Every parent goes through the phase where their child is defiant. For most parents it is when the child first learns the word “no”. It suddenly becomes their favorite word. Fortunately, most children grow out of that phase. Our daughter didn’t really use the word no that often. For her, the go to phrase was, “yeah…but.”
She has sort of grown out of it. As most parents of teenagers know, we know very little. They know everything. If only they could run the government then maybe everything would all work out. Unfortunately, the “yeah…but” phenomenom is rampant in our culture. It has infected more than just teenagers.
The recent move on the right is to focus on the murder of a five year old little boy named Cannon Hinnant. You also see other murders mentioned. These are all white people that have been murdered. Almost universally, they have been murdered by black people. This somehow erases Black Lives Matter. See, the muder of the five year old is just as bad as the murder of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.
Let’s get one thing straight. The murder of any person is a tragedy. Anyone that murders a young boy or girl is especially evil. There is no getting around that. Years ago I had a second cousin that was murdered. The Houston police chief at the time simply said it wasn’t their goal to solve every crime. Had I been the mayor I would have demanded his badge on the spot. Suffice it to say, that crime was never solved. Even though he was a distant relative, there is still a palpable anger there. So, a part of me gets it.
Still, we don’t get to partition the caring of our soul. We don’t get to push out caring for one cause when a new cause is shoved in front of our face. Also, those that want to trumpet the cause of Cannon or any other white murder victim need to keep one thing in mind. The people responsible are almost always arrested. In fact, Cannon’s murderer was immediately arrested and charged. Lock him up and throw away the key. No really, he shouldn’t see the light of day.
However, there is a significant difference when someone is murdered by the state. That’s the difference here. I don’t expect my neighbors to kill me, but my neighbors aren’t professionally charged with my protection. They are not my keeper. They are not responsible for my safety in any legal way. We do not put our trust in them to protect us. We do that with the police. Parents do that with us when they bring their kids to school.
Caring about Cannon doesn’t mean I stop caring about anyone else. We are capable of multi-tasking. We can do both. Heck, we can care about more than two things at once. That is the most insidious part of this whole deal. Why wasn’t there a huge public funeral for Cannon? My cousin didn’t get one either, but he was a just a man and not a five year old. Again, the state didn’t kill him. Those sworn to protect him didn’t kill him. They didn’t kill my cousin either. Sure, they failed miserably in apprehending and convicting his killer, but those are the breaks. Floyd and Taylor will killed by those that were sworn to protect them.
One of the things conservatives are good at is oversimplfying things. Experts call it issue framing. Liberals on the other hand are horrible at it. The battle cry in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder was “defund the police.” That was a horrible slogan. It confuses people and scares them. It pisses off people who support police and the police themselves. When it is fully explained it makes a lot more sense. There are a number of issues that work that way.
Again, it is about forcing you to make a false choice. Wanting to hold officers accountable for when they make fatal mistakes doesn’t mean we don’t want to be safe. Like with most cases, those cases should be treated on a case by case basis. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to support good officers that do an often thankless job. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to punish ordinary citizens that do extraordinarily evil things. It’s really as simple as it sounds. We want everyone to be accountable for the decisions they make. That’s true whether they be an officer that kills an unarmed black man or a neighbor that brutally kills a five year old boy. Caring about one doesn’t mean you have to stop caring about the other.