My View: Do Black Lives Matter?

SF-Public-Defender-Rally
Public defenders become the latest group to show solidarity with the movement

Across the nation, countless protests have occurred with the slogan, “Black Lives Matter.” At one level, it is fascinating to watch how widely it has spread.

A recent example was earlier this week, in San Francisco, where 200 public defenders held a “hands up, don’t shoot” protest on the steps of San Francisco’s criminal courthouse to “show support for racial justice and stand in solidarity with protesters in New York, Ferguson and around the country.”

“There are few organizations in the United States that have closer ties to the black and brown members of our society than the public defender offices through the nation,” said Deputy Public Defender Chris Hite, co-chair of the Racial Justice Committee. “We felt it was essential to cast a light upon the racial injustices of the black and brown in our communities and to celebrate the notion that black and brown lives matter.”

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi called for accountability on behalf of victims of racial profiling and police brutality.

“As public defenders, it our responsibility to ensure that there is justice for all in the courts,” Adachi said. “We are here to say that our criminal justice system has no credibility when it fails to hold police officers accountable for the killing of black and brown people.”

At the same time, there are a couple of strands of counter-response that have emerged. The first one is the response line I have seen by mainly conservatives – “All Lives Matter,” or the variant, “Police Lives Matter.”

While there is a risk of taking slogans seriously (and that goes both ways here, for sure), I think the response line misses some critical points. First, by stating “Black Lives Matter” it does not mean nor imply that other lives do not matter, but rather that many believe that, in the system, black lives have been undervalued.

There was long a problem in that police would not investigate crimes against black people. We can cite notable cases from the south, whether it was the deaths of Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, or the three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi, among countless others who did not gain justice in the court system during their time.

The reality is that, for a long time, black victims did not get equal justice in this country. With few exceptions, that seems to have disappeared, but the perception persists.

Part of the reason why in 1987 Al Sharpton defended Tawana Brawley — who accused six white men of raping her — even after it was clear to most people that she had fabricated the story was this perception and distrust of authority. It is also worth noting that Mr. Sharpton turned out to be correct with regard to the Central Park Five in 1989 — they were falsely accused of rape.

What I think we need to focus on here gets back to the point I raised way back in November when the riots broke out in Ferguson following the grand jury decision not to indict the officers – trust. Trust in the system has to be built, and until we can rebuilt trust by large segments of the public in the system, these incidents will continue to rekindle dormant tensions that have always existed below the surface.

The second point that gets raised in response to “Black Lives Matter” is why are we focusing on police shootings of blacks — that we should be focusing on black on black violence, or poverty, or mass incarceration, or far bigger problems.

I actually think that is a more fair point than perhaps some have given it credit for being.

The first answer goes to the trust issue – police officers operate under the color of authority. They represent the legitimate authority of government and the power of government to enforce laws. If you do not trust the government, if you believe that laws are unjust or applied in an unjust matter or that law enforcement discriminates against one group of people, then incidents such as these again expose the raw underbelly of society.

A police officer killing an unarmed black man once against brings up all of the unresolved societal issues that have come rushing to the surface. That leads to my second point answer as to why the focus on this, and that is the most simple and most basic answer – it is the instant-issue at hand. We focus in society on what is in front of us, and this is in front of us.

With that said, my hope is that this movement can re-focus us on the issue of mass incarceration.

I think part of the problem we face dealing with this issue at hand is that the problem we face is multifaceted and it is deeply entrenched. It is not going to be easily solved.

So here is what I have come up with so far. First, blacks are disproportionately arrested for crimes, charged with crimes, convicted of crimes, and disproportionately serve sentences for crimes.

However, the complex data analysis that I have read, and I will spare you the details of at this time, is that the reason for all of these facts is that blacks disproportionately commit more crimes than whites. So this factor alone is not by itself a sign of racial prejudice in the system.

The one area where there appears to be racial prejudice is that blacks, for the same crimes with the same priors, receive longer sentences than their white counterparts – probably on the order of 10 to 20 percent.

