Police Abuse Is a Form of Terror

It inspires a sense of outrage that the people charged with protecting your life could become a threat to it.

Comments: 234

  1. Police abuse absolutely is a form of terror. The good news is that MSM organs like the NT Times now allow these word to be said. A year ago my comments to this effect were deleted.

  2. surgres -- So it doesn't matter when the police themselves murder unarmed kids?

    The police problem makes it much more difficult to deal with the other problems, as they rampage around being a part of the problem instead of a trusted part of a solution.

  3. "When the people lead, the leaders will follow." (credit: bumper sticker)

  4. Police abuse is terror and, historically, police have been both abusive and corrupt. The corruption and abuse in Ferguson was underscored when bands of heavily armed vigilantes were permitted to roam free. The apparently rise of vigilante organizations and, in this instance, police indifference is troubling on many levels but most singularly on the collapse of official public safety organizations. The Chattanooga shooting brought out armed vigilantes. The Bundy confrontation brought out armed vigilantes. These groups seem to be immune from confrontation and arrest by law enforcement while the armed are cut down with alarming regularity.

  5. Should read the "unarmed are cut down with alarming regularity."

  6. Do you really believe that black Americans could parade around with all the guns white men get to ride with? Think a black man with a gun wouldn't be shot that much faster than one who is unarmed? Geez, think you miss the point here. A young man with a toy in the toy section of Walmart is killed for being... black and appearing to be armed. Any indictments? Make the kid white and what do you think would happen to him in the toy section of Walmart?

  7. The historic experience with corrupt and abusive cops was limited to specific communities, and they didn't kill unarmed people wildly as we are seeing. The abused nightsticks and interrogation, but they didn't shoot them down.

    Now it is spreading, and it is worse. The police culture is changing, and all for the bad. THAT is what must be reversed. And yes, it must not go back to past abuses instead.

  8. Thanks for this, Charles. State sponsored terrorism has no countervailing force, causing a lot of bad things to happen. Racist and ignorant young men become drawn to the opportunity to intimidate the other, killing innocents in the process.

    Nowadays, our police have military equipment, including body armor and artillery, a nice fit for the vast corporate wealth acting behind the scenes. The purpose is to intimidate, and remind civilians of all races that wealthy and predatory economic sectors are prepared to enforce their will on the rest of us whenever they feel like it.

    The root cause of this is the American brand of fascism, a term people have been instructed to avoid. It's OK to call Obama the Antichrist and Pelosi a witch, but do not dare to adhere to specific historical definitions: fascism includes using force to intimidate, focusing on those who are different or on economic margins, and financed by the rich.. It's blacks who are demonized here, but it's Shiites in the Middle East, Jews in Nazi Germany, and Protestant infidels in the 17th century.

    The game is the same, a peculiar form of human dysfunction, grounded in a species immaturity- we've only been around in our present form for a few hundred thousand years- combined with nearly infinite technological power over nature.

    I don't know how we overcome this. Thanks to you, Charles, for moving us in the right direction- even as many of us are consumed by hopelessness over our future.

  9. Mike..... thank you, we need more articles with this context. Charles started it by using the word terror. Relate what's going on today in USA --with its Bill of Rights-- to state abuse in other eras and countries. Dictatorships allways have rationalizations to make it seem justified.

    Of course, there are countervailing forces in the US to police and state abuse, but they have a hard time changing things. There are many blocks to progress. Street protests have to go on, because our politics has gone too far rightward to right our wrongs through the political process.

    Moderates cooperated through the decades to make our mass incarceration the largest in the world, as % of population. The police abuse is in part an outgrowth of the right wing attitudes toward the powerless, as it creates more and more underclass.

    That is related to big money in our politics, which set the stage--allowing the millions of jobs to be sent away, the costs of h/c and education to soar, inequality to increase unchecked.

    The next step was the expansion of prisons. Mass imprisonment has always been a solution to underclasses, when democratic solutions are not working.

  10. Mike -- There is a phrase, "the states monopoly on the use of force." It has been studied and discussed since at least the English thinkers from the 17th Century, society like Thomas Hobbes, "Leviathan."

    Always the need for that state monopoly comes with state obligations. John Locke expanded on that in his discussion of the Social Compact, also in the 17th Century.

    None of this is new thinking. It is known, accepted, fundamental. That is what we are making such a mess of, the things well settled.

  11. Mike and Meredith, you guys have a really paranoid world view. Fascism is a dictator-led authoritarian state. So is Obama the dictator? A scary thought indeed. And doesnt terrorism require a motive to terrorize? There is a difference between terrorism and using overwhelming force to enforce the law. And to think there is a vast corporate conspiracy...well, in my experience hiding that vast a conspiracy requires a level of interest and competence that is simply absent in both the corporate and government sectors. All your posts reflect are hyperbole, reductio ad absurdum arguments, and radical delusions. Please seek help.

  12. Police abuse today is much like an army of occupation, not different in emotions on both sides from what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We called the other side terrorists, even as we shot innocents in the street. Here we call them other names. We shoot them on the slightest pretexts all the same.

    Certainly an army of occupation oppresses, and creates the emotions of being constantly oppressed. That includes a form of emotional abuse much like deliberate political terror to bully a population.

    We need to see that occupation is a political use of terror. It isn't only "terrorists" who terrorize a population to control it. It is both our foreign and domestic policy.

    Apologies to Pogo: We have found the terrorist state, and it is us.

  13. Bravo, Mark.
    Your entire comment did not use the word "black" nor carve us up as white people (the problem = supremacists, even the poor ones have special privileges, allegedly, for which they should pay) and black people (Perpetual Victims, no matter how high they rise or how artificially they are favored).

    Mark's comment focuses on the problem, and doesn't take the easy way out and divide us up. EVERYONE has a stake in seeing safer communities, more honest policing and reporting, and less trigger-happy and arrest-happy officers patrolling our streets.

    War is Over! Let's find other career paths for black men, and white men too, so that they don't seek "secure" government work, like being police officers seemingly above the law.

    Stimulate the economy, open up work opportunities, and elect politicians who understand that a lot of these social problems are abated when money in the economy is flowing freely into all hands. Where are these Democratic politicians, have they all been subsumed by identity politics of us-vs.-them?

  14. Midway -- Thanks.

    The things I see to be the same include us vs them thinking, force protection as the priority, very low value on protection of anyone else, and any excuse will do.

    To change, we must address exactly those things. That gets to the heart of what is being said by Black Lives Matter.

    The response that all lives matter is both true, and misses the point that police especially devalue black lives. That spreads. I've seen it spreading. But it spreads from where it is worst. We must cut it off at its source.

    We must do something about the Blue army of occupation in Black neighborhoods, and we must do that for the sake of all of us, not just blacks.

    I don't mean to disagree with Black Lives Matter. Just as some whites and especially many Jews saw the Civil Rights Movement as both a black thing AND their thing, this is too.

  15. Excellent, Midway.

  16. Poverty is a form of terrorism, too.

  17. Bravo, Mr. Blow! You have hit the center of the target again. And bravo, Mark Thomason for your remarks in support of Mr. Blow. America is sick and needs emergency treatment.

  18. And it should begin in the neighborhoods where blacks murder blacks every day.

  19. So...it's okay when black people are just killing black people? That's just folks being folks?

    When a kid walking to school is shot down by the random bullet from a gang - that's just "aw shucks. Bad luck"?

    But when a cop, who's out there trying to stop this stuff, winds up roughing somebody up, frisking them, or in extreme circumstances...killing somebody...it's STATE VIOLENCE. A form of TERRORISM?

    9.11 was terrorism. The pain, the sorrow, the sacrifice, the horror. I thought the New York Times was "all the news that is fit to print."

  20. No, it is not okay that anyone shoots a child.

    But the police are not just "roughing up" a few people. They are shooting children too.

    When the supposed protectors are themselves a threat, that is a very specific problem which deserves very specific attention.

    And yes, the other problems are there and need fixing too. That gets into poverty, hopelessness, and the causes of crime as a choice a culture without options.

  21. No longer. If you notice - it is no longer a part of the masthead.

  22. Blacks killing other blacks, in even greater numbers than the police inflict, is an even more extreme form of terror.

  23. So never mind the police?

    Your argument is for doing something about poverty, racism, and the hopelessness of those communities. It does not excuse the police.

  24. "It produces a particular kind of terror, a feeling of nakedness and vulnerability, a fear that makes people furious at the very idea of having to be afraid."
    I don't mean or wish to in any way detract or distract from what Mr. Blow is so rightly saying here. But I have to say, when I read those words, the feelings describe were intimately familiar to me--and to any other woman, of any color, thanks to the ever-present danger of rape.

  25. I don't think white people think of black people as Americans, and maybe that's a gross oversimplification or statement, but I can't see how it is otherwise that there is still this sense of "other" with regard to black people in this country--or people of color. Oh, maybe not in a "my black friend, John", kind of thing, He's not one of those other black people, but I think maybe in a larger sense. Otherwise I don't understand why so many (predominantly white) people can look at the disenfranchisement of so many black people and see it as their fault rather than the way the system has been designed against them.

  26. This argument is becoming rather tired, Mr. Blow.

    At the risk of re-stating the obvious, let's list the facts behind Mr. Brown's death since it was the catalyst behind the "Black Lives Matter" movement:
    --He stole cigars from a convenience store.
    --He assaulted the store owner when confronted about the cigars.
    --He punched the window of a police car.
    --He punched the police officer.
    --He threatened the police officer's life.
    --He tried to wrest the police officer's gun.

    The Justice Department under Eric Holder's watch exonerated the police officer--twice.

    Yes, Mr. Blow, I see the social injustices manifest in the Normandy School District. I'm well aware of the concessions President Johnson made with Congress when he signed the Voting and Civil Rights Acts and then sanctioned federal monies local law enforcement. I agree with Michelle Alexander when she illustrates the systemic complexities behind the modern racial caste system based upon unfair drug laws.

    Law enforcement officers, however, do not have time to weigh the abstract notions of institutional racism against the actual threats they face while protecting law-abiding citizens.

    Therefore, I ask you, sir, why not direct your attention toward the social injustices that precede the involvement of law enforcement? The dust surrounding Ferguson is slowly clearing. And when people realize that this was a justified shooting, they will feel a sense of betrayal at all the clamoring that ensued as a result.

  27. Any opinion on the other, manifestly unjustified shootings recently?

  28. Jennifer--read the Grand Jury testimony of Officer Wilson. Understand, people under investigation never testify at Grand Jury proceedings, unless they are the police. The police know the State Attorney will not cross-examine them and will allow them to present a narrative justifying the killing. That is exactly what happened with Wilson. Read the testimony, and if you know anything about legal proceedings, you will recognize it was a farce as the State Attorney did not ask a single question that even looks like cross-examination. Nor did the DOJ cross-examine Wilson under oath.

    Wait for the civil deposition when Wilson has to actually explain what happened. Moment by moment. The "coherent" story he concocted for the Grand Jury is not going to look so logical.

    But even a larger point is your tolerance, along with many Americans, for killing unarmed people who do bad things. Shouldn't police be trained to subdue an unarmed man or woman who is out of control? How can a police officer's life be threatened when the unarmed person is 10 feet away and wounded? If a man on the street takes a swing at me should I just kill him in response?

    Self-defense is using a proportional response to a threat. It does not mean filling a suspect with 8 rounds because a wounded unarmed man is walking toward you.

    We need better training on how to subdue unarmed people without killing them.

  29. @ Jennifer
    Police officers are not judge, jury and executioner.
    What ever Michael Brown did, his punishment should have been decided in a court of law, not on the street by a single police officer.

  30. Mr. Blow, I don't agree.

    African Americans are the least responsible group of people in the country. They kill more of each other than anyone else. When the lights go out, and the police cannot see what they are doing, they loot and steal and commit crimes.

    Even Jesse Jackson is afraid of black men when walking down the street at night.

    The problem is not whites. It is blacks.

    This is what we should say to black people: grow up and take responsibility for your actions. Police yourselves. Behave. Learn. Study. Do it yourself. Stop expecting money. Get over your past.

    You can do it. The more you are put to the task of doing it, the sooner the teat of government support runs dry, the better off African Americans will be.

  31. IF you are right, taking that for sake of argument, how did it get this way?

    Did they do that all by themselves, because they are just inferior and not quite human?

  32. If we find subtler, institutional forms of racism too difficult to combat, we can always turn our attention back to the old-fashioned, unsubtle kind. Seems there's plenty of it still around, even if it prefers to hide behind pseudonyms and "recommendations" in public forums.

