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Barr’s fantasy v. NYC’s reality: The U.S. attorney general and wayward cops demand compliance from a public they must answer to

2019-08-18

Barr and Mullins should better police their own words.

With the presidential election looming, Attorney General Bill Barr conjured New York last week not as the safest big city in America, but as a nightmare of American Carnage with prancing punks a-pelting police officers on the front lines of a supposed War on Cops.

Meantime the head of the police sergeants union here, Ed Mullins, emailed his members to “pay close attention to every word” of a wildly racist video. (He later apologized, saying he hadn’t paid close attention himself after a retired NYPD sergeant who’s a “pretty sharp guy” had sent him the clip.)

The AG and the Nameless Officer in the video (whose quotes below are in italics) used different keys to hum a dark tune about an America unmoored from common values, where unquestioning compliance to armed authority is all that stands between us, the people, and the wolves at the door:

“Law enforcement is fighting a different type of war… an unrelenting, never-ending fight against criminal predators in our society. While there are battles won and lost each day, there is never a final resolution — a final victory is never in sight. What stands between chaos and carnage on the one hand, and the civilized and tranquil society we all yearn for, is the thin blue line of law enforcement. You are the ones manning the ramparts — day in, and day out.”

When people can’t control themselves, “government would increasingly have to use external force to keep order, and the community would gradually lose its freedom.”

That’s happening, as “the institutions we have relied on to inculcate values and self-restraint have been under constant assault for over 50 years” — which would be roughly since the Civil Rights Act of 1968 LBJ signed in the midst of the riots following the assassination of MLK that prohibited housing discrimination based on race, religion or country of birth.

Continuing in a register familiar from the early 1990s, when Barr last served as AG and the crime rate was twice what it is now, he said that “As a result, we see about us increased social pathology: boys growing up without fathers; alienated and angry young men; gangs engaged in the most brutal violence; mass shootings… an increase in sexual assaults and child exploitation. You name it. And who is expected to deal with this? As other institutions fail and abdicate, who is expected to stand their ground? Who is expected to pick up the pieces? You are. The police. The thin blue line.”

What’s needed is for people to “Comply first and, if you think you have been wronged, complain later… We must have zero tolerance for resisting police. This will save lives.”

“Imagine an entire giant housing complex comprised solely of people who have been taught two things: they are victims of white racism, and police are the enemy. It’s a warzone, for real,” where every encounter is taped now, and “attacking police is the new normal, setting traps for them is the now normal, shooting them is the new normal, videoing them and calling them motherf*cker… is the new normal. Black criminality, entitlement and victimhood are the new normal. Killing cops has become the new norm. It’s all because of white racism, you know.”

Police also face a new breed of ”anti-law enforcement DAs,” said the AG, winning office in low-turnout primaries after “misleading campaigns and large infusions of money from outside groups… So these cities are headed back to the days of revolving door justice. The results will be predictable. More crime; more victims.”

“The projects will always be dens of crime and violence. Cops will continue to wade into that fray. Blacks will continue to attack and ambush us, forever. We’ll come to work anyway.

“Maybe remind the few, If ill of us they speak, that we are all who stand between the monsters and the weak.”

Armed authority will always demand deference. It’s up to us in a democracy to watch their actions and what they say to us, and to each other, and then decide how much authority, and deference, to entrust with them.