You might be forgiven for thinking that being opposed to state-sanctioned summary executions by cops does not translate into a call for the murder of innocent people, police or not. But Rudy Giuliani, Patrolmen’s Benevolence Association head Pat Lynch and George Pataki are among those lining up to tell people like you that you are wrong.
What protesters have called for is simply that everyone get the same deal with the police that rich white men do: that police can be relied on to help more often than they hurt, to bring order rather than violence when called. That call has turned to anger when met with an insistence that certain lives aren’t entitled to that level of protection.
For those of us in that unlucky group, police authority should be absolute and unquestioned, met with the same deference and fear that might apply to members of a powerful gang. Anything less is provocation, and any criticism of this state of affairs is a call for dead cops.
So when, on Saturday afternoon, Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and injured his girlfriend in Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn and killing two police officers then himself, it was only natural for apologists for police violence to blame protesters. As Giuliani explained:
We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.
Governor Pataki picked a different black official at random to blame, along with Mayor Bill DeBlasio:
Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordeblasio.
Lynch echoed Giuliani’s sentiment that any form of protest against police violence is unacceptable:
Those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn’t be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.
This is the rhetoric of people who see police officers as combatants in a never ending war with ungrateful thugs. As in any war, deaths on our side are tragedies while the deaths of our enemies are, if not victories, certainly no cause for condemnation. Given that, it’s perfectly understandable that Lynch, et al would frame an attack by a deranged gunmen as the natural outcome of calls for accountability. They are assuming we see them the way they see us.