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HomeIllinois NewsBeckman: The Thug of the Week is Not a Civil Rights Martyr

Beckman: The Thug of the Week is Not a Civil Rights Martyr




By Hank Beckman - 

Note to Black Lives Matter and their woke allies in Antifa, the Democratic Party and mainstream journalism: there are only so many times that you can turn a common criminal into a civil rights icon.

The latest reprobate to be ventilated by law enforcement but venerated by the left is one Jacob Blake, Jr., a Wisconsin resident with outstanding warrants for third degree sexual assault, criminal trespass to property and domestic abuse.

Mr. Blake attracted the renewed attention of the Kenosha authorities when the original complainant called to let them know he was violating a restraining order leveled against him in response to the alleged assault.

The police arrived, whereupon Blake resisted arrest, was tased to no effect, fought with police officers and was allegedly reaching for a weapon, prompting an officer to discharge his firearm.

The fact that Blake was shot in the back set in motion the latest round of arson, looting and general mayhem that destroyed a good portion of Kenosha’s central business district.

On cue, and without benefit of an formal investigation, leftists began adding his name to a list of blacks killed by police that we are told is ironclad proof that black men are being hunted down by white cops.

The fact that he was credibly accused of sexual assault, an assault that allegedly occurred in front of his victim’s children, that his victim called the police that night because he was violating the restraining order and resisted arrest should leave him well short of Emmitt Till’s status in a normal person’s ranking of victims of oppression. 

Yet that is exactly what leftists would have us believe; a common criminal resisting arrest and being shot by police is the modern-day equivalent of a 14-year-old black kid in 1950s Mississippi murdered by white racists for whistling at a white woman.

Apple CEO called Blake “another Emmett Till.” Blake’s sister, Letetra Widman, claimed Till as one of her own. “It happened to Emmett Till,” she said. “Emmett Till is my family.”

It would take a decent-size magazine article to list all the people who have compared Blake’s shooting to Till’s murder; suffice it to say, the comparison is well on its way to becoming accepted as a matter of historical record.

Do any of these people making this comparison realize what they are saying? Do they really know the facts of Emmett Till’s murder? For anyone making a serious comparison, a short history lesson is in order.

Emmett Till, born and raised in Chicago and visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta, was accused, in various accounts, of whistling or flirting with a married white store owner. (Decades later, she admitted that she lied about the incident)

At the time, Till’s actions were seen as a serious breach of decorum in the deep South. Enraged by the act, the woman’s husband and his half-brother went armed to Till’s uncle’s house and kidnaped him. They then beat him, mutilated him and shot him in the head before tossing him in the Tallahatchie River.

When his body was brought back to Chicago, his mother made a point to wake him with an open casket, letting people all over the world see the pictures of his bloated, mutilated face. It was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights movement, galvanizing blacks and drawing sympathy from many whites.

To suggest that there is anything remotely similar about the two incidents should insult the intelligence of the average eighth-grader.

One was engaging in a fairly normal, albeit in this context unwise, teenage activity, while the other was an adult who had already run afoul of the law to the point where there were warrants out for his arrest, which sparked the whole police encounter that fateful night.

Ever since the Rodney King beating by the Los Angelos police was caught on video in 1992, black people engaged in criminal activity have been portrayed as civil rights martyrs of the modern era, and this glorification of criminals needs to stop.

Legitimate civil rights heroes fight to right historic wrongs, for equality in society, and they shouldn’t have their memories tarnished by equating them to marginal characters who suffered not because of their skin color, but because of terrible choices they made that led to unpleasant, sometimes lethal, consequences.

Rosa Parks wanted to ride in the same seat on the bus where any citizen could; Michael Brown was attacking a police officer and trying to get his weapon away from him when he was shot.

Medgar Evers was a World War Two veteran who fought for civil rights, to end segregation in public accommodations and secure voting rights for blacks when he was murdered in is driveway; Trayvon Martin was a thug-in-training who was shot while in the process of assaulting a much smaller person.

The late John Lewis was also a pioneer of the Civil Rights movement who repeatedly risked his life and got his skull fractured by racist thugs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Rayshard Brooks was a drunk who fell asleep in a Wendy’s drive-through, fought with cops, got a taser away from one of them and was firing it at them when he was shot.

Is it really that hard to see the difference in legitimate victims of racism and people engaged in criminal activity? It’s possible that many who believe that Jacob Blake is a modern-day Emmett Till are just ignorant of the facts; history isn’t exactly the strong suit of modern education. It’s depressing to think that many activists know the difference, but are using these incidents for their own cynical reasons.

None of this is to say that every police killing of a black man—or person of any race—is justifiable. There have been several instances in recent years that, to say the least, have been questionable. At worst, some were outright murder.

But the fact that these incidents represent a tiny fraction of the interactions police have with blacks every year, and the undeniable fact that more white people are killed by police in any given year, leads one to believe that, rather than a legitimate desire for racial justice, the left has other motivations behind the outrage we’re seeing played out in our city streets.

And it’s about time we start examining the left’s real goals, because no thinking person believes it has anything to do with racial justice.


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