The Corner

Playing with Fire

Yes, the responsibility for the assassinations of two NYPD officers lies with the individual who pulled the trigger.

That said, it’s no coincidence that the first execution of NYC police officers in years occurred on the heels of a months-long orgy of incendiary rhetoric from our political leaders, academicians, community agitators, and members of the media regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner — rhetoric wholly unhinged from the crucial fact that there was not a scintilla of evidence that racism played any role in the incidents.

Responsible people understand the imperative to exercise great caution when making potentially inflammatory comments involving race. A brief review of history demonstrates why.

But for the last several months, responsible behavior has been on short supply among our elites. So many rushed to abandon their roles as objective leaders to don the clothing of community organizers, accuse cops of pervasive racism, and allege that not only is the “system” intrinsically racist, but the very essence of the justice system needed to be jettisoned. Again, without a shred of evidence that racist cops or institutions caused the deaths of either Brown or Garner.

So “leaders” ranging from the president to the attorney general to the mayor of the nation’s largest city engaged in opportunistic bouts of moral preening that gave credence to claims that police were engaged in a nationwide war against black males. The most powerful man on earth invited Al Sharpton to the White House, seemingly unconcerned (or perhaps expecting) that such an invitation would necessarily grant legitimacy to the propaganda that cops were mowing down blacks across the land. Colleges gave precious students dispensation to recover from the fraudulent trauma of black genocide perpetrated by racist cops. An almost delirious media slanted their reporting to support that there is, in fact, a war being waged by the entire law-enforcement apparatus of the United States against blacks. Again, without an iota of proof that Brown and Garner were victims of a racist regime. And, without even a nod to the fact that blacks are more than 60 times as likely to be killed by other blacks than by cops of any race. Narrative, after all, trumps facts.

A major political party went so far as to use Ferguson to boost black turnout in the November elections – without any condemnation whatsoever from a president and attorney general who otherwise are quick to decry any real or imagined irregularities in the electoral process. Once again, neither the politicians involved nor their media cheerleaders saw fit to note that there was no evidence of racism in Brown’s death.

The responsibility for the shootings in New York rests with the shooter.

But the responsibility for the worst racial climate in two generations lies largely with the demagogues in our nation’s leadership who are too busy whining about the horrors of being mistaken for a valet to do the hard work of confronting the country’s toughest challenges.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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