"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." ~ Thomas JeffersonSome of you reading this will be tempted to dismiss these folks - and me - as a bunch of radical nut jobs. There were a few nutters at this little rally, to be sure, but all were sincerely concerned about abusive police and the tragedy that can result. Some of the people in attendance have suffered the loss of children and loved ones at the hands of overzealous police officers. There were family members of "police murder victims, Chicago police torture victims, and concerned community members." One of the victims highlighted by the protesters was young Stephon Edward Watts, a 15-year old with Asperger’s Synbdrome (a type of autism).Stephon Watts was shot to death by two Calumet City police officers earlier this year.
Let me remind you that I am a conservative, as are most of my readers. So I ask you: As conservatives who oppose an abusive government, how can we not also be vocally opposed to police brutality?
"We will not stand for the daily abuse and racist harassment of our brothers and sisters at the hands of the police," say the organizers of the protest. Who can disagree with that statement?
Some of the protesters suffer from emotional distortion of facts. I do not, however, mean that as harsh criticism. Their children were killed, and I imagine that such an experience would have such an effect. Nevertheless, a number of the protesters insist that the Chicago Police Department "is the biggest gang out there."
9,600 officers. In comparison, there are more than 68,000 gang members running free in the streets of Chicago by some estimates.
A large banner (photo, right) held at the rally showed 22 people killed by police in Chicago from 2007-2011. Just one is too many, of course, but compare that to the number killed by non-police civilian gangsters: On Friday, July 27, Chicago achieved its 300th homicide for 2012. At least six more have died since Friday night, and only God knows what the final toll for this weekend will be by the time we hear the morning news on Monday.
Listening to family members speak passionately about loved ones who died as the result of police actions is certainly moving. It's emotional. While I am not so gullible as to believe every parent who insists that their child was wrongly killed and did not pose an imminent danger to cops, I am also not so cynical as to not believe that there are cops out there who commit acts of brutality and even kill because they get overzealous, panic or act out of frustration and even hatred.
All Americans - regardless of political affiliation - must be concerned about this. Cops are human, and like any other group of people there are good ones and bad ones. I firmly believe that the good ones greatly outnumber the bad, but even one bad one is one too many. One wrongful death is one too many too - regardless of whether it was caused by a cop or by a criminal.
As a group that opposes governmental abuses, this is a natural for conservatives. However, I saw none at this event. I've never seen any at similar events. But why not? I don't know the answer, but I can guess: A lack of empathy, a lack of sympathy, and a disdain for the victims who are, far too often, people of color who are poor.
While some conservatives freak out about "Obama's drones" spying on them domestically (I share their concern to a point), there are people across the U.S. being wrongly brutalized and even killed accidentally - or intentionally - by errant or rogue police officers.
Finally, consider this: Conservatives are blowing an opportunity to reach out to their fellow Americans. Many of the people who have been victimized by police brutality turn to radical socialist revolutionary groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (revcom.us) because they feel that they have nowhere else to turn. Many of those who do so were not politicized before they or their family member was harmed by police. Radical leftist groups swoop in and offer support. Conservatives? Absent.
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas JeffersonI'm not sure why conservative groups do not get as riled up about this form of abuse by government as they do about anything else. I truly don't. Causing wrongful physical injury and even death is a violation of one's most fundamental Constitutional rights. Isn't that what conservatives love to say they would die to defend? Damned right it is, but getting up off the couch and going to a protest is just too much work.