On Saturday September 12, two Los Angeles county deputies were ambushed at point blank range. The officers were sitting in their patrol car across the street from a metro station in Compton, CA when a gunman walked up to their vehicle and opened fire. A female officer and 31-year old mother to a 6-year-old boy, was shot in the face. Despite her life-threatening wound, she was able to radio for help and apply a tourniquet to her partner, saving his life.
We Hope They Die
The deputies were rushed to Saint Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, CA where they underwent emergency surgery. Soon thereafter, “protesters” gathered outside the hospital – blocking ambulances carrying critical patients from entering the premises - and chanted, “we hope they (the officers) die”
After strongly condemning the shooting, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villaneuva challenged NBA superstar, LeBron James, to match the $175,000 reward being offered for information regarding the crime. Said Villanueva, "I want to make a challenge. This challenge is to LeBron James, I want you to match that and double that ($175,000) reward, because I know you care about law enforcement…we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, races, creeds and I'd like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that."
Mr. James has publicly condemned the murder of George Floyd, demanded justice for Breonna Taylor (this week Ms. Taylor’s family settled a civil suit and was awarded $12 million dollars by the city of Louisville) and Eric Garner and expressed his indignation following the shooting of Jacob Blake. James has also been outspoken on various media outlets expressing his general disdain for police shootings involving black people. In one of Mr. James’ many tweets, he said, "I know people get tired of hearing me say it but we are scared as a Black people in America…Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified…"
After Sheriff Villanueva’s plea, some people argued James’ should indeed open his wallet, while others vehemently disagreed and critiqued Mr. Villanueva for his ask. In our view, it is not LeBron James’ responsibility to match the $175,000 reward currently being offered for information about the attempted murder of two deputies, nor is it his obligation to offer any financial incentive to do so for that matter. However, we do think LeBron James, other famous athletes, celebrities, and especially politicians who are outspoken critics of police, have a responsibility to use their respective platforms to condemn this abhorrent act.
A few police officers are bad people. Most police officers protect and serve their communities professionally, ethically, and whenever possible, peacefully often under extreme duress. They deserve dignity and respect too. Right now, they are not receiving enough.
The Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, deemed the chants outside Saint Francis Medical Center, “unacceptable.” In our view, what is also unacceptable is the minimal amount of public condemnation from certain athletes, celebrities, and democratic politicians regarding this barbaric act of violence, many of the same individuals who are quick – and correct – to condemn corrupt police officers.
Indeed, when a police officer perpetrates a crime against a black victim, the Twittersphere lights up with athletes and politicians, the majority of whom are democrats condemning the injustice. Let us be clear, we support this. Unscrupulous police officers should be held accountable and justice should be served. However, when a black person commits an act of unprovoked violence against a police officer, many public figures and politicians on the left of the aisle do not condemn it. Moreover, when they do, it is not nearly with the same vigor as when they condemn a corrupt law enforcement agent.
Silence Is Violence
One of the core arguments of some protesters is that “silence is violence.” Their point: if people refuse to publicly condemn, on demand - even when eating dinner outside with their families - civil rights violations perpetrated by police against minorities, those people are tacitly supporting the atrocities committed by corrupt and or racist cops.
The merits of the statement “silence is violence,” is debatable. That said, if a protester truly believes that silence is indeed violence, then by that logic, staying silent after two police officers are ambushed while sitting in their patrol car is also a form of tacit support for this atrocity committed by a depraved human being.
A recurring theme we have heard, underpinned by data we have seen, is that despite what we see on television and read about in the papers, the vast majority of protests (~95%) have been non-violent. In fact, we have cited these statistics ourselves in posts defending social justice protests across America. However, after reflecting on the chants of “we hope they die” outside a hospital directed at deputies undergoing emergency surgery fighting for their lives, we would be remiss not to point out that some “protests”, including the one we just mentioned, are deemed “non-violent” or “peaceful,” when in reality, they are not.
One need not punch somebody in the face to be, incite, and or condone violence. Indeed, screaming “you piece of s**t, etc.” in a police officers’ face who is simply doing their job in a professional manner, from seven inches away in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, for the duration of a “peaceful” protest, is hardly peaceful. Yet, on thousands of occasions, these “protests” are deemed just that. So was the action of Christopher Moreno, a high school teacher in Westchester County, NY. On the first day of class, Mr. Moreno handed out a cartoon to his class comparing cops to slave owners and the Ku Klux Klan. This is reprehensible. Yet the perpetrators of these, and thousands of other “non-violent” forms of “protests, occurring daily across America are hardly ever called out by feckless politicians.
Conversely, after being subjected to hours of verbal abuse from an unsafe distance, if a cop (finally) shoves a protester aside, the act is immediately posted across social media, the officer is vilified, and politicians, athletes and celebrities are quick to condemn the officer. We think this is grossly disproportionate, categorically unfair, and makes it all but impossible for police to do their jobs.
Heads They Win, Tails They Lose
A corrupt police officer should be held accountable for any transgressions. An honest police officer should not be handcuffed - excuse the pun - from protecting and serving honorably.
LeBron James is correct; it is understandable that an innocent black person might be “terrified” of the police because of a past (negative) experience(s) with them. It is also understandable that an honest police officer might now be terrified of performing their job. Because a police officer now must worry that even in the context of chasing a violent suspect that has resisted arrest, if that officer inadvertently puts their knee on the wrong part of the suspects body, they might be accused of misconduct, fired, or even charged with a crime.
The abundance of anti-police venom being spewed at all officers, even though only a select few apples are rotten to the core, have seemingly left cops with three sub-optimal choices: 1) never defend themselves, even against lethal force, and risk being hurt or killed; 2) defend themselves and risk being accused of racism and or using excessive force; or 3) not engaging in the first place.
Unsurprisingly, we have reached a dangerous inflection point where many law enforcement officers have indeed pulled back and become “afraid” to do their jobs (properly). The result, in predominately Democratic “lead” cities across America, in predominantly black and brown communities within those cities, murders are up and arrests are down, a toxic – and dangerous – combination, leaving the vast majority of law abiding citizens residing in crime-ridden neighborhoods, paying the price, too often with their own life.
Call The Police
Fighting for social justice, calling out bad cops, and demanding they be held accountable – serious issues we have supported and posted about in various issues of this newsletter - is mutually exclusive from publicly supporting the vast majority of good officers. Unfortunately, there is dearth of support for honest officers among too many left-wing politicians and public figures. The same public figures that if faced with somebody committing a crime against them or their families, would call the police without second thought.
If too few people on the left continue failing to condone acts of violence against police officers performing their job admirably, while treating all people with respect and dignity, the man they deem most responsible for many of the things they are protesting against, might very well spend another four years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
We hope this article might spur a few of those people to think twice and engage in an uncomfortable conversation not only about police misconduct, but also about how they can support their local police departments as well. Doing so will help make America a more peaceful and equitable place where all people are treated with - to borrow from the New York Police Department - “courtesy, professionalism, and respect”
“We hope they live.”