Two NYPD Officers Murdered, But The Killer Only Gets Partial Credit

This past weekend saw the vicious murder of two New York City police officers, something you would expect to unify the law-abiding public, but as it turns out, the killer only gets partial credit for this heinous crime. Excuse me if I’ve misinterpreted the grandiose oratory of Fox News, right-wing media, and your conservative uncle. Because also deserving equal blame, in their myopic vision, is anyone who has ever questioned police tactics. Their estimation is two-fold. The killer is obviously to blame, but because he subsequently killed himself, the nearsighted now need the “unruly” protestors to stand in as proxy.

To continue along with this conservative “thought” exercise, if you specifically questioned the use of police force, ultimately deadly, in the Michael Brown case or the Eric Garner case, well, you might as well have pulled the trigger yourself this past weekend. Oh, and if you support any protests designed to shed light on continued institutionalized discrimination and injustice in America, you too have blood on your hands.

These mental gymnastics are consistent with the self-contradicting construct of a right-wing authoritarian world view. On one hand, too much state power diminishes freedom, on the other hand, people must offer their unqualified respect and trust to an authority that should answer to no one. When police officers turned their backs on liberal New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, conservatives applauded. They hailed this act of protest because (a) it was conducted by people entrusted with great power and responsibility in civil society, and (b) it was directed at a liberal, who in their eyes is there to disrupt authoritarian order. It goes something like this: Police have a tough enough job already, they don’t need agitators making that job harder by questioning split-second decisions. And the police most certainly should not have to answer to the democratically elected mayor of the city for which they serve, especially when that mayor is a progressive seeking to diminish systemic discrimination.

So, let’s lay out some truths here:

  • Police do have an incredibly difficult and dangerous job, often thankless, and nobody except possibly a few lunatic fringe are challenging that. When people say things like “New York’s finest,” it is not hyperbole to believe that is true of 99% of those serving on the force.
  • Police actions do not happen in a vacuum, and they must be held accountable when they step over the line. They do not answer to themselves, they answer to us, via democratically elected officials and representatives.
  • When the people believe they are not getting justice via the system, they are not unruly thugs for taking to the streets in protest.
  • Not everything has to be “us” against “them.” You can simultaneously show deference for the badge while asking your elected official to make sure everything is being done to eliminate institutionalized discrimination.
  • Yes, there are some protestors in the wake of the Brown and Garner cases who have taken things way too far, and their words and actions are unjustifiable, but the majority of peaceful protestors who are calling for greater police accountability WILL NOT be lumped in with the former.
  • Black Lives Matter and New York Police Department Lives Matter, but more importantly, ALL Lives Matter.


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