NYC Police: Act of Civil Disobedience?

Hundreds of police officers outside the Queens, N.Y. church Saturday where the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos was being held turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as he eulogized the fallen officer who was ambushed last week along with his partner.

De Blasio’s remarks were being shown on large TV monitors outside the Christ Tabernacle Church. Police union officials have accused the mayor of fostering a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of Officer Ramos and his partner.

More than 25,000 police officers from across the country assembled in winter sunshine to pay final respects to Ramos, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD. The long sea of blue stretched more than six city blocks.

The police union president and others turned their backs on the mayor in a sign  of disrespect at the hospital after the Dec. 20 shooting. Lynch blamed de Blasio  then for the officers’ deaths and said he had blood on his hands. [Source: Associated Press and]

The police turning their back on the New York City mayor is, in a sense, an act of civil disobedience.

Normally we think of civil disobedience as a peaceful act of private citizens against the government — specifically, against the police, as in a nonviolent protest.

Now we see an incredible and perhaps unprecedented reversal: Police quietly protesting their mayor, the very government they’re charged to represent — indeed, the majority of New York City voters who voted for this mayor.

It’s truly fascinating — and certainly unsettling to those who support this mayor. But if you think about it, it’s not at all surprising.

For decades now, government (at all levels) has increasingly abandoned its responsibility for protecting actual individual rights and has replaced it with enforcing all kinds of other “rights”. These so-called rights include the right to income, the right to health insurance, the right to welfare, the right to social insurance benefits, the right to sue whenever you feel you’ve been discriminated against for any reason (even if it was your performance or your actions) … the list goes on and on.

We have witnessed a near-total inversion of what a government is supposed to do and actually can do and transformed it into just the opposite. The government, while still nominally charged with stopping those who initiate the use of force — violent criminals, frauds — has moved more and more towards being the actual initiator of force itself — robbing Peter to pay Paul in the name of what’s referred to as “social justice,” but in actuality means power for politicians and their constituent groups.

From the point of view of a minimal and limited government, it seems incredible that police would ever rebel against their own boss, even in such a principled and peaceful way. Yet their boss, Mayor de Blasio, is one of the more glaring representatives of the modern approach to government, which is less about protecting us from bad guys and more about protecting us from ourselves, via being mommies and daddies with guns.

New York City is particularly representative of this approach to government. Its current mayor is a hard core advocate of wealth redistribution, high taxes, and all the things that government has become. Yes, he’s a leftist and essentially socialist Democrat. But the last mayor was a Republican, and Mayor Bloomberg is the one who sought to limit the amount of diet sodas people could drink. There’s idiocy to go around, and while it varies in degree it all stems from the same false belief that mayors, governors and presidents are our mommies and daddies, rather than simply people in charge of keeping the peace. If these false beliefs were not so widespread, we would not have the fools in office we keep getting.

I recognize that the police turning their backs on de Blasio aren’t doing so because of any particular philosophy of government. More likely, they just don’t like this particular mayor’s smug and arrogant attitude towards police.

But the reason our elected officials have become so smug and arrogant is because they’ve been given power to initiate the use of force against peaceful citizens for the alleged sake of others. In a way, this makes most of our politicians no better than criminals themselves. A government is supposed to protect nonviolent and honest people from violent and crooked ones. It’s not supposed to be our mommy, daddy, or sugar daddy. Somewhere along the way, government took on that role — with the consent of the majority, sad to say — and it’s no wonder we’ve reached the point we have.

It’s an interesting time for politicians like NYC Mayor de Blasio and the people who support such elected officials. On the one hand, they count on the force of government — ultimately, the police on the front lines — to maintain the stability of the force they constantly seek to initiate and impose on the population to advance all their regulatory and social welfare aims. Yet what happens when or if the police turned against them? Even in a subtle, peaceful way? Isn’t it more than a little unsettling that so many of the police don’t support the man the majority of the city put into office? What are these voters to do? If they won’t fire or recall the mayor, maybe they should fire the police and replace them all with the equivalent of the Peace Corps. How well might that work out for them?

I sense a lot of trouble ahead for Big Government, redistributionist entitlement state politicians (in other words, all politicians as we know them). In the end, you can’t be pro-Big Government and anti-police. You can only shout and scream so long for this or that “right,” to be enforced by a government gun, while ignoring or putting down the cops with the guns you’re counting on to enforce what you define as social justice.

This is a whopper of a contradiction requiring resolution. I interpret the quiet protest of these police against Mayor de Blasio as an early warning sign of a potentially much bigger conflict to come.



Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael  Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1