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? Continue reading