Early on Christmas morning in Nashville, as most of us slept or opened presents with our young children, a massive bomb exploded in the city’s pre-dawn darkness. Despite one of the largest bombs to go off in decades in any American city, there were no deaths or serious injuries. Why? Because six heroic Metro Nashville police officers rushed to move people away from dangerous proximity to the bomb.
The six officers, pictured below, deserve our praise, but in 2020, unfortunately, that type of praise has been rare. Because 2020 has been a year when the media, athletes, teams, sports leagues and individual users on social media have almost universally demonized police. Talk to any police officer working anywhere in the country and they will tell you that demonization has very real consequences in their lines of work: police are leaving the force in droves, driven away by the lack of respect from people in this country, by the media’s insistence that police should be stripped of their authority and defunded, by the argument that there should be far fewer people with badges on our streets.
That there should be less officers like the heroes in Nashville.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 28, 2020
The demonization of police has been led, often, by athletes, teams and leagues, which rather than support police, have chosen to embrace many of the pillars of the #defundthepolice movement, which is, in terms of lives lost to violence, the most ruinous political policy of the 21st century.
How do we know this?
When 2020 ends late on Thursday night, we are likely to be left with the largest single yearly increase in murders in the modern day history of this country. How bad has it been? Consider the tally, with numbers likely to still rise between now and the end of the year, murders are up massively across the entire country. Here’s a cross section of cities across the country with massive murder increases, you could just as easily add your own city to the list:
New York City 39%
San Francisco 32%
Los Angeles 31%
Washington, DC 25%
Pick any decent-sized city in the country and the murder rate has skyrocketed. And what’s most amazing about these skyrocketing rates? Murders were down in the early spring because of covid lockdowns. The murder rates didn’t accelerate until, you guessed it, all the protests against the police and the calls to defund the police began in May, June and July across this country.
The end result?
The protests combined with arguments to defund the police led police to retrench from enforcing the laws in their communities, which caused violent crime to skyrocket. As a result, the data tells us a clear story: thousands of people have been murdered who would have been alive if police were allowed to do their jobs.
And most of these murder victims, sadly, are minorities.
The defund the police movement, which sprang out of social media and has virtually no support anywhere in the country by any racial or ethnic group — studies consistently show that over 80% of white, black, Asian and Hispanic people all overwhelmingly reject the idea of defunding the police — has led to more violent deaths than any American political cause in the 21st century. There is absolutely zero justification for any politician in the country to support defunding the police. Not if they care about saving their citizens lives, that is.
Yet you hear almost nothing about the results of the defund the police movement across the country.
In fact, most of you seeing this data about surging murder rates had no idea how bad it had gotten.
Why is that? Why is a media that claims to care so desperately about death when police misconduct is alleged, totally absent when tens of thousands of other murders occur? There are probably many reasons, but the most prominent is most in the media are lazy and take their cues from political demagogues seeking to exploit outlier cases of police misconduct because it increases their power. These people want to trot out the tired trope that police are racist devils and that story is easy to tell when a person is mistreated on video. But for every police crime there are hundreds of thousands of heroic acts that never see the light of day.
So rather than point out that police are imperfect and that misconduct is rare, the media and their political allies attempt to tarnish all police based on the criminal acts of a handful. As a result, stories go viral, mobs form, and protests ensue. But the public eventually tires of that storyline — especially once elections are over, it’s no coincidence that #blacklivesmatter trends every four years just in time to help juice political turnout — and the result of the protests and the calls to delegitimize the police aren’t covered as stories.
So what happens when the media and the politicians leave the inner cities? When all the suburban selfies on social media dry up and the people who live in those communities are left behind? The data is clear: crime rates skyrocket and innocent victims pile up by the thousands.
And almost no one notices.
Far from defunding the police, the data is clear: we need more police on our streets. The idea that America would be safer with fewer police working to protect our streets is so mind-numbingly and insanely stupid that no one with a functional brain should even argue it. Crime rates go up every time police are taken off the streets. And crime rates go down every time we put more police on the streets.
There’s no argument to the contrary.
Unfortunately we’ve turned what used to be a bipartisan consensus to support police into a political issue. Democrats (mostly) demonize the police today, Republicans (mostly) defend them. But this perspective is ludicrous. This shouldn’t be a political issues at all. We should all be supporting the police. Every single one of us. In fact, if Joe Biden wanted to send a strong message to the country, he’d repudiate the idea of defunding the police in his inaugural address and call for more police and better training for those police on the streets.
The idea of #defundingthepolice is something that woke white people living in rich suburbs can put on social media to make themselves feel better. But you know who never ends up defunding the police? The rich suburbs with low crime rates.
They keep their police, increase their funding, and hire more of them.
And you know what also happens?
Those communities stay safe.
Study after study has told us the same thing, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, all people want MORE police in their cities, not less.
This, by the way, doesn’t mean all police are perfect at their jobs.
