Saturday, December 20, 2014

Two Wrongs


NO, NO, NO!

What many feared might happen has finally happened. In an apparent act of vengeance, two New York City police officers were shot to death in Brooklyn while they sat in their patrol car. The shooter, reportedly from a gang in Baltimore that promised retribution for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, took his own life before he could be apprehended.

This was not the way to handle this. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, violence begetting violence. This solves nothing. This shooting has not only claimed two innocent lives, it may well have dashed any hopes that the Garner case might get a new grand jury. Worse, it could well ignite this tinder box of a city that has been on edge for almost a month.

It may be tempting for some to pronounce this incident as poetic justice. It isn't. Whatever your thoughts on the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, there was no proof of premeditation in either case. What happened in Brooklyn today was about as premeditated as it gets.  One homicidal maniac set himself up as judge, jury and executioner. Even if Brown and Garner had been murdered, it still wouldn't justify this shooting. Two wrongs never make a right. Period!

All of this could've been avoided had two prosecutors simply done their respective jobs. Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor in the Brown case, has admitted he allowed testimony from witnesses he knew were lying. Not only is he guilty of suborning perjury, his negligence is partly to blame for the racial tension that has gripped the nation. The blood of these two officers is as much on his hands as it is on the shooter's.

I wrote after the Garner decision that I honestly didn't know where we went from here. Now I really don't know. I fear this will only continue to escalate. I pray that I'm wrong, but this much I know: America desperately needs to have that discussion on race it has been putting off for centuries.

Now is as good a time as any.

1 comment:

Prof. Walter Jameson said...


Sir:

No one in their right mind would ever support something of this nature. The slaughter of two innocent human beings is evil. It doesn't matter whether they're wearing a badge or not; it's evil. Society cannot, and will not, tolerate actions that have the potential to bring about anarchy.

You stated: "This shooting has not only claimed two innocent lives, it may well have dashed any hopes that the Garner case might get a new grand jury. Worse, it could well ignite this tinder box of a city that has been on edge for almost a month."

I've got a few problems with this. The Garner case is not, and was not ever, going to get a new state grand jury. That matter has been decided. The only chance that Eric Garner's family has of getting justice at this point is through the federal system. This tragic event that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn will not have any influence on that. And why should it? Secondly, how is this event going to ignite "this tinder box of a city"? Are the police now going to 'escalate' matters in their interactions with people of color in NYC because some thug from Baltimore came to the area with murder on his mind?

You stated: "All of this could've been avoided had two prosecutors simply done their respective jobs. Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor in the Brown case, has admitted he allowed testimony from witnesses he knew were lying. Not only is he guilty of suborning perjury, his negligence is partly to blame for the racial tension that has gripped the nation. The blood of these two officers is as much on his hands as it is on the shooter's."

Although I've always thought that there was enough of a problem with DA McCulloch to warrant his replacement in the Brown case - heck, he should've had the good sense to recuse himself, for cryin' out loud - I have not seen anything suggesting that he allowed testimony from witnesses *he knew* were lying. Could you please supply your source (or sources) for this?

You've stated this more than a few times: "America desperately needs to have that discussion on race it has been putting off for centuries."

Okay. Who's going to conduct that discussion and to whom will it be addressed? List, if you might, a few topics that will be discussed. What are your remedies? Go ahead, put it out there. If you can't answer any of these questions, is it realistic to expect the broader society to do it? You might gain a lot more traction if you specifically focused on law enforcement's attitudes and interactions with racial minorities. For instance, what, exactly, are new recruits being taught at the academies? To what extent do outdated and outmoded sociological theories on crime permeate the ethos of law enforcement culture today? Those are relevant questions that should be asked and answered. But to just say that America needs to have a discussion on race ... well, you're just swatting at air.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.