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A Phony “Crisis” that Harms America

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A protester raises his hands as clouds of smoke and crowd control agents rise shortly after the deadline for a city-wide curfew passed in Baltimore

In eight tumultuous years of the Bush presidency, it’s tough to think of even one famous case of an unarmed African-American killed by police. This doesn’t reflect some uncelebrated triumph for George W. Bush, but it does provide needed perspective on the current hysteria over black victimization by law enforcement. There is no evidence of a sudden explosion in the number of African-Americans killed in encounters with cops – experts agree that those painful numbers have remained troubling for decades. What has changed, however, is exploitation of such tragedies by media manipulators, leftist politicians, and so-called civil rights leaders. During President Obama’s first term, issues of police brutality garnered scant attention, but in 2012 the Trayvon Martin case showed opportunists in media and politics the way the death of young black males could generate ratings and agitate the public. The purported crisis of recent years is manufactured, phony and deeply damaging to the nation.

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  1. Jim Bird  •  Apr 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    No kidding. Why haven’t Republicans, especially the leadership, pointed this out? It might hurt someone’s feelings? No, just the same old policies of giving in to the Al Sharpton’s of the world, being afraid to utter a single syllable of disgust about a truly disgusting race-baiter. Oh well, let’s all chuckle a bit and put on our happy faces (which is GOP policy) and wait for the next election to be over with. Then we can do the people’s business and, you know, speak in public. Happy days are just around corner at the place where the can-kicking stops. I’m so energized, I just can’t wait for the election! Or was it the one after that?

    • Michael Dean  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      “Why haven’t Republicans … pointed this out?”

      Can you imagine the howling that would come from the left if the Republicans did point that out? We’d be accused of using these “tragedies” for political gain.It would be front page in every newspaper coast to coast. And the lead story on every TV news cast in the country.

      They’d really have no other choice. Lest someone stumble on to the truth.

    • John Tobias  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Albeit an academic question on your part, “J. Bird” (a fondly-remembered nckname my father gave me as a boy), I will offer an answer to your asking: “Why haven’t Republican, especially the ‘leadership’, pointed this out?”, it seems to me that the answer MIGHT be that, presently, the Republican Party seems to have very little in the way of much united “leadership”. There are, of course, “the usual suspects”, as Claude Rains put it in the classic movie, “Casablanca”, but right now, the Republican “Party” is kind of a difused “Anybody But Clinton”/ABC thing, and whatsoever works to that end, most thinking people are for. At the moment, HellRay is sort of self-destructing just being herself, and El BarachO is (of course) a totally washed-up failure… So, that’s lots of “jockeying in the ranks” among the dozen-plus DemonCrap alternatives that might have a chance of being the GOP Nominee. Getting into an argument on matter of race is probaby not the best strategy for showing oneself to be a promising future leader, and thus, the “would-be leaders” of the GOP & the Ol’ War Horses ala McCain are just layin’ out, IMHO.

  2. Mike Spencer  •  May 1, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Fire-hoses and rubber bullets. Tear gas and battons. There is no right to riot; and if you want a revolution, you better get more organized than mob violence. There is no leadership coming from Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton, and it’s doubtful that the rabble would listen if they did lead.

    • Linda  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Well said. I can’t help but feel that so much of this is part of a large movement to push this great nation into a police state or marshal law.

  3. Chuck Moulton  •  May 1, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Mr Medved…I expect better of you. I’ve been a fan since “Hollywood Vs America”, and you seem to normally do your research before speaking…but to say:

    “In eight tumultuous years of the Bush presidency, it’s tough to think of even one famous case of an unarmed African-American killed by police.”

    Really? A five minute Google search lead me to several (see below). Or is it your point that during Bush’s presidency (and yes, I voted for him, twice) they were not “famous cases”?

    April 7, 2001: Timothy Thomas, 19, Cincinnati, Ohio
    February 28, 2003: Orlando Barlow, 28, Las Vegas, Nev.
    May 22, 2003: Ousmane Zongo, 43, New York, N.Y.
    May 16, 2003: Alberta Spruill, 57, New York, N.Y.
    January 24, 2004: Timothy Stansbury, 19, New York, N.Y.
    Sept. 4, 2005: Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brisette, 17, New Orleans, La.
    September 2, 2005: Henry Glover, 31, New Orleans, La.
    November 25, 2006: Sean Bell, 23, New York, N.Y.
    July 22, 2007: DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ark.
    January 4, 2008: Tarika Wilson, 26, Lima, Ohio
    January 1, 2009: Oscar Grant, 22, Oakland, Calif

    This list is by no means complete, I just grabbed the ones I saw the quickest.

    As a black man AND a Republican, I bothered by both the violence that came out of the protests AND our side’s inability to notice what would cause these scenes in the first place. Is it that the media and, as you call them, “so-called civil rights leaders” are exploiting the issue…or is that until the Dems had a President in office we ignored the issue.

