How Many More Dead Police Officers Will the Mob Want?

“What do we want?” came the shouted question from the marchers in New York City on Dec. 13.

“Dead cops!” came the reply.

“When do we want it?”

“Now!”

It took seven days, perhaps too long to satisfy the mob’s impatience, but now that they have two dead police officers, how many more will they want?

I have for years instructed young police officers placed in my charge that they cannot go about their duties thinking everyone they meet will try to kill them.  But, I warn them, nor can they forget that some people will.  With this unsettling fact in mind, police officers train for various scenarios in which they might find themselves endangered.  How will we respond if that liquor store on the corner is being robbed?  Can we see inside?  Is there a back door?  Is there a getaway car idling nearby?  Could there be a layoff man waiting unseen for the opportunity to ambush us?

Or take a scenario as simple as a traffic stop.  How many people are in the car?  What are they doing as we approach?  Are they tracking us in the mirrors?  Can we see their hands?  Where is our closest cover if one of them pulls a gun?  Will bystanders be endangered if we have to open fire?

The scenarios and the questions are endless, and they are on every police officer’s mind constantly, if not always consciously, as he goes through his day at work.  Perhaps Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were having just this type of discussion as they sat in their parked police car in Brooklyn Saturday afternoon.

What police officers do not often discuss -- or at least they didn’t until Saturday -- is what to do if someone sneaks up behind you and without warning shoots you in the head.

It would be comforting to say that Saturday’s assassinations were simply the tragic denouement of one man’s descent into evil, and that police officers in New York and elsewhere needn’t concern themselves with the likelihood of similar attacks in the future.  Sadly, this does not appear to be the case as the monster who killed Officers Liu and Ramos, though now deceased himself, has fans and sympathizers who have been unreserved in going online to express their approval of his deeds.  The Daily Caller has some examples, among which is someone who took to Twitter and wrote, “Shout out the homie who shot those cops in Brooklyn.”

I won’t identify the Twitter user who wrote that, but if you’re curious you can find him easily enough.  And if you do, and if you read his tweets, you’ll see that the man is a cretin, a fact he proves, 140 characters at a time, beyond reasonable doubt.  But a shout-out is a shout-out, and for someone whose life is devoid of approbation, as the killer’s was, a shout-out from a cretin is better than none at all.  Indeed the killer himself boasted of his plans online, and in the moments before shooting the officers he invited people on the street to “watch what I’m going to do.”  It is beyond naive to deny there are others out there every bit as malevolent as the Brooklyn killer and every bit as hungry for recognition.