Monday, December 22, 2014

WaPo offers Holder 7 tips guaranteed to inflame anti-cop prejudices

The Washington Post site has on view an opinion piece by Paul Cassell, a former federal judge, that purports to offer suggestions to "help prevent more police officers from being murdered."

1. Holder should send 30 government representatives to the funerals of officers Liu and Ramos. Why 30? Well, he sent three to Michael Browns funeral. This is a way of showing that a police officer's life is way more important.

2. Visit the officer's families. No reason given, other than to balance out the fact that he met with Brown's family.

3. Clear Officer Darren Wilson in a public report. Officer Wilson should stand trial; if a jury of his peers finds him not guilty, he'll be cleared. It's not up to Holder or Cassell or journalists to clear him.

4. Meet with Officer Wilson. How this would prevent police officers from being murdered we are not told.

5. Expedite the Garner investigation. When he says "expedite" he appears to mean "clear" the officers involved in his death. Again, those responsible for Garner's death have the opportunity to be cleared in a court of law, but they would have to be charged first.

6. Stop tolerating law-breaking by protesters. Apparently Ishmaaiyl Brinsley was motivated to drive from Baltimore to NYC and kill Officers Liu and Ramos because some anti-police-brutality protests turned violent.

7. Institute a national police appreciation day. Yes, that will make police officers safer. A former federal judge says so and the Washington Post published it.

To be sure, police officers in New York or Ferguson are not responsible for 400 years of systemic racism in America, but Cassell gives no indication that he is even remotely aware that there are millions of dispossessed Americans who are fed up with being on the dirty end of that deal. That is but one of the oversights in his seven useless suggestions.

America has evolved into a brutal winner-take-all society in which the marginalized are expected to know their place. When they get "uppity" the police are expected to refresh their memories. The marginalized see the police primarily as the protectors of the privileged. Having an annual "Hug a Cop Day" isn't going to change that.

While opportunists on all sides, from Al Sharpton to Rudy Giuliani, are busy trying to make political hay out of the NYPD tragedy, nobody has raised the question of why, in the wealthiest country in the world, a mentally ill man cannot be treated for his mental illness, but can be allowed to own a gun.

It also doesn't help that police forces across North America have become increasingly militarized over the past 20 or 30 years. There's been an odious trend toward sending senior police officials to Israel for training in how to deal with restive populations. While it's true that the law enforcement establishment in Israel has extensive expertise in dealing with violent protests, that's because they are essentially an occupation force. Who decided that makes them an appropriate role model for American law enforcement?

As long as you have millions of pissed off disenfranchised citizens, with no opportunity for improving their situation, no health care for their mental illnesses, no meaningful gun control, and police forces that increasingly look and act like an occupying army, the peope vs. the police is going to become an increasing common meme in America.

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