The Assassinations in NYC

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Assassinations in NYC

Justice perverted is injustice to all. The cowardly assassination of two police officers in New York City needs condemnation in the strongest terms from all who deplore violence. At the same time that any of us march in protest against the cold-blooded killing of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, we must also emphatically denounce the criminal brutality of Ismaaiyl Brinsley in shooting officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. This is a moment that demands as much poignant and visceral mourning for the deceased officers as for Tamir Rice.

Sympathetic proclamations for the murdered police officers are not enough, however. All of us need to ask ourselves: “If we want justice for Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, how can we protest in such a way as to secure an equal amount of justice for the slain officers?” I do not have an answer for this question, but unless it is answered, there is a good chance that our hopes for equal standing in a reformed system of justice will rapidly wither once again. Unless we see the hideous executions of two police officers as demanding an equal sense of outrage, then we are little more than self-indulgent hypocrites.

Brinsley’s paramount guilt has consequences far beyond the immediate impact on the families and friends of the slain officers and on Ramos’s and Wenjian’s fellow police officers. Brinsley did not merely attack police officers. He maliciously assassinated the aspirations of lovers of justice. Indeed, along with millions of my fellow citizens, I want to see justice take precedence in mediating our laws and those who are forced from birth onwards to submit to those laws. As such, to protest the deaths of Tamir Rice or Michael Brown is not engaging in “anti-police rhetoric” but to demand that everyone be subject to the same standards of justice.

Attempts to blame the murders of officers Ramos and Lui on those who speak up for a more just society constitute a despicable agenda. Accusing those who protest of having “blood on their hands” only inflames the frustration felt by anyone who yearns for a massive reduction of violence in contemporary life. Self-righteousness on the part of police or protestors behooves no cause. All of us need to see each other as fragile members of a transitional period of global evolution. If we do not respect each other’s basic rights, then we will have forfeited any hope of surviving this pandemic of barbarism.

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