A Modest Proposal to Address Institutional Racism


black-lives-matterAlton Sterling was not killed by the police. Philandro Castile was not killed by the police. They were killed by individual police officers, in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.

But for many African-Americans, who witness the killing of one black man after another at the hands of individual police officers who are rarely convicted of crimes — with changes of venue or all-white juries — it feels as if the police have become their deadly adversary.

Which, combined with the ease of purchasing high-powered, semi-automatic weaponry, is a recipe for urban guerilla warfare against the police of the kind we saw in Dallas.

Bottom line: In order to stop the madness, the U.S. must begin to address the issue of crime and punishment of individual policemen who shoot and kill unarmed black people.

michajohnsonNothing can excuse Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who murdered five Dallas police officers and wounded nine other people. He said he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. before he himself was killed by Dallas police. As they should have.

But do we understand what gave rise to Johnson’s blood-thirsty rage? Damn right, we do. If you have the stomach, check out Killed By Police, for a sickening list of people killed by officer-involved incidents – some of them justified, for sure – but many of them not.

White people – those who generally control the government, businesses and media in America – have a special obligation to ensure that our systems of policing and jurisprudence work for the benefit of all citizens equally. Sure, all lives matter,  but it’s black lives that are most threatened by the institutional racism that continues to hold a death grip on our nation.

What is to be done? For starters, Congress could pass legislation tomorrow mandating that no federal crime-fighting funds will be given to cities or counties that fail to create citizen review boards governing local police behavior, In the same way we have citizen control of the military, we should ensure citizen control of the urban military – the local police.

ar15Next, we should ban the sale, and eventually possession, of semi-automatic weapons, in the same way we have effectively* banned the sale and possession of automatic weapons since the 1930s. This would by itself vastly reduce the scale of mayhem perpetrated by assassins, murderers, terrorists and crazies. It would also require a HUGE political effort because the National Rifle Association would go the mattresses to stop such a move.

Finally, we have to change the way we think and talk about violence, whether it’s against civilians or authorities. Murder is murder. Let’s call it what it is.

* As the vigilant Noozeyeguy notes in comments, it is still possible, with restrictions, to own a machine gun, but regulations have virtually wiped them out from private hands.

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There are 6 comments for this post

  1. avatar Sideline says:

    Thank you for this, gentlemen. The rancid fraud of the NRA certainly has been exposed by all of this, given that the gunman in Dallas did exactly as prescribed by the NRA: He took up arms against what he saw as an oppressive government, taking it only that one additional step over the line from the actions of the Cliven Bundy thugs. And, because their silence is so telling, they are exposed as merely the military wing of the KKK, as far as I’m concerned. And that, sirs, concludes my hyperbolic rant of this Monday.

  2. avatar Les says:

    Welcome back from your coma.

  3. avatar JohnF says:

    Good Ideas. Lets hope the election swings enough to the democratic side that this can be discussed seriously and action be taken to curtail the number of assault rifles and curtail the violence in society.

  4. avatar Noozeyeguy says:

    A correction: Fully-automatic weapons have been, and continue to be, completely legal for Americans (in most states) to possess. The National Firearms Act of 1934 instituted a taxation and registration system for certain classes of weapons, full-auto among them. Subsequently, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 decreed that no *new* automatic weapons could be built, but existing full-auto firearms could still be transferred amongst qualified individuals.

    FWIW: The federal government has never explicitly outlawed possession any type of personal firearm; at most, certain types of weapons have been banned from manufacture, but continued possession of “banned” weapons legally owned prior to the ban being enacted have always been “grandfathered.”

  5. avatar kpminott says:

    Police Departments throughout the USA do not share a common training program.
    One city [? where eluding me right now]] sets aside money in the annual budget for only a 2-hour ‘refresher’ course.

    The officers we’re able to observe, thanks to cell phone footage, held shakily in the hands of a near-by witness or even a daughter sitting next to her dad in their car, are evidence of the poor coping skills and pathetic lack of intervention skills by certain police officers.

    The black man, ordered out of his car, bullied to the ground, questioning why he was being cuffed died from 4-gunshot wounds, 2 bullets delivered into his back, while on the ground.

    Was it last summer, cell phone footage bore witness to young, black teen-agers, joshing and teasing one another as they walked to a swim party at a public pool?

    A white person had called a complaint about noise to the police.

    One of the responding officers began yelling at a young 13-year old girl, dressed only in her swimsuit, to get down on the ground.


    To cuff her.

    She cried out, “Why?” trying to understand the ill-framed logic.

    The bullying cop, clearly a personally insecure man, not in possession of lengthy mediation skills or training, over-compensated and went straight for his gun.

    Pulled it out, pointed at the girl. She dropped down on the grass. Crying.

  6. avatar konnyu says:

    Here it is again ’cause it’s an election year! The Cal Buzzers are waging their civil war against racism as if their Democrat lives depended on the success of that war. Oh! Their lives depend on it.

    Black Lives Matter racism, of course, is O.K. Defending our undeserved-of- defense Black President who refuses to defend Americans through a real plan to defeat ISIS is all right you say.

    Attacking on the basis of racism the one American leader, Donald J. Trump, willing to stand up to ISIS is also all right you say.

    Yep! It is election time so the Demos are again living on phony and weak racism accusations. These folks are desperate and sick in spirit. They totally cast aside the need to maintain love of our country and the greatest economic gift the World has ever experienced.

    Repent you Democrat sinners against America, forget your ugly racist attacks and join The Donald in making America great again.

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