21 Dec 2014 09:46 PM EST
- by Jorge Vargas, Editor; Image: Officers Wenjian Liu (left) and Rafael Ramos (right) (Image source: NYPD)
As a heads up, you should know that the dichotomy is a false one.
There is now a competitor to #blacklivesmatter, and that competitor is #bluelivesmatter. The latter emerged following the execution of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were working an overtime shift as part of an anti-terrorism drill at 3 PM on Saturday when they were shot dead by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who wound up killing himself in a subway station shortly after. Brinsley, a deranged man who does not represent the movements demanding justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, had been posting threatening messages on social media as he made his way up to New York from Maryland, writing, "They take 1 of ours... Let's take 2 of theirs (sic)," early Saturday afternoon.
The NYPD is, understandably, upset over the matter and officers literally turned their back on Mayor Bill de Blasio during a visit on Saturday night to Woodhull Hospital, where the two officers had been pronounced dead a few hours earlier. Officers are angry with the mayor for what they consider to be a lack of support for the NYPD following his declarations against the grand jury decision regarding Eric Garner.
New York City, and the country in general, is now splitting over whether this is an issue of supporting cops or supporting cop killers. Put in social media terms, this is about #blacklivesmatter vs. #bluelivesmatter. The reality of the situation, however, is that these two are not the only options. One can support cops but still insist on racial fairness. It's the agenda of those seeking to blind themselves from reality to make this into a false dichotomy.
What the city needs at this moment, if we are to come together and learn from these mistakes and move forward, is to take a step back from the vitriol playing itself out on social media, accept that the extremes on both sides are wrong (cop killing is not a solution and not every cop is a raging racist!) and start looking for real solutions.
Yesterday's assassinations, though traumatizing for the NYPD and for the city at large, are isolated incidents and can be deterred through greater alertness and a more sophisticated police force. Authorities in Baltimore warned the NYPD of Brinsley's threats but the warning came too late, proving that communication between police departments needs to be improved.
On the issue of race, the City of New York needs to invest more into police training so that our officers are more sensitive to racial issues and so that discrimination is stamped out. Regarding the grand jury decision, it's obvious that a different system is necessary.
Despite all of that, the solution to racism begins in at-need communities. Cities around the country need to invest more in education and in work opportunities for low income youth to stop crime before it begins. After all, unfortunate though it may be, Eric Garner and Michael Brown were both breaking the law. The response from the police officers in both of those instances was disproportionate and, arguably, equally illegal, but if the two men had not been breaking the law, it's possible that they'd never have been involved with the police. This is not victim-blaming or anything of the sort, since the police responses were still very much unjustified and disproportionate.
These are the serious solutions to the problem. Anyone spouting out hatred for the police or throwing around terms like victim-blaming or arguing that all cops are racist is simply in the conversation to draw metaphorical blood for their own personal issues and beliefs. They're not helping.
And anyone sitting there claiming that this is a conspiracy to take down all cops or that Garner and Brown deserved what they got or that the Mayor de Blasio encouraged the cop killings and isn't supporting the NYPD is doing the same exact thing: Drawing metaphorical blood for their own personal issues and beliefs. They're not helping.
New York City is being split in two and, as New Yorkers, we can't allow that to happen.
Both sides have good points to make, but extremists are muddying the conversation and getting in the way of progress.
As a city, we're better than that.
Let's focus on the solutions and not on false dichotomies.
In the meantime, as a publication and as citizens of New York, we here at AllMediaNY offer our condolences to yesterday's two fallen officers.Comments
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