Discussions of horrible events in the immediate aftermath invariably engender scolding (typically but not exclusively) from the left that one ought not “politicize” a tragedy. That these opprobria occur well after politicization of their own is underway doesn’t seem to be any kind of logical or moral hurdle to overcome. Thus in the aftermath of Sandy Hook we get campaigns for gun bans and finger-wagging when it’s pointed out none of the suggested bans would have prevented Sandy Hook.
Likewise the recent shooting of Walter Scott.
For anyone who somehow missed the firestorm, Scott, an unarmed black man was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer after a traffic stop (and an apparent struggle) while running away. He died on the scene. A video surfaced shortly thereafter that prompted (I would argue merely accelerated) a murder charge. I have heard no serious voice on either side of the ideological fence who considers the charge unjustified.
Not content to let justice take its course and allow valid lessons learned to emerge, the usual suspects have come forth to tell us what this tragedy really means – and purely coincidentally advance their particular agendas.
Case in point, despite the fact Scott was killed by a standard police duty side-arm, fired by an officer wearing plain old cop clothes, driving a plain old cruiser, we are told by the ACLU that this is evidence of the militarization of police:
The brutal deaths of Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice all point to the need for immediate action. Systemic change is necessary for police to start serving and protecting communities of color, instead of waging war on us.
Local police, armed to the teeth with wartime weaponry, treat us like the enemy, especially if we’re Black, young, poor, or homeless.
Stopping the funding and incentivizing of police militarization is a crucial first step to ending this war.
Tell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice: Stop funding the siege on communities of color.
Meanwhile, in an even greater feat of mental gymnastic Rep. James Clyburn has found the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and “Stand Your Ground” laws to be the culprit:
(ALEC) drawing up legislation like stand your ground–– “legislation that gives a license for people to be vigilantes”–– voter ID and “unfair redistricting plans” are “a cancer” contributing to this climate.
“The climate that’s being created is not a good climate,” he said, “and that’s why you have these rogue police officers feeling they have license to do what they want to do and there will be no consequences paid for it.”
Examples are legion, but you get the idea.
Of possibly greater concern is the willingness of pundits nominally on the conservative side of an issue to accept the left’s opportunistic premises as a baseline of their own arguments.
Consider the unfortunate title of Charles Cooke’s recent piece at NRO A Camera Will Mean Justice for Walter Scott which reflects acceptance of a planted axiom the left has been advancing for years, namely that in racist America there is no justice for African-Americans unless the evidence is incontrovertible and overwhelming.
Naturally, an indictment will not bring Walter Scott back. Nor, indeed, will post hoc punishments do much to dispel the fears of those among us who are convinced that the United States is an irredeemably racist nation. … When there are no cameras, the advantage goes to the shooter. That, I’m afraid, is the inevitable product of a system that privileges the presumption of innocence, and, ultimately, it is an argument for more cameras rather than less justice. Where there are cameras, however, the playing field is leveled.
Funny, I don’t know that Darren Wilson ever felt the warm wind of privilege or advantage at his back until (notwithstanding Cooke’s assertion that he simply prevailed in a “he-said-she-said” dispute) credible witnesses and solid forensics ultimately exonerated him. These would be the same kinds of forensics that would have been at the forefront of any investigation into Walter Scott’s death (video or no video), unless it is Cooke’s contention that multiple entry wounds, in the back, of an unarmed fleeing suspect, at significant distance, would not have aroused any interest or curiosity. In any rational universe – never mind the one we currently occupy where that playing field may be tilted in ways wholly surprising to Mr. Cooke — the officer would certainly have been charged anyway.
To be clear, I am glad the video emerged. I agree it will simplify and accelerate the course of justice. I think body cams for police are a great idea whose time has come; I think it highly probable that not having one is one of Darren Wilson’s great regrets.
What I utterly reject is the Trojan Horse and the contents the left invariably hides inside.