The PJ Tatler

Cop Killer Commencement Speaker Urges Students to Make America a Better Place

The left’s fascination and, indeed, idolization of the worst kinds of thugs and killers is one of the signature aspects of modern liberalism. Those who repel normal human beings attracts them. What disgusts decent people brings out their admiration.

It would be inexplicable except there doesn’t need to be an explanation. Anti-Americanism doesn’t explain it, although it certainly is part of the attraction. Perhaps the students at tiny Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, who invited convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to speak at one of their commencement ceremonies, give the best answer to the question, “what were they thinking”?

The school, which has about 600 students between the ages of 18 and 18 (sic), says the graduates chose Abu-Jamal as a way to “engage and think radically and critically.”

Goddard students design their own curriculums with faculty advisers and do not take tests or receive grades.

Obviously, they utterly failed to think “critically” in the academic sense of the word. But it is an absolute imperative of today’s left to be able to think “radically.” And that means supporting what normal, decent people consider repugnant while embracing radicals who put their beliefs to the test in the bloodiest, cruelest way imaginable.

So what does a convicted cop killer have to say to young people starting off in life?

Mumia Abu-Jamal spoke by video to 20 students receiving bachelor degrees from Goddard College in Plainfield. He earned a degree from the college in 1996.

“Think about the myriad of problems that beset this land and strive to make it better,” Abu-Jamal said in the video.

He said his studies at Goddard allowed him to learn about important figures in distant lands.

“Goddard reawakened in me my love of learning,” he said. “In my mind, I left death row.”

The former Black Panther did not address the crime for which he was convicted. He originally was sentenced to death for killing white police Officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981, but he was resentenced to life in 2012.

His claims that he’s been victimized by a racist justice system have attracted international support. A radio show, documentaries and books have helped publicize his case. Goddard College describes him as “an award winning journalist who chronicles the human condition.”

But the decision to allow Abu-Jamal to speak angered police and corrections officials in Vermont and Pennsylvania. The Vermont Troopers Association said it showed a disregard for the victim’s family at a time when the nation is seeking solutions to gun violence.

The case against Abu-Jamal is airtight. It was airtight then and it is airtight now. The murder of Officer Faulkner was a cold blooded, brutal execution — a cowardly act for which Abu-Jamal rightly received the death penalty. The sentence was overturned on a technicality after dozens of appeals and entreaties by leftists all over the world.

Michael Smerconish describes Abu-Jamal’s crime:

On Dec. 9, 1981, at about 4 a.m., 25-year-old Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was executed while making what seemed like a routine traffic stop.

Faulkner pulled over the brother of Mumia Abu-Jamal, William Cook, who was driving his Volkswagen the wrong way on a one-way street in the city’s red-light district.

Abu-Jamal was then an out-of-work journalist who was driving a cab. His revolutionary ideas were well-documented.

He saw the police stop from across the street.

Four eyewitnesses testified at trial as to what happened next. Their testimony portrayed a horrific sequence:

Abu-Jamal ran across the street, shot Faulkner in the back, and finally between the eyes. Before that final fatal shot, Faulkner had discharged his gun, hitting Abu-Jamal in the stomach. With that bullet, you could say he confirmed the identity of his executioner.

When police arrived quickly on the scene, Abu-Jamal was still wearing his shoulder holster.

The murder weapon was registered to Abu-Jamal. He’d purchased it at a local sporting-goods store. The five-shot Charter Arms revolver contained five spent shells. Ballistics tests verified that the shells found in Abu-Jamal’s gun were the same caliber, brand, and type as the fatal bullet removed from Faulkner’s brain.

Both men where taken to a local ER. Faulkner was pronounced dead. Abu-Jamal was heard by witnesses to say, “I shot the motherf- and I hope the motherf- dies.”

So the case had eyewitnesses, a ballistics match, and a confession.

Wikipedia summarizes his “defense”:

The defense maintained that Abu-Jamal was innocent and that the prosecution witnesses were unreliable. The defense presented nine character witnesses, including poet Sonia Sanchez, who testified that Abu-Jamal was “viewed by the black community as a creative, articulate, peaceful, genial man”.[40] Another defense witness, Dessie Hightower, testified that he saw a man running along the street shortly after the shooting although he did not see the actual shooting itself.[41] His testimony contributed to the development of a “running man theory”, based on the possibility that a “running man” may have been the actual shooter. Veronica Jones also testified for the defense, but she did not see anyone running.[42] Other potential defense witnesses refused to appear in court.[43] Abu-Jamal did not testify in his own defense. Nor did his brother, William Cook, who told investigators at the crime scene: “I ain’t got nothing to do with this.”[44]

His own brother, the proximate cause of the incident, refused to back Abu-Jamal up. There just isn’t any credible evidence to counter the overwhelming case made by the prosection.

So, of course, Abu-Jamal is a hero:

Labor unions,[100][101][102] politicians,[7][103] advocates,[104] educators,[105] the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund,[25] and human rights advocacy organizations such as Human Rights Watch[106] and Amnesty International have expressed concern about the impartiality of the trial of Abu-Jamal,[5] though Amnesty International neither takes a position on the guilt or innocence of Abu-Jamal nor classifies him as a political prisoner.[5] They are opposed by the family of Daniel Faulkner, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia,[107] Republican politicians,[107][108] and the Fraternal Order of Police.[109] In August 1999, the Fraternal Order of Police called for an economic boycott against all individuals and organizations that support Abu-Jamal.[110]

Abu-Jamal has been made an honorary citizen of about 25 cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Montreal, Palermo and Paris.[107][111] In 2001, he received the sixth biennial Erich Mühsam Prize, named after an anarcho-communist essayist, which recognizes activism in line with that of its namesake.[112] In October 2002, he was made an honorary member of the German political organization Society of People Persecuted by the Nazi Regime – Federation of Anti-Fascists (VVN-BdA)[113] which Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has considered to be influenced by left-wing extremism.[114]


Abu-Jamal is celebrated because he acted on his radical beliefs and executed his “oppressor.” Perhaps the students of Goddard College could be given a lesson in “critical thinking” by weighing the relative merits of the prosecution and defense cases. Their conclusions would reveal much about their education — or lack thereof.