Many aren’t. Those officers should be charged with crimes when appropriate and removed from the force when complaints build up against them. But that’s more of a union problem than it is a police problem. Unions, regardless of the profession, spend 99% of their time defending the 1% of knuckleheads in any profession from being fired. If you’re great at your job, you really don’t need a union, your excellence speaks for itself and you’ll always be employed. The “blue wall of silence” isn’t predicated on protecting criminals, it’s just a union protecting its members, which is what unions, whether they represent car makers or teachers, does.
So, yes, the officers in George Floyd’s case deserve to be prosecuted. And they were, almost immediately. But those charges aren’t the end of this story. That’s just what the media told you was the end of the story. The end of the story is police, ripped of their legitimacy and demonized by political leaders in those communities, withdraw from aggressive police work for fear of another incident occurring, making the situation even more dangerous in their cities.
The result is many of these inner cities lose their police protection and crime skyrockets.
The Ferguson Effect — so named for the impact we saw in inner cities in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri protests back in 2016 — is very real and its impact is tragic.
Violent crime rates, shootings and murders, soar as soon as the police pull out. Criminals take advantage of the void and fill the absence with illegal acts. And the people left behind to suffer in these communities lose their ability to summon police protection.
What about the thousands of (mostly) black inner city residents who have been murdered by criminals in their cities since the black lives matter protests began in May? Do they deserve justice? Evidently not. What about the hundreds of innocent murdered children who have been victims of rampaging violence in our inner cities? Do they deserve justice? Evidently not as well.
The minute a police officer is accused of misbehaving it immediately goes viral on the jury-rigged social media trending topics which regularly feature events that demonize police, but why don’t children being murdered in inner cities go viral or trend across the country? Why isn’t there a massive demand for justice in those cases?
Because the villains are harder to find, the targets are less pronounced.
It’s shameful, honestly.
The social media platforms — and our media — have chosen to demonize police instead of making our communities safer. That’s despite the fact that the data clearly shows that over the past several decades all of us — white, black, Asian and Hispanic — have benefited from a collapsing national murder rate.
Because police are becoming better at their jobs!
Far from terrorizing people across the country, police, like we saw in Nashville, are saving tens of thousands of lives every year. Police shootings have been trending down for decades, violent crime has been trending down, all of us are benefiting from better, safer policing.
We’ve replaced hard data with very real stories impacting tens of thousands of police nationwide — data which shows that police are doing a better job of making us safer every year — with outlier viral anecdotes of police behaving badly.
Look, I wish every police officer behaved perfectly, but do you know what would happen if we eliminated every police shooting in the country, justified or not, that takes a black person’s life? 99% of black murders would still be happening. So do black lives matter or do black lives only matter when white police officers are involved in their deaths? Because it sure seems like the latter.
All of these are important and significant questions that we should be attempting to solve as a national community. No one, not any white, black, Asian or Hispanic person, wants to live in a community overtaken by violent crime. So why are our athletes, leagues and teams, who were willing to walk out and refuse to play over Jacob Blake, an armed man with a sexual assault warrant outstanding being shot because his alleged victim called police asking them to protect her, saying nothing about this extreme increase in violent crime and murders?
Why won’t LeBron James say a word when two Los Angeles police are the victims of a cold blooded execution attempt? Why won’t any athlete, team or league actually come out and say something that could be truly impactful, “Let’s support the police in our country. They aren’t our problem, they’re a huge part of the solution.”
You want to make a huge difference? Imagine the impact athletes could have if they told their fans to treat police with respect. Yes, police should treat everyone with respect too, but all too often what sports leagues, athletes and teams are doing is adding kerosene to the fire by continuing the demonization of the police based on outlier anecdotal videos of misbehavior. If police and those they come into contact with distrust each other guess what happens? More violence, not less.
There’s a very strong argument that far from making America better when it comes to policing, athletes, teams and leagues are making it worse. If police hadn’t been demonized, there would be thousands of less murder victims this year.
Our nation is poised to have the largest murder increase on a one year basis in American history.
I think the reason is very simple — we allowed idiots to argue the police were the problem in this country. We let them lead the conversation, we let them argue that defunding the police made sense.
That isn’t remotely true.
If you want less murders, we need more police, not less.
Anyone who is arguing to #defundthepolice should be shouted down in the marketplace of ideas as loudly as possible.
I pledge to do my part at Outkick. Which is why I’d like you to join me in making 2021 the year we reverse the demonization of the police and start to say thank you to all our police officers.
Sports can be a big part of this quest.
It used to be athletes, teams leagues and police worked together to all make us safer — heck, just go watch “The Last Dance” and see how well the Chicago Bulls got along with police in their community, Michael Jordan’s best friends were cops or former cops, same with Shaquille O’Neal — let’s make 2021 a year where we regularly honor the heroism of police instead of tearing them all down as cowardly devils.
So I’ll start by putting my money where my mouth is: thank you to the Nashville police department for all you do to protect those of us in this city. And thank you for all the lives you saved on Christmas morning.
I’m donating $10k to your police benevolent fund.
Let’s change the narrative in 2021, let’s back the blue.
And in the process, reverse the deadliest murder increase in American history.