It is possible to mourn the loss of life BY police and OF police. That is true humanity.The deaths of two NY police officers by one assailant who started his spree with the shooting of a former girlfriend and ended it by shooting himself are tragic and grotesque. These officers in no way deserved what befell them, and my condolences are offered to the families and associates of the fallen. There is no good that comes of unreasoning and deadly actions such as this, and the pain of what has happened will doubtless last.
— Baratunde (@baratunde) December 20, 2014
But blame has to be laid where it is due. I think it's revolting that Ismaayil Brinsley tied his actions to the protests against police brutality, as if his personal drama assumed meaning by it. No. He didn't shoot his girlfriend because he thought "black lives matter", and he didn't shoot those officers because he believed an unarmed man shouldn't be killed by police. It looks like this person had a criminal record of some size and a reason to have feelings about law enforcement well before the events in Fergusen, New York or Cleveland went down. He doesn't seem to have given a shit about it before the day he shot his ex-girlfriend. (Now, someone may dig up that he protested somewhere--but I doubt it. He wasn't a New Yorker--he drove up from Baltimore. I don't care what he posted on Instagram at the last moment--and if he's dropping 50 Cent lyrics with his ex-girlfriend's blood on his leg he was a huge posing useless waste of space.)
So when former NY Governor Pataki (and others) wants to lay this tragedy at NYC mayor DiBlasio or the protesters as if somehow, the existence of a protest against police brutality is necessarily a protest against all police officers, I have to shake my head. It isn't. It's a protest about some activity by some officers sometimes. Just like this was an activity of one guy against two people who didn't deserve it, which should by no means be generalized to be about all protesters.
It's one thing to pick a side. It's quite another to let that choice blind one to the details. This guy wasn't representative of a nonviolent protest against violence. He was all about violence. His actions were heinous, but that can't reflect on whether it is right for Eric Garner to have been choked to death, for Mike Brown to have been shot numerous times, and so on. Letting this grotesque act change the subject is expecting too much of tragedy, and expecting too little of our ability to reason things out.