Who Marches Against The Cop Killers?
Great piece by my pal Heather Mac Donald in City Journal, on how black leaders are so often silent when police are gunned down trying to protect black neighborhoods:
New York police officers have yet to hold a “no justice, no peace” rally in Brooklyn, where three black thugs in a stolen BMW fatally gunned down Officer Russel Timoshenko on July 9. Nor have New York’s Finest stopped patrolling Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Central Harlem, where they put their lives at risk every day to protect residents from violent crime.
Yet under the race-baiting precedents established by Al Sharpton, New York City Councilman (and former Black Panther) Charles Barron, and New York Times columnists and editors, the police have more than enough grounds for racial complaint. Blacks are blowing away police officers at rates far exceeding their own numbers. Nationally, blacks made up 40 percent of all cop killers from 1994 to 2005, even though they are only 13.4 percent of the American population.
That fact is not allowed in polite company, however, because race-baiting is tolerated in only one direction. Any time an officer shoots a black civilian, he runs a risk of igniting protest in the African-American “community.” (Even if the officer is black, he will be treated as an honorary white for purposes of denouncing cop racism, as the shooting of Sean Bell last November demonstrated.) The media will turn out in force for all such anticop demonstrations, lovingly documenting every gesture of black rage. But justified police shootings constitute only a minute fraction—and unjustified police shootings, an almost imperceptible fraction—of homicides of blacks, virtually all of which are committed by other blacks. New York police killed nine civilians in 2005, for example, all of whom had attacked the officers first, compared with hundreds upon hundreds of black-on-black killings. But blacks can shoot whites—police officer and civilian alike—without anyone’s organizing a street demonstration about it, much less daring to point out the pattern.
Beyond the racial issues, people are quick to malign cops in general and slow to show appreciation for individual cops who do a good job.
On a related note, I was chastised by a blog commenter for thanking soldiers when I see them in airports (if I'm remembering correctly, that commenter was a mother with an enlisted kid who sees Iraq as a fool's errand, and is embarrassed to be thanked for being part of it). Although I think we were wrong to invade Iraq, I understand that people who enlist in our military are putting their lives on the line on behalf of the rest of us, and I'm immensely grateful for that.
I also thank the police and firemen in my neighborhood when I see them. It's tough being a cop, not only because it's dangerous or can even be deadly, but thanks to the few bad apples on the force who are highlighted in the media. Maybe you, too, should give a wave of thanks to the cop on the beat in your neighborhood. Maybe there'd be fewer bad apples if we gave credit and thanks to the good cops out there. People don't realize this, I don't think, but letting somebody know they're appreciated can make a real difference in how they do their job.
Posted by aalkon at July 22, 2007 2:36 PM
Okay, since all of you are apparently too timid (or still asleep) to comment on this one, here are some comments from some cops who read Heather's piece, sent to me by a cop.
Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 22, 2007 12:09 PM
Not timid at all. It's just all so on target that no comment seems necessary.
Posted by: kishke at July 22, 2007 1:04 PM
Awww! Now I feel much better!
Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 22, 2007 1:17 PM
Two words, community policing. I have lived in some really bad places, for dealing with the police (East Lansing, MI, was the worse - even the cops in surrounding jurisdictions hate EL cops). Now I live in a Portland, OR, precinct that has community policing - wow. I actually know all of the police that patrol in my neighborhood. They are absolutely great and make my low-income, high drug use neighborhood not only tolerable, but a great place to live.
I have had some decent run-ins with the police in the past, but even in the best of circumstances, it still felt like us against them. For the first time in my life, I regularly talk to the police, just because they happen to be around and have a few minutes. They ask how things are going, if any problems need to be addressed (I have had some problems with the bar next to my apartment and some of the neighbors). They seem to really care about the quality of life, for everyone living here and they show it regularly. They are excellent mediators and do their best not to arrest someone, every time they're called.
I love the police in my neighborhood. . .And I regularly thank them for being here.
Posted by: DuWayne at July 22, 2007 1:20 PM
We have terrific community policing in my neighborhood, too. In fact, I sent this link to our community policing officer to thank her again for all she does.
Also, you might write a note to the watch commander at the precinct near you to let them know you and other residents are content.
Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 22, 2007 1:24 PM
We've met the day commander already, at one of the events they put on at our local parks. Indeed, he was the target for the dunk-tank, so was fairly wet when I got to chat with him and thank him in person.
I've talked to the night commander on the phone a couple of times, trying to deal with loud, drunk people, coming out of the bar next door. He was very instrumental in getting the bar to adopt better standards for dealing with not only the loud assholes, but with the numbers of them who then drive off drunk as shit. I'm looking forward to meeting him at the end of summer party, where he will represent the precinct.
Posted by: DuWayne at July 22, 2007 2:00 PM
Actually, to comply with the spirit of the post, I should not have let my silence stand as assent, but should have let you know I agree. So I hereby ssy: You're right on target, and thanks for all the great writing. There certainly are things we don't agree on (religion, for one), but do I appreciate the work you do, and the opportunity for lively interaction with people I'd otherwise have no contact with.
Posted by: kishke at July 22, 2007 2:10 PM
Hey, thanks -- I really appreciate that!
Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 22, 2007 2:21 PM
Cop killers, or even thugs who endanger the public by entering high speed chases to elude the police, or any armed robber should get the same treatment that Chinese Health officials get for taking bribes.
PS- So should some bad cops.
Posted by: eric at July 22, 2007 4:57 PM
I've been doing this for years. In addition to thanking them whenever the opportunity presents itself (and also teaching my girls to do the same), I regularly make donations to the PAL, and the volunteer fire department. Seriously, where would we be without these guys?
Posted by: Flynne at July 23, 2007 5:49 AM
There actually was some sort of a rally here in New York, on Saturday I believe, in response to the recent killing of officer Russel Timoshenko. I was flipping through the news channels yesterday and saw coverage of a march that even included black people. I naturally assumed some sort of manufactured rage over actually enforcing laws was taking place but was very pleasantly surprised to find you it was in support of--not against--the police force.
Posted by: rbnyc at July 23, 2007 8:26 AM