Via Mediaite, this morning MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough criticized five members of the St. Louis Rams and several Democratic members of Congress for their “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gestures.

“The St. Louis Rams think it’s cool for them to suggest that St. Louis cops shoot young black men who had their hands up in the air, when we know that that was a lie?” Scarborough asked:

It’s a lie! And what was that gesture on Capitol Hill? More people like going, ‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s the truth or not, I’m going to suggest that cops shoot people with their hands up in the air.’ What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with these people? What’s wrong with these elected officials? They know it’s a lie! They know the cops didn’t shoot him with his hands in the air! They know it’s a lie and they are doing this on the Capitol floor? Unbelievable.

Three points on this. First, Mr. Scarborough deserves credit for speaking out in a way that is wholly at odds with the storyline being presented by his network, to the point that he even criticized MSNBC directly yesterday, when he also addressed the Ferguson shooting and its aftermath. He’s showing admirable independence of judgment.

Second, Scarborough homes in on the key issue: The statements of solidarity with Michael Brown are based on events that didn’t happen. What we see is a narrative being offered that is clearly at odds with what actually occurred. It’s clear from the forensic and credible eyewitness accounts that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Mr. Brown and that race didn’t play a factor in the shooting. No matter. People on the left want us to travel with them through the looking glass, to a world turned sideways. Some of us are declining to do so.

Third, the liberal context for this “discussion” and “dialogue” on race is that the criminal justice system is endemically racist and one of the great, urgent problems facing black Americans is white cops gunning them down in cold blood. That, too, is a fiction.

It is quite an odd thing when a police officer acts in a perfectly defensible way, to the point that a grand jury refuses to indict him based on the available evidence, and that this incident triggers an intense national debate in which the assumption is that the blame–either in Ferguson specifically or in America more generally–rests with the cops.

I dissent.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t police officers who are racists and doing bad things; but there are racists in every profession. And here’s what needs to be said but is hardly ever said: Cops are not only by and large impressive and admirable people who do very difficult jobs with skill and professionalism; they are among the best friends that communities, most especially inner city communities, have. That’s what former NBA great Charles Barkley was getting at in this interview.

I’m not unsympathetic to the challenges facing those who are black in America; I wrote about it recently. What bothers me in the discussion surrounding the events in Ferguson is that (a) many people are simply and willfully divorcing themselves from facts and reality, twisting events to make a political point; and (b) cops–including Darren Wilson but also virtually every cop on the beat–are being unfairly tarnished in the process. Somehow it’s their reputations that are being undone. That’s wrong, and someone should say it’s wrong.

Thankfully Joe Scarborough and Charles Barkley did.

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