“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison during their lifetimes.”
—Hillary Clinton, in an address, to the David N. Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum decrying “mass incarceration.”
So few words, so much deceit.
We are going to hear a lot of this theme, apparently, unless or maybe even if Democrats get responsible and choose a candidate other than the ethically compromised (and compromisable) Mrs. Clinton. “Mass incarceration” itself is a loaded term that sounds as if random citizens are rounded up and locked up by the government just for the hell of it. It is redolent of the political arrests of totalitarian regimes, and as such, misleading and irresponsible.
Likewise, the Unethical Quote of the Week that Hillary just authored suggests that black men are imprisoned without their doing anything untoward to justify it. A third of all black men don’t face the prospect of prison unless at least a third have broken laws or are anticipating breaking laws that require prison as the penalty. 100% of non-criminal black men—what we call “good citizens”— don’t “face” imprisonment at all. “Face” means that the fate is looming over their heads, ready to fall at any time. That’s nonsense, and a classic use of statistics to deceive. Prison is not a “prospect” for anyone who does not set out to commit a crime.
If I am a young male in L.A., and 15% of young males in L.A. are involved in gang activity, I do not “face”a 15% prospect of waking up some morning in a gang. If I refuse to join a gang, there is zero prospect that I will be a gang member. Similarly, the threat of imprisonment is self-imposed, when an individual engages in illegal activity. Nobody “faces” the prospect of imprisonment in this country unless they knowingly risk imprisonment by breaking the law. Freddie Gray, just to pick someone at random, was not in prison despite 18 arrests in just seven years. Obviously he faced the prospect of imprisonment, since he was not going to stop breaking the law until he was locked up. How is that society’s fault? I’d argue that society’s fault was that he wasn’t locked up already. Hillary’s solution appears to be allowing Freddie clones to keep violating laws without consequence in perpetuity.
If Hillary Clinton were honest and forthright, which we all know she is not (and anyone who disputes she is not also is not), she would have said, “There is something wrong when a third or more of all black men engage in sufficient criminal activity that they end up in prison during their lifetimes.”
That, however, would have required courage from Hillary. It would also challenge the black community to acknowledge accountability for its crime problem and accept responsibility for it, rather than to shift blame to the ominous “mass incarceration.”