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What is it going to take? Or bluntly, who is going to have to die before American political leaders develop the moral courage to distinguish between peaceful protestors and violent agitators bent on destruction of property, systems, and life?
 
When a "gunman" walks up to a sheriff's vehicle and shoot a 31-year old female a mother, and a 24-year-old male deputy without provocation, then individuals variously called "protestors," "Black Lives Matter protestors," a "crowd" block the emergency entrance to the hospital and chant "We hope they die," and other F-word descriptions of the police, and it gets scant coverage in certain major media, our culture is in deep trouble.
 
Wantonly shooting anyone, black or white, is not about ending racism, nor is it about anything other than evil.
 
When the Portland, Minneapolis Mayors all but sang “Kum ba yah” with rioters, only to have them turn on them; when major media tap dance around nightly violence, calling it “mostly peaceful,” when crime becomes a partisan matter, this has nothing to do with genuine interest in improving civil rights and race relations. Such anarchy hurts everyone, including minority-owned businesses.
 
I for one am concerned about the future of the USA, no matter who wins the presidential election, and I’m especially concerned about what happens Nov 3-4, particularly if the election is close.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Defund the Police” has become a rallying cry in cities across the country, one fueled more by emotion than evidence. 

Crimes of passion are acts committed against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage. 

Defund the Police is like this, a sudden, anger-driven, “acceptable prevailing narrative” that brooks no disagreement among its proponents, yet when turned into policy will wreak havoc and harm upon communities. 

With the senseless killing of George Floyd while in police custody May 25, 2020, two years of “Defund the Police” agitation exploded into a nationwide and to some extent global movement, first on street protest placards, then in outright riots, then city councils and mayors working overtime to embrace the idea.

 “To address concerns about how police treat minorities, the Minneapolis City Council has announced a year-long program to disband the Minneapolis police department. San Leandro, California voted to defund their 93 member police force. Los Angeles is redirecting $250 million from the police to social programs. New York City is debating cutting the police budget by $1 billion. The Austin, Texas police department is eliminating 100 officers and delaying a police cadet class that was scheduled to start in July.”

  • “Baltimore City Council approved a $22.4 millionbudget cut for the police department. 
  • Portland City Councilcut $15 million from its police budget earlier this month. $5 million of that would be put toward a new program that sends unarmed first responders to answer homelessness calls.
  • Philadelphia cancelled a planned $19 million increase for the police department and shifted $14 million of the police budget elsewhere — including affordable housing.
  • The city council in Hartford, Connecticut voted tocut or reallocate $2 million of its police budget.
  • In Seattle, every department budget is being trimmed by around 10%. 
  • Other cities where officials are calling for changes, include San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Milwaukee, Denver, Durham, Winston-Salem, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.”

Why? Why are cities defunding police? Ostensibly it is because proponents believe: 

  • police are killing Black Americans regularly and ruthlessly, 
  • police are “hunting” Blacks, and 
  • police are responsible for most of Black America’s problems. 

Somehow police departments have become the point of the spear in the Black Lives Matter movement, vigorously promoted primarily by the Black Lives Matter organization.

The problem is, these points of view do not square with the facts of what is actually happening in Black communities and do not explain why Blacks are being killed every week in cities like Chicago. 

Defund the Police and its rationale do not explain racism in America nor is it any kind of solution to the newly propagated “systemic racism” being preached by Leftist leaders, Big Media, or other cultural elites and corporations who’ve signed on for the ride, partly to virtue signal and partly in hopes of not being the next victim of woke cancel culture that undergirds Defund the Police and the Black Lives Matter organization.

Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. In Los Angeles, blacks between the ages of 20 and 24 die at a rate 20 to 30 times the national mean. Who is killing them? Not the police, and not white civilians, but other blacks. The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone.

The police could end all lethal uses of force tomorrow and it would have at most a trivial effect on the black death-by-homicide rate. The nation’s police killed 987 civilians in 2015, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post. Whites were 50 percent—or 493—of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent—or 258. Most of those victims of police shootings, white and black, were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force.

Moreover, 40 percent of all cop killers have been black over the last decade. And a larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are a result of police killings than black homicide deaths…Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims…

Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime, according to victims and witnesses. Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has just been shot—they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.”

Black Americans do not even want fewer police. “Monmouth University surveys over the last five years reveal that black Americans nationwide have become more satisfied with their local police departments. The percentage satisfied reached 72 percent in June — a rate that is now identical to that for whites.”

So if this is the evidence, why is Defund the Police being promoted so vigorously and why are city councils buying-into this narrative so quickly? 

It’s about chaos and power. The more of the former that can be generated, the more of the latter shifts to Left-leaning or Leftist organizations and people bent upon disrupting the social order. This is a stated goal of Black Lives Matter the organization, and it is a goal for groups like Antifa. The fact that a lot of American citizens are being duped by this is all the more threatening.

There are other ways to improve criminal justice systems and policing. There is always room for improvement as the saying goes. I am not against reform. There are other ways to reform. Semper reformanda is not, after all, a bad idea. But reform and improvement are much different than wholesale rejection of law and order and an outright embrace of idealistic romanticism about the goodness of humankind.

Defund the Police and its rationale flow from a lack of understanding of human nature. To argue that crime will go away and social utopia will set in if cities simply do away with the police force is the height of fantasy.

