A couple days ago, I quoted from New York Police Commissioner William Bratton’s eulogy for Officer Rafael Ramos, who was recently assassinated by a mentally-ill individual because Ramos was wearing the uniform of the institution for which Ramos worked: the New York Police Department.
I started that post by talking about another post that I’d thought about writing. Blogging – for me, anyway – is funny that way. You start out with one idea, and as you write, it transmogrifies; somehow the post itself magically becomes something different than what you thought it was going to be. It reminds me of certain writers I’ve heard who talk about how they can’t wait to see what the characters in their books – the books they are writing! – will do next.
It happened again today. I started with a post titled, “You Were Told,” about all the warnings we’ve had through the years that the police force itself was transmogrifying into something horrifying, something different than we though it was going to be, and how we’ve failed to do anything about to stop that transmogrification.
Anyway, I ended yesterday’s post with this:
As the cause of that iceberg starting to heat up, it is up to the police to start a real, honest, conversation about this with the People.
This is not a time for anyone to be turning their backs on anyone.
Perhaps partly because of the essential need I see right now for some kind of rapprochment, if we are to ever have that conversation, today’s post steered itself away from a modernized Niemöllerian reminder toward this: a reminder of the difference between calling for changing an institution, and insult inflicted through the insouciant conflation of the individual with that institution. [Read more…]