The death of George Floyd while he was in custody of Minneapolis police was the trigger for the recent riots, but it was not the cause. What we have seen in the past two weeks is only the first of what are likely to be many large-scale social and political events resulting from the coronavirus.
So what was the cause of the riots? Boredom and intolerable social isolation for two months by millions of kids. The riots were an example of what I call “supply-side war”. What do young people with no school to attend, no jobs, no money, and no prospects do? They fight. Much of the conflict we witness in the Middle East is supply-side war. Now, it has paid us a visit.
George Floyd’s death provided the perfect excuse for our own bored kids to get outside, gather with other kids–the hell with masks and “social distancing”–and have fun. Kids consider creating trouble a form of fun. Floyd’s death gave them moral cover. They weren’t having fun, they were “protesting”. Yeah, sure. The riots had more in common with the vast snowball fights that developed when everyone was cramming for finals at Dartmouth when I was a student there than with civil rights marches in the early 1960s. The path it opened for some (mostly black) kids to loot and burn was just icing on the cake, as was the opening the “protests” created for (mostly white) kids on the alt-left–anarchists, Antifa, Marxists, etc.–to damage government facilities and “capitalist” enterprises like Colossal Cupcakes here in Cleveland. Those cupcakes (very good ones) were obviously products of white supremacy.
The people on the receiving end of the “rage” were the cops. The tactics used by the Minneapolis police in detaining Floyd were terrible. It is right that the four cops involved got fired and one (so far) has been charged with murder. Good police tactics seek de-escalation. As soon as someone is on the ground and in cuffs, police should turn to helping and protecting him.
But here, the “fake news” mainstream media have shown again how they offer fake news. Not one major publication or broadcast has dared tell the truth that cops face every day: the black rate of violent crime is twelve times the white rate. Not double. Not triple. Not quadruple. Triple times quadruple. Who has to deal with this? The cops. (My sources for the twelve times figure are Jared Taylor’s The Color of Crime and Ron Unz’s study published several years ago in The American Conservative magazine; both were based on federal government data.)
Cops react to young black males the way they do because they have to. Almost all violent black crime is committed by young males. Cops cannot treat them equally with whites because they do not behave equally to whites. Cops have to be realists. Both their ability to do their job and their lives are at stake. The fake news media and the rest of the establishment can live in a fictional world where whites and blacks behave the same (as blacks used to, as recently as the 1950s). Cops cannot.
So what is to be done? Three actions are called for, in my view. First, as President Trump has suggested, the cops and National Guardsmen backing them must act faster and more aggressively to stop rioters, looters, and arsonists. The state arose to establish and maintain order, and if it cannot, the state has failed and it loses its legitimacy. Far too much property damage was allowed. Traditionally, looters and arsonists got shot. That is as it should be now as well.
Second, we need vastly improved police training. In most police academies, 90% of the time is devoted to firearms training. Instead, 90% of the time should be devoted to learning how to de-escalate situations. Good cops are streetcorner politicians, not gunmen. The Police Corps program worked out how to train cops for neighborhood policing. Their work should be revived and made SOP.
Finally, the black community needs to confront its own failure to bring down violent crimes by blacks–most of which is committed against other blacks. The hypocrisy of “Black Lives Matter” reeks to the heavens. They never talk about black-on-black deadly violence. The number of unarmed blacks killed by police is trivial compared to the number killed by other blacks with guns.
The last of these is the most challenging, but until blacks remove the beam from their own eyes, they should not expect the rest of us to deal with the mote in our own.
Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.