Once again, the nation is traumatized by a horrible video of police brutally beating to death a black man. Need I note the victim, Tyre Nichols, was black? Would we be less or more traumatized if the victim were white?
But the rule seems to be that the victims are black.
Everyone sees there is a problem. Everyone wants to fix it. But how?
The first question in the pursuit of a solution invariably is, “What is wrong with the system?”
How about we start this time by asking a different question. What is wrong with the men who did it?
The shocking video certainly doesn’t give us the whole story. What were the circumstances that led to the police apprehending this man, forcing him defenseless on the ground and beating him to death? Can we imagine any circumstance that would justify this behavior?
Suppose somehow all this occurred under the radar. That these policemen beat this man to death, but no one found out about it.
Could they live with themselves? Could they just go home to their families after doing a day’s work without a second thought that their law enforcement work left a man dead with little justification why this happened?
We in the pro-life movement ask how women can destroy the child in their womb and live with themselves. Those who rationalize it say they don’t see this unborn child as life.
But can we say these police did not see Tyre Nichols as a living man?
When these incidents get spun as racial, the answer comes forth that racists do not see those whom they hate as human. There was a historic data point in this regard in our nation’s history in the Dred Scott decision.
But in this case, the police officers were black.
How about if we ask if each of those policemen felt they live in a world with a Creator and that every human being is a creation made in that Creator’s image? If they believed this, could they have done what they did?
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan summed it up well saying, “I don’t know there is anything you can do to stop the kind of evil we saw in that video.”
Something very bad has happened in our country.
This nation was founded as a free country under God, not as a “system.” The Constitution is an operating manual creating the basic structure of government and to assure that it would be kept limited and not interfere with citizens taking personal responsibility and living free.
Yes, it began with the horrible reality of slavery. But this reflected the sin of man and not a systematic flaw in the country.
George Washington said it, and I quote him all the time, that there is no freedom without religion.
But today we are going in the opposite direction. We want to use courts and legislatures to produce systematic answers to our lives rather than turning to our parents and our pastors for eternal principles. The answer is not in the system; it is in ourselves.
Regarding the police, they need more personal responsibility for their behavior.
One path to this is getting rid of qualified immunity, which shields them from exposure to lawsuits. Qualified immunity allows police to violate constitutional rights of others without concern that they will be sued. Per this judge-created doctrine, as long as there is not another identical precedent, with all the same facts, police are immune from being sued.
Unions protect policemen with a track record of infractions, and then qualified immunity protection allows them to go out and do it again.
This is the most important technical reform that can improve police behavior.
But we must remember, good men will produce good results even in a bad system.
But bad men, even in the most perfectly designed system, will produce bad results.
The author is with the Center for Urban Renewal and Education
Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “Cure America with Star Parker.” To find out more about Star Parker and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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