That is not an exoneration of the system, but rather it suggests that the problem lies elsewhere than with enforcement.

I still think the Michelle Alexander – writer of the New Jim Crow book – angle on mass incarceration is the right way to start thinking about this problem. The problem is that we have a system that is basically a trap, that once people get into the system, they can’t get out, and it cycles to the next generation.

The problem is that we have a cycle. A youth grows up in a home where the father is incarcerated. The youth’s family lives in a poor neighborhood. The schools are failing. The neighborhood is crime ridden. The family lacks the resources to leave. The mother in many cases is raising the children by herself – she may be struggling to hold jobs and put food on the table or she may be self-medicating herself.

Either way, moving forward, we have a cycle. This kind of upbringing is likely to bring about a second generation of crime. Once in the system, education stops, so you have kids without high school diplomas let alone college degrees. If you become incarcerated, the next generation’s kids grow up with absent fathers.

Once convicted of a felony, the individual is ineligible for various forms of public assistance, they have to check the felon box — making it unlikely that they get a quality job, and the cycle perpetuates itself.

One of the points that Michelle Alexander raises in her book is that we end up putting felony tags on people whose crimes are drug related or otherwise minor. That is part of what Prop. 47 attempts to deal with in California.

So yes, it is easy to say, the problem is absentee fathers. That is certainly a contributing factor, given the need for fathers for economic stability and guidance for the children. But when fathers are incarcerated, they are going to be absent. When fathers get into the system, they are unlikely to be able to make a decent living, finish school, etc.

Based on that, I do not think we can start the intervention at that stage. I think we have to start with moving people out of felony status for minor offenses, to put money and resources into education and job training, and we break the cycle by taking people who are about to enter the system and who are becoming parents at the same time, and intervene.

The question that I think should be raised is can we go from “Black Lives Matter” to having a discussion on mass incarceration and its impact on the poverty-dependency-crime cycle? If we can, then this movement can have an enormous impact.

We can focus on police practices and reforms to the legal system – and we need to. But to me, the bigger issue is the linkage between incarceration and poverty and figuring out ways to break out of that feedback loop.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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45 Comments

  1. Anon

    “The one area where there appears to be racial prejudice is that blacks, for the same crimes with the same priors, receive longer sentences than their white counterparts – probably on the order of 10 to 20 percent.”

    Or it could be “racism” has nothing to do with it.  It just may be a factor of poverty.  More blacks are likely poor and unable to hire a decent lawyer.

    1. Tia Will

      Anon

      Or it could be “racism” has nothing to do with it.  It just may be a factor of poverty.  More blacks are likely poor and unable to hire a decent lawyer.”

      I agree with this. However, I do not think that it is an either/ or as both factors may be involved and would be very difficulty if not impossible to sort out. Yet another reason in my opinion to restructure our legal system from an adversarial system to one truly seeking the truth and restoration of justice, not the “win”.

      1. zaqzaq

        A restorative justice approach can only work when the defendant admits his criminal conduct in order for the focus of the discussion to be on the harm caused by his conduct and ho w the defendant can make things right.  That requires personal responsibility and owning your crime which most people cannot do.  Instead they want to avoid the consequences of their criminal behavior by attacking the credibility of the victim(s) and the cops who investigate these crimes.

  2. TrueBlueDevil

    I thank David in advance for addressing some issues here that the left rarely discusses.

    There are additional factors at play. The fact that a lot of people make money from this drama, people like Al Sharpton, those who want to focus on past grievances, those who want more social spending but ignore some of the true root causes at play. The major networks, largely liberal, also stir the pot for money and viewership, rarely changing the narrative. The “journalists” are incurious and repeat the same tripe over and over.

    These dramas also do a grand job of deflecting criticism from a president who’s economic progress is shaky at best. This has been the slowest “recovery” out of a recession, and we have a record number of able-bodied Americans out of the workforce, while we import legal and illegal immigrants to do work. Meanwhile, both Americans and immigrants look to the government for more from the Big Government money pot. It wasn’t long ago that Italian and Jewish and Irish immigrated to a country with no social benefits, where hard work was the rule of the day.

