By John De Gree of The Classical Historian
For over two years, since August 2014, violent criminal activity has increased at an alarming rate in American cities, affecting minorities the most. FBI Director James Comey thinks the main cause of this violent crime wave is the “Ferguson Effect.” The Ferguson Effect refers to how policemen have changed how they deal with citizens after the events in Ferguson, Missouri. President Obama disagrees that there is a Ferguson Effect. Researcher and writer Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute was the first to name and define the Ferguson Effect and has done extensive research on this subject.
In one incident in August 2014, suspect Michael Brown repeatedly attacked a policeman in Missouri and attempted to steal his gun. After refusing to listen to the police officer, Michael Brown charged with his head lowered, and was shot dead. Local prosecutors and President Obama’s Department of Justice investigated and concluded that the police officer acted appropriately to defend himself. Unfortunately, many asserted the policeman was a white racist and killed a black man because of his race. There has never been any evidence to back up this claim of racism.
Immediately after the shooting, many falsely claimed the policeman was a racist, and rioters destroyed parts of Ferguson, Missouri, burning business, looting, and attacking policemen. Political leaders made statements that appeared they approved of the rioting. Nearly a year after the incident, and after the Department of Justice investigated, President Obama stated, “We may never know what really happened in Ferguson,” implying the findings of the Justice Department were not complete.
After the events in Ferguson, “Black Lives Matter” was born. Black Lives Matter is an organization that aims to teach others that policemen are targeting blacks, killing blacks, racists, and that America needs to radically change to stop the murder and oppression of blacks by policemen. Black Lives Matter (BLM) rejects the American justice system’s findings in the Michael Brown case. Members of BLM organize protests, write articles, and spread their beliefs in news media.
Beginning in the 1990s, police departments, beginning with the NYPD, implemented changes in how policemen worked and the rate of crime drastically declined. Police became actively involved in preventing crime, confronting those who appeared to be planning crime, frisking suspects, and handing out infractions for minor infractions, like vandalism. Combined with structural changes within the departments, these actions led to a dramatic drop in crime.
However, since the incident in Ferguson and the birth of Black Lives Matter, Researcher Heather MacDonald asserts that policemen have changed how they work, and this has been the main reason for the major spike in violent crime. After the negative press coverage from the Ferguson incident, policemen are now unable, or unwilling, to continue their work as before. When working, especially in major cities with large populations of minorities, policemen are confronted with loud, jeering mobs. Bottles or rocks are thrown at policemen working in the most dangerous areas. Because of this hostile, anti-police atmosphere, policemen are afraid to act because they might be accused of racism. This is known as the Ferguson Effect.
Many claim one result of the police change has been a steep increase of violent crime in America. Since 2015, in the nation’s largest cities, murders are up 17 percent. Milwaukee had its deadliest year in a decade, and Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate was the highest ever, with a 72% increase. Murders are up in Cleveland by 90% over the previous year.
President Obama disagrees with FBI Director Comey whether there is a Ferguson Effect and if there is a spike in violent crime. Obama has announced that there is no Ferguson Effect, and he appears to agree with BLM that there is a racist problem in American police forces. Comey, who works under President Obama, stands by his argument that it is because of the Ferguson effect that policemen have backed off from the proactive police procedures that limit crime.
Great Discussion Questions You Can Ask Your Kids
By John De Gree of www.classicalhistorian.com Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.
On New Year’s Eve, 2015, in Cologne, Germany, over 1,000 men of “Arab or North African origin” allegedly sexually assaulted and robbed hundreds of women, according to German police. From this night, German police have received over 676 criminal complaints, ranging from unwanted groping, physical harm, and rape. The incidents occurred at the Cologne train station, and in between the train station and the Cologne Cathedral, an area which forms a pedestrian-friendly zone in the city. These attacks have shocked the country of Germany, in part because Germany has enjoyed for decades peaceful city celebrations at night, and because in the last year, the country has welcomed nearly 1,000,000 immigrants from Syria and other Muslim-dominated countries.
Refugee Crisis from the Muslim World
In previous current event articles from The Classical Historian, we have explained in detail the reason why millions of refugees are fleeing countries of Muslim-dominated populations. For these articles, go here. Briefly, when the United States of America pulled all of its forces out of Iraq, a power vacuum was created. Terrorists in Iraq began attacking the free Iraqi government and began to seize land. In neighboring Syria, terrorists and Syrian rebels began a civil war against the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. President Obama threatened military action against Assad, if he were to use chemical weapons. Assad used the chemical weapons, but Obama backed down from his threat. In response to this, Russian President Putin has sent massive amounts of weapons and large numbers of soldiers to support Assad. With the resulting confusion and chaos in Syria and Iraq, millions are fleeing the area.
