Every once in a while, a piece of reporting comes along that so perfectly encapsulates the excesses of progressivism that it seems to have been scripted for that purpose.
I’ve never encountered a better example of the genre than the latest edition of Bari Weiss’s Common Sense newsletter, in which Suzy Weiss recounts her experience attending the first meeting of the Park Slope Panthers, a community-watch organization founded after a stick-wielding madman attacked a woman and her dog in Prospect Park, beating the dog, Moose, to death and dumping urine on him.
As Weiss relays, only six concerned citizens showed up to the park to participate in the group, but they were soon joined by activists whose primary concern was not that a raving lunatic felt emboldened to beat a dog to death in broad daylight in their neighborhood park, but instead that the Occupy Wall Street veteran who founded the group and his five fellow Panthers might harm poor people of color in their efforts.
You should really read the whole article, but here are a few choice selections to give you an idea of the activists’ hierarchy of concern. (Hint: The woman and her deceased dog don’t rank highly.)
But what should they reasonably do about the man who had killed Moose? He’d reportedly been spotted swinging a stick on Flatbush Avenue, chasing down another woman and her dog in the park while screaming, “Let’s see some action here!” The kid with the speaker spoke up: “So, it sounds like this person has been pushed out of an unimaginable amount of systems.” He added that the assailant was probably “neurodivergent.”
“Crime is an abstract term that means nothing in a lot of ways,” said Sky. “The construct of crime has been so socially constructed to target black and poor people.”
“Right, yeah, I agree with you!” countered one of the older folks, who seemed confused.
So, first on the hierarchy comes the murderous lunatic, got it. Next, it’s people who might be offended that the Panthers are appropriating the name of the Black Panthers:
As far as the name, and the fortysomething dude’s problem with it: “There’s two statues of panthers at an entrance to the park,” Nammack pointed out, gesturing toward the two limestone pedestals designed by Stanford White. The panthers had been sculpted by Alexander Phimister Proctor, and had been there since 1898.
Didn’t matter. “Using the Panthers as your group’s name is kind of abhorrent to me,” said one of the girls. She was white, wearing cut-off jean shorts, loafers with socks, and a Baggu purse. “It feels antithetical to what the Black Panthers would stand for.” The next girl to speak said her name was Sky. She, too, was white, and had also grown up in the neighborhood: “It’s easy to be wrong about who you’re going after, particularly when those are some of the few black people still living in the neighborhood, and they’ve been pushed out on the streets by all white, ultra-wealthy people.”
“We can be the tigers!” suggested Dionne, the middle-aged woman next to me. Sweet Dionne.
For the assembled activists, not only does the neighborhood not require a community watch, it could actually get along fine without cops, provided its mentally ill, violent homeless people start to behave themselves.
[One activist] suggested we could build a community where we all took care of each other and no one ever had to call the police.
Now, why hasn’t anyone thought of that? I’m sure if the woman whose dog was killed had just explained what kind of community she wanted to live in to her attacker, this could have all been avoided.
But, after all, the guy may have been hungry. Who among us hasn’t given the neighbor’s pup a bashing after missing breakfast?
Someone else said, “I get angry and lash out at people when I’m hungry and haven’t slept well and people are being mean to me all day.” Another observed, “I’ve never killed a dog, but we’ve all hurt people.”
And, lest you think this way of seeing the world is confined to people who would spend their Saturday afternoon trying to disrupt a community-watch meeting, the article ends with this reassuring description of the priorities of our elected officials:
Nammack met with two staffers at the office of his local council person, Shahana Hanif, about the dangerous homeless man with the stick. “They said their biggest concern is that the perpetrator is not arrested and sent to Rikers because they are concerned for his wellbeing!!!” he wrote in an email to the group.
Soon after, Nammack woke up to red graffiti on the sidewalk outside his front door:
“Don’t be a cop, Kris.”