    The huge success of Ethiopian-Americans, Nigerian-Americans, and many, many others show how accepting we are.

    Al Sharpton is smart enough to recognize an opportunity to become rich and famous when he had it.

    There are also a lot of “drug offenses” that are actually for drug dealing, and many of these charges are plead down to one charge if they plead guilty. I read a study once that said the average criminal commits 20 crimes before they are caught, so this “minor drug offense” issue is a bit of a misdirection. There are also major other issues, like the high truancy rate in inner city homes, high TV viewership for children, and illegal immigration which has had a devastating effect on the blue collar black community. I’ve also heard that 80% of men in jail can’t read, and 80% don’t have a Father. If that man isn’t in jail, he still can’t read, so he is SOL in this modern economy, and facing new immigrant labor that will work for $10 or $15 with few requirements.

    David is right that there is a vicious cycle, and I have grave concerns that large segments of our society won’t be able to break out of it given their abandonment of traditional American values that have led to many Americans succeeding. On top of this, our high-minded educators and “leaders” are too proud or PC to acknowledge these basic truths. Don’t drop out of school, get married, save money, avoid crime and drugs, and get ahead.

    The epitome of this mindset had to be our First Lady, who will probably exit this earth with over $100 million to her name. She jokes about a cute interaction at Target three years ago on David Letterman, but now in People Magazine she declares that the short elderly lady asking for help reaching a top shelf is a form of racism. I guess in her PC world, if the woman didn’t ask for help, that would also be racism. Sometimes you can’t win.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Don’t drop out of school, get married, save money, avoid crime and drugs, and get ahead.”

      which is easier said than done given the lives a lot of these kids live.  that’s i think the problem.

      ” I read a study once that said the average criminal commits 20 crimes before they are caught, so this “minor drug offense” issue is a bit of a misdirection.”

      that’s kind of overstated.  there are a group of offenders who clearly commit a large number of crimes.  there are also a larger group of people who commit one offense.

      many if not most of the people getting caught for minor drug offenses, have probably used drugs for a long time before getting caught, but most have probably not committed a more serious crime.

       

    2. Frankly

      Very well done SOD.  I agree with every thing you wrote. The roots of cause are the keys to solving the problems.  But our dominant social dialog is focused on symptoms.  Focusing on symptoms at the expense of true problem solving should be recognized as a social sickness that ensures social decline.

  3. Frankly

    “The one area where there appears to be racial prejudice is that blacks, for the same crimes with the same priors, receive longer sentences than their white counterparts – probably on the order of 10 to 20 percent.”

    When fantastic claims like this are made they should be backed up by real data.  I know this because I am probably on the order of 10 to 20 percent smarter.

  4. Tia Will

    TBD

    Don’t drop out of school, get married, save money, avoid crime and drugs, and get ahead.”

    This is fine as a generality. You are missing a few nuances.

    Don’t drop out of school. Very good advice if you are actually learning something in school or are not being suspended or expelled for the same behaviors that would earn others a “slap on the wrist” when their better connected parents intervened.

    Get married. Not a good plan if you are not making enough money to support yourself. My advice would be to not participate in activities that lead to pregnancy, or go through Planned Parenthood or Communicare to obtain reliable contraception since we have seen how well the “just say no” strategy works.

    Save money. Very, very difficult to achieve if the only jobs available to you qualify you for food stamps or if you are having to rely on food banks even if you are working full time.

    Avoid crime and drugs. 100% with you on this one.

    “And get ahead.
    You forgot the part about and be exceedingly lucky and a true breakout from your community. I think it is very difficult for those who have come from middle class or higher socioeconomic groups to understand the very real pressures that those from marginal socioeconomic groups face in trying to improve their circumstances. Many seem oblivious to the fact that many young people are pressured into working early rather than staying in school to help support their parents decision to not use contraception, thus the need to support their younger sibs. This is a very real “family value” for many people. Many also seem not to understand the pressures that women face to have children early because that is their “family value” and is what their older female relatives have all done.

