You won’t believe who wrote this (and don’t peek):
I am indeed the last person in the world who should be falling in love with the cops. Like most black men my age, I’m a serial cop-hater, armed with an astonishing array of ill encounters with flatfoots. Young black male rule number 4,080—when you see Jake strolling down your side of the street, get your English proper and cross to the other side.
Lately they’ve begun lining up by the dozen on Flatbush, and when I see them a warm fuzzy feeling blooms in my bones. Suddenly a late-night stroll is, well, a slightly safer stroll. The honor guard is courtesy of Operation Impact, a program the city expanded last month in hopes of subduing the worst havens for crime. So far the results have been promising. New York itself is in the midst of an anti-crime wave unseen since 1968. According to the FBI, New York has the lowest crime rate of any city in the country with over a million people. . .
Then came the night we needed them, and they delivered. And they’re delivering still. Just last week, suspect in hand, they brought my partner in to look at a lineup of possible perps. It ended up getting blocked for legal reasons, and she’s supposed to try again this week. Maybe the cops actually care about us. More likely, they just want to get the guy. Fine by me. . .
These days, when I go out of town, I appreciate the cops who stand out on Canal Street trying to make something of the chaos, and make my trip through the Holland Tunnel that much easier. I’ve had to give the cops credit for maintaining a record-low murder rate, even as the city’s economy shuddered. . .
I’ve got a son now and, like all parents, I’m obsessed with his safety. If that means taking a few of our own off the streets, then by all means hop to it. When Operation Impact first hit Flatbush, a friend asked me what I thought of all the cops who were suddenly occupying our neighborhood. I confessed some degree of discomfort, but in the back of my head I couldn’t help thinking, “God bless ’em.”
And the answer is: Ta-Nehesi Coates, in the Village Voice, 2004. I’ll bet he wishes he could memory-hole this article right now.
No doubt there are hundreds of thousands of urban blacks who think the same thing right now. But they don’t have access to the pages of The Atlantic, so no one will hear such retrograde opinions.
Chaser: Defunding the police us “nuts,” says . . . Michael Dukakis. (Willie Horton was unavailable for comment.)