Baltimore murder rate spikes; demonization of cops brings hellish fallout

Baltimore Police VanThe citizens of Baltimore are finding out the hard way that demonizing cops often comes with hellish consequences. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave looters and criminals “space” to destroy private property during the Freddie Gray riots and they returned the favor by shooting a whole slew of people.

CBS Baltimore reported Monday:

Another violent weekend caps off what’s been one of the deadliest months in Baltimore history. In just 30 days, there’s been more than 100 shootings across the city. Despite the mayhem, the mayor says the city is improving.

More than 40 people were murdered in the month of May alone — another 100-plus were injured. The uptick in crime has some scared to leave their homes, but the mayor says this high level is violence is slowing down. …

Forty-three people murdered in May — the most in a month since 1972. …

Police say a total of four people were shot on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

The number of nonfatal shootings is 219 this year — compared to 120 at this time last year. One-hundred shootings in 30 days — an average of a little more than 3 shootings a day.

Say you’re a Baltimore police officer. You were told to stand down while a bunch of looters threw concrete blocks at your face during riots. You watched local businesses burn to the ground because criminals needed “space.” You witnessed Marilyn Mosby get on stage during Prince concerts for Freddie Gray, and you sat in stunned disbelief when she said her Twitter account’s favorite anti-cop tweets were chosen by a mysterious hacker. Would you proactively police the city? I think not.

The Baltimore Sun reported May 8:

“In 29 years, I’ve gone through some bad times, but I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for black Baltimore police officers. Officers “feel as though the state’s attorney will hang them out to dry.”

Several officers said in interviews they are concerned crime could spike as officers are hesitant to do their jobs, and criminals sense opportunity. Butler, a shift commander in the Southern District, said his officers are expressing reluctance to go after crime.

“I’m hearing it from guys who were go-getters, who would go out here and get the guns and the bad guys and drugs. They’re hands-off now,” Butler said. “I’ve never seen so many dejected faces.

“Policing, as we once knew it, has changed.”

Lt. Victor Gearhart, a 33-year veteran who works in the Southern District, said residents with complaints about police “are going to get the police force they want, and God help them.”

The vast majority of cops are good people. They risk their lives working long hours on a thankless job. When they screw up, they’re called “racists,” “pigs,” and a wide assortment of other derogatory names. When they’re proactive, they’re tyrannical monsters, but when they pull back in the face of criticism they’re accused of letting crime run rampant. It’s a Catch 22.

Why on earth would anyone want to do police work in Baltimore when the guy burning down a CVS Pharmacy gets more sympathy than the guy who has to wear a bulletproof vest to work each morning? It makes no sense, which is why Baltimore’s crime rate is currently out of control.

If Marilyn Mosby is smart, then she will meet privately with law enforcement personnel for a much-needed mea culpa. If she is dumb, then she will continue to say and do weird things that exacerbate the city’s underlying problems. Sadly, it is Baltimore’s poorest and most vulnerable population that will pay the price for woeful leadership.

Ghoulish media hack’s headline on Walter Scott, Geraldo: Why civil discourse is almost impossible

Raw Story Geraldo Walter ScottIn the coming months it goes without saying that media will exhaustively cover the shooting of Walter Scott by South Carolina police officer Michael Slager. What won’t be addressed is how ghoulish partisan hacks poison the well of intellectual discourse to further their own career or political agenda.

Consider the headline by Raw Story’s Tom Boggioni: ‘Geraldo Rivera justifies Walter Scott shooting: Officer’s ‘blood was boiling’ after struggle’.

Is Mr. Boggioni being intellectually honest, or is he one of many political hacks who make having an adult conversation on race-relations near impossible?

Here is what Geraldo actually said, via Mediaite:

Well, I’m extremely glad that they released the dash-cam video because it gives context to the event, however horrific and tragic and outrageous the shooting in the back is. It shows that it started as a righteous traffic stop. There was a light out, the driver was acting very hinky, very edgy. He got out of the car, was told to get back in the car. […] He bolts. The officer runs after him. The taser comes out. There is a struggle. There is reliable eyewitness account that there is then a struggle after the Taser.

So, up until that point, the cop with his adrenaline pumping, now he’s been in a physical tussle, and now the perpetrator has reached for the Taser allegedly. Now it gives you the context of his blood boiling. [Officer Slager] has done everything professional and now he’s had this, this civilian has dared to physically have this altercation with the officer. Put that in the officer’s head now. I think it saves him from the murder rap. This is a horrible, horrible shooting, but there was no premeditation. This is manslaughter. I believe that this is manslaughter. […] This is unforgivable.”

