demands he stop and, if the cop had said, oh well, so what, Brown could have wrestled away his gun and blown his brains out.
Some witnesses, who happened to be black and courageous, verified this story, but here we are, five years later, and Warren and Harris are verifying their inability to serve in the White House. Even some liberal commentators are having at them, if not their debate-stage comrades named Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O'Rourke. They spout a similar yarn while at least avoiding the word "murder."
Heather Mac Donald, a researcher at the Manhattan Institute, has persuasively contended that vicious condemnation of police makes police less proactive and heightened homicides and other crimes in large cities in the last two years of the critical Obama administration. The stats went down after the election of Trump, someone who spoke well of police.
There obviously are bad cops and there obviously is mistreatment of black Americans, and the Ferguson police operation did appear racially prejudiced. But a recent study published by the National Academy of Sciences shows that white policemen are no more likely to shoot black civilians than black policemen and that there is no police-shooting epidemic.
Many police around the country are right now working for better community relationships, and that is good. What's needed generally is more mutual understanding, more principled, reasonable compromise, an understanding of how slavery and Jim Crow have their sad legacies, along with an appreciation of how far we have come. All sorts of major cultural issues are at devious work behind the scenes, and we should engage with them. What we don't need is factually amiss name-calling as a substitute for debate.
To be calling everyone you disagree with a racist all the time is to trivialize this most excruciating of characterizations into just an angry, confused way of talking.
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