Two recent shootings of black men, one in Tulsa and one in Charlotte, have set off another round of racial turmoil, not to mention another round of Orwellian news and news analysis.
So let us begin with some basic definitions. Protesters are those who assemble peaceably to register their views on something, or their insistence that something be done. Violent protesters are those who clash physically with the police who were guarding their protest. Rioters are those who indiscriminately attack the innocent for the sake of their ostensible cause. I use the word ostensible because a distinction needs to be made between the cause of racial justice and harmony on the one hand, and the cause of not having a big enough flat screen on the other.
Because Black Lives Matter is an organization that already knows what it thinks about the next incident where a black man is killed by cops, the details and facts surrounding that next incident clearly don’t matter, just as the details about this one don’t matter. Now this means that the rule of law doesn’t matter to them. And because the rule of law is one of the hallmarks of any civilized society, the BLM are revealing themselves to be nothing more than Black Lynch Mobs.
If you compare the Tulsa shooting with the Charlotte shooting, there appears to be much more of a cause for legitimate complaint in Tulsa—where protests occurred—than in Charlotte, where rioting did. In Tulsa, there certainly appears to be enough evidence to indict the white officer who shot Terence Crutcher. If she shot him “just in case,” then there should be appropriate legal consequences. The aerial footage of that incident looks bad—but even with that said, there must still be a trial where she has every reasonable opportunity to defend herself. But in Charlotte, where an armed black man was shot by a black officer, representing a department with a black police chief—naturally setting off a series of riots against whitey—the situation is quite different.
“Last night in City X, a ____________ police officer stopped a __________ motorist in a routine traffic stop. The _____________ officer apparently gave a command and stepped back toward the rear of the car. Aerial footage showed the motorist emerging from his vehicle with his hands in the air, but moments later he was on the ground, having been shot by the officer seven times.”
Now if you are the kind of person who needs to know the colors that fill in those blanks before knowing what you think of this, then you are the kind of person who ought to do us all a favor by using every trick possible to get out of jury duty.
Now let us say, for the sake of discussion, that the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte was simple murder by the cops. Let’s make the murdering cop white, and let us make the motivation bigotry simpliciter, and let us say that the Charlotte police department is riddled with seething racial hatreds. If the response is to riot, and to target people who had nothing whatever to do with the original offense, then you have successfully accomplished what so many before you have accomplished. You have become a differently-tinted version of your enemy. Your skin is a different color, but your hearts are the same color.
I don’t like Kant much, but I do like his formulation of the Golden Rule—so behave as that you would be willing for your behavior to become a universal law. If a legitimate response to a white murder of a black man is to select a random white bystander and kill him, then a legitimate response to a black murderer would be the photo negative of that. And if you want to live in a society governed by rules like that, the kind of “rules” that BLM foments, then you are clearly much fonder of adrenaline than I am.
At this point in the discussion—when the progressive defense of indefensible lawlessness becomes obvious—they usually want to turn the discussion to “root causes,” “systemic racism,” and so on. We have to address the root causes of racial unrest, they say. Okay, we can talk about that, but you are not going to successfully address the root causes until you are willing to outlaw all municipal governance by black Democrats.