It is generally a good assumption that any attack on a public servant is an attack on all of us. That was certainly the case yesterday when NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot dead by an assailant who earlier shot his ex-girlfriend. Liu and Ramos represented the diversity and promise of America. Ismaaiyl Brinsley claimed to be killing in revenge for police misconduct. Proponents of reform of America's dysfunctional criminal justice system have argued during mostly non-violent demonstrations for legislative changes and court remedies. Violence has no place in this movement.
Sadly, NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch laid blame for the deaths of Liu and Ramos on not just their killer but directly on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has supported reform, and other conservative voices on Sundays televisions programs have indicted President Obama and AG Holder - along with clergy and non-protesters...anyone who questions the system as it stands. This is reckless rhetoric.
The system as it stands is broken. We treat African-Americans differently in the criminal justice system then we do whites. Women are targets of domestic violence in a society that allows such violence to occur often with impunity. Cops can be shot down by people that never should have had access to guns because they are so easy to obtain in the NRA's America.
Right now we need to be about the building of a stronger America where the structural injustices of race are addressed and the hard work of reconciliation is engaged. There is too much violence. There is too much hatred. Our obligation is to build a better America. The deaths of Liu and Ramos will just be two more meaningless murders otherwise.