  33. This is a web of lies. The history of this country is oppression. Pro football players earn lots money for inflicting violence. And who fills the stands, paying exorbitant fees to watch them do it? Overwhelmingly, white people. But if violence takes place outside the arena, the knee-jerk reaction is to call them thugs, the new code word for young, strong black males who go astray. But this isn't new. Black communities that succeed have historically been terrorized, like in Tulsa or Rosedale. Black people have been used as guinea pigs for devastating diseases, denied equal farming benefits, denied equal housing and job opportunities, denied voting rights, denied civil rights, lynched—and all this after having been enslaved for hundreds of years. What government support are you talking about? Most of these atrocities were perpetrated by government and/or supported by law.

  34. "One could argue that America’s overwhelming response to the terror threat is precisely what has kept the number of people killed in this country as a result of terror so low."

    Do you concur with this argument, Mr. Blow? Are you endorsing our wars in Afghanistan and Irag, our use of drones, and our massive collection of data, even on Americans? If you are endorsing all or some of these strategies, please say so. You cannot rationally argue, "Some people propose a premise which I reject, but I will use their premise to support my conclusion." We can only infer from this column that you are generally endorsing the Bush Administration War on Terror, which set most of the parameters of our "overwhelming response to the terror response."

  35. No, as you quote, he is not.

    But your premise has a big problem. We could end the threat of terrorism by others if we just killed ALL of the others. We could kill maybe 2 billion people, all the Muslims and half a billion or so other troublesome sorts, and we would be left free of any concerns for them.

    While we are at it, why not kill everyone who isn't white? The world is overpopulated anyway, so we could start over with just a couple billion and lots more resources. That worked well in the economics of Europe after the Black Death.

    Then again, maybe we can solve our problems with people without just freely killing them.

  36. I may not be exactly on point here, but bear with me for a moment, please. The "particular subset"to which Mr. Blow refers is well-nigh predictable. The same identifiers appear in response to nearly every Charles Blow column. The usual salutation is "Blow," not "Mr," or any other courteous form of address; it's as though the person posting is being deliberately belligernt in text and tone without any attempt to disguise his/her hostility. They complain of a "liberal bias" or attempt to turn the discussion from actual (not fictional) lethal policing by citing a relatively "rare" case of an actual citizen's killing by an agent of the law. That, bad as it is, is not the point. What Mr. Blow crusades against is the repetition of these incidents which has become the source of the plague that spawned Black Lives Matter and the attendant angry response from millions of African-American citizens. This "subset" is of the opinion that if "thugs," in their parlance. will obey the laws, attend classes, seek gainful employment, be parents to their children instead of strangers, then police terrorism will vanish. Blacks mistrust the police more than the police target them. It's a simple thing for the "subset" to toss stones at others' windows while enjoying the protection of the agents of law who are only ready to take a black life at the drop of a dime.

  37. Until police in some areas stop acting like an occupying army this problem will remain. Doubtful hiring practices and a lack of proper training combine to yield a police force with a swagger and an us-vs-them attitude.

  38. I could not agree with you more Mr. Blow. I agree that police violence is a form of terrorism on the African-American community. I would argue that our refusal to stop this terrorism will ultimately lead to having it used on many of us, regardless of race or gender. I do not say this lightly.
    I believe that the "war on drugs" has become a form of genocide. A genocide against the poor and disenfranchised. Police terrorism is an extension of this genocide. African-American men and women are torn from their communities and thrown in prison for the slightest legal infraction. Communities and families are torn apart. Violence is used against these same people by an established code which devalues their existence. This devaluation is another part of genocide.
    I say that ultimately we are all at risk. If we rise up, we are at risk. If we speak out to loudly, we are at risk. If we lose our jobs and end up in poverty, we are at risk. I think of the poem attributed to the German Pastor Niemöller in 1937 - "First they came for the Communists,and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist...Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me." We must all speak up.

  39. So why people don't like their high-crime surroundings?
    There they can "better understand how to avoid" community violence than police presence. And since there's "no neighborhood right enough, to produce sufficient security" from police - why would "people with the means" want "to move away from high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods"? Strange world.

  40. This is hard for me to articulate, so bear with me. I came across a video the other day that strung together all the dash cam and cell phone videos of white officers shooting *unarmed* black men. When you watch it as an organic whole the message is clear: "as long as you black people keep protesting these killings we will kill more of you. This is reciprocity for an imagined wrong, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. " It is like the sexual abuser of a child who tells the victim: I will kill you if you tell, and no one will believe you. Police will deny this. They would say my thinking borders on paranoia. I know police, as mayor of my small town I rode along once or twice a month for two years. White people ask me . . . why didn't he just cooperate? Imagine yourself in that position. That monster that was under you bed all those many years ago is now in your face. You know your stop was bogus. You know that this cannot possibly end well for you . . .what do we do when we face a known danger? We run. If you are black male and you run, you will be killed. If you refuse to put out your cigarette you will be subjected to the temper tantrum of a two year old and spend several days in jail. If you play with the same gun that a white boy your age plays with: you will be killed. If this is not the definition of terrorism . . .i.e. instilling the belief that your government cannot protect you . . . then terrorism doesn't exist.

  41. You can't make things up ! This is the stupidest thing I have heard so far in this debate.

  42. One of the best essays I read about Martin Luther King (written by Hamden Rice) made the point that King's most important accomplishment was shaking off the state of psychological terror that Black Americans were living under. It wasn't that he changed laws; it was that he changed a state of terror -- first within the protesters and then within society at large.
    (I often wonder how much of the aggressive "gangster" behavior among some Black young men is a collective psychological backlash against a time that suppressed and terrorized Black masculinity, so young men must over-assert their right to be masculine in order to feel free.)
    In corners of the country, however, the desire to terrorize remains. And there are certainly some cops who go into that profession precisely because they get to bully.
    Blow makes a great point, but his description of the overreaction after 9/11 may be less useful. The trouble is that people who are existentially scared for their existence can justify any behavior (like torture after 9/11.) And there is a case to be made that police are existentially scared of young Black men -- given how frequently police are killed in the line of duty and the fact that young Black men are disproportionately likely to fire on an officer. (They fire on officers as often as white men, which means three or four times as often relative to their population.)
    As King knew, there's a better model than post-9/11 for responding to terrorism.

  43. Thank you sir, for putting into clear words a very visceral feeling I've had for quite a while. There are so many problems associated with this form of state terror, we have so much to do, I am grateful to the activists and demonstrators who are taking the lead; now if we can only direct the attention of the government to the problem, we'll make some progress.

  44. So in high-crime neighborhoods police is a bigger danger than criminals?

  45. It is bad enough that the police are themselves a big danger to the innocent.

  46. Perhaps black people feel terrorized by the police. I am not black; I must honestly report that I do not know how a black person feels.

    I am white, and I can honestly report what I have felt and more importantly what other white people have said to me when blacks are not around.

    Very simply, for every claim of disgruntlement that black people can level against white people, white people have their own feelings of disgruntlement. Many black people have said that it's time we have a conversation about race. But do you really want an honest conversation, Mr. Blow. Perhaps black people view the police as a force of terror. Many white people view black people as a force of terror, believing that assault, aggressiveness, theft and murder are more frequently committed by blacks than by whites. Black people will respond that they are economically oppressed, that they are poor, that white people hinder their efforts at self betterment. But white people believe that much of this argument is nonsense. My Mother literally starved in the Great Depression but she got the only score of one hundred, in all of New York State, for one of her history regents. Perhaps it might be curious to try to find out what little children think about race. They are too young to know what is the politically correct thing to say. Studies have shown that young people find blacks to be pushier, more aggressive, more hostile.Sorry, but space limits prevent a proper closing of this essay.

  47. "Many white people view black people as a force of terror, believing that"

    "Believing that." They were told that. They believe something they've been told, and told again. "Be afraid, be very afraid."

    It has been a political ploy since Nixon set the Silent Majority against the War on Crime, by which he meant to dog whistle against blacks in his Southern Strategy.

    You also can feel threatened by a guy with attitude who has a rifle in the window of his pickup truck. You should. But we haven't been sold that storyline for decades.

    For every black you might reasonably be afraid of, there are a hundred more people like Mr. Blow or the guy down the street from me or across the street from my mother who are fine people, JUST LIKE YOU. If not better.

  48. Imagine what it was like for a poor black person starving during the depression... But please do continue taking your various privileges for granted and being angry at "black people," as if they are some monoculture.

    One of the ironies, lost on folks like David, is that when a black man is seen driving a fancy car, they're even more likely to be pulled over for driving while black. But fortunately, for David, that isn't his problem and he wishes those uppity black folk would just mind their own business.


  49. I wholeheartedly agree with this opinion piece, but I take issue with its title.

    Describing police abuse as "a form of terror," especially in the context of ongoing events in the Middle East, seems to imply the existence of some form or organizing group, goal or philosophy. So far as I am aware, however, there has been no indication that such is the case.

    As appalling as the facts of these cases have been, they instead appear to consist of a witches brew of poor training, lack of transparency, lack of accountability on the part of police departments as well as individual officers, and a failure to monitor effectively the mental and emotional fitness of police officers to carry out their duties.

  50. There is a unified police culture. It is spread by internal media, internal training, police academies, and by the very selection process.

    That culture has shifted. It is become a problem, a big problem. Us vs them, force protection, devaluing others, and thereby abandoning their original reason for being, the whole Serve and Protect idea.

    Go through a black neighborhood and look. You'd be crazy to think those cops are there to Serve and Protect that neighborhood. Look in the eyes of those cops. They certainly don't think that. They are looking out at a sea of hostiles, just like in Iraq.

    In fact, it is written that way in our TV dramas. You don't even have to leave your couch, just think about what you see from the other point of view, the innocents in the background of every shot.

  51. So is standing in front of a polling station and brandishing a club but Eric Holder couldn't come up with a label.

  52. Let's stop throwing around incendiary words like terrorism and thug. They get us nowhere. We need to start living in reality. If you are the average young black man living in a poor community, what you learn is "be tough, don't back down, and don't allow anyone to disrespect you." That leads to resistance and bellicose behavior no matter whether such behavior is appropriate or not -- and in most cases it's not.

    On the other side, many police officers are relatively uneducated with a tendency towards aggressiveness, and an inability to defuse situations without being physical. They are trained to protect themselves above all other responsibilities.

    Putting these two groups together is like mixing oil and oil, and then throwing a match in.

    The only way this situation is going to change is if:

    1) The quality of those hired as police officers improves, and they are trained to build rapport with the communities they serve first and foremost;
    2) Poor black communities choose to take responsibility for the actions of their young men;
    3) We make the educational and other investments we need to make to substantially improve opportunities in poor communities.

    While I am not a Bernie Sanders supporter, he is right that this is a class issue, as much as racial a issue. But when I say class, I am not just talking economic class, I'm talking about showing some class. That goes for the cops, politicians, and protestors, as well as the communities that are suffering.

  53. After WW2, when my father became a cop, many departments by preference hired former Marines. My father's whole department was former Marines.

    Not one of them behaved this way. They fought in the Pacific in some horrific battles, that gave my father nightmares for the rest of his life. He and the guys with him were committed to protecting.

    They believed in Civil Rights as something they'd fought for. My father introduced the then-new 8 mm camera for use of the Intoxilyzer, to show not just the reading but what exactly had happened while the machine was used. The police loved it.

    My father suffered broken ribs and broken hands dealing with some people. He lost at least one uniform every month just torn to shreds. He rode the back of one monster guy, a furniture mover, all the way down the stairs of his house, to arrest him for beating on his kids. He never shot any of them. Not one. Not even the guy who flicked open a switchblade knife behind his back.

    It WAS different. That is how it should be.

  54. Thank you, JF. It seems the 'civil' part of civilization's MIA these days. On all sides of the argument.

  55. The naysayers would like to pretend that a police state is not a serious issue but it is an issue for all Americans not just African Americans. Keep writing and talking about these issues, you are making a difference.

    It's important to know who the real enemy is and to know the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work - Toni Morrison

  56. You'll have to first PROVE your so-called "police state" exists. Good luck!

  57. "It is a confrontation with a most discomforting concept: that there is no amount of righteous behavior, no neighborhood right enough, to produce sufficient security."

    In every single high-profile case that you have highlighted over the last year, the "victims" could have absolutely avoided their respective fates with very reasonable changes to behavior (not resisting arrest, not assaulting officers, etc). This column is pretty baseless and tries to draw a rather meaningless distinction.

  58. Wow, I disagree with nearly every point in this column, from start to finish. I don't see this as "state violence vs. community violence" at all. In fact, if the state weren't trying to contain the community violence, these tragic encounters would never have taken place.

