Attorney General Sessions fielded questions today from interns at the Justice Department. Naturally, many of the questions had a left-wing slant, some aggressively so. As Sessions put it, “this is not a timid group.”
Sessions fielded the questions with aplomb. He was combative at times, but maintained a friendly demeanor. He deserves credit for engaging in a spirited, candid dialogue with the interns.
The best exchange, in my view, was with an intern from “Berkeley law” who is unhappy that Sessions is altering Obama-era policy on consent decrees that restrict local police departments. The Berkeley law guy began by asserting, erroneously, that Michael Brown fell victim to excessive force by the police. He then claimed that in the housing project where he grew up, “the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors, but the police.”
“Necessarily” and “neighbors” must be doing yeoman’s work in this sentence because otherwise the Berkeley guy’s claim is imbecilic. Given the violent crime statistics in American cities, no law abiding individual could rationally be more afraid of the police than of the locals.
The number of minorities killed by the police pales in comparison to the number killed by folks in the neighborhood. The number of unarmed blacks killed by the police is minuscule — probably roughly the same as the number of blacks killed by lighting, according to this article.
Sessions’ response was excellent. He noted that murder rates have surged in cities like Baltimore and Chicago where the police has backed away from traditional policing techniques. He pointed out that the Obama-era consent decrees tie the hands of the police, thus paving the way for spikes in violent crime.
Sessions deplored abusive conduct by police officers and insisted that the DOJ will prosecute abusive cops if jurisdiction exists. But he insisted, quite rightly, that systematic abuse in a department should not be inferred from individual instances.
I assume he was too diplomatic to say that the Obama DOJ’s analysis of the Baltimore police department is fatally flawed and reeks of left-wing bias. Like the Berkeley guy’s question.
Another intern wanted to know why, given that guns kill more people than marijuana, Sessions wants to crack down on marijuana but not guns. Apparently, they teach neither logic nor the Second Amendment at “Wash U” in St. Louis where this intern studies. Sessions noted the “apples to oranges” nature of the comparison, called the Second Amendment to the intern’s attention, and discussed the dangers of marijuana use.
There were also several questions about transgender individuals, including bathroom use. One intern was upset that the White House hasn’t designated a “LGBTQ” pride month. There’s a momentous issue.
The intern wasn’t mollified when Sessions said the DOJ will have a pride event next month to celebrate these folks, or when he described his efforts to look into, and possibly reopen, cases in which transgender individuals were killed.
Some people are impossible to please.
You can watch the Q and A here. It begins with edited highlights, starting with the Berkeley guy, but then presents what I take to be the entire discussion.