The Outstater

July 27, 2021

“Weekend violence in Indy sent residents and visitors scrambling for cover in Broad Ripple and Downtown. At least six were shot with one killed in five separate shootings in just two hours. City Officials remained silent and were missing in action all weekend.” — Rick Snyder, Fraternal Order of Police

A FRIEND surprised us this weekend by announcing his support for Black Lives Matter. We were surprised because the friend is discerning enough to understand that BLM is not what it pretends to be, that it intentionally or inadvertently would invert our system of government and divide the country along racial lines.

His support, it therefore can be assumed, is equivocal. What he might have been saying is that he feels the pain of urban black families and intends to do what he can to help. He is a soft-hearted man.

Good for him. It is unfortunate, though, that for several generations such men have begun there attempts to help well short of where it might have been effective — that is, by ensuring that black families enjoy the benefit of private property, rule of law and the attendant public safety.

Indiana is not a Third World country — not yet. Wherever you live here you should expect to have neighborhood grocery stores, to walk to evening church services, to send your children on a summer bike ride, to find nearby work, to plant a garden, to invest in property, to build generational wealth and everything else that being an American defines.

Black Lives Matter is making such normal activity problematic with the contention — dogma, actually — that tactical policing is racially motivated rather than racially incidental. The preference is for no effective policing whatsoever.

Heather Mac Donald, an expert on crime, has a better handle on reality. Her observations bear quoting at length:

“The main evidence of racism lodged against police officers is the racially disparate rates of stops and arrests. But the police cannot fight crime without generating such racial disparities in the data. In 2019, blacks made up over 74 percent of all shooting suspects in New York City, for example, though they are only 23 percent of the city’s population. Adding Hispanic shootings to these numbers accounts for over 96 percent of all shootings in the city. These disparities mean that virtually every time the cops respond to a ‘shots fired’ call, they are in a minority neighborhood and being given the description of a minority suspect (assuming anyone is even cooperating with the police). They are also likely being called on behalf of minority residents, who made up over 96 percent of all shooting victims in 2019. It is not racism that sends police to minority neighborhoods; it is the reality of crime.”

Ignoring that reality has cost lives in Indianapolis. The city this year surpassed both New York City and Chicago in per capita murders. In the face of that, municipal government has seemed powerless.

What else could we expect? Paralysis is the predictable result of confusing cause and effect, of trying to apply disjointed solutions to life-and-death problems. Given the situation, no Indianapolis family can feel safe.

It is suspected that Mayor Joe Hogsett knows that Mac Donald’s position is correct but he finds it inconvenient. And few think that his blaming guns is a serious response given that the guns used in crimes are illegal in the first place (.01 percent of all guns). The truth is that his own reluctance to order more aggressive stop-and-search tactics has emboldened criminals to carry weapons and subsequently use them more often.

Nonetheless, Mayor Hogsett and his allies on city council are calculating that they can shift and dodge their way through to the other side of the issue using the cover of neighborhood crime committees and the usual assortment of do-good agencies.

That would be a miscalculation. For they are the issue. Their municipal government will either restore public safety or it will consign sections of the city to Soweto-like misery and hostility.

If we are ever to overcome racial disparities it will be because we have a hard-headed citizenry, black and white, willing to address how things are instead of how we wish them to be. 

That is a big “if.” — tcl



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