    I would submit that its probably a combination of both.

    We can not, as both a party and an ideological movement expect all races to embrace our worldview if we also dont take a second to look at their world. I dont live in Baltimore or Ferguson, I live in a small South Jersey beach town. I know a lot of my local police, if not by name, at least by sight. I know they are good, decent, upstanding men and women who go out daily and do a job that I would NEVER attempt to do.

    At the same time, I’m not so presumptuous or closed minded as to think that ALL police everywhere are as nice as my local ones. Nor even that all of my local police are nigh upon superhero status. Thats defies both logic AND human nature.

    • Preston hale  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Mr. Milton,

      Medved is contrasting the difference in media and political exploitation of these cases. He states in his column that these deaths aren’t new. He’s not saying they didn’t happen under Bush’s watch. He’s highlighting the current, despicable tactics of the “bad news business” today.

    • Nan Poppa  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      You have expressed all the same sentiments that members of my family believe in. We do not consider ourselves to be racist. What has gone on in Ferguson and Baltimore defies logic. Having officers stand down and allow arson and destruction of private property is ridiculous. All my adult life I’ve been hearing about black oppression in this country. I’m 59 yrs old. Do you mean in nearly 60 years NOTHING has changed or gotten better? I don’t understand that. Our 4 children have never had a problem with people of different races. But recently two of our adult children came to me independent of one another and said that now, because of all that has been going on, they are feeling uncomfortable around folks of races. Here are Americans feeding hatred and racism BACK into our society. One must ask why. There has to be a payoff somewhere. As for me I think it’s very sad. And these people who are loudly spreading this hate do not speak for the majority. I’ve lived in racially diverse neighborhoods my whole life. We all got along and watched out for one another. You know it’s more difficult to hate then it is to live in peace. God bless the peace makers and peace keepers. You are not alone.

      • Chuck Moulton  •  May 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm

        Has it changed in the past 60 years? Yes.

        Definitely.

        Do I suffer the same abuses as my grandfather, who, when he went to vote for the first time in his life, as a young man in South texas, was met at the polling place door by a white men with axe handles, who calmly explained who he was and was not allowed to vote for?

        Nope.

        Do I get called “boy” by white men younger than me, as my father was?

        Nope.

        I could go on…but, the point is, YES. It has changed.

        But “changed” and “cured” are two different things.

        What pains me, is that last night my 17 year old son asked me how I felt about “the riots”. I told him of course, the destruction of property, the looting, the vandalism were wrong. Criminal. Reprehensible. But I explained, as well, that I could understand how someone who didn’t have my cushy suburban background could be driven to act out with such rage. It didn’t make it right, but, it certainly illustrates a greater problem.

        I also explained how it pained me that as Americans we came togethers all broken up about some stores that got looted. Some cars that got destroyed. Some personal items that were burned. Yet, for some reason we can’t come together over a life that was lost.

        As a devoted Christian, it just keeps coming back to me that despite the past that young man had, despite the baggage he carried that might be unlawful….he was someones son. Someones brother. Someones friend. A soul no less valuable than my own.

        Yet I’ve seen far more pictures of fire, broken glass, smashed cars, and destruction than I have of that young man.

        I blame the media. And I blame US for letting them get away with this grabage.

        And if your kids are now afraid of races because of the riots in Baltimore, shows them pictures from the Ohio State “celebrations” this past January, or the last Stanley cup celebrations, or the events at Penn State when Joe Paterno was let go. Show them the cars burning, the looting, the broken glass. Explain that white people do stupid stuff too.

        Then ask them, what is MORE scary…the fact that sometimes people do stupid things….or the fact that the media we pay to see treats it differently based on the color of those doing it?

  4. janey  •  May 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    There are good cops and bad cops, just like in every profession. Just because a bad white cop broke the law, abused power, or made a bad arrest against a black man does not automatically make it racially motivated. Much like the case with Officer C. Witlatch, people cried racism when after the facts came out it turned out she treated all genders and races EQUALLY bad, she was just a bully and the color of a person’s skin was not her motivation. I know it’s not the current way but every now and then it would be awesome if folks waited for the FACTS to come out before jumping to conclusions.

  5. JACKIE THORNTON  •  May 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Police brutality is not only a problem in society at large…but far under the radar is brutality and violence in our U.S. Prisons..
    I do not condone criminal behavior. However, prisoners are HUMAN whether black, white,Latino, Indian , Asian ……

    The scope of the problem in our prisons is difficult to assess because correction departments keep much of its information regarding force incidents and abuse out of public view.

    Correction departments have constructed a code of silence around the issue of guard-on-inmate abuse according to prisoners, ex prisoners, ex correction officers and some clergy.

