The Drawing of the Lines

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criminal justice

The degree to which the Right is hysterically attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio over the murder of two New York policemen is either the measure of knee-jerk right-wing racism or knee-jerk right-wing animus toward anything they label “Left,” or both.

For example, Bill O’Reilly is calling Mayor de Blasio a “villain” who must resign. Let us not forget that this is the same Bill O’Reilly who helped incite the murder of Dr. George Tiller. O’Reilly has never taken responsibility or expressed remorse about Dr. Tiller’s murder, I don’t believe.

Meanwhile, convicted felon Bernie Kerik says “war is being raged on our homeland.” He also says Eric Garner’s death was Garner’s own fault.

On the other hand, the New York Times has been supportive of the Mayor and the protesters.

I believe I’ve already written that the reactions to police violence have been somewhat different from what they might have been in years past. The wall of white obliviousness doesn’t seem quite so solid, anyway.

It’s still there, though. By now you’ve probably heard about the Fox News Affiliate that was so eager to blame protesters for the murder of the two officers that they doctored a video to claim the crowd was chanting to “kill a cop.” But it was not. And the claim that Mayor de Blasio somehow made inflammatory anti-police statements is just conjured out of thin air. As Michael Tomasky wrote,

I covered New York politics for 15 years, and I saw some awfully tense moments between the police and Democratic politicians. But there has never been anything remotely like the war the cops are waging right now against Mayor Bill de Blasio for the thought crime of saying something that was completely unremarkable and so obviously true that in other contexts we don’t even bat an eye when someone says it. And for that, the mayor has blood on his hands, as Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Pat Lynch said Saturday evening after the hideous assassinations of two NYPD officers?

And what did Mayor de Blasio say?

This is profoundly personal for me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said, I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. I said to him I did. Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years, about the dangers he may face. A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face—we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.

And this was bad, because … ? It reminds me of the outrage when the President remarked that if he’d had a son he would have looked like Trayvon Martin. Yes, possibly so. But the way the Right reacted to this innocuous remark was so out of proportion to anything, you’d have thought the President had called for a melanin deficiency tax.

Whatever goes on in rightie heads is utterly alien to me.

But here is where the real lines are drawn. It’s not really between whites and blacks. It’s between the sane and the crazy. And it’s between people who actually want peace and justice and those that just want to politicize and hate and refuse to take responsibility.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bill Bush  •  Dec 23, 2014 @4:48 pm

    The police union wants to adopt the untenable extreme condition that all their members are choirboys. They know it is a lie. The public knows it is a lie. Winger voters do not care, as it turns into a chance to bash two Democrats at the same time.

  2. Swami  •  Dec 23, 2014 @6:51 pm

    I wonder if the stop and frisk policy played any role in creating the current tensions? I think that if someone in a police uniform stopped me and patted me down and searched my belongs for no reason other than my appearance, I might feel some degree of alienation. Aside from the indignation of the process, I’d want to know what it was that made me appear to be a criminal or a threat to society.

    So, is Bernie fully rehabilitated?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NCZ4l8FCFc

  3. Tom_b  •  Dec 23, 2014 @10:20 pm

    I have LONG advocated for disarming cops. I’m inclined at this point to call for disbanding the police. Let’s replace ’em all with unemployed sociologists. I think we’d get a more just, peaceful society and — let’s face it — while there are certainly dangerous, violent criminals out there, their numbers seem more modest than the number of dangerous, violent cops we have been hearing about lately. We’re one of only about 4 civilized countries in the WHOLE world with a death penalty. We have more people incarcarcerated than any country except Red China– and a lot of it is ridiculous, non-violent offenses. The “system” is broken. Like our Government in general, sadly.

  4. Swami  •  Dec 23, 2014 @11:44 pm

    The “system” is broken.

    Well, that all depends on your perspective. It’s thriving for privatized prisons like Correctional Services of America, or Incarcerations R Us. Even the Salvation Army is enjoying a piece of the pie by handling probation services. Taxpayers are paying for the beds and the meals ( contractual guarantee) even if the courts don’t provide the bodies to fill them. It’s a sweet racket for the conservative crowd.
    Remember that judge in Pennsylvania who was sentencing juveniles to extended periods of incarceration in juvenile facilities for cutting class, smoking in the boys room, or just talking back to authority. That little episode in justice was just the tip of the conservative spear.

  5. Doug  •  Dec 24, 2014 @7:34 am

    The issue is accountability. In the old Bond movies, James was presumed to have a license to kill when he got a double-o number. Ian Flemming may have thought that an agent at that level had earned the right to play judge and executioner.

