It’s been one year since Michael Brown—a black teenager—was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. People commemorated the anniversary by protesting. The protests began peacefully, but then gunfire started. The scene became violent.
Monday night, officials declared a state of emergency to try to bring the situation under control.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel captured video of the crowd chanting, “We’re ready for war.”
Police say they pulled up behind one young man who was shooting a gun—and he turned and began firing at them. They returned fire and critically wounded him.
Of course, some of the protesters don’t believe the police’s version of events. They reflect a growing sense in America of mistrust toward police—that the nation’s law enforcers are simply looking for excuses to persecute minorities.
Stories of such racially charged conflict in American cities, and of the erosion of trust in and even of the authority of local law enforcement, are not going away.
This is the new normal in America. It is a dangerous movement that is gaining momentum.
And that is exactly how some people want it. Surely there are some who sincerely advocate peaceful protests. But there are others who say that isn’t enough. They want violence. They are agitating the public, stirring up anger, and inciting a militant sentiment: We’re ready for war. It’s time for a race war.
For some time the Trumpet has been spotlighting this story as it builds. The reason for that is that this trend is far more dangerous than people realize.
In cities that have experienced high-profile racial incidents with raucous mobs demanding justice, the troubles are intensifying. The police are pulling back—and criminality is growing.
As of the beginning of July, St. Louis has had 92 homicides—up from 58 during the first six months of 2014 and 49 in the first six months of 2013.
In Baltimore this past April, the death of Freddie Gray in police custody sparked violent protests. Authorities directed law enforcers to allow some of the destruction to occur. They then quickly issued stinging indictments against the six police officers involved in Gray’s death in an effort to pacify the mob that was baying for their blood.
It appears that decision was made out of fear of the rioters—if it wasn’t a racially motivated effort to “seek justice” at the expense of the law. State and federal authorities tried to show themselves sympathetic to the criminals—even more than to the innocent people of Baltimore!
Whatever their reasons for doing so, the big lesson this sent to protesters and agitators across the country was clear: Lawlessness gets results. Violent protests are a legitimate, effective means of seeking justice. …
At the same time, decisions like the one to have police “stand down,” or to make an example of these six policemen, destroy the morale of the nation’s law enforcers. Certainly there is no excuse for police brutality. But how many good policemen will fear to do their jobs—jobs that are sure to become even more dangerous as disorder intensifies—knowing the state might side with the criminals, or knowing they could be unjustly prosecuted? The institution that protects and preserves the stability of America’s cities is being undermined and weakened.
As the violence spreads, the will to stop it shrinks. The Baltimore incident will inevitably create more violence throughout America.
We are seeing what happens when you vilify the police and validate the actions of agitators and criminals.
In Baltimore, comparing this past May to the year before, arrests dropped nearly 50 percent—surely a result of policemen fearing prosecution for doing their jobs. Over the same period, violent crime rose 15 percent—and murders by 76 percent.
The situation has only worsened since. Last month there were 45 homicides in the city. That broke a 43-year record set in 1972. Baltimore has had more homicides this year than Detroit. Here are more statistics:
- By the end of July, Baltimore had 189 homicides compared to 119 in July of 2014.
- It has had 366 non-fatal shootings compared to 200 at this time last year.
- In total, the city has seen 506 shootings compared with 269 in 2014—a rise of 88 percent.
- So far Baltimore has had 200 homicides this year. There were 211 homicides in all of 2014.
Not all cities are seeing an increase in violent crime. But several other big cities, especially those whose inner city populations have had particularly confrontational relationships with police, are experiencing similar increased violence.
- Chicago reported 252 homicides compared with 209 in 2014, an increase of over 20 percent.
- Milwaukee, which last year had one of its lowest annual homicide totals in city history, recorded 84 murders so far this year, more than double the tally reached at this point last year. Police Chief Edward Flynn blames a growing distrust of police as part of the reason. Overall it had a 20 percent increase in gun-related crimes by July 4.
- In parts of Milwaukee, 80 percent of gunshots detected by ShotSpotter sensors aren’t even called in to police. To residents, gunfire is so common it has become background noise.
- The number of murders in New Orleans is up more than 33 percent in 2015.
- New York homicides increased 10.1 percent through August 2 compared with the same period a year ago.
This past week, an amazing story came out about Freddie Gray. The Baltimore Sun reported on August 6:
The police detectives who investigated the death of Freddie Gray were told that he had a history of participating in “crash-for-cash” schemes—injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements—but were advised by a state prosecutor not to pursue the information, according to defense attorneys for the six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death.
The defense attorneys said in a court motion Thursday that Assistant State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe told police investigators working the case in its early stages not to “do the defense attorneys’ jobs for them” by pursuing information they had about such schemes and evidence that Gray “intentionally injured himself at the Baltimore City Detention Center.”
As in several other cases, officials took the side of the criminal rather than of the police—even at the obvious expense of the truth.
Meanwhile, the officer who was driving the van in which Gray received his injuries is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder. Three other officers are charged with manslaughter, and two others face lesser charges. They have all pleaded not guilty. Their trial starts in October.
Surely the fact that Gray had a history of lucrative self-injury that deceitfully vilifies police is relevant information that will come out in the courtroom. But what will happen if those officers are acquitted? Many people will take that as proof positive that the entire system is racist. Facts to the contrary, they will loudly and indignantly insist, simply must not be true.
Such glaring instances of deceit belie the reality that these cases are not actually about justice. Justice must be based on truth.
Listen to Joel Hilliker discuss this on Trumpet Hour.
Instead, these cases are being exploited as symbols for a specific cause. Facts are cast aside so a particular narrative can serve as a weapon to foment anger and rage.
You won’t hear much publicity of evidence that Freddie Gray had a history of framing policemen—but even if it became front-page news, that evidence wouldn’t quiet the mob. It wouldn’t alter its view one iota. Ferguson still rings with chants of “hands up, don’t shoot”—even though that story has been proven to be a complete lie.
There are people who want war—and one way or another, they are going to get it.
As Mr. Flurry wrote:
Look now at this lightning-bolt prophecy—explaining the terrible consequences of our grave national sins: “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah 1:7).
This prophecy is a guarantee that our national problems are going to get worse if we don’t listen to God! He is pleading with us to hear His message, to listen to Him and to fear Him. But we … refuse. As a result, the degeneration continues to get much worse very rapidly.
This is a story we all must continue to watch. To better understand just how dangerous it will become according to the prophecies of your Bible, read Gerald Flurry’s July cover story, “Your Cities Are Burned With Fire,” and his August cover story, “Police Under Attack.” ▪