    It makes a world of difference whether you are living in a community that still sees it as the woman’s role to stay home, not “take jobs away from their men” ( yes, I was faced with this attitude when I announced my goal of becoming a doctor) and have children or whether you come from a background of relative privilege where you were encouraged and enabled to study hard, get good grades, and “get ahead” or whether your family values point you in an entirely different direction.

     

  5. Frankly

    The police are the scapegoat for failed liberal policies and failed acts of governance from those that believe they can create an ordered utopian society through top-down mandates.

    In 1996 Congress required the Attorney General to provide a “comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness” of over $3 Billion annually in Department of Justice grants to assist State and local law enforcement and communities in preventing crime. Congress required that the research for the evaluation be “independent in nature,” and “employ rigorous and scientifically recognized standards and methodologies.” It also called for the evaluation to give special emphasis to “factors that relate to juvenile crime and the effect of these programs on youth violence,” including “risk factors in the community, schools, and family environments that contribute to juvenile violence.” The Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs asked the National Institute of Justice to commission an independent review of the relevant scientific literature, which exceeds 500 program impact evaluations.

    Primary Conclusion. This Report found that some prevention programs work, some do not, some are promising, and some have not been tested adequately. Given the evidence of promising and effective programs, the Report finds that the effectiveness ofDepartment of Justice funding depends heavily on whether it is directed to the urban neighborhoods where youth violence is highly concentrated. Substantial reductions in national rates of serious crime can only be achieved by prevention in areas of concentrated poverty, where the majority of all homicides in the nation occur, and where homicide rates are 20 times the national average.

    There you have it.   Money from the federal government to local law enforcement has strings attached.  That is how federal government funding always works because politicians, regardless of if they are Democrat or Republican, have adopted the liberal obsession for thinking they can fix things using top-down mandates and public policy stings attached to the dollar bills they dangle.  In some cases the ideas are noble, but they rarely work… and when they do the unintended consequences are usually more terrible than was the initial problem.

    We can fix ALL the problems that Davis rails about related to black representation in crime and punishment by a reversal of the public policy that demands heavy policing in low-income high-crime areas.   Repeat that please… we can solve ALL these problems.

    But here is what David will then start to rail about.

    Black on black crime will skyrocket and that is a travesty and a sign of racism because we have a lower ratio of cops to crime in black neighborhoods.  It will be a sign of white racism that we vacate these areas… and when I say vacate, more whites and more successful blacks will move out of the neighborhoods because of the skyrocketing crime.  More businesses will leave and fewer will start.  There will be more unemployment and the schools will be crappier.  It will be claimed that we have segregated again, and David and others will begin to demand more public policy mandates like forcing a percentage of white kids to have to attend black schools so their parents have to move to these high crime areas.

    The absurdity will never end.

    What is my bottom line?

    That over representation of black crime and punishment, because we lack other remedies, is the social cost for other blacks to have a better shot at a good life.

    What are the other remedies?

    I have listed them before but they are all things that liberal Democrats fight to reject.

    – Economic policy to lower taxes and incentivize economic and job growth

    – Completely reformed education system

    – Public policy supporting private groups that teach and preach morality and strong family values

    – Rejection of race baiting and victim mentality.  Elimination of the soft bigotry of low expectations that the left is famous for.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “We can fix ALL the problems that Davis rails about related to black representation in crime and punishment by a reversal of the public policy that demands heavy policing in low-income high-crime areas.   Repeat that please… we can solve ALL these problems.”

      what i am reading here – and i believe – is that the being caught in the system prevents people from getting out of the system.  so instead of creating a trap door, we need a way out and right now we don’t offer one.

      none of what you’re listing as suggestions are going to matter if someone gets incarcerated and then cannot get a job.  you have to break the cycle there before the rest will matter, because once incarcerated then you have families that fall apart, familial instability leads to more problems.

