In the traditional holiday spirit of “peace on earth, good will to men,” I hereby request that the partisan opportunists dial down their scapegoat rhetoric about the cop killings in New York.
News flash: Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio aren’t responsible for the deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. That despicable ambush was the exclusive work of a disturbed criminal who had been threatening people, shooting at cars, and tangling with cops since at least 2010. Ismaaaiyl Brinsley, who had terrorized his family for years, shot and wounded his Maryland ex-girlfriend the other night, hopped a bus to New York, messaged his intent to kill cops (“I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today”), dressed up his pathology with a passing reference to Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and did the fatal deed. Period.
But alas, those truths don’t square with the predictable partisan catechism – as chanted, for example, by Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, the former ’08 Republican presidential hopeful who spent $60 million on a campaign that netted exactly one delegate. Luckily for him, Fox News still supplies oxygen. There he was on Sunday: “We’ve had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police.”
Naturally, his hosts didn’t ask him to prove his inflammatory allegation. This would have been a fair question: “Mr Giuliani, can you specifically tell us when the president told Americans to hate the police? Do you have a quote from Obama?” But that kind of factual inquiry isn’t part of the Fox business model.
What I specifically recall – here’s an actual quote for you – is that after the Missouri grand jury cleared that cop in Ferguson, Obama called on all parties, cops and protestors alike, to exercise “care and restraint.” And this was his message to the protestors: “Our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.”
That message dovetail with what he said five days after Michael Brown was killed: “There’s never an excuse for violence against police.”
Funny, those comments don’t seem to jibe with Giuliani’s depiction of “hate-the-police” “propaganda.” But, as we all know, empirical evidence isn’t as sexy as mindless assertion. And Giuliani aside, there has been plenty of mindlessness. Like GOP congressman Peter King’s demand that Obama “stop the cop-bashing.”
Elsewhere, Giuliani’s old pal, ex-NYC cop commissioner Bernard Kerik – who’s free again after being jailed on eight felony counts, including corruption and tax fraud – intoned on Fox News: “I personally feel that Mayor de Blasio, (Al) Sharpton and others like him, they actually have blood on their hands.” That wasn’t good enough for Fox host Jeanine Pirro, who quickly added, “Let’s talk about the president as well.”
And on Facebook, ex-Republican golden boy Scott Brown, fresh from losing his second Senate race to female opponents in two different states (a new national record), typed this: “Two good men assassinated by a coward…I’m not sure what this country will look like with 2 more years of divisive rhetoric from the WH.”
OK. I have some questions:
Can any of these people cite a single scintilla of empircal evidence that Ismaaiyl Brinsley was programmed by Obama rhetoric, or other officials’ rhetoric, to act as he did?
When Brinsley obstructed two cops in Cobb County, Georgia – this was right after he shot a woman’s car with a stolen handgun – was there any evidence that his cop-hating behavior (he fled the scene, refused to obey cop commands) was inspired by Obama or de Blasio? Especially since this Georgia incident occurred in 2011?
When Brinsley fled an Atlanta cop, and was captured only after a foot chase, whereupon the cops discovered that he was wanted on an arrest warrant for theft, criminal damage to property, obstructon, battery, and felon possession of a firearm, was there any evidence that his cop-hating behavior was inspired by Obama, de Blasio, Sharpton, protestors, or any other person or entity? Especially since this Atlanta incident occurred in June 2013, more than a year before the deaths of Brown and Garner?
Did Brinsley shoot his ex-girlfriend (who reportedly saved him from suicide) for some larger political purpose? Is there any empirical evidence to suggest such a link? Did he make a beeline for Brooklyn because a tiny fraction of New York protestors had disgracefully called for cop killings? Where’s the causal link?
If only the right-wing opportunists would cease their attempts to politicize Brinsley’s cop murders. What a holiday gift that would be.
Deranged people like Brinsley are typically driven by their own deranged pathologies – which Fox News has acknowledged in the past, at least when the killers seem politically inconvenient. Like in 2012, when a racist skinhead in Wisconsin killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple, and subsequently shot a cop. Fox host Andrea Tantaros declared: “How do you stop a lunatic? This is not a political issue.”
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