Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Blood is on No One's Hand but the Guilty, and He's Dead

I suck.

I have a post on Ferguson that's been sitting in my draft section.  I have yet to post my thoughts about the shootings on those two NYPD police officers and the following marches/voices of support for the police.  Well, no time like the present.

In case you missed it, back around late December,
An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, striking them both before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
The shooting took place in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Both officers were shot in the head and rushed to a hospital, where they later died.

At a news conference Saturday night, Bratton identified the officers as Wenjian Liu, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, and Raphael Ramos, who joined the force two years ago.
"They were, quite simply, assassinated -- targeted for their uniform," Bratton said. "They were ambushed and murdered."......
The gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot himself inside the subway station, Bratton said. A semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene.....
Bratton said Brinsley had shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend Saturday morning in Baltimore and made posts from her Instagram account that were "very anti-police."
Authorities didn't get into the specifics of the contents of the posts, but a police source told CBS News that Brinsley posted a photo of a handgun on Instagram a few hours before the shooting. CBS News could not independently verify that the message came from the suspect.

"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," the post said. "They Take 1 Of Ours. Let's Take 2 Of Theirs. #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner (sic) #RIPMikeBrown This May Be My Final Post. I'm Putting Pigs In A Blanket"

While I have no problem with the public showing support for the police force, what PISSED ME OFF about that whole incident was the belief that the protests about recent police brutality and shootings somehow fueled the idea of violence toward the police, leading to the deaths of the officers. That if you protested the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, etc., that you're against the police.  Take this guy....

Some of his own words:  "Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated," Lynch said. "That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor."

Let me make something clear.

You can support the police and still be against police brutality.  You can support the police, know that there are many good police officers, and still protest against the unfair deaths of black men at the hands of some police officers.  The police are NOT above scrutiny.

Now with that being said, this happened:

This was taken around December 13th of last year in New York City in the wake of the police related death of Eric Garner.  The shooting of the officers was around December 20th.  Were the protestors in the video wrong, OF COURSE!

But out of ALL the protests that happened across the country, people took this one group - this one instance, and decided that ALL protests against police brutality (at least the ones in New York) caused the deaths of the two officers.  Ridiculous!   

Now were there instances of police officers being assaulted, yes.  People, especially black people are angry and tired of police brutality happening towards blacks.  But that still doesn't make assaulting police officers OK, and I'm sure most of those protesting against treatment by the police agree.  But the minority cases always take the forefront.

Funny.....police complain that the good cops are grouped with the bad; about how they are portrayed, and they always point out that most cops are good cops.  However, when it comes the protests against police shootings and abuse of power, the few incidents of violence during those protests are constantly used to represent the entirety of the protestors.  The good and bad are grouped together.  Look at how many times people brought up the rioters from Ferguson as an example of the protests over there.  The protestors and rioters were grouped together.   

About the shooter.
To blame the protests for his actions is like blaming violent video games/movies for the actions of school shooters.  Or that a movie/music video/show/video game having a character that think it's OK to kill people means that it tells someone that it's OK to believe that in real life and to act on it.  The shooter was already not right in the head.  He even attacked his ex-girlfriend earlier on, but no one seems to ever mention that..... 

In conclusion, as Jon Stewart said:
You can truly grieve for every officer who's been lost in the line of duty in this country, and still be troubled by cases of police overreach.  Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive.  You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to high standards.
 Here are some more great comments from people online about the whole thing:
- This phony and logically baffling indignation is similar to that expressed by the St. Louis County Police Association when it demanded an apology from the NFL when several Rams players entered the field with their hands held high in the iconic Michael Brown gesture of surrender. Or when LeBron James and W.R. Allen wore his “I Can’t Breathe” shirts echoing Eric Garner’s final plea before dying. Such outrage by police unions and politicians implies that there is no problem, which is the erroneous perception that the protestors are trying to change.
- It's like people don't understand that the action of a single person does not represent an entire group. Then again, these are probably the same people who think the 9/11 attacks of an extremist group represents an entire culture and religion. Ignorance feeds ignorance.
- In a Dec. 21, 2014 article about the shooting, the Los Angeles Times referred to the New York City protests as “anti-police marches,” which is grossly inaccurate and illustrates the problem of perception the protestors are battling. The marches are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening, and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too.

And lastly:
The idiots who killed these people are responsible for their deaths!  Can we say that all white people are responsible for over 200 years of slavery, followed by generations of jim crow laws, and now institutional racism?  absolutely not.  some white people are hateful racists, and some are not.  some people are idiots and take the law into their own hands , and others, such as myself,  respect and obey the law.  place the blame where it belongs-on the heads of the idiot criminals who killed these officers!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player; also an author, filmmaker and education ambassador) also had thoughts to share of his own.  From his article, The Police Aren’t Under Attack. Institutionalized Racism Is:

The recent brutal murder of two Brooklyn police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, is a national tragedy that should inspire nationwide mourning. Both my grandfather and father were police officers, so I appreciate what a difficult and dangerous profession law enforcement is. We need to value and celebrate the many officers dedicated to protecting the public and nourishing our justice system. It’s a job most of us don’t have the courage to do.
At the same time, however, we need to understand that their deaths are in no way related to the massive protests against systemic abuses of the justice system as symbolized by the recent deaths—also national tragedies—of Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Michael Brown. Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the suicidal killer, wasn’t an impassioned activist expressing political frustration, he was a troubled man who had shot his girlfriend earlier that same day.