Media supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are praising Sen. Marco Rubio for comments he made seeming to express support for their anti-police organizing.
As Ezra Klein’s liberal website Vox writes, “Rubio shows other Republicans how to respond to Black Lives Matter.” Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie praised Rubio, tweeting, “Marco Rubio just gave the best answer on Black Lives Matter that I’ve seen from a Republican.”
The tweet was referring to an August interview on Fox News’s The Kelly File in which Marco Rubio was asked about the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the interview, Rubio claimed that the issue the controversial protestors are fighting is “legitimate” and suggested that “resentment” for law enforcement was understandable. Some members of the Black Lives Matters movement have taken a violent stance against police officers—earlier this year, some protestors began an anti-police chant, shouting, “Pigs in a blanket! Fry ‘em like bacon!”
Sen. Marco Rubio cited the reports of a “friend” to help support protestors’ contentions that the police presence in dangerous inner-city communities was driven by racism rather than the high crime rates in those communities.
“This is a legitimate issue,” Rubio said:
It is a fact that in the African-American community around this country there has been, for a number of years now, a growing resentment toward the way law enforcement and the criminal justice system interacts with the community. It is particularly endemic among young African-American males — that in some communities in this country have a much higher chance of interacting with criminal justice than higher education. We do need to face this. It is a serious problem in this country.
I have one friend in particular who’s been stopped in the last 18 months eight to nine different times. Never got a ticket for being stopped — just stopped. If that happened to me, after eight or nine times, I’d be wondering what’s going on here. I’d be upset about it. So would anybody else.
While Rubio cited the testimony of a “friend” as evidence of police misconduct, Ann Coulter has analyzed the evidence.
In a column, Ann Coulter addressed the “canard about blacks being disproportionately targeted in traffic stops.”
Coulter explained that the Public Services Research Institute in Maryland conducted a study which found that racial profiling did not play a role in the traffic stops: “Blacks constituted 25 percent of all speeders and they were about 23 percent of drivers stopped for speeding. Controlling for age and gender, blacks sped at about twice the rate of whites. The racial disparity was even greater for drivers exceeding 90 mph.”
Acclaimed Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald similarly explained that the reason there is a greater police presence in black neighborhoods is because there are higher crime rates in those neighborhoods. “In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S.—almost all killed by black civilians—resulting in a death risk in inner cities that is ten times higher for blacks than for whites,” Mac Donald writes:
The police, by contrast, according to published reports, kill roughly 200 blacks a year, most of them armed and dangerous, out of about 40 million police-civilian contacts a year. Blacks are in fact killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. In 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Data suggests that the willingness of politicians like Marco Rubio to play into the left’s narrative that police officers are racially-motivated could increase the threat to police officers and innocent civilians who depend on more active policing.
Mac Donald has highlighted the “poisonous effect” that ensues from those who “participated in mass hysteria” and “promulgated… untruths” such as the “criminal-justice system is biased against blacks; that the black underclass doesn’t exist; and that crime rates are comparable between blacks and whites—leaving disproportionate police action in minority neighborhoods unexplained without reference to racism.”
Mac Donald explains that, as a result, the “incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the ‘Ferguson effect.’ Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the ‘criminal element is feeling empowered,’ Mr. Dotson reported.” She continues, “Arrests in St. Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.”
“Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%,” Mac Donald observes.
Mac Donald notes that these policies will only hurt innocent civilians living in gang-beseiged communities.
The closer one is to crime and disorder, the greater one’s support for proactive enforcement. Slightly more black than white voters said they want the police to “actively issue summonses or make arrests” in their neighborhood for quality-of-life offenses: 61 percent of black voters wanted such summons and arrests, with 33 percent opposed, versus 59 percent of white voters in support, with 37 percent opposed.
Just this year, twenty-four police officers have been killed. While Marco Rubio has given credence to this anti-law enforcement movement, Pat Buchanan has argued that this has become a delineating issue for defining conservatives from liberal anarchists.
The right sees America’s cops as civilization’s last line of defense against crime and anarchy. Among liberal elites and the Black Lives Matter crowd, an old notion is regaining ascendancy – cops are the problem and police are all too often the oppressors.
Indeed, the very phrase “mass incarceration,” according to 538’s Oliver Roeder, was first termed by Karl Marx himself.
The very earliest use of the term I found was more than 100 years older and came from Karl Marx. In his 1852 “Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” he wrote about the plight of the French peasantry under Napoleon III and what, in German, he called “massenhafte Einkerkerung.” In the English translation, from 1935: “But, it may be objected, what about the peasant risings in half of France, the raids on the peasants by the army, the mass incarceration and transportation of peasants?”
Marco Rubio’s seemingly supportive comments for the ideas that animate the Black Lives Matters movement could put Rubio on the opposite side of yet another law enforcement group. In 2013, both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and USCIS officers criticized Marco Rubio for demonstrating “no intention of seriously addressing enforcement issues” and for his attempt to “handcuff ICE officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future,” as tens of thousands illegal immigrants pour across the southern border and into American communities.
This draws another contrast with Donald Trump who in August said that, “There is turmoil in our country… But at the same time, we have to give power back to the police because we have to have law and order. Hundreds of killings are in Baltimore. Hundreds of killings are in Chicago. And New York is not doing so great in terms of that front… We have to give strength and power back to the police. And you’re always going to have mistakes made. And you’re always going to have bad apples. But you can’t let that stop the fact that police have to regain some control of this tremendous crime wave and killing wave that’s happening in this country.”