Well, we now have another black riot to put in the books. This one, like the others, involve the death of a black American by a white police officer, but buried in the stories about the Ferguson, Missouri riot is the fact that there was an altercation between Michael Brown and the officer who shot him after having sustained an injury.
The response of some members of the black community in Ferguson was to vandalize and loot stores on Sunday night victimizing the owners of those stores, some of whom avoided it by standing fully armed in front of their place of business. Since then the rioting has continued through Wednesday, inflamed by the predictable presence of Al Sharpton who is famed for getting on the first plane available to get to the scene of riots and similar incidents.
Keeping blacks convinced of their victimization has a long history and was even commented upon by Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) who, as far back as 1895, called for avoiding confrontations over segregation by putting more reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement in the black community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. expanded on this theme by advocating non-violent protest during the 1950s that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
There is no question that blacks in America have had a very sorry history of slavery, segregation, and lynchings, but that was then and this is now. Fifty years past the Civil Rights Act, however, there should be no riots the likes of Ferguson.
Police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect us have a right to self-defense.
Recently, a fellow blogger cited a few of the riots since the days of civil rights protests. In 1989 there was the Overton riot in Miami, Florida, in reaction to the shooting of a black motorcyclist by a Hispanic police officer in that predominantly black community. In 1992, there were the Los Angeles riots in reaction to the acquittal of LAPD officers involved in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.
In 1996 there was a riot in St. Petersburg after a police officer stopped 18 year old Tyron Lewis for speeding and his car lurched forward toward the officer. In 2001 there was a riot in Cincinnati in reaction to the acquittal of Steven Roach after the fatal shooting of an unarmed young black male, Timothy Thomas, during a foot pursuit. And in 2009 there was a riot in Oakland, California, after another fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant, by a BART transit policeman.
All of these riots have in common the shooting of a black man by a white or Hispanic officer, presumably in fear for his life, with the exception of the response to the Rodney King beating following a high speed car chase.
Lost amidst these events is the fact that black men are more likely to be murdered by other black men, fully 94 percent of such deaths, despite the fact that blacks are 13 percent of the population. They account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims in America, some 7,000 annually. Continue reading