Escondido and the larger community of San Diego County is fortunate that it is somewhat of an oasis of racial tranquility compared to cesspools such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. We love our police, something that was made apparent when many residents turned out Wednesday for a peaceful pro-police demonstration in front of police headquarters.
May it ever stay that way! However, it is becoming apparent to the great majority of the voting public that racial relations in this country are at the lowest ebb in years. With the election of Barack Obama eight years ago we were supposed to have entered into the sunlit uplands of domestic tranquility. Many assumed that the mere act of electing a black man president would prove the point that anyone, from any ethnic group, can aspire to the highest office in the land. Peace be upon us all!
It did prove that point, at least. But it didn’t do much to tamp down racial animosities and envy. Or make people who were poor envy the rich any less, or to improve the lot of those who seemed destined for little better than a semi-permanent residence in a state or federal prison. Having a black man in the White House who doesn’t do anything to improve the economy for everyone, much less black people, seems to me no better than not having a black man in the White House at all.
Many blacks see that bankrupt policies such as the evil “war on drugs” are aimed at keeping them incarcerated for most of their adult lives. I’m not convinced that they are wrong.
Black people, or anyone else for that matter, rightly become outraged when they see videos of fellow blacks being mistreated, even murdered execution style by the police. If groups such as Black Lives Matter would leave it at that, and crusade to change things so that bad apples among the police won’t be tolerated, that would do much to rectify the problem.
However, they don’t confine their outrage to blacks wrongfully killed by police in the performance of their duties; they become outraged when any black person is killed by any police officer, whether justified or not. In their minds the police are always wrong, no matter the circumstances. This is the same sort of mindset that justified a mainly black jury in acquitting O.J. Simpson twenty years ago when the evidence clearly pointed at a conviction.
Many felt justified by Simpson’s acquittal, even if he was guilty, because they saw it as getting even for past wrongs.
Unfortunately, many of these same people seem not to be troubled at all by the many thousands of blacks who are gunned down by other blacks in myriad street scenes that are replicated across America week after week.
Inevitably this has created an anti-police atmosphere in many of our cities.
Last week, CNN’s Don Lemon interviewed Milwaukee County’s black Sheriff David Clarke shortly after the Baton Rouge police officers were gunned down. The outraged Sheriff Clarke said, “I’ve been watching this for two years. I’ve predicted this,” Clarke said. “This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that are now playing themselves out on the American police officer.”
Despite Lemon’s efforts to calm him down, Clarke declared, “This anti-cop sentiment from this hateful ideology called Black Lives Matter has fueled this rage against the American police officer.”
The goal of making it harder for police to mistreat anyone, black or white, can be achieved in part by requiring that all officers have cameras on their persons and on their automobiles.
It’s a crime when a police officer uses his authority to mistreat anyone, black or white. But it rises to the highest levels of evil to target an officer of the law who is doing his job of trying to make all of us safer.
However, none of us will be safe as long as the police are being drawn with bull eyes on their backs.
All we can do amidst the relative harmony of our city is to make it our business to fight racial hatred wherever we see it, support our police when they are worthy of our support, and insist upon justice whenever we see an injustice.
It takes vigilance to preserve the good that we have.