Most of the news media have been rapped up examining the murder of two policemen on the morning of December 21st in Brooklyn, New York. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association both stated that there was “blood on the hands” of demonstrators and elected officials who criticized police tactics. Apparently they saw the response to the killing of 18 year old unarmed Michael Brown and the suffocation Eric Garner, in addition to the constant killing of essentially Black teenagers and young adults, as well as a twelve year old playing in a park near his home, as the cause of this murder.
I have a problem with these idiot comments by men like the two above who should know better but insist upon taking a simplistic and political approach to life, going ballistic over an unfortunate event and attempting to gain political points for themselves in the process.
The murder of the two police officers in Brooklyn, New York by a lone assailant, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who happened to be a Black man that had a history of mental illness and police arrests going back over a number of years; who after he shot the police officers ran a block to a subway station and there shot himself through the head. If we ask why he did it? The answer would put him on a level with Giuliani and Lynch except that his reasoning was dark and irrational while the other two thinking would be aimed at political gain for themselves.
There is a protest movement going on in the United States about the killing of unarmed young Black males by police and others. This currently seems to be at least a weekly event if not more often and in practically all cases is ruled, generally by a Grand Jury or District Attorney, as justifiable homicide. Strangely, in a society that is mostly white, I don’t find any cases of young white males or Caucasian children, while playing with toy guns, being shot by officials or others justifiably when unarmed. Something seems to be out of kilter.
The protest movement seems to have temporarily quieted down while the memorial and funeral for these two police officers was taking place. Meanwhile a number of policemen have gone ballistic in frustration denouncing anyone who refused to absolutely blame the protest movement and any liberals like the President and Attorney General for this heinous crime. One of the leading Fox News commentators, who likes to make God-like comments which have no basis in reality, Bill Reilly, has called upon the major of New York City, Bill de Blasio, to resign. I’m surprised he didn’t call upon the President and Attorney General to do likewise.
None of these officials or the police seems to be concerned with the endless number of deaths of unarmed black men caused in many cases by armed policemen. They don’t seem to matter compared to two murdered police officers.
In Milwaukee, a policeman who killed a Black man on April 30, 2014 will not have to face charges. The District Attorney called the case “justified self-defense.” The police officer, Christopher Manney, encountered the black man while he was sleeping in a park. He patted him down. The man, Dontre Hamilton awoke. A physical encounter occurred. Hamilton got hold of Manney’s baton and began beating the officer with it. Manney fired 14 times killing Hamilton with shots to the chest. Hamilton was 31 years old; his family stated that he suffered from mental illness. The police officer was fired for treating Hamilton as a criminal when he had known he had mental problems.
The issue that emerges here is firing 14 bullets. One shot should have been sufficient to stop him. Firing 14 times indicates a man who has lost control of himself and is blindly responding. In Ferguson the police officer fired even more shots at the18 year old, Michael Brown. Before the Grand Jury the police officer spoke of seeing the teenager as a living demon. The issue here is: Who hires these people? They seem to have a secret fear of all Black males. They certainly don’t have enough emotional stability to be police officers. Isn’t there or shouldn’t there be a battery of tests, written and otherwise, that can at least determine if the individual is stable enough to be a police officer?
The issue here deals with the value of a human life, of all human beings. Are the police officers lives worth that much more than the Black youngsters that are killed? Is the implication in the United States that white lives are very valuable but black ones are almost without any real value? What is happening throughout the country would seem to indicate this. And if this is true it is a definite breach of the Constitution which states that all men are equal. The whole system of values seems to be out of kilter.
A human life is a wondrous thing. Each and every individual has a potential for some great achievement. To deprive anyone of his life goes against what this country stands for. Even the perpetrators who are taking these lives diminish themselves in the process. Whatever they feel they are accomplishing they are actually diminished by their act of mayhem, be it legally justified or not.
In the case of the two police officers who were virtually ambushed the question that comes up before me is: How did the shooter get hold of a gun? To my knowledge no one has asked this question. The man had a criminal record and was mentally disturbed. By what process could he legally or otherwise acquire a pistol?
I understand that the National Rifle Association, with its influence in Congress and the state legislatures, scores every lawmaker continually on his position toward guns, their sale and use and will financially support those who favor their position, with contributions. I also understand that they are against gun checks of persons securing weapons as, I imagine, this would lessen the amount of pistols and ammunition sold. To what extent are they responsible for the current gun culture in the United States? There are more concealed weapons being carried around today than there were in the wildest days of the wild-west in this country.
Are guns so easy to acquire on the East Coast of the United States that anyone, regardless of his background, can get one at will? Has the NRA been successful in making the laws so inept that anyone can easily and legally acquire a pistol? There’s certainly something wrong with the laws on the East Coast of the United States when a crazy with a history of mental illness and a criminal record can show up at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and threaten to shoot himself and then shoot her the day before he goes to New York City and arbitrarily murders two policemen.
If responsibility has to be placed at someone’s doorstep in this case it should rest at the door of the NRA whose goal seems to be to put a weapon in the hands of everyone regardless of their mental state or their criminal history. Who is responsible for this outrage? Mostly the National Rifle Association and their continuing lobbying policies are. Unfortunately this episode will play out otherwise.
A tragic incident has occurred. No one will question that. Will we continue to have reenactments of these tragedies? Isn’t it time for legislation both on the state and federal levels to bring about sensible laws concerning gun culture in the United States for both the perpetrators of these tragedies and for their victims?
I am reminded of John Donne’s 17th Century poem which is as valid today as it was when it was first written.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod is washed away by the sea,
Europe is less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.