- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Wilding. The term, born of a heinous gang rape and crippling attack by thugs on a young woman jogging through Central Park a decade ago, comes back into common usage to describe the appalling events that followed the Puerto Rican National Day Parade this month in Manhattan. This recent "wilding" event amounts to a milestone in the downward spiral of what might once have been called American civilization. There is no other way to look at the ease with which masses of milling, young men, as nonchalant as they were brazen, attacked, stripped and violated as many as 50 women.

But while the outcry over the incident has been clamorous, the apportionment of blame has been oddly fractured, as political interest groups step up to view the event through their respective sets of blinkers. Feminists see this incident not as a historic low in lawlessness that bodes ill for democracy, but rather as a particularly egregious form of sexism in keeping with traditional male behavior. In fact, this is a new behavior from a generation that knows no boundaries, not even those of a stranger's zipper.

Then there are the legion enemies of the New York Police Department, who blame, not those involved, but the police. True, there have been credible charges of inaction by policemen that are extremely troubling. But even if some number of New York's finest hesitated to restrain the Puerto Rico Day crowd, and tolerated criminal behaviors from the predominantly black and Hispanic men assembled in Central Park that would have been quashed among non-minorities, it is essential to understand why.

In the 16 months since Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by an elite police unit that mistakenly thought itself engaged in a gunfight with a serial rapist, a cluster of cop bashers and race hustlers have come to the fore in New York City. Led by the execrable Al Sharpton, who commands the obeisance of such Democrats as Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, this band has trumped up a stream of specious charges of racism, so-called "racial profiling," murder, and more, against the men and women in blue who risk their lives every day to keep the city safe. The Diallo cops stand as a terrible example. Exonerated by a multiracial jury, they continue to be vilified most recently by Bruce Springsteen while still facing a federal rap.

What the police in New York City have learned not to mention the criminals is that risking their lives in the line of duty is no longer enough. They now have to worry about cracking the "wrong" colored head. Given this senseless civic reality, it is little wonder that some police may have held something back on Puerto Rican National Day. What happened as a result highlighted the shocking toxicity of our youngest generation to come of age; it also revealed the real-life perils of political correctness.

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