President Obama is going to speak today in Dallas, where five police officers were assassinated by a man identifying with black militants.
The Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley isn't enthusiastic about the forthcoming speech and asks "haven’t we already heard enough from him?"
Mr. Obama’s initial response to the shootings was more of the same: equivocation mixed with an attempt to change the subject. He said there is no possible justification for violence against law enforcement, but then added a line about racial disparities in the criminal-justice system and finished with a nod to more gun control. “When people are armed with powerful weapons,” said the president, “it unfortunately makes attacks like these more deadly.”
Time and again during his presidency, in matters large and small, Mr. Obama has assumed the worst about police. Officers in Massachusetts, he told us months into his first term, “acted stupidly” when they responded to a 911 call about a possible burglary and arrested the black suspect for disorderly conduct.
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After the Baltimore riots last year that followed the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, Mr. Obama once again condemned the lawbreakers, but not without adding: “We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.” That’s trying to have it both ways.
Like others on the political left, Mr. Obama has made a habit of minimizing or ignoring the high black crime rates that obviously underlie tensions between poor minority communities and cops. More than 95% of black shooting deaths don’t involve the police, which would seem to undercut the notion that trigger-happy cops are hunting black men. Sadly, rates of murder, rape, robbery, assault and other violent crimes are 7 to 10 times higher among blacks than among whites, but liberals who don’t want to alienate black voters go to great lengths to explain away this behavior and focus instead on police conduct.
Yes, Mr. Obama has denounced what happened in Dallas, but he has also been winking at a Black Lives Matter movement that has spent the past two years holding rallies that call for (and sometimes feature) violence against cops. Like the president, these protesters maintain that the police are motivated by racial prejudice, not by the behavior of suspects. They insist that a biased criminal-justice system explains the black crime rate, not antisocial behavior. By indulging this narrative, Mr. Obama and his fans in the liberal media were playing with fire, and the Dallas carnage was the result.
The notion that the police shoot blacks at a higher rate than whites, the very pretext of the Black Lives Matter movement, just got debunked in a study by Harvard professor Rolando Fryer Jr., who is himself African American. Fryer found that the police may be more likely to stop African Americans, but that they actually shoot whites at a higher rate, a fnding Fryer called “the most surprising result of my career.” But he had the guts to be up front, even though, as Jonathan Tobin points out . . .
The notion that blacks are at risk from police fits in nicely with liberal myths about law enforcement and a general refusal to admit that the America of 2016 is a different country [from] the place that existed a half century earlier, when Jim Crow Laws were still being erased by the newly successful Civil Rights movement. It is that lie that has kept a group like Black Lives Matter going with its destructive agenda that has led to anti-police violence and caused law enforcement to back down in many black neighborhoods, something that is actually costing African-Americans their lives.
If President Obama understood what really saves black lives, he'd give an inspirational talk about the police (and not hedge it with equivocation and caveats about racism).
And the chances of that are?