I watched coverage of the latest police shooting in Lancaster, Pa. — a picturesque area of east-central Pennsylvania known more for its Amish population than most anything else — and wondered how protests erupted over that shooting?
Body-cam video shows an officer responding to a call for possible domestic violence. He is seen walking to the front door and a woman appears. The door then flies open and a man comes racing from inside the house wielding a knife charging at the responding officer.
The officer fires his weapon to neutralize a life-threatening maneuver. The man dies.
Of course, in today’s society, the officer who responded to the scene was looking to kill another black man. That is what we are supposed to believe. Never mind that a crazed person was charging at him with a knife. That is immaterial. No, this cop went to that address to kill a black man.
Protests and riots erupted — of course — decrying the shooting.
So I wondered, what would have happened if Citizen Murphy — me — had come barreling out of a house wielding a knife in a crazed state charging at an officer? I posed that question to some law enforcement friends in multiple states made up of varying racial backgrounds.
Unanimously, the answers were the same: “You would have gotten shot.”
Yes, I would have.
If Citizen Murphy were minding his own business walking down the street with a gun on his hip in self-defense — something we all should consider doing — and a crazed person came charging at me wielding a knife, what would have happened? He would have gotten shot.
Ask yourself: Had a crazed man charged at you wielding a knife, what would you have done? Would you: a.) try to talk him calmly b.) try to use social-worker tactics or c) gone into survival mode? If you answered a or b, you would be dead or at least cut up pretty badly. If you answered c, you’d probably still be living.
Any death at the hands of another person is a tragedy. But not every single shooting involving law enforcement can be labeled as a racist-driven hate crime.
A similar case in Florida occurred recently. A police officer was called to a home on a possible domestic issue. She knocked on the door. A crazed woman barreled through the door and stabbed the officer with a knife. The officer stumbled backward and fired a few shots — missing.
The crazed woman dropped the knife for a few seconds. Backup officers arrived and screamed at her to get away from the knife. She reached down, grabbed it and charged at an officer. The officer shot and killed the woman.
So I asked my same friends in law enforcement, “What would have happened to me had I stabbed an officer, ignored repeated commands and then lunged at the officer while wielding a knife?”
“You would have gotten shot,” they responded.
Yes, I would have. And I would have deserved it.
No one would have protested my death. Rather, the blame would have been put squarely where it belongs — on someone who decided to charge at a law enforcement officer wielding a knife.
The second case was little-known, hadn’t appeared on the national news loop and didn’t spark protests, riots or social movements, although the circumstances were eerily similar. You think it had anything to do with the knife-wielding maniac in the second example being white?
To Phil or not to Phil?
In my neck of the woods, the Dr. Phil show airs at 4 p.m. on weekdays. Usually, I am working at 4 p.m. on weekdays. Even if not working, it is rare to never that I watch Dr. Phil’s show. (Jim’s episode that was tentatively scheduled for yesterday will air at an unknown later date)
I am still waiting to find out when Leader-Call Publisher Jim Cegielski’s appearance on the Dr. Phil Show will occur. I have not yet decided whether to watch.
I have a feeling when it happens that Jim will be used as a punching bag, as Dr. Phil and other guests paint him as a backward, racist, Mississippi “white man” because he had the temerity to write a column calling out the Black Lives Matter movement for what it is. Make no mistake, black lives matter — and should to everyone — but when those letters get capitalized, it no longer is a quest for justice but another political movement hijacked by the most rabid, fringe elements.
Calling out those elements is not easy. It takes guts and a backbone, just as it took guts and a backbone to call out the rich and powerful (and white) members of our community who, for years, lived by a different set of rules. It takes guts and a backbone to publish a front-page story about a same-sex marriage long before anyone fathomed same-sex marriages being universally accepted. It takes guts and a backbone to go on a TV show knowing that you will be painted as something you are not in order for the host to fit into a social narrative.
Having worked for him for going on seven years, I would bet the last dollar I have — and I don’t have many dollars — that had he owned the Leader-Call at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Jim would have gone down in Mississippi history as a warrior against the white power structure, probably at his ultimate peril. Why? Because he would have seen what was happening to Blacks in Mississippi was repugnant — and he would have had the backbone and the guts to stand up against it.
Such a travesty that is not what Dr. Phil viewers will see when Jim finally makes his appearance.
Sean Murphy is managing editor of the Leader-Call. Email him at