I am not particularly a fond of Geraldo Rivera’s style of commentary. It is a strange day indeed when I feel as though I must defend the man. However, what men like Mr. Boggioni do is culturally destructive. They are masters in the dark art of personal destruction.

The logic goes something like this: Geraldo Rivera works for Fox. Fox is bad. If there is an opportunity to twist something a commentator on Fox says, then my responsibility is to take it — no matter how grotesque the distortion might be.

Reasonable people know that Mr. Rivera was talking about the very important legal distinctions between murder and manslaughter. Those things matter, as Florida prosecutors painfully found out during George Zimmerman’s legal proceedings.

Only a very angry, very unfair person would twist “This is a horrible, horrible shooting, but there was no premeditation. This is manslaughter. I believe that this is manslaughter. […] This is unforgivable,” into “Geraldo Rivera justifies Walter Scott shooting.”

If you want to know why America can’t have nice things in 2015, then just look at Raw Story’s headline on Geraldo. It’s a glaring example of how media outlets often abdicate their responsibility to strive for truth and clarity in favor of smearing an ideological opponent.

Russell Brand says he would never condemn cops — then calls them stupid tools of the ‘establishment’

Russell BrandSocial media is a double-edged sword. If an individual wants to quickly disseminate a message, it’s there. Unfortunately, social media doesn’t discriminate between the man of tact and temperance and the reckless individual who rides his emotions wherever they take him. Enter Russel Brand, the successful comedian who thinks that spewing a bunch of contradictory New Age gibberish automatically certifies his opinion as genius.

On the Ferguson shooting death of Michael Brown, Mediate called his twelve-minute rant against Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and anyone who disagrees with him a “searing take down.” (It was so “searing” that the writer couldn’t be bothered to transcribe any of it for his audience.)

Here is an excerpt:

Bill O’Reilly: “Do we weigh in as the boy’s father? And if it were my son I would have probably said the same thing. But he’s obviously talking through an emotional prism. His son is dead. He believes, probably — I know he believes — that it was an injustice. That it was done for nothing. A murder. And many, many African Americans believe that without knowing the facts.”

Russel Brand: What facts can emerge? There is no fact that can emerge that makes it all right that this kind of thing keeps happening. What is the motto of police? ‘Protect and serve.’ That relationship has completely broken down. I would never condemn police officers. I know the kind of background  that most police officers come from. They come from the communities that they work in, but the ideology they work for is an establishment ideology. They are not protecting and serving. The people that they are protecting and serving are not the people of the streets of Ferguson. They’re the people of Wall Street, and the city and the government.”

If an unarmed teenager, who stands over six-feet tall and weighs over 200 pounds, gets into a physical altercation with a cop and goes for the officer’s weapon, then it most-certainly is a “fact that can emerge” that could (and should) change the emotional calculus of neutral observers. If that cop, who is fighting for control of his weapon, knows that there is a second suspect who could join in the fight at any time, then it certainly is a “fact that can emerge” that could (and should) change how third-parties judge the situation. That is why investigations are necessary. That is why prudence is a virtue. That is why the millions of people who buy into Mr. Brand’s ramblings have no idea what they’re talking about.

Perhaps the most hilarious part of the Russel Brand “take down” is the moment where he says he would “never” condemn police officers — who grew up in the communities they protect — before doing precisely that. Brand would “never” condemn cops, but yet we’re supposed to believe they’re all a bunch of stupid tools who protect and serve “the establishment” (whatever “the establishment” means in the mind of Russell Brand).

In the end, even the comedian’s spiritual mish-mash of beliefs falls apart. If we are all essentially a part of the universal consciousness and “I am you and you are me, and Bill O’Reilly is Russell Brand and Russell Brand is Bill O’Reilly,” then why does it matter if Bill O’Reilly is “racist”? If we follow Russell Brand’s logic, and the two men are really one, then the reality is that Russell is the racist. We’re all racist…and none of it matters because the swirling spinning universal consciousness will be just fine in the end.

If you’re looking for insightful analysis on race relations in the United States, then you probably don’t want to turn to Russell Brand. If you want to see evidence that it really does matter what religion you choose, then watch his so-called “take down” in its entirety.