At Defending People, Mark Bennett has finally pushed through his wall of disinterest, as reflected in his 72nd post of 2015* when he demonstrated his disinterest in unjustified police killings by writing about unjustified police killings. His 73rd post quotes at length from Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s missive, stoking fear and loathing of those who support Black Lives Matter.
In Patrick’s eyes, the movement is an attack upon law enforcement, a war cry to kill cops.
As more details of the tragic death of Harris County Sheriff Deputy Darren Goforth unfold, a morbid reality is unveiled about America’s negative attitude toward our law enforcement officers.
This isn’t because cops needlessly kill too many people, and dogs, so they will be assured to make it home for dinner. Patrick goes on to list the usual tropes, and Bennett does his usual excellent job of debunking them.
It’s almost tedious at this point to mention them, having heard them so often, debunked them so often, and still hear shills and idiots pitching to the simpletons. It’s hard to argue with simpletons, because they don’t realize they’re simpletons, and Dunning-Kruger.
Then, something foolish happens to validate the simpletons and fuel the fire:
There was a protest over the weekend — which apparently took place after Goforth was shot — by a group of Black Lives Matter protesters at the Minnesota state fair in which some protesters were captured on video chanting, “Pigs in a blanket; fry ’em like bacon.”
It was said to have been chanted in a “playful.” Meh.
But whatever the context, I think we can all agree that at the very least, chants like that are ill advised in protests against police brutality. Many people took the chant literally, as a terrorist threat. And one can hardly blame them.
Naturally, cries came from the usual suspects that this proves Black Lives Matter is a hate group, like the Ku Klux Klan. Bill O’Reilly promised to “put them out of business,” because he’s not too taken with his mad power over humanity. Add to that the foolishness of a college kid’s ugly twit that goes viral, and everybody loses their mind.
What appears to have gotten Bennett’s goat was Patrick’s call to Texans to show their adulation of police:
Start calling our officers sir and ma’am all of the time. It’s a show of respect they deserve.
Every time you see an officer anywhere, let them know you appreciate their service to our community and you stand with them.
If you are financially able, when you see them in a restaurant on duty pick up their lunch check, send over a dessert, or simply stop by their table briefly and say thank you for their service.
To which Bennett, while claiming he would fisk Patrick’s statement some other day, queries:
What kind of man buys pie for a dog murderer?
The war on cops is, of course, a set up. Poor Deputy Goforth, dead at the hands of a man who happened to be both black and mentally ill, can’t rest in peace as vultures pick at his flesh for their own purposes. Perhaps that’s his last official duty as a law enforcement officer, to allow himself to be used to create a phony war to deflect attention from needless killings by police.
To recognize that these are all false equivalencies is to ask too much of people. As had already been emphasized over and over, the phrase “Black Lives Matters” means not that black lives alone matter, or black lives matter more than anyone else’s life, but that black lives matter too.
In retrospect, perhaps the word “too” should have been included in the phrase because so many can’t wrap their heads around the concept that black lives are being treated poorer than anyone else’s. Not that cops treat white lives as well as their own, but better than black lives.
Words like those of Patrick, O’Reilly and others trying to manufacture this phony war on cops are directed to the most gullible and fearful. Not only does it serve to empower those in government to manipulate their supporters to hand over freedoms for the mirage of safety, but it empowers police to persist in their conduct of kill at the hint of threat.
The law allows and enables this.
Yet, will any of those buying into Patrick’s rhetoric willingly forfeit their lives, despite posing no threat and committing no crime, should a cop mistakenly perceive a threat? No one wants to die to make cops feel safer. Not even someone who adores cops will go that far.
Is it unreasonable to demand that police stop killing at the slightest hint of a potential feeling of threat, a sense of fear? Is it unreasonable for cops to not assume blacks are more likely criminals, killers, threats to their making it home for dinner, such that they pull the trigger before ascertaining that there is a true threat?
The cop response is yes, it is unreasonable to ask them to take any chance of dying. That they took a job that requires a certain element of risk doesn’t mean, to cops, that they shouldn’t minimize that risk to the extent possible, and that means shoot, shoot, shoot before they get shot.
The tacit choice is whether we, as a society, are prepared to accept the legal and moral premise that it is more important for a cop to make it home for dinner than us. As long as we don’t believe we’re likely to be on the wrong end of an officer’s gun, we have no trouble backing cops. That’s why Black Lives Matter exists, because blacks reasonably fear they will be on the wrong end of a cop’s gun.
This is a matter of humility. Whether the lives of members of one occupation are more worthy of survival than the lives of people who aren’t members. Whether the lives of people with one color skin are less worthy of survival.
Blacks want to go home for dinner too. So do whites. We all want to go home for dinner. If we’re lucky, at the end of dinner, there will be some pie. A war is brewing over who gets to eat pie, because cops are afraid that if we do, they won’t. And so they kill people for their slice of pie, even though there is enough pie to go around.
* In a curious reprimand, Bennett notes that I (together with writers at Fault Lines) appear obsessed with discussion of unjustified police killings. Perhaps so, but if that’s what I think needs discussing, then I will discuss. Same for others. And same for Mark.