Are “we” afraid of the police?

Imagine a petulant child and the mother who, instead of rebuking them for the wrong they do, she praises them in what can only be seen as some sort of home-spun reverse psychology.  Never mind that the youngster generally gets their way, the mother nevertheless lets them do the parenting in the hopes of avoiding a scene, which unfortunately always unfolds.

Does it sound familiar?  It should because that’s sort of what’s happening in New York between Mayor de Blasio and the rank and file of the NYPD.

There’s only so much praise that can be stomached before I ask myself, why are we going overboard with this?  Not that it’s a bad thing to give kudos to cops but we, as citizens, really haven’t done anything wrong hat we need to apologize for and it’s not like officers wear their hearts on their sleeves and need that sort of thing.  On the other hand, if you’re concerned about a small paramilitary force going off on the citizenry and you’re having little to do to prevent it then yes, I’d be praising them to no end as well.

Like that mother who was trying to avoid a scene with her bad kid, what began as damage control for a newly-elected mayor has turned into a virtual love fest for the men and women in blue.

It’s so much so that I think it bears the question, are we afraid of the police, and by “we” I mean, people other than minorities.   People in high places.

That Blacks and Hispanics are “concerned” with the treatment they receive at the hands of the police and the court system has been well documented.   Fifty-nine percent of Blacks and fifty-four percent of Hispanics expect the police to use excessive force compared to only twenty-four percent of Whites who don’t. (Pew Research Center)

But now I think others are becoming “concerned” also.  Take what the mayor said about last night’s shooting of the two NYPD officers responding to a burglary call as an example.

“These officers did something that was extraordinarily brave this evening”, the mayor spoke to reporters about 230 in the morning.  He said that instead of leaving at the end of their shifts, they “went back out in search of those criminals”.

Now, maybe it’s me but police routinely do something brave every single day, every hour of their shift. And while more public recognition is definitely warranted, there can be too much of a good thing.  It can create a sense of empowerment. And I think it’s that possibly impending empowerment that has some worried.

What’s the plan if the police, all or a portion, go “rogue”?  You can’t tell me they haven’t at least tacitly discussed it behind closed doors.  Imagine hundreds of petulant children, armed to the teeth with the latest in military surplus and bestowed with the best training money can buy, throwing a hissy-fit because nobody wants to be their friend.

It’s probably what keeps the mayor and some others up at night, secretly.

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Filed under Justice, Life and Society, Opinion

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