On Monday night in Chicago, a vigil was held for Jaslyn Adams, a 7-year-old Black girl who was brutally murdered after her car got caught in the crosshairs of a gang-related shooting at a local McDonald’s drive-thru.
“Please put the guns down,” Tawny McMullen, Jaslyn’s’ aunt, pleaded to viewers of the local ABC News. “My 8-year-old baby says she doesn’t want to go out and play because she is scared that she is going to be shot.”
No one outside of Chicago knows Jaslyn’s name. Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and social justice warriors were instead transfixed on the outcome of the George Floyd trial. The mainstream media carried the verdict live, President Biden spoke about the need to stamp out systemic racism, and Vice President Kamala Harris pledged “we are going to make something good come out of this tragedy.”
Floyd had his justice, but Jaslyn may never have hers. Her killers are still not in custody — and the political left and our national news media doesn’t seem to care.
For, Jaslyn’s case doesn’t fit the narrative – she wasn’t a Black girl killed by a cop, she was a Black girl killed in gang violence.
There are more deaths like Jaslyn’s taking place each and every day in American cities than there are like Floyd’s, they just don’t get the attention they deserve. You see, Jaslyn’s death can’t be blamed on “systemic racism” or “white privilege,” the BLM narratives that are tearing our country apart and fueling more violence.
Travis Campbell, a PhD student in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, analyzed the effect of BLM protests in the cities they occurred in from 2014 to 2019. He found the protests correlated with a 10% increase in murders. In the years he analyzed, there was somewhere between 1,000 and 6,000 more homicides than there would’ve been if these protests never occurred.
Why is this? Well, it’s called the Ferguson affect: Law-enforcement officers simply pull back from their jobs because of the intensified media and political scrutiny that comes with the BLM movement.
Harvard economists back up Mr. Campbell’s findings. After sensationalized national news coverage of police use of deadly force in Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ferguson, Missouri and Riverside, California, they found there were almost 900 more homicides and 34,000 more felonies as cops pulled back from voluntary activities like questioning suspicious individuals and not bothering with traffic stops. In Chicago, Harvard economists found the number of police-civilian interactions decreased by almost 90% the month after the city’s investigation into deadly force.
Last year, Chicago had 769 homicides, a 55% increase from the year prior, and among the highest the city has ever recorded. The overwhelming majority of the victims — 78% — were Black. There was only one unarmed Black man who was killed by a police officer — after a high-speed car chase, where the man fled a warrant for his arrest.
The entire BLM narrative of unarmed, Black men being killed by police officers is greatly exaggerated. Of the 1,021 people who were killed by officers last year, 243 of them were Black, and only 18 of those were unarmed, according to The Washington Post Fatal Force tracker. The total number of those killed by officers has also remained steady, year over year, at about 1,000.
Yet, that reality doesn’t match the American public’s perception.
Americans who identify as liberal or very liberal believe 1,000 or more unarmed Black men were murdered by police in 2019, according to a survey produced by Skeptic.com. Only 12 were.
The second question the survey asked was: “In 2019, what percentage of people killed by police were Black?” Liberals guessed 58% and conservatives 41%. The actual percentage is 22%.
Liberal politicians, by championing the BLM movement, are causing this distortion in reality. They’re also indirectly causing crime rates to jump in Black communities around the country as police officers back away from their jobs, and some quit altogether.
Calls for police reform may be justified to build better relationships and trust among the Black community. But defunding the police or abolishing it altogether like some progressive lawmakers have advocated is a step backwards and will lead to even more deaths of innocent Black girls like Jaslyn Adams.
We need the perception to start matching the reality.
• Kelly Sadler is commentary editor at The Washington Times.