Why I don’t focus on “black on black” crime instead of police brutality

In response to the question of why I don’t focus on “black on black” crime and do focus on police brutality, I would offer the following.

“Black on Black crime isn’t a thing

As The Root correctly points out, according to the FBI’s uniform crime-reporting data for 2016, 90.1 percent of black victims of homicide were killed by other blacks, while 83.5 percent of whites were killed by other whites. While no life is inconsequential, the statistical evidence shows that—just as for blacks when it comes to black-on-black crime—whites are mostly victimized by other whites, with the vast majority of white murders committed by whites. This is because most victims of crime personally know their assailants. And while this is a truth across racial boundaries, no one ever talks about “white-on-white crime.”  So, black people kill each other just like white people kill each other just like Asian people kill each other.

The focus on police brutality makes sense

Since most non-police murders are committed by a person who the victim knows well, I am able to reduce my risk of be murdered by not associating with people who are likely to murder me. I’m not friends with violence-prone people. I choose my friends carefully.  My risk of being killed by someone I know is quite low.

I’m also able to reduce my risk of being killed by a random person.  I put in the time at school and in work to afford a nice house in a nice neighborhood with very little crime. I lock my doors, have an alarm system, and have guns for home defense.  I also have rather large dogs.  My hobbies include both striking and grappling martial arts, so even without a gun I’m in a pretty position to defend myself.

What I can’t really mitigate is the risk that some racist police officer will kill me (and likely get away with it due to qualified immunity).  I can’t reduce the risk that such a fate will befall my children.  Every time I drive down the road, I run the risk that a police officer will fabricate a reason to pull me over, and escalate things from there.  That is not just a hypothetical as I have personally experienced situations where a police officer pulls me over without any cause, lies about his reasoning, and harasses me. I’m “fortunate” that the worst that has come out of those stops are relatively minor undeserved traffic citations.

Leaving aside how all of that applies to me personally, addressing police brutality makes sense as a matter of justice as police brutality goes unaddressed currently and that needs to change. Logically we should be working to put a stop to wrongs that go without a remedy, and that is exactly what happens when a police officer maims or murders and is then shielded from any liability by qualified immunity.  Contrast that with a crime of violence committed by an ordinary citizen in which the suspect is brought to justice, and my focus on police brutality makes sense.

Finally, there is something especially wrong about government-sponsored violence. When the police beat or murder someone, that person is literally being harmed by their own tax dollars at work. They are being brutalized by the people who have sworn to “protect and serve.” That is tragic for the individual, and a serious danger to society as a whole.  History teaches us that great countries are rarely conquered, but rather tend to die from internal decay as the government turns against the population.  It is in all of our best interest to prevent that sort of outcome for our country.