German Chancellor Merkel Welcomes Refugees
Modern Germany has two issues that directly relate to the refugee crisis of the Muslim world. The first has to do with German history. In World War II, Nazi Germany attempted to conquer Europe, dominate the world, and murder all Jews and others who did not fit the “superior race” model of Nazis. After the Allies defeated Germany in 1945, Germans have tried to redeem itself from the guilt of their horrendous past. This in part explains why German Chancellor Merkel has invited Muslims from the troubled areas of the Middle East to immigrate to Germany. The second issue Germany is dealing with, and most of Europe is as well, is that of a declining birth rate and population. The German population is slowly dying out, with the average German couple not reproducing numbers that will guarantee the continuation of Germany, long term. This means, that in a few decades, Germany will not have enough workers to pay for the retirees in Germany. For these two reasons, Chancellor Merkel invited Muslims from war-torn areas of the world to immigrate to Germany
The Values of Germany
Modern Germany can be described as a secular democratic-republican state, founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and a country in which most people do not see themselves as belonging to any particular religion. This means that much like the United States of America, Germans enjoy many political liberties, including the right to vote, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. In addition, women enjoy political and social equality with men. In traditional, religious German families, Germans still believe that the role of the man is to act chivalrous towards women, to protect all females, and to be courteous and civil. In non-religious German families, Germans believe that women should be treated as equals, and that there should be no form of oppression towards females.
The Values of Islam
In Muslim-dominated countries, the legal policy of the state is sharia, a form of Islamic law. In the following countries Sharia is the law of the land: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Mauritania. And, in all the areas controlled by these radical Islamic terrorist organizations, Sharia is practiced: ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, the Taliban. In many western countries where Muslims have moved, Muslims have set up local Sharia courts outside of the power of the country they live in.
In most cases, Sharia law is seen as strongly against women and against traditional liberties found in Western countries, like Germany. The following is a short list of practices followed sharia, and their punishments:
Germans See Problems with Mass Muslim Immigration to Germany
Because of the greatly differing values of Germans and Muslims, many in Germany are against Chancellor Merkel’s open door policy of allowing Muslims to immigrate in large numbers to Germany. They cite the recent sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, as evidence that Merkel’s policy is ruining Germany. There is also concern that the German media is not reporting incidents that are unfavorable towards Muslims. Hans-Peter Friedrich, a former interior minister under Angela Merkel, accused the public broadcasters of operating a “cartel of silence.” “There’s suspicion that they believe they don’t have to report on such assaults, especially involving migrants and foreigners, for fear of unsettling the public,” he said. The attackers in Cologne have brought a clear picture of the problems that occur when a society accepts hundreds of thousands of Muslim men from sharia-friendly countries.
A few weeks ago, two radical Islamic terrorists murdered 14 and wounded over 29 in San Bernardino, California. President Obama responded by stating the U.S. Congress needs to pass stricter gun controls. A few days before his comments to Americans, in Paris, France, he stated that mass shootings don’t happen in other countries like they do in America. To have an opinion on gun control and mass shootings, it is important to know the facts and how the U.S.A. compares with other countries regarding mass shootings.
The United States of America is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This organization is composed of 34 democracies with market economies, as well as more than 70 non-member economies. It makes sense to compare mass shootings in the U.S.A. with countries in the OECD, instead of using countries that are extremely poor, or those led by tyrants, or with countries that are in war.
Of the OECD member countries, the United States of America is sixth in the frequency of mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013. These countries had a higher frequency of mass shootings: Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel, Switzerland. It is important to note that the five countries before the U.S.A. in the frequency of mass shootings have national restrictive gun control laws. In terms of total victims of mass shootings as a rate per 100,000 people, the U.S.A. is fourth behind Norway, Finland, and Switzerland.
Another comparison that can be made involves individuals committing mass murder with guns. Since 1982, there have been five mass murders with victims numbering at least 30. The following is the list:
A third comparison involving gun violence can be made involving all countries worldwide. One company, START, is a national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism. These are some of its findings on “mass-fatality, coordinated attacks worldwide.” All of these attacks occurred outside of the U.S.A.
