Two years ago, two NYPD officers were killed as they sat in their marked car by a black man angry about the death of Eric Garner and strong-arm robber Michael Brown.
Ten days ago, a madman opened fire on cops at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas. Five officers were killed and nine others injured.
This morning, another evil man ambushed law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, La., killing three and injuring three others—two critically.
There are even more that have, thankfully, not been as “successful” as these attacks.
I’m sick and heartbroken. I’ve seen the sorrow and devastation that these sorts of murders can have on officers’ families, colleagues and the community.
A good friend of mine who’d been in my church Bible study lost her husband of just a few months, officer Tony Zeppetella, when he pulled over an illegal immigrant felon in Oceanside, Calif. back in 2003, and was murdered by him. His killer will likely serve a life sentence on the state’s Death Row. (California doesn’t seem to follow through on its death penalty any more.)
The War on Cops
These attacks on police officers aren’t “normal” murders of police officers—if that’s what you’d call ones like the attack on Tony at a traffic stop by someone who had warrants outstanding and didn’t want to go back to prison.
The New York cops were sitting in their patrol car; not attempting to make an arrest or questioning a suspect. Their killer specifically targeted them because they were cops.
In Dallas, the officers were providing security for a Black Lives Matter march. The killer knew the march would be a target-rich environment.
In Baton Rouge, it appears the killer fired off a couple of shots in an effort to draw law enforcement to the area, then ambushed them when they arrived.
Now, I don’t pretend that all cops are saints. They’re human like the rest of us. There are good cops and bad cops; the former vastly outnumber the latter.
But these men haven’t been murdered because they’re bad cops. They’ve been murdered simply because they’re cops.
None of this is to say that African-Americans don’t have reason to be resentful of some of their interactions with cops. Sen. Tim Scott (R.-S.C.) gave a speech on the Senate floor last week discussing some of his experiences with police officers.
Though they shouldn’t have to be, many African-Americans are used to this level of disparate treatment by too many cops.
Obama and the Media
In recent years, however, the media and the nation’s first black president have sensationalized a number of cases and used misreporting and falsehoods to build a long-simmering resentment into a bonfire that’s killing cops.
First there was Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard professor who refused to identify himself when cops were called as he was attempting to break into his own house. Not knowing anything of Gates’ behavior or the surrounding situation, President Obama weighed in and accused the cops of “act[ing] stupidly.”
Then there was the Trayvon Martin case, where Obama opined that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” George Zimmerman was charged with murder of for Martin’s killing and the media worked hard to play up the racial angle. NBC went as far as to deceptively edit the 9-1-1 call to make Zimmerman look like he was targeting Martin because of his race.
At trial, it became clear that Martin had ambushed Zimmerman and was beating the hell out of him until Zimmerman managed to pull his gun and stop the threat.
In Ferguson, Mo., the media made Michael Brown into a saint when his friend claimed that Brown had his hands up and was surrendering to police when he was shot multiple times and killed.
The lie resulted in riots and the police officer who justifiably killed Brown had to resign from his job amid death threats.
In Baltimore, a similar sort of case with police misconduct being blamed for the death of Freddie Gray is turning out to be a lot of media hype and cops who did nothing wrong.
And yet, you have Obama at a memorial service in Dallas using the second half of his speech to lecture police who are mourning their dead.
Over at Think Progress, the “think-tank” founded by Hillary Clinton supporter John Podesta, their LGBT editor, Zack Ford, made the mistake of revealing the sorry state of his soul with this since-deleted tweet.
Ford has since “apologized” because he thinks you rubes might get the impression that he was condoning violence.
What do we do now?
I wish I had an answer. I wish there was something quick, easy and obvious.
Every time there’s some breaking news, the media, starved for information in the early hours, starts speculating. Despite postmortems by media reporters, ombudsmen and watchdogs, the next time something like this happens they do the same thing yet again.
President Obama’s need to lecture and blame at the wrong time (memorial services) and allying himself solely with those inciting the violence aren’t likely to change either. The war on cops won’t subside while Obama sits in the oval office.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t shown herself to have a backbone when it comes to confronting the more violent members of her party’s largest constituency, so don’t expect a second Clinton presidency to spur an improvement in race relations either.
Donald Trump? I’m not sure if his “law and order” schtick will win out over the gasoline that his mouth too often pours on every simmering controversy. (#NeverTrump)
Understanding. Patience. Tolerance. These are the things we need more of.
Pray that somehow we get it.