The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Equality’ and the Criminal

Posted on | April 10, 2021 | Comments Off on ‘Equality’ and the Criminal

Marcus L. Thomas of Chicago died in December after one of the shortest police chases you’ll ever see. At about 1 a.m. on Dec. 22, a police officer in the DuPage County suburb of Lisle spotted a white Hyundai Elantra driving 20 miles over the speed limit. The officer pulled the car over and learned that (a) Thomas was driving on a revoked license and (b) the car had been stolen in Chicago. When a backup officer arrived on the scene, Thomas decided he wasn’t going to stick around, perhaps because (c) he was wanted by the U.S. Marshal’s Service for weapon offenses and (d) he had two weapons in the car, a MAC-10 and a .45 pistol.

Less than two minutes later, while turning onto the I-88 ramp, Thomas plowed the Hyundai into a wall and later was pronounced dead. In the comments on the YouTube video of the police dashcam, regulars were making the usual sarcastic remarks when someone objected, saying, “What if that happened to someone you knew and loved?”

Really? We are expected to sympathize with the criminal? Why?

Is it because . . . Black Lives Matter?

Certainly I suspect that all the liberal propaganda surrounding the issues of race, crime and law enforcement has warped many people’s judgment to the point that they think of criminals as symbolic representatives of the black community as a whole. From this warped point of view, only racists — RAAAAACISTS! — support law enforcement.

We are expected to make excuses for criminals, if they are black, because (according to liberals) black people have no choice. To be black is to be a victim of poverty and discrimination, and therefore (according to liberals) it is wrong for police to attempt to apprehend black criminals.

In this warped liberal worldview, “equality” means that enforcing the law is wrong, if it requires arresting black people. These implied premises of their argument are never stated explicitly, because once they are exposed as such, the dangerous consequences are obvious. No one’s life or property would be safe in a world organized to fit the liberal worldview.

If a man can steal a $20,000 car without worrying that he’ll go to prison when the police catch him, why not become a car thief? Beats working for a living, doesn’t it? And yet, in expressing sympathy for the car thief who died after wrecking the stolen Hyundai, the liberal seems not to grasp the potential consequences of his belief system. All he needs to know is that the dead thief was black, and this means the cops were wrong.

Just in case my meaning is not obvious here, let me say that the vast majority of black people are not car thieves. Most black people are law-abiding citizens and, I dare say, would be very angry if Marcus Thomas had stolen their Hyundai Elantra and crashed it into a wall.

We should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, so to speak, when dealing with the issue of race and crime. We ought to be able to look at crime statistics and see that, while black suspects are vastly overrepresented as perpetrators of crime, these criminals are nevertheless a fraction of the black population. Most black people are not criminals and are also disproportionately overrepresented as victims of crime. When we see the latest statistics about shootings in Chicago — where 298 people were shot in the month of March, a 70% increase from the same month last year — we know not only that most of the shooters are black, but also most of the victims are black. So if we want to prevent black people from getting shot to death, cops are going to have arrest the black criminals responsible for these shootings. Q.E.D.

To further make clear what should be obvious, my concern here is not motivated by lofty humanitarian ideals. I deny any accusation of being the kind of do-gooder Dickens mocked in the character of Mrs. Jellyby, with Chicago as my own Borrioboola-Gha missionary project. Far from having any virtue-signalling desire to be thought a philanthropic idealist, my interest in crime prevention arises from the practical consideration that what happens in the ’hood will not always stay in the ’hood.

Some 30 years ago, perhaps, I would have shrugged off news of a Chicago car thief’s death as a distant event that did not affect me, but study and experience have taught me to view such matters otherwise. We cannot permit crime and disorder to fester in some communities and expect that this wave of chaos and violence will never roll up on our shore.

Have you ever heard of the Wichita Horror?

In a tree-shaded lakeside home on East Beechwood Drive, five young people — all in their 20s, mostly recent college graduates — were settling down to bed when they were targeted for a home invasion by brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr, both of whom had lengthy criminal records. This home was apparently chosen at random for their latest crime, and they shot all five people inside. Only one victim survived to recount the cruel torture that the Carr brothers had inflicted upon them.

Five white victims, two black perpetrators, and the national media went out of its way to ignore this gruesome atrocity, which was far more newsworthy than some crimes the national media did cover. The question asked was, “What if the races had been reversed?” It would have been on CNN 24/7, but instead as it happened, it was ignored, and why?

