BLM: OK, You Have Our Attention -- and Many of Us Are Sympathetic -- What in the Hell Do You Want Done?

Well, it appears that Black Lives Matters has moved on to climate activism, or whatever, but has mostly fallen off message on police accountability.  Protests in the vague hope of ending racism by closing busy highways and airports and kneeling during the National Anthem are going to get nothing done -- the solution to the problems that sparked the BLM movement are to be found in legislative efforts to create better police accountability measures and to roll back a number of egregious protections from accountability that exist in many union contracts.  The solution is not to throw blanket hate on police officers, many or most of whom are doing a good job, but to recognize that when we give officers unique powers to use force, they need extra accountability to go with those powers.  Today, most police have less accountability for their use of force than you and I do.

Unfortunately, doing that is hard.  It is a tough legislative slog that has to go local city by local city, with few national-level shortcuts available.  It faces opposition from Conservatives who tend to fetishize police, and from Liberals who are reluctant to challenge a public employees union.  And it requires that BLM translate their energy from disruption and attention-grabbing (which they are very good at) to policy and legislation, which they have shown no facility for.  They need to be working on model legislation and pushing that down to the local level.  This original plan actually looked pretty good, but apparently it has been rejected and gets little or no attention.

As a result, BLM seems to be stuck in a pointless do-loop of disruption and virtue-signalling.  I just want to scream at them, "OK, you have our attention -- and many of us are sympathetic -- what in the hell do you want done?"  Unfortunately, their current lists of goals have almost nothing to do with police accountability and appear to be a laundry list of progressive talking points.  It appears to be another radical organization that has been jacked by the Democratic establishment to push mainstream Democratic talking points.

Here is a good example, for a number of reasons.  In the past, the officer likely would have been believed and the woman might have been convicted of something.  I think this happens to people across the racial spectrum, but African-Americans have had a particularly hard time -- given both racist perceptions and lack of good counsel -- in these he-said-she-said cases with police.  Not to mention that African-Americans -- for a variety of reasons including racial profiling in things like New York's stop and frisk program to the tendency of poor black municipalities to fine the crap out of their citizens to generate revenue -- come in contact with police disproportionately more often.

I offered my plan to help African-Americans a number of times in the past:

  • Legalize drugs.  This would reduce the rents that attract the poor into dealing, would keep people out of jail, and reduce a lot of violent crime associated with narcotics traffic that kills investment and business creation in black neighborhoods.  It would also reduce the main excuse for petty harassment by police that falls disproportionately on young black men.  No it's not a good thing to have people addicted to strong narcotics but it is worse to be putting them in jail and having them shooting at each other.
  • Bring real accountability to police forces.  When I see stories of folks absurdly abused by police forces, I can almost always guess the race of the victim in advance.  I used to be a law-and-order Conservative that blindly trusted police statements about every encounter.  The advent of cell-phone video has proven this to be supremely naive.  No matter how trusted, you can't give any group a pass on accountability.
  • Eliminate the minimum wage   (compromise: eliminate the minimum wage before 25).  Originally passed for racist reasons, it still (if unintentionally) keeps young blacks from entering the work force.  Dropping out of high school does not hurt employment because kids learn job skills in high school (they don't); it hurts because finishing high school is a marker of responsibility and other desirable job traits.  Kids who drop out can overcome this, but only if they get a job where they can demonstrate these traits.  No one is going to take that chance at $10 or $15 an hour
  • Voucherize education.  It's not the middle class that is primarily the victim of awful public schools, it is poor blacks.  Middle and upper class parents have the political pull to get accountability.   It is no coincidence the best public schools are generally in middle and upper class neighborhoods.  Programs such as the one in DC that used to allow urban poor to escape failing schools need to be promoted.
  • W. Fleetwood

    Oh please. BLM wasn't "jacked" by the DNC, it was a creation of the DNC. It's purpose was always to increase racial solidarity within the Black community in anticipation of a national election. Just as in times past the Klan would lie dormant for a time. then start riding in the months before an election. And by the way, you'd have just as much chance of a "meaningful dialogue" with the Klan.

  • mlhouse

    The problems with BLM is that the problems that blacks and other minorities have in the modern world have little or nothing to do with actual racism. Their problems are caused by the failures of socialism and how the Democrats control their lives and their votes with the illusatory short term power of the welfare state.

    Consider most major urban centers with high proportions of blacks: Detroit, Chicago, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphis.

    The Democrats have controlled these cities for generations. And this control is total. They dont just control the mayor's office. THey control city hall. They control the police department. THey control the public services and sanitation departments. They control the fire department. They control the city administration. They control the education department. THere aint no conservative/Republicans in any of these jobs and to get promoted or even keep your job you need to toe the party line.

    WHen BLM complains about racism at our major and minor colleges and universities, how many Republicans run these entities? How many conservatives are amongst their faculties, their upper management, and even their administrative employees?

    WHat is telling though is that the main message of BLM is to push the blame for the problems of minorities away from those truly responsible to white Americans that have little to do with the decisions the impact and, ruin their lives.

    It is especially telling to me that blacks in the modern UNited States can complain about "oppression" when the true case is really the opposite. Minority set asides, affirmanitve actions, and the protection given to minorites in the workforce are the opposite of oppression. To use an anecdotal example, my son scored a 38 on his MCAT, had a 3.8 GPA, was a varsity football player with two letters, and a solid research project with a published work. If he would have been black he would have been pursued by every major medical school in the nation and would have received admission in ANY top 10 medical school he wanted to go to. Even with these credentials, the list of schools that rejected him wore down until the final two, both of which accepted him. Far from a top 10 school, he actually had the school that he attends ranked high on his personal list AND he is essentially ranked first in his class.