    You say that community violence, as opposed to state violence, can be avoided by, for example, not hanging out with the wrong crowd. But it seems to me the most basic way to avoid so-called state violence is to not engage in criminal activities that violate the laws of that state.

    Perhaps someone should have told Michael Brown not to rob a convenience store and beat an employee there. But that likely would not have been sufficient. If you engage in criminal activity, you are creating and participating in a dangerous and unpredictable situation. You can't cause that dangerous situation and then express outrage over the results.

    You say a certain type of reader response is a "deflection." I think it is a deflection of so many African Americans to always blame others, scrutinizing their actions and motives, rather than their own. I think the American people generally are growing very tired of that response.

  59. Really?

    Can't you understand what you're saying?

    Can you imagine telling white people that any of the most insignificant "transgressions" will render them deserving of an instant death penalty by the police?

    Would you accept such a standard for yourself?

  60. Charles Blow's own son, a student at Yale, was terrorized having a gun pulled on him by police who were looking for an unarmed suspect who'd burgled unattended wallets and laptops.

  61. It is sad to see people who can read this and so completely fail to understand.

  62. The United States of America has taken a strictly policing approach to urban dislocations. It has done so because of the vast upsurge of Republican Party power and ideology since the late 1970s. But a strictly policing and incarceration approach to urban dislocations over 40 years has left tremendous social deterioration.

    You see this is the stories of the people who have recently been killed by police. A woman is wrongly stopped by the police for failing to signal when changing lanes and SHE HANGS HERSELF WITH A GARBAGE BAG IN HER JAIL cell. That tells a story of a person living a terribly marginal existence.

    Walter Scott was stopped for a broken tail light and he refuses to cooperate with the police because he feared he'd be jailed for failing to pay child support. That tells a story of a person living a terribly marginal existence: he can't pay child support!!

    One can go on and on. Look at the background story of everyone of these police shootings and deaths by incarceration.

    The real story here, that is being neglected everywhere by people concentrating on police violence, is the marginal lives of so many people, who when the police confront them, refuse to cooperate.

    Whey should they cooperate with a society that marginalizes them? How can they cooperate with a society that fails them, then jails them?

    Can't the darn Republicans see that more is going on here than can be dealt with by jailing and incarceration of great masses of black folk?

  63. Your pieces need the NYT's missing Like or I Support This button. No real need to say either more, or less, usually. Thanks for unknotting all the different perceptual distortions that prevent us from seeing the truth as it really is.

  64. Is aggressive policing of African-American neighborhoods truly the fundamental cause of the dis-functionalities of so many of those neighborhoods? I mean an out of wedlock birthrate of 80%, absentee fathers of children, a high school dropout rate of 30%, high crime rates that stifle small business formation are all merely subsidiary problems? Why are other minorities; Hispanics, Asians, immigrants from Africa; not effected to the same degree? For the sake of discussion let's assume the veracity of Mr Blow's constant assertion that the U.S. is a hopelessly racist society. Isn't it then a rather foolish strategy to exhort such a society to provide the means to uplift the racially oppressed minority? Wouldn't the more effective strategy be one of assuming that outside help is simply not forthcoming and focus effort on self development, especially school performance, rather than emphasizing victim hood with the expectation that financial flows will follow? It certainly appears that a half century after passage of the various civil rights legislation and the expenditure of trillions on various wars on poverty that African-American are worse off than ever.

  65. "And yet, we don’t ask “Why aren’t you, America, focusing on the real problem: Americans killing other Americans?”"

    No, that question isn't asked. Because that question doesn't help to keep the elite in power, and that question doesn't lead to industries that make a few people very wealthy.

  66. Thank you, Charles, for saying exactly what needs to be said. Every such encounter with the police, the little, demeaning ones of everyday Black life, and the violent encounters in the news that then go unpunished--all of them reverberate through the Black community. That's what terror is for, the reverberation, the increasing awareness that you are not safe. That's why terror is such an effective means of control.

  67. Ann, twice as many whites were killed by police officers last year. In only around 1% of the cases was the police officer indicted.

  68. I agree with the author that a key to understanding the reaction to Police violence against blacks is that it is state violence. One aspect of this is that a Police Officer who clearly crosses a line and does what appears to most to be a murder or other abuse on duty is never likely to be punished legally. They have been effectively exempted from justice.

    So the black on black criminal is easily convicted, but the Police Officer on black crime goes unpunished regardless.

    People's sense of justice is offended and there is often a race line from the dominant race.

    Nearly every major urban riot in the last 50 years traces to an act of police violence. This become a separate reason to control Police violence: they can lead to riots and often have.

    The authors comparison of the way black people process Police violence to terrorism is apt.

  69. What is gradually emerging is that police in America can kill you almost at will. "He took my taser." "Officer felt threatened." She refused to put out her cigarette, talking back to the officer and was thus subject to a rough and tough arrest. "He was running from the officer." He moved the car. "The officer was dragged and had no choice but to shoot the suspect."

    The National Park Service Police, a particularly strange and intrusive presence all across the nation's capital of DC, had to tell their officers NOT to step in front of a moving car so as to be able to shoot at the driver. This reflects a common problem: when the "subject" doesn't immediately respond to orders or respond in the way the officer wants, the police officer can himself cause the conditions that, under the rules, allow deadly force.

    We can't really stop neighbors shooting neighbors, husbands killing wives, drug dealers fighting for territory and so on. We can and we must stop police officers from escalating ordinary situations into ones that appear to require them to respond with deadly force, whether a gun or a taser (many have died from being shocked and, once used, police tend to re-shock the person until lying prone and still on the ground).

    We need to trust police officers to behave properly. We don't expect drug dealers, on the other hand, to be nice.

    If police believe they have a secret weapon, death at a moment's notice to anyone, they will not be restrained in other aspects of their jobs.

  70. Thanks for making this important distinction. A more important distinction is between the haves and the have nots. Racism is a means to an end. The means are only too obvious: race hatred or distrust of the Other. But the end is cheap labor - that was the point of slavery and it's still the point today. Move the conversation beyond race to class, beyond race-based affirmative action to class-based and all those race baited white workers begin to understand and relate. Some time back, the Democratic Party made a conscious decision to trade labor politics for identity politics and we have been stuck in this conversation ever since. It's past time to free the mind and the nation: if every neighborhood looks exactly alike, racial profiling becomes impossible.

    Martin Luther King was in Memphis to support garbage workers. He understood. Sharpton has never understood. Take the conversation away from those who would divide us by race and move it to those who would unite us by class - a winning argument for the folks marginalized by our economy, our society, and our nation.

  71. Keep your kids away from violence on Television, in movies, and in video games. Don't use the Television as a babysitter for your children.

    The wild west Cop gunslingers believe their own cop shows. That's why they shoot so often. Look at the Tamir Rice killing. That wild cop wanted to kill with his gun.

  72. Disobeying a police officer can be punishable with verbal abuse, beating, arrest, and even death. Since when did we become such a nation? This is the type of stuff that happened in totalitarian places such as the former USSR and East Germany; or corrupt police regimes such as Guatemala, or in Argentina's dark past. We used to look down on countries that harbored violent, lawless policemen and departments. Not only do our police shoot to kill at the slightest provocation, to heck with the tasers, stun guns, and batons they have; our police now routinely seek to intimidate and provoke citizens who encounter them for any reason. Call the police about a barking dog and they knock on your door with their guns drawn. Years ago a friend and I got pulled over, the rookie cop was so nervous my friend had to reassure him that we weren't criminals and that we had no weapons. It actually worked. Wonder what the response would be today? Probably extreme belligerence. At least.

  73. It certainly is and it's about time Americans get their heads out of the sand when it comes to the excessive violence that terrorizes our society. This includes the 300 million guns, the violent Hollywood movies and video games, our gunslinger heritage, and our armed municipal authorities.

    Killings like this 19 year old young man's are cowardly and cold blooded. Let's be honest here, the killers in these cases are almost always white and the victims disproportionately black, but hundreds of unarmed or lightly armed whites are executed annually also. We know what the white cops always say, I felt menaced, I felt threatened, I feared for my life, he reached for his belt etc. etc. it's like the authorities are taught at the same schools to repeat the same lies when they shoot an unarmed American citizen for no good reason. In the past the killers almost always walked away from these human rights violations as they are rubberstamped by DAs, State Attorneys, Grand Juries and the Supreme Court.

    Where is Washington when it comes to protecting American citizens from these civil and constitutional violations? A recent Daily Kos report mentioned that some black lives matter activists are being surveiled by federal agents when they excercise their free speech rights at police brutality protests, so why aren't the municipalities that are shooting dead American citizens like this young man not being surveiled? Dubya had a DUI and Dick Cheney had two DUIs, why the double standard?

  74. "How is it that we can understand an extreme reaction by Americans as a whole to a threat of terror but demonstrate a staggering lack of that understanding when black people in America do the same?"

    In white America, most of us would likely not hesitate to dial 911, in case of a personal emergency. Regarding highway policing, most whites are likely far less cowered by a police stop than a black person would be, and never consider the possibility of being hauled off to jail for a minor traffic violation; yet, one only has to be pulled over, "frisked," and have one's car searched while surrounded by several cops to quickly develop a true sense of being terrorized for a seemingly gratuitous or arcane suspicion of criminal behavior. Additionally, the most recent videos are quickly creating a sense of empathy for those black victims of police abuse that quickly turn to gun violence simply because a black person runs out of a sense impending terror-- most can relate to those horrible deaths;yet, many probably feel that, if placed in a similar circumstance, they would not flee or cause a cop to pull his gun and shoot.

  75. keep up the good work Mr. Blow! You are one of the only editorialist I still trust. America needs your convictions and passions! Thank you.

  76. It is nice to see Mr. Blow address his critics but his rebuttal is facile. Others on the left have made this argument. That inner city black on black violence is by people killing people they know isn’t the point. It probably isn’t the reality either. Many victims of violent crime don’t know the perpetrator and innocent bystanders caught between gangs with automatic weapons certainly don’t.

    The problem is Blow and others making this about race in the first place when it is about poverty and policing. You can’t rebut the truth that the neglected slums of this nation’s cities are war zones overflowing with illegal guns. The question is how do we police them and make them safer without the police sometimes making fatal mistakes. When police slack off, the violence goes up and community leaders are blaming guess who for the increases in crime. And no one can deny that police are killed policing in these places. Recently two police chiefs appearing on The PBS Newshour admitted that with no social services in their cities their police force has been tasked with things they were never meant to do and are the only government presence in these neighborhoods.

    We need to convince Americans to put an enormous amount of resources into our cities to create opportunities and make them safer. Calling white Americans racists is counter-productive and hardens resistance to any action. People who refuse to see their own biases shouldn’t be calling out others on theirs.

  77. "State violence, as epitomized in these cases by what people view as police abuses, conversely, has produced a specific feeling of terror, one that is inescapable and unavoidable."

    It's akin to a form of national domestic violence, where people in power abuse their authority to take advantage of and harass people without power. And when the justice system supports that abuse through bogus attorneys, biased judges, unfair bail, disproportionate jail time, oppressive plea deals, the terror is all encompassing. Lives are turned upside down by draconian fines and fees. People are arrested for the slightest infractions. People are shot in the back, killed in cold blood. The stories spread, and the rage festers within the community. And eventually, like reactions to terrorism, war erupts, or a version of war that the power calls "riots," that the power calls "ignorant people destroying their own community." But, to the abused this is fighting back, a gut-check attempt to raise awareness, a rage unleashed to make the terror stop, the explosion that Langston Hughes wrote about.

  78. Videos of police shooting and killing citizens is deeply disurbing. No one says the police have an easy job. Indeed, split second decisions must be made occasionally. But recent killings are inexcusable. Shooting people unless there is an absolute need to protect the officer's life or the community is wrong. Yes, such police action does heighten our uneasiness being around "the law."

  79. Mr. Blow wrote: And yet, we don’t ask “Why aren’t you, America, focusing on the real problem: Americans killing other Americans?”

    We do as that question Mr. Blow. You wrote that Fareed Zakaria, an American who is watched and admired by millions, asked that very question. The Brady Center struggles every day to answer that question and does battle with the NRA.

    I do agree that state violence is extremely important. But there is no evidence, NONE, that the Police shootings fueling this media circus were driven by racism on the part of the Officers. I read recently that the Officer in the Sandra Bland case actually stopped just as many, if not more, whites as blacks. Inadequate training/hiring, not racism, is the common theme we are seeing in some of these videos.

  80. It is more than inadequate training. It is that many police officers get enraged when a black person talk back to them. In the mind of many police officers, a black person is not entitled to talk back.

