If you read the news, and I can’t really recommend it given the dullards who are writing it, the quota of advertiser-vetted bilge they are asked to write, and the richer dullards who edit them, you may have noticed that people are getting shot and otherwise killed at the hands of the police. This has lots of people upset. Some people are upset that their family members and neighbors are being killed faster than innocent bystanders are when Blackwater goons get rowdy, others apparently are upset that people object to what until now was apparently a fine and ancient American tradition with as honored and venerable a history as stealing Native American land. Some people want to blame the victims of these police killings as if anyone who wasn’t bulletproof with an uncrushable trachea and an unbreakable spine is basically begging everyone they meet to kill them as soon and as brutally as possible. And that upsets me. I get upset that public employees are spending their time on the public payroll assassinating members of the public. It seems counterproductive. As a taxpayer, I object to paying the salary of someone who might return the favor by giving me (or, to be more accurate, an African American) a few new interesting holes through which to breathe, or to drown in blood as the case may be. Perhaps I am limited in my horizons, perhaps I lack perspective, perhaps I am too distracted by blood on the pavement, and grieving family members and the nauseating spectacle of yet another remorseless stormtrooper defending their butchery as just another tough task they dutifully perform with no expectation of recognition than a modest paycheck and a pension, except they totally do want to be seen as a thin blue line of heroes valiantly defending a soft and innocent (or decadent and naive) public from the savagery of an African American’s failure to affix a front license plate to their bumper. And the police have no shortage of defenders who seem to think the penalty for not displaying instant obsequious obedience to the police ought to be summary execution.
And I don’t get that. I get that we think a civilization needs rules to keep from descending into anarchy. I get that a group of people is necessary to enforce those rules. What I don’t get is why so many people think breaking a small rule (like a missing front license plate) justifies breaking one of the most fundamental rules in all of human civilization (don’t kill people). Why do so many people think there’s an “unless…” after “thou shalt not kill”?
I was going to highlight Jonah Goldberg’s nauseating call for calm in the face of summary police executions… but he didn’t write one. Good for him. He also doesn’t seem to think the murder of another black man by police in Cincinnati is worth writing about, maybe because he has nothing to say about what appears to be an open and shut case of murder caught on tape. But that is perhaps mean spirited of me, and an unfair criticism, given that I have spent time explaining that it is possible to care about multiple issues, and that silence on one issue doesn’t necessarily mean indifference. Lord knows there are plenty of issues Jonah cares enough about to write his special type of glurge, opposing the minimum wage increase, tantrums that people are supporting Trump for having the nerve to use a foghorn while other republicans were still farting about with racist dog whistles, criticism of Obama for not being bipartisan enough, as if there was anyone with an (R) after their names in congress who didn’t campaign on a platform of opposing everything Obama stands for. It’s kind of refreshing to hear Jonah’s silence on an issue he’d only get wrong. So here’s a rare congratulations and a job well done (so far) for mister Goldberg of the National Review. If only you could bring your new found reticence to bear on every other issue you know nothing about.
One of my personal favorites Victor Davis Hanson also has insightful commentary on this incident. Which is to say, he hasn’t written a damn thing about it. Good for him, and again, well done.
You know who else hasn’t written about it? George Will. John Hinderaker, normally the loudest of loudmouths hasn’t touched it with a ten foot pole. I was going to go looking for more, but I really don’t want to. If conservatives don’t have anything to say about this incident, maybe just maybe, it indicates they aren’t the complete moral vacuums they so often appear to be. I’m going to assume they’ve heard of the incident (I was going to write “are not ignorant of the incident” but stopped myself, because seriously is there any subject they aren’t ignorant of?) It’s nice to think they have a line. It’s nice to think there are some actions by police that are so egregiously evil, that they will not find defenders among the talking heads of the right.
And so on that happy thought I will conclude. Start your weekend early, if you need me to, I will write you a note to get out of work.