Speaking truth to nonsense
Last Updated: 11:26 PM, July 11, 2012
Posted: July 12, 2012
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly touched a nerve when he said community leaders in predominantly minority neighborhoods are “shockingly silent” about violent crime.
As opposed to their hypocritically shrill criticism of the NYPD’s efforts actually to do something about gun violence.
“Some of them are very willing to attack the Police Department, but not willing to take on the big issue, which is crime happening in their own neighborhood,” Kelly said yesterday after swearing in new police officers.
Continued Kelly: “They should, number one, acknowledge the problem — acknowledge the problem exists. Don’t just beat up on the Police Department.”
Reaction was entirely predictable — alternately defensive and self-serving.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn — who, by volume, arguably has the biggest mouth on that august body — termed Kelly’s characterization “presumptuous and patently false.”
And Assemblyman-cum-congressional candidate Hakeem Jeffries said the real problem is a surfeit of firearms and a deficit of jobs in minority communities.
But while petulance (Williams) and buck-passing (Jeffries) may help take the heat off community leaders, neither tactic addresses the fundamental truth in Kelly’s words — that “96 percent of the shooting victims in this city are black or Latino.”
Yet when was the last time black or Latino leaders organized a serious demonstration against a gun culture of the sort that resulted in 77 firearm casualties over the July 4 holiday?
Of course there are too many guns.
Of course there are not enough jobs.
Kelly’s stop-and-frisk initiative has its limits. But it’s a coherent, professionally run effort to rid the streets of guns — rather than just complain about them.
And yet Father’s Day weekend was devoted to a massive “silent march” in protest of — stop-and-frisk!
No wonder Kelly is frustrated.
The commissioner says community leaders need to be working with local precinct and borough commanders — “but they’ve got to want to do it.”
It’s just bizarre that those who presume to lead the communities so grievously afflicted by gun violence can’t bring themselves coherently to condemn the culture that produces it.
Not until, for example, they organize a “silent march” against violent crime that advocates specific solutions — like active cooperation with the NYPD — will they have earned the right to be taken seriously.
Don’t hold your breath.