  81. On the one hand, I agree with the premise that state action is different than private action and thus police should be held to higher standards than private citizens. It is similar to the argument that actions by the Israeli government result in greater condemnation than actions by Hamas because we hold the government of a democracy that receives US support to a higher standard than we expect from a terrorist organization. We should train and equip our police to de-escalate situations and avoid using deadly force unless absolutely necessary, even against criminals who have initiated confrontations.

    On the other hand, I do not buy the argument that violence by police is worse than violence by private citizens because the victims of black-on-black violence know how to avoid it whereas police are omnipresent and thus unavoidable. I don't have statistics, but I would be shocked if the number of innocent people shot by police was anywhere close to the number of innocents shot by gangs and drug dealers. And it appears to me that the majority of recent police killings would have been avoided if the victims had not taken actions that threatened the lives of police officers. "Don't get into a physical altercation with a police officer" and "don't brandish a gun, real or fake" seem like better prescriptions to keep people safe than "if you live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, move to a safe suburb".

  82. I have to confess, I'm a little torn on this issue. Let's start with a video that's making the rounds of a montage of police dash cams showing cops in normal traffic stops being shot - unexpectedly and with little or no warning. I would imagine that has to play in the mind of any patrol cop. Maybe the more you're in the street the more you start thinking about your own mortality.

    But, I don't think it's ONLY the police. Many municipalities use their police force to supplement their revenues. I was once pulled over and ticketed for driving 1 mile per hour over the posted speed limit (which is less than the rated calibration of both my speedometer and the radar gun he used). It's also evident that some communities target certain areas differently. That would mean that the issue is top to bottom rather than the bottom up.

    I can't help thinking that maybe we aren't focusing on the right problems.

  83. Search "Court Impact Fees on the Poor" and read many accounts of cities and counties using Police/Sheriff Departments to find any reason to write citations that lead to overly-high fines, onerous court costs, and loss of wages due to mandatory court appearances.

    There are many very sad and tragic stories, and not much hope for change, as it appears cities and counties are using these oppressive fees to pad their municipal budgets.

  84. Just to finish your story, what was the outcome of the ticket?

  85. What's to be torn about? Forget videos and forget how one community differs from another. Focus! Many (not all) in Black communities still bear the burdens of slavery and Jim Crow. Many Whites, even (especially) in "liberal" NYC, are blatant, gross racists. First admit the problem, then debate the remedies. Education. Leadership! But craven politicians and unchristian preachers lead in the wrong direction... How to change that? One heart and one mind at a time.

  86. Mr. Blow, you convinced me long ago (if I wasn't convinced already) that police terror is a major problem in the black community. Your son's experience and his incredible response to it (a classmate of his recently told me about how he wrote movingly of why his experience needed to be seen in the light of what happens to victims who don't have means or prominent contacts) gave a personal reinforcement to your words. So please believe that this reader is in your camp.

    That said, when someone kills you, you are no less dead and your family no less devastated if it is someone in your community that kills you. I'm not sure how to evaluate whether it is worse teen experience not to be able to trust your own social group or not to be able to trust the police -- they are both horrible.

    Sadly, if we could eliminate all the questionable killings of blacks by police officers tomorrow, we would make a small dent in the number of violent deaths among young black men.

    So shine a bright light on police terror and abuse. However, deflecting inquiries and discussion about black on black violence are undermining your message. To reach readers who aren't yet convinced of the need for police reform and strong community oversight over police action, you have to find a way to address that part of the picture.

  87. And often times those blacks that are killed by other blacks, usually young black men are children or totally innocent people. I would imagine living in the inner city of Chicago, for example, is a real terror for families.

  88. Yeah but if the police kill you, when you were alive your taxes were paying their salary.

  89. "you have to find a way to address that part of the picture." CB and many others address this constantly. Your comment reminds me of complaints from some Blacks about Obama, that he hadn't prioritized their problems, for example. Keeping us all out of the killing fields of the Middle East is as much a Black issue as White. Saving the economy is certainly a Black issue.

    Rooting the poison of racism out of the white American soul is a hard task. Education is hard in the face of Limbaugh and Fox. We all have a role in such projects, not just CB.

  90. It is crucial for their continued grip on power by the economic elite, that Afro Americans, Hispanics, and the white middle and working classes are not allowed to find common cause. It is clear that from coast to coast, the cultural norm among white middle class law enforcement personnel is to prey on poor black communities. This has all the hallmarks of a foreign occupying army in the black community. If this situation is allowed to fester and continue, then the best illustration of what to expect in terms of outcomes might well be Baghdad. We are not far from car bombs and suicide bombers. The idea that three white men with automatic weapons can wander through Ferguson without interference by the police is both astonishing and infuriating. What I know is this: The black community has shown uncommon restraint, but there comes a tipping point, a breaking point. Without a cultural shift and soon, we can expect less than constructive responses from minority communities. I, for one, refuse to blame the victims.

  91. Well said.

  92. Very well said.

    So many refuse to state the obvious, unwilling to face the reality of their racism, and others are fearful of retaliation if they show solidarity with the oppressed.

  93. It is terror. So was Jim Crow. This wave of police violence and vigilantes is bringing back that awful time.

    Imagine if you will a heavily armed group of black men walking down the streets in a white neighborhood. What would happen?

  94. Thank you for being so straightforward. I strongly suspect that the same trolls who trash your comments section will be back in force on this one, but I hope that you will stay the course and not be cowed by the would-be bullies.

  95. Bullies? It's called trying to look at the problem from all sides. It is the only way the problem can be solved. The comments I have read so far are appropriate.

  96. Are you saying that anyone who disagrees with Mr. Blow and expresses their opinion is a Troll? I assume you agree with most, if not all, of Mr. Blow's writing so do you also believe that anyone who disagrees with you is also a Troll? Unless you have access to The Truth - the Platonic Forms perhaps - then your position seem untenable. It take an unbelievable level of arrogance to assume anyone who does agree with you is a "Troll" of some sort.

  97. Why is it that those of us who disagree with this writer are "trolls" and "bullies"?

  98. "A recent study by scholars at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale found that homicides cluster and overwhelmingly involve a tiny group of people who not only share social connections but are also already involved in the criminal justice system."

    Is Mr. Blow saying that most of the 6,000 black men killed in American homicides every year... deserved it? Deserved it because they hung with the wrong crowd and kept a gun? The irony and hypocrisy is astounding.

    We are constantly told by activists that the criminal records and activities of victims are apparently irrelevant when someone is shot by police, but of utmost importance when shot by anyone else. The same risk factor is at play in both cases: engaging in criminal activity makes it more likely you will be killed by someone else, and that "someone else" includes the police.

    Police violence is far from random. 42% of cop killers were black, while roughly 30% of those killed by police were black. 90% of those killed by police so far this year have been armed, and fewer than two dozen of them were unarmed black men.

    Anyone who doesn't believe me should check the data themselves:
    Police feloniously killed - https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/2013/tables/table_44_leos_fk...
    WaPo police killings database - http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

  99. Wow.. Only two dozen unarmed black men gunned down? Two dozen unarmed people gunned down by police SO FAR this year seems acceptable to you?

  100. I think we have to recognize that too much police behavior is beyond bullying as a matter of course. That said, you are completely right that the disproportionate rate of violent crime committed by black men cannot be separated from the fact of police conduct.

    Those who continue to deny the reality of black violent crime rates and their impact on society are the intellectual equivalent of those who deny climate change and its impact on the ice caps.

    Facts just don't matter to them.

  101. Police abuse absolutely is a form of terror, and for anyone to be unable to acknowledge this is pretty appalling. Police departments all across the country have inspiring mottos like "Protect and Serve", but all too often the police seem to forget that they are supposed to protect and serve all of us, even when they are pulling us over for a traffic stop or arresting us for drunk and disorderly conduct.

    That said, police have a very difficult, frequently frustrating and often unrewarding job. Those of us on the wrong end of police interactions would do well to remember this.

  102. A difficult job is no excuse for abuse. Many of us have difficult and dangerous jobs.

  103. If police killing unarmed black men is a form of terror, what do we call black men killing black men at ten or one hundred times the rate? Is that ten or one hundred fold the terror?

  104. It's sad that you apparently feel qualified to comment on an article when you clearly didn't read anything but the headline

  105. "If police killing unarmed black men is a form of terror, what do we call black men killing black men at ten or one hundred times the rate? Is that ten or one hundred fold the terror?"

    I can tell you one thing we don't call it: state-sponsored terrorism.

  106. Rob,
    Please re read the articl.

  107. Dear Mr. Blow, in your previous column you correctly pointed out that the problem of police brutality against blacks should not be seen as isolated but must be put into the larger historical, political and social context. Although you are equally correct to say that the phenomenon of black-on-black violence should not be used as a pretext to igonre the former problem, I disagree with the idea of completely trying to separate them. The basic problem is an excess of violence, both within the black community and in the attitude of law enforcement vis-a-vis the black community. The two phenomena interact and amplify each other in the form of a vicious cycle. Instead of looking at only one or the other, the cycle as a whole must be broken.

  108. Well said.

  109. A 'Recommend' is simply not enough here. Yours is a point I hadn't considered & I'm far better off for now having done so. Thanks

  110. Police terrorism against blacks and other minorities is no different from terror by drone that our country inflicts on people in other nations.

  111. Let us not forget the police terrorism against children, resulting in mass incarceration of youth for profit. Incarceration that changes the lives of the children, and their caretakers/families forever, and not for the better,

  112. "A parent can say to a child: Don’t run with that crowd, or hang out on that corner or get involved with that set of activities."


    Don't use your body size to rob a store? Don't run away from the police during a legitimate traffic stop? Don't go to a park and point a realistically looking airlift gun at people is a shooting stance? Don't resist arrest when the cops coming for your 20th arrest on a street corner?

    Some of these police killings are marginal. Some are mistakes. Some a gross negligence.

    But every single one of them began with the person committing a crime. Robbing a store. Carrying a knife and running from the police. Brandishing a facsimile weapon in a threatening manner. Resisting arrest. Assaulting a police officer during a stop.

    So black parents don't warn their children not to do those things?

  113. Every single one of these police killings did not begin with a crime.

  114. And don't be black while doing those things. For I can assure you, if you or your white child is stopped in his BMW in Westport, he or she will be given a stern warning and be told to be more careful in the future by the local police. And if he or she talks back, no worries.

    Just don't be black in America and you will be fine.

  115. And Baron 95, let me ask you, how many times are white criminals caught doing exactly the same things instantaneously shot multiple times? That's the real question here...

  116. Being at the mercy of the police was one of the main features of segregation, and it seems to be back (or perhaps still there) everywhere in the country. Henry Gates experienced it even though it did not end badly for him. People may be victimized by criminals but are not at their mercy in the same way. The police have special powers to put people at their mercy, and these powers are often abused in other countries. They are also often abused in this country.

  117. I once locked myself out of my house and was attempting to find an unlocked window or other means of entry. Before I knew it, the police were on the sccene and i had to prove I actually lived at that residence. I am white.

  118. And yet, we don’t ask “Why aren’t you, America, focusing on the real problem: Americans killing other Americans?”
    Actually, many of us are asking that question, and asking why the press is not paying enough attention to the gun runners and bad apple gun dealers who turn a blind eye to straw purchasers, and to the gun show and other loopholes in background checks, to the terrorists who day to day trap expletive in their homes in many communities
    Why don't we hear more, day, after day, about the good lives lost in crossfire?
    Mr. Blow, please do take some time to focus on the precious life of a young woman, playing an extraordinary positive role in her community, who was killed by a stray bullet while waiting at a bus stop http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/reporter-27-shot-dead-home-meeting...

  119. Police abuse IS terror, not just a form of it.

  120. Americans accept violence as a way of life. We are part of an endless war abroad with little to no protest. Drones kill civilians in secret. A study established 8 wedding parties have been targeted, killing approximately 300 civilians. The government's response--we regret the mistake. Or, it is just collateral damage. Most often there is never an investigation. Can you imagine if a foreign government attacked just 1 wedding party in the U.S. What would be the response?

    The police are just an extension of our violence abroad and it is often said, look what we do abroad if you want to see what we are going to do at home. We militarized the police and have for decades accepted the Blue Wall of Silence and laws that protect police from any personal responsibility for killing fellow citizens, except in the most egregious situations. As with war, we lead the civilized world in police killings of civilians.

    Tolerance of violence is an evil business. It requires the masses to look at the other as disposable, different, less than human. It requires constant rationalizing for those who even pay attention.

