Four years ago, five Dallas Police officers lost their lives after they were targeted simply for wearing the uniform. Last September, two officers were shot in the face at point blank range for the same reason. One of them was a young mother. During the months of violent riots that one Democrat politician called the “summer of love,” more than 2,000 officers were injured. By July of last year, officer deaths had risen 28 percent compared to the previous year.
There have long been violent encounters between police officers and criminals. Just this week, two FBI agents were killed and three were injured after a standoff with a suspect in Florida, yet another reminder of the deadly encounters law enforcement agents experience every day.
However, what we witnessed this summer was something new, and far more sinister. This recent wave of violence is the result of a pervasive, disturbing, and ultimately false narrative: the institution of policing itself is corrupt and systemically racist.
This narrative is repeated both casually and often by leaders of Black Lives Matter and Democrat politicians alike. Joe Biden stated, “For too long, black Americans have lived with a knee on their neck,” in reference to police officers, Kamala Harris said that there is an “unacceptable incidence for generations of unarmed black men being killed” by police, and a spokesperson for President Biden’s State Department said that “the largest threat to U.S. national security are U.S. cops. Not ISIS, not Russian hackers, not anyone or anything else.”
Slogans such as “All Cops are Bastards” are chanted at “peaceful” demonstrations, and the claim that black men are being hunted and killed in the streets is promulgated, accepted without question as undeniable fact.
It is unclear whether the public figures pushing these extreme narratives know — or even care — that they are inflaming the rhetoric which ultimately leads to tragedies like that of Dallas, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. If challenged, they will often backtrack by discussing the underlying problems of poverty and crime in the black community, and the inhumanity of specific injustices such as the abhorrent killing of George Floyd. This is all, of course, true and worth addressing in a rational manner. No one would argue that police officers have always acted perfectly, that there aren’t bad apples, or that certain reforms should be pursued. Why reforms could not make it through Congress is another story.
But here’s the problem: if you’re telling people that police are trying to kill them, and that the entire institution of law enforcement is itself systemically racist and oppressive, it should come as no surprise that some people will act upon such an apparent threat. After all, wouldn’t you? If you truly believed it, then violently fighting back would appear to be your only recourse. This also explains the utterly bizarre instances this summer of white activists screaming in the faces of black police officers, telling them they were “part of the problem.” The Black Lives Matter movement has effectively subjugated the cause of black lives in order to achieve their primary goal of labeling all police as inherently evil.
Words matter. The word “systemic” actually means something, and should not be thrown around casually or carelessly. It means that racism is inherent to the system, thus implicating every officer that wears the badge. It is also used to conclude that any negative incident must be the result of racism, and any context, circumstances or facts that counter that narrative must be ignored.
This narrative creates an emotionally compelling but also unsolvable problem. The conversation rarely, if ever, moves in search of a solution. The word “systemic” is used, but never clearly defined as it might relate to a law, policy, or practice. Disparities in arrest rates or police interactions are offered up as proof of systemic problems, while ignoring all other factors or statistical context. Its intentional vagueness makes the supposed underlying problem unsolvable, and the demands more and more extreme. Thus, radical slogans like “defund the police” transform into actual policy in major cities.
The results of these narratives are undeniably awful. Communities have been destroyed, citizens have been killed, and cops have been hunted down and assassinated. The voice of the black community — where 81 percent polled want the same or greater police presence in their community — has been silenced by the extremists. Crime has spiked in major cities as left-wing District Attorneys refuse to enforce the law, all in the name of social justice.
In the end, no justice is served. It simply means that criminals are free to prey on the innocent, overwhelmingly in minority communities. While radical white liberals spread these vicious lies, fostering bitter resentment and hatred, the communities that rely on good policing the most are left to suffer. This is the deadly tragedy of the lies being told, and it must stop.
Representative Dan Crenshaw is a former Navy SEAL who serves Texas’ Second Congressional District in Congress and sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.