More on the Milwaukee Riots

Paul has already commented on the shooting death of Sylville Smith in Milwaukee. These are a few supplemental observations.

1) When the first few nationally-hyped police shootings (or deaths in police custody) occurred, the “victim” was ritually described as an unarmed black man. But later events have shown that being unarmed, while greatly emphasized at the time, was superfluous. Sylville Smith was armed with a stolen semiautomatic pistol, which he refused to drop. Riots ensued regardless.

2) Smith and a companion were stopped by police and fled from their vehicle, Smith with a pistol in hand. No one flees a traffic stop because he is afraid of getting a speeding ticket. Presumably the stolen firearm was one reason why the car’s occupants ran; they likely were up to other mischief as well.

3) It has now been disclosed that the policeman who shot Smith was also black, so race evidently had nothing to do with the incident, one way or the other. This makes no difference to the activists, who perceive a benefit to themselves in casting all police-related incidents as racial, regardless of the facts.

4) Beginning with the “gentle giant” Michael Brown, who robbed a convenience store none too gently just minutes before his fatal encounter with a police officer, the characters of recipients of police shootings have been whitewashed. I understand the impulse not to speak ill of the dead, but Sylville Smith was a rough customer. He was arrested or ticketed nine times since 2011, for “for [a] shooting, a robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, theft, possession of heroin,” witness intimidation and more. He was arrested just three weeks before his death for possession of cocaine.

It appears that despite his many brushes with the law, Smith had just one criminal conviction, on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. It takes a lot to go to jail in 21st-century America.

5) Community activists are already asserting that the violence in Milwaukee results from a lack of investment in black neighborhoods, and that there will be more riots unless more money is pumped into black institutions (including theirs). One young man interviewed here put the matter succinctly:

…the rich people, they got all this money, and they not, like you know, trying to give us none….

To be fair, if he has been listening to politicians, he could easily get the impression that that is how the world works.

6) Even before this incident, the Obama Department of Justice was already investigating the Milwaukee police department, just as it investigated the Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland departments, among others. The results of that investigation are 100% predictable, given DOJ’s agenda.

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