Friday, December 26, 2014

How Far Must We Fall?

A wounded city is about to lay to rest one of its finest on Saturday.  The other officer’s funeral awaits the arrival of his relatives from China.  Some 20,000 to 25,000 police officers and law enforcement officials from across the U.S. and Canada are expected to attend the funerals of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

For months we have witnessed the disintegration of civil society stemming from the death of a young black man in Missouri to the chokehold death of a black man selling loose cigarettes on the streets of New York.  In both cases, a grand jury returned a “no true bill” of indictment against the officers involved in those deaths.

During a press conference New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio brought up his son, Dante, who is of mixed race and implied that he was concerned that his son might be the victim of police misconduct from the NYPD:
“I've said very, very clearly in these last days, let's be clear this is not based on decades of racism, this is based on centuries of racism.”
"So I've had to worry over the years. Chirlane's [de Blasio’s wife] had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.”
“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.” 
The ravings of protesters spurred on by racial huckster Al Sharpton and the incendiary remarks following the grand jury announcement in the Eric Garner case saw two police lieutenants attacked by a City University of New York adjunct professor and an organizer for the Service Employees International Union on the Brooklyn Bridge.

de Blasio callously praised the protesters even as some chanted, “What do we want?  Dead cops!  When do we want it?  Now!”  The mayor said the attack was “an incident in which a small group of protesters allegedly assaulted some members of the NYPD.”

Someone at The New York Daily News offered a powerful suggestion that the injudicious mayor “bring his teen son Dante to the funerals of Ramos and Liu to witness firsthand the tragic human side of the police experience. Let Dante meet Ramos’ teenage son. Have Dante greet the shattered families, weeping cops mourning fallen brothers in blue. Let Dante understand the unspoken fears of a son every time his dad puts on his blue uniform and goes out to protect high-crime neighborhoods filled with kids who look a lot like Dante.”

This is a suggestion that I wholeheartedly admonish him to consider.  If Dante would exhibit even a fragment of character, he would tell the world his dad was wrong to associate with Al Sharpton and he was wrong to tell him to fear a civil society.  His words might sway those who have hardened their hearts and degraded the value of human life and incited violence.  He would know that each killing, whether black or white, hastens the next killing.

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