MINOT, N.D. -- Amid the strife of modern American politics, we often lose sight of an essential truth.
Sometimes both sides of an argument can be right simultaneously.
In the debate over the use of police force, it's true that the "warrior cop" mentality, and the shift toward military-style tactics and equipment, has harmed a lot of people.
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, American law enforcement officers killed Americans at a rate of 33.5 people per 10 million residents. That's more than triple the next highest country, Canada, which came in at 9.8.
Do the police in other countries kill civilians as often as they do in the U.S.? We look at the data. (Short answer: No. Not even close.) https://t.co/L99mT9eGfq— Prison Policy Init. (@PrisonPolicy) June 5, 2020
Those are just the people who died.
Not represented are the people who are injured or wrongly detained or subjected to other indignities such as unlawful and humiliating searches.
This problem has been most acute in the policing of minority communities, but it's certainly not limited to those areas.
We can do better.
Yet many of the protests against police violence have eroded their moral high ground by perpetrating their own brand of violence.
While many of these demonstrations across the nation have been peaceful, in places such as Seattle and Portland and Minneapolis, they haven't been. Protesters have attacked private property, and public property, and even people, and when they are opposed in these endeavors by police who must protect that property, they cry about police brutality.
This puts the police in a terrible position.
What are they supposed to do when confronted by a violent mob which has no regrets about setting fires and brutalizing dissenters? A mob which sets out intending to provoke a violent confrontation with law enforcement?
These brutal "progressive" bullies create situations where the police have no choice but to respond with force. They can't stand by and allow arson and vandalism and assault. Yet when the police use force, even in retaliation to force, the "progressive bullies" begin casting themselves as the victims of fascism, and many in the news media are happy to play along with that narrative.
North Dakotans got an up-close-and-personal look at these tactics during the violent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline not so long ago.
Local law enforcement was cast as the villains, even by many of our supposedly objective news reporters, yet what did we expect them to do? Let the crowds of political zealots who assembled themselves in rural North Dakota attack the pipeline crews?
Yes, our nation has a problem with cops killing and abusing people. This is undeniable.
Our nation also has a problem with a particular sect of left-wing political activists. They, as a calculated tactic, perpetrate violence against people and property and then play the victim when the cops stop them.
Both of these things are true.
We cannot tolerate either.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.