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It’s the crime, stupid

Heather McDonald has a piece in the New York Post about the efforts of the New York TImes and certain liberal politicians to turn the tragic fatal shooting of a black housing project resident by an NYPD officer into an act of racism. The officer shot the unarmed 19-year-old while patrolling the roof of a Bedford-Stuyvesant housing project late last Saturday night. He and his partner went to open a door when it unexpectedly flew open, sending the partner reeling backwards. Startled, the officer shot the 19-year old, who was standing on the other side.
According to McDonald, “Politicians and community leaders are right to demand a review of police holstering policies to prevent such accidents in the future. But with depressing predictability, the usual suspects are portraying the shooting as a race incident, and their self-serving efforts to do so are poisoning the city.” For example, the New York Times had this to say: “To police officers, the roofs of the city’s housing projects are netherworlds of crime and threat. . . . But to residents, they are places of everyday convenience, . . . a pebbled illusion of space and open skies, even a picnic ground.” In other words, as McDonald puts it, “only in the paranoid minds of police officers are these carefree, bucolic spaces dangerous; in reality, they are little different from an amusement park.”
The Times goes on to laud the vibrant life of the Bed-Stuy project (where Times writers no doubt hang out regularly) as compared to the uptight working class suburb where the police officer lives.
The reality is so different that the Times’ rendition might have been written by Jayson Blair. According to McDonald:
“The city’s housing projects, especially the roofs and hallways, are dangerous – not just in the minds of officers, but also in reality. Drug dealers hone their shooting skills on the roofs and launch projectiles such as bicycles or rocks (known as ‘air-mail’) at cops on the sidewalks below. Officers rounding corners on the roofs of projects have been shot at. Rapists drag their victims up to ‘the pebbled illusion of space and open skies,’ as the Times calls public-housing roofs, and violate them in the pastoral quiet. The Louis Armstrong Houses, where Stansbury was shot, are even more dangerous than most. Crime there rose 31 percent last year, compared to a 5 percent drop in Brooklyn projects overall. At the end of 2003 and beginning of 2004, there was a shooting incident every other day in and around the Armstrong development. On New Year’s Eve 2002, parolee Barja Walter tried (unsuccessfully) to shoot three officers to death outside the Armstrong Houses.”
Clearly, then, “it is not irrational for an officer to anticipate danger when patrolling the roofs of city housing developments, and that sense of danger has to do with crime, not race.” Moreover, “Crime, not the desire to oppress black people, is what sends cops to inner-city neighborhoods and public housing projects. In 1998, 62 percent of the victims of violent assaults identified their assailant as black, even though blacks are only 25 percent of the population. That means that when the police are trying to guard the community against violent criminals, they will focus their efforts disproportionately on black neighborhoods.”
If the liberal establishment wants to make a contribution to saving innocent black lives, it should start speaking honestly about crime and stop speaking dishonestly about racism.

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