If all lives really mattered we would seriously deal with the conditions that foster violence.

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Thinking All Lives Matter and saying it out loud doesn’t mean those who express this are sincere.  Most probably are but for some it’s merely a way of deflecting the criticism towards white police officers who appear to shoot young black men without provocation far more often than they do young white men.

It’s true that more black men are killed by other black men but it’s also true that the number of those who are killed by white cops is twice the rate of the percentage of blacks in America.  It’s not that blacks are naturally more violent.  It likely results more from the fact that a higher percentage of blacks live in poverty which is conducive to violent behavior.

When white people rush to defend all white cops with the meme #AllLivesMatter they are allowing those few bad cops to feel support from the community at large.  There lives among us many who hold ingrained biases.  When they are put in positions of power and authority the propensity to distribute justice fairly can and is often lost.

Putting white cops with underlying prejudices towards blacks in high crime areas that tend to be predominantly black is a time bomb waiting to explode.  Do conditions warrant better recruitment measures and training that will reduce the likelihood of this bomb being ignited?  In his commentary in the Harvard Law Review Forum Seth Stoughton notes that police officers in this country “are trained to cultivate a ‘warrior mindset,’ the virtues of which are extolled in books, articles, interviews and seminars intended for a law enforcement audience.”

Mental health too is a serious issue in this country and it is those individuals who are likely to commit heinous crimes against society when their conditions worsen.  Persistent poverty breeds depression and persistent depression evolves into more serious, long-term mental health issues.  Add to this the easy access to firearms for individuals in this country and the result is more gun crimes committed than in countries with stricter gun control laws.

Those who are offended by this fact like to cite localities like Chicago and Washington D.C. where strict gun controls have not reduced gun deaths.  But small islands like this in a vast sea with easy access to guns hardly serve to distinguish our country from countries like Australia and most of Western Europe where the gun control measures are more universal.

The anti-government fervor among too many short-sighted individuals has reduced the revenue needed to fight poverty and mental health issues.  Until serious efforts are implemented to create good paying jobs everywhere, especially low-income areas and deal intensely with mental health issues, murder and assaults with guns will continue unabated.

Finding bumper sticker arguments to defend personal agendas serves no functional purpose.  It is ludicrous to suggest that All Lives Matter when a capitalistic society refuses to acknowledge that not all incomes are commensurate to prevent social and personal conditions that lead to violence.

But talk is cheap and in the end what matters more to some is that they not pay anything towards improving the lot of less fortunate members of society.  Like the naive free-market belief in an invisible hand that will correct market conditions, those who are quick to claim All Lives Matter know damn well that ingrained racial biases and greed actually negate the idealism of both notions.

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6 responses to “If all lives really mattered we would seriously deal with the conditions that foster violence.

  1. The idea that “Black Lives Matter” is hysterically funny and runs completely counter to the entirety of American History. And in this era of creeping fascism (sprinting shurely?), it’s actually far more accurate to say “No Lives Matter”.

    “Putting white cops with underlying prejudices towards blacks in high crime areas that tend to be predominantly black is a time bomb waiting to explode.” -Woodgate

    You got that right. However, I fear this is more Standard Operating Procedure than anything else.

    Back at University, I wrote an essay on the Black Panthers. I remember being surprised to learn the number of Oakland cops that were not from Oakland, but Oklahoma…and the Deep South. Suddenly, all the dead black folks at the hands of cops made a lot more sense.

    Were there no California cops looking for jobs there, so they had to look elsewhere to fill their stations? No. The entire purpose of importing Southern cops was a deliberate attempt to create a Blue Army ready, willing & able to subdue it’s darker, poorer, population. This was about getting “hands-on” cops eager to “take things to another level”. (aka lethal) Film of civil rights marches in the South acted as recruitment tapes.

    Unfortunately, this mentality has not changed, and probably will not change. American cops are more militarized now than…shit, many national armies! Some even have espionage divisions & cameras installed everywhere. Are police departments more ethnically diverse? Somewhat. But that “US Vs Them” mentality still rules from top to bottom. Cops anywhere can still (and routinely do) get away with outright murder. And every level of the legal system will cover their cops’ backs, with little or no fear of repercussions.

    And for the lovers of “body cams” & such…NO amount of video of cops beating & killing citizens (especially darker ones) will change that. Ask Rodney King what good the most-aired video in the world did for him. The problem isn’t lack of evidence. The problem is the complete lack of political will to punish cops for their wrongdoing. What we have is what The Powers That Be want…and maybe even what most citizens want!

    • There is, I believe, a mentality among some cops that gets missed in recruiting and training that sends a signal to where these people will go when they confront a young black man, especially in high crime areas.

      • I think that’s the mentality among cops in general. And I’m not sure whether it gets “missed” in recruiting, or is “seen & intentionally selected”. While it probably varies from police department to police department, historically speaking, “missed” is a recent arrival on the scene. “Seen & Intentionally selected” was the default for a very long time. Most people just never noticed, or cared to notice, because they never found themselves at the business end of a truncheon. And a deeply ingrained culture changes very, very, slowly. (See: slavery in America)

        I also think that, irregardless of how cops start out, over time it becomes clearer in their minds what their job really is, versus what the official version says it is. (aka protecting the people who matter by targeting the people that don’t) I’ve known enough cops to know that they’re a pretty bitter, jaded, bunch by the time they leave, if not decades before.

        But one thing is for sure, once you get that badge & gun, the entire system works to shield you from getting punished, no matter how inexcusable your actions were, or how much proof there is of it. I fear that it’s getting worse, not better, as we & The Powers That Be cower in fear behind the Blue Army.

  2. Well Said, I’m sure you could have written a dozen more paragraphs on this subject and still not felt it was complete.
    There are too many “sub-plots” surrounding this issue for our leaders to even pretend to attempt a solution, and as Americans, I wouldn’t say we are divided, we are broken.

    I cannot fathom how to start a genuine conversation, but I do know this…Politicians tweeting condolences and offering prayers, is not doing shit to further that imaginary conversation. I hope we can get there.

    Thank you again for your words.

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