Shooters are Guilty for Shooting, not Protesters

When people commit homicides, the shooters are guilty and not anyone else. The police should stop blaming protesters.

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[Editor’s Note: This post applies to attempts to shut down criticism of police by blaming critics for the deaths of innocents (as following the links will confirm). It does NOT apply homicidal morons chanting for the death of police. In my opinion, those people are guilty whether or not anyone acts on what they say.]

So, as you probably know, there have been some deaths associated with police in which accusations have been made. The death in Ferguson, Missouri, looks like it may have been justifiable, and the one in New York City involving Eric Garner looks more questionable but was still not clear enough for a grand jury to indict.

Why these two cases have received the most nation-wide attention is something of a mystery from the standpoint of egregious injustices. Any weblog that keeps up with questionable deaths or injuries or other mistreatments at the hands of law enforcement is extremely busy. (This blog merely touches on a small number of the cases.) One might cynically infer that only incidents that can be used to inflame racial animosity ever get national media coverage (though even the missing outrage on some stories remains inexplicable).

So now that two police officers were ambushed and murdered in cold blood, the NYPD is openly attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio for comments he made in response to the Eric Garner death. As the Guardian reports:

On Sunday the former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly added to criticism from authority figures including George Pataki, the former New York state governor, and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“When the mayor made statements about having to train his son, who is biracial, to be careful around the police, I think that set off this firestorm,” Kelly said on ABC, adding that he thought “the mayor ran an anti-police campaign last year when he ran for office”.

De Blasio has walked a delicate line in the wake of the Garner decision, which he refused to endorse. In an interview earlier this month, the mayor said he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, have had many conversations with their teenage son, Dante, warning him to “take special care” in any encounter with police officers.

“It’s a painful conversation,” de Blasio said. “We all want to look up to figures of authority and everyone knows the police protect us. But there is that fear that there could be that one moment of misunderstanding with a young man of color and that young man may never come back.”

First of all, the murder of those two NYPD cops was evil and I’m glad the killer is dead though I’m sorry he had the luxury of doing it to himself.

But the responsibility for the killings does not belong to protesters nor to the mayor (though I despise him and take no joy in defending him). The shooter is responsible for shooting. Yes he may have been “responding” to some untrue statement. But he could also have been responding to a report of police abuse that happened to be true; and the shooting would still be unjustified.

I agree that the way de Blasio framed the problem is despicable. I have four children who are lily white and I tell them exactly the same thing—they need to “take special care” whenever they are confronted with a police officer. Any cop is a person who can get away with making costly charges stick, imposing jail time in holding, or even killing them. That is not likely; I think most cops are more responsible and ethical than to do those things. But they are not subjected to the same rules as the rest of us. They have immense power.

Now if the NYPD doesn’t think such fear is warranted, they can try to address it. But turning their backs on the mayor is a stupid way to go about it. How many of us have the luxury to show public disrespect to the CEO of the corporation we work for without jeopardizing our jobs? This is typical, public union behavior and it does not inspire confidence nor earn respect. People in construction and farming have a higher death risk than police without the same pension benefits.

By the way, the same reasoning is being used to not only put the blood on de Blasio, but also to blood-libel Senator Rand Paul. As Nick Gillespie writes at Reason.com,

In the wake of the horrific and unjustifiable shooting of two NYPD officers who were sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, the mad rush is now on to indict a wide range of co-conspirators and “real killers.”

I am very sorry for the murder victims and their families, but the horror of the crimes doesn’t justify attributing the guilt to others. This is not the only sign that police are making their reputation worse in response to what they view as false accusations.