Don't Try to Blame 'Rhetoric' for the Deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos

Cops and politicians try to use a man's crime to marginalize peaceful dissent.


This is the man who killed Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. His name is not de Blasio.

On Saturday, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley took a bus to New York and murdered two police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Since then, opponents of the burgeoning movement against police brutality have been trying to pin the blame for the killings on the movement—and, even more, on any political leader they consider insufficiently pro-cop. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani reacted to the officers' deaths by claiming, "We've had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police." Former New York Gov. George Pataki tweeted that the slayings were the "predictable outcome" of the "divisive, anti-cop rhetoric" of Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. Pat Lynch, the combative chief of the city's biggest police union, blamed Liu and Ramos' deaths on "those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest," then declared that the "blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor."

I don't think the mayor's office is actually on the steps. But you get what the man is saying.

We've been through this argument before. For the last five years—heavily from 2009 through 2011, more sporadically since then—pundits have identified a (dubious) trend of "rising right-wing violence" and then attempted to blame it on rhetoric they dislike. More recently, we have been hearing about an (also dubious) "war on cops," which again has been blamed on rhetoric that pundits dislike. Sometimes we get both narratives at once.

This latest attempt to blame words for deeds is happening against a new backdrop of mass protests against police abuses; and the politicians now accused of inspiring murder are mostly liberals, not conservatives. That changes the political dynamics of the debate. But the core argument is still wrong. Here are three reasons why:

1. Responsibility for a crime lies with the criminal. It was Ismaaiyl Brinsley who decided to pull that trigger two days ago, not anyone else. If Mayor de Blasio had gone on TV Friday night and urged the world to "go cop-hunting tomorrow," I could understand why someone would assign him partial blame for Liu and Ramos' deaths. But of course he did nothing of the sort, and neither did any of the other politicians being accused of inciting the crime, from Holder to Obama to Rand Paul.

When Scott Roeder killed the Kansas abortionist George Tiller in 2009, several commentators tried to blame the assassination on Tiller's many critics in the media and the anti-abortion movement. The maverick Marxist Brendan O'Neill then pointed out what this criticism implied: that "public debate should be watered down to the level of polite tea-party disagreements, lest any borderline cranks be agitated or inflamed by it." The same objection applies in Brinsley's case, except that this time most of the alleged inciters are already speaking in watered-down terms. (De Blasio's great crime, in his opponents' eyes, are some public remarks about telling his biracial son "to take special care" around "the police officers who are there to protect him." Not exactly fighting words.) By this standard, we aren't supposed to criticize anyone at all.

2. It's far from clear that the killer was even listening to the alleged inciters' rhetoric. Brinsley apparently invoked Eric Garner and Michael Brown in an Instagram post before he headed out to kill, so the current controversies about the police were clearly on the man's mind. But he also had a long history of violent and mentally unstable behavior, a fact that suggests that the issues at work here go a lot deeper than any recent rhetoric he may have heard about the police. The Daily Beast aptly calls him "a suicidal serial criminal who finally got his death wish."

During the panic over right-wing violence, the perps often turned out to have similar histories. When some of us suggested that this made it difficult to blame someone else's speech for their violence, the usual counterargument was that it actually demonstrated the dangers of incendiary rhetoric: that words will not drive ordinary Americans to take up arms, but they can give unstable people a target and a feeling of validation. When Jerad and Amanda Miller killed two cops in Las Vegas earlier this year, for example, David Neiwert of the Southern Poverty Law Center blamed the crime on a "combination of radical antigovernment views with personal problems."

I have several disagreements with this argument, but the biggest, as far as Brinsley is concerned, is that we don't have any reason to assume that any of the rhetoric people have been blaming for his murders played any role in his thinking at all. It is absurd to assume that Bill de Blasio's comments about his son would prompt a man to kill some cops, and it's not clear anyway that Brinsley even knew about those remarks. It's even less likely that he heard the genuinely violent but more obscure anti-cop rhetoric that has come from some of the movement's radical edges. A person is perfectly capable of getting mad at the police without a demagogue inflaming his passions. Brinsley spent two years in prison, so it's not exactly unlikely that he already had a grudge against the law.

3. Where exactly do you draw the line? If you're really intent on blaming other people for Brinsley's crimes, how far are you going to take that? If any piece of speech played a role in directing Brinsley's anger, it was the cell phone video of Officer Daniel Pantaleo killing Eric Garner. If it weren't for that recording, hardly anyone would know Garner's name. But much as Pat Lynch might love to blame that video for last weekend's killings, he probably knows that any argument to that effect would open a can of worms. The videographer, after all, was simply recording events; the man whose actions made the video newsworthy was Pantaleo. Since Lynch is intent on arguing that Pantaleo isn't even responsible for the slaying he did commit, I doubt he'd want to risk linking him to any slayings committed by someone else.