"Once it’s determined that every man, woman, and child can do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6), there is no end to what’s left of the old order to be destroyed. Once they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7)."

Defund the Police is ill-conceived, emotion-driven, irrational, and ultimately ineffective. Defund the Police is a crime a passion, and insofar as it is adopted, communities will pay a serious price dealing with the social disorder that will follow. 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

Periodically, we look evil in the face. The Boston Marathon bombings are the latest sickening evidence evil exists and is all too alive and well.

No matter who we are, or what kind of character with which we live, evil intrudes, either from within our own hearts or from the hearts of others. It crashes in without regard for life or limb, without sensitivity or restraint, and without conscience or compassion. It’s just evil. It maims and kills and destroys. Its end is death.

President Obama said, “Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”

In times like this partisanship shouldn’t matter. I’m rooting for the President, the FBI, the Massachusetts Governor, Boston officials, and everyone else involved in the justice, security, and military system. I hope we discover who did this and that they feel the “full weight of justice.”

But we already know “why they did this.” It’s called “sin,” or to stick with our theme, “evil” (Genesis 3:14-24; Romans 5:12).

I’m not in a position to assist professional responders. So how do we respond to this? You can send funds, donate blood, pray, but beyond this there’s not a lot we can do.

We can, though, work to restore our soul and the souls of those around us. Tragedy is disheartening. It generates fear, anxiety, discouragement or disillusionment. It creates a need, whether recognized or understood, for theological perspective and spiritual refreshment. Toward that end, here are a few thoughts from Scripture:

--God is sovereign. No matter what happens, no matter what evil occurs, no matter the fragility and brevity of our lives, God is still God, still in charge, still loves us, still able to bring hope and peace (Psalm 103:15-19).

--“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3).

--“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

 --“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

--“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

--“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

--“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Evil ascends for a time, but in the end it will not win. We must combat it within (ourselves) and without (in the world), availing ourselves of the power of the Holy Spirit of God. But we’re not responsible for victory. God is. In fact, he’s already finished his work (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

Evil like what we see in the Boston Marathon bombings is gut wrenching and sad. But it’s not whistling in the dark to say, “We will trust in God. We will have hope.”

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Think with me about the difference between what's immoral and what's illegal.

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Sin and crime are, unfortunately, all around us and always with us. It's been that way since the dawn of time because human beings are, at their core, tainted by the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Remember The New England Primer? Maybe not, but you will remember "In Adam's fall we sinned all," a phrase used in the primer for teaching the alphabet letter "A." It's good theology.

However, though human beings are sinners by nature not all, thankfully, choose to sin to the extent of evil imagination. And, thankfully, when people do sin their sins are not always defined as crimes. I'm glad for this because otherwise I'd be in jail along with everyone else.

Crimes are actually certain acts (kinds of sin?), ones society or government if you prefer has defined as illegal. (Some acts defined as crime may not, from the point of view of Christian theology, really be sin, and some acts not defined as crimes are, from the point of view of Christian theology, indeed sins that perhaps should be considered crimes as well). So the point is: commit that particular sin and you'll not only transgress your moral code, you'll also be in violation of the law.

Thinking about the difference between sin and crime, and thinking about which sins should be crimes and which should not, is an interesting moral and political exercise. Where do you draw lines between sin and crime?

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Who wants to be sued? I don’t. I doubt most people would. Why would they?

On the other hand, if you’re the one doing the suing, the plaintiff, than perhaps lawsuits aren’t all bad. They offer people a legal remedy by which they can pursue restitution or a sense of justice or closure or in some cases punitive action.

“A civil suit is a lawsuit whereby the plaintiff claims that the defendant’s actions or negligence caused damages (losses and/or suffering)… If a defendant is found guilty in a civil suit, they are typically required to pay restitution to the aggrieved plaintiff…In some cases, where the wrongdoing was intentional or malicious, the court may also order punitive damages. Punitive damages in a civil suit are intended to punish the defendant and deter them and others from committing similar acts in the future.”

After a year (1995) of televised circus-like trial in which O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, her family, not surprisingly, did not feel justice had been served. So in 1997 the family, along with the family of her murdered friend Ron Goldman, brought civil suits against Simpson, ultimately winning a $33.5 million “wrongful death” judgment.

Did this judgment bring Ms. Brown or Mr. Goldman back? Of course not. Did it heal the Brown or Goldman families’ pain? Probably not. But it did give them some sense of accountability and justice served.

In 2001, lawsuits were filed in the United States against priests of the Catholic Church who were said to have sexually abused victims, now men, when they were children. Suggestions of such charges had surfaced in the 1980s, but in the 2000s they reached well over ten thousand victims and nearly five thousand priests worldwide. Ultimately, the Catholic Church has paid approximately $1.3 billion in damages related to sexual abuse by priests.

Did this money remove victims’ pain? I doubt it. Did it hold priest pedophiles accountable? Not really, for the most part. It did force the Vatican to reexamine and reorder certain practices and policies that will, hopefully, reduce the likelihood of this kind of thing happening (as extensively) in the future.

Lawsuits and trial attorneys get a bad rap and likely some of them deserve it. Certainly we live in an overly litigious society and tort reform is needed. But not all lawsuits, like not all trial attorneys, are about greed and avarice. When civil suits are properly pursued and administered they serve to remind society that truth and justice matter.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.