    There have been instances of” gladiator fights” condoned and wagered on by correction officers…for FUN.. I guess …or maybe profit.

    I understand that drugs are prevalent in all of our prisons and with that said .. some not all correction officers are bringing drugs into the prisons for prisoners.
    There is no other way ..according to the amount of drugs in our prisons.

    Cameras are needed for prisoners, correction officers and police officers… So that we know how our tax dollars are being spent. We have got to start aggressively pursuing getting cameras in prisons.
    Without cameras it is a prisoners word against a guards word.
    Who will be believed.? After a prisoner ALTERCATION guards often claim that the prisoners were the attackers, even though many were handcuffed…cowering from blows.

    It is odd, and indeed troubling that violence has been so deeply rooted and accepted by the brass and society that guards can beat an inmate to a pulp, while yelling STOP RESISTING, STOP RESISTING, to cover their crime of mans Inhumanity to man.

    Prisons are a secret, accountable to no one.

    The BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars spent on our mass incarceration with very poor results
    The lack of transparency and accountability reinforce a ‘THUG CULTURE’ AMONG PRISONERS AND CORRECTION OFFICERS.

    The bottom line is without cameras, a lack of transparency and accountability there is no way to weigh a prisoners word against a deputy’s and no way to weigh a citizens word against a police officers.

    Comedians have made us laugh about prison rape. Many find prisoner rape funny…I do not.

    Instead of rehabilitation prisoners are more violent and criminal saavy after prison than before .

    Prison reform is badly needed. But prisons are big business and we are the big fool taxpayers footing the bill.

  6. WaitWhat  •  May 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    African Americans, particularly in Baltimore, are routinely having their Fourth Amendment Rights violated. It’s ironic that Conservatives, the ones who are supposed to warn us about big government and living in a police state are the ones supporting cops that don’t care about the Constitution. They’re the ones supporting the militarization of the police force, and the ones that allow the cops to get away with anything, two sure signs of living in a police state.

    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/29/david-simon-on-baltimore-s-anguish

  7. Jan  •  May 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Why do people continue to include Ferguson when speaking about this issue? I thought officer Wilson was exonerated of the shooting of Michael Brown. All evidence and witnesses showed that he had good reason to fear for his life and to shoot. Whatever people think, believe, or wish to believe in order to justify their “outrage,” facts are the basis of truth and truth is not relative.

  8. Shirlee  •  May 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve wanted to say for a long time that during my 30 years of working, in each office the employees were segregated! By the choice of the blacks!! I tried to attend a black church, but was ignored or even treated rudely by a few. I lived in an integrated neighborhood, traveled extensively in West Africa (where American blacks are held in very Low esteem). I’ve had several very close friends who were black, but have never been able to make a black friend at work or in a black church. I heard one young black say he wouldn’t work for … and proceeded with a list that essentially eliminated any kind of employment. He wanted to start at the top.

    I’ve seen under qualified blacks promoted in the interests of encouraging their personal development, but as a rule it didn’t happen. And who would hire the rioters seen on TV?? Not all of our race problems can be put on us white folks.

  9. James P  •  May 2, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel; Never miss an opportunity to exploit hysteria!

  10. Jim Bird  •  May 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    The bottom line for me is: nothing constructive will ever happen again in this country until the rule of law is enforced, in short, no continued abuse of power from the highest office in the land, voter ID (so my vote will count again – I live in CA), and to have a GOP leadership that articulates and counters the lies of the Left on a daily basis. And if the Left does something right, throw a party. We here from Boehner and McConnell it seems only around election time begging for votes.

    Iran will have the bomb very soon, Clinton gave N. Korea the bomb, Carter wanted to give the bomb to Cuba, the Middle East has started WWIII and the President seeks advice from Al Sharpton on an ongoing basis! I must be crazy. I just realized something, I’m the one who is completely insane. It’s not the GOP, they never talk about these things, so everything is OK. Right?

  11. Laura Johnson Los Angeles  •  May 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I think racism has infested the black community big time. And the wrongs of our American history (ie slavery with all its evils) do not justify the hated and racism of today. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Spare me the lecture that blacks as a lingering repercussion of slavery do not have the opportunities for education to better themselves and avoid the cycle of crime. They do. My husband went to college and “got out of Dodge,” building a successful career and raising his family is a safe suburb. His brothers, unfortunately, did not take that path. And one was killed at age 35 by -oh, big surprise!- a black man from his own “community”. Not killed by a white cop. Not killed by a criminal of another race. Don’t you watch “The First 48”? The vast majority of cases (in different cities, mind you) are black-on-black homicide. Tragic. And it’s personal to me. When will the outrage be directed toward the REAL perpetrators???!! I don’t watch the major news networks – the media attention at the WRONG problem sickens me. During Mr. Obama’s presidency, race relations have worsened, and it seems like there is more divisiveness. Awful.

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