Douglas Andrews / July 6, 2020

Black Lives Suffer From the Ferguson Effect

The police have again pulled back in our big cities — with predictable results.

For years now, Heather Mac Donald’s fearless research has revealed one inconvenient truth after another. Whether she’s writing about the “systemic racism” canard that distracts us from the real cause of urban decline, or the social-justice agenda that’s indoctrinating our young people and wrecking our universities, Mac Donald does the legwork and lets the facts speak for themselves.

So it is with her most recent reporting on the demonization of our nation’s cops and the predictable outbreak of lawlessness in our big cities. “Today’s violent-crime increase — call it Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect — has come on with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil,” she writes in City Journal. “George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned — but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history. Every day, another mainstream institution — from McDonald’s to Harvard — denounces the police, claiming without evidence that law enforcement is a threat to black lives.”

Sadly — but inarguably — the greatest threat to black lives is other black lives.

How so? There were some 7,300 black homicide victims in 2019. And of those, more than 90% were killed by other blacks. As for those “racist” cops, according to the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings, 14 unarmed blacks (and 25 unarmed whites) were shot and killed by police officers in 2019. “Unarmed” doesn’t mean “non-threatening,” of course. Remember Michael Brown of the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri, “Hands up, don’t shoot” lie? He attacked officer Darren Wilson and tried to take his gun. In any case, given the tens of millions of law-enforcement interactions that occur each year, these numbers are anything but an epidemic.

As for those 14 killings of unarmed blacks, they represent just two-tenths of one percent of the nation’s 7,300 black homicide victims in 2019 — a grim number that would be much more so were cops not continually taking violent criminals off our inner-city streets.

As our Mark Alexander wrote recently, “The Democrat Party race hustlers and their Leftmedia propagandists who incite them in the name of ‘George Floyd’ maintain a deafening silence about the thousands of black citizens murdered by other black citizens.” As Alexander rightly points out, black-on-black homicide is the elephant in the room, but it receives relatively little coverage because it doesn’t fit the Left’s prevailing political narrative.

Nor does the absence of life-saving police work, but we’re getting a sense of it now that the Ferguson Effect is again plaguing our Democrat-run cities. As Mac Donald continues, “The rising carnage in the inner city is the consequence of this official repudiation of the criminal-justice system. The current tolerance and justification for vandalism and violence; the silencing of police supporters; and police unwillingness to intervene, even when their own precincts are assaulted — all send a clear message to criminals that society has lost the will to prevent lawlessness.”

If black lives really mattered to the Black Lives Matter movement, it would dispense with the false narrative about cops indiscriminately gunning down young black men, it would acknowledge the awful toll of black-on-black crime, and it would work to improve policing in minority neighborhoods rather than abolish it.

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