No: People like Lynch want to keep our focus on their foes. Their baseless accusations are tools in a political war, and they're a tool we've seen politicians use before. As I once wrote, it lets them

discredit mainstream as well as radical political opponents. There was a turning point in the mid-'90s standoff between Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a moment when the White House was able to start setting the terms of the debate and the GOP went on the defensive. In most accounts, the shift came when the Republicans' willingness to "shut down" the federal government backfired during the budget battle at the end of 1995. But the April bombing in Oklahoma City and the militia panic that followed was at least as important in shifting the grounds of the argument. They allowed Clinton's supporters to play up the "extreme" anti-government rhetoric coming from Gingrich's supporters in the talk radio right, and to link it to the "extremism" of McVeigh and the militias.

It may sound odd to say that New York's most liberal mayor in decades is being put in Newt Gingrich's role. But that's what Lynch and the rest are trying to do.

NEXT: Is North Korea's Internet Under Cyberattack in Response to the Sony Hack?

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  1. How else are you supposed to kill all meaningful reform efforts if not by calling those efforts "pro-cop killing"?

    1. All reform must go on permanent hold because it is anti-cop. After all, it is rooted in criticism, is it not?

    2. NYPD/NY-City is one of the safest "big" cities in our country - what do you want to reform. They took down Mr. Garner like a puppy (haven't you ever seen anyone arrested who is resisting?), no batons, no banging his head off the pavement - pretty standard take down. He died of heart failure in the ambulance as a direct result of his own actions.
      It is the same argument as the progressives have for our country. Even though if you are a minority (and anyone else most likely) the US is the best place for you. But that isn't good enough!! America is racist! So let's get MORE government involvement!!
      My greatest hope is that the police never monitor a rally again. Let's see how that turns out.

      1. Why didn't they just leave Garner alone? What crime did he commit? Other than resisting OBEY/b.

      2. There was no reason for the cops to take down Garner. There was no reason to arrest him. The cops assaulted and murdered him. They are responsible for giving him a heart attack as a result of their assault. Grand Juries are nothing more than kangaroo courts for the government.

        I am actually surprised more people don't kill cops like Brinsley did. Cops should be happy it is so infrequent given how abusive they are to most people. Cops are nothing more than armed thugs in blue.

      3. Only he didn't resist, and there were multiple other ways they could have handled it. He died as a result of the choke hold, unless you believe he applied the chokehold on himself. And you just might believe that...

  2. The police are above reproach. Any criticism of them is anti-cop and downright dangerous.

    1. Clearly. Hundreds of occupy style subversives screaming for dead cops? Beyond reproach!

      1. Point 2 is misleading, it's pretty clear from his posts he was plugged into the 'what do we want? Dead cops! when do we want it? Now!' crowd.

  3. Goose...gander.

    Now, will the two TEAM BE RULED parts learn from this? Nope. Grab anything at hand to swing at "the other side".

    1. You have to be better than that, but part of me agrees with you. Fuck these assholes. They were perfectly happy to blame Sarah Palin for the Gabby Giffords shooting. These people are scum.

  4. If you blame the rhetoric for the shooting, then rhetoric should be blamed for more loner terrorist attacks, and increases in mass killings.

    A key thing that helps tips those crazies over is thinking that they will be remembered. If they see a previous killer's face on tv or the web repeatedly, and hear or see him named in articles or news reports repeatedly. Therefore he will have his image and name aired/posted and repeated.

    1. "A key thing that helps tips those crazies over is thinking that they will be remembered."

      And of this, Reason is as guilty as hell. How many times have they posted this guys face?

    2. I blame Al Sharpton and Co. For stirring things up. Chanting about wanting dead cops is anything but peaceful. I hope Shartpon dies a painful death, and soon.

      1. Ok Mr. Brinsley...

    3. After viewing the video of the killing of Garner, I must say it was very disturbing. I agree the killer of the policemen was a crazy. His life was a desaster. Had the police not killed the Garner, there would have been no video and Brinsley would have killed himself and we would not have heard of him. The police need to take a close look at how they have been trained or other unstable people will follow Brinsley's example.

    4. There are no "increases in mass killings". The fact is, murder rates are down year over year and still dropping.

      As for assaults and murder committed by the police - no way to tell. There are no records although there should be, but you can bet the cops do not want that information out there.

