Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. If you have not heard these names, hear them now, and remember them. They were members of the NYC police force. On Saturday, they were brutally and cowardly murdered by a gunman as they sat in their police cruiser while on the job at a housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They were there on patrol to protect the citizens of that high-crime area. Instead, it was they who could have used some protection.
The gunman, whose name I will not mention, because he doesn’t deserve acknowledgment of any kind, snuck up behind them and shot them through the car’s passenger window without warning. He actually committed this heinous crime after bragging about it beforehand. Why did he do it? I don’t know, and I don’t care. There is no reason that could justify the murders, no possible mitigating and extenuating circumstances. Frankly, I’m glad he killed himself afterward. At least, we will be spared a lengthy trial, along with a self-serving attempt at justification by certain liberal mainstream media outlets and race-baiters.
Rafael Ramos was a 40-year-old two-year veteran of the police force. He was married with two children who will now have to grow up without a father. In his spare time, he was studying to become a lay chaplain. Wenjian Liu, 32, was recently married with no children. His family had emigrated here from China to make a better life for their only son. Rather than pursuing a career in medicine or some other lucrative profession, Liu decided to become a cop to serve the community. By all accounts, they were both solid family men and good citizens.
I don’t believe that this incident should be viewed in a vacuum. It is a by-product of the toxic atmosphere that has been created and fomented by certain politicians, race-baiters and biased media coverage following the recent events in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. This type of atmosphere provides “cover” for those who would have a tendency to acting out violently. Politicians, such as NYC Mayor de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder, and, to a lesser extent, President and Mrs. Obama, rather than trying to tamp down the anger among some African-Americans by calling for calm, reason and respect for due process, have been issuing comments citing perceived racism among cops and others and a “rigged” judicial system. These comments play to their liberal bases but do little to resolve matters. Collectively, they have taken these two isolated incidents and extrapolated them into a belief that a widespread racial problem exists in the US. In addition, they have perpetuated the myth that cops deliberately go into black neighborhoods to harass blacks. That is utterly ridiculous. They go there to protect the law-abiding blacks that live there and want police protection. They go there because, to paraphrase the notorious bank robber, Willie Sutton, “that is where the crime is.”
Mayor de Blasio’s comments have been particularly toxic. For example: (1) He characterized the recent attacks by a mob on two NYC police officers as “alleged” violence, ignoring the fact that the attack was recorded on tape; (2) He failed to condemn the recent demonstrators who chanted “What do we want? Dead cops!” (3) He disclosed that he had cautioned his biracial son to be careful around cops lest he be targeted because of his race. His anti-cop comments and actions during this crisis have lost him the support of the cops, perhaps permanently. Many of them have signed a petition requesting that he not attend their funerals. Also, when he showed up to pay his respects to Officers Ramos and Liu, the cops present actually turned their backs on him to express their displeasure of his lack of respect and support.
Messrs. Obama and Holder have mouthed appropriate platitudes, but their actions, or lack thereof, have revealed their true biases. Michele Obama’s gratuitous comment that she was approached in Target to retrieve something off a top shelf because the customer assumed that, because she was black, she must be an employee, was excessively inflammatory and not helpful to the discourse. I, too, have been asked to retrieve items from the top shelf in stores, and I have observed many other tall people doing the same for shorter people. It was not a matter of racism, but height. Just smile, and retrieve the item, and that’s the end of it. No need to perceive every imagined slight as racism. Finally, the reliance by Messrs. Obama and de Blasio on Al Sharpton as an advisor on race relations is definitely counterproductive.
Sharpton and other race-baiters have ascribed these situations to racial profiling by cops. They ignore the fact that with respect to the Ferguson incident independent, verifiable evidence demonstrated that Michael Brown had attacked Officer Wilson. Officer Wilson did not profile Brown; he was defending himself. Regarding the Staten Island incident the police officer in question was actually being supervised at the scene by a black officer. The video of the incident did indicate that the officer who choked Mr. Garner may have used excessive force, but if there is a beef regarding the Staten Island incident, it should be with the Grand Jury that failed to hand down an indictment, not the cops. (Additionally, we have not been privy to the evidence presented to the Grand Jury.) Even Eric Garner’s daughter does not attribute her father’s death to racism. Any objective person would have to agree. However, race-baiters are not interested in objectivity or helping minorities. They have their own agendas. They are interested in agitating, not healing.
Generally, the media coverage has been slanted toward the agitators and protesters in both Ferguson and NY. Again, the media has a vested interest in fomenting conflict. It drives ratings and sells newspapers. Also, look at the misguided actions of certain celebrities, such as Samuel Jackson and his ridiculous song and the athletes who wore the “hands up, don’t shoot” jerseys. I know they have a right to exercise freedom of speech, but at least get the facts right. Independent witness testimony has proven that Brown did not raise his hands and say “don’t shoot.” Perhaps, a better jersey to wear would have been “Be a good father to your son.”
On the other side of the spectrum, many people, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former NY Governor George Pataki, former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerick and many sensible media personalities, such as Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer have spoken out in support of the police. I also believe that there is a “silent majority” (to quote former Vice President Spero Agnew) that supports the police.
Anyone who thinks there is a “racial problem” in the US today is misguided and not cognizant of the history of race relations. Whatever one perceives the situation to be, one must admit that it is vastly improved over 50 or 60 years ago. Sure, things are not completely harmonious between whites and blacks, and, likely, they never will be. There will always be racists on both sides. Race relations could still improve. But, I submit that the overwhelming majority of Americans are NOT racist. I cannot cite a poll to prove this assertion, and, besides who would admit to a pollster that they are racist. I am basing this on empirical evidence of how I have seen people interact. Also, consider that we have elected and re-elected a biracial President. Moreover, we have a black Attorney General and a plethora of black, Hispanic and Asian congressmen, judges and State officials. Fifty-sixty years ago, blacks were being denied basic rights, such as the right to vote and access to educational and career opportunities. If you don’t remember this or forgot your history, watch the movie “Selma,” which will be released on Christmas Day. You will see what real racial problems were like. Then, try to tell me we have a race problem in America today.
In the meantime, we should recognize that 95% or more of the cops are fair and not racist. They are there for the protection of law-abiding citizens, and they do a damn fine job of it under very difficult circumstances.