Because the media doesn’t want to promote racial fear. However, if criminal violence is being disproportionately perpetrated by members of one race, isn’t this a potentially important fact? Black males are roughly 6% of the U.S. population, but about 50% of shooting suspects. And we see, in the case of Marcus Thomas, that even criminals known to be threats of gun violence are routinely turned loose in society. Oh, that mugshot at the top of the post? It’s from Marcus Thomas’s 2015 arrest in Chicago for being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon. So he had already been convicted of earlier felonies, then was caught with a firearm in Chicago in 2015, but five years later was back on the streets, stealing cars and carrying two weapons including a MAC-10.

Activists complain that black men are victims of “mass incarceration,” yet Chicago couldn’t keep this guy behind bars? If we know that “social justice” means that criminals with records like Marcus Thomas are being set free to perpetrate more crimes — and let’s not be naive about why he was carrying a MAC-10 in a stolen car — is it racism for white people to be concerned for their safety? Should we just pretend that these liberal policies of lenient treatment for criminals don’t represent any danger? Should we ignore incidents like the Wichita Horror as if they were random statistical anomalies of no significance?

There is no accountability for the liberals whose policies result in the prevalence of violent crime in the black community, a problem which in turn causes many white people to fear black people. If you want to eradicate racism, as liberals say they do, shouldn’t the problem of black crime be high on your list of ways to achieve this goal? Yet the exact opposite seems to be the case, as liberals want to turn loose criminals in the name of “social justice,” and then scream “RAAAAACISM” whenever one of the criminals gets killed by cops. Maybe if we pursued a policy of keeping dangerous criminals behind bars — e.g., Jacob Blake had a criminal record — there would be fewer such incidents.

Alas, the superstition of “equality” fogs the minds of liberals, who wish to ignore patterns of behavioral differences that may explain the higher incarceration rate of young black men, and instead attribute this phenomenon to “systemic racism.” You see, in the liberal mind, the famous phrase from our Declaration of Independence, about all men being “created equal,” is not to be understood as it was intended — i.e., the American colonists insisting they should not be treated as inferior subjects lacking the rights which their English kinsmen enjoyed in the Old Country — but rather as the basis of a radical philosophy.

Again, I find it necessary to state the obvious, that at no point in human history have all men been equal. In no society has complete equality been achieved, except in the lowest form of subsistence — Stone Age hunter-gatherers, perhaps, were “equal” in their possession of nothing.

In any advanced civilization, certainly, there are vast inequalities between the wealthy few and the poorest of the poor. As citizens of the wealthiest large nation in all human history, all of us enjoy a higher standard of living, which is true even for the poor, who receive benefits provided by the government, which are funded by taxes disproportionately paid by the rich. If poverty is your fate in life, you should be thankful to reside in such a rich country as ours, because the poor suffer far worse in poor countries. Yet most most Americans are neither rich nor poor, but rather somewhere in middle class. More than two-thirds of us can be described as middle-class, even if we’re just struggling to hold on among the lower middle class, one missed paycheck away from financial disaster.

What most middle-class Americans aspire to — “The American Dream” — is not necessarily to become a billionaire tycoon, with private jets and yachts, but rather to achieve financial security, home ownership, a substantial bank account and some hope of leaving an inheritance to our children and grandchildren, so they can be established on a higher rung of the socioeconomic ladder than where we began our lives.

This idea of upward mobility, you see, is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they spoke of “the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration, and “the blessings of liberty” in the Constitution. All of this hope, however, is jeopardized by the radical egalitarian worldview of liberals who consider inequality to be a synonym for oppression.

When liberals speak of “systemic racism,” what system are they referring to? Capitalism, perhaps? Do they mean to destroy the free enterprise system because, they believe, black people are oppressed by economic liberty? Or is the “system” which liberals have targeted for destruction is the fundamental rule of law? Because, you see, insofar as “equality” has any real meaning as a practical principle in the real world, then it must mean equality under the law: Marcus Thomas cannot drive 20 mph over the speed limit in a stolen car, and neither can anyone else. All of us are equally prohibited from stealing cars and driving over the speed limit.

Having paid my fair share of traffic fines — because I have an instinctive urge to drive fast — I don’t think it is too much to expect members of the black community to refrain from speeding, or to cooperate with law enforcement officers if they get caught speeding. At no point in my long career of high-speed driving did I ever caused a problem when the cops pulled me over: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

The same goes for drunk driving or driving on a suspended license or any other situation where getting pulled over by the cops might lead to your being handcuffed and put in the back of a squad car for that long, sad trip down to the local jail. Brother, I know that feeling.

