Monday, December 22, 2014


I apologize to those of you who came here expecting to find the report on our trip to Germany that I promised you. I'll run that post tomorrow. Today, I want to talk about a more important topic that arose over the weekend.

You have probably seen the news reports from New York City about two NYPD police officers who were murdered last Saturday afternoon as they sat in their patrol car. The killer ... who apparently committed suicide rather than face arrest ... had posted numerous online messages threatening to kill police officers in retaliation for the deaths earlier in the year of two black men who had been killed by police in Ferguson, MO and New York City. I find this justification a bit shaky, as he had apparently also shot his girlfriend in Baltimore (who likely didn't have anything to do with the other incidents) before traveling to New York to murder random police officers, but I'm sure he'll have his apologists.

One aspect of this terrible crime that no one has commented on is one that struck me right away: the names of the murdered police officers - Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Think about that for a minute.

I think it says something about America that police officers of Chinese and Hispanic descent were on patrol together. America has traditionally been a country that welcomed people from everywhere, and although we've gone through cycles of discrimination based on racial, national, religious and other factors, we are still the refuge of choice for those fleeing bad conditions in their home countries. The phone book of any town in America is a compilation of names reflecting virtually every race, color, religion, and ethnic origin in the world.

I remember a cartoon from Mad Magazine many years ago that lampooned movie stereotypes with an imagined scene from a World War II film in which the unit sergeant was selecting men for a patrol ... "Okay, listen up! Jones, Perez, Chan, Goldberg, Pulaski, Schmidt, Yokuda, Giordano, and Wegryzynowicz, come with me! Oh, yeah, I almost forgot ... Olafsson, you, too!" The point, of course, was that America's army was supposed to be made up of people from everywhere, brought together by the common ideal that allegiance was owed to an idea - the principles of the Constitution - not to a king or an emperor or a dictator. No matter where you or your parents were from, if you embraced those ideas, you were an American.

Nowadays, of course, the idea is wearing a little thin. Conservatives worry that all immigrants (not just the illegal ones) are ruining the country and need to be kept out at all cost. And some immigrants, to be fair, don't come here because they believe in American ideals ... they arrive here and want to retain (and impose upon others) the very hatreds, customs, and beliefs that created the conditions from which they fled. "Honor killings" and the desire to implement Sharia law come to mind.

I don't have the answer to the problem. I wish I did. But one thing I do know is that we need to stop viewing each other with hatred and suspicion and start working together to build the better future the Founders imagined.

Much like officers Ramos and Liu were trying, in their own small way, to secure.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

A very thoughtful essay, indeed!

Linda Kay said...

Great post. We do have to remember that this was one idiot with who knows what to motivate him, after all he did also shoot the lady. Immigration is a huge challenge here in Texas. We welcome so many of hispanic origin here, but there are others who are crossing the borders into Texas who do not, as you say, just want to pursue the American way. I have no idea how we can sort these out. You give us lots to think about.

Atomic Dog said...

Yours is a great post. Those two police were doing no one harm, but some idiot shot them 'to make a point.' We do have a problem with some of the immigrants pursuing criminal activities, particularly with drug traffic.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

good post Bill. Merry Christmas to you and Agnes!!

Mike said...

Thanks again to Reagan for decimating the mental health system.

Gonzo Dave said...

Well said.