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As Trump peddles anxiety we need to learn to live in reality

Froma Harrop on

Here's a policing story with a happy ending: Deputies in Deltona, Florida, recently stopped a black jogger who fit the description of a burglary suspect. The jogger, Joseph Griffin, is a former military police officer and currently a registered nurse. Griffin knew to be calm and cooperative.

The deputy asked Griffin to bear with him. He said he had to detain him but added, "Buddy, you're not in trouble or anything."

Griffin responded saying that with "everything going on, it's just a little bit scary."

And the deputy politely replied, "See it through our eyes."

The Volusia County sheriff later offered Griffin a job.

Recall the famous incident in New York's Central Park, where a disturbed white woman called police claiming that a black man was threatening her. The "threat" was an African American bird-watcher whose only offense was telling the woman that her dog had to be on a leash.

 

The police immediately recognized that the bird-watcher, Christian Cooper, was the innocent party. The woman was charged with filing a false police report.

This is not to ignore genuine cases of police brutality. It's to recognize that the police are mere humans who often have to size up dangerous situations in seconds -- and that the public should understand the pressures.

In these emotionally fraught times, America needs a balanced view of the demands on police and on a stressed public. It is apparently not what Donald Trump thinks his campaign needs. As the president readily admits, he gets off on jabbing anger buttons. So he's been blustering about the cities having become hellholes because of you-know-who.

There has been a spike in urban crime, with some places -- Kansas City, Missouri, for example -- hit harder than others. But even in Kansas City, the crime wave that peaked in August has since subsided.

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