Never once, however, did I resist arrest. The cop has a badge and a gun, a legal authorization to use force to arrest law-breakers, because what do you think the phrase “law enforcement” means, anyway? It is becoming evident, however, that our educational system is not properly inculcating respect for the law in the black community, because otherwise Rayshard Brooks might still be alive — in prison, perhaps, but alive.

See, this is where I can’t buy into the anti-police attitude of some of my libertarian friends (e.g., Radley Balko). While I am willing to stipulate that there are bad cops, and that some jurisdictions may have bad policies that result in needless violence, nevertheless public safety requires that citizens cooperate with law enforcement.

At the point where you’re encountering the police as a suspect — pulled over for a traffic violation or whatever — only an idiot would engage in that “sovereign citizen” act of protesting that your rights are being violated by routine law-enforcement activity. Over and over again, however, we see black suspects engaging in this behavior, asserting that they did nothing wrong and disputing the officer’s authority, often as a prelude to resisting arrest or attempting to flee the scene. That’s basically how Nika Holbert got shot by a cop in Nashville — well, that, and the fact that she pulled a pistol and shot first.

If you really believe you are innocent, and that the cop’s questioning of you is a violation of your rights, OK, you’ll have your day in court. But someone has apparently failed to teach this lesson to the Nika Holberts of the world, who keep getting themselves shot by police because they want to dispute the cop’s authority at the point of arrest.

Look, I happen to think that Nika Holbert belonged in prison — she had drugs and a pistol in the car, which belonged to a drug dealer with a lengthy criminal record — but if she had just cooperated with the officer who tried to arrest her, our Constitution guaranteed she would have the same rights as anyone else. Habeas corpus and the right to a trial by a jury of your peers, et cetera, are not trivial matters. People fought and died so that every American could have those rights, and I’m glad they did, because there was at least one occasion in my wayward youth when my assertion of these rights prevented me from going to prison.

The Fifth Amendment is very dear to my heart, and if anyone in the black community would like me to teach a seminar on the subject to urban youth, I would be more than happy to oblige. “You have the right to remain silent” — that’s what the Fifth Amendment means when it says a person cannot “be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” If the cops want to arrest you, just shut up and cooperate. However guilty you may be, there’s always a chance that there might be some kind of procedural error that might result in the charges being dropped. Or maybe the witnesses against you will have a memory lapse. But at any rate, you’ll get your day in court, if you’ll just shut up and cooperate. Otherwise, you might end up getting shot by the cops.

We are all equal under the law, but the radical kind of “equality” that liberals advocate — equality of outcome, on the basis of collective group identity — is never going to happen. It is simply impossible for such an “equality” to exist in human society, where real differences between people (whether as individuals or as categorical groups) will always yield variations in outcomes. These real differences between people cannot be eradicated, even by the most authoritarian government policy, and history shows that government efforts to impose radical equality are accompanied by wholesale slaughter, e.g., Cambodia under Pol Pot.

Is there racial inequality in America? No one would deny it. However, activists who blame “systemic racism” for this inequality are engaged in a deliberate deception, asking us to destroy the existing system in the expectation that whatever takes its place will be better, at least in terms of the lives of (allegedly) oppressed minorities. Anyone who expresses doubt about these claims is automatically denounced as a racist, an accusation that doesn’t usually have the effect that the accusers intend. I don’t think that being accused of racism causes most people to abandon their doubts about the efficacy of policies endorsed by those who make a habit of slinging around terms like “systemic racism.” Quite the opposite — if someone voices a common-sense objection to your agenda and your response is to label them a racist, isn’t it likely they’ll draw the conclusion that accusations of racism are merely a smear tactic? And isn’t it possible this will lead them to embrace actual racism, to listen to voices of other people you’ve labeled “racist,” including some truly dangerous people?

People had better wake the hell up. We are probably closer to the brink of another civil war in this country than most people imagine, and if fear of “cancel culture” prevents us from speaking blunt truths, then the loudest voices will be desperate people with nothing to lose.

Whatever the future may hold, it is imperative that we stop expressing sympathy for criminals like Marcus Thomas who, by their own lawless actions, bring about their deaths. A dead criminal is, at least, not going to commit any further crimes, and for that we should be thankful.

Shame he had to wreck a perfectly good Hyundai, though.



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