Killer Cops and Cop Killers

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” – frequently attributed to Jay Gould.

According to New Yorkers Who Like Cops Don’t Like De Blasio, an article on FiveThirtyEight, Mayor Bill DeBlasio finds himself in the middle of an almost even split between New Yorkers who approve of the police and those who disapprove.

… in a recent Quinnipiac University poll in which support for both the police and de Blasio were split nearly down the middle. Fifty-one percent of voters approved of the job the police were doing, while 41 percent disapproved. A similar 47 approved of the job the mayor was doing, while 38 percent disapproved. Among the 17 subgroups (age, borough, political identification, race, sex, etc.) released by Quinnipiac, support for one is the inverse of support for the other.

That conservatives like former Mayor Giuliani are playing to that division is no surprise. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, flag-waving conservatives in power exploited the tragedy to attack an oil-rich country and ram through the homeland security act, brooking no middle ground or discussion. Anyone that opposed them was shouted down as, “not supporting the troops.”

As police have come under increasing scrutiny across the nation for videotaped shootings of unarmed citizens, and as grand juries and courts have been criticized for a lack of indictments and convictions, police union spokesmen are responding by insisting that all such killings are entirely justified to preserve order and that anyone who opposes them, “supports attacks on police.”

There will be some fringe, anti-government support – as there was for Eric Freyn – but most people realize that the killing of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu was a pointless tragedy. However the media can always select, or manufacture, stories to highlight the divisiveness. The Baltimore Fox affiliate actually altered the sound of a group protesting the choking of Eric Garner with a chant about putting, “killer cops in cell blocks” to make it sound like, “kill the cops.” The Garner protestors disavowed any calls for violence, but sadly other protestors in NYC *were* chanting about dead cops. And on the other side, a retired investigator sang, “Dead, dead Michael Brown, deadest man in the whole damn town,” to a roomful of retired LA policemen.

Those stories will get big play while those with a nuanced view who want to stop both unsupportable killings by police and killings of police will be lost in the media shuffle. Which is exactly what authorities want. In a declining economy, they have no intention of reigning in the police.

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