Monday, December 8, 2014

The Problem With Blaming Black Crime for Police Shootings

From Reason Magazine:

When a white cop kills an unarmed black man, many blacks see a pattern of prejudice that generates official suspicion, hostility and abuse based on skin color. Many whites, however, say it's the fault of blacks. If they didn't commit so much crime, they wouldn't get so much attention from police.

This is not just a favorite theme of overt bigots and Internet trolls. It's the view of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate, and many other whites.

Black-on-black crime "is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he asserted on NBC's Meet the Press. "So why don't (they) cut it down so so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?"

In this view, African Americans have only themselves to blame for the presence and behavior of cops in their neighborhoods. If they would get serious about cleaning up the problems in their own communities, police would not be arresting or killing so many black people.

There's an element of truth to this line of argument. Violent crime rates are far higher among blacks than among whites and other groups. One reason cops have a disproportionate number of interactions with African-American males is that these men commit a disproportionate number of offenses.

Where the argument fails is in its assumption that blacks are complacent about these realities and that whites are blameless. The gist of the message is that blacks created the problem and blacks need to solve it.

Read complete article here

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dr. Virgil Storr - Markets as Social and Moral Spaces

Virgil Henry Storr, a libertarian economist at George Mason University defends markets from it critics.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Police Misconduct, in Ferguson and Beyond

The violence in Ferguson is inexcusable. But it should not be seen as primarily a reaction to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson. Rather, it should be seen as a reaction to years of racially charged policing and a discriminatory justice. Focusing on Officer Wilson’s culpability detracts from the bigger, nation-wide story: That every month there are innumerable police abuses throughout the country that go unnoticed and unreported, and, even if they are reported, the accused officers will likely never be disciplined, much less charged with a crime.

Unfortunately, many of these abuses are disproportionately felt by people of color. Abuses can be small and nearly impossible to discover, such as stopping a car full of black men without probable cause, or they can be large and public, such as unjustifiably gunning down an unarmed black teenager. Sometimes the police action may be justified, and sometimes it may not, but the systems in place for determining culpability are egregiously biased in favor of police officers.

 Add to this an over-militarized police force that uses surplus military gear to violently break into homes 100 times per day, usually to only execute search warrants, and you have a recipe for disaster and an urgent need for reform. We should take advantage of this time of heightened awareness to reform a justice system that has too much power and too little accountability. Hopefully the violence in the street will not overshadow the legitimate protests, but I fear it may.

Trevor Burrus is a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. His research interests include constitutional law, civil and criminal law, legal and political philosophy, and legal history

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ron Paul interview on C-SPAN

Ferguson is Burning

My commentary on the looting and arson in Ferguson, Missouri after the grand jury in the Michael Brown case decided not to indicted the officer.


Jonathan Blanks - There’s no respect for the rule of law in Ferguson because the government destroyed it

What we’ve seen play out in Ferguson over the past few months, culminating with the rage and destruction last night, is the result of a system that does not work for the people in that community.

Use of force laws protect police officers to an extent that, in the absence of convincing evidence and a forceful prosecution, Officer Darren Wilson was quite unlikely to have been convicted of a crime even if the grand jury had handed down any indictments last night.

But the problems in Ferguson go beyond one officer-involved shooting. From the altercation that left Michael Brown’s body in the street for four hours throughout this ordeal, law enforcement officials have lied, leaked, and obfuscated at seemingly every opportunity. The release of the shoplifting video under false pretense and implementation of bogus no-fly-zones for media helicopters were hallmarks of a law enforcement community circling the wagons around one of their own, regardless of his guilt or innocence.

Read complete article here

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review- Black Libertarian Slams "Please Stop Helping Us" Book

Jonathan Blanks, a black Libertarian writer and researcher in Washington, D.C., slams Jason Riley's new book "Please Stop Helping Us" arguing that the book is more about justifying racial resentment than it is about black conservative policies.

Although often painted as a united movement, the black struggle for civil rights and equality has almost always been contentious and acrimonious among those ‘on the same side.’ For decades, this fight was primarily over tactics and rhetoric.

There are differing opinions to how to make lives for black Americans better, and those to the economic right of center—probably due in part to its ties to the South and the small government rhetoric once used to support Jim Crow segregation—get the short end of it, despite their valid critiques of the status quo.

The unintended consequences of social programs still create perverse incentives for the poor. Many public schools trap students in low achieving tiers that stunt their academic growth and lower their chances at becoming successful members of a global economy. Stressing the importance of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurship is not as sexy as “social justice” and communal outrage.

The vastly outnumbered black conservatives are sometimes called “[Uncle] Toms” and “sellouts” for pointing these facts out, as if they do not care about black people. Indeed, such treatment led me to title one piece for my school newspaper, “Angry, Black, and Conservative.”

I don’t self-identify as a conservative anymore, but that’s more about the (d)evolution of the Republican Party since the end of the Cold War than a great shift in my own politics, though there has been some.

Indeed, when I first started learning about politics as a young adult, and to an extent, race, I probably would have enjoyed Jason L. Riley’s Please Stop Helping Us because it completely fit my worldview.

But then I grew up and learned a few things.

Read complete article here

Jackson-Green - Body cameras for police a win for citizens, officers and taxpayers

Bryant Jackson-Green, a libertarian legal researcher and policy analyst with the Liberty Justice Center ask the question: "should Illinois police officers wear body cameras?" 

 What’s a low-cost way to improve police accountability in Illinois while saving taxpayer dollars? Some say body cameras for police officers. After the events in Ferguson, MO, several editorials have encouraged Illinois police officers to wear body cameras as a way to deter misconduct, and some departments have already signed on to the idea. But considering how much taxpayers currently put out to litigate and settle police-misconduct cases, we should also support it as an effective cost-saving measure.

Chicago, for instance, has paid more than half a billion dollars in police settlements, legal fees and associated costs within the last decade, according to a study released by the Better Government Association earlier this year. It’s clear enough that many of the incidents might have been avoided if there was reliable video footage of the incidents in question. At the very least, an objective record of the event would be available.

Here are some examples of payouts from the city of Chicago for police misconduct:

Read complete article here