LOGIC 101 AND GETTING THE NYPD MURDERS TWISTED
©Wendell Griffen, 2014
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Arthur Conan Doyle from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Adventure I--A Scandal in Bohemia
Last night New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called for organized protests against racial profiling and police brutality to cease until the funerals of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are concluded out of respect for the grief now suffered by the families of those New York City officers who were murdered on December 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. When one analyzes the facts known about the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu and about Brinsley, Mayor De Blasio’s call doesn’t pass a basic principle of deductive reasoning.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a lone gunman.
Brinsley was a black man with a long history of anti-social conduct that included violence against his family members and numerous criminal acts before December 20.
Brinsley shot and wounded a former girlfriend before he murdered Officers Ramos and Liu.
Despite Brinsley’s recent social media comments announcing his plan to attack police officers, no information shows that he was ever involved with any nonviolent organized protests against racial profiling and police brutality after the deaths of Eric Garner on July 23 in Staten Island, New York and Michael Brown, Jr. on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of police officers.
None of the organized protests against racial profiling and police brutality included calls for vigilante actions against people in law enforcement. [However, Baltimore Fox News affiliate WBFF edited a chant by peaceful protestors who called for killer cops to be placed in cell blocks two days ago and televised an edited video in which the station accused the protestors of chanting “kill a cop.” The televised video was a deliberate lie aired three times before the station finally admitted the fraud perpetrated on its viewers.]
People associated with protests against racial profiling and police brutality have emphatically expressed outrage, grief, and sorrow about the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu. They have denounced and condemned Brinsley’s conduct as murderous and unjust. They have expressed condolences for the Ramos and Liu families, and for the grief-stricken colleagues of these slain police officers within the New York Police Department and across the nation.
In my last blogpost—titled “Sorrow and Justice”—I wrote, “Brinsley’s murderous conduct was an act of injustice. Let no one mistake that fact (or as young people might say “don’t get it twisted”). Those of us who denounce and condemn police brutality and racial profiling also denounce and condemn what Brinsley did. It is as wrong to profile and brutalize people in law enforcement as it is wrong for people in law enforcement to profile and brutalize others. All lives matter equally.”
These facts raise the following question. How is it disrespectful to the memories of Officers Ramos and Liu and to their grieving families to protest racial profiling and police brutality, whether before the murdered officers are laid to rest or afterwards?
It is wrong to condone profiling and brutality against people in law enforcement. It is wrong to condone profiling and brutality against persons of color by people in law enforcement. These things are always wrong. They were wrong before Brinsley murdered Officers Ramos and Liu. They are wrong now. They will be wrong after Officers Ramos and Liu are laid to rest.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a lone gunman who murdered two police officers as they ate lunch. He shot and wounded his girlfriend before he murdered the officers. He killed himself minutes after murdering the officers. None of that conduct has anything to do with organized nonviolent protests against racial profiling and police brutality. That’s basic logic. It violates every basic principle of logic to assert that organized nonviolent protests against racial profiling and police brutality are somehow offensive because a lone deranged thug murdered two police officers.
When Adam Lanza, a lone white mentally unstable gunman, murdered elementary students and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School after having already murdered his own mother in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 people weren’t asked to suspend protests about gun violence. When James Eagan Holmes, a white man, allegedly killed 12 people on July 20, 2012 inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” people weren’t asked to suspend efforts to protest gun violence.
When those lone white assailants engaged in murderous conduct politicians and pundits didn’t ascribe their viciousness to people who protest gun violence for a good reason. It would have been nonsense to do so. Flunking basic logic always produces nonsense.
Instead of the nonsense of asking people to suspend peaceful protests against racial profiling and police brutality Mayor De Blasio should have taken the following actions.
First, he should have restated public outrage, grief, and sorrow about the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu. He should have emphasized that there is no information linking their murders to the many peaceful protests against racial profiling and police brutality.
Mayor De Blasio should have also called on people in law enforcement and protestors against racial profiling and police brutality to express concern and support for the Ramos and Liu families and share their sorrow.
Mayor De Blasio also should have reminded us that Officers Ramos and Liu’s deaths highlight the wickedness of profiling and brutalizing people, whether people in law enforcement or people like Ismaaiyl Brinsley do so.
What Mayor De Blasio should have not done was suggest that there is anything disrespectful, insensitive, or offensive about peaceful protests against racial profiling and police brutality now, tomorrow, next week, or at any other time. Officers Ramos and Liu were profiled and murdered by one twisted person. That doesn’t justify twisting logic to associate their deaths with peaceful protests against profiling and brutality.
So we should respectfully dismiss Mayor De Blasio’s call to suspend nonviolent protests against racial profiling and police brutality until Officers Ramos and Liu are buried because it flunks basic logic. People who flunk arithmetic aren’t reliable authorities on algebra, let alone calculus.