Thursday, April 7, 2011

George's Greatest Hits: "Racist? We Risk Our Lives for All New Yorkers" (originally published in the New York Post, Monday, April 19, 1999)

Introduction:  The front pages of today's tabloids show the President of the United States making platonic love to Al Sharpton yesterday--smiling, handshaking and delivering a speech to a convention of Sharpton's front group.  Obama is only the latest elected official to participate in the ongoing effort to legitimize the bigoted, clownish thug who has caused so much disharmony in our city.  I couldn't help but remember something I wrote about Sharpton almost 12 years ago--and not much has changed, has it?  This article appeared in the New York Post on Monday, April 19, 1999.

-George Molé

Racist?  We Risk Our Lives for All New Yorkers

by George Molé

New York Post
Monday, April 19, 1999

On the day four police officers were charged with murder at the Bronx County Courthouse, Al Sharpton preening triumphantly for the cameras, another cop was remembered in The Bronx.

A street in that borough was renamed for Police Officer Vincent Guidice, who was killed three years ago on a domestic dispute call—impaled on shards of broken glass while trying to protect a battered woman.

I’ve often thought of Guidice during the ongoing frenzy of anti-cop protests precipitated by the Diallo shooting.

These demonstrations, which focus on what some say is the racism of the NYPD, are organized by Sharpton, who has referred to Jews as “diamond merchants,” and who appeared last year at an anti-Semitic rally in Harlem—actions that would have landed a cop on the unemployment line.

But the media’s uncritical reporting of the protests makes little of these ironies.  And many mainstream figures—such as Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and state Comptroller Carl McCall—disgracefully chose to turn their backs on the decent men and women of the police department and support Sharpton.

As a proud member of the NYPD, who always believed I was serving the community through my work, I’m hurt by the venom directed against police officers by the protesters—and angered by the dishonesty and ugliness of their message.

In my experience, racism—like brutality and corruption—is not common among police officers.  Cops, who see members of all groups at their best and at their worst, have the clearest understanding of everyone’s common humanity—and so are among the least bigoted of all people.

Guidice, an Italian-American cop who didn’t hesitate to give his life protecting an African-American woman, proved that point.

Rather, it is the anti-cop movement that has the smell of racial prejudice.  Many seem to oppose the NYPD at least partly because—although it is quite ethnically diverse—the majority of its members are white.

Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields, for example, wrote recently of the “intolerable gulf between the way New York’s population looks and the way its police force looks.”

Judging a group by how it “looks”—the ethnicity of its members—is usually called racism.  But apparently it’s acceptable when speaking of police officers.

Sharpton, inserting himself into every tragedy, makes me think of a character in one of Stephen King’s stories—a demon that literally drinks human tears, growing strong on people’s pain and fear.

Now, cloaked in the grief of Diallo’s parents, he cynically exploits understandable public dismay over that case.

I certainly don’t expect people not to be disturbed that the police killed an unarmed man.  Every good cop grieves for that.

But I also hope the public can find some empathy for young people who are given a badge and gun, told they are society’s protectors, and sent out to make life-and-death decisions in a split second on a dark street.

An instant too slow, and they are in a wheelchair, or a grave.

An instant too quick and they are under indictment, called racists and murderers even by our elected officials—and forever have a man’s death on their consciences.

Police officers, still doing their best for our city, need fair New Yorkers of all races to support them, to speak out against the cop haters.

Unfortunately, fair New Yorkers have been silent.  “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” as William Butler Yeats wrote.  Only the chanting of bullhorns has been heard.

But if you can see a cop as a person, and not as black or white; if you understand that when cops enforce the law in a community, they do it to protect the working folks who live there; if you appreciate what Vincent Guidice, Irma Lozada, Sean Carrington and other fallen cops have given for all of us—this would be a good time to find your voice.

George Molé is an NYPD lieutenant and freelance writer.

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At September 21, 2011 at 4:24 PM , Anonymous Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

Sometimes people forget the sacrafice that is made when you've promised your "life" to serve and protect.


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