It has to be asked: Is there any confrontation between a black man and a police officer that is ever the citizen’s fault?

Apparently not.

In Milwaukee this weekend, a young black man fled a traffic stop on foot, then allegedly brandished a gun at the pursuing officer. The officer — who happened to also be black — shot and killed the man.

The man, Sylville K. Smith, 23, had a prior criminal record, including alleged involvement in a shooting, and police say he had 23 rounds in his gun.

Social media also lit up over the weekend with a photo purporting to be Smith pointing a gun barrel at the camera.

So, to recap: A black man with a criminal record flees police, waves a gun in a black officer’s direction, is killed — and riots ensue?

Again, we ask: It is ever the citizen’s fault? This has gotten to the insane point.

There is video of one black man blaming the entire episode on the fact that “rich people” have all that money and they won’t give it out.

Congratulations, class warriors: You’re winning the class warfare PR battle!

In another video, a woman facing a bank of microphones used her 15 seconds of fame to implore blacks to stop burning their own community — and start burning the suburbs.

“Burning down s— ain’t going to help nothing,” she shrieked. “Take that s— to the suburbs. Burn that s— down.”


Unfortunately, voices such as hers drown out the many others who gathered to holds hands, pray and literally pick up the pieces from the riots. Several businesses were torched and others reportedly looted.

How that furthers the cause of justice is beyond us.

The situation in America’s cities is now certifiably insane.

Where is the individual responsibility?

Where is the voice in one’s head that says don’t take a photo of yourself pointing a gun at the camera; don’t involve yourself in gun play; don’t run from police and disobey lawful orders; and don’t brandish a weapon at a pursuing officer of the law?

Where is the voice in the community saying let’s wait to see what happened and why, before rioting and burning gas stations and looting stores and pelting police with rocks and verbal brickbats?

Yes, there are rogue cops — though many of the flash points of the past few years haven’t been as unambiguous as they’ve been made to appear. And sadly — and, increasingly, tragically — too many Americans have bought into the class warfare rhetoric so common in our politics today. It’s a siren song, one that actually encourages hopelessness and discourages individual effort and accountability.

An admiration for those who strive and build — nowhere better communicated than through the writings of Ayn Rand — has been replaced by a “you didn’t build that” dismissiveness about the fruits of capitalism, as well as the seductive suspicion that someone else is responsible for one’s lot in life, irrespective of one’s own actions.

Should rich people really just give money out willy-nilly (outside the controlled confines of trusted charity)? Or is wealth created by labor, inventiveness, moral action and the creation of something of value?

Those businesses torched in Milwaukee over the weekend were there to do just that.


(c)2016 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

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