I Can No Longer Keep Silent
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."--Edmund Burke.
I have not engaged in any kind of serious political debate in years. I almost never post political memes, articles, or comments on social media. Since the Lord Jesus graciously saved my soul some years ago, my primary topic of interest has been Him. I prefer to talk about Him more than movies, sports, food, and certainly more than politics. I have almost completely avoided the political fray since the ugliness of the 2016 election. But I can no longer keep silent.
Tuesday, while I was fasting and praying, the Lord showed me that I was not being a good Christian by being silent. Honestly, I just want to be left alone. I certainly don't want to write about tough social issues. I prefer to write about Christ. But it is not Christian to keep silent in the face of lies and injustice--it is cowardice. That's what the Lord showed me--that I was not a Christian, but a coward. Because I see the lies that are leading to injustice, but yet I have said nothing. I have been willing to point out the truths of Jesus, but not the lies of the world.
We are being lied to. The lies are terrible and now the lies are leading to the deaths of innocent black children all around the country. If black lives matter to Christians then we cannot be silent. We must expose the lies and the injustice. First, let's start with the injustice. The injustice is that far too many Americans, mostly black, live in neighborhoods that resemble war zones and there is little that the mayors of their cities are willing to do to stop it. Black people are being shot in staggering numbers. Murders, rapes, arsons, robberies, and assaults are skyrocketing in cities all across America, but most significantly in those areas that are predominantly black.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was brutally murdered in Atlanta when gunmen shot up her mother's car as she was trying to turn around after being stopped at a barricade erected by rioters following the death of Rayshard Brookes. She was black. At least six children were shot and killed by criminals that same weekend. All of them were black. This past weekend a one-year-old baby was shot and killed in New York City. Chicago saw a total of 64 shootings resulting in 11 deaths. ALL of the victims have been black.
How can this not break the heart of anyone, especially a Christian? To watch or listen to these parents talk about their children, with tears rolling down their cheeks, is crushing. I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and agony they are going through and I pray that God will give them some comfort--that He will bring good out of these deaths.
Each of these murders is a terrible travesty. But the greatest injustice being done is that this deadly crime wave is practically ignored. The organization Black Lives Matter doesn't care. Nobody is putting black squares on their Facebook pages for these black children who have been murdered. No one is marching for them. Hollywood celebs are not falling all over themselves to virtue signal and donate money to their families. The media isn't running 24 hour coverage of the murders, and no one in the White House Press Room is asking what the President's reaction is. When actor Terry Crews, who happens to be African American, pointed out the hypocrisy of only caring about black lives when they are taken by white cops he was lambasted on social media and lectured on CNN by a condescending Don Lemon.
That is the injustice. So what are the lies leading to the injustice?
The lies are that black people should fear the police, the police hunt black men like animals, the police are systemically racist, and black people are safer without police than they are with police. The evidence does not support any of these assertions. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A 2016 Harvard study found that there was no racial bias in police shootings. Considering the high rate of encounters the police have with black men, the numbers of black men that were shot and killed by police were expected to be much higher. The study did find that black men were often manhandled by police more roughly than white men, and that is something that should be addressed by police departments. But when we are talking about police "hunting black men like animals," that simply is not happening.
Last year, in 2019, nine unarmed black men were shot and killed by police. NINE! (There were more than twice as many unarmed white men shot and killed by police.) While of course all nine of those deaths are tragic, to put it in perspective, 11 black people were murdered in Chicago ALONE this past WEEKEND. And this was not a particularly deadly weekend. In the first weekend of June in Chicago, 25 people were killed. That's more people than Ted Bundy murdered!
Despite what the media wants us to believe, there is no epidemic of cops murdering black men. No matter what your race is, if you are unarmed you are very unlikely to be killed by police. If you are unarmed AND do NOT commit a crime, the statistical likelihood of the police killing you drops to nearly zero. Sure tragic mistakes--and sometimes even willful or reckless murders--by police happen, (the deaths of Elijah McClain and Kelly Thomas are obvious examples) but these are not the norm. In fact, even being an ARMED black man who HAS committed a crime is hardly a death sentence. There were 235 ARMED black men killed by police in 2019. That sounds like a lot (and it is certainly too many), but for comparison, 415 black men were murdered in Chicago ALONE that same year! That's almost twice as many! And Chicago is on track to have many more deaths this year.