    There is a mentality in this Country that is becoming more engrained--Us against Them. The Us is the power elite who perpetrate the violence--sending people to war, arming the police, and turning the other way at violence used to control Them.

    We need a real conversation about our violent culture and whether that is who we want to be.

  121. Every system has two parts: acts and ideas. In effective systems, the two benefit each other; and have a positive effect on society, prosperity and safety. The cases of violence by police which have come to the public eye fall far short of public benefit.

    Desperate, loud attempts frame this police violence as a wall that police maintain not to be overrun, turning society over to barbarians. It is a idea of war within our civil society--an exaggeration magnified by stereotypes and blame and faults that say violence is the only path of protection, the safety of police coming first.

    But too many cases before the public involve persons who were unarmed. Too many cases don't involve the simple retreat for the safety of both officers and subjects. Too many cases show peer officers lying about details that never occurred, with investigating officers admitting their bias to absolve officers without accountability--as interviewees in Cleveland told the Justice Department.

    A well-known list (he or she reached for/lowered a hand/made a face/stepped forward) provides absolution. But count the shots. Watch Oath Keepers in open carry, officers dancing on the hood of cars; shots fired in some cases in the hundreds; victims unarmed. The state has sanctioned murder with victims dead and dishonored as the price of safety. It only spreads the presence of greater fear and makes all of us less safe.

  122. Charles, you are posing a question the answer to which would require possibly years of serious study. Here is an hypothesis, nothing more.

    The imbalance that Fareed Zakaria correctly describes arises in part because a relatively new form of racism has taken root in America - and elsewhere. This is racism focused on people practicing a religion not previously well known in America, Islam.

    The best known form of racism in America is white against black racism where the target is identified by skin color - in a microsecond for the congenital racist. A subset of the police, also identified by skin color=white, seems to be programmed for that behavior.

    In the newest form of racism in America, the target is identified not by skin color but by religion. Republican political figures - in particular - white skinned, professed Christians, and gun carrying find that target to be a gift "from heaven".

    Instead of having to deal with the real problem, Americans - all colors - killing other Americans they can divert attention to the "other" in the form of muslims.

    This white on white racism (see footnotes) has made it easy to do nothing about the "real problem".

    1) According to the US Census Bureau,Middle Eastern muslims belong to a "white race"
    2) I use racism as defined by Prof. Erik Bleich in "Freedom to be Racist"

  123. Reading Charles Blow is like reading James Baldwin and Natasha Hani Coates. What has changed in this country since its inception? Blacks and policing, state power, have been linked since our founding. Until we acknowledge this fact, apologize for it, and work to remedy it, this stain will be a cancer on our collective soul.

  124. Touchy subject. Police abuse of our black citizens is salt in the wounds of centuries of oppression in an America that today claims a certain enlightenment, if by no means full incandescence. Yet that said, I disagree: police abuse is not a form of terror as we know it but a manifestation of something more complicated, unfair and dangerous.

    We know "terror" to be a willful expression of violence with the intent to kill, usually for reasons of religious intolerance and in support of folkways connected to that intolerance. Police abuse isn't that.

    Police abuse is a natural characteristic of a society that won't make the investments necessary to remove barriers to the mainstreaming of poor blacks in our society. We just won't do the things necessary to provide the tools that blacks need to rise organically from our urban ghettos, join the middle classes in large numbers and dramatically moderate the urban violence that poverty breeds. The primary thing we won't do is redirect our priorities to assuring effective, high quality education in urban concentrations of poor -- the necessary sacrifices would be great. Police are implicitly urged to maintain order by whatever means available, and given their resources the means they choose are targeting and oppression. Police have done this in every society since we all came out of the trees.

    But let's not mistake one thing for another. When we do, we distance ourselves from real solutions by misunderstanding the real problems.

  125. Absolutely. We could have prevented the growth of the northern underclass with sufficient investment in education. I remember during the 50s in NYC, white middle class people who were opposed to spending additional money (taxes!) on the schools in poor black neighborhoods - and these the very people who had been lifted up by the outstanding NYC public schools in the previous generation.

  126. You are focusing on the wrong part of the "intent vs. effect" equation. Mr. Blow is detailing the reality and the pain behind the fact that police abuse has the same effect as terror, (and look how whites are allowed to react to fear of terror), whereas you are insisting that the intent of police abuse is not terror. In most cases that's probably true, but not in all cases, and not the point of his piece anyways.

  127. "We just won't do the things necessary to provide the tools that blacks need to rise organically from our urban ghettos..."

    Richard, you say this as if there's some obvious set of solutions simply being ignored. You're one of my favorite posters & I'm genuinely curious as to what you think can, but isn't, being done.

  128. I'd edit the title to "Police abuse is terror". No doubt. An unbroken chain of terror from the shores of Africa to the Strange Fruit of the South -- and beyond -- to young men gunned down, strung up, burned down, beaten down, by known-by-all-in-their-communities, but never named in courtrooms terrorists-by-night, upstanding citizens by day. I count as paltry progress that very, very recently a very few have been named, not hidden in broad daylight by colluding peers at all levels of power.
    Excellent column, thank you. Great to see the red herring "what about black on black crime" deftly deflected.

  129. No - his response to the 'what about black on black crime' wasn't a deft deflection at all. There are two issues here, and he responded to only one. The first is that most crime is in fact intra-racial - blacks tend to prey on other blacks, and whites tend to prey on other whites. Blow is quite right about that. But the real issue here, and what people are meaning to express when they complain about the lack of focus on of black on black crime, is not that blacks tend to prey on other blacks when they commit crimes, but that the crime rate is so much higher in (poor) black communities. There is a lot more crime in a poor black community than in a white (or Asian) community, so there will be a lot more black victims than there are white or Asian victims, even if the ratio of black on black to white on white crime is about the same. And he just ignored that.

  130. Is it terror? Of course, it is terrifying. Are police shootings of black people, often unarmed, often just kids, intended to cause terror? Is this a series of unrelated tragedies... or a pre-planned tactic to keep people scared into being complacent?

    And, how could we tell the difference?

  131. One wonders how it could have taken this long for America to wake up and finally recognize the extent and severity of racism and injustice in our nation. What an appalling and jolting "coincidence" that police departments, prosecutors, juries, and judges in all corners of our nation (North/South, East/West, Conservative/Progressive, Urban/Rural, etc.) have conspired to routinely violate the civil rights and constitutional protections of blacks and minorities for decades (with impunity). Not only is it happening, but it is pervasive on a scale that leaves one in actual shock and awe.

    Americans (black and white) must have always really known it was there, and yet we were all lulled into a false sense of "things are gradually getting better" when they actually weren't. Even many black leaders and white progressives somehow convinced themselves that programs such as "stop and frisk" were helping black communities by keeping a watchful eye out for the "bad guys" and that civil rights was a reasonable tradeoff.

    I mean, I suppose one can argue that things have gotten "incrementally" better with time, but most forward thinking Americans are also coming to realize that increments don't begin to address the socioeconomic and legal inequities imposed on blacks and minorities by institutions of government and industry.

    That bargain now appears astonishingly naive and insufficient. Human beings are suffering in massive numbers and leaving our heads in the sand is no longer an option.

  132. This piece is a deflection. You want to talk statistics Mr. Blow?
    Statistically 50% of murders in this country are committed by black people.
    Most of the victims are black people.
    The police are overwhelmingly not the ones committing them.
    We spend 95% of our time talking about 5% of the problem and wonder why the situation doesn't improve.
    It is a dishonest conversation.
    Insisting that we focus on the greater problem of crime in the black community is not a deflection.
    It's a necessary prerequisite to stopping the police from killing so many black people.

  133. Melvin: Some political systems incubate crime. US capitalism is such a system, especially when combined with deep, long-standing racism. A conversation that avoids this obvious problem is dishonest.

  134. Melvin - this is a joke, right? Please re-read the first four paragraphs. People tend to kill people they know. Further, the very nature of the killings by the police is different. The police are given a position of power and control for a good reason. The problem is when they apply that power in a biased, unwarranted manner against one particular group. The issue is not quantitative but qualitative. We really can deal with more than one problem at a time and numbers impacted is only one measure of the importance of the issue.

    For blacks it seems that every encounter with the police, no matter how trivial, might result in abuse or even death at the hands of the very person we have given great power to for our protection. As a white senior, I have little fear that the "broken tail light" or "smell of marijuana" is going to be used as a pretext for search, confiscation of my property, arrest, or even summary execution. This does happen disproportionately to blacks. You don't see this abuse as a matter for concern?

  135. Mr. Blow,
    Perhaps I have misinterpreted your thoughts as well
    those of your respondents.Many of the ideas expressed are correct ( not all).What is really significant is that throughout all of these comments there is hardly any mention of what is one significant etiology of this situation,that is the absence of family life.Being a "single mom" with several "baby daddys" is creating a segment of society of individuals who are left in a precarious position which renders them more likely to suffer at the hands of police who at times may lack judgement, be frightened,are racist,or whose behavior may be appropriate. Having children requires a responsibility to raise them in a manner which will assist them in avoiding interacting with police. Of course this not the only solution but it would help.

  136. Really wish some would drop the old argument of how can you talk about police killing black men when black on black crime is worse? The logic of that has always escaped me. So we are to give police a pass to kill black people because black people are killing them too. What is really being said is if blacks kill blacks wantonly how you can beef about cops killing blacks. Would it be like someone making the argument that if white men were targeted it would be no big deal because millions of whites killed millions of whites in the two world wars? The killing of a lion in Africa drew more sympathy than the killing of black people by their protectors .Every time police are mentioned someone points out that all police are not bad. Maybe someone need to start to tell police all black people are not bad either. The instinct of shoot first and ask questions later worked great in the movies but not in the streets of America. In truth our police are only an extension of us. If not for the advent of cell phone cameras it would still be business as usual. For some officers to completely ignore the recent scrutiny of policing in America to continue their cowboy ways in minority communities only tells me they should have chosen another line of work. They should know that the old get out of jail card for free has been worn out by over use.

  137. A huge industry is built around policing the poor and downtrodden. It's easy and provides a great excuse for not fixing the problems endemic to poverty.

    "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm?" Simple: Police them into oblivion

  138. thanks mr. blow. i think any people marginalized and discriminated against as a group will have trouble. they will suffer disproportionate rates of poverty, and all manner of social ills. outward signs, like skin color, make people an easy target for cruelty. blacks in america are targeted by the police. they are vulnerable. the situation is a national disgrace.

  139. Mr. Blow,
    I believe WRT Black American being killed, and we (kind off) ignore it, there is and expectation by the white community as a whole to see the black community as a whole finalize their integration into the American (white) society. E.g., stop the massive black-on-black killing. Stop complaining e.g., Al Sharpton as a black leader is regressing the black community to improve its own position.

  140. Stop already.
    Abuse is abuse; that is why it has been called "abuse", not "terror" for the past 1000 years.
    Since 9/11 "terror" has become the new politically correct buzzword. Everything offensive or difficult or unpleasant or distressing is now called "terror". It isn't.
    We are NOT being "terrorized". Enough.
    You want terror? Go take a look at the people dealing with ISIS! You want terror? Try the Janjiwee or the Shabab or Assad or ...
    But not the corner cop. Not the way you mean. Some are corrupt , some are abusive (also too many) but very very few "terrorize".
    Being a victim has become a full fledged industry of late. Stop.

  141. Yes, Great article Charles. It seems that a "uniform" cult has grown in the USA and spreading to other places, like in Canada. Wear a uniform, and you are somehow above others and in the case of police, have a licence to kill. As another article headline notes, police abuse is another form of terrorism - and it is sanctioned by the state as it is rare that the police officer is ever charged with murder and most often does not even seem to be subject to discipline other than "lie low for a bit". Even here in Canada, police are being outfitted with Military gear. For decades police cars were painted white and lighter colours, with "Community Service" or some such decal on the vehicle. Now they are going back to Black and White with the cars looking like mini-tanks. The soft approach, which accompanied dramatically falling crime rates , now replace with the hard, tough look and the personnel inside, decked out like some storm trooper with all their weapons and gadgets bedecking their costumes.
    It is long past time to take a serious look at policing in our countries and especially the training and qualification of the offices who are hired to "defend" and "protect" us citizens, white and black alike - not terrorize and kill us.

  142. Another fine column by Mr. Blow. Unjustified police violence evokes such horror in part because it strikes at the very foundation of our democratic system. In theory, the state is supposed to protect all groups against foreign terrorists and domestic predators, both of whom threaten our security and our freedom. In practice, however, the police too often target entire segments of our society (racial minorities and the poor) as a threat rather than including them in the community needing protection.

    This insidious tendency to isolate some groups of citizens as the 'other,' deserving of harassment but not protection, erodes the principle of equal treatment under the law that enables our system to function. Any state that oppresses its own people destroys the basis for a peaceful stability. But a democratic government guilty of such actions commits a greater folly, because the people are the government.

    When I see the American flag, the pride I feel stems from the belief that it symbolizes equal justice for everyone. When I observe police officers (or any other government officials) abusing citizens, acting the master rather than the servant of these individuals, I react with both fear and disgust. These public employees make a mockery of the principles our flag is supposed to represent, and they threaten the survival of the government founded on those principles. There is a reason the Nazi flag inspires horror in most people.

  143. If the police are agents of violence, taxation, and oppression then how can they possibly begin to actually do their job, and fight crime? If the real problem is black-on-black crime, then how can the police address this problem while terrorizing the public? If a police officer pulled you over and performed a body-cavity search in public because he smelled marijuana and couldn't find anything after searching the car (this happened recently in Harris County, TX), would you then go to the police to report a crime you witnessed? Would you even go if you were the victim?

    Police have a long way to go. Stop taxing the poor with creative crimes, like failure to mow the lawn. Stop treating minority districts as occupied territory. Stop worrying about forcing the public to respect you, and start earning it.

  144. If that it's the case you have in mind, it was a highway patrol officer who happened to be a woman that did the cavity search. She was summarily fired and sued in civil court. It happened about three years ago.

  145. If you had people in your neighborhood that didn't keep up their properties, you might feel differently.

  146. To answer your closing question, it is because the idea of police terror creates such cognitive dissonance in most Americans that they will do anything to deflect it. No matter how much evidence that current training encourages confrontation or that police forces are attracting and accepting personalities who should never be anywhere near a gun and badge, people will do absolutely anything to deny it. The truth is just too unbearable. A large part of that is due to racism, but not only.

  147. Thank you, Mr. Blow, for yet another eloquent, passionate commentary on a deep societal problem that so many of our fellow citizens cannot see or refuse to see. Police abuse is absolutely a form of terror; it is absolutely a deflection, or worse, for some to ignore this reality by claiming to care about black-on-black violence. I don't think they really do; it is simply a nasty, if politically useful rejoinder to avoid confronting an uncomfortable truth.

    Of course, many of these readers most assuredly cannot comprehend what it is like to live with this kind of fear, a much more likely outcome for African-Americans than other, far more sensational terrorism is for whites. Sure, the latter can get annoyed with police when stopped for speeding or some small infraction, but they won't hesitate to contact their local branch... especially if they feel threatened, however illusionary that threat is, from some "other" people.

    I'm not optimistic that even this excellent contribution, which clearly explains the difference between community and state violence, will do much to bridge the at times enormous divide. White people are basically immune from state violence and have been since before the dawn of the Republic. What they do, indirectly and otherwise, is sanction it. It doesn't surprise that they are willing to accept some or even a lot of police abuse for safety... so long as they're not the ones to face the abuse. And they're not.

  148. Very Real and important article! I am also concerned about the right to protest. It feels like Americans have every right to hold parades and come together to celebrate identity but decreasing power to come together and protest to defend their community.The image of seeing black civil rights activists in handcuffs in Ferguson while white militia men armed to the teeth are permitted to walk freely around is beyond disturbing. What does this say about what the state considers a real threat?

  149. It is like Michael Moore's conclusion in his movie about guns and Columbine, it is not that we have so many guns as mu ch as who we are and what we are like when over armed. According to Mr Moore Canada has as many guns per population, yet does not have as violent a population. Another example is Vermont. Vermont has few gun laws but still has little gun violence compared to other states. It is because the attitude of Vermonters is very different than those of say, for example Texans. Why aren't we, America, focusing on the real problem American killing Americans. Combine this attitude with the militarized police and the self image police would get from movies and culture means to many who are prone to abuse authority seek to become police. The US macho culture of Rambo and John Wayne is the problem. We see it in elected prosecutors who see obtaining convictions as being their job, not finding the truth. It is police who demand grovelling. Why do not we ask the real problem; what is wrong with American men?

  150. I do agree that much of the beligerent attitude and violent behavior we see was learned at the movies.

  151. I believe you will find that many white women of my generation "get" your point. When I was younger, there was no discussion of rape or other forms of domestic violence. it happened but was never discussed. It was a source of shame. It was also a form of terrorism, a threat in the background att all times, a threat that kept us from moving freely in society. a system that deflected blame to those victimized. I have several distinct memories of being in fear in public, afraid to ask for help.

    What we cannot discuss or are told not to discuss is what we must always discuss, explore, understand, speak out about.

    This is a reign of terror against black people. The assumption that every black male is a threat, that every black woman is "angry," that no woman has a right to her anger -- these attitudes always seem to me to be a projection, coming from those who darn straight know how they would feel in the same situation.

    White America - and its police - fear retribution.

  152. It's interesting you discuss the rape scenario because that is the very thing that can be avoided when a weaker woman has equal strength given by having a gun. Anyone who has had a court order placed against a man knows it's just a piece of paper and many a woman has been raped, beaten and killed because a bigger stronger man ignored a piece of paper and they had no recourse. Who are you going to call when someone is following you in a menacing way?

  153. Reading many of the similar reactive white racist male rants in response to Mr. Blow's column, it is clear that it must be difficult to be an African American and not feel tired and angry when hearing the same cant over and over again about 'BonB violence' - and other falsely equivalent points when the abuse of police power is discussed.

  154. I'll keep things simple so the censors at the NY Times allow my comment through.

    This might be asking a lot of a journalist, but what does crime data suggest? How do those figures compare to cherry-picked episodes of outrage at police violence?

    If you had any familiarity with such data, you would see that community violence far, far outweighs state violence. Yes, even in neighborhoods where police corruption is especially prevalent. Probably more so, given the amount of violent crime committed by its own wayward young men.

    It has never been polite to discuss the social terror that black violence has caused on the American landscape—it still isn't, given the way we dance around why people with the "means and inclination" leave these neighborhoods.

    How many blacks were shot by other blacks in Chicago last weekend? More than 20? Baltimore just had its worst month for homicides (45) since 1972.

    And yet we're forced to listen to outright fables built up around law enforcement, who supposedly have nothing better to do than shoot "unarmed" men who are mythologized as the passive "black victim."

    It turns out that a lot of these young black "victims" take the Michael Brown approach and engage in violent crime, enjoy assaulting police, rioting, etc.

    You'll never be able to win hearts and minds by ignoring the obscene level of random violence in black communities. James Q. Wilson poignantly said it underlies the black-white divide in America more than anything else.

  155. Of course community violence exceeds police violence. But we taxpayers are not paying the community to protect others. That is the job of the police--not to shoot first and ask questions later.

  156. Brandon - when the police seem like an outside occupying force, whether in Northern Ireland twenty years ago, or Ferguson today, the divide is always palpable. It is instructive to consider how quickly 'the hundred year war' in Ireland melted away with a treaty, and investment. We like to invest billions on police and the right goes rabid about teachers' unions and 'waste' whenever spending on better education is discussed, especially to the benefit of minority neighborhoods.

    Whenever improving education for minority students and providing a path out into the world is raised, the right wing racists scoff and sneeringly talk about 'black culture' being 'anti-education.' That's why they self-define as white supremacists and racists. At a hard-core 7-14% of our society, white racists are a real problem for the rest of us white-people. We don't like you. We don't appreciate your poisonous effect on our society. We tend to shy away from confronting you when personally encountered, because its stressful to confront people. But, know that you're disliked, even despised by most of us. James Q. Wilson is 6'2" and well-muscled, yet he talks about the flabby Michael Brown as if he was much larger and far stronger. He's allowed with calling him a 'black monster' -in the minds of white racists, and that's the issue that people who are white racists refuse to confront honestly and why they have no credibility in our eyes. Brown was unarmed. Wilson was in a car, armed.

  157. I've never been terrorized by a black person in America. I have been by gun toting whites by just being in their unexpected presence while out in public.

    America holds 25% of the worlds jailed, wIth less tha 5% of the world's population. The American people are the most criminalized in the world, more criminalized than the Chinese, more than the Russians. Certainly more than the western Europeans. How's this happen in a free society?

    Why is it that Cliven Bundy can confront the authorities with an armed white posse when said authorities come to his property to make him follow the law, but a 19 year old unarmed black kid is shot dead for being intoxicated and acting up in public? Most mass shootings in our country like the recent church massacre where 9 Christians were killed are perpetrated by armed white men.

    If we were a civilized country we would be, as one white Australian poster said in a NYT article the other week, outraged when an unarmed citizen was killed while in the custody of the state.

    Systemic white supremcy is part of the American story but not all of the story, we need to ask ourselves why American citizen's lives are so cheap that we are happy to see hundreds of unarmed citizens killed every year while in state custody and why we accept tens of thousands killed every year while in public custody.

    The fact is we never outgrew the wild west gun toting pathology, and Hollywood to this day stokes this myth of instant justice with their propaganda?

  158. Yes, Charles. Let’s admit it --that terror mini dictatorship can exist within the constitutional democracy of the US. What else was Jim Crow? What was plantation slavery but Soviet type terror, the black peasants under their owners’ power of life/death, and execution legal if caught escaping? What else was the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott decision? Today, it is our mass prison gulag.

    Today, justice varies per location and Governor’s whims. Our states rights ideology means states decide life/death matters —stop and frisk, sentencing, the death penalty. Plus for ex felons, voting and crucial rights affecting their lives after prison.

    We live with the Bill of Rights mythology.

    Cspan Book TV has a video on the book “Kafka's Law: The Trial and American Criminal Justice”. Says “US criminal justice system is beginning to resemble the fictional account of the justice system depicted in Franz Kafka’s famous novel The Trial. “
    Re a man's arbitrary arrest in a dictatorship where he is caught in a web of unknown forces.

    A review says “Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged the parallels between Franz Kafka’s and our criminal justice system....that “The Trial is actually closer to reality than fantasy as far as the client’s perception of the system. It’s supposed to be a fantastic allegory but it’s reality”

    We need examples from nations with less police abuse, fewer in prison & guns for all is not a major lobbying influence on lawmakers.

  159. comparing the cops to ISIS is ridiculous and meant to get people to read this column, pure and simple.

  160. Have you read or seen the pictures of lynchings here on American soil? They were not rare, nor did they happen eons ago. They were held in the town square with the pillars of the community in attendance, smiling for the cameras as they stood beneath the hanged, burned and skinned-alive bodies of the black men and women (who if were pregnant, had their wombs slit open and their fetuses hanging from their bodies). The photos were sold on paper thick enough to be pasted to post cards and sent to relatives around the country. Lynchings did not happen when slavery was legal; blacks were too valuable a commodity. You see, in some ways, we make ISIS look like wimps. Read your history.

  161. @riley-- do you even understand the main point, its not about what happened during Jim Crow, its comparing the cops TODAY and ISIS, cops dont lynch and cut fetuses from bodies, get it?

  162. Abuse by police is an important issue that should be addressed.
    However, statistics indicate that most people have far more to fear from crime than from police.

    Indicates there were over six million violent crimes reported in 2013
    and there were over 14000 known homicides in 2011.

    Why do we obsess over terrorism (other than 9/11) rather than the astoundingly high murder rate here in the US? It is indeed irrational -- mostly on the part of the political elite.

    There are 2 sides to Mr. Blow's point -- yes, when the community police are abusive then it creates an atmosphere of state oppression. When crime is high, then there is also an oppressive atmosphere of fear and frustration, and it hurts the community. Crime can be considered terrorism as well, and far more likely.

    “Why aren’t you, America, focusing on the real problem: Americans killing other Americans?” -- because what should we be doing differently than what we do now?

    The liberal mantra is that it is up to the state to protect us in a timely and effective manner, rather than have us arm and protect ourselves through vigilantism. I would tend to agree.
    What would be a solution to reduce unwarranted violence by the police as well as improve their effectiveness? The undesired approach is to reduce unwarranted violence by reducing the effectiveness of the police.

  163. Being 'black - centric' as opposed to people centric is part of the problem of African American life in America. It is time to stop complaining about the past and start taking personal responsibility so that future generations of African Americans can simply be successful Americans as so many other minority groups have done.

  164. And if you don't, we'll have the police shoot you.

  165. Given your ridiculously naïve and hackneyed response, we can only pray that you are not a "doctor" of any social science discipline teaching in a classroom.

  166. The difference in people’s reactions to these different kinds of killings isn’t about an exaltation — or exploitation — of some deaths above others for political purposes, but rather a collective outrage that the people charged with protecting your life could become a threat to it.
    If this were true,
    then movement would be just as concerned with "white" people being killed/treated wrongly by the police.