      1. Increases after there are news reports of a mass killing. They tend to come in waves.

  5. I agree that it's idiotic to blame Sharpton/Obama/De Blasio (none of whom, to my knowledge, said anything that could be considered incitement to violence).

    However, I do think a lot of the leftist protesters are at fault for actual attempts to incite violence against cops, including mobs wandering through the city yelling about how they want to kill cops.

    Also, saying 'the responsibility for the crime lies with the criminal' doesn't actually answer this point. Of course responsibility lies with him, but guilt is not zero sum. You can have an infinite number of guilty parties with varying degrees of liability.

    1. mobs wandering through the city yelling about how they want to kill cops

      Yes, I linked to that from the phrase "anti-cop rhetoric." But Brinsley did not live near those protests and probably did not read the mostly right-wing outlets that highlighted those chants, so I'm not sure he was aware of them. At any rate, he does not seem like a character who needs a chant to put the idea in his head to hurt somebody.

      1. Actually, you called it 'obscure anti-cop rhetoric' and your definition of obscure clearly differs from my own. That video has 325,000 views in the week it's been up and was mentioned on a host of mainstream outlets.

        And various protesters have been calling for widespread violence and dead cops for weeks. After these two guys got killed there was something approaching exuberance among a certain segment of the protesting population. We've had riots in Ferguson, Oakland and Berkeley.

        So you had the murder of two police officers following a month in which we've seen multiple riots and had protesters in the very city where the shooting occurred yelling 'We want dead cops.'

        Incidentally, no cops in New York had been murdered in 2 years. So we just happened to have the first homicide in two years occur after all of the above happened. Do you seriously think this shooting was unrelated to the prior violent actions of protesters?

        1. Incidentally, no cops in New York had been murdered in 2 years. So we just happened to have the first homicide in two years occur after all of the above happened. Do you seriously think this shooting was unrelated to the prior violent actions of protesters?

          You left a few significant events out of your litany of things that recently happened. They involve violent actions, but not by protesters.

        2. "Do you seriously think this shooting was unrelated to the prior violent actions of protesters?"

          No, it wasn't. Did you read the article? Brimley stated on his facebook page that he was angry about the cop murders of Wilson and Lerner.

    2. "However, I do think a lot of the leftist protesters are at fault for actual attempts to incite violence against cops, including mobs wandering through the city yelling about how they want to kill cops." That is a good point, I get kind of upset at some of the posts attached to these kinds of stories as well, about killing cops and crap like that. I have family and friends who are cops and they are not "just another gang," they need to be scrutinized more, and they need to be regulated more, but they don't need to be killed.

  6. "Where exactly do you draw the line? If you're really intent on blaming other people for Brinsley's crimes, how far are you going to take that? If any piece of speech played a role in directing Brinsley's anger, it was the cell phone video of Officer Daniel Pantaleo killing Eric Garner."

    I know where I draw the line, Jesse, and it's pretty obvious. The line should be drawn at actual attempts to incite violence. The video doesn't qualify because it's just information about what happens and it's obviously good to have video like that available to the public. That video, though, doesn't contain any direct advocacy for the murder of police officers or anyone else. Many of the NYC protests had active advocacy for the slaughter of cops in a charged environment where any intelligent person could tell such advocacy could result in action.

    This is an obvious difference, and it's ridiculous to try and muddy the waters with this sophistry.

    1. it's ridiculous to try and muddy the waters with this sophistry

      Take it up with Lynch, Giuliani, and Pataki. I'm just showing where their logic leads.

      1. And by the way, re: this:

        Many of the NYC protests had active advocacy for the slaughter of cops in a charged environment where any intelligent person could tell such advocacy could result in action'd be on stronger ground if we were talking about some protesters who got riled up during a chant and attacked some officers on the spot. Instead we're discussing a guy who lived several states away from the scene of the crime & had to spend several hours on a bus before he could shoot anybody.

        1. How about we all settle on "It's repugnant in it's own right, regardless of whether it incited this lunatic."

          Assigning collective blame and urging collective punishment goes against the standards of civilized society.

          1. "Assigning collective blame and urging collective punishment goes against the standards of civilized society."

            Amen and thank you. Do we have to tattoo this to everyone's forehead?

            Of course the shooter alone is responsible for his act. DUH.

            That does not make the bigotry of police haters, liberal haters, politician haters or any other bigots any less bigoted.

            1. Very true, and well said.

          2. But when the "collected" are all either commiters, co-conspirators, or supporters, does it not make sense?

            1. So, should we consider these guys "commiters, co-conspirators, or supporters"?


              What about these guys?


