Book Review:The War On Cops
How the New Attack on Law and Order
Makes Everyone Less Safe
By Heather Mac Donald
Encounter Books, 2016
248 pp., $23.99 hardcover
According to the “Officer Down Memorial Page,” a website chronicling the deaths of law-enforcement officers, cops-on-the-beat who were killed in the line of duty are up by 150 percent. In March, the murder of 16 police officers was the highest toll — so far.
After two decades of decline, violent crime has risen sharply. Last year, homicides jumped nearly 17 percent in 50 of America’s largest cities, the biggest one-year increase since 1993.
Those are not the kind of statistics you’ll find in the usual media reports on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, or any other story on the deadly thin blue line between the police and those they swear to protect. That’s why Heather Mac Donald’s new book, The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, had to be written.
The lady is tough. She lays into liberal elements in the media with a strong writing hand: “The New York Times serves up a good example of anti-cop propaganda when it confidently states that ‘many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.’ That would be news to the thousands of police officers who are the only people willing to put their lives on the line to protect innocent blacks from predation. Until editors and reporters from the Times start patrolling dark stairwells in housing projects and running toward gang gunfire, their superior concern for black men will lack credibility.”
In a recent interview she asserted:
The elite establishment has been playing with fire in stoking the Black Lives Matter hatred of the police, and that fire may now be raging out of control. Since the 1960s, we have glorified anti-establishment protest. College bureaucrats and professors encourage high school and college students to play at being oppressed radicals, notwithstanding that those students are among the most privileged individuals in human history, enjoying access to intellectual, social, and physical resources that kings in the age of absolutism could never have dreamed of. It is hard to know whether there are any true ‘radicals’ in our society, whatever that may mean, or whether it is all self-engrossed play-acting for the gratification of the preening elites.
Mac Donald’s research reveals that, “Blacks were charged with 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of all murders, and 45 percent of all assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, while constituting roughly 15 percent of the population in those counties. From 2005 to 2014, 40 percent of cop-killers were black.” You just don’t hear of that on CNN.
A recipient of the 2004 New Jersey State Law Enforcement Officers Association Civilian Valor Award, the 2008 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration from the Center for Immigration Studies, and the 2012 Quill & Badge Award for Excellence in Communication from the International Union of Police Associations, Mac Donald’s op/ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
Despite her credentials as one who speaks truth to power in defense of police, she is not simply a shill for law enforcement. Mac Donald writes: “The surge in murder rates across the country, in the wake of the anarchy unleashed after the Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore riots, has taken a wholly disproportionate number of black lives.” She calls the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York City policeman who held him in an illegal choke-hold, “a heartbreaking tragedy,” and labels the shooting in the back of unarmed Walter Scott in North Carolina “wholly unjustified.”
But The War on Cops details a larger, clearer, picture of what’s going on with law and order issues. Of the nearly 1,000 people killed by police officers last year — according to the Washington Post no less — fewer than four percent were instances of white cops shooting and killing an unarmed black man. “How many of these police shootings are bad? How many are tragic accidents? How many are acts of reckless negligence? How many are straight-up murder? There is no number on that,” the Post conceded. There is plenty of room for misunderstandings, accidents, poor training, poor judgment (on both sides), and the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That kind of fair assessment is atypical. The media have too often trumpeted the sound of a war on cops:
• Newsweek — “War on Cops: Flawed Logic and Fantasy”
• Huffington Post — “People Wrongly Blamed A ‘War On Cops’ For An Officer’s Death”
• Chicago Tribune — “War on cops more myth than menace”
• Washington Post — “Once Again: There Is No ‘War on Cops’”
• Baltimore Sun — “Confronting Reality Is Not a ‘War on Cops’”
• Florida Today — “Blue Lives Matter, But In Truth, There’s No War on Cops”
Even the libertarian magazine Reason proclaimed, “There Is No War on Cops.”
Milwaukee County’s outspoken black sheriff, David Clarke, backs up the central thesis of War on Cops. He argues that there is an ongoing “guerrilla urban warfare” against police and that “40 to 50 percent of all violent crime is committed by blacks — even though they make up only 12 percent of the male population.”
Mac Donald discredits a Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the riots in Baltimore as a “drearily familiar” approach: “Because blacks are stopped and arrested by the Baltimore police at a higher rate than their representation in the Baltimore population, the police are guilty of racial bias. This use of a population benchmark to analyze police activity is preposterously misguided.” The overwhelming population of Baltimore (63 percent) is black. They are both victims and perpetrators of lawlessness, so it is only logical that the police focus attention on crime-infested predominantly black communities. MacDonald contends: “To expect police activity to match population ratios when crime commission is not evenly spread throughout the population is either disingenuous or disqualifyingly ignorant.”
Another DOJ report, on the Dallas shootings of police, brought this reaction from William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations: “We have called upon the DOJ Civil Rights Division to prosecute cop killers, but they have refused. We met face to face with the Attorney General months ago to show how the law can be used to federally prosecute those who shoot police, but she has refused. We called upon this Administration to condemn violence before it happens, and they refuse. The continued demonization of police as the problem has helped bring this about. The continued mischaracterization of the Black Lives Movement as ‘peaceful’ when they shout ‘What do we want? Dead cops!’ — has helped bring this about.”
“It’s a war on cops,” Johnson also said, “and the Obama administration is the Neville Chamberlain of this war.”
Mac Donald is indignant in her new book: “Cop killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who assassinated NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on December 20, 2014, exemplified everything the elites have refused to recognize as the anti-police crusade marches on: he was a gun-toting criminal who was an eager consumer of the current frenzy of cop-hatred. His homicidal postings on Instagram, — “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today. They Take one of Ours…Let’s Take two of Theirs” — were indistinguishable from the hatred bouncing around the Internet and the protests that few bothered to condemn.” She points out that, “A student leader and a representative of the African and Afro-American Studies department at Brandeis University tweeted that she had ‘no sympathy for the NYPD officers who were murdered today.’”
Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is on the front lines of the illegal alien invasion, weighed in on police causalities: “There’s something wrong in this country, the respect for the police is not there anymore. I don’t like to take shots or to blame the administration, but I think they set the tempo, the president sets the tempo.”
When it comes to the continuing attacks on law enforcement, Heather Mac Donald has a vital perspective: “However much the recent crime increase threatens the vitality of America’s cities — and thousands of lives — it is not, in itself, the greatest danger in today’s war on cops. The greatest danger lies, rather, in the delegitimation of law and order itself. Riots are returning to the urban landscape. Police officers are regularly pelted with bricks and water bottles during the course of their duties. Black criminals who have been told that the police are racist are more likely to resist arrest, requiring the arresting officer to use force and risk an even more violent encounter. If the present lies about law enforcement continue, civilized urban life may once again break down.”
Readers may feel compelled to buy two copies of The War on Cops: one to regularly loan out to a clueless neighbor and that stubborn brother-in-law. Anyone who doesn’t get the modus operandi of inner city thugs, the real impact of police assassinations, and how to predict and prevent race riots needs to know there’s a war going on.