    By making this a "black only" movement, (with whites permitted voice if only they follow the BlackVictim narrative), then you are focusing more on the race of the victim than on the circumstances that left them dead (ie/ a the child carrying the "toy" gun that had the orange tip rubbed off; the young lady in need of help who succumbed to her depressions when caged; by all the boys walking the streets at all hours, not at home being watched over, whose bodies are not missed nor claimed at the morgue for hours... or who lay in the sun in the street.

    If this movement is truly against police brutality and crimes/misdemeanors against American citizens, then stop listening to the rich liberal white media and ... open it up! Gather allies! (Like the organized and effective gay rights movement did.) You need help, black people, if you are going to push back against the militarization and stereotyping of the police against our weakest and poorest citizens. Right now, in some pockets of the USA, that is black people. But aim at the source, not the color.

  167. Beautifully analyzed, Charles. And to extend what you say, it seems arguable, then, that black people in America have been terrorized for their entire time on this continent. First as slaves and then as human beings treated as descendants of slaves, terrorized by the state itself or mobs and agents of the state.

  168. For Mr. Blow to cavalierly suggest that those living in high crime neighborhoods can just move, while he lives safely in a safe upper-class home, is extraordinarily callous. If they could move, they certainly would. They are the ones facing real terror, inescapable terror. And it is their lives that do not matter to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

  169. Have you seen the starting pay for cops?

    I doubt many cops are really worried about losing their lousy paying jobs. Ratchet up the pay and ratchet up the screening process. If we shell out and hire more professional officers the results will be better.

    You get what you pay for and we sure as hell ain't paying much.

  170. "And people with the means and inclination can decide to move away from high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods."
    That might help a black person escape community violence but could also make them more likely to become a victim of state violence. A black man walking the street or driving a car in a white neighborhood is very likely to attract police attention or, in the case of the young black man in Florida, vigilante terrorism. God help him if he's wearing a hoodie.

  171. Well said. State violence may not solely prey on the poor and marginalized the way that community violence almost always does. Hence it draws more attention. If these episodes of police violence, rare in absolute terms, were constrained to the inner city gangs which are the leading source of inner city violence, I don't think anyone would give it the same attention.

  172. Charles Blow confronts his fellow Americans with questions we cannot avoid: Are we Americans rational? Are we Americans sane?

    Challenged by the evidence the only rational, sane response: Stop!

    We need to stop throwing away our finite resources making things worse for ourselves and others overseas.

    We need to stop neglecting ourselves at home.

    We need to rationally and sanely identify what is really hurting us.

  173. Yes, let's just bypass the fact that more blacks are killed by blacks than they are killed by white police officers. Yes, black on black violence is not the major problem we should be focusing on. Yes, whites are the major problem.

  174. Then Mr. Blow,would you also call a parent's disciplining a child, a "FOT" (Form of Terror)?Really now?

  175. What a hypocritical initial argument. The frequency of black on black murder rate is many-fold that of white on white murder and inextricably linked to gang culture and the illegal drug economy, both debilitating problems that severely damage African American communities. to call it is a diversion is a vivid example of the denial that permeates the views now embraced by those who would speak for the black community.

  176. Yes, there is "state violence". A percentage of police officers have tarnished their profession, but it is perhaps more pervasive than we think. I personally know of a 75 year old woman who was rear ended in her car by another driver. While the damage was minor , she was offended by the young policeman's attitude which she felt assigned blame to her. She reported him to his superior. Shortly thereafter, she was threatened with loss of her driving license for being 'senile'. She feels victimized . This is another example of abuse of power and vindictiveness. Another glaring example of state violence is the unevenly applied death penalty.

  177. The Ferguson movement is based upon a false premise that Michael Brown had his hands up and was the victim. To the contrary, Michael Brown was the aggressor against Officer Darren Wilson by assaulting him and attempting to grab Wilson's gun while seated in the police cruiser. The facts say so. Brown was the 300 pound monster who minutes earlier assaulted a store clerk in a strong armed robbery. The facts so prove as shown by the store in camera. This was then Michael Brown; he had no regard for the well being and safety of others. He brought upon his own killing. Officer Wilson acted in self defense. The Ferguson movement will never have merit or be successful until there is a recognition that Michael Brown was not the victim. This is why one year later Ferguson is still the same: looting and shooting! Nothing has changed.

  178. Terrorism is a car bomb in a crowded market in Baghdad, killing and maiming dozens of innocents. Or it can be Christians lined up on a beach in Egypt and executed on film. What happened in all these cases is tragic, but they are not innocents.

  179. Blacks murdered by avowed white bigots, per year: About 10. Blacks murdered by other blacks, per year: Over 5,000.

  180. This week LA Times has been featuring coverage from Watts riots 50 yrs ago.
    The same lines were trotted out then as now, "It's the lack of black family structure", "THEY (blacks) have no respect for the law and must be shown who will prevail".
    LAT had not one black reporter in 1965! When MLK came and spoke, after being berated by our horrible Mayor Yorty and sadistic Police Chief Parker, he was considered part of the problem.
    Later when Tom Bradley was running for mayor (while black), the police & fire depts threatened to quit if he was elected! He was, they didn't, and he did not usher in the era of "black nationalism and open season on whites".
    Us vs them--nothing new 50yrs later nationally.
    We whites know the system's rigged. We've been mad at how it's rigged against us and ignored lately how it's completely overboard against blacks, with bad schools,redlining, programs that don't work or aren't funded, promises never kept ( RFK gunned down), voter suppression .
    We're a white supremacist society awash in guns.
    Police feel justified in up-armoring, then assume all are armed and shoot first, if you're black. Expendable. Ever so. Blame the unarmed victim.
    Deja vu.
    There are PDs who need to study other countries' ways of deescalation w/o shooting. To not escalate an already agitated person.
    People are agitated.
    PDs better take heed before the next Watts, which will be orders of magnitude worse.
    We need to start over & stop the denial.

  181. Once segregation had ended and being a public member of the Ku Klux Klan was no longer socially acceptable, this is precisely how the white power structure in this country decided to ensure that they stayed on top, aided and abetted by the GOP. It was a deliberate decision. For this country to accommodate this is beyond shameful. It explains the undying hatred of a large part of our population for Barack Obama--they haven't been able to terrorize him into submission. It is also why I am NOT proud to be an American at all.

  182. One of the issues as I see it is there aren't enough black parents doing the following:

    "People are often able to understand and contextualize community violence and, therefore, better understand how to avoid it. A parent can say to a child: Don’t run with that crowd, or hang out on that corner or get involved with that set of activities."

    Get more black parents (both would be better) doing this and I think we would find things improving.

  183. Once again I find myself wondering why Mr. Blow is so selective in his presentation of facts. Why does he not mention the fact that:

    1. Many more whites than blacks are killed in confrontations with police. If one did not know better one would conclude from Blow's articles that the issue of excessive force was exclusive to the black community.

    2. While it is true that most murders are interracial, the black homocide rate is exceedingly higher than any another population in the country. In the case of excessive force, proportionality is stressed. But when it comes to black on black crime it is ignored. Is that honest?

    3. Terrorism from abroad has the potential to render enormous destruction to the homeland. That of course does not obviate the fact that we have a huge problem with gun violence in this country. It's just preposterous to compare such to fomenting threats that could result in the instantaneous death of huge numbers of people and the potential collapse of our nation.

    Racism is real. We have an underclass in this country that needs help. We also have subcultures with entrenched mind sets that are impervious to any assistance that might be rendered. The issues are complex. The facts and statistics are embarrassingly inconvenient for the police, the community, the political class, and the economic elite. When will someone step forward with an honest assessment of what plagues us...one that inevitably makes us all look bad.

  184. If I was a criminal I would reform my behavior and stay away from this police abuse.

    I think leading an upright life will pretty much rule out the police abusing you. Be home early, help the kids with the homework and leave the streets alone.

  185. Yes - but would you consider not signalling your lane change to be a criminal act? Does it make you less upright if you drive with a broken tail-light? There are instance where the police "terrorism" that Mr.Blow describes finds people who aren't really criminals.

  186. I was stopped in a suburban area for failure to signal a turn. As the policeman was walking towards my car, I felt fear, and I was happy to leave the situation with only a sixty dollar ticket.

    It could have been so much worse.

  187. Oh, my!

  188. People like this never believe police violence can happen to them.

  189. If Charles Blow or the press in general was serious about looking at police injustice they would start looking for incidents where people other than African Americans are suffering at the hands of the police and prosecutors. The stories are out there but they are not being covered. Nor are the stories about fear in impoverished neighborhoods that are not black. So those impoverished folks who are victims of injustice are ignored, and along with them any chance of a broad consensus on policing and justice. The reality is there - go ahead, get angry and argue with a cop, ignore their orders, you will quickly see that they don't care what color you are, they are likely to hurt you for exercising your right to free speech.

  190. Race-based hatred is so deeply engrained in American "culture" that how could anyone even feign surprise at the now-endless series of reports of white-cop-on-black-victim homicide? Our wonderful media outlets like Fox do their utmost to exacerbate irrational hatreds on racial bases by giving legs to the birther myth, for an example. The inescapable changes that our election for two terms of a president of color represents cannot be sidestepped, however. At some point the nation will have to unite over something, as yet to be determined, and put aside these ugly contrivances that exist to serve the purpose of the ruling plutocracy: to keep the disadvantaged of all descriptions divided, snarling with hostility and always at each others' throats instead of focusing their anger on the real enemy of their advancement.

  191. There are some deliberately abusive police. But there are also police who shoot because they are in terror of young black men. The fraction of police who are killed, who are killed by black men, is greater than the fraction of police killings that involve black men being killed. From the late 1970's to the early 1990's, America had an epidemic of murder, including black-on-white murder, and America lived in terror of young black men. And it was not an ignorant terror. It was a well-informed terror. Only white people in places like lily-white Vermont could be ignorant enough not to understand it. Studies show that white people with little fear of black people are those who live in places with few black people.

  192. Amanda,
    You are part of this problem! Please look deep inside yourself and put yourself in others shoes, look at history and open your heart. Become part of the solution. God bless you and all who think like you.

  193. Obviously police abuse is not too big an issue because people keep committing crimes which bring them to the attention of the police.

  194. The only way to get the attention of White Americans is to recast all of the police shootings by swapping the racial component. What if all these shooting had been unarmed White people being shot by Black police officers? What if Black officers made it a practice to target White people for Stop-and-Frisk searches, random drug/alcohol checks, credential checks, et cetera.

    Flip the racial component of the story and the news would not be focusing on the victims being the problem. Americans, particularly white Americans, would be outraged. And perhaps when white America realized their outrage they might, just might, understand the Black outrage.

  195. You're incorrect because the same things happen to our white kids.

  196. A black police officer shot and killed a young white unarmed male in Utah. How much press was that given?

  197. The police in Baltimore have reduced their "terrorism" of the Black community.

    How's that working out?

  198. There's no need to soften the headline by calling it a "form of terrorism." It falls comfortably within the bounds of the definition of terrorism. It is terrorism, and the same could be said of the "War on Drugs."

  199. I don't think it is color of skin or ethnicity or race that people feel uncomfortable with. I think it's behavior and attitude. And that can be any color. I don't think you can explain that away with poverty. Many of us grew up poor. We had minimum wage jobs. We struggled. Life was not always fair. When we as whites who live in an integrated neighborhood had white neighbors who were druggies, played loud music that shook our house, and beat their dogs, we asked their landlord to rent to someone else. That was hardly racial. We shared the same skin color. Down the street, our black neighbors are good friends. Every black family in our neighborhood are decent people because there is really no difference between a middle class white and a middle class black. And there are many good poor people of all races. But would I like to live in Ferguson? Quite frankly, no. I don't like the attitude, the disrespect, and many other thing about the people there. Do I see them as lesser people? No, not at all. I would not care to live among white racists either. Content of character is what matters, white or black. And I like diversity. Please don't stick me in a gated community with only people of my own color and ethnicity.

  200. I think most people would agree with what you've said. It's reasonable, logical, and your emphasis is on a shared value system. However, I think it's a false peace, in that, your acceptance of your others is based on an extension of YOUR value system and that is not a true acceptance of solidarity in our difference.

    It's class oppression.

  201. But it IS skin color that people feel uncomfortable with. Our unconscious notices skin color in about 1/5 of a second and sends unsolicited messages to our conscious selves about what another person's skin color means. Attitude and behavior do impact how we react to others, but not until skin color, followed by gender, then age and other physical attributes, have registered in our unconscious. We are influenced to respond to difference by a complex array of messages beginning at a very young age. It is only through recognition of that fact followed by increased self-awareness and mindfulness that we can mitigate the impact of unconscious bias.