              And that ignores the overwhelming majority who don't have a side.

          3. +1...and it goes against civilized society because there is no causation (rhetoric = action) to trigger the collective blame/punishment cycle.

          4. "Assigning collective blame and urging collective punishment goes against the standards of civilized society."

            Allowing cops to get away with violent assaults and murder against an unarmed citizen goes against the standards of civilized society, and doesn't mention the many other crimes cops commit, such as drug dealing, rape, theft, fraud, slander and lying under oath.

            It is past time the criminal gang in blue be reined in.

    2. Being driven to anger by a video showing a broad-daylight execution by the King's Men is not the result of "incitement". It's the logical response.

  7. I'm sure I don't need to source this:

    For the first time in America, except during the Civil War and the World War, people were afraid to say whatever came to their tongues. On the streets, on trains, at theaters, men looked about to see who might be listening before they dared so much as say there was a drought in the West, for someone might suppose they were blaming the drought on the Chief! They were particularly skittish about waiters, who were supposed to listen from the ambush which every waiter carries about with him anyway, and to report to the M.M.'s. People who could not resist talking politics spoke of Windrip as "Colonel Robinson" or "Dr. Brown" and of Sarason as "Judge Jones" or "my cousin Kaspar," and you would hear gossips hissing "Shhh!" at the seemingly innocent statement, "My cousin doesn't seem to be as keen on playing bridge with the Doctor as he used to--I'll bet sometime they'll quit playing."

    1. Or this:

      He pointed at Doremus's dearest treasure, the thirty-four-volume extra-illustrated edition of Dickens which had been his father's, and his father's only insane extravagance. Shad demanded of Staubmeyer, "That guy Dickens--didn't he do a lot of complaining about conditions--about schools and the police and everything?"

      Staubmeyer protested, "Yes, but Shad--but, Captain Ledue, that was a hundred years ago--"

      "Makes no difference. Dead skunk stinks worse 'n a live one."

  8. You know, most, if not all, of the perpetrators of these crimes turn out to be psychologically unstable and insane, but somehow I'm to believe that they listened to the various public demonstrations and speeches and then made a rational decision to shoot someone?

    1. I call it the eggshell theory. People think that the insane are normal people with really short fuses and terrible impulse control. By speaking your opinion, you are creating a liability if any secretly insane people are 'triggered' by your rhetoric. Therefore, the 'normals' should walk on eggshells to avoid triggering an insane person.

      Epi would be quick to point out the massive projection going on here.

    2. Evidence of mental illness takes days -- if not weeks or months -- to be uncovered. Immediately linking a mentally ill person's violent acts to otherwise non-violent rhetoric is a political tool to delegitimize opponents' arguments. By the time it turns out the guy was institutionally psychotic, the damage would already be done.

      On top of that, there are a large number of people who believe mental illnesses are presumptively "faked".

  9. One can imagine the headlines if the cop killer was a Ron Paul contributor or a Tea Party member.

    1. As we've pointed out in the past, it was weak when progs tried to blame 'right wing' rhetoric (remember the we need civil discourse crap?) and it's weak here.

      It's likely a coincidence that some protestors had signs saying 'no good cops' and 'what do we want, dead cops' and that Brimsley committed the crime. We don't know why he attacked the cops. Plus there's the matter of him killing his girlfriend.

      1. His posts indicate pretty clearly his motivations.

      2. Plus there's the matter of him killing his girlfriend.
        Last I heard, she's expected to recover.

  10. You cant run a city and let hundreds of people march down a main street chanting

    What do we want ? dead cops. when do we want it? NOW

    without , at the very least speaking out against such incitement immediately.
    It isn't anti-liberty to arrest and try those who incite murder . Tacitly accommodating such a march can reasonably be interpreted as acceptance of the marchers demands as worthy of expression and perhaps consideration.

    Try substituting blacks or women (or any other protected class) for cops and watch the sanctimonious preaching of calm and moderation turn to feral outrage.

    1. Imagine if libertarians (and conservatives) marched with signs saying 'What do we want? Dead bureaucrats!'

      Imagine the reaction.

      1. Of course, I very much doubt libertarians would call for such a thing. They tend to be individualists.

    2. The Ku Klux Klan marches on a regular basis in different parts of this country. And people speak out about them immediately, as they should--just as these kind of marches should be condemned, but they shouldn't be stopped. After all, what is more American than a good old effigy burning?

  11. Couldn't disagree more with this column. Words, and in this case the lack of them, do matter. When the political leadership of DeBlasio, Obama and Holder encourage, rather then speak out against, protests like this one -

    'What do we want?! Dead cops!"

    they do have police blood on their hands.

