The Corner

Night Thoughts

1) When I write about our culture — and other cultures — I often quote a lyric: “You’ve got to be carefully taught.” Who taught yesterday’s murderer that cops were anti-black and at war against blacks? Who taught him that the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were not accidental or unsought deaths — tragedies — but racist murders?

He did not come out of the womb believing those things, or disposed to believe those things. He was taught them. These lies were planted in his head, and he acted on them.

2) Now and then, I think back to why I rejected the Left, many years ago — when I was in college. One of the reasons was, they always kept the racial pot boiling. They would never let the pot cool off. It seemed to me they did not want racial harmony. They preferred strife, regarding it as more “authentic” or something. Harmony was for Toms.

3) About a week ago, a howling mob marched on the street below my window. This was unsettling to me, because I’m used to seeing howling mobs on television, in other countries. I had never had one under my window. They were chanting obscenities against the police.

There was a whiff of fascism about them — a strong whiff. They were not engaged in democratic protest. They were a Brownshirt-like mob.

4) In late November, Farrakhan gave a speech at Morgan State University, inciting race war, basically. Read about it here. “We’re going to die anyway,” said Farrakhan. “Let’s die for something.”

Listen, I’m all for free speech. Rah First Amendment. Me good civil libertarian. But are you allowed to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater? Are you allowed to incite race war on college campuses?

I suppose so. Kind of problematic, though.

5) Sharpton is quoting that old Gandhi saying: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Nice saying. But when I think about Brown and Garner, and the execution of these cops, I don’t think “an eye for an eye.” I don’t think of any kind of equality. Do you?

An eye for an eye is when a gang kills one of yours and then you kill one of theirs. Retaliation. Tit-for-tat.

The deaths of Brown and Garner were tragic and unsought. The murder of these policemen was just that: premeditated, cold-blooded murder.

6) Many years ago, I wrote a piece reviewing Sharpton’s career, to that point. He is an inciter par excellence. He has a pattern of pretending that tragic or accidental deaths are racist murders. Let me quote from that piece:

August of 1991 saw “Crown Heights,” the period of madness that began when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew careened out of control, killing a seven-year-old black child, Gavin Cato. Riots broke out. A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured. The city was on the verge of breaking apart.

And what did Sharpton have to say? In part, he said, “The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident. . . . All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise. Pay for your deeds.”

Here is another taste of Sharpton’s rhetoric: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

In 1995, there was Freddy’s Fashion Mart. I don’t have the heart to get back into it now. Suffice it to say, there was more Sharpton incitement, more murder. The details are in the above-linked piece.

7) The mayor of New York said that the murder of a police officer is “an attack on all of us.” I guess there is room for such figurative speech. I know there is. But it seems to me the murders weren’t really attacks on me. I’m just fine. They were attacks on the murdered, and their families.

8) I have seen a headline tonight: “Civil rights leaders fear backlash.” For the last many years — since 9/11 — I have seen one headline, whenever there is an Islamist act of terror: “Leaders fear backlash,” or something like that. I see lots of acts of terror. The backlash, not so much.

Is that callous to say? It is a frank observation, regardless.

9) I appreciated a column by Howard Safir, a former police commissioner here in New York. (WFB had him to an editorial dinner one night. Safir’s uncle was the cop who caught Willie Sutton, the bank robber.)

Safir writes, “We have seen nothing but police bashing from some of the highest offices in the land.” Yes, that is true. He also said, “Police lives matter.” Well put.

10) In a September issue of National Review, I wrote an essay about cops, here. It was called “A Job Like No Other.” At the time, anti-police sentiment was being whipped up, in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., incident.

Today, I was asking myself, as I have before: Who would be a cop? Who would put his neck on the line? It’s one thing to put your neck on the line for a society appreciative of your doing so. That’s a payoff, so to speak. But if you’re just going to get dumped on, for doing your job — who needs it?

We need it. I am extremely grateful for those who serve as policemen. I don’t want to do it myself. We would be at the mercy of barbarians without them. Sometimes we are anyway.

11) The two dead policemen were named Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Obviously avatars of white privilege.

N.B. This post has been amended since its original publication.

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