For a fourth comparison, we can compare the U.S.A. with one country, France, in 2015. In France in January, Islamic terrorists attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical journal, killing 11 and wounding 11. Within two days of this attack, Islamic terrorists attacked other locations in Paris, including a Jewish deli. 20 were killed and 22 wounded in these attacks. In November 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked French civilians attending a concert and sitting at a café. They killed 130 and wounded 368. In the U.S.A. in 2015, in May 2015, two terrorists were shot and killed while trying to attack “Draw Muhammad” cartoon art exhibitors. In December, two Islamic terrorists killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino. France has very strict gun controls nationally and the U.S.A. does not.
On July 17th, 2014, Eric Garner died in New York while resisting arrest by New York policemen. A video of the incident was taken and has been viewed by millions of Americans. Policemen believed Mr. Garner was illegally selling individual cigarettes. Mr. Garner was black and the policemen on the video were white. This video, along with the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, has led many to believe police mistreat black Americans. Protests in cities have been widespread since these two events, and at least two policemen have been executed by one protester who claimed to seek vengeance for police brutality.
The politicians of New York, and the majority of voters who elected them into office, believe that smoking is wrong and should be discouraged. They also believe that smokers will smoke less if cigarettes cost more. Thus, New York taxes on a pack of cigarettes total $5.95. Those looking to make money illegally in the underground cigarette market buy cigarettes in another state, drive them into New York, and sell the packs or “Loosies” (individual cigarettes) without paying New York taxes. Local business owners had called the police to complain about Mr. Garner, who was allegedly selling Loosies.
The arrest of Mr. Garner was captured on video. A few policemen begin speaking with Eric Garner, and Mr. Garner is heard saying that he was not selling Loosies and was doing nothing wrong. As Mr. Garner continues to tell policemen to leave him alone, more policemen come and they tell him to put his hands behind his back. An officer tries to grab Mr. Garner’s arm, and Mr. Garner pushes the officer’s arm away, saying, “Don’t touch me!” Then, an officer comes from behind Mr. Garner and places his arm around Mr. Garner’s neck. The officer brings Mr. Garner to the ground, while multiple policemen physically force Mr. Garner to put his hands behind his back. During the arrest, Mr. Garner is heard stating, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” over and over.
Mr. Garner died within an hour of the arrest. After policemen subdued him, he became unconscious. An ambulance came and he was driven to a hospital. On the way, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died. Mr. Garner weighed 350 pounds and had heart disease, severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea. It is clear that his health problems, coupled with the severity of the arrest, led to Mr. Garner’s death.
To determine if the policemen had acted illegally, a grand jury of 23 members reviewed evidence of the case. Of the 23 jurors, 9 were not white. On September 29, the grand jury decided the police did not act illegally. The grand jury decided that if an individual is believed to be breaking the law, policemen’s duty is to stop this activity, and if the person resists arrest, force is necessary. Police did not try to kill Mr. Garner, but as a result of the arrest and Mr. Garner’s health, he died.
Those who believe Mr. Garner was a victim of police brutality claim that he was a “gentle giant,” however, the facts present another scenario. Mr. Garner had a history of breaking the law, and had been charged with selling “Loosies” in the past. Aged 43, Mr. Garner had been arrested 30 times since 1980, on charges including assault and grand larceny. At the time of his arrest and death, Mr. Garner was on bail for illegally selling cigarettes, driving without a license, marijuana possession and false impersonation.
The video of the arrest is terrible, sad, and frightening. It is horrible to witness someone in his last moments of life physically resisting policemen. It is sad to see the challenge that regular-sized policemen have in detaining a huge man who is resisting arrest. And, it is frightening to see that our policemen are forced to enforce outrageous taxes on cigarettes and to know that our country’s laws have become so insane that it makes buying and selling tobacco dangerous.
1. Why have there been protests in cities across America related to Mr. Garner’s case?
2. Try to hold your breath and speak without exhaling or inhaling. Is it possible?
3. When Mr. Garner was saying, “I can’t breathe,” do you think policemen didn’t believe him?
4. What evidence do we have that the police in this case were acting out of racism?
5. What is the bias of the author of this article involving taxes on cigarettes? What words inform you of this bias?
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18 year old, 6 ‘ 5”, 289 pound man was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Nobody argues with these facts. However, many do disagree with evidence of the case and the meaning of the incident. Some view the killing of Michael Brown as a case of police brutality caused by racism, whereas others see it as a policeman protecting himself from a violent and dangerous criminal. Some people have reacted violently by destroying buildings, looting businesses, and attacking policemen, because they wanted to see Officer Wilson punished.
A great amount of investigation took place to uncover what happened the night of August 9th. Initially, the Ferguson police department investigated and found that Officer Darren Wilson acted correctly, shooting in self-defense. Following this investigation, there was a grand jury investigation. St. Louis County prosecutors presented evidence and the jurors (a group of people from society who agree to listen to evidence and decide) determined there was not enough evidence to charge Officer Wilson of a crime. Unlike other grand jury hearings, St. Louis County released all testimony and evidence regarding this case. There were at least three types of evidence related to what happened August 9th: eyewitness testimony, video recording, and forensic evidence.
According to Wilson, he had been called to investigate a crime of a small store being robbed. When he arrived, two men were walking in the middle of the street. After Officer Wilson told the men to go to the sidewalk, they shouted profanities at him. One of the men, Michael Brown, went towards the car, reached in and fought with Officer Wilson. Wilson reported that Brown punched him twice and then reached for the officer’s gun. Wilson then shot at Brown. Mr. Brown then ran back 30 yards and turned around. Wilson shouted for him to lie on the ground. Brown didn’t and charged. Wilson shot him. Brown continued to charge him. Then, Wilson shot more times until Brown was fatally hit.
There were at least 60 witnesses called to testify. All agree that Brown and Wilson fought in the police car, with Brown standing outside reaching in. Dorian Johnson, the man who had robbed the store with Brown, reported that Wilson shot Brown in the back, and that Brown had his hands raised saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Some witnesses claimed Wilson had shot Brown in the back. Other eyewitnesses testified the exact same story Officer Wilson had told. And, some eyewitnesses changed their story during the grand jury, initially saying Brown had been shot in the back, to saying that what they said was actually a lie.
The second piece of evidence we have is a tape recording of the store that Brown robbed with his accomplice, Dorian Johnson. In the video, Brown menacingly stares down the store owner, who attempts to stop Brown before he walks out of the store.
The third piece of evidence we have is the forensic, or physical evidence. According to the autopsy, Brown’s right hand was shot within a distance of 6 to 9 inches of the barrel of a gun, which is consistent with Officer Wilson’s testimony of shooting Brown when there was a struggle in the police car. The other wounds to Brown are also consistent with Officer Wilson’s testimony. Brown suffered from non-fatal wounds on the front, right side of his body, and the final wound was a bullet going down on the top of his head. These wounds contradict some of the witnesses who claim Brown was shot in the back. 12 shell casings were recovered from the scene. Two were found next to the car, and ten were found next to the path that Wilson had claimed Brown took when charging him.
In the U.S.A., Americans have attempted to live in a society that follows the rule of law for over 200 years. This means that all people have to follow the law, and no matter how powerful one person may be, all individuals are equal under the law. Also, the ancient notion of innocent until proven guilty is one that is honored in American courts. Both of these concepts were crucial to enable the St. Louis County grand jury research, listen to, and ably judge the evidence.
Immediately after the shooting, protests exploded in cities across America. Some Americans chose not to wait and find out what the evidence was and convicted Wilson simply because of the color of his skin, which is white. Famous athletes and politicians joined in this activity, as did news media. Officers were attacked, and there are reports of increased violence in St. Louis against the white immigrants from Bosnia. Officer Darren Wilson resigned from his job as a police officer, because he felt that his presence on the Ferguson force would place himself and his fellow policemen in danger. Although he was found 100% innocent, he now lives a life where he will always be looking over his shoulder, wondering if somebody is out to seek vengeance for a crime he didn’t commit.
1. If Officer Wilson had been black, do you think people would have questioned his actions?
2. Was there any evidence presented that showed Officer Wilson was racist?
3. After the grand jury decided not to have a trial, some people in Ferguson destroyed buildings, and others in a major U.S. city attacked policemen. Were these perpetrators justified?
4. Before you read this article, what did you think about “police brutality?” Did your mind change?
5. Imagine you were a policeman. How would you want to be treated if someone accused you of racism?
John De Gree
John De Gree writes the current events with a look at the history of each topic. Articles are written for the young person, aged 10-18, and Mr. De Gree carefully writes so that all readers can understand the event. The perspective the current events are written in is Judeo-Christian.
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