Using A Canadian Hero To Perpetuate A Lie About American Cops
It is an indelible image. A lone Toronto cop facing down a suspect after a horrific murder spree. A suspect who appears to be brandishing a weapon at Const. Ken Lam. The suspect taunts Lam, asking Lam to shoot him.
“Get down!” says Lam as he slips out from behind the cover of his police vehicle.
“I have a gun in my pocket,” the suspect warns him.
“I don’t care,” Lam answers. “Get down!”
In short order, the suspect lies on the ground to be subdued by Lam. (While a trio of bystanders, perhaps thinking it was a film shoot, leisurely walk past.)
Whether he knew it was a gun or not, Const. Lam’s courage in confronting the suspect was prodigious. Using all his training and smarts he’d defused a situation with a man who had allegedly killed 10 people and injured 25 more just minutes earlier. It was how we want our police to be, the result we demand.
Lam instantly became a national hero for his guts and savvy. Praise came from around the world. With the stark video as his witness, Lam was a ray of light on a dark day for Toronto.
Amidst the praise for Lam, however, emerged a predictable meme. No one does smug like Canadians, and immediately journalists here used Lam’s bravery to snark about U.S. police. As if the death of 10 people was a nice news hook to trot out the half-baked narratives employed by CNN, MSNBC and the major networks outside FOX.
One CBC reporter jumped in with a comment that they “do operate differently here than in the States, where cops regularly shoot people who have anything at all in their hands, even if they didn't do anything wrong.” (Guess he missed the Toronto cop streetcar shooter.)
Tweeted a former Globe & Mail reporter “Dear United States: He didn't shoot RT Toronto van attack: The cop who didn’t shoot“ Average citizens chimed in, too, but we don’t expect the same standard to which we hold journalists,
So, let us insert a few facts into this Canadian love-in. Do these critics have statistics on how many times a day an American cop faces down a suspect with no shooting? Or is it just an approximate guess? In the past weeks alone we’ve seen the Waffle House shooter apprehended without shooting . The Parkland shooting ended the same way. Or this.
Then there’s this. In fact there are dozens more we— or these rush-to-judgement scribes— never hear about. I guess they didn’t get the shoot-to kill-memo CBC and G&M types think is rampant in America.
These self-satisfied Canadians just know what the liberal U.S. media feeds them-- and are happy to slag American cops to feel superior. Because a safe outcome is rarely newsworthy, public perception is almost entirely focussed on negative outcomes. And American liberal media makes sure those get maximum focus.
So here are some numbers. As criminologist and author Heather Mac Donald told me in this episode of my podcast The Full Count With Bruce Dowbiggin FBI figures show that just 16 unarmed black people (in a population of 37 million backs) were killed by cops in 2016 in the U.S. (2017 stats aren't available yet) Half of that number died while struggling for a cop’s gun— like Michael Brown in the Ferguson, Ms., example.
Those 16 did receive wall-to-wall coverage from cable news networks with an agenda, however. Nothing inflates a story like 24-hour coverage. Hosts and panels peddling their hobby horses to keep grievance politics alive. If cable news covered subway jumpers or opioid deaths in the same way, you’d think they were the worst scourge imaginable, too.
Which is why the shooting carnage in Chicago, Baltimore and other urban areas is instructive. In 2016, black homicide-victims totalled 7,881. Who was killing them? Cops accounted for 233— the vast majority of them armed and dangerous. Like these “students” who were said to be on their way to enrol in school but died in a hail of bullets.
No, it was blacks killing other blacks at a rate (93 percent) far beyond the rate of whites or Latinos killed or by their percentage of the population. Where is CNN’s breathless coverage of an average weekend in Chicago with Don Lemon and Van Jones peddling grievance? Sorry, that story gets in the way of the narrative MSM swallowed during the Obama years— when police were regularly singled out for criticism.
As does the risk U.S. cops face every day. “Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative,” writes Mac donald, “the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer.
But that’s so much static for smug Canadians who’ve never encountered an armed suspect in an alley in the dead of night. They see isolated incidents of cop shootings blown up by progressive American TV networks and then extrapolate that to the entire policing system in the U.S. They use a Toronto tragedy to unleash their drive-by gratuitous comments about how superior Canadian cops are.
Which is no tribute to Ken Lam, who deserved better after his actions Monday.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on his website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand will be available this fall.