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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Bob Weir

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Bob Weir

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 23:30:11 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

In the Line of Duty

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 23:30:11 -0600

His family and friends will have to deal with the pain and suffering of losing a loved one as they watch his killer receive all the benefits afforded him by a system which ludicrously refers to itself as, justice. I can't help smirking when I hear people say that capital punishment doesn't work. They are either pitifully naïve or suffering from a profound case of denial. When has capital punishment been administered the way it was designed? Every study involving criminal justice indicates that punishment should be swift and sure in order for it to have impact on the would-be criminal. Sure means when someone is sentenced to a penalty, that penalty will not be reduced. Swift means the penalty will be administered quickly.

In a country that had not lost its sanity, this trial would take about a week and the murderer would be executed the day after a guilty verdict. After a few cases being handled thusly, we could soon determine whether or not capital punishment really works.

A few months ago, in New York City, a young man was killed by police after leaving a suspected drug hangout in Queens. Based on prior information, a group of undercover cops watching a strip joint with a reputation for gun-toting patrons had reason to believe they were in danger when they confronted four men as they were exiting the bar and entering an SUV. When one of the undercover cops identified himself as an officer, the car lurched forward as the driver tried to run him down.

The officer, after calling upon the occupants to stop, fired upon them. His fellow officers, seeing the attack unfold, began firing too, killing the driver, Sean Bell. Although no gun was found in the car, witnesses and video footage confirm that a fourth man in the party fled the scene when shots were fired. Mr. Bell and the other men with him all had arrest records for illegal possession of guns. One of them was an ex-con who had done a stretch for an armed robbery in which he shot the victim. Instead of viewing this as another case in which the police removed some bad guys from the streets, it became another political football for demagogues like Al Sharpton and Charles Barron, the city council member who could find racism in the color of his toothpaste.

Yes, Mr. Bell was black and the officer whose bullet killed him, is white. (If it had been the reverse, we wouldn't hear a peep out of various low-life loudmouths.) The fact that the first shot was from a black cop's gun had no impact on the decision by the 2 rabble rousers to proclaim that white cops go to work each day with one thought in mind, to kill black people.

In typical knee-jerk fashion, the system caved in to the protests in the black community, resulting in 3 cops being indicted by a Grand Jury. Incidentally, Mr. Bell, like Cpl. Nix, was engaged to be married, a fact that was seized upon by the protesters as some sort of aggravating factor in his death. However, we won't see any protesters calling for an end to violence against the police. It's as though dying in the line of duty is expected of a cop, while dying from a cop's bullet, even if you tried to kill him first, is an outrage that must be prosecuted.

April 4, 1968: A Day of Infamy

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 12:30:07 -0600

It began for us when someone yelled over the police radio, "Martin Luther King was just shot in Memphis." Leroy, an African-American who had often spoken proudly of the man who for many years had led the civil rights movement toward equality in America, sat in stunned silence. As I steered the car along the darkness on Sumner Avenue, I looked toward my partner and said, "Aw, don't believe that. It's some jerk with a depraved sense of humor." But a few minutes later, a voice said, "King is DOA. A sniper got him."

Leroy covered his face with his hands and shook his head slowly as if trying to block out the truth of the message.

Then, over the radio, came a few comments from the less-than-human segment of the department. "Whoopee!" one voice said. "It's about time!" said another.

The pain on Leroy's face intensified with each racist remark from the faceless cowards, secure in their anonymity but bereft of humanity. It was only moments later that the dreaded news swept the country and the riots began. Calls for police response flooded the airwaves, as a segment of the population took to the streets, burning and looting in a mad frenzy of outrage and frustration.

We spent the next 12 hours racing from one riot to another, chasing down looters, handcuffing them and taking them to a central booking location so other officers could process them, allowing us to return to the street. I don't remember how many arrests we made during that long, tumultuous night, but we worked continuously until 8 the next morning.

Although the violence, bitterness, and hatred I witnessed during that 16 hour tour would be long remembered, the most unforgettable sight was the intermittent tears that filled my partner's eyes as he struggled with his emotions but did his job with a profound courage and dignity. He berated those we caught looting and condemned them for besmirching the memory of Dr. King.

Several times during the night, when we collared someone who had just crashed through a store window and was running away with stolen property, my partner would grab them by the throat and push them up against a wall.

"This is how you honor the memory of Dr. King?" he shouted menacingly in the person's face. "You think this is what Dr. King would have wanted?" he hissed, struggling to keep from pummeling those who used the death of an icon as an excuse for criminal activity.

I don't pretend to understand the emotional roller coaster he and millions of other blacks had to deal with as they faced an uncertain future without their beloved leader. Dr. King represented more than the civil rights movement in America. He was the conscience of a nation that needed to be continuously reminded of its sins against those who were being judged, "by the color of their skin, rather than by the content of their character."

Dr. King, a believer in non-violence, lost his life in a violent act, but left behind a legacy that could not be tarnished by a racist's bullet. Thanks to him, millions of people were able to break the invisible chains that kept them in bondage more than a hundred years after they were proclaimed to be "emancipated." Because of his courage, his foresight and his eloquent oratory, those who had been blinded by the malignant disease of bigotry were able to see a clear picture of the obscenity that masqueraded as justice for blacks in America. Dr. King was a giant, the likes of which we'll probably never see again.