North Texas Daily

News analysis: Topics you should be following

News analysis: Topics you should be following

April 16
00:06 2015

The Editorial Board

Across the nation, campaign fever is beginning to set in. While candidates will jump around civil rights issues, police kllings are not slowing down.

Officer kills unarmed black man

When UNT students went to Dallas last semester, they were among thousands of college-age Americans protesting the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The nation’s racial tension soared and reminded us all of the Civil Rights Movement era, a time of inequity and injustice.  This semester, as the nation reinforced its gaze on the police, the conversation continues. Most recently, a tragedy in South Carolina extended the police-race conversation around the country.

On April 14, Walter Scott, 50, was shot in the back eight times by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager as he fled unarmed from the officer following a struggle over a Taser gun. Prosecutors say the white officer, who has been charged with the murder of Scott, a black man, will likely not receive the death penalty if convicted because “there are no statutory aggravating circumstances present.”

What is unique about this case is Slager’s firing and the indictment. It is rare for officers to be criminalized for their use of deadly force, as Vox explains. That is because firing a weapon is subject to the officer’s discretion; it’s what he or she feels is necessary. Another reason is the police are a part of the judicial system, the same system that investigates the police.

Scott’s murder adds to the list of recent cases that have many rallying for answers on the relationship between race, police use of force and crime.

A cellphone camera video shows Slager producing his weapon only after a struggle with Scott. He was running away from the officer — not fighting —when he was shot eight times. It is clear in the video that Scott was defenseless, and no longer on the offense.

The federal government, justice activists and journalists are hot on the police right now, and it will likely stay that way for some time. Pay attention, and be prepared for future instances.

Clinton, Rubio run with 2016

First it was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx), then came Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). They started it, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl) are running with it.

The most exciting announcement has been Clinton’s, who released a video with a message of diversity. In it, Clinton checked off most of the essentials with a wide range of Americans, representing backgrounds proportionate to the Democratic voting base, which has evolved a bit over the last seven years of the Obama presidency.

Clinton separated herself from her Republican opponents, who are running on the premise of taking back America. Clinton wants to be the “champion” for all Americans. But that’ll be hard, as her perception over the years has been one of a calculating politician, rich and detached from the realities of lower-middle-class America.

Candidates for 2016 will harness the connectivity of the Internet. President Obama ran his campaign successfully by engaging youths on social media.

Rubio stands the best chance for the GOP so far. He doesn’t lean too far right, but that may change. As Republicans seek the nomination, what usually happens — and this holds true for both parties — is they’ll get caught up in trying to be “the most” conservative (or the most liberal). If that’s the case, Cruz has already lost, and Paul, whose father paved the way for him, will soon follow.

Voters don’t like candidates who stray too far from the middle. Clinton’s focus on Americans embodies that principle. Candidates who fail to be “champions” of the people miss the point. Rubio says he’ll “reclaim America,” which means he’s running against the government, which destracts from the people.

If we voted today, Clinton would become the president.

This is just an overview. If you want to dive deeper, there will be plenty of coverage, this year being the most involved of any election. The best is probably The New York Times’ election analyses from The Upshot. Other sources, such as POLITICO and The Hill, will be useful to you as you decide on a candidate.

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