Violence And Violent Rhetoric Solve Nothing

Jaden Ramos, twelve year old  son of slain officer Rafael Ramos.  " Today I had to say bye to my father. He was there for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad."

Jaden Ramos, twelve year old son of slain officer Rafael Ramos. ” Today I had to say bye to my father. He was there for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”

The deaths of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two innocent  NYPD police officers dedicated to protecting our citizens, was caused by irrational and hateful rhetoric from many, concentrated into the bullets of a crazed gunman

We saw the hateful signs held by a few calling for the death of police officers during the protests after the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and others over the years. Whatever the intention or the motivation of those words of hate against the police, they serve one purpose: they cause those hell-bent on violence, and often insane, individuals to go over the edge and commit the violence others have called for.

I believe in freedom of speech. Calls for violence are not part of protected speech. They, to a great degree, are responsible for the assassinations of two dedicated and professional police officers by Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

Pete Seeger’s words “When Will They Ever Learn?” in his folk song “Where have all the Flowers Gone” sums up the nature of how people are not cognizant of the impact of words of hate and words instigating violence. The cycle of history shows that words of hate and calls for violence begets more violence and disrespect for human life.

We have seen the dangerous rhetoric of Patrick Lynch, who was supposed to be the moral and rational leader of the PBA.  One of our very well respected local leaders sent letters to Lynch as well as the Mayor before Saturday’s killings, calling on them “to lead and tone down the rhetoric. “He blasted Lynch saying that Lynch has been “over the top” and last night’s (Thursday’s) comments have been worse. He also was very critical of the Mayor’s lack of leadership and his toned down support of the police which he characterized as “appalling” Keep in mind, Lynch’s remarks on Saturday, saying blood is on the hands of the Mayor. How? The Mayor, in my personal view, has acted to tone down the protests and the appalling comments all around. He spoke as a father of a biracial child. He spoke, as any father would, when concerned about his child. In no way is that anti-police, or anti-anyone. The fear and threat to many minority youth is substantial, both in experience and in the numbers. It needs to be expressed and addressed.

We have seen police wearing T-Shirts saying “We Can Breathe” demeaning the life of Eric Garner who can no longer breathe. The fringes of our society appear to be winning. Former Mayor Giuliani went way overboard in saying “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police.” Unbelievable, even worse coming from a former mayor. We cannot allow this kind of rhetoric to be used by some for political purposes and to stroke the cauldron of hate. I resent the fact that the that killer’s religion has not been brought into this horrific event by some.

There was a social media posting showing an individual with gun aiming into a police car which had a police officer. The intent was to purport that it was showing the assianation of the officers. It appears that the picture was from an old movie. Social media can be our worst enemy. There are many who are not showing respect for the fallen, but are using their murders for political purposes. I have seen comments about using the actions of a few to promote candidacies in 2016 and in 2017. I have seen them directed against leaders who have been speaking out for understanding and prayer.

One of those who have been on the receiving end of vitriolic comments is Public Advocate Tish James. In communications with me she stated: “My thoughts and prayers are with our fallen officers and their families. Political rhetoric does nothing to honor their memories or heal the pain of their families. I have several members of my family who are police officers. I pray for them and for justice every day”.

There are those who characterize her, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others as anti-police. That is not true. They are sensitive to the needs of all. There are those who say that our Public Advocate is “more radical than de Blasio”. How? What has she said about the present situation that is “radical”? She and others are the ones advocating for conversation and for the need to establish dialogue.

There are those who are now writing on Facebook and on other social media pages words of hate against the police and condoning the murder of the two hero officers. This has to stop. There is a need for true dynamic leaders, as is stated in today’s online issue of The Guardian, to step in and bring aggrieved people and aggrieved police together. To curse and hate peaceful protesters causes harm. Debate and peaceful protest is part of the American fabric. Respect for and by those who are sworn to protect us are also part of what this City, State and Nation stand for. Calling names, words of hate and saying that those who are sensitive to the negative elements of our society are to be hated is not what we are about.

