20 December 2014
Retaliation and responsibility
In retrospect it seems inevitable that someone angered by the failure to prosecute police for killing unarmed black men would decide to kill cops. The unusual part is that the killer traveled all the way north from Baltimore to go hunting cops in Brooklyn. He found two in their car -- an Asian and a Hispanic, for the sake of arguments -- and assassinated them. Cornered later, he killed himself rather than fall into the hands of angry police. This man had issues of his own and was clearly out to settle all outstanding business today, having shot an ex-girlfriend before heading north. Al Sharpton was quick to condemn the shooting but that won't stop anyone from saying that he, along with everyone else who's denounced the police -- including the mayor of New York City -- has blood on his hands. That is plain and simple bullshit. Holding Sharpton responsible for cop-killers is like calling The Interview an act of war. The intent is basically the same. Just as the Guardians of Peace presumably want to silence foreign critics of Kim Jong Un, those engaging in "blood on their hands" rhetoric this weekend really want to silence criticism of the police and a legal system that enables killer cops. Two wrongs don't make a right, after all. To be specific, the second wrong doesn't make the first right. The deeds of a crackpot scumbag don't vindicate the police in Ferguson or Staten Island. But if you still want to argue that all the anti-cop rhetoric inflamed and emboldened this particular scumbag crackpot, answer a question first. Do you think this particular crackpot scumbag was only convinced this fall that cops were his enemies? His criminal record suggests otherwise. Sharpton and others haven't created a crisis; they've only described it. If today's news proves anything other than that this country is full of dangerous people with guns, it's that while the legal system continues to immunize cops from accountability for killing unarmed people, armed people will feel tempted to hold the cops accountable themselves. In that case, whose hands, besides those of the dead murderer, are bloody today? The police seem increasingly to think that every hand but theirs is. Their petulantly self-righteous displays tonight, including turning their backs on Mayor DeBlasio, effectively surrender whatever sympathy they had received as a class following the murders. Sympathy is owed to the murdered officers, as persons, and their families, and to no one else.