    1. It all started with Holder refusing to prosecute his buddies in the NBPP and went downhill from there. Obama piled on with his critique of the Cambridge police and his imagining Trayvon Martin as his son.

      Either of these two so-called "leaders" could have told their followers to stop laying siege to police departments and courthouses and let the justice system do its work, but no, votes were more important than the law.


      1. "Either of these two so-called "leaders" could have told their followers to stop laying siege to police departments and courthouses and let the justice system do its work..."

        And the crazy bastard that offed the two cops would have heard that and thought, you know maybe I shouldn't kill my girlfriend and then drive to NYC to kill cops today, all is well, I think I'll get back on my meds and look through the classifieds for a job.

      2. laying siege to police departments and courthouses

        WTF world are you living in? The only places that were "laid siege" to were unrelated residences and businesses.

        1. In fairness, protesters in Oakland did block access to the police headquarters for a few hours a few days ago. Non-violently so I'm not really sure if it qualified as a "siege".

          1. Technically a siege, but on quite a different level from the multi-day looting sprees that took place elsewhere.

    2. Thanks for stopping by.


  12. The reason for all the anti cop feeling is simple,the cell phone cam and internet.These things have been going on for years and were almost always dismissed. Now ,several videos a month [ week?] show up on line. Police are being shown to be liars in many cases.

    1. "Police are being shown to be liars in many cases."

      They are being shown to be much, much worse than that. They are very simply armed, violent government thugs, and the largest criminal gang in the US.

      Unfortunately, the cops are just the front line of the corruption - it goes through and through the ENTIRE legal system, from cops to prosecutors, attorneys and judges. The rot is systemic.

  13. One of the many reasons there will never be a libertarian government in the US or even a "moment" is the fact that those in the movement can't even be intellectually honest among themselves. We already have two dishonest/disengenous parties, so why do we need a third?

    This web site has been preaching cop-hate forever and the peanut gallery of commenters loves to chime in for their two-minute daily hate. Now that the desired fruit has been borne, y'all are trying to run away from it.

    I'm not buying it. You people helped foment this atmosphere and you own it in part.

    1. Maybe, just maybe, there is a middle ground between worshipping cops as demigods and wishing for their deaths? Perhaps that's not cop-hating as much as holding cops accountable for their breaches in the public's trust?

      Oh wait...its GOPtown, you're either for us or against us.

    2. Go fuck yourself.

    3. Thanks for stopping by.

    4. "This web site has been preaching cop-hate forever..."

      No, what we've been preaching is cop-accountability, which is a necessary component of the rule of law.

      Doesn't fit your narrative though.

    5. Robert Peel is a cop-hater!

      /shorter jmomls

    6. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
      I have participated in many-many Reasonoid rantings and ravings on-line, and have never seen even the vaguest HINT of a stick or a stone here; have never been threatened with ANY kind of credible threat of physical violence? One among many reasons to love the internet! And anonymity!
      I suppose my rantings and ravings MAY have spread across the vibistic fabric of the Sacred Multiverse, and caused innumerable psychotic beings in many-many planes of the Multiverse, to spread murder and mayhem with their hands, tentacles, etc. AND they MAY have blamed ME and what I wrote! Ask me if I give a shit; PLEASE ask me if I give a shit! THEY pulled whatever triggers that they pulled; I did ***NOT***!!! "I Nevah", as they said in Mounty Python! YOU chose who to follow, and how to interpret what they said and/or wrote; do NOT go blaming ME!



  14. We've been through this argument before. For the last five years?heavily from 2009 through 2011, more sporadically since then?pundits have identified a (dubious) trend of "rising right-wing violence" and then attempted to blame it on rhetoric they dislike

    No, we haven't.

    There was never any 'rising right wing violence'. That's what made the clamor over it so exasperating.

    There never IS any 'rising right wing violence' unless you define 'rising right wing violence' as 'leftist violence that we're gonna call right wing because our own true nature is abhorrent to all rational creatures'.

    And 'kill cops' videos have been popping up among the popular videos on youtube and other sites for months.

    Why is it so hard to admit that, once again, violent leftist rhetoric has inspired violent action? It happens all the damned time.

    1. Why is it so hard to admit that, once again, violent leftist rhetoric has inspired violent action?

      Because there is not a shred of evidence for it.

      1. Exactly. Only the left is violent. I hate false equivalency like that. The left has Sharpton, and his followers. The right has nothing like that.

        But then, progressivism is inherently evil.conservatism is not. Conservatism is merely practiced by imperfect people.

      2. No? So the violent rhetoric had no effect? Ever?

        So the Klan, the Nazis, the Fascists, the Communists and all the collectivist, progressive monsters aren't standing on a pile of human bodies that stains all of human history?

        Suicidy is right--progressivism IS inherently evil--the term is a mask for a collectivist authoritarianism that is biding it's time--and conservatism is just a slightly nicer version of the same mask--with a few traditional swirls. Anything that puts the collective over the individual is evil.

        Down that path has already led millions to death by rhetoric. Only the willfully blind refuse to see.

  15. The cautious and reasoned concerns about police militarization and overreach (to enforce overreaching laws) is and should be distinct from the race hustling conducted in the wake of Brown and Garner's deaths -- not in the least because the latter is being used to excuse more overreach by the central government. A simple "we don't need that kind of talk" should be heard from leaders in response to chants calling for dead cops. The race hustlers and grasping politicians feared the mob -- feared losing them as a tool -- and were silent. How much speaking out earlier would have impacted the actions of a head case can't be known but it was still the right thing to do.

    1. When we have a real AG, after the traitor Obama is finally gone, Al Sharpton needs to be put on trial for various crimes relating to his tax issues. They gave Wesley Snipes three years. Sharpton needs ten. With luck he dies in prison.

  16. I don't know what to make of some of the peanuts on this site. Past comments usually criticized the police for being aggressive, abusive, evil enforcers. Then when evidence of police racism starts building the same peanuts claim that, no it's not the police, it's gumbmint and the rule of law that are the problem. And now all the haters are running from all the cope hate they peddled after they saw where it leads.

    1. 2/10

      Troll harder.

      1. You're being awfully generous with this rube.

    2. "police racism"?

      Police is now a category of humankind?

  17. The Democrats have stirred up this discontent by continuously supporting Rioters, Occupiers, or and demonstration that got in the way of peoples life's. Blocking a road because you are mad is not a peaceful protest.... For the President of the United States tell the protestors they have legitimate grievances is powerful rhetoric. We know that in the past 20 years the supporters of Democrats riot. To them violence is perfectly expectable. The fanned the flames by commenting on Wilson and Garner by being unhappy with the decisions. So they rile up some people and then when their MOB behaves commits crimes they turn around and say "it's not our fault..."

    1. The Democrats have [herpity derpity do]......

      Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

    2. Do you know what the American Revolution started out as? A FREAKING RIOT AGAINST OVERPRICED TEA.

      I'm sure you would have been a Loyalist.

      1. Actually, it was overtaxed tea. "No taxation without representation," remember?

        1. Doesn't overtaxing something make it overpriced?

    3. For the President of the United States tell the protestors they have legitimate grievances is powerful rhetoric.


  18. Unfortunately, it just MIGHT be the rhetoric that IS responsible for this. It's the curse that goes with real, fundamental causes that the loonier and more disenfranchised will act out. It's a real problem for just causes that the spear tip of the cause can be controlled by the most volatile/variable to bad, cause damaging, ends. Abolitionist John Brown (abolition a worthy cause) was thought to be a mentally unwell man, and not just be anti-abolition critics. Dare I say that the likes of Timothy McVeigh perhaps was a spear tip of the growing anti-statism of the last decade and a half, but too was unwell mentally. It's an albatross that hangs around the neck of movements, good or bad. The rhetoric has a place; sometimes some unwell people hijack the bus. All we can do is try and draw a difference between the cause and radicals who are a subset.

  19. Yes, what could possibly be wrong with "What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? NOW!" Reason continues on with its anti-cop campaign. Shameful.

    1. Lots of crybaby copsuckers around today. They just love their heroes.

  20. It just seems that denizens of The Left are more susceptible to the rabble rousing of The Left, than are their ideological opposites.

  21. Utter garbage. Maybe this is why you Libertarians like the Muslims so much. They do your work for you; e.g., killing cops, murdering Jews in Israel and elsewhere, creating anarchy for you so-called arnacho capitalists; etc. Incidentally, the police certainly need to be militarized because of the thuggish behavior of the mob which incited one of your Muslim heroes to kill these big apple cops. You must especially hate the new military techniques of the police since they were taught to them by that..."zionist entity" that G-d gave to people such as myself.

    "There's no need to fear. Underzog is here!"

    1. This is a sneaky awesome troll. Obvious trolling, but there are layers to be peeled back. Really excellent use of undertones.

      1. It's weird...he failed the Turing Test yet his YouTube channel looks legit....fucking BORING, but legit.

        Also, he appears to exhibit the less admirable Jewish stereotypes, like cuntiness.

    2. I'm a libertarian and I hate the Muslims. I hate progressiives, and some others as well. Let's be honest, without Muslims and Marxists, this world would rapidly be near a paradise.

      1. Getting rid of these people would help too:

  22. Wow man I think I am going to liek that.

  23. If we should not consider anti-police rhetoric to be partially responsible in this incidence then why do we consider jihad rhetoric to be partially responsible for a specific terrorist action?

    1. Maybe we shouldn't, and should only target the doers instead of the talkers.

  24. "Sometimes we get both narratives at once."

    This isn't exactly fairing well for releasing The Interview.

  25. If you think rhetoric doesn't lead to actions then you're incredibly ignorant of history. There are so many examples of fiery speeches inciting crowds to commit heinous or even heroic acts that it's ludicrous to suggest there can be no connection.

    I know Reason is committed to one side of this issue but it serves no purpose to try to make an argument that is on its face ridiculous. And it's a position that is embarrassing to see a publication with your title try to push.

    Make your arguments, debate the issue, but don't tell us BS is is simply not true.

    1. Way to kill that strawman. The point, which you clearly missed, is that there is no proof any of the rhetoric motivated the shooter.

      1. Oh, so now we are all holding back on opinions until we have proof right? good luck advancing the libertarian philosophy with that policy!

      2. So he just plucked the names Wilson and Garner out of thin air?

        He just said he was going to avenge them......because?

  26. Luckily the war on cops will be much like the war on terror and allow authorities to suspend any freedoms they find superfluous or inconvenient...

  27. Obama stoked the fire to a blaze with his words to the looters and their leaders Sharpton and Holder STAY THE COURSE in the language of African Americans that means Burn baby Burn so foolish America you wake just in time for the Last Days!
    Adding to the destruction of America are the thousands of new regulation designed with the purpose bring the industry of the United States to a stand still! Little endeavor new executive order soon Guantanamo Bay will be closed and all those terrorists that Obama hasn't already freed will be freed or brought to America!
    That may not happen for a week or so depending on how pissed Obama gets at America!
    He does great damage with his temper tantrums.

  28. Gee,what an enlightening article. Now I know that the Nazi persecution of Jews, the Russian persecution of the bourgeoisie and Red China's persecution of intellectuals had nothing to do with "rhetoric" but was inspired solely by the unrelated thinking of various apolitical individuals, who just happened to start hating the very same people, at the very same time.

    1. Wow what a great comparison. Criticizing police is EXACTLY like ordering an execution. Retard.

      1. The ones who scream 'what do we want? Dead cops!' Is EXACTLY like ordering an execution.

        Pull you head out of your ass. I can see this, and I eespise the cops.

        1. I think these people ordered the execution:

      2. You don't think that Nazi rhetoric blaming Jews for every adversity experienced by Aryans is similar to the situation being created by the Democrat's politically profitable stereotype driven, black pandering election platform in which today's over representation of black economic and educational failure, criminality and incivility is transferred to "racist, privileged, oppressive whites" or "racist police' supposedly responsible for the black/white crime disparity, and now "racist teachers," supposedly responsible for the over representation of unruly black students, committed to ignorance. Are you sure this propaganda would never produce numerous blacks so indoctrinated with hate, they'd rather burn down America than build wealth and respectability with education and economic innovation.

        Or have you forgotten, as Reason did,that with a premise of propaganda influencing no one, then today's over representation of black welfare dependency, incivility and violence, especially black on white violence, must be attributed to negative stereotypes of black individuals as simply more racist and less civilized than white individuals.

        Is "retard" one of those principled Libertarian arguments I've heard about.

  29. Just like objects (such as guns, knives, rebar) lack the WILL to kill so do words. The will to murder, a more accurate term in this context, is a unique human attribute.

    1. Nope, Dolphins. Murderous little turds. No thumbs though. So they're usually stymied

  30. A wise man knows that he knows nothing. There's no evidence, testimony, etc. available to anyone. It's fascinating that so much heated debate can be generated from thin air. We know 2 NYPD officers were killed by a civilian and that's all. There are reports of previous crimes and FB posts but those can be faked. It's tragic that "educated" people can profess their opinion and disseminate it as fact. Most people are using this and other recent tragedies to support their opinion or agenda. Stay informed. Check your sources. Don't believe the first link that Google spits out just because you want to. Try to think like a lawyer... "If I was representing that person, what argument would I make?" Write it down, for both sides. People are quick to point out biases but they rarely recognize their own.