I do not want to downplay the horrors of police brutality. Police brutality is a very real and dangerous thing. Nor am I arguing that there is not much needed police reform. Our police departments are hardly perfect. We all witnessed police brutality in the horrific video of George Floyd, an African American man who was cuffed and then suffocated by police officers. We can see it too in the killing of Tony Timpa, a white man who was killed in 2016 in basically the same manner as George Floyd. Mr. Timpa was a schizophrenic who got lost and called the police asking for help. Instead of helping him, the police killed him, and laughed while they did it.
Jesus weeps for all of those killed unjustly by police, and as Christians we should, too. We should do whatever we can to reduce (or eliminate) these tragic events, including police reform, and prosecute any responsible for abuse or brutality to the fullest extent of the law. But a few tragic deaths--no matter how disturbing--out of the HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of encounters police have with civilians every year, simply do not evidence an epidemic of police murdering black men.
The real epidemic of black murder is coming not from police, but from criminals. And here is why the lies are so dangerous. As a 2018 Princeton study discovered, increasing police directly correlates with decreasing crime--including murder. Makes sense, right? So what happens when you decrease police? You increase crime. Thus, if we want to lower the epidemic of black people being murdered, the last thing we want to do is defund or abolish the police. But that's exactly what we are doing. The (admittedly) Marxist revolutionary organization that calls itself "Black Lives Matter" (BLM), and their comrades in Hollywood, Washington, and the media have convinced people that police are way more dangerous to the black community than criminals. They have convinced a growing number of Americans that for black people to be safe, the cities need to defund--and in some cases-- abolish the police! On its website, BLM states that it not only wants to defund police, but it also wants to breakup black families. I cannot think of a more disastrous policy for black inner city communities than to reduce police and breakup families. Not surprisingly, BLM also supports aborting black babies. But they claim black lives matter.
Defunding and abolishing police departments is happening in cities all over the country with predictable results. For example, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has cut police funding by a BILLION dollars and vilified New York's Finest. The result? A 46% increase in shootings and a 21% increase in murder, primarily within the black community. Like that black father who was simply walking across the street with his daughter when someone drove up and shot him dead. But don't worry, de Blasio is going to paint "BLACK LIVES MATTER" on the street, just as soon as they clean the blood off of it.
It's not only the defunding and abolishing of police that allows crime to increase. It's also the destruction of police morale. This is known as the "Ferguson Effect." After trust in the police dropped drastically following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the police felt they could not do their jobs. With police shying away from actually policing, crime rose in cities all over the country. We're seeing the same thing happen again, but it's even worse this time.
If we teach children to fear the police they will. If we tell a child that police want to kill him simply because of the color of his skin, he's going to believe us. When we convince people that police officers are a far greater threat to them than criminals, they are going to want to get rid of police officers. Thus, people begin to demand that cities defund or even abolish police departments. Police are demonized and departments evacuate large sections of cities. And what happens when the police go away? Crime soars. Shootings soar. Murders soar. And who suffers? Not the spoiled college kids who were out burning buildings in black neighborhoods and demanding the abolition of police. Not the rich white folks who are safe in their wealthy neighborhoods far from the violence. Not the virtue signaling Hollywood celebrities, lying media elites, or Marxist university professors. It's the disenfranchised who suffer--the marginalized that Christ specifically commanded us to care for. It's the children that are murdered, the elderly who can't get into their buildings because it has been taken over by drug gangs, the single mothers who are being raped, the small business owners who are being looted. And it's the young black men who are being told that the police want to kill them, the racist system is rigged against them, and all white people hate them, that feel they have no reason to make a good choice. And the bad choices so many will unfortunately make will just continue the cycle of suffering.
I cannot be silent anymore. You can cancel me, call me a racist, a Nazi, or whatever you want. You can tell me this is my white privilege and that I should just shut up, but I know that I am right with God. And I have been silent long enough. Christians must speak the truth boldly. We have a duty to speak the truth and dispel lies. We have a duty to fight injustice, ESPECIALLY when the right position is not the popular one.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.