By: Frank Hyden
A man named Jacob Blake was shot 7 times the other day in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The media only cares about this because he’s a black man who was shot by police officers. The usual suspects are out in force, twisting the facts to try to fit the narrative.
They claim Blake was shot while “helping police break up a fight”. The reality is, he was shot because he kept resisting arrest and then walked away from officers ordering him to stop, and started to get into his vehicle. You’re probably going to get shot if you do that, no matter who you are.
Some have pointed to videos of a white guy resisting arrest and not getting shot. First off, he should have been shot. Secondly, you can’t point to a separate case involving a different officer and use that as proof of something. If you’re running an experiment to try to prove or disprove something, you have to change only one factor at a time. You can’t change multiple things (officer, location, skin color, etc) and say that proves your theory. There’s too many variables.
And of course we’re seeing massive protests and riots now. Places burned to the ground and there was looting going on. Here are some links to stories-
You can find plenty more if you want. All of this over something that’s been completely misconstrued. To hear the usual suspects tell it, Blake was ambushed and shot in the back while walking away solely because he was black. It has nothing to do with his fighting with police, then walking to his vehicle and starting to get in despite officers yelling at him to stop. I see some people on social media say that Blake said he was going to get a gun from his vehicle but I don’t know if that’s true or not. That sounds suspect, I don’t see why he would say that but who knows?
Let me make myself perfectly clear. The officers absolutely should have not allowed things to escalate as far as they did. There’s no question about that. I would rather have seen them pistol whip Blake or grab him in a chokehold or use some wrestling to get him to the ground. Of course, if they had done that, we would still have had protests and people yelling about police brutality. But they still should have done that. Officers need to be trained in fighting techniques they can use to non-lethally take down suspects.
However, this does not absolve Blake of responsibility. Why do so many people act as if blame is a zero sum game? “Well, the officers messed up so Blake could do whatever he wanted.” The officers are to blame for letting things get as bad as they did, but Blake is also to blame for letting things get as bad as they did. His own actions escalated things. You don’t get to say that someone else made a mistake so you’re not to blame.
You don’t get to resist arrest because the officers made a mistake. I had people arguing with me on Twitter yesterday that noncompliance doesn’t mean you deserve to get shot. Let’s just say that’s true. We could argue that point another time but for now, let’s just say that’s true. A lot of things that should happen, don’t. This is the real world, where unfair things happen everyday. You shouldn’t have to lock your doors at night, or when you leave your house, but you do. You shouldn’t have to be more mindful of other drivers on the road than you are of yourself, but you do. You shouldn’t have to watch your kids when they’re outside playing so someone doesn’t kidnap them, but you do. You shouldn’t have to, that’s not fair, but that’s the way things are.
See, far too many people think the world is the way it should be, or the way they want it or hope it to be. Instead, the world is what it is and you have to adapt. That used to called having street smarts or maybe common sense. Turns out that’s not so common these days. You have to adapt to the world, it’s not going to change for you.
What happened to Jacob Blake is terrible. But to pretend that he didn’t have a hand in how things played out is ridiculous. This didn’t have anything to do with his skin color, it was his actions that led to this. You can’t control the actions of others, but you can control your own actions. And when your own actions increase the chances of you being shot, you bear responsibility for that. Again, the officers involved are at fault and should be disciplined and punished accordingly. But that does not absolve Blake of his own personal responsibility.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank