Broken Windows, Broken Hearts

You are being torn apart.

The bullets tore through the broken window then through your flesh as bullets will do on their mission. Bit’s of bone and sprays of scarlet filled the patrol car’s interior as the projectiles tore into your face, the face of the People of New York City…in the form of a city cop.

Broken windows is the policy of acting on lower level-crime to impact high-level criminal behavior. It has been shown to work, again and again. NYC has employed this policy and has seen dramatic drops in violent crime over the years.

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But Broken Windows has not been applied to protecting police officers in the City of New York. The recent demonstrations in the city over the death of Eric Garner brought Mayor De Blasio to speak about police/community relations. But his words were sparse regarding respecting the police. We heard about his talk with his son, Dante and “Re-training cops” and “Cop cameras”. Where was the word, “Comply”? Where was emphasis on the word, “Respect”?

Respecting the police is essential to civic order. In both the Garner and the Brown case compliance would have resulted in a non-fatal encounters. That is obvious. But ignored.

But nowhere is that compliance demanded by our leaders these days. If there is the atmosphere of disrespect for authority violence will very likely follow.

The Garner struggle threatened to burst through a store-front window. If we had a broken window in that act, police officers and Garner could have been killed by guillotine shards slicing down on their throats. There would likely be no talk of “choke hold” nor “Diabetes” nor “I can’t breathe” pleas.

Who would we blame then? The store owner for not having window gates in place? The window manufacture for not having proper tensile-strength windows to hold a 300 lb. male and several police officers? I have no doubt the police would still be found to acted improperly. Even when it’s obvious, the blame was squarely on the resisting Garner and his failure to comply.

Failure to reinforce the demand that police officers are to be respected and complied with begs violent encounters.

I don’t believe the failure to instill respect for police directly caused the murders by Brinsley but he would have been encouraged by the atmosphere. So it did cause them indirectly…just as broken windows influence crime.

He was one of too many in this world who have, through lives of violence, crime or mental illness, so mangled their lives that death is a way out. But why go alone? Why not in a blaze of fantastic glory? He could be famous!  

Why not perform some violent act for some cause? Any cause. He could have vented his hatred for himself and society on any school, or mall, or movie theater. I think if he knew how to get to Syria, he would have joined ISIS.

Mayor De Blasio says he is still in favor of the Broken Windows policy of policing. But he needs to bring that policy to respect-for-authority. All Authority. Assaults cannot be tolerated. Never mind…murder!

Cops who need to deal daily with law breakers need to be protected by being respected. Correction Officers who get feces and urine tossed at them need to be protected by being respected. Teachers who work to influence formative minds. Whose work might turn a Mike Brown from a path of cigar-thief-bully to Brown University scholar need to be protected by being respected.

This lack of respect is the Broken Window of American society. Respect, compliance, that’s what is needed. We don’t need a police state. These are not Singapore’s draconian, public caning-for-gum-chewing measures, they are basic needs for civic order.

But we do not have enough order right now. And so you, in the form of a New York City cop will not be home for Christmas. And words of “appalling” “shocking” and “extreme sadness” will not heal the broken hearts of your family.

New Yorkers, America, bring about a Broken Windows policy of respect-for-authority and we might not have to deal with 9 mm bullets tearing you apart.

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Be well,



1 reply »

  1. Lee, Well said and 100% on target. The primary dialog of our leaders and elected officials should be the respect for the authority of police officers whose greatest asset is “voluntary compliance.” People who were never in the profession believe that officers willfully search for conflict and violent confrontations when that is the last thing any officer would like to encounter during his/her tour of duty. It is a shame that our media and elected officials have missed the mark entirely and created such an anti-police atmosphere that at least one lunatic thought he would be idolized by the cowardly assassination of two NYPD officers. Ret. Det. Mike Granton D-33, D-34, EMRU, PA, DCTR. 1985-2005


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