James Hunter pulled the trigger.
But he had help.
The pandering politicians, the woke eastsiders, the fawning reporters on the 6 o’clock news, the people who shouted into the bullhorns, the academics who consecrated a movement, the profane haters outside the Public Safety Building, the corporate titans and their leftist revolution, the people who spraypainted hashtags across a city, the pro-criminal policies of a morally bankrupt state, the blind leaders of the blind in pulpits and press conferences, the millionaire athletes in various leagues.
They all helped pull the trigger.
By legitimizing hatred of the police they invited violence against the police. They justified it, they suggested it, they facilitated it. By claiming – in their hospital scrubs and business suits – that the police were at war against the community, they created the delusion that violence against the police was merely self-defense.
If the institutional powers of the popular culture – from the media to the marketplace – assert that the police are nothing but the enforcement arm of white supremacy, then resistance is a moral virtue.
If the drumbeat of propaganda is that black men do and should fear the police, if with a straight face the television brings us the claims that black men fear for their lives in every contact with law enforcement, isn’t that both a provocation of and an explanation for violence against police?
If we’ve trained young people to stand inches from a police officer’s face and shout vulgar and profane denunciations at him, haven’t we loaded the weapon of anti-police bigotry and handed it to unstable people?
Can this society pretend that it doesn’t have police blood on its hands?
The call was a big deal to the people who made it. A guy with a gun was trying to force his way into their home. That’ll scare the crap out of you. It might even kill you. And the call to 911 was made.
And a cop came in response.
Some guy whose Facebook page shows him kissing his bride and enjoying his friends. A big guy with a smile on his face and 15 years on the job. And it’s got to be him between somebody with a gun and some terrified people in a house.
And James Hunter opened up on him almost immediately.
That’s what the evidence shows.
You can hear the steady emptying of the magazine on the police audio.
He saw cop and he pulled trigger. And he kept on pulling.
A guy whose first felony conviction was in 1983, a guy whose life has bounced between felony crime and imprisonment, a guy who was on parole, and accused of hospitalizing a cop almost a year and a half ago, a guy with an active parole warrant against him, a guy who the state of New York refused to arrest, fearing he might get covid in jail.
That guy allegedly put a bullet into the back of the neck of a cop who was trying to protect people who had called for help.
And it wasn’t even the lead story on the evening news.
And the mayor didn’t go to the hospital.
And by the next morning, Rochester had recorded its 50thhomicide of the year. That’s almost three times as many people killed in one city as all the American servicemembers killed across the entire world over the same period of time.
There is a war on the streets of Rochester, there has been for more than a generation. Only now it’s also against the police. And society is going to have to decide which side it is on.
Rather, society is going to have to decide if it’s going to stay on the side of those who hate the police. Society is going to have to decide if it wants to keep helping to pull the trigger.
America is a society dedicated to equality, particularly under law, but it is also a society dedicated to the truth, and to fairness. The fight for equality, including along racial lines, cannot be perverted into a fight against law enforcement. The assertion that the police exist to enforce racism, or that they are systematically organized against people of color, is false. And repeating a lie does not make it so.
And the popularity of a bigotry does not make it right.
That officer rolled out of his blue and white in an act of courageous service.
And he was met by the anti-police bigotry of woke American society.
And he’s lucky it didn’t kill him.
Like it has killed so many others.