- - Monday, December 22, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There is a huge pushback against statements of the many who have assigned New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and even President Obama with culpability in the deaths of two New York police officers (“Al Sharpton says he’s the victim, plays audio of death threat during press conference,” Web, Dec. 21).

There can be a huge gap between responsibility and culpability. Those who hold Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama blameless in the shooting deaths of New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are merely acting out of partisan and philosophic zealotry. The facts of their statements are on the national record for all to see.

They have pitted one group against another by perpetrating the mythology of pandemic racism, when racism in America is anecdotal and receding. They have rhetorically accused — no, smeared — the police departments across America with false implications of and allusions to systemic and institutional racism. They have elevated the reputations of petty criminals above those of hardworking cops. They have remained silent as mobs, not peaceful demonstrators, rampaged illegally through the streets, vandalizing and looting. They have called such people “protesters.” They remained silent as the mob called for the murder of police. The president has empowered Mr. Sharpton, arguably the most provocative inciter of violent action, as the racial spokesperson for America.

They now attempt to say the murder last weekend of the two NYPD officers was merely the work of an insane lone wolf. They question his motivation. But there is no question; the killer told us exactly what motivated him: the demonstrators on the streets and those calls for vigilante justice. In fact, he specifically referred to Mr. de Blasio’s words.

I believe these leaders have violated the very rules they claim to so cherish. They are guilty of hate language. They are guilty of inciting public unrest. They are guilty of creating a hostile work environment. They are guilty of promoting racism.

Leaders are important. What they say has meaning, and words influence actions. In another time of racial tension, President Abraham Lincoln called upon leaders to guide their people to “the better angels of our nature.” In this case, Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. de Blasio and others take us to the darker demons of our nature. If not responsible, they are most certainly culpable.

LARRY P. HORIST

Boca Raton, Florida

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