Fanning The Flames

Fanning The Flames

Two NYPD police officers were ambushed and gunned down yesterday while sitting in their patrol car. The recent spiteful racially divisive anti-police rhetoric from President Obama, US Attorney General Holder, New York Mayor DeBlasio, and other so-called civic leaders, must be held partially responsible for these murders, especially in light of the publicly expressed motivations of the killer. The power—both real and symbolic—of these officials and the offices they hold, only multiplies the effect of their rhetoric, while lending validation to protesters, and also furthering a false narrative of race, profiling, and racism.

Eric Holder:

“Our police officers cannot be seen as an occupying force disconnected from the communities they serve. Bonds that have been broken must be restored. Bonds that never existed must now be created”

“The Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department”

“I understand that mistrust. I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man”

“We are starting here a good dialogue. But the reality is the dialogue is not enough. We need concrete action to change things in this country”

“In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. This will institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all”

“Let me make one thing clear, I ain’t mad at cha…it is through that level of involvement, that level of concern, and I hope a level of perseverance and commitment, that change ultimately will come”

NY Mayor DeBlasio, in reference to his bi-racial son:

“Yet, because of a history still that hangs over us, the dangers he may face, 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”

Al Sharpton:

“We lost the round, but the fight ain’t over…You won the first round, Mr. Prosecutor, but don’t cut your gloves off, because the fight is not over. Justice will come to Ferguson!”

Louis Farrakhan:

“In this book, there’s a law for retaliation”

And Obama:

“[it] speaks to the larger issues that we’ve been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year — and sadly, for decades. And that is, the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way”

“Separating that from this particular decision, there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion”

“You know, part of what I have asked Eric Holder to do is to not just engage with the folks in Ferguson, but to engage nationally in a conversation between law enforcement and communities of color that often times feel as if they not being treated fairly by law enforcement officials. Sometimes their concerns are justified, sometimes they’re not justified. Law enforcement has a very tough job. But what is clear is that that lack of trust between communities and law enforcement crops up not just in Ferguson but in places all across the country”

“When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias in any society, you’ve got to have vigilance, but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time, and you just have to be steady, so that you don’t give up when you don’t get all the way there”

“We are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust and a strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement”

“When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem. And it’s my job as president to help solve it”

And finally, the president calling for action:

“This is an issue that we’ve been dealing with for too long, and it’s time for us to make more progress than we’ve made. And I’m not interested in talk; I’m interested in action. And I’m absolutely committed as president of the United States to making sure that we have a country in which everybody believes in the core principle that we are equal under the law”

When you examine the intentionally divisive rhetoric of these “leaders”, and then compare them to the publicly expressed motivations of the killer:

“I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours … let’s take 2 of theirs,”

Lending Credibility

It is utterly ridiculous to think that the divisive remarks from these so-called “leaders” are not at least partially to blame for the motivations and inspiration for this premeditated murder of two police officers. When high ranking government officials, who are supposed to stand on the side of civility, law and order, and to represent all citizens, all make intentionally divisive and inflammatory remarks condemning the police while morally supporting the protesters, it at the very least provides a rationalization, justification, and credibility for such murders in the twisted minds of potential killers, if not motivating them outright. It lends credence and validation to those protesters and militants who believe in violence—like chanting for dead cops during a protest or cheering after the murders—when government officials, who are supposed to side with peace and order, subtly give these protesters a “wink and a nod” with purposefully supportive rhetoric.

Such violence, when there is a perception of justification and validation, also encourages copy-cats to commit similar violent acts against police. It creates a new “culture script” to follow, similar to the way that kids who feel marginalized shoot up their schools, because that is what others did before them. This then creates a more dangerous environment for police, as well as the communities they serve, and potentially makes violent police encounters more likely.

While the rhetoric of these officials may not be an outright support of unrest or violence—that would be too irresponsible and politically imprudent—it is however a subtle and nuanced moral support of the often misinformed grievances of the protesters, some of whom espouse violence and retaliation. There are enough calls for “peace” and “calm” sprinkled in these remarks to distance these officials from possible outbreaks of violence, while at the same time offering their moral support for the cause in a “read between the lines” kind of fashion. It is saying “I’m on your side”, without actually saying it.

These remarks also serve to further cement the critically flawed narrative that race and racism was the motivating factor in these past police incidents in which they are referring.  Also, this rhetoric then contributes to and validates the false—and politically motivated—narrative of inherent and widespread police racism, profiling, abuse, and brutality towards minority communities, which only further alienates the police from the communities they are trying to serve, while at the same time justifying violence against the police in the minds of disturbed criminals.  When such rhetoric is coming from officials in high positions of authority, the words carry far more weight than the average malcontent protester.

Rather than healing and sowing unity, these remarks purposefully fuel hatred and division. Although their words are often carefully chosen, these officials know exactly what they are doing.  Their rhetoric is chosen to be seemingly diplomatic, while the subtext serves to further their political agendas.

Officials meeting with and placating the unrealistic demands of these often misguided, misinformed, and sometimes violent protesters, also lends credibility to their cause. Sending official representatives to the funeral of a proven criminal, as if he were some foreign dignitary, doesn’t help either, for it also validates the perceived narrative of racism, violence, and retaliation.

The rhetoric and actions from these “leaders” should be unequivocally calling for peace, calm, unity, and support for law and order, not stoking the flames of hatred, division, and unrest, whether subtly or outright. Yet sadly, these men are unable to separate their official duties and their accountability to all citizens, from their own personal biases, warped ideologies, and political agendas. As NYPD union president Patrick Lynch put it, in reference to NY Mayor DeBlasio, “He is not running the city of New York. He thinks he’s running a fucking revolution”.

Aftermath

After such a tragedy occurs, all of these so-called leaders begin the rush to back pedal their earlier remarks, because they now realize without a doubt that their “bully pulpit” rhetoric has helped to stoke the flames. From their recent reactions and condemnations, it is obvious that they feel a twinge of responsibility for such violence, though not out of a sense of true empathy, but rather a selfish concern for their own self-interests.

It is truly pathetic to watch these so-called “leaders” spout off their half-hearted condemnations and condolences, which blatantly lack the earlier fervor and passion they displayed in their moral support of the protesters. Essentially, these men have lost all credibility when they now must come out in support of the police and the rule of law, and begin trying to foster an environment of healing and unity, while also trying to distance themselves from their earlier divisive rhetoric and condemnations of the police.

Conclusion

Is there a place for legitimate police reforms in the US, of course there is. Any professional law enforcement agency should have the desire to improve in areas where they may be lacking, or where there is criticism. The US has a long, and often contentious, history with its police forces. This is not opinion it is fact. Yet there is also a long history of legitimate and meaningful police reforms as well. Violence is not the answer for seeking police reforms, and neither is intentionally divisive and misleading rhetoric from leaders and government officials, who seek to further their own political agendas through sowing the seeds of division and hate. If a meaningful dialogue is ever to take place to enact positive changes, both in police departments and the communities they serve, the official rhetoric should serve to calm the situation, not that antagonize it. These officials need to understand that they serve all citizens, as well as represent the rule of law, and should therefore act responsibly and accordingly.

© 2014 By AB Nihilist, All Rights Reserved

 

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