A War of Words

In the last 13 months, there have been some horrific murders of police officers that appear to have been at least spurred by the animosity toward police that flashed up after Ferguson and the Eric Garner incident in New York City.

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In the last 13 months, there have been some horrific murders of police officers that appear to have been at least spurred by the animosity toward police that flashed up after Ferguson and the Eric Garner incident in New York City.

The killings of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos last December were by the shooter's own social media admission motivated by revenge for Eric Garner. Other attacks on officers are harder to pin on the post-Ferguson anti-police sentiment. For example, at this time we really don't know why Dep. Darren Goforth of the Harris County (Texas) Sheriff's Office was ambushed and killed in late August while gassing up his patrol vehicle.

While such attacks on officers point to anti-police hatred among some of the population, they do not necessarily provide proof that there is a war on police. The mainstream media has been quick to dismiss the very concept that groups like Black Lives Matter are waging a war on police. They point to statistical analysis that show cop killings are actually down this year when compared to last year as proof of their argument.

When you just look at the raw numbers, their argument holds water. The police body count is substantially down. A total of 29 officers were feloniously killed by gunfire from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 of this year. That's a 17% drop when compared to the first nine months of 2014.

Where this statistical argument falls apart is in the known unknowns. We don't have figures on how many officers were the targets of potentially fatal attacks so far this year. And we won't for at least two years when the FBI releases its "2015 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted" report.

All of this statistical argument, however, misses one key aspect of the war on police as waged in the post-Ferguson era: It's not necessarily a shooting war.

Soldier and philosopher Carl von Clausewitz wrote that "war is the continuation of politics by other means." What he meant by that is a matter of interpretation, but the Prussian general from the Napoleonic Wars would be stunned by how political warfare has become in the 21st century, especially in terms of propaganda.

The war on police is primarily a propaganda war built on big lies. And the biggest lie in contemporary America is "hands up, don't shoot."

"Hands up, don't shoot" became the rallying cry of anti-police demonstrations following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by then Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. But the narrative that Brown was surrendering with his hands up when he was killed was totally debunked by not only a St. Louis County grand jury but also by the FBI and other Department of Justice law enforcement agencies.

Yet the "hands up, don't shoot" lie persists. I would bet if you conducted a survey of most Americans a significant number would say they still believe Michael Brown was shot with his hands up. It's very difficult to counter such a big lie.

Another big lie in the war on police is the statements by groups like Black Lives Matter that they mean no ill will toward all law enforcement officers, just toward those officers who perpetrate excessive force and racial profiling against African-American suspects. The disingenuous nature of such statements is revealed in the words of protesters who carried Black Lives Matter banners and shouted "Pigs in a blanket (body bags), fry 'em like bacon!" at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul just hours after Dep. Goforth was murdered in a Houston area gas station.

But of all the big lies of your enemies' propaganda campaign in the war on police the most hateful is the implication that you don't have the legal right to defend yourself. Your enemies trot out this tactic after you use clearly justified force. Officers who were fired upon and shot back or who fought back against gun grabs, have been vilified by anti-police protests. And that is leading to dangerous hesitation by some officers in life-and-death situations.

It's hard to prove there is a physical war on police. But there is a propaganda war being waged by people schooled in the tactics of Joseph Goebbels and Saul Alinsky. The only way to win that war is to not let it affect your morale or your performance. Always be aware that the vast majority of the American people, regardless of ethnicity, support you and see you as protectors, not as the enemy.

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