Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, December 21st, 2014.


How to Not Take Responsibility

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criminal justice

This past June, when two Las Vegas police officers were shot and killed by a couple of anti-government white supremacists, right-wing bloggers and media went into overdrive blaming just about everything but anti-government white supremacy. For example, The Dumbest Man on the Internet® blamed “meth-using neo-Nazi socialists.” (Note to the oblivious: fascism began as a reaction against liberalism and socialism; 20th century European fascism was emphatically and expressively anti-socialist. “Neo-Nazi socialists” is an oxymoron.) Many readers of this and other right-wing blogs blamed Attorney General Eric Holder for these murders, accusing Holder of staging a “false flag” operation to distract us from something, possibly the Bundy Ranch circus going on at the time.

Fast-forward to yesterday’s execution of two police officers in Brooklyn. The Right is blaming Mayor de Blasio, Al Sharpton, and … Islam? Seriously.

Before going any further, I want to second what Zandar wrote:

Supposedly the suspect also shot and killed his girlfriend and posted a picture of his blood-covered leg to Facebook, but at this point details are still coming in.  It’s completely rational to say that nobody here deserved to die, the cops, the suspect, his girlfriend, and neither did Tamir Rice or Eric Garner or Michael Brown.

But see also Steve M. It isn’t just right-wing bloggers casting blame on everyone on the Left, especially Mayor de Blasio; it’s the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association and former New York Governor George Pataki. Fox’s Eric Bolling also blamed Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Samuel L. Jackson. Possibly the first black people who popped into his head?

Bernie Kerik — you do remember Bernie Kerik — stepped up and said Mayor de Blasio and Al Sharpton have “blood on their hands.” And (same source) former Mayor Rudy “Giuliani Time” Giuliani blamed “anti-police propaganda.” And several NYPD officers turned their backs when Mayor de Blasio entered a room to give a press conference.

I must’ve missed the memo where de Blasio advocated shooting police officers. Otherwise, Some People are behaving like spoiled children.

Just last week NYPD officers were filmed beating up a 12-year-old boy. And we’ve all seen the video of the death of Eric Garner. No, I don’t think all cops are bad. I certainly don’t think Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, the two men murdered yesterday, deserved to die. But the NYPD needs to realize that it does have a massive problem, and that people have legitimate reasons to protest them.  It isn’t just “propaganda.” It isn’t just a few “socialists” or whatever black men whose names first popped into Eric Bolling’s head badmouthing them in public, assuming they even did.

One thing we know about yesterday’s murders is that the act appeared to be committed by one man, who then killed himself. One man who was not a New Yorker but whose last known residence was in Georgia and who had just arrived in NYC after shooting his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore. This was not a conspiracy. This was not an act carried out by political activists or protesters, but by a violent man with a long criminal record who appears to have been associated with a criminal gang of some sort (see Steve M for details). He appears to have had a beef with police, but most criminals do. A New York Post headline screamed Gunman executes 2 NYPD cops as ‘revenge’ for Garner, but his motivation is speculation.

Seems to me this likely was more about one man’s personal issues than about politics. Of course, we might be dealing with some borderline personality, and anti-police rhetoric sluicing around in media and the Internet may very well have pushed him in the direction of murdering police officers. Just as anti-government rhetoric no doubt incited Jarad and Amanda Miller to murder two police officers in Las Vegas. As I wrote in my original post on the Las Vegas shootings, I don’t blame the Bundy Ranch crowd specifically for what the Millers did, particularly since the Bundy Militia guys were all about hating the federal government but were willing to work with state and local government. But people with loose screws do sometimes scramble the messages they get. What the Millers did was no doubt founded on their personal issues, and they seized on anti-government rhetoric as a kind of permission slip to do what they wanted to do. The man identified as the Brooklyn shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, may have done likewise.

However, I am seriously tired of the way conservatives — or the Right, or whatever they want to call themselves — steadfastly refuse to take responsibility for anything, just as I fear the NYPD is not going to reform until it can honestly appreciate that there are legitimate reasons people are angry with them. And just once I’d like to see Bernie Kerik and Rudy Guiliani own up to their own role in creating a dysfunctional and violent NYPD. Yes, maybe we’re all at fault here, to some extent. Apparently many are blaming Mayor de Blasio because he met with protesters. They wanted him to ignore protesters? And the heads of the NYPD should have been meeting with them too, for that matter, instead of acting like spoiled children whining that people are either for them or against them.

And how much any of this really has to do with the murders of Ramos and Liu possibly will never be known, since the perp is dead. But I’m sure we can all look forward to the Right’s shameless politicizing of the deaths of these officers. Because that’s what they do.

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