  202. what about the behavior and attitudes of the police? Seems you are only seeing one side here

  203. Some writers and leaders are trying to address the issues like violence in the black community (e.g., Ben Carson), disastrous mindsets of victimization, separationism and anti-education (John McWhorter). But writers like Mr. Blow, politicians like Mayor de Blasio, the president and first lady and of course activists like Al Sharpton buy into and encourage victimization and separatism (I would not say any of them are anti-education or approve of violence). But the Black Lives Matter rhetoric is based on urban myths, is itself racist and leads to more violence. Even an act of blatant race based fascism at a Bernie Sanders' rally is being ignored or explained away by a compliant or cowed media as free expression. Worse are the craven politicians afraid of being booed, branded racist and losing the nomination. Yes, many drug laws are unfair. I agree NYC's Stop and Frisk was unfair and ineffective and too many people like Eric Garner have been brutally killed, often as a result of bad training and policies (not though Michael Brown). Police reform should be ongoing and cameras prevalent. But, the police have in the large acted with heroism and incredible restraint. Wiser voices will rarely even be heard because of the media's bias and preference for angry rhetoric and reverse racism. Trump is doing so well because many people are sick of it and willing to overlook his faults. I don't question Mr. Blow's sincerity, but he hurts those he seeks to help.

  204. In most societies around the world the police are regular people like you and me, not hero's by default. In England, they are usually unarmed, and rarely kill anyone. What is it about our failed society and people then that we are in need of gun-toting heros to protect us from our fellow citizens? This sounds like the wild west is alive and well does it not? When then, is America going to become a civilized nation and move into the 21st century?

  205. It is far worst then terror, it is legalized terror with impunity and killing. Because the real cowards with their gun and a badge authority , trigger happy are scared for their lives, while all decked up is militarized fashion to to be a real menace to society in the freaking name of so called law enforcement.

  206. No you're wrong

  207. "furious at the very idea of having to be afraid"

    That's it.

    I've posted this before: Years ago I was arrested w/o cause in DC. I'm female, small, white, I was in my 40s. At the station - I didn't know why I was arrested - I was handcuffed and beaten up while every officer there watched - like I was a zoo animal. Later, I got a 'rough ride' around town in the back of a van. I was terrified I'd find and crack my skull. The police in that district did similar things to 2 of my friends . Additionally, a woman arrested a few blocks away from my home. Two officers made her sit on the ground and handcuffed her to the leg of a mailbox, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter, and walked away. A Washington Post reporter heard her screaming for help and took her picture, which ran in the Post the next day. This was December 1993 - the photographer was Brian Mooar. You can look it up. It was like the D.C. police were a crime family, terrorizing folks with impunity.

    It changed my world. I'm not safe anywhere. I can't ever go to the police for help. I don't feel like a citizen of this country anymore. I've had trouble sleeping for 20 years. I feel like I exist outside of society - I don't have the sense of freedom or safety other people seem to have.

    It's disgusting, enraging and enervating. I did nothing wrong!

    Is this how black people feel? Furious, terrified, disgusted? All the time? "I did nothing wrong!" Is this how they feel? Millions of them?

  208. what was the context of the arrest?

  209. I have a question, were you really arrested without cause? And what did the police tell you?

  210. Yes, millions. Add women, Latin Americans, First Nation people, gay people, immigrants, there would be quite a coalition if only we could get over our "differences". America still belongs to the well-to-do white male. The police are scary. You never know what you're going to get when you need one. Some are great. Others are terrifying. The ones who terrify seem to have control over the good ones though.

  211. The unspoken truth is that the black community is a victim of a culture of crime, not victims of unfair policing. The incidents of questionable police shootings are far fewer by a hundredfold than the numbers of murders committed among the community. Blaming an allegedly racist police force - now largely made up of African-Americans within the communities - is a red herring. The real evil is the tolerance within the community for theft, rape, violence, and murder. Unless and until a sea change occurs to change that culture, the only protection the community has are the police. All anyone has to do is look at what happened in Baltimore to see the effects of punishing the only protectors the community has: murders have skyrocketed and everyone's lives are affected.

    The "terror" described in this Opinion isn't from the long-suffering and dedicated police force. It's from a damaged culture and the failure of distinguished professional writers to face it.

  212. I am sorry, but did you really read the article? Practically the whole column was dedicated to people wrongly using the argument that black-on-black crime happens more often than police brutality and that therefor the black community would somehow have no legitimate complaints -- which, to be perfectly clear, they obviously do.

  213. These neighborhoods are already being terrorized by criminals. All that nakedness and fear is already experienced when residents simply walk down their blocks, which many cannot do without fear of being shot.

    When a mother implores the mayor to do something so that her child can make it home safely from school -- as women repeatedly did to former NYC Mayor Giuliani -- it's safe to say that she's already living with terror.

    Mr. Blow keeps trying to isolate police behavior in the discussion. While it is absolutely true that there is a distinct problem when those whose responsibility it is to protect became a danger to citizens' safety, it is also true that these "police states" weren't formed in a vacuum.

    One problem with Mr. Blow's argument is that a different argument can also be made -- that is, that an overwhelming response from police might also be keeping residents safer from those other terrorists, the criminals. For example, stop-and-risk was a program created to protect residents, not to harass them.

  214. Yes, all intrusions into our zones of privacy may be explained by "We're trying to protect you!" or "It's for your own good!" It doesn't make it any less of an intrusion or violation of our rights. Even a program legitimately created to protect people can be used to harass them instead. A stop-and-(I assume you meant) frisk program is the sort of "protection" rife with oppportunity to harass people by profiling, bigotry, and abuse of power.

  215. The statistics don't bear out that S/F protected residents. The facts are googleable. It subjected more people to the system through arrests NOT CONVICTIONS. It provided $$$ in the form of fines. The purpose of a system is what it does.

  216. Mr. Blow commits the classic act of over inflating ones greviance into an erroneous position that weakens the argument. Have some police used excessive force and even discriminatory behavior? Yes. But the vast majority of police are well acting. To cry 'terror' and especially in relation to the Michael brown incident only reinforces the perception that blacks don't take accountability and blame everything on themselves. I wish perspective would be included. It is sadly not done very often and contributes to an exacerbation of racism as a perceived root cause of a largely fictitious problem. Any American can rise above poverty to succeed, or they can scream discrimination and even now terror, as Mr Blow suggests. He does a deep disservice to all those, white or black or gay or female of poor or....who arrived against odds and inhibitors to succeed. We have many issues to address certainly and I support always seeking to improve fairness and opportunity. But Mr Blow is walking the wrong road to try and do so.

  217. You don't get it. All that is being asked of our justice system is that the police are held ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. When the criminal is caught they do not have the blanket phrase "I felt my life was in danger". Case closed.
    The same accountability you are demanding for the criminals is the same accountability these protests are demanding. Punish the criminals AND punish the criminal police too.

  218. The incident I posted about in my comment below about the DC police handcuffing a woman to a mailbox in the middle of the night - I don't have the link but you can search The Washington Post, December 19, 1993, article "D.C. Police Handcuff Motorist to Mailbox" by Serge F. Kovaleski.

  219. The police are the enforcement arm of the Benevolent State. They do as they are told/trained. They are not abusing their authority, on the contrary, they are simply exercising their authority.

    If you are a Communitarian, the authority the police exercise is the authority you invested in them. You have abdicated your protection to the Benevolent State.

    This is not a bug in the system, it is simply "the system."

  220. Absolute rubbish! The police in every country are an arm of authority not of community.

  221. @ Des Johnson, it sound like you are ignorant of the differences between Communitarianism and community. Communitarians believe that the individual is subordinate to the Benevolent State.

  222. If you've been following #Ferguson recently, you would have noted that the OathKeepers (white civilians armed with assault weapons, handguns, and vests) were allowed to wander freely, whereas one black child was gunned down in a hail of bullets for displaying one 9mm handgun.

    The presumption was that it was OK for whites to display guns, but not blacks. Whites, of course, were vindicated when a video of the kid was released showing him 'brandishing' a handgun. As for the OathKeepers, it was pointed out that it is 'legal' for them to 'brandish' arms if they have a white issued permit, which they presumably did. But I didn't see the cops checking permits of either the OathKeepers or of the child they gunned down.

  223. The New Black Panthers marched legally and heavily armed in Waller, Texas to protest Sandra Bland's treatment there. There were no incidents. The NBP occasionally marches heavily and legally armed in front of the prison in Huntsville, Texas that houses death row to protest the death penalty.

  224. For Pete's sake. He wasn't "displaying" a gun, he was threatening people with it. And I thought the OathKeepers were there to protect the properties of the business owners. Funny how the young girl who stood in front of the police to protect them hasn't had much media attention.

  225. You need a lesson in legal definitions.

  226. I am white. My feelings about black people were put to the test many years ago when I gave a black girl a ride to a bar. I insisted on escorting her in in spite of her saying it was not necessary.

    This, it turned out, was a mistake as I was followed out of the bar by a tall black man. I thought he had something to say but he remained silent. Instead he began punching me. I ran. He followed for a short time.

    This was my first and only experience with racism directed against me but it changed me. It transformed me from a do good philosophy to a realist about the world we live in.

    Mr. Blow, If you really want to find a path to coexistence between the two races then it may be necessary to discourage interracial couples. Yes thai is unthinkable but it might work where nothing in the past ever has.

    The alternative is more of the same, more blacks in jail, more blacks shot, more blacks living in poverty. Sir, many people, blacks as well as whites, are driven by deep seated feelings that may not be what we want of them but they are there.

    The question becomes do we have the courage to face them.

  227. Racism? Maybe he thought you were a John or a pervert?

  228. What in the world does state terrorism have to do with interracial relationships?

  229. One bad incident (that frankly you probably made up just as a cover to being racist) and all black people are bad?

    And just why did you insist on "escorting" the girl into the bar? Clearly that's where she was going, did you think she needed protection? From the black people in the bar? You probably said something offensive to the person who allegedly hit you.

  230. I think many white Americans trust the police to be "better" than the population at large and to use their power wisely always. That trust has apparently been misplaced, judging from the evidence. Police apparently are flawed human beings just like everybody else, and as such, should not be given so much power as to be able to terrorize some of the people they are entrusted to protect, it seems to me. That the police terrorize black Americans is an important issue. The larger fact that we have given the police the wherewithal to terrorize is the context. White people could view the problems with how police deal with black Americans as indicative of the risk we all share. We should all see it in the interests of all of us that we change and improve how police deal with black Americans. As we do that, we should also pay more attention to continuing to change and improve how majority white Americans in America deal with minority black Americans in America -- that the policing problem has manifested in how police deal with black Americans did not come out of, and is not sustained out of, nowhere, it seems to me.

  231. The "evidence" is overwhelmingly in favor of the police. The few cases in which they have violated that trust, while highly significant because of their deadly results, is small compared to the number of daily interactions the police have with civilians.

    No citizen should live in fear of police; however, criminals should most definitely have some fear. From some recent high profile cases, it appears that residents of those communities have little regard for the police, openly defying their instructions. In Mr. Garner's case, he literally swatted them away with his hand. (This did not justify the takedown maneuver or the way he was treated when down, both of which violated protocols.) Mr. Brown swatted away the owner in whose store he had just helped himself without paying. Then Mr. Brown and his friend disregarded the police instructions to move to the side.

    While you are understandably concerned with police aggression because of your family, and I sympathize with you as a mother, I am also concerned that we have reached a point where the police are routinely disregarded. This is a very dangerous situation for everyone because (a) the police seem ill-equipped to deal with civilians who openly defy them and (b) a lack of respect for authority, especially police, encourages lawlessness.

    That people would use these recent cases to justify even more disregard for police is not a positive outcome, in my opinion.

  232. No, statistically the police as a whole are far above the people they have to protect us from.

  233. Why do more civilized countries kill so many fewer of their citizens each year and are so much happier for it? America's problem is it is awash with violence, and the catch-22 is the violent people reflect their violent authorities, and visa-versa. Hollywood then capitilizes on dead American bodies in their cartoon-like propagandic movies about "good guys" and "bad guys". Our society creates these cartoon characters.

    A free and fair society is not a violent police state where people are constanly talking about criminality of the citizens and weekly shootings of citizens by the public or the police.

    Reality check- Forget Russia and China, the American people are the most criminalized society on the planet, and one of the most violent. The system therefore needs repair, needs to change. Peace.