A Brief History
In the past few days the United States has been rocked by two incidents of police shooting black men portrayed by the media as unnecessary shootings, and by the families and friends of those two men as cold blooded murders of innocent and hard working citizens that did nothing wrong. This outrage was culminated (for now?) in a horrific attack on Dallas, Texas police who were maintaining order at a Black Lives Matter protest march last night, resulting in 11 police officers shot, 5 of which have already died, as well as a civilian wounded and at least one gunman/sniper dead. Police under fire still attempted to protect the protesters that seconds before had been chanting, “Fuck the police!”
What about the incidents that started this national nightmare? In the case of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana this so called “loving family man only trying to make a living” was shot and killed by police as he fought with police on the ground. Police had been called to the Triple S Food Mart for a report of an armed man (Sterling) threatening another man with a gun. Responding officers attempted to secure Sterling to check him out, at which time the armed Sterling refused to cooperate and was Tasered by the police, though the Taser was ineffective. The police then wrestled the large (310 pound) suspect to the ground, when someone yelled, “He’s got a gun,” after which Sterling was shot and killed by the police on top of him. A black military veteran has subsequently demonstrated why the shooting was justified.
Once again, a criminal doing something wrong that does not cooperate with the police, that actually physically resists the police, and in this case is illegally armed is shot dead and is made out to be a martyr. Alton Sterling was not a productive and valuable member of the African-American community (or any other community). He was a career criminal that put himself in a situation where getting shot was a predictable conclusion. His right hand was described as being at his side when he was shot, which means his hand must have been right by his right pants pocket where his pistol was located. Instead of eulogizing this creep, perhaps his miserable life of preying upon black victims should be held up as a negative example for local youths.
The other incident precipitating the ambush of police in Dallas involved a traffic stop in Minnesota in which the black male driver was legally carrying a concealed handgun. Apparently not obeying police orders to keep his hands up, the man, according to his self described girlfriend and front seat passenger, was reaching for either his concealed carry permit or his license and registration when the officer shot him multiple times, killing him. The girlfriend streamed the incident on her cell phone starting right after the shooting occurred while her young daughter watched in horror from the back seat. The policeman can be heard saying, “I told him not to reach for it!” The 32 year old Philando Castile was killed a day after the Alton Sterling incident, and was presented by the media and politicians almost reflexively as the police officer was automatically wrong for shooting Castile. At the time of this article, the author was unable to verify that Castile was legally allowed to carry a handgun and it was not clear if his girlfriend’s changing accounts of the incident accurately described whether or not Castile was reaching for his credentials as ordered by the officer or if he was reaching for them (or whatever) despite being told to keep his hands up. You would think this last point is critical to know before the officer is either castigated or vindicated! It is irresponsible to make profound judgmental statements about this incident until the facts are known, yet the media and politicians (Governor Dayton of Minnesota called the incident, “Absolutely appalling at all levels” and “totally unacceptable,“ thus condemning the cop without even knowing the facts) made inflammatory and perhaps misleading comments that serve to rile up the public (white people as well as African-Americans) against the police, leading to horrible incidents such as the ambush in Dallas.
It is hard to say at this point if the Castile shooting could be considered justified, and it is not confirmed if the gun Castile was carrying was licensed. As far as we can tell, Castile had nowhere near the criminal history of Sterling, but did have around 55 traffic violations over the years, an impressive number for someone his age. (Castile had 2 minor drug offenses dismissed and a misdemeanor offense for “public nuisance.”) Indications are that Castile was the good man described by friends and family, unlike the criminal Sterling. Whether or not Castile’s shooting is justified will have to be determined, but certainly cannot be known at this point without further investigation.
“Black Lives Matter” is a concept which is enthusiastically agreed by us, and that concept means African-Americans such as Alton Sterling that victimize other African-Americans should not be held up as martyrs in a misguided way. Even if in some incidents police are found to be in error in shootings, attacking and killing officers only makes it less likely that black communities will receive the police protection they deserve, including from blacks that prey on blacks. Question for students (and subscribers): Please give us your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Koon, Stacey. Presumed Guilty: The Tragedy of the Rodney King Affair. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1992.
Mac Donald, Heather. The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. Encounter Books, 2016.
Martinelli, Dr Ron. The Truth Behind the Black Lives Matter Movement and the War on Police. Graphic PrintSource, Inc, 2016.