The Campaign Spot

How the Brooklyn Shootings Are Like the Oklahoma City Bombing

The names “Alfred Sharpton” and “Al Sharpton” appear 81 times in White House visitor logs.

That little factoid is featured in the first Morning Jolt of the week.

Inevitably, someone will read headline of this post and scoff that the death toll in Oklahoma City was much worse than the murder of two police officers.

The militia movement of the mid-1990s involved thousands of people across the country protesting against the government for abusing police powers, stemming from high-profile, heavily covered actions of law-enforcement agents that resulted in what protesters perceived as the needless deaths of young individuals (Waco, Ruby Ridge). Then a high-profile, unprovoked act of aggression in a major city — the Oklahoma City bombing — changed the way those outside the militia movement thought about that cause forever.

The anti-police-shooting movement — some would say anti-police movement — of today involves thousands of people protesting against the government for abusing police powers, stemming from high-profile, heavily covered actions of law-enforcement agents that resulted in what protesters perceived as the needless deaths of young individuals (Ferguson, Staten Island). The question is whether this high-profile, unprovoked act of aggression in a major city — the Brooklyn shootings — will change the way those outside the movement think about that cause forever.

From today’s Jolt:

How the Brooklyn Shootings Are Like the Oklahoma City Bombing

Friday, I wrote in relation to The Interview and folks like Touré who claim that making the film is akin to “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”:

The thinking of the censor-minded is that somehow, Sony should have known that depicting Kim Jong Un in a humiliating way would have generated a furious, dangerous, threatening response. This is a bit of First Amendment jujitsu, where somehow you’re responsible not just for what you say but for how someone else reacts to it. You’re expected to have clairvoyant abilities of how someone is going to react, and then not speak aloud the argument you wanted to make, because preventing their potentially violent, dangerous, or threatening reaction is more important than your right to speak.

Saturday, some nut-job killed two cops in cold blood in Brooklyn, N.Y.:

“I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours . . . Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” Brinsley, 28, wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of a silver handgun.

He also included the sick hashtags: #ShootThePolice #RIPEricGarner #RIPMike Brown.

“This May Be My Final Post . . . I’m Putting Pigs In A Blanket.”

Quite a few folks on the right contended that the Left’s furious rhetoric denouncing police forces as racist and malicious led to the killer’s actions.

The boss lays out the argument that the protesters are morally culpable for the killings and a sudden uptick of violence targeting police officers:

If the anti-police protesters in New York who were braying for dead police officers meant what they said, they should be very pleased tonight. Here is video of their chant, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” . . . 

We’ve heard a lot lately about tensions between the police and the communities they serve. But usually no one is willing to point out that a major source of that tension is an irrational animus toward the police, fueled by activists and commentators who lie about what they do.

Protesting police actions is not, ipso facto, a call for violence against the police. But that particular chant — “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” — is precisely that. We can argue whether that chant rises to the explicit level of threat to the point where it would not be protected under the Constitution. We can argue whether or not the shooter would have gone on his anti-police rampage if the protesters had not chanted that slogan, or if it the protesters had any particular impact on his actions.

But I don’t think there’s going to be much dispute that chanting that you want to see cops dead is a terrible, terrible idea. If the protesters denouncing the New York Police Department want to be regarded as something beyond violent anarchist scum, they’ll have to — no pun intended — police their own. When somebody starts chanting that they want dead cops, if you’re a protester with an ounce of sense, you have to stand up to that. This movement likes to claim that when it comes to police misbehavior, “silence equals consent.” That would apply to the violence of this anti-police movement, as well.

If you oppose this recent anti-police protest movement, these incidents of violence against cops are probably the single most effective way to turn public sentiment against them. (The presence of Al Sharpton was probably the second-most effective way.)

Police shootings will do for the anti-police movement what the Oklahoma City bombing did to the militia movement.

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