Sunday, December 21, 2014

Senseless Slaughter

That thin blue line that stands between civility and chaos -- us and them -- just got a little thinner, and we all are diminished by this tragic loss. 

Even the most ardent critic of police involvement in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown should be taken aback by the cold hearted assassination of two patrolmen, partners, sitting in their cruiser Saturday afternoon.  Assuming of course you're a rational human being.

Neither officer involved in the Garner or Brown deaths got up that morning thinking they were going to kill a black man.  Unlike Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who clearly decided he was going to kill that day, with the only prerequisite being the victims dressed in blue.

Unfortunately for them and the families they leave behind, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were in his line of sight.

 Amherst Police Station 12/7/14 #Ferguson protesters shut down Main Street

Have highly publicized demonstrations over the past few months -- some of them here in Amherst -- contributed to this outrage?  How could they not -- especially with chants like "Fuck The Police".

Self serving denials ring cold and hollow, like a freshly dug grave.

When a large group of college aged youth demonstrated in front of Amherst police station two weeks ago, they chanted in choreographed unison, "Who do you protect, who do you serve?"

Now the men and women in blue will be giving much more thought to protecting their own.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Al Sharpton. "What do we want? Dead cops!" I agree sickening ain't strong enough. Bastards.

Anonymous said...

SHAME on all those people protesting. They should all wight a letter of apology and donate money to the cops family's that were assassinated in the name of there protest! You all deserve a visit from Krampus and a lump of coal in your stocking!

Mommy, you taught us to be insane! said...

Incubated in Amherst,

infecting the planet.

Happy now, chimps?

-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Punks.

Walter Graff said...

As I walk around NYC today one thing I don't see are police cars parked anymore. Now all they do is keep moving. So sickening. To think that because people do not like that the justice system did it's job, just not that they wanted, excuse me, did what they were told what they think they wanted.

Anonymous said...

Sucks, RIP all that have died recently in the US police wars on both sides, but let's not loose sight of the problem that brought this to being....lack of equal accountability. All we can do is move forward and make sure that all civilians (police and non-police) are kept to the same standards and do our best to keep this from ramping up govt. force - which is clearly at an excess.

Anonymous said...

Excess? It is your constitutional obligation to obey a police officer when you are detained or arrested. While there certainly are cases where police go too far, the real issue is the lack of respect for police and authority as a whole. Both national cases were instances where police were disrespected, ignored, and/or attacked. Both men determined their destiny.

Saddest part is for a guy claiming to kill white cops, he killed a Chinese man and a Spanish man, not exactly European white.

Anonymous said...

Are you crazy?

Anonymous said...

"Are you crazy" written by me at 8:12 refers to anon 10:45 not 8:05. Sorry for confusion. "Police Wars." Indeed . Jerk.

Anonymous said...

The murder of the cops is horrible, but it's just journalistically and just humanly
irresponsible to blame the actions of a mentally ill man on largely peaceful protests. The right to dissent is all over the Bill of Rights. We have freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, a freedom from a state mandated religion. The Bill of Rights also sets a high bar for police behavior (the Constitution never mentioned citizens' responsibility to obey state authority, btw.)

Blaming the protests for the actions of an insane criminal is like blaming Republican anti-Clinton rhetoric for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, including many children.

Blaming the protests for the actions of an insane criminal is only one or two steps removed from blaming the US for 9/11.

Wrap yourself in police blue and you think you can do or say anything, and that's dangerous. Then we get rogue cops who turn their backs on the mayor and police commissioner (not very professional), but frankly also un-American. The police are instruments of state power. Cops work for us and our elected representatives. Once they start acting like they're above the law and once they start blaming peaceful protester asking legitimate questions about state authority and its abuse, then the country is in real trouble. No amount of flag waving will rescue us from that.

Anonymous said...

Are you (9:05) crazy? Do you consider the chant "what do we want? Dead cops! When do we want 'em? Now!" To be of a peaceful nature?

Anonymous said...

Everyone, be peaceful.

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking note from Ramos' son.

Anonymous said...

99% of the protesters are asking for justice, not hurting cops. Blaming a couple of idiots who chant hateful things is like saying all cops are murderers because of a few rogue cops.

It's funny how you'll cherry pick one or two stupid comments from thousands or peaceful protesters.

In America we cherish our right to criticize the state. That's how America was founded.

Anonymous said...

Several points, for what they are worth:

1) I don't think the legitimacy of a protest movement should be judged by what its most irresponsible members have to say, or what a frankly sick member of the community thinks the movement is telling him to do. There's a very real problem at the very least in public perceptions about what the police are doing, whether we're analyzing it properly or not.

2)I continue to read phrases like "lack of equal accountability" being thrown around, as Anon 10:45 pm does above. But this thinking appears to be merely reasoning backward from the grand jury outcomes that came in Ferguson and New York City, outcomes that many, if not most, find unsatisfactory. "They didn't come out the way I wanted them to come out; therefore the process must have been flawed." It's a fairly adolescent way to look at the world.

