A Modest Proposal for Fixing the Problem of Police Shootings

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A Modest Proposal for Fixing the Problem of Police Shootings

Several centuries ago, a noted reformer, Dean Jonathan Swift, wrote a state paper titled “A Modest Proposal,” full of sound wisdom and sage advice for the salvation of Ireland. As we have seen, his counsel was both useful and serious.

The fatal shooting of Keith Scott by the police in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the subsequent refusal of Mecklenberg PD Chief Putney to release the dash-cam video troubles us all. Naturally, because such a video could only annoy the citizens of the Republic, Putney, thinking only of our feelings, has declined to show us what happened to Mr. Scott.

The examples of Dean Swift and Chief Putney inspire me. Full of humble duty to my country, and in the same mode as the profound thinkers of our commonwealth—Wonkette, Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg—I have put together some petty but helpful thoughts towards the redemption of our blessed Republic.

I realize that in the great light of such admirable philosophers such as David French, my small taper may not amount to much, but if nothing else, my argument may serve to make their dazzling gifts shine all the brighter by comparison. Much as it pains me to step away from my habit of hymn-making—chief source of all my fame—I shall do so.

Reformers are upset by the killing of Mr. Scott, one of a series of state-sanctioned shootings that has gone on before and will continue afterwards. Although it shocks me to report this, not everybody in our shining city agrees on this issue.

Critics responded that the officer in question and Putney were both African-American, thinking this refuted the argument, perhaps not realizing that racism in America is systemic. Old people reply that reformers are an insensitive lot — can liberals not see that this is one of our precious traditions, the oppression and degradation of millions of our fellow human beings?

For the self-esteem of many white Americans is built upon this pillar. It seems that opponents of Black Lives Matter contradict themselves. They tell us all that the black men in question came from a broken culture, and then they declare that racial oppression is now over.

Although these two statements may seem in opposition—even, to use a snarl world, illogical—I ask you, of what use is white privilege unless whites are privileged to embrace contradiction?

Indeed, contradiction is the sweetest prize of white supremacy. Even when an African-American millionaire gets on his knees, old white people whine about it, even though keeping Black people on their knees is what they would prefer.

I am told, by the great geniuses of our national media, that the truth always lies in the middle. For example, some people say the earth is round. Others suggest it is flat. Ergo, it must be a curved sheet.

Much in the same manner, since our traditional values of armed paranoia cannot be challenged, how might we find a path out of this mess? Friends, I have found a way.


Since the media and mainstream opinion are terrified of confronting white privilege and systemic racism, I suggest the government arm the African-American community with small thermonuclear devices. These can be carried in their vehicles.

As of 2016, the United States held an estimated 4,500 warheads. There are 42,020,743 African-American citizens. According to Wikipedia, the smallest nuclear device ever produced by the U.S. was:

The W54, which was used in both the Davy Crockett 120 mm recoilless rifle-launched warhead and the backpack-carried version called the Mk-54 SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition). The bare warhead package was an 11 in by 16 in (28 cm by 41 cm) cylinder that weighed 51 lbs (23 kg). It was, however, small enough to fit in a footlocker-sized container.

Fifty-one pounds is quite a lot of weight. However, I am told by Graham Allison that “as little as 35 pounds of uranium-235 or nine pounds of plutonium-239 is required to make a working nuclear bomb.” Moreover, the same source explains that

There are about 40 states with approximately 2,070 tons of weapons-usable fissile material, enough to make more than 130,000 nuclear weapons.

If we dismantle the current ICBMs, and develop all of our fissile material, we will have 134,500 warheads. Spread between 42 million people, that is roughly equivalent to one bomb for every 323 African-Americans in this country.

How shall these warheads be distributed? Eighty-three percent of African-Americans are religiously affiliated. The church has long been recognized as the center of Black American life. There are 69,738 African-American churches in the United States. Two warheads, given to every church, works out to 139,476 weapons. Including the current nuclear stockpile, we will be roughly 5000 warheads short, but some of the smaller centers of worship will only receive one.

We shall give portable nukes to the African-American churches of these United States. They, in turn, will distribute, by lottery, the warheads. This will change every week, achieving a random distribution. That means every single time an African-American driver is pulled over, there is approximately a one in three hundred chance that they will have unimaginable destructive power in their trunk, or in the back seat.


Chris Rock put it well:

If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Perhaps America will not produce nicer white people. What is the quickest way to get Ike to stop punching Tina in the face? Give Tina the power to end the world.

I can state with full confidence this plan of action is certain to make all Americans happy.

If the police are going to presume guns anyway, why not give African-Americans the edge? The police will see their assumptions confirmed, always deeply gratifying.

Consider all of the thoughtful people on Facebook who are only mourning the destruction of property during these riots. If property is the only thing they respect, will they not come to think better of their fellow citizens who now have the ultimate property destruction device—the full brunt of nuclear power—behind their backs?

Consider every sell-out, like Cosby and Ben Carson, who claim that Black Americans need to pull up their pants and take responsibility. What is a greater responsibility than the nuclear button?

Consider America as a whole, and our responsibility to African-Americans. We broke our promise of equality in the Declaration. We freed slaves, and delivered them into sharecropping. We promised Reconstruction, and constructed nothing. We claimed fair play, and delivered the minstrel show. We desegregated, but not really. We put a million Black men in prison. Again, and again, and again, we have broken our word.

But there is a way out of our shame. Since we have not delivered forty acres and a mule, or reparations, or even the basic, ground-level requirements of citizenship—the state protects your life—let us, as the right-wingers say, give a hand-up rather than a hand-out. And what hand is higher than nuclear power? We will make up for our centuries of crime in one single gesture.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can divide our nuclear arsenal today. It is the only reasonable response, especially since we are apparently unwilling to consider any others. If America continues to see every black person as a dangerous criminal, and refuses to do otherwise, why not, as Sheryl Sandberg said, lean in?

These shootings will only stop when America confronts white supremacy or delivers world-ending devices, and since the latter is much more likely than the former, let us make Black America a nuclear power.

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