Sorry Donald Trump: The Punishment Must Fit the Crime!

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Reader Notice* This article is contextualized in research, yet it remains this writers educated, thoughtful and unbiased opinion.

Richard J. Daley Got It Wrong as Well

Riots occurred in many urban cities following the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. In Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley issued a “shoot to kill” order to the police.

Then Attorney General Ramsey Clark criticized the order on that day — and was disparaged by law-and-order conservatives for doing so. The legality of a “shoot to kill” order to the police in 1968 was unclear. Nor is it clear today that a mayor has or had legal authority to issue such an order…Now comes twice impeached, former president Donald Trump with a similar recommendation for petty shoplifters in urban America.

Sorry Donald Trump: The Punishment Must Fit the Crime!

Just a week ago, when the former President was addressing Californian Republicans, he stated that shoplifters must be shot on sight. In this context, it is obvious that he is thinking about two specific races: Brown people and Black people. He also stated that by shooting any individual who robs a store, he aims to put an end to all of the pillaging occurring in the country.

This seems to contribute to the recurring pattern of Trump proposing disproportionate punishments for crimes, including capital punishment and kneecapping the individual in response to crimes that aren’t as serious. Many people may even remember how Donald Trump demanded the death penalty for those accused of the Central Park rape through multiple ads in newspapers published in New York 34 years ago. In this case, Black and Brown men were wrongfully accused and incarcerated.

This comment comes in the wake of Trump being the main candidate for the Republican nomination for the upcoming national elections. At this juncture, it can be easy to drone on and on about how he is attempting to target people of color. However, while it is understandable to address how his objective to use federal law in this manner is fascist, it is pertinent to look at the underlying irony of all this – most shoplifters tend to be White.

Now the Reality Check with Statistics

While the profiling of Black people when it comes to shoplifting in stores has been rampant for decades, the individuals who undergo minimal profiling typically loot and hide their unpaid items in their bags. An unfortunate example of racial profiling in the context of shoplifting is the fatal shooting of John Crawford in 2014 for merely carrying an in boxed pellet gun as he was exploring Walmart’s sporting goods aisle.

Yet, in 2014, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that among shoplifters, 77.5% tend to be White although they make up 59% of the national population. While Latino people make up 8% of shoplifters, Black people also make up the same number, and for both communities, this number is significantly less than their populations. According to the study, people who had some college education and those whose individual income exceeded $35,000, and whose family income exceeded $70,000 were more commonly involved in shoplifting.

Interestingly enough; during the fallout concerning the Richard J, Daley “Shoot to Kill” debacle, a story was published in the Washington Post way back in 1968, which stated that although stores often survey Black males, 71% of those who got caught for shoplifting and were arrested turned out to be from middle- and upper-income brackets. According to the story, although profiling back then was directed at middle-income women with a college degree or at least a high school diploma, statistics demonstrate that age, education, and income levels are not determinants of shoplifting. According to the study, there is absolutely no evidence that Black males aged between 18 and 25 pose a more significant threat to stores in the context of shoplifting.

Professor Jerome Williams of Rutgers University also stated in an interview that was conducted by National Public Radio in 2013 that white people are behind approximately 70% of the shoplifting that occurs in America. Furthermore, he also added that employees typically tend to cause more store shrinkage and loss than customers. According to their research into data in certain states, white women, particularly those aged between 40 and 60 tend to shoplift more than other groups.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Dump?

California Republicans were jubilant when Trump suggested shooting shoplifters, particularly because he went a step ahead and labeled the state a “dumping ground.” This is in continuation of his claiming that Mexico tends to dump all its worst elements to with a view to destroy America. Nonsense!

Thus, it is obvious that everyone who cheered in response to his statements was quick to assume that Black and Brown people would be most affected if Trump entered the White House again. Yet, the data contradicts this notion and essentially indicates that many White housewives would be fatally shot if Trump becomes the country’s president again. What this episode clearly illustrate is Donald Trumps inability to get it right on matters of race: He continues to shoot himself in the bone spurs of his foot!

Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford

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