Guest Commentary / Jul. 31, 2020

The Best Way to Show That Black Lives Matter Is to Restore Order to Our Cities

Black lives do matter, which is precisely why we can’t give in to the dangerous “defund the police” movement.

By Pastor Darrell Scott

Black lives do matter, which is precisely why we can’t give in to the dangerous “defund the police” movement.

So far this year, the City of Milwaukee alone has seen 89 homicides, nearly double the murder rate we experienced last year, and 2020 is on track to become the city’s most deadly year since 1991. The victims are disproportionately African-Americans. It’s a phenomenon that is not limited to Milwaukee — or to Chicago, for that matter. Almost every major city in the country is experiencing a historic explosion of murder this year.

“For decades, politicians running many of our nation’s major cities have put the interests of criminals above the rights of law-abiding citizens,” President Trump remarked while unveiling an initiative to supplement local police forces with federal law enforcement officers. “These same politicians have now embraced the far-left movement to break up our police departments, causing violent crime in their cities to spiral — and I mean spiral seriously out of control.”

Commentators are struggling to come up with any explanation other than the most obvious: It’s being driven by the massive civil unrest, ceaseless attacks on police and policing, and relentless claims that American institutions are “systemically racist.” Hiding behind the banner of “black lives matter,” radical activists have driven police-community relations to a generational low point, demoralizing officers and jeopardizing public safety. They have unintentionally brought back the violent horrors that the black community experienced in the 1980s and early ‘90s during the crack epidemic.

Today, it’s actually easy to see that the surge in dead black Americans is a byproduct of the recent unrest. In New York City, for example, detailed information on shootings shows that the complete reversal of years-long trends toward safer streets and sudden doubling of shooting incidents corresponds exactly with the outbreak of civil disorder and anti-police protests. In Milwaukee, 11 of the excess 41 homicides the city has seen this year compared to 2019 came during the three weeks when protests and riots hit their peak.

The impact of the protest movement is even more clear when you consider that many cities were seeing a decline in homicides prior to the unrest, as Americans locked down for COVID-19.

The media consensus, predictably, has been to side with the very forces responsible for the spike in black deaths. CNN is arguing that the solution is to give into demands and defund the police. Elsewhere, journalists are blaming coronavirus, the summer heat, and any number of other factors instead of the disorder, lack of respect for the law, and neutered policing that they themselves helped create.

President Trump has a different approach. He does not believe ideological outrage justifies the sort of wanton disregard for the law that allowed more black people like 16-year-old Qunyonce Moore or 43-year-old Bernice Walton to be shot and killed in Milwaukee last month. He believes that when local officials — many of whom are caving to the whims of anti-police radicals and moving to defund or even abolish their own police departments — are unable or unwilling to prevent historic carnage, it is the federal government’s duty to intervene on behalf of public safety and the rule of law.

“Every American — no matter their income, their race, or their ZIP Code — should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear,” Trump said while announcing that federal law enforcement officers will be dispatched to assist struggling cities.

The president is willing to sidestep ineffective leaders such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot when they openly deny reality. Like many cities around the country, Chicago will soon see a new contingent of federal law enforcement officers whose mission is to enforce the law and protect lives. Perhaps Milwaukee will be next. I hope so, because deploying federal resources to end the carnage on our streets is the single best way that we can demonstrate that black lives really do matter to us as a society.

Pastor Darrell Scott is CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and a member of the Donald J. Trump for President Inc. advisory board.

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