Why Police "Don't Get No Respect"

Beverly K. Eakman – The shooting rampage in Detroit last week has spurred a re-thinking of so-called “community policing” — a method of making law enforcement appear accessible, friendly, and open to neighborhood folk. Such was par for the course in the 1950s, but then was abandoned in the volatile 1960s, when leftist radicals started inciting students and minorities to attack authority figures.

School principals and college professors were barricaded in their offices; police and other law enforcement officers were called “pigs”; squad cars were bombed; anti-riot and SWAT teams were hit with rocks, bricks, and bottles. That the perpetrators of these early, bona fide “hate crimes” constituted but a relatively small, misguided few didn’t seem to make much difference to our nation’s leaders inasmuch as the ruckus could be exploited by an already left-leaning press. 

Most Americans assumed from the skewed news coverage that the activists, primarily college students and older, high school seniors, had legitimate gripes. Today, many of the participants admit that their sit-ins, demonstrations, and protests were more an effort to connect with their friends and “be seen” than a reaction to heartfelt principles. They (and their befuddled parents) grasped little concerning the architects behind the contrived temper tantrums. But the well-publicized, biased, and exaggerated coverage of incidents like Kent State, and the subsequent made-for-TV style “massacre,” helped create a public perception that law enforcement was overstepping in a foolish attempt to maintain order, and that the Establishment — then seen as traditionalist, Christian, and conservative — was an anachronism.

Meanwhile, most ringleaders among the student-activists, no matter how vile their actions — people like Bernadine Dohrn and husband William (Bill) Ayers, Emily and husband Bill Harris, and Kathleen Ann Soliah (a.k.a. Sara Jane Olson) — served little time, if any, for their crimes. They earned major-league degrees, assumed aliases or changed their names, and generally lived the good life under the radar, till the fuss died down. Belatedly, a few were apprehended, served perfunctory sentences before being released without fanfare. Their crimes would have earned most folks a life sentence, or even the death penalty — attempted murder, kidnapping, mass endangerment, and permanent injury.

All were organizers of violent groups that would be called today “domestic terrorist organizations” — Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Weathermen, and the Symbionese Liberation Army — ridiculous monikers for groups that would have been better named “Let’s Play Terrorists.” Nevertheless, these mostly spoiled brats of wealthy, clueless liberals went on to assume cushy occupations in prominent universities (Dohrn and Ayers) and in business (Emily Montague Schwartz-cum-Emily Harris). Harris, released after a mere eight years for attempted murder and kidnapping, became a computer programmer (an occupation she took up in prison on the taxpayer’s dime). She launched her own successful computer consulting firm. 


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February 4th, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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