Very early this morning a lone Seattle patrol officer shot and killed Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of ambushing and murdering four Lakewood officers Sunday as they prepared for their duty day in a coffee shop.
The ambush of the four Lakewood officers occurred at an hour not commonly associated with officer deaths, shortly after eight o'clock on a Sunday morning. The victim officers had apparently convened about their laptops to catch up with their reports. None could have anticipated the attack. Only one was able to put up any kind of fight before dying, but apparently was at least able to wound the bastard.
I've worried about this kind of mass murder of law enforcement officers for years.
Shortly before I retired, I openly speculated that we were on the cusp of a new era where people would increasingly bring the fight to us. Moreover, I said they would prove to be greater threats, less predisposed to "gangsta"-style shooting and actually recognize the significance of sight alignment and trigger control.
I also noted that technology has helped the people who want to kill us develop better eye-hand coordination and tactics via video games and other poor man's combat simulators, and it has given them better means of communicating and coordinating with one another. Television shows such as "C.O.P.S." have provided them greater familiarity with our policies and tactics. They have also become more sophisticated in their choice of weaponry, and are fast becoming better armed than us, accessorizing with everything from laser sights to cop-killer bullets.
Increasing incidences of workplace violence and school shootings fueled my concern, as did a demographic boom of late teens who would come of age between 2005 to 2009. These teens were weaned on a steady diet of desensitizing movies and rap music that advocated cop killings.
More recently, economic stress, racial strife, a resurrection of militia types, and spillover from Mexican cartel activity have made this toxic cocktail even deadlier.
Perhaps most perniciously-at least when it comes to cops-is the concurrent and steady indoctrination of anti-cop sentiments and stereotypes. Allegations of police corruption and its perpetuation through movies such as "Training Day" have afforded those predisposed towards hating cops a perceived justification for doing so.
These cop haters are often composed of those segments of society who have fundamentally failed to hold their own accountable, the likes of whom celebrated the King riots, the O.J. acquittal, and the Oakland shootings.
I believe it follows that there is a nexus between such campaigns against law enforcement and events such as Sunday's murders.
Certainly, it is not unreasonable to ask where is Al Sharpton's outrage over these murders? Or Jesse Jackson's? How about Earl Ofari Hutchinson's? Why are they not demanding justice? Why are they curiously mute at the damages inflicted by a black shooter? And what will Eric Holder have to say as to the motives of this son of a bitch?
Will these murders be classified as hate crimes? Acts of terrorism?
Until recently, attacks that kill as many as four officers have been extremely rare. Since the Newhall (Calif.) shootings of 1970, there had not been an incident in which four officers had been shot and killed in a single incident (although Louisiana sniper and black racist Mark Essex killed a total of four white cops on separate dates in 1973).
This year four officers were killed in Oakland by the same man on the same day in March. This weekend four officers were killed in a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop. And in Pittsburgh three officers were killed on April 4.
These killings come at a time when cops are themselves theoretically better trained and equipped, and one can reasonably ask how many more might have been killed this year were it not for improved medical intervention.
We ask how something like this can happen, when the miracle is that it doesn't happen more often.
Read the comments that accompany the news coverage of the murders of the Oakland and Lakeland officers. Yes, there are those who express dismay and sorrow. But there are also a number of disheartening comments that attribute some malfeasance on the part of the fallen officers. These comments celebrate the deaths and glorify the suspect. They use the losses as fodder for insipid jokes, perniciously and willfully ignorant of the pain the families of these fallen heroes are going through.
Will any of Hollywood's elite step up to help any of these officers' families?
I doubt it.
For long before Al Pacino invited us to "say goodnight to the bad guy," Hollywood had been holding court for him. From "Little Caesar" to "The Godfather," the list of films featuring criminal icons is long and distinguished. It is the charismatic bad guy who is remembered: Hans Gruber, Hannibal Lector, the Joker. Even heartthrob Leonardo doesn't stand a chance against Daniel Day Lewis' the Butcher in "Gangs of New York."
Away from the stage and screen, it would appear that many actors and actresses are more apt to be found stomping on behalf of such stalwart souls as Mumia Abu Jamal than for law enforcement.
That Hollywood loves to give itself a pat on the back is well known. It'll readily accept responsibility for social change spurred on by movies like "In the Heat of the Night" or "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," and others.
But when it comes to its more sordid legacies, Hollywood remains mute.
Or does it?
Gays decry the portrayal of homosexuals in "Cruising"; Hollywood gives them "Philadelphia." Minorities protest blaxploitation pics and "The Warriors." Hollywood atones with "Antoine Fisher" and "Men of Honor." Women hate more misogynist fare? They are rewarded with "Thelma and Louise."