    2. Dave Hart

      The police are not a scapegoat for any group.  They are an extension of state power and as such are equally at the disposal of liberal and conservative wings of what can only be called the ruling elite.  The only question of interest to me is how that control is maintained and exercised at the local level.  It’s not a simple question.  I watched this video of New York mayor De Blasio and it occurs to me that even a person in his position cannot offer a definitive statement on how police power can be brought under control:  http://nyti.ms/1v6GCgO

      1. DavisBurns

        …cops at the disposal of the ruling elite..doesn’t matter which party, what matters is power and money is power.  We are an oligarchy, we have built an empire and all that entails.  We have entered into the final stage of empire before collapse and that is when we no longer manufacture, we hollow out our infrastructure and the basis of our wealth is purely in the realm of finance.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      Substantial reductions in national rates of serious crime can only be achieved by prevention in areas of concentrated poverty,

      You virtually left out mention of the most important word in your own quoted statement. That word is prevention. You seem to ignore completely the fact that all of the remedies that you have listed require money. Where are you proposing that this come from besides the government through our tax dollars. Your are certainly not suggesting that a private educational company is going to provide these services out of the goodness of their hearts with no expectation of compensation are you ?  And you have said nothing at all about how to change from your mythical “victim mentality” to some other unspecified “mentality”.

      That over representation of black crime and punishment, because we lack other remedies, is the social cost for other blacks to have a better shot at a good life.”

      So your solution is to “over charge and punish some so that others can prosper ? Wow, unless I am badly misunderstanding you, it sounds like you are totally willing to forgo any sense of equal application of our laws in order to promote some other groups that you have decided are deserving of a “better hot at a good life”.

    1. Frankly

      Get a college education and/or learn useful and marketable skills.

      Get married to someone with an education and/or having useful and marketable skills.

      Get a job and start a career.

      Have kids while continuing to advance your career.

      Work hard… including working hard on your marriage.

      Make good decisions.

      And in the end you will likely have a very good life.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        What you have outlined is a really nice plan…..unfortunately it totally ignores that sometimes life intervenes.

        Spouses die or become disabled.

        You don’t get the acceptance or the job or the promotion or worse you get laid off when there are no good jobs available.

        Your spouse leaves you for someone younger or richer or “somethinger”…leaving you with 1/2 of the assets that you earned.

        You get diagnosed with a very serious medical problem which incapacitates you.

        Come on Frankly, now is the time when you chip in with ” life is not fair”. Which is true. But the fact remains that we, as a society could choose to be much more fair, or much more compassionate than we are. This is a choice that we could make, but prefer not to since we remain smugly content in our own superiority if none of this has ever befallen us.

         

      2. DavisBurns

        And if you don’t have a good life, what then?  Cause more and more people are finding they played by the rules, did everything they had been told to do and they are bankrupt.  What about those people?  The ones who went to school, got married and stayed married, got a good job and someone in the family got sick, a child was born with autism, the medical bills depleted their savings and then they lost their good paying white collar job and can’t find another because they are 55 and besides there are no jobs?

    2. Davis Progressive

      the longer people wait to get married, the better off they are up to a point.  so yes.  if you’re poor you should get married later in your 20s or 30s and delay having kids.  yes

        1. DavisBurns

          There is a down side to waiting to have children.  Children born to younger mothers can be healthier.  I remember reading an article about teen pregnancies in poor inner city neighborhoods (they were black but should hold true regardless of race).  Turns out from a biological perspective, the best time in their lives to be pregnant and have a healthy baby was about age 15.  Also, so many young men got sent to prison, it was also the best time to find a young healthy sperm donor.

          Just a little fly in the ointment

    3. Tia Will

      Anon

      I believe that , given our current economic system, one should be able to support themselves and those that they bring in to the world. To not believe this is to maintain that someone else has the responsibility to support your children. Is that your position ?  And if so, who do you think should do the supporting ?

      As I have stated many times, I do not favor our current system. I believe that each child and each individual who is making a positive contribution to the society should be supported above the poverty level. I am aware that you do not agree with me in this since you have said so in the past. So I am wondering just who you believe should raise the children of those who are unable to support them themselves.

  6. zaqzaq

    Why doesn’t Jeff Adachi call for accountability on behalf of victims of  rape, murder, child molest, robbery and arson instead of racial profiling and police brutality?  All of those lives matter regardless of ethnicity.  Would that be a conflict of interest?  His job is to do all he can to discredit law enforcement because that makes his job easier representing rapists, child molesters, murders, robbers and arsonists.  What a joke.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Why doesn’t Jeff Adachi call for accountability on behalf of victims of  rape, murder, child molest, robbery and arson instead of racial profiling and police brutality?”

      because he’s a defense attorney and his job is to provide a fair process for his clients.

      1. zaqzaq

        Does that fair process include attacking child molest victims,  rape victims, moving to exclude evidence of guilt. or making up scenarios or fact patterns that have no basis in the evidence?  Admit it, the job of the defense attorney is to find loopholes in the law that their clients can slither through.  Dig up dirt on witnesses and victims that they can then try to smear the with.  How about trying to attack everything the cops do.  The defense attorney doe not look for a fair process.  The defense attorney tries to create a smoke screen for their clients.  It is not about fairness or justice if it conflicts with their client’s interests.  The defense attorney’s job does not involve justice, especially when justice conflicts with their client’s interests.

        1. Tia Will

          zaqzaq

          Everything that you have said could be held equally true for the prosecution attempting to build a case against the person charged if a win is politically or personally desired for building one’s career. Please do not pretend that both the prosecution and defense are motivated to get the “win” rather than determine truth and ensure the restoration of justice in our current adversarial system.

    1. David Greenwald

      your comment leads me to question whether your read the article.  i explicitly wrote, ” First, by stating “Black Lives Matter” it does not mean nor imply that other lives do not matter, but rather that many believe that, in the system, black lives have been undervalued.”

  7. LadyNewkBahm

    “because he’s a defense attorney and his job is to provide a fair process for his clients.”

    I wonder if defense attorneys truly look at it that way, or if they provide that viewpoint lipservice. It often seems they view their jobs as as trying to get their clients off no matter the cost. Anyone care for some OJ?

    Yes Barry Scheck, I’m looking at you.

  8. MrsW

    A few thoughts–On other posts, we have discussed DJUSD, touching on whether or not our community is raising healthy children with respect to racial relations, and if National trends are expressed in our community.  With this post, the Vanguard is focusing on a National phenomenon that is generally considered to be between blacks and whites.

    When I hear the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” I interpret it as an expression–an assertion–that the black community and many of their neighbors do not trust the police.  That’s all.  There isn’t more to it.

    All of us have cause to believe that some percentage of people in law enforcement struggle to control themselves and their power.  The phrase “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is absolutely true.  Look at the undercover CHP officers in Oakland, who pull out guns, endangering everyone around them http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-police-We-had-no-idea-CHP-officers-5964457.php?cmpid=fb-desktop . Look at the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment http://www.prisonexp.org/.  Look at how young soldiers behaved at Abu Ghraib. All three of these are examples of seemingly good people who got carried away with events.

    Black men, as a group and regardless of their social class, get to interact with the police a lot.  And in many of the interactions, the police respond in ways that are often unnecessarily humiliating and violent.  It behooves all of us to have zero tolerance for police abuse of power towards any person.  Politics can change in a heartbeat. “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

  9. DavisBurns

     It behooves all of us to have zero tolerance for police abuse of power towards any person.

    Amen, sister.

    Re; DJUSD.  My kids are white but have learning disabilities which I always have to explain means their IQ is far above average but they were dyslexic and a little bit (to a lot) aspie.  They were not treated well, especially my daughter.  And my son’s girlfriend is black and went to Davis High School.  She has a real different perspective about how things are done and how she was treated than most white folk.

