Trust the Public to Not Judge Groups by the Worst Among Them

by Jim Geraghty

Trust the Public to Not Judge Groups by the Worst Among Them

The worst among us do not represent us as a whole, thankfully.

William Calley doesn’t represent men and women in uniform. Ward Churchill doesn’t represent professors. Jeffrey Dahmer doesn’t represent chocolate factory employees. Aaron Hernandez does not represent the New England Patriots.

Most of us know that. Most of us understand that it’s unfair, inaccurate, and a smear to take the worst individual in a group and contend that all members of a group are “like that.” James Holmes is rare among gun owners. Eric Rudolph is rare among abortion opponents. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik are rare among Muslims.

On that last one, is that why authorities keep acting like they never want to admit that a mass shooter is Muslim? Every time there’s a terror attack, we see coverage of local Muslims fearing a backlash. And while there are occasional incidents – mostly verbal abuse from strangers – we thankfully don’t see it on a massive scale or escalation. Most Americans go out of their way to demonstrate that they don’t blame all Muslims for the actions of a violent extremist among them. My sense is the kind of jerk who harasses the elderly shop owner down the street because of something ISIS did is the kind of jerk who’s just looking for an excuse to lash out.

So is there genuine fear among authorities that a public discussion of that God-awful attack in Chicago is going to stir some sort of mass reaction against African-American youth?

Because Noah Rothman notices some really odd assertions coming from the Chicago police:

By 6 a.m. Chicago time, local police cautioned reporters that it was too early to determine whether the attack had any racial motive. By 7:45, however, police were certain that there was no racial motive and that the man who was abducted from a local McDonalds was targeted only because he had a learning disability. Investigators believe that the victim knew one of his attackers from high school, and may have accompanied his tormenters willingly. To claim, however, that there was no racial element to a video in which a white man is tortured and berated about his skin color while his attackers shout epithets about white people and the Caucasian president-elect beggars belief.

Is there fear that Americans of all colors will hear about this attack and conclude, “yup, that’s the way blacks are”? Or “that’s the way black teenagers are”? Come on. Give us a little credit. Even if the facts are potentially inflammatory, it is the job of the authorities and the media to inform the public with the facts. It’s when authorities and the media lie, or offer implausible rationales – i.e., there was no racial motive to attackers who said “f*** white people” that people truly get suspicious that the real story is much worse than what they’re being told.

And now, the facts:

Charged in the attack were Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; and sisters Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, who lived in an apartment in the 3300 block of West Lexington Street where the assault allegedly took place.

The four — who are all African-American — were each charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to police. Hill also was charged with robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and residential burglary, while both Covingtons were charged with residential burglary, police said.

Police said all four have given statements admitting to their roles in the alleged attack. They’re scheduled to appear for a bond hearing Friday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Greg Jarrett, Fox News anchor and former defense attorney:

Because Illinois seeks to protect people from attacks based on both race and disability, this case presents two distinct kinds of hate crimes. Which means double trouble for the accused. 

The star witness will be the videotape. It speaks for itself. The suspects are caught in all their malignity. The victim is seen in all his misery. The prosecution can rest its case without much more.

Yes, I am well aware of the “presumption of innocence.” And the defendants will get their day in court should they so choose. But they would be wise to avoid it. A plea deal would be a more judicious course, if for no other reason than to avoid further inflaming their community and the court. 

I can’t imagine a jury ignoring the incontrovertible acts of brutality seen on the tape. But then, this is Chicago where criminal justice is to justice…as military music is to music.

But assuming the defendants are convicted, the real question is how the trial judge will punish. Judges in Chicago are notorious for meting out meager sentences. Thus, the rampant crime in “the windy city” that has made it the murder capital of America. 

A judge who cares about law and order should rule that the sentences run consecutively, not concurrently. Throw away the key. The remote chance at rehabilitation should take a back seat to deterrence and retribution.

Our David French’s conclusions:

We can’t look at the filmed Chicago beatings and the hundreds of Chicago killings as distinct, with the beatings “political violence” and the killings just crime as usual. They’re both the product of a depraved culture, and they’re both facilitated by the breakdown in law and order. It’s time to stop celebrating depravity. It’s time to stop crippling the police. And it’s time to speak the truth. Our nation’s social fabric is fraying — nowhere more than in Chicago. This is the Left’s city, a foundation of its national power. How many more people have to die before it changes course?

Okay, Now the Transition Sounds Like It’s Hitting Serious Turbulence

Two ominous signs on the presidential transition this morning: First, why doesn’t the rest of the Trump team trust Mattis on personnel? I thought the cabinet secretaries were going to pick their own supporting staff

The honeymoon seems to be ending between retired Gen. James N. Mattis and Donald Trump’s transition team amid an increasingly acrimonious dispute over who will get top jobs in the Defense Department — and who gets to make those decisions.

With only two weeks left before Inauguration Day and days before Mattis’s Senate confirmation hearing, most major Pentagon civilian positions remain unfilled. Behind the scenes, Mattis has been rejecting large numbers of candidates offered by the transition team for several top posts, two sources close to the transition said.

The dispute over personnel appointments is contributing to a tenser relationship between Mattis and the transition officials, which could set the stage for turf wars between the Pentagon and the White House in the coming Trump administration.

Mattis is also pushing for the Trump transition team to allow “Never Trump” Republicans to serve in the Pentagon, but so far the Trump team is refusing.

One position that is a source of tension is undersecretary of defense for intelligence, a powerful post that overseas all Defense Department intelligence agencies, which include the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Mattis has rejected all of the names the Trump team has offered to be the top intelligence official in the department, another transition source said. Mattis is also unlikely to accept Trump’s top Pentagon transition landing team official, Mira Ricardel, as a top official. She was rumored to be in line to be undersecretary of defense for policy, a hugely influential job.

Secondly, if you wanted to make sweeping reforms of the intelligence community… wouldn’t you want to run some ideas by the former CIA director on your team, just to see what he thought?

Former CIA director R. James Woolsey Jr., a veteran of four presidential administrations and one of the nation’s leading intelligence experts, resigned Thursday from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team because of growing tensions over Trump’s vision for intelligence agencies…

People close to Woolsey said that he had been excluded in recent weeks from discussions on intelligence matters with Trump and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the incoming White House national security adviser. They said that Woolsey had grown increasingly uncomfortable lending his name and credibility to the transition team without being consulted. Woolsey was taken aback by this week’s reports that Trump is considering revamping the country’s intelligence framework, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.

Love Woolsey or hate Woolsey, if you want to make big changes, what would be the harm in asking him for input?

ADDENDA: This week on the pop culture podcast, our 99th edition, and first of the new year: Why New Year’s Eve needs to move to a different spot on the calendar, why ABC’s reality show The Bachelor is designed to make you feel good about your relationship; CW’s Riverdale and when a reboot changes the original material so much it’s no longer a reboot; why the Golden Globes are a little more fun than most Hollywood awards shows and Mickey’s breathless update on the Great Pillow Controversy of 2017, a.k.a., “Pillowgate.”

Big week coming up next week: I’m scheduled to talk about GM’s Mary Barra on Fox Business Channel at 2 p.m on Monday, appearing on CNN International Tuesday, and guest-co-hosting WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall on Friday.

It’s obvious that the Chicago Facebook Live kidnapping does not reflect all black people, but the media shouldn’t hide the facts. Also, Donald Trump’s transition problems.

The Morning Jolt

By Jim Geraghty