A wake-up call to save NYC

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Soon after saying he didn’t trust polls showing his public approval cratering, President Biden came to New York to try to show unhappy voters he really, really, really cares about crime.

After spending a month defending his “Day One” memo promising leniency for criminals, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Friday suddenly reversed some of the most outrageous policies in the memo.

Heart be still, our long national nightmare may be ending. 

To be sure, these are baby steps and there is no guarantee they are the start of the wholesale change desperately needed. But they offer hope that some Democrats finally are coming to their senses, if only because they realize going soft on criminals is a political dead end.

You would think that would be obvious, a no-brainer if ever there was one. But we live in times so extraordinarily strange that a radical far-left faction managed to gain control of one of America’s two major political parties while pushing the insane idea that police are bad and criminals are victims. 

It’s the law enforcement equivalent of the misbegotten 1619 Project, and far more lethal. 

The implications of this flight from reality have been deadly, with violent crime soaring across America for two years. Thousands of people were murdered who would still be alive today had the police been free to do their jobs the way they were before 2020. 

Instead, the cops were handcuffed and the rioters, thieves and killers were turned loose, which naturally incentivized even more people to break the law. 

President Joe Biden hit the snooze button in a fruitless visit to meet Mayor Eric Adams at P.S. 111 in Queens on Jan. 3, 2022.
President Biden hit the snooze button in a fruitless visit to meet Mayor Eric Adams at PS 111 in Queens on Jan. 3, 2022.
Paul Martinka

Crime wave 

The mayhem hasn’t stopped. Overall major crime in Gotham increased by 38% in January, and is nearly double what it was in 2019. 

One Dem who never drank the Kool-Aid, Rep. Ritchie Torres of The Bronx, sees the policies of Mayor Adams and the changing tune from Biden as proof the “defund the police movement is dead in New York City — and good riddance.”

He adds: “Any elected official who’s advocating for the abolition and/or even the defunding of police is out of touch with reality and should not be taken seriously.”

If he’s right and if we are witnessing a turning point, then the key event was the murder of two NYPD officers. The Jan. 21 shooting of officers Jason Rivera, just 22 years old, and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora is shaking the city to its core and leading many people to realize New York itself is locked in a life-and-death struggle.

If the police aren’t safe, nobody is. 

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg so far has reversed two of his lenient prosecution policies from his controversial memo.
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File

Yet it wasn’t only the officers’ deaths galvanizing the public. It was also the dignity of their televised funerals at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the massive outpouring of grief-stricken law enforcement and especially the stirring eulogy of officer Rivera’s young widow.

Dominique Luzuriaga, gallantly fighting tears and emotions, told of how they had been friends since elementary school before marrying only last October, how she worried about him constantly and how she frantically tried to reach him on that fateful night after he and Mora answered a domestic violence call in Harlem.

Then, in a passage that brought the packed cathedral audience to its feet with thunderous applause, Luzuriaga took on the pro-criminal culture and Bragg himself. 

“The system continues to fail us,” she said. “We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service. I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA, I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”

Bragg, in fact, was watching from a seat in the cathedral, and also attended officer Mora’s funeral. There he heard Mora’s sister ask “How many Wilberts? How many Jasons? How many officers must lose their lives so that this system changes?”

Dominique Luzuriaga, the widow of slain New York City police officer Jason Rivera, holds the flag from his casket while watching the funeral procession leave St. Patrick’s Cathedral following his funeral service in New York, New York, USA, 28 January 2022.
Fallen officer Jason Rivera’s widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, rightfully called out the deadly consequences of soft-on-crime policies.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Two days later, Bragg rescinded key parts of his memo. 

Perhaps for him, like many elitists, the police are an abstract. They look at the blue uniform and the badge and don’t even see the person wearing them. They hate them without knowing them, thus sinking to the level of pure bigotry. 

But as the eulogies and stories about the dead officers demonstrated, they were ordinary young men who did extraordinary things, and made the ultimate sacrifice. They loved and were loved, and, in an instant, were ripped from their families while trying to protect total strangers from harm.

You have to be a stone not to be heartbroken and a fool not to realize what their deaths say about the evil of crime.

Although policing has a racial history that was shameful in some respects, the past is not the present. And no matter how often the left tries to paint all cops with one brush, the George Floyd case was a horrible aberration and does not signify anything remotely common among those who comprise the thin blue line.

Indeed, the racial aspect of policing in New York tells a remarkable tale of change. For more than decade, the NYPD has had a minority majority, meaning white officers are outnumbered by those of other races.

Officers Rivera and Mora are prime examples of young Latinos raised in New York who fulfilled their dreams of becoming cops. 

The third officer with them that awful night, who shot and killed their killer, was rookie cop Sumit Sulan, an Indian American. 

It also should matter that the leaders of the war against crime, Mayor Adams, a former member of the NYPD, and his top cop, Commissioner Keechant Sewell, are both black.

Congressman Ritchie Torres
Rep. Ritchie Torres is among the few Democrats who never supported the radical “Defund the Police” movement.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Near the end of her powerful eulogy, Dominique Luzuriaga said to her husband, “I’m sure all of our blue family is tired too, but I promise, we promise that your death won’t be in vain.” 

If there is any decency left in New York, her promise will be prophecy and the city will defeat this plague.

Ready to move on, or never let go?

Reader Keith Linton offers an idea, only half in jest. He writes: “It is well past time we remove politics from yet another failed war, the War on COVID! There is no dispute there are vaxxed and unvaxxed people of all political parties, races, and age groups. The same goes with those who wear masks and those who don’t.

“My solution, since the USA cannot function unless factions are pitted against one another, is to classify ourselves into two camps: the Clingons versus the Moveons. 

“The Clingons need the government to intervene and guide their lives. The Moveons want to return to a normal lifestyle.

“To be inclusive, we need to recognize the people who don’t have an opinion. We should consider them the Meeks, since after two years they still don’t know where they stand. 

“These classifications might not get us anywhere, but at least the dividing lines would be clear and more honest. Besides, what do we have to lose?”

A NY Times headline:

Trump’s Aim: Keep Power At All Costs

Alternative headline: 

New York Times’ Aim: Destroy Trump At All Costs

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