  10. Tia Will

    DavisBurns

    I am sure that there are some studies supporting the idea that very young women have healthier babies. However, there is a wealth of contradictory evidence demonstrating that there is higher risk incurred at both extremes of age, teens under 16 and women over 35, when other health factors are controlled for.

     

  11. Anon

    Tia: “I believe that , given our current economic system, one should be able to support themselves and those that they bring in to the world. To not believe this is to maintain that someone else has the responsibility to support your children. Is that your position ?  And if so, who do you think should do the supporting ?”

    Did you know that procreation is a basic constitutional right?  Yet you would deny it to the poor?

  12. Tia Will

    Anon

    Yet you would deny it to the poor?”

    No. I would eliminate having “the poor” by providing a living income to every individual.

    And you did not respond to my question regarding who you think within our current system , should be responsible for raising the children of those too poor to adequately care for them. I responded, would you have the courtesy to do the same ?

     

    1. Anon

      And if the living income given to the poor denies you your income?  What I am driving at is that it appears your world view is very idealistic, but not realistic.  Essentially what you are asking for is income redistribution.  However, at some point, taxes become so high, that sort of extensive “safety net” becomes fiscally unsustainable.  We are seeing this now in the realm of Social Security payments, Medicare, Medicaid, which are all getting super expensive and financially unsustainable for our federal gov’t.  Now certainly one could argue much of that is due to gov’t waste (and I would not disagree with that viewpoint).  However, when one starts arguing that every living being in the nation should have the right to a “living wage and benefits”, you might be surprised at the small size of your paycheck after paying for all of that largesse.

      Having said all that, I wish I had good answers to the problem of the poor.  I am not a proponent of letting capitalism take care of everything, just as I am not in favor of the gov’t providing everything for everyone.  I do believe we need gov’t safety nets up to a point, for those less fortunate who through no fault of their own fall on hard times.  And I even believe in safety nets for those who through poor choices have fallen on hard times.  I’m just not quite sure where the balance needs to be in holding people accountable for their actions.  For instance, I am in favor of keeping Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  But I am also in favor of the welfare to work concept.  Getting people educated and working is probably far more important than anything else the gov’t can do.

  13. Frankly

    Race-baiters and cop haters should hang their heads in shame tonight as we mourn the assassination of two of New York’s finest at the hands of a thug in retribution over recent events that the race-baiters and cop haters inflamed.

  14. Tia Will

    Race-baiters and cop haters should hang their heads in shame tonight as we mourn the assassination of two of New York’s finest at the hands of a thug in retribution over recent events that the race-baiters and cop haters inflamed.”

    It would seem to me that rather than pointing fingers of shame,and blame a better approach might be to give some thought to the use of violence as a means of social interaction . We glorify the possession of guns, and then pretend that there will not be consequences to pay when they come into the hands of those who are spiteful or angered over specific actions, or mentally ill. We speak in a rhetoric of war constantly. The war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on terrorism. We teach this constant state of war and “us against them” mentality to our children and are astounded when innocents and/or heroes get caught in the crossfire of our societally engendered violent state of mind.

    Could we not for a moment drop the partisan bashing and focus on  the problem of violence as our go to solution when we feel threatened or are fearful or desire revenge as may have been the case here.

    1. Frankly

      This is an expected response given the gravity of having to take responsibility for what is a terrible outcome.  But anyone with common sense could see this coming.   The one-sided politically-motivated outrage would ONLY lead to this type of outcome.

      Maybe law enforcement will learn something about this… and how their insatiable desire to load up on pay and benefits through their union-Democrat connection is actually like a deal made with the devil.  It is a devil that will exploit every potential crisis to gain and retain power… including even those connected to their so-called friends.

  15. Alan Miller

    Incredibly entertaining, posters seriously giving one-liner tips on how to live life, as if their doing so here will influence someone’s life in Davis, much less the projects of Baltimore.  I’ll add one more tip on living; my advice if you will:

    “Don’t step on a crack, you’ll break your mama’s back.”

    That should keep someone’s mama out of a wheelchair.

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