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Selective Outrage: What the Paralyzed Cop Scandal Says About Atlanta’s Politicians

As elected officials in Atlanta crowd the microphone to denounce Sgt. Scott Kreher for saying something importune about Mayor Shirley Franklin, the list grows . . . of elected officials in Atlanta grandstanding on Kreher while refusing to comment on the city’s grotesque treatment of wounded police officers, the real issue.

Here is a video Kreher helped create that details the systematic abuse of the officers by the city.  And here is a petition supporting Kreher, a decent guy who lost his temper over real injustice.  Not fