Opinion, The Wall Street Journal, 10/29/2015. FBI Director James B. Comey, from a speech October 23: “A chill wind has changed police behavior, and now violent crime is rising. Its victims are almost entirely young black men.”
Far more people are being killed in America’s cities this year than in many years. . . . And who’s dying? Police chiefs say the increase is almost entirely among young men of color, at crime scenes in bad neighborhoods where multiple guns are being recovered. . . . Communities of color need to demand answers. Police and civilian leaders need to demand answers. Academic researchers need to hit this hard. . . .
I spoke to officers privately in one big city precinct who described being surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high, taunting them the moment they get out of their cars. They told me, “We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of our cars.” I’ve been told about a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video.
But we can’t lose sight of the fact that there really are bad people standing on the street with guns. The young men dying on street corners all across this country are not committing suicide or being shot by the cops. They are being killed by other young men with guns. . . .
Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a strong police presence and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close “What are you guys doing on this corner at one o’clock in the morning?” policing. All of us, civilian and law enforcement, white, black, and Latino, have an interest in that kind of policing. . . .
We need to figure out what’s happening and deal with it now.