by Robert Emmett Murphy Jr.

This week, New York City Police Officers Liu and Ramos were murdered in an ambush by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Brinsley appears to have had a long history of mental illness and acted alone, but this is clearly a terrorist act, as his tenuous motive was political. He killed the Officers in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man killed by a White New York City Police Officer last July. Liu and Ramos, who were Asian and Hispanic, had no role in Garner’s death. Brinsley, who is Black, appears to have never known Garner in life.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

In an interview on Fox News, former New York City Mayor Giuliani gave his thoughts on the tragedy, but he was not especially thoughtful about it, and succeeded in nothing but fanning the flames of the already burning controversy. Giuliani made some attempt to be tempered in his statements, “Now is not the time to call for…the [current] Mayor’s [Bill de Blasio’s] resignation. It is not the time to say there is blood on his hands. A lot of other police officers were killed under a lot of other Mayors…” But just as clearly he failed in his tempering, spending most of the four minutes indulging in his own inflammatory and misleading flights of fancy.

ady9He laid blame for the murder of the two Officers on the protests over Garner’s death and accused de Blasio of “letting” protests “get out of control.” This is clearly false; though the protests were gigantic, they also were mostly peaceful and the Police presence at these protests, ordered by de Blasio, was substantial. Also the shooter was not a resident of this city and does not seem to have taken part in them. (A similar dynamic appears to have emerged in Ferguson, Missouri, where, in the wake of the Police killing of an unarmed Black teen named Michael Brown, there was protests and looting. It seems most of the looters were mostly not from Ferguson community though most of the protestors were).

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giulianai

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giulianai

Giuliani further said that in the “community serious violent crime is a much bigger part of the problem,” ignoring the fact that New York City is now the safest major city in the USA, and that nationwide, we may be living in the least violent period in this nation’s history – clearly the least violent period in my life-time (which more-or-less corresponds with the era of the keeping of accurate metadata regarding American crime). Giuliani gave a command politicians should preach about lack of “father figures” in the Black community – something no politician can direct — rather than suggesting that politicians institute reforms within Police Departments — an institution that the politician has direct authority and responsibility for.

ady5Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who never knew each other and lived in different parts of the country, are now inextricably linked by how they died. Giuliani refered to Brown, not by name, but by having high praise for former Basketball star’s, Charles Barkley’s, statements regarding Brown’s death and the related protests. But Barkely’s statements had been hugely hypocritical, scolding the life of the dead teen, but Brown had no serious criminal record while Barkley has arrests for both DUI and assault.

And then Giuliani went straight off the deep end:

“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…all of them lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”

The “hate” “propaganda” he claims is being spread against Police doesn’t exist, or at least doesn’t exist in the words of the leaders he vilifies. Giuliani does nothing but demonstrate that he has his head in the sand regarding something that has gone monstrously wrong and needs to be dealt with.

Death of Eric Garner

Death of Eric Garner

In a short four-month period, NYPD killed two unarmed Black men, the other was Akai Gurley. Neither man was engaging in any violence. Gurley was wholly innocent — not even accused of a crime — while Garner was accused of the most trivial of misdemeanors. Both deaths were a direct result of the Police Officer in question’s incompetence/misconduct. Yes, in neither case was there an intent to do harm by the Officers involved, but that lack of intent simply isn’t good enough. If you want to make that case, I volunteer you to be to one to go to the dead men’s families and say, “Ooopsie.”

And it should also be impossible for Giuliani to dismiss that this a real crisis – as opposed to a propaganda creation – that has led to protests over Police violence across the country. Nation-wide, the same four-month time-frame gave us another four Police shootings of unarmed Black men and boys, three of which were fatal. We have to recognize that something is fundamentally wrong with our policing and that this is exposed primarily in the relationship between Police and poor communities and/or communities of color (each year about four Blacks are killed by Police for every one White, adjusted for population sizes; that means that a Black is 20 times more likely to die by the hands of the Police than a White).

Rudy GiulianiGiuliani’s remarks also show a profound misunderstanding of what authority in this country really is, and this is especially shocking given that he was once Mayor of this, one of the world’s most populous cities. In a Democracy we, meaning all Americans collectively, like those Americans protesting, have some authority over the relationship the Police present to poor communities and/or communities of color – because ultimately those Police are the servants of the people. But we don’t have that same collective authority over the relationship that poor communities and/or communities of color present to the Police – because they are not our servants.

I know which end of this relationship has the mechanisms to enact direct reforms, the Police end. I am confident that if the Police modify their relation one way, the relationship will naturally modify itself in the other direction as well; reducing Police violence will in turn reduce the communities-at-risk’s resentment of Police.

Eric Garner at his graduation

Eric Garner at his graduation

We’ve been through this before: in the 1960s violent Police tactics in poor communities and communities of color was a central issue to the Civil Rights Movement. Emerging from that, in the 1970s, there was a string of terrorist attacks against Police in several American cities by groups like the Black Liberation Army. It seems that targeted Police Officers rarely, or never, had any involvement in any of specific acts of violence that the terrorists based their resentments on. In the fifty years since, Police killings of Americans have steadily reduced, and of Black Americans specifically have dropped a whopping 70%. During that same period, acts of deadly terrorism in the United States have dropped even more precipitously, and deadly terrorism based on home-grown ideologies, like Black Nationalism, has all but disappeared.

Terrorists don’t last long, death or long prison sentences wait around every corner, and their ideologies are generally abandoned as others move forward with their lives. Policing is a permanent institution, as permanent as the communities the Police work within. As Police are the servants of those communities, it is a fact that the Police have the greater responsibility for maintenance of that relationship.

The full interview:


19 Responses to Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani Has Forgotten What a Democracy Is

  1. Naseer Ahmad says:

    Hi, Patrick, if someone has a “long history of mental illness and acted alone”, I’m not sure how “this is clearly a terrorist act”, being non compos mentis and certainly not capable of forming a political thought, any more than the deranged Iranian in Australia was motivated by political agenda.

    I am concerned though when politicians like Giuliani ramp up the rhetoric, it neither serves the police nor the public. Condolences to the families if the NYPD killed in the line of duty.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Wonders never cease. Nice to hear from you, Naseer!

      • Naseer Ahmad says:

        Thanks, Patrick. Like many, much exercised by the sad deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but that it should lead to the deaths of the two officers, doubly sad.

        • Robert Emmett Murphy, Jr. says:

          Naseer Ahmed: Terrorism defining element is motive, not mental health or membership in an organization. A few too familiar names of lone-wolf rampage killers who committed very similar crimes should illustrate:

          Adam Lanza seemed driven solely by personal resentments, so not terrorist.

          Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were clearly driven by personal resentments, but their journals indicate a wish to carry on the work of Timothy McViegh and chose to strike on Hitler’s birthday. Though not universally accepted, many categorized them as terrorists.

          Hesham Mohamed Hadayet was more clearly a terrorist as his explicit motive was to attack a business associated with Israel because of resentment over the treatment of Palestinians, but though he’s the clearest terrorist in this group, the fact that his wife had just fled him, taking the kids, and it was his birthday, might have actually more important.

          • Naseer Ahmad says:

            “Terror”, like “hate” seems much a corruption of the language for political purposes.

            Aside from the one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter truism, or that killing millions of Iraqis by war and thousands by drone attacks; never terror, yeah.

            Like bombing Gaza is justified, but retaliation by Palestinians, always an act of terror, sure I’ll agree with THAT dialectic. Nope. Never.

          • Robert Emmett Murphy, Jr. says:

            Naseer Ahmad: The corruption and politicization of the word is all around us, many treating it was if terrorism can only be a product of a non-state actor (like a terrorist organization) and thereby giving the Allied Governments a walk on the terrorist attack on Dresden during WWII, but that doesn’t mean the word has no meaning. “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” is no “truism.” The terrorist and the guerrilla fighter are not the same animal, have both different targets and tactics. The terrorist targets civilians for violence, and that violence is politically motivated.

            As for Gaza, much of what Israel did was disgraceful, but never forget Hamas fired first, and kept firing. The mini-war that they lost so completely would’ve ended the minute that Hamas stopped shooting, but Hamas kept turning down or ending cease fires. Even Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has blamed Hamas for triggering Israel’s deadly raids.

    • Rick says:

      Guiliani is a fascist idiot. He’d be perfectly happy if America were turned into a militarized police state, which it is sadly in the process of becoming. As a white guy, Guiliani has absolutely no standing to pontificate on what allegedly ails the black community. Until he has walked in the shoes of a person of color (i.e., as did the author of “Black Like Me”), white people need to shut the f__k up when it comes to advising the black community as to how it needs to change. Do you see black people preaching about the “Hillbilly Heroin” epidemic of white people in Appalachia and the South? I think not.

      How about this “novel” idea: the police should stop shooting unarmed black men who pose no serious danger to them or others? Perhaps if the police didn’t overreact to peaceful citizen challenges to their authority, there’d be no need for mass protests about the shooting of unarmed people of color. Also, the last time I checked, Americans have constitutional rights to peaceably assemble to protest their grievances as well as a right to free speech. What can possibly be wrong with those ideas, Mr. Guiliani? Oh, is it Springtime in Germany?

    • Rick says:

      Welcome back, Naseer!

  2. Naseer Ahmad says:

    “of the NYPD”

  3. Rick says:

    You’ve penned an excellent post, Robert. The key aspects of this story which have not been discussed by the mainstream media are: (1) how did this mentally unbalanced individual get his hands on this firearm?; and (2) why didn’t someone from law enforcement STOP this shooter while he was on the bus from MD to NYC? It’s been documented that the authorities had the shooter under constant surveillance (via his cellphone “pings”) from the time he boarded the bus in MD until he killed those two officers in NYC. I thought that the USA Patriot Act and NSA’s dragnet surveillance of Americans was supposed to end the problem of authorities’ failure to “connect the dots” and to communicate amongst each other? Apparently not. Why wasn’t an APB put out for law enforcement to be on the lookout for this shooter BEFORE he committed his murders? There should be legislative hearings on the failure of law enforcement to stop this shooter before he inflicted his mayhem on these two officers!

  4. Naseer Ahmad says:

    Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!

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