    So, don't tell me about how blacks are suppressed. They are not.

  • J_W_W

    Why would they need any of the policies you're espousing to execute their race war??

    They don't want solutions they want conflict and destruction.

  • John Moore

    Sigh. BLM wasn't about police accountability. It was about grabbing power by finding a different way to rant about "racism." It is classic Alinskyite tactics - when you based gets bored, find another cause.

    Police accountability is and will always be a problem, because we are not perfect and neither are the cops. Frankly, given all the crap they take, they are surprisingly good. Yes, sometimes they get away with murder, and they shouldn't. That hardly justifies BLM.

  • Ray

    So, eliminate all police shootings of blacks. Make it completely illegal.

    From 2009-2013 this would have saved 112 lives if you assume ALL of those were due to racist cops. This still leaves 4,425 black on black murders.

    Accountability for cops is fine, but if you really want to make a difference and reduce minority deaths, Libertarians and BLM types should be willing to shift their focus from the easy scapegoat of the police to where the bulk of the problems actually are.

  • jdgalt

    Exactly. Race was not an issue for 20+ years, until Obama and Soros resurrected the race-baiting industry. But police using excessive force is a major problem, as documented on sites like CopBlock and PINAC. It affects all races, and the only fix is to strip police of their legal immunity so victims can have their day in court.

  • terrence22

    I think this says it best

  • sch

    Minor quibble about legalizing 'drugs'. Looking at MJ states, they just can't help taxing MJ at high enough levels that black market sellers can easily undersell the legitimate outlets by virtue of not paying the taxes. So there is still a significant incentive to enter into non-legal
    drug sales. This correlates well with the stats that the higher the tobacco tax is in a state, the higher the % of sales are of non-taxed
    cigarettes, eg: NY tobacco sales are estimated to be 40% nontaxed in the NYC, and 20-30% in the rest of NY state.

  • CC

    Some different suggestions:
    1) eliminate seizure of cash and property without convictions for an actual crime. Don't take a car for a DUI.
    2) Reduce regulations that prevent poor people from starting a business (e.g., hair braiding as a simple one but also street vendors). The removal of the ability to start a business without a million dollars in capital is very detrimental to the poor.
    3) Teach police how to de-escalate. People who can't speak, can't hear, don't speak English, or who have a spasm disorder, or those in a medical coma suffer greatly if they encounter the police. A man not speaking English was beat up by the cop in NYC for jaywalking because he did not instantly obey. A guy with some spasmodic disorder is constantly stopped for being drunk in public. Crazy people are more frequently killed by the police.
    4) Allow filming of police. No more arresting people who are just yelling or just filming for "disorderly conduct" or "resisting arrest" or "loitering".
    5) Many of those in county jail are there for failure to pay child support, but by putting them in jail they lose their job--can't pay child support then. This is effectively debtor's prison.

  • John Moore

    I disagree with removing the civil immunity. We need checks and balances, but invoking the tort law system is overkill. We'd end up with much less effective policing.

    I am not convinced it is a "major" problem. It is a problem, and as I wrote, it always will be. You cannot eradicate it. I think the best solution is now happening: bodycams.

  • jdgalt

    If your idea of "effective" policing is to kill the likes of Eric Garner rather than let him sell loose cigarettes, we need much less effective policing.

    And if the officers who killed him get off scot free, which appears to have happened, the next Eric Garner has no choice except to pack a gun and use it first.

  • SamWah

    "OK, you have our attention -- and many of us are sympathetic -- what in the hell do you want done?" Roll over and play dead. Until they think of something else. These are Lefties; satisfying any demand will spark another demand, because that's their game, and leftie governments are un-indicted co-conspirators. They are The Man who keeps the blacks down, while claiming to do the opposite.

  • Johnnyreb

    "Not to mention that African-Americans -- for a variety of reasons
    including racial profiling in things like New York's stop and frisk
    program to the tendency of poor black municipalities to fine the crap
    out of their citizens to generate revenue -- come in contact with police
    disproportionately more often."

    Not sure if you are intentionally ignoring the 5000 pound elephant sitting in the living room with that statement, but there is a reason for the disproportionate number of police encounters with blacks. Blacks represent only 13% of the population but commit half of the murders in the Country each year and have been doing so for the past 30 years. Other crimes have about the same rates. That could have a little something to do with the number of encounters.

  • jdgalt

    That's certainly true as far as it goes, but it's not the whole story. When a town like Ferguson makes citations for petty things its main revenue source, and backs those citations up by throwing poor people in jail because they can't pay, that is not legitimate law enforcement -- it is predation by government. (And all drug laws fall in that same category because they were written to wage cultural war against blacks and other minorities in the first place -- the safety arguments came later. One hour in any college library will easily prove this.)

    When government stops waging war on the poor and minorities, they will start trusting it, and maybe we can have a civilized country again. We don't now.

  • Ann_In_Illinois

    Predation by government is just what government does, unless it is stopped. It goes after anyone and everyone, IF it thinks it can get away with it.

    Similarly, some people have asked why Hillary doesn't just tell the truth rather than always lying and covering things up. Scorpions do what scorpions do.

  • Ann_In_Illinois

    At many universities, it has become clear that what BLM students want is to end free speech and free ideas, so that only the "BLM - approved" ideas can be expressed. They also want students to be forced to take more required courses in which a student cannot get a passing grade unless they spout the correct orthodoxy.