    Beat cops are not double-o agents. They should ALWAYS feel that there will be an
    inquiry whenever lethal force is used – with a presumption of guilt. That is, as far as his job is concerned, the use of deadly force will end your career if you can’t clearly justify it. Thus, the professional use of every tactic short of lethal force would be more desirable by the cop for his own future.

    Sadly, cops will look out for their own – even when their colleague is wrong. This is so deeply ingrained in the culture.. I don’t know how you begin to address it. The first step would probably be to remove the review process in a fatality from police jurisdiction – completely put the investigative and review functions in an agency unattached to the PD.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 24, 2014 @10:01 am

    The Cold Civil War continues.

    The first shots fired, were the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.
    And then, the great battles over Women’s Rights and Roe v. Wade.

    And without even looking closely, you’ll see that in many parts of the country, civil and voting rights are being denied to minorities – and women are losing their right to choose whether to bring a fetus to term or not.

    I’d like to think that eventually ration, love, and hopes for peace, will triumph over fear, hatred, and calls for vengeance, but I’m not so sure anymore.
    Sure, gays have had some remarkable victories. But will they be permanent? A lot of people will do whatever they can to make sure that everything is reversed, and gay people are punished for their sexual orientation.

    I’ve said it before, we are one major terrorist attack in the continental US, or another major economic downturn, away from full-blown Fascism winning out here.
    And there are plenty of flag-waving, bible carrying, Christian conservative loons out there, with unread copies of the US Constitution in their pockets, just waiting for the “Reich” time.
    Ted Cruz-ader, being one of them. But he’s far from alone.
    I think any Republican President with a Republican Congress will do the hate and fear filled Christian Fascist base’s bidding.
    And that base wants ALL opposition attacked, neutralized, and all dissenting liberals and democrats, silenced.
    Be afraid.
    Be very afraid.

    Help GOTV in 2016.
    And 2018, and 2020, and. 2022, and…

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 24, 2014 @11:34 am

    OT:
    Merry Christmas Eve, to the Christian faithful!
    Happy December 24th, to everyone else!

    But no more cute puppy, kitty, bunny Christmas video’s!!!

    I want snake or other reptile video’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. maha  •  Dec 24, 2014 @7:03 pm

    Okay, I looked for Christmas videos featuring reptiles and spiders and stuff, and all I can say is there are some twisted people in this world.

    Puppies? Kittens? Cute animals? Anybody?

  9. Swami  •  Dec 24, 2014 @10:26 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooc5eJc5SHA

    There’s some cute animals in this video. If you are looking for a Christmas video featuring reptiles perhaps the RNC website might have something to fit that bill.

  10. ronspri  •  Dec 26, 2014 @1:35 pm

    Cund Gulag-“I’d like to think that eventually ration, love, and hopes for peace, will triumph over fear, hatred, and calls for vengeance, but I’m not so sure anymore.”

    I get the feeling. In the near term I have the same one. What’s the answer? I have given it a lot of thought and I concluded that we need a whole new paradigm. Nothing I can think of short of that seems to work. We need a society that is based more on cooperation than competition. Don’t get me wrong, competition has its useful features but I think we have taken it way to far and that is the root of most of our current situation. Take today’s ratio of competition vs cooperation and reverse it and I would bet that would be pretty close to a good place.
    But of course the question then becomes how do you make all this differently minded, religioned etc. people to cooperate? Of course that is a monolithic sized rock to roll. It is a dream at this point, but everything was once a dream before it became reality. I think those so inclined need to just start talking about it. Make people think about it more. Maybe find examples in daily life that can be used to show the advantages. Admittedly making the half of the country that believes, totally free enterprise,yer on yer own cuz you aint gettin mine, agree with cooperation over competition will be almost impossible but we can start with the other half.
    It seems such a sad thing that they can use fear to turn us on a dime but there seems to be nothing that works that quickly for love.

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 26, 2014 @3:45 pm

    ronspri,
    Yes it’s sad, considering that we humans are hard-wired for both fear and love.

    It’s just that fear takes over in a nano-second.
    But love – except for the love of most parent’s for their child – usually takes some time.

    The urge to run away or avoid danger, takes less time than the building up the need to hug someone.
    Especially when clever propagandist manipulate the fear in people to get them to do what they want.
    Look at The New Testament, and how Jesus’s words are manipulated away from the messages of love, peace, acceptance, and forgiveness he spoke of, and instead, are used to create division amongst people – even between Christian sects.

    So, while I like what you wrote, I also have no idea of how to turn that into a reality.



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