Subject: The Reality of America’s Law Enforcement: Protecting us against the wicked
Exodus 23:7 “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked.”
On September 3rd, Rick DeLorenzo, owner of New Jersey’s DeLorenzo’s Pizza, posted something on his business Facebook page that went viral: “In response to all the hate and violence being inflicted on law enforcement recently, all uniformed members of the local police force are welcomed to eat at DeLorenzo’s for FREE in the month of September !!!! We respect and appreciate all you do!”
DeLorenzo explains it simply: “Give them the respect they deserve. They’re laying their lives on the line every day. They deserve respect.” He went on to say that he was first convicted to act after another policeman, Deputy Darren Goforth, was ambushed and executed in cold blood. Deputy Goforth was pumping gas when the murderer approached him from behind, firing multiple shots. He died at the scene.
But then, only hours after Goforth’s murder, DeLorenzo watched the St. Paul, Minnesota chapter of ‘Black Lives Matter’ march in unity behind a group of police officers down a highway just south of the state fairgrounds, chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” His conclusion? The organization ‘Black Lives Matter’ is promotes violence against police in retaliation for what they claim is a history of police unprovoked racism and use of force towards the black community.
So does either DeLorenzo or Black Lives Matter have a point? Which of the two actions are more in line with the evidence? A 2003 research report entitled ‘“Neighborhood Context and Police Use of Force’, from William Terrill of Northeastern University and Michael D. Reisig of Michigan State University, found that police are more likely to use force in higher-crime neighborhoods, complicating any easy interpretation of race as the decisive factor in explaining police forcefulness. They conclude that “the race (i.e., minority) effect is mediated by neighborhood context. Perhaps officers do not simply label minority suspects according to what Skolnick (1994) termed “symbolic assailants,” as much as they label distressed socioeconomic neighborhoods as potential sources of conflict.”
The National Institute of Justice’s 2010 study of the Seattle and Miami police departments reported that “non-white suspects were less likely to be injured than white suspects … where suspect race was available as a variable for analysis. Although we cannot speculate as to the cause of this finding, or whether it is merely spurious, it is encouraging that minority suspects were not more likely to be injured than whites.”
These reports contradict the accusations from ‘Black Lives Matter’. Why isn’t the media sharing this data with the American public? What about the very positive statistics of our law enforcements’ efforts? For example, New York City has over 30,000 police. In 2013, only 8 people died from police gunfire – the lowest in 40 years! And all of 8 of these victims were armed with either a gun or a cutting instrument. The media never reported this outstanding performance in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. And less than 350 murders occurred in New York City in 2014, the fewest in 50 years and down from the average of 2,200 in the early 1990’s. Most of these potential murder victims were black. That means thousands of black lives have been saved in the past 20 years by New York’s finest.
Why doesn’t the American government step in and enforce more balanced news reporting? It’s because we are a free people, including the freedom of speech – even when that freedom is abused. And freedom requires responsibility and accountability. As our verse this week illustrates, God instructed the nation of Israel to act justly because He would never endorse wicked actions from His people. Why would God place the responsibility for justice in the hands of a slave nation? Because He had just freed them from slavery three chapters earlier! Go back and read Exodus 20:1, just before He gives the 10 Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage…” God is not a celestial dictator who demands people follow Him or else. Exodus 20 reveals God is a Savior, who actually delivers the slave nation from the oppression of the Egyptians to follow Him as free people.
But as He states in our verse this week, freedom has consequences. Freedom requires responsibility and accountability. We as a nation have adopted those exact same principles when we founded our nation on biblical principles. So thank God for our law enforcement, who ensure we can enjoy the freedom we so cherish because they are willing to uphold God’s directive in Exodus 23:7.