Words I never thought I’d write, and perhaps a good sign…
You know, that Erick Erickson fellow is right.
In a post on RedState this morning, Erickson wrote this about Michael Brown, Ferguson, race in the United States, and the militarization of the police:
[Michael Brown] defied the odds of many young black men, graduated from high school, and would have started college last week had he been alive. But he failed to beat the odds of young black men having bad encounters with police…
While conservatives tend to be law and order supporters, there is growing concern about the militarization of local police. Look to Ferguson, MO where policemen who spend their days writing speeding tickets were clad in armor, behind helmets and shields, riding in armored personnel carriers with guns mounted on top.
Conservatives have long lamented the buildup of armaments and stockpiling of bullets by the Department of Homeland Security. The media has mostly treated these conservative concerns with derision. Suddenly, last week, when reporters were detained by the police in Ferguson, MO, the media had to pay attention to the militarization of the police and overkill by local police forces.
Given what happened in Ferguson, the community had every right to be angry. The police bungled their handling of the matter, became very defensive, and behaved more like a paramilitary unit than a police force. Property damage and violence by the citizenry cannot be excused, but is also the result of a community seeing those who are to protect and serve instead suiting up and playing soldier…
The odds of a young white man being shot by the police in similar circumstances to Michael Brown are not as high as those of a young black man. But we should not need to have a young white man shot and killed for the rest of the nation to pay attention to the issue.
Just because Michael Brown may not look like you should not immediately serve as an excuse to ignore the issues involved. Likewise, a media suddenly invested in stories of government overreach should not be dismissive of stories of bureaucrats, not just police, abusing the public trust.
Mind you, there are a few areas in his post where I disagree — Erickson still seems to think that the main underlying problem of racism in this country is liberals being all liberal — but by and large I have to say I heartily “+1” the post as a whole. If nothing else — assuming he does not become either enigma nor pariah on his own team for having penned it — it’s a pretty promising place to start finding common ground on all of these issues.
Now, I suppose, the question is how to keep focus on these critical issues past the next day or two, when the 24-hour news media is sure to find its next bright, shiny object.