Superstar NBA player LeBron James has been working overtime to advance the notion that there is an epidemic of police officers on American streets who are disproportionately patrolling Black communities without cause and hunting down innocent Black Americans. This is the assertion that has fueled all of the anti-police rhetoric, violent riots, and political posturing to “defund the police” in recent years.
It’s an idea that’s really taken hold among many millionaire sports stars, the media, BLM agitators, and Democrat politicians, all of whom have a giant platform to amplify their radical ideas. But there’s a very important question that is rarely ever asked:
Do ordinary Black Americans believe that having police officers actively patrolling and responding in American communities is a serious threat to Black lives?
The answer to that question is no — if the most basic survey analyses are to be believed. Indeed, 81-percent of Black Americans desire the same or more police presence in their own communities than they currently have now.
If you’ve spent time watching the news over the past six years or so, that might seem like the riddle of all riddles. But, in fact, it’s really quite simple. Black Americans have assessed the real-world risks of police officers patrolling neighborhoods while potentially gunning down innocent Black men, as LeBron James and activist groups like BLM have insisted is the common practice of American police. But Black Americans have managed to set that potential risk against the real-world risk of police officers not patrolling their neighborhoods to keep criminals off the streets and deter violent crimes like armed robbery, vandalism, and murder.
FBI statistics show that there were 7,484 Black murder victims in 2019, amongst a population of roughly 44 million Black Americans. Compare that to 5,787 white murder victims among a demographic representation of roughly 250 million.
Black Americans are indeed murdered at an epidemic rate in America relative to their demographic representation. Acknowledging that fact is one thing. Meaningfully addressing it would be an important thing to do. Pretending that the homicide epidemic experienced in Black communities is driven by the police is quite another thing entirely. After all, how many unarmed Black Americans were killed by cops in 2019?
That number is 13, according to the Washington Post’s database.
Which of these two statistics measuring the causes of Black Americans’ deaths is of greater importance? The number of unarmed Black people killed by police is 0.2-percent of the number of Black murder victims.
FBI data also show that in single victim/single offender incidents, there were 2,906 Black Americans murdered in 2019. 2,574 of them, or 89-percent, were murdered by other Black Americans.
It’s not cops killing Black Americans, and it’s not white people killing Black Americans. The epidemic that exists right now is Black Americans killing other Black Americans in their own communities. And if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that BLM riots don’t help.
The number of violent crimes in America reached an all-time low in 2014 for the new millennium, at 1.15-million. Murders reached a similar mark that year at 14,164. BLM riots and unrest were prodded along by the Obama administration in 2015, however, and the Ferguson Effect took hold. Cops disengaged in urban areas. Violent crimes and murders spiked for two years straight, capping at 1.25-million (that’s 100,000 more violent crimes than two years prior) and 17,413, respectively.
And then, Donald Trump was elected to the presidency. Unemployment reached its lowest level in generations, particularly in minority communities. And then, both of those trends began going in the other direction in 2017. There were only 1.2-million violent crimes in 2019, and 16,425 murders.
In 2020, though, the George Floyd death launched BLM back to the forefront of American culture, and the riots that ensued made 2015 BLM riots look tame by comparison. Like the riots of 2015, these were predicated upon a widely purported, but never supported, lie about racism in policing. Now, not only are police disengaging in Black communities, but cities are bleeding officers due to retirement or simply quitting the profession, and are unable to recruit new ones.
If you were to guess, where do you anticipate the final 2020 and 2021 statistics around violent crime and murder will land, relative to those 2019 numbers? You don’t need a swami with a crystal ball to know that both will show a substantial increase.
None of this is rocket science, nor is correctly discerning that the Democrats, BLM, sports stars, and woke corporations should shoulder blame for promoting lies to whip mobs into frenzies and creating a cultural environment where cops disengage in those communities which need their presence most.
Nearly half of America’s leftists, though, ostensibly some of the most “intelligent” and educated among us, are so aloof to these facts that they imagine that over 1,000 unarmed Black men were murdered by cops in 2019, and they believe that this imaginary epidemic is the great injustice of our age. So, how is it that, in the end, four-out-of-five Black Americans would choose, if they were free to choose, to keep the police presence that they have, or to have a stronger police presence in their neighborhoods?
Because you don’t need statistical proof or data when you live in the neighborhood where Ma’Khia Bryant was shot by a heroic police officer recently. Young Ma’Khia was wielding a large knife and preparing to plunge it into another woman when the officer shot her and eliminated her as a threat. Much has been made of how her death may have impacted her family, and what it means as evidence for systemic racism in policing, etc. Much less has been made of what the citizens in that community, and others like it, might think about what happened. Ask yourself: do you believe that most people living on that street believe that the officer’s being there with a gun — when called upon — was a good thing or a bad thing?
As one neighbor put it, if the officer hadn’t “acted as he did, more people may have died.” For the vast majority living in that neighborhood, or any surrounding neighborhood, the notion that a police officer might arrive when called to address threats of violence is a good thing. The fact that a young girl who was in the act of attempted murder of an unarmed victim was stopped by a police officer is a good thing. Anyone who doesn’t think that most Black Americans would agree with that, just as most white people in suburban neighborhoods would agree with that in regard to their own communities, should probably ask themselves why they believe Black people to be so incapable of assessing risks and drawing the same conclusions that most human beings would.
Black Americans overwhelmingly don’t want fewer cops in their neighborhoods. It’s LeBron James, Ibram X. Kendi, BLM’s founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and leftist white people, none of whom live in a neighborhood remotely like the one patrolled by the heroic officers called onto the scene on the day of Bryant’s death, who want fewer cops in those neighborhoods. These elitist hustlers hold the racist belief that Black Americans are generally so incapable of making decisions for their own communities that they need to be led toward the preferred outcome of “defunding the police” for their own good, and against the expressed desires of Black Americans.
Both the statistical data and Black Americans’ lived reality suggests that when there are more police engaged in Black communities, fewer people are killed in their communities. And nearly all of the people killed in those communities are not killed by cops, but by other Black people. Unfortunately for these victims and their families, though, theirs are not the lives that matter to Black Lives Matter.
William Sullivan is an author whose work discussing politics, economics, history, and culture in America has been frequently featured at American Thinker for over a decade.
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