Central to the nation’s Herculean effort to end the wrongs of racism was the new determination of police departments, led by New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner William Bratton, to restore law and order to ghetto neighborhoods, so that civil society could come back to life there, and people wouldn’t have to pay tribute to armed thugs controlling their lives. The old policing had ignored all but the most heinous ghetto crimes. Its spirit was: If they want to kill each other uptown, fine, as long as it stays up there. But for the new policing, all victims deserved police attention, regardless of race. All neighborhoods deserved police protection, regardless of the color of their residents. And since the perpetrators of crime are overwhelmingly young minority men, they properly received a very large proportion of police scrutiny. The alternative, to repeat, was to let them kill each other.
But unlike Lincoln, America’s first black president didn’t bind up the nation’s wounds but scratched them open every time police killed a black man—rightly or sometimes wrongly, because when society arms men with guns and authority, it will inevitably attract some bullies, making a police chief responsible for policing his own men vigilantly, as the NYPD especially has striven to do, and as Plato told us was statecraft’s thorniest problem. Anytime a non-black man killed an African-American, Obama cried racism and said it could have been him or his son, if he’d had one. Every time a cop, white or black, killed a black American, Obama’s reflexive instinct was to blame the cop. About the mayhem of black-on-black murder in the nation’s ghettoes, he gave only a single speech.
When the president praises the Black Lives Matter demonstrators, as if they alone of his fellow countrymen know that platitudinous truth, he is only reinforcing black grievance, when his proper role is to convince ghetto blacks that their lives matter enough for them to take responsibility for them, to stop going around with chips on their shoulders and Glocks in their waistbands, to be fathers to the children they beget, and to set for them an example of the responsible citizenship that is theirs for the asking, thanks to the efforts of so many of their countrymen, white and black, living and dead.
True to form, Obama went into grievance-mongering mode on July 7, commenting on the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by cops in Louisiana and Minnesota. He noted that “all of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.” And he went on to detail law enforcement’s racial disparities, as if there were not even more stark and troubling racial disparities in lawbreaking. His familiar conclusion: “If you add it all up, the African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population. Now, these are facts. And when incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same. And that hurts.”
Later that day, a black former soldier assassinated five Dallas police officers and wounded seven more, sniping from above with a semi-automatic rifle. A sympathizer of the New Black Panther Party, which professes hatred of whites and especially Jews, the sniper, Micah X. Johnson, 25, told police who cornered and killed him that he was avenging cop killings of blacks by killing whites and especially white cops.
If you want to ignite race riots, a sure-fire way to do it is to stir up black hatred and suspicion of cops, which will in turn make cops warier of blacks and more trigger-happy, and so on, until an explosion occurs. So thanks, President Obama. You have set back American race relations by 50 years.