December 7, 2014
My recent column expressing sympathy for Michael Brown’s family and questioning the action of the police in Ferguson had a rare accomplishment. It irritated the entire political spectrum – liberal, moderate and conservative. Many readers pointed out that Brown’s crime was not jaywalking (as I stated) but stealing cigars and resisting arrest. My contention – which I still hold – is that Brown’s jaywalking was what originally began the confrontation and that this should not have escalated into an event where a young unarmed man dies.
Another similar event happened in Staten Island. Here a physically imposing black male, Eric Garner, was selling cigarettes illegally. When the cops confronted him, he became belligerent and hostile. When the cops attempted to arrest him, he resisted arrest – another crime. Thus, the cops were forced to subdue him and unfortunately, during this process, he died.
Garner’s situation is quite similar to Brown’s. Both men’s initial crimes were related to tobacco products. Both men were physically intimidating black males. Both men broke the law. Both men were confronted by the police. Both men became belligerent. Both men resisted arrest. Both men were unarmed. Both men died as a result of police action. In both cases, a Grand Jury refused to indict the involved officer. In both cases, Black America responded with protests – some inappropriately and senselessly violent.
There is one big difference though. The Garner event was videotaped. Nobody really knows what happened in Ferguson. Please click here if you wish to see the video tape. Mr. Garner is overwhelmed by several police officers, one of whom is choking him. He repeated pleads, “I can’t breathe” while he is pinned to the ground. No attempt is made to respond to his plea. He later dies. It is hard to watch this videotape and not feel that Black America has a point.
Reflexively blaming the police is counterproductive. These officers have to make split-second decisions that if are incorrect – can cost them their lives. Furthermore, they are asked to enforce a plethora of endless laws. Under the nanny state promulgated by New York City liberals, there are astronomical taxes on cigarettes. Economics 101 dictates that this will create an underground economy for this product. Thus, Mr. Garner was committing a crime: selling cigarettes and not paying taxes. The police officers are required to enforce this silly law.
But the broader picture is that America’s Overclass has created an economy where it is almost impossible for working class males to support a family. Good paying jobs have been shipped overseas and private sector unions have been marginalized. Our professional politicians – addicted to the campaign cash from the Wall Street Welfare State – bail out our banks and brokerage houses while the Michael Brown’s of the world get the bill. Liberal judges, academics and media elites have imposed a value system on the country that has destroyed the family structure. We now have a population of angry young men like Michael Brown who see that the game of life being stacked against them. They can either go on public assistance and lead a life groveling to bureaucrats; or work for subsistence wages while being forced to overpay for health insurance, housing, car insurance, house insurance along with forking over unending taxes. Our police officers deal with these angry young men on a daily basis while America’s Overclass sequesters itself in safe neighborhoods with good school systems. In fact, it is amazing that there are not more confrontations of this nature.
Rectifying these problems will be difficult in today’s political milieu. In the meantime, it should be easier for those who feel they were unfairly treated by the police to have their day in court. Michael Brown’s and Eric Garner’s family at least deserve this.
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