I see very little in the media developing in any detail what the supposed errors were WITHIN THE PROCESS. On CNN and elsewhere, I see allegations that grand jurors were manipulated pawns of the police and the prosecutors, but very little specific proof of that claim. Perhaps others will point out what I missed.

3)I see much of our problems with police to include workplace issues, and I'm not seeing this crucial aspect being addressed. I think we are burning through our police emotionally and physically. I'm not sure that our urban police departments are looking at ways to reform the demands they make on individual officers, so that the police are at their best (or not at their worst). For example, there is no doubt in my mind that the "midnight to eight" shift on patrol in Springfield is one of the most soul-crushing jobs in the Valley, especially if done year after year.

These are human beings. You dehumanize them (Anon 9:05 am) when you refer to them simply as "instruments of state power" or bloviate about the high bar that the Bill of Rights sets for them. We have to ensure humane working conditions for them that promote and ensure what we expect for them. Can you say with confidence that you know that's happening?

It should really come as no surprise that individual police can make terrible mistakes in either the actions they take or the tone they adopt in speaking with citizens. We expect them to arrive QUICKLY at crime scenes and ongoing disturbances, and understand what's going on immediately and then act properly. (Try that out in your mind sometime.) We are dumping all the sins of our society on them (as we do with teachers also), we work them long hours to death, having them see us at repeated emergency calls at our worst, and then we expect THEM to behave like saints at all times? Once again, this appears to be a fairly adolescent approach to our expectations for our police, a little bit like the demands that we made on our parents and our teachers when we were kids.

I am happy that we are having the national discussion, because it's been on the back burner for some time, but I am very distrustful of what the leaders of this movement want to add to the police officer's plate, without the economic resources to finance them. We can rant about police compliance with the Constitution (as if that's easy or obvious) but we have to look at how human systems of organization function, including police departments, to make sure we get there.

Yes, there is racism, but I believe we have terrible working conditions for many of our cops, especially in our big cities. The police would be better served by a more candid and sensitive public examination of their lives on a daily basis, and perhaps SOME of the stupid, inflammatory rhetoric would stop.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Rich Morse seems a little confused as to where the problem lies with the recent police problems. Some police acted horribly and clearly in ways that disturb the vast majority of Americans. A 62-car police chase in Cleveland for a traffic violation that ended with a cop on the hood of the stopped car pumping bullets into his victims. 110 shell cases were recovered. The victims had no guns. The Eric Garner case was horrible, and everyone saw it. The problem is that district attorneys are not independent of or unbiased in their dealings with the police. District attorneys are doing a horrible job when it comes to policing the police. There's a reason the DOJ is in Cleveland for the second time in under a decade. The local district attorney did nothing to step the problems. The DOJ is in Fergusson too and I wouldn't be surprised if they end up in NYC, which is particularly interesting given Obama's Attorney General nominee.

The problem is mentioned multiple times a day on TVs across the land. From the beginning of every Law & Order episode: " In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." We're seeing that they aren't so separate, and that's a big problem when it comes to allegations of police brutality.

We need independent prosecutors not district attorneys who work with the police investigating the police. The problem is that massive numbers of Americans don't trust the police after Ferguson, Cleveland (multiple episodes), NYC, etc., etc. Let's restore faith in the police by having outside investigations of allegations of brutality.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem defending all police as I did defending all priests. The issue is that not punishing and/or removing bad actors (wasn't the choke hold they used on Garner against NYPD rules and wasn't that officer cited in several brutality complaints settled out of court?) destroys the reputations of otherwise fine institutions. A generally good institution loses its reputation because its defining itself according the worst actions of its worst members. When the police turned their backs on the mayor and commissioner they tarnished the reputation of the NYPD. They stood with their worst actors against their civilian bosses.

And you what, Rich, labeling the police "instruments of state power" isn't bloviating, it's an accurate depiction of the role of the police. To think otherwise is to tar those very same police for so much of what they do. Ever been in a mining community during a strike? The police are usually pretty awful to the strikers. They're all working class. They are often even related to each other; they're all from the same community. The police are there to protect private property and often to uphold some unjust court rulings. To see them as anything other than instruments of state power is see them as sadists or class traitors.

When the NYPD used racial profiling in "stop and frisk," the cops involved weren't racists or assholes. They were following orders developed by the civilian authority (the state). They stopped and frisked largely men of color because that was policy. To see them as anything other than instruments of the state is to make them out as racist jerks hassling black and brown men.

Finally, there's the "broken windows" policing model. It applies to poor neighborhood, but not to minor, largely white drug offenses committed by Wall Street traders. More to the point, no one talks about "broken windows" (ie. policing even minor infractions of the law to prevent bigger crimes) when it comes to the banks and Wall Street. If we really believed in "broken windows" the SEC would be arresting bankers left and right. They're not because they too are instruments of state power. And, the state is more responsive to them than to poor or middle-class folks.