Senator Gustavo Rivera said: “While there has been much debate surrounding the NYPD in the last few weeks, we must always remember that the men and women in blue deserve our utmost respect and recognition for risking their lives every day to protect our neighborhoods. It is indeed a sad day for our city.”

Last night David Karopkin, a law school student, a strong advocate for the rights of all living beings, an intern for Councilman Danny Dromm and a person who has been very involved in the protests against what is often an unjust system attended the vigil for the two officers in Brooklyn, emailed me his Thoughts From A Subway Car: “For quite some time, and particularly recently, We The People have been crying out for justice and equality – but the killing of Officers Ramos and Liu was not that. Violence only begets more violence. Hundreds of thousands have marched peacefully in the streets and I don’t believe that anyone who truly wants peace, unity, or justice would call for or cheer on police officers being killed or injured. Speech used to incite violence is wrong, and falls outside what our First Amendment protects.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said: “I strongly condemn the assassination today of two New York City Police officers. This stands as a stark reminder of the terrible risks our first responders face everyday. These officers were executed in cold blood as they were doing their job of protecting us. It is an incredibly tragic situation and my deepest sympathies go out to the officers’ loved ones during this impossibly difficult time. As New Yorkers, we are all affected by this tragedy. Instances like this of senseless gun violence have become far too common, and are yet another reason why we as Americans need to get serious about making sure guns stay out of the hands of criminals or those with severe mental illness.”

“I am disturbed and appalled that anyone thinks that this is the behavior that has been called for by our demonstrations for justice. Today’s tragedy exemplifies a total violation of the same trust that we’ve been asking for from law enforcement. We do not condone this behavior and I do not condone this behavior. The men and women of the NYPD deserve the utmost respect for their energies and efforts in serving and protecting all of New York. My condolences go out to the families of these officers who tragically fell in the line of duty. Now more than ever, it is time for government, law enforcement, community leaders, clergy, and all New Yorkers to come together in unity and demonstrate one voice, united,”said Council Member Andy King, Co-Chair of Council’s Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

“Last night New York lost two heroes. Let us honor Police Officers Liu and Ramos by standing together in unity.Their ultimate sacrifice must be shown respect. We must support the NYPD and stand with them in solidarity while we mourn the loss of two great men,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

The cycle has to be stopped. Violence begets violence. Words of hate are catalysts for violence.

With the report that a deranged person attempted to shoot a policeman in The Bronx Saturday night, this horrible cycle seemingly continues.

Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the NYC Council Public Safety Committee, said: “The senseless and unprovoked attack that took the lives of two young officers yesterday is a tragedy that sears the consciences of all New Yorkers and this type of cowardly violence must be rejected in no uncertain terms. The heartfelt condolences of all New Yorkers go out to their families and loved ones of officers Liu and Ramos. May God embrace them in His everlasting and comfort them in their time of loss.”

Again, “When Will We Ever Learn?”. The need is to have leaders join immediately to short circuit this cycle.

Jaden Ramos birthday gteeting to his dad on December 9: ” Happy birthday to the best dad in the world, you are always there for me even when it’s almost impossible. We have so many good times it’s not even funny, I love you so much…..How does it feel to be 40 ? Your getting old dad but you still look good . Hope you have the best birthday, you deserve it.

In my opinion, based on personal interaction with them, I feel that this group needs to include those in office such as Tish James, Vanessa Gibson, Andrew Cohen, Gustavo Rivera, some of my more conservative but sensitive and understanding friends from the Republican Party, religious leaders such as Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Rev.Gene Bourquin, Rev Pat Bumgardner and others, civic leaders and others.

Unfortunately our Mayor has been forced into a role not of his making, where at this point the police do not view him in the manner in which they should.

Instead of focusing on the politics, let us now mourn.  These innocent officers will never be with their families again.  Their children, spouses, parents, family & friends are all shedding the tears brought by violence & violent rhetoric.  No more.

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