I had a lot of standard Ethics Alarms movie clips to choose from for this post. Half of them apply, but the one above is the most apt. Indicting the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor would have nothing to do with “justice,” and yet that is what we are hearing in what Joe Biden called, fatuously, “the profound grief & anger today’s decision generated.” There’s nothing profound about allowing primitive instincts and waw emotion govern one’s words, thoughts and actions.
Let’s look at this phenomenon, if we can stand it. The Boston Globe ran a per se idiotic op-ed bytitled, “Breonna Taylor and America’s wanton disregard for Black lives.”
I’m sure other similar screeds can be or will be found in papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post, but the Globe’s primal scream cretinism will do:
The country made a commodity of Breonna Taylor. It’s always exploited Black lives.A $12 million settlement with her family in a wrongful death lawsuitwas cheaper for Louisville than it would be to charge and indict any cop for killing the 26-year-old. Buying, selling, using, and abusing Black bodies is America’s oldest business….we never should have thought the American government could provide justice to Taylor’s family. Kentucky’s attorney general may be Black, but he is complicit in a system designed to use brutalization and incarceration to enforce law and order. They will tellprotesters to be peaceful and call their killers patriots and just. …This is our American life and Taylor’s American death.
This is completely illiterate and ignorant, factually, legally and ethically, and it is irresponsible for a newspaper to employ a columnist who can’t reason more clearly and express herself more responsibly than that. She confounds concepts and mistakes substance. The officers who shot and killed Breonna Tayloor committed no crime. They would have committed no crime if their gunshots protecting themselves from the victim’s boyfriend, who was not unreasonably shooting at what appeared to be armed home invaders (the officers were not in uniform), had killed a white woman, or a child, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There was no crime under the law, and it’s not even a very complicated law. Why are people who don’t comprehend such concepts as “intent,” “crime” and “murder” writing and ranting about “justice” in public forums? Why is anybody giving them access to those forums, where they can make the public less informed, more incensed and less rational?
The Daily Kos (of course, being one of the Ethics Alarms poster sites for “Bias makes you stupid”) cheered the head-exploding comments of Dr. Jason Johnson, an MSNBC contributor , a Morgan State journalism professor, and, apparently, a dangerous demagogue. He called the Kentucky grand jury and prosecutors in the Brionna Taylor case purveyors of“state-sponsored white supremacy” in failing to indict the three police officers with murder when they couldn’t possibly be found guilty of murder.
He said, turning his ignorant or dishonest (“Paging Professor Hanlon!”) argument on Kentucky Attorney General Kenneth Cameron, a black man who, the theme goes, is a race traitor for not inventing laws to satisfy the blood lust of those of a similar skin shade:
I’m so disgusted by this. I’m so disgusted by Daniel Cameron’s performance. I am so sick and tired of Black people going on the air and performing for violence and white supremacy and state-sponsored violence against Black people and claiming their mamas and claiming because they’re a Black man, they care about it — This woman got shot in her house! When she was asleep! I’m sitting right here in my house right now. If cops busted into my house right now and shot me on the air, what Daniel Cameron basically told America is that that would be legal!. If they thought that there was something wrong, I could be shot in broad daylight, on national television, in my house, because the cops can break in and shoot whoever they want if they’re concerned! That is why people are upset.”
You mean because they don’t understand what happened, because they deliberately are ignoring reality, or because hacks like you are misinforming them? Yes, people get killed in horrible accidents due to negligence, carelessness, mistakes, bad luck and stupidity, and those deaths are still not murder, and are usually not crimes. We’ve known this for centuries, and again, it’s not a difficult concept. It should definitely not be a difficult concept for a journalism professor, and if it is, that professor should not be employed as a teacher, since he or she is either not very bright or not sufficiently educated.
Let’s see: which African-American broadcast journalist should I highlight next? Joy Reid made a fool of herself again, but then she is a well-documented fool and MSNBC is thoroughly exposed as employing unethical and incompetent journalists, so my criticizing her would be kicking a dead brain. How about ESPN’s Jalen Rose, since there is no excuse for a sports reporter to be shooting off his mouth about the law? He said yesterday on his show,
I just want people to know that Blacks are hurting — and as we relate it to sports, that sports that are predominantly Black — the NBA, the WNBA and the NFL — players are performing with heavy hearts. We’re still showing up to try and do our jobs. And I can’t lie to you all. I was looking in my closet like, “I am going to wear something fresh today because if I say something to get me fired, at least would look crisp. Because when Kyle Rittenhouse in Milwaukee, as a 17-year-old kills two people and yet three cops aren’t directly charged for killing Breonna Taylor, it shows you how they feel about Black lives in America.”
Rebuttal: “Huh? What the hell are you babbling about, you idiot?” The cases of Rittenhouse and the Kentucky police officers have nothing in common, except that guns were involved. That’s an infantile argument, and he should be fired.
Joe Biden tweeted out a by-the-book condemnation of the rioting and violence in response to the completely legal and correct refusal of the grand jury to indict the officers in Taylor’s death, saying, “…violence is never & can never be the answer. Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery.” He was attacked for that.
This is your constituency, Joe. Good luck!
Leftist commentator James Casser quoted Biden’s statement, and slid right into ignorance:
“those who engage in it must be held accountable” in a system that doesn’t hold violent police accountable…but sure, hold the police in your prayers…. morally bankrupt.”
No, James, it is you who are factually, legally and logically bankrupt. Another professor who obviously shouldn’t be allowed on a college campus to pollute young minds is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. If you wonder why young blacks are seduced by Black Lives Matter, look no further. She wrote,
“This is also voter suppression. When Black people are being killed and months of protests produce nothing but insults and abuse by the police, not a good time do a ‘both sides’. Its as tone deaf as Trump’s ‘very fine people'”
There is no respectful way of responding to that kind of irresponsible rhetoric other than “Shut up.”
A low point, but there have been so many, was reached by retired LAPD sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, who responded on MSNBC to Cameron’s prescient point about “celebrities, influencers, and activists” who don’t live in Kentucky creating a nonfactual narrative about what happened.” Dorsey said,
“Let me just speak to this whole celebrity influencer thing, well if they can’t speak for Kentuckians, let me say this as a black woman: He does not speak for black folks.He’s skinfolk, but he is not kinfolk. And so just like he thinks they can’t speak for Kentucky, because he’s up there with a black face he does not speak for all of us. This was not a tragedy. This was a murder. He should be ashamed of himself.”
Skinfolk not kinfolk.
On his blog, Professor Turley wrote,
Many of us are upset over this tragedy. There is no sense of justice when an innocent person’s life is needlessly taken. However, Cameron’s race has nothing to do with this. If officers broke into Johnson’s house and shot him on the air, it would be murder. The difference is that the officers in the Taylor case were fired upon and one wounded. That is a material difference even if you have legitimate objections over the need for the warrant or doubts over the knock-and-announce claim. There are ample questions still remaining in this case but we are not going to address them if we ignore material facts or legal elements…”
This is Turley-speak for “It doesn’t help for people who are brick-ignorant and basing their comments on emotion to inflame the public like this.” However, what really needs to be said, to Johnson, Crump, the other professors, Reid and the rest, loudly, repeatedly and publicly, is this:
What you are calling “justice” is the kind of primitive revenge that predates laws: kill one of our tribe for any reason, and we will seek justice by killing one of yours. This is why almost all the drive-by shootings in Chicago are by blacks. It is one of the reasons African-American culture in the U.S. is sick and getting sicker. You and others like you are leading the black community away from civilized standards and into a dark corner dominated by hatred, passion and anger. Justice has nothing to do with it.
And my saying it isn’t enough.