Op-ed: The Republican Convention in Cleveland is getting most of the attention on American television but the public is more concerned about a wave of murders, including many police officers.
The country has been listening to the loud mouth of Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for months, and the only question is how much he will be able to make his vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, dump views he had that were critical of Trump.
“When it comes to Donald Trump's selection of Mike Pence as his running mate, things appear to have moved away from suspense and are now just plain tense.
“In an odd and seemingly uncomfortable clip of an interview that aired Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes," the two men headlining the GOP 2016 ticket appear to disagree on the upsides of running a negative campaign and convey an uneasy rapport with each other.”
There has been a series of police killings, including three Sunday in Louisiana.
On July 7, five Dallas police were killed.
There were other killings, several by ex-military, and there was no doubt the police were killed in revenge, in some cases by men trained in the military, because very few police have been punished for questionable killings of black men and children.
Government statistics show more blacks are killed by police than their populations would justify.
“In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).”
Roughly half of those killed were black, but whites outnumber blacks by five times.
“White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population,” the Post said.
One of the black victims, Philando Castile, had been pulled over 49 times before he was killed when an officer noticed a broken tail light.
Critics say this is a result of militarizing the police. The problem is there are many thousands of soldiers who have had the same, or even better training.
Killer Micah Johnson, who was blown up with a police bomb-laden truck, used “scoot and shoot” techniques he had learned in the Army.
Of course there are millions of guns in the U.S., as gun control has largely failed. Someone with a gun doesn’t necessarily need to have been a veteran to know how to be a military sniper to kill.
Much can be learned on target ranges and Google.
The conservative Website RedState said: “Reasonable people can disagree about the prevalence of police brutality in America, and the extent to which race plays a factor in it. I don't think reasonable people can disagree that excessive police force is punished way less often than it actually happens. And that's the kind of problem that leads to people taking up guns and committing acts of violence - tragically (and with evil intent) against cops who as far as we know have done nothing wrong.
“But people's willingness to act rationally and within the confines of the law and the political system is generally speaking directly proportional to their belief that the law and political system will ever punish wrongdoing. And right now, that belief is largely broken, especially in many minority communities.”
A Baltimore judge acquitted another policeman Monday in the death of another black man, Fred Gray.
Forgetting race for a moment, there is one other issue that no doubt plays in part in who lives and who dies.
The U.S. government is under pressure to keep some information about shootings confidential. But does anyone doubt that the poor are more likely be victims of shootings than the wealthy.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.
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