Mayor de Blasio said a boneheaded thing when he stated that he and his wife tell their African-American son to be careful with the police. Everyone — white, brown, pink and purple — should know how to deal with the police (ie, don’t attempt to resist arrest, etc…). The message of being respectful of police is one that all young people need to hear: Mayor de Blasio turned it into a racial thing, and for that, he is a bonehead, no question.
There is, however, a wide gap between saying something stupid and having blood on one’s hands. The head of the NYPD Policeman’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, stated that Mayor de Blasio has blood on his hands.
I am pro-life, and was raised in the pro-life movement; all my life, I have been told by those in certain circles that anyone who opposes abortion is partly responsible for violence against abortion clinics, because by speaking out against abortion, all pro-lifers are encouraging the crazies. There are people who believe that anyone who questions abortion has blood on their hands. When I heard about what Patrick Lynch said, my experience in the pro-life movement was the first thing that came to mind. Mr. Lynch seems to be saying that anyone who criticizes the police has blood on their hands. At best, this is over-the-top rhetoric; at worst, it’s an attempt to silence people. I am accustomed to representatives of Planned Parenthood trying to silence people, but was surprised to hear that kind of talk from the NYPD.
I realize that many if not most of the people Patrick Lynch wants to shut up are wrong, but freedom of speech doesn’t only apply to people who are right. I don’t care if the mostly peaceful protesters are members of the KKK, the Black Panthers, the Communists or the Nazis: they have a right to peacefully protest, and the act of peacefully protesting and/ or saying boneheaded things does not mean that they have blood on their hands.
Before all of this happened, I had always been a little bit in awe of police officers in general and the NYPD in particular, but I am deeply uncomfortable with Patrick Lynch’s statement and with the officers who turned their backs on the Mayor. What would happen if members of the armed forces turned their backs on the President? Even if we can’t stand the man who occupies the office, aren’t we called upon to respect the office, especially if we are in the military or police forces?
The police are in a very dangerous job. They risk their lives every day, and most of us have tremendous respect for them — but having tremendous respect for someone doesn’t automatically translate into always agreeing with someone. Patrick Lynch doesn’t seem to understand that. The officers who turned their backs on the mayor don’t seem to understand that, and that is troubling. It seems to me that the NYPD had the moral high ground, and they squandered it. What do you think?