  31. "No taxation without representation," that is, be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented. Sound familiar? Let's elect a bunch of people to represent us and have that representation completely ignored. It wasn't about taxes or tea. The Boston Tea Party was about democracy in a Democratic Republic.

  32. Those cops died because of anti-cop culture and toxic anti-copulinity.

    1. Thugs and cops how do you tell them apart?

  33. End civil forfeiture. That will do a lot to repair public perception of police.

    That and not killing people.

  34. The author is delusional to think the rhetoric doesn't matter. His neo-Nazi reference was a joke 'Nazis were left wing. Tiller was killed by a guy who "saw and listened" to the rhetoric.
    What Obama - Holder - Sharpton - Deblasio are doing is plain for anyone to see. The cult leader never pulls the trigger and neither does Sharpton - so what!!
    C'mon Reason, get some serious reasoning in the pages.
    "It's far from clear".
    "There is no definitive proof".

    These are as meaningful as "equality" "Social Justice" and "diversity".
    If this guy killed two progressives and they found video on his phone of him attending a tea Party rally - who egged him on would not be in dispute!!
    Let's get some "sober" analysis around here.

    1. Ending racial enforcement is a cult?

      1. It is when all you see as cause is race. There are so many variables in any given scenario and choosing to pinpoint a single one, such as racism, as the motivating factor, excluding all other possibilities reaches cult-like status. Even in the Garner case, there is absolutely no evidence that race played any part of it. Yet simply due to the cop being white and Garner being black, some immediately blame racism. It reeks of one-track, agenda based view, which seems cult like in its single mindedness

  35. Even kids are starting to notice that the enforcers have a bad attitude:

  36. Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail


  37. So if rhetoric has no influence on action, what's the point of marches, riots and speechmaking? Are we to believe only the positive rhetoric has an impact and influences calls to action while the negative falls on deaf ears? If the demonstrator's goals are to bring a message and the vehicle of that message is civil disobedience, marching, etc. then bad messages get heard as well and also call people to action. You cant claim this is the only way to get a message for change out while also claiming no culpability for getting messages out, positive or not. And there is plenty of evidence showing some pretty heinous things being messaged.

  38. It's not so much blame as responsibility. The president and attorney general clearly have a leadership role to fulfill which they did -- only it was to incite not calm people. If they did or did not entice this particular action from this particular man, their rhetoric has clearly been the impetus for others to act whether it is in a violent way, posting on social sites, or laying down in the road prohibiting people from getting to work. But whatever it is none of it is positive and these leaders have not asked to get all the information first before rushing to judgement. We know now, from the facts, in many of these cases that the victims were not innocent bystanders, but felons that caused the incidents to happen. This information is not transmitted. Further the cheery picking of these incident is close to obscene. Bad things happen all over the country on a daily basis but we somehow to not come at every situation with the same reactions.... why? The line needs to be drawn by first learning the facts in the case, trusting the grand jury system because they have facts we do not, and not rushing to judgement especially if you are a national leader.

  39. How long will it take the media to discover that Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley was on prozac or some other antidepressant and to then conveniently forget about that fact?

  40. If you think that killing two aggressors whose occupation is to threaten the use of deadly force against those who disobey the whims of sociopaths who win popularity contests and receive stolen money for doing so is murder, then you are a not a libertarian.

  41. Sorry, but it's not really that far fetched for a movement that burns and loots to also murder cops.

  42. Of course the shooter is to blame. But you can also argue that others are culpable as well. The two aren't mutually exclusive. In our current world we have put so much emphasis on words having an impact, arguing that these particular words do not seems intellectually dishonest. In bullying, hate crimes etc., we are told that the negative words we say do have influence and impact on people and situations. So why is this any different? I find it at odds that these groups claim that protesting/demonstrations/speech making etc. is the only means they have to "be heard" and affect change, yet then claim no responsibility when they are heard.

  43. There must be a middle ground between 1) saying or implying these killings were justified to any degree because "cops are power-abusing scum" and 2) being a boot-licking police abuse apologist. How about, "there's a possibility 'anti-police rhetoric' may have influenced the killer, to the degree any rhetoric could influence anybody, but we'll never know for certain to what extent that is true or false, and the ultimate blame always must fall on the individual." Too reasonable? Not emotionally satisfying enough?

    I'm disappointed in a great many people over their behaviors in relation to these killings. Not much else to say.

  44. just before I saw the receipt which said $5461 , I didnt believe mom in-law woz like they say actually bringing in money in their spare time at there labtop. . there sisters roommate has been doing this 4 only about twenty months and by now paid the mortgage on there house and purchased themselves a Audi Quattro . this

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