Misdiagnosing History | The Honest Liberal
When just over a year ago the murder of a man in Minneapolis by a police officer was caught on camera, it was swiftly decided by the public, at the behest of groups such as Black Lives Matter, that the actions of the officer were motivated by racism. The man’s death sparked protests and riots from Toronto to London, with many mobs ransacking US cities, calling for defunding of police force. The assumption was that the problem wasn’t limited to just one officer in one city, it was a problem that was endemic across the West.
The truth is that a man was detained by police peacefully at first, who had patience with his unruly behaviour, then pinned down at the throat until he fell unconscious and later died. The court verdict was murder.
However, the diagnosis of that horrible event has been frankly crazy. Around the world it was retconned into something it was not. To try to divine the motive of a murderer is no simple task, it is not a matter for novices to speculate on. But the world seems to have accepted the conclusion of a radical political movement, BLM, in that the officer must be a racist. That he only killed this man because he despises people who aren’t white.
But if we really seek solutions, rather than political points, we would be more careful in the diagnosis. This was a bad cop, poorly trained perhaps, overzealous in his excessive use of force, most definitely, but a racist? How could we possibly know? If the victim was instead a black woman would he also be a sexist, a misogynist? What if the victim was a Christian, then would it be a crime persecuting that person because of their religion? On and on down that hole we could go, but let’s not. We do not need to.
We cannot presume the motives of criminals, as one of our greatest monarchs said, we should not wish to have windows into men’s souls. But we don’t need to know if he was a racist, it is in fact not relevant.
Questions must be asked about the level of force police officers should be used to subdue suspects at different escalatory levels. Holds such as the one used in this instance, pinning a man down by a knee to his throat are surely disproportionate. Besides – ensuring that novice police officers are well trained in controlled restraint techniques will be most beneficial to whichever demographic of people that experiences it the most.
This was a crime against an individual – a terrible crime which must’ve been deeply upsetting for his family. But it wasn’t not about race and it shouldn’t have been used as a battering ram for radical leftism. The conversation should’ve been about police training – or lack thereof. That is a solution that will work, rather than allowing radicals to parasitically take advantage of tragedies like this.
The crime of one man does not reflect on all men, it is he alone who should face the consequences. It is up to the rest of us to study why it happened, and to stop it from happening again. We must not misdiagnose what happened in our past, to stop the act being repeated we must really tackle the issue and ask better questions. Questions about police training and tactics, not irrelevant population disparities.