The police, FBI, CIA, SEC, etc. are doing what the government tells them to do. The problem is when cheerleaders like you are so caught up in protecting their image that we reject oversight and say that anyone who questions authority or who calls bs on a something like the CIA torture program or NYPD's stop and frisk is the problem.

Oh, and I apologize for taking the Bill or Rights so seriously. My mistake. I guess I was a fool to take seriously the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and even 9th Amendments to our Constitution, but they've been under siege for the last few years. And, people criticizing public protests against the police seem to want to curtail various aspects of our First Amendment rights.

I guess that's just more bloviating.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get off speaking for the " majority" of Americans?

Anonymous said...

Stop telling us what "massive numbers of Americans" believe.

Anonymous said...

As opposed to what you're doing, 2:44

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:44 pm

You are willfully misreading my argument. Since you focused on it unduly, I withdraw the word "bloviation", if that helps.

I have no objection to independent prosecutors, and separately empaneled grand juries, to address these cases. You will note, however, that our local District Attorney has said that he does not think those steps are necessary.

My argument is that those steps will not be enough. And, if there are higher authorities in government than the police responsible for the core of the problem, shouldn't the protests and demonstrations be directed clearly at them?

The police are right in feeling aggrieved that they are the easy target, although the protestors are absolutely not responsible for every damned and cockamamie thing being said and done these days against police. I stand on my initial argument that we have police working in daily conditions that do not foster what we all seek.

Let's try to remember that the police are coping with a society that is utterly awash in firearms, illegal or otherwise.

Rich Morse

Dr. Ed said...

"It is your constitutional obligation to obey a police officer when you are detained or arrested."


The police officer is always right until dawn.

But it is ALSO the Constitutional (and moral) obligation of those who issue the badges to hold the officers accountable the next morning.

This is the issue that I have with the UMPD -- the next morning, no one cared.

Two NATIONAL organizations clearly showed that Lisa Kidwell's police report was, at best. a work of creative fiction. Clearly showed that she violated my rights -- I cooperated with her and then it is my fault for doing so.

There were lot more incidents, not as well documented, including situations where people were permitted (if not encouraged) to commit crimes against me, with impunity.

I doubt I will ever trust a police officer again in this or any other lifetime.

I consider what happened on Saturday to be an act of terrorism, nothing less, but that doesn't mean that I'm a fan of the police. Not anymore, not after what has happened to me.

And I didn't do anything -- even when they were trying to find something on me, the UMPD couldn't. And yet my civil and Constitutional rights were violated with impunity. And there is nothing you can do about it.

At least I won't ever have to serve on a jury -- not when I say that I am unable to believe anything that a police officer says to be even a scintilla of the truth.

And it is also worth noting that the vast majority of officer fatalities are MVAs -- they crash cruisers and even with a Kelvar vest on (which, I'm told, helps), they die because they were driving too fast for conditions.

Yes, maybe it was necessary -- maybe sometimes -- and maybe some of the other things they do are necessary and reality is that perps will do things to them as well. It's like the question of "who sweeps for the minesweeper?"

But is it a good idea to go around kicking hornets nests for no good reason? And look at what happened to me -- "who guards the guardians?"

THAT, Larry, is something you need to think about -- who are the police afraid of, who keeps them honest? No one -- and that's the problem...

Anonymous said...

Let's try to remember that the police are coping with a society that is utterly awash in firearms, illegal or otherwise.

And that is a problem because?

If the perp's girlfriend had her own gun -- and hence the ability to shoot him first -- those two cops would be alive today.

That is a fact.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

If only we had more guns in the middle of intimate relationships....yeah, that makes sense.

This is the kind of logic I come to this blog for.

Anonymous said...

" A 62-car police chase in Cleveland for a traffic violation "

No, a 62 car chase for what was thought were two men firing on police officers with a gun from a car. Turned out they were wrong. People make mistakes. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

You know what might be nice? If we all just stop our self-righteous wind-bagging and give the dead a moment of silence. Maybe Larry can shut us all down for a day. What a relief it would be.

Anonymous said...

Rahm Emmanuel: "Never let a good crisis go to waste."

Barack Obama: "Holder, get me an imaginary crisis. I've got an interview with People magazine."

Ismaaiyl Brinsley: "If I had a father, he'd look like Obama."

Anonymous said...

give the dead a moment of silence.

Yes, all of them.

DId you know that you are statistically more likely to be accidentially shot by a police officer than to be a victim of a terrorist?

Anonymous said...

It must be hell living in a place where you see enemies all around you every day.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

So much for the moment of silece. The running mouths just have to begin again. So much complaining to do. Be funny if someone had something constructive to say.

Anonymous said...

"So much complaining to do"


Jackie, stop your complaining.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Guity as charged. I am indeed complaining about the complainers . Pardon.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to men and women both in blue and in other colors too

Anonymous said...

Burial today for Ramos. Brown lives matter. Yellow too. RIP gentlemen. And may both your memorial services be free from disruption.

Anonymous said...

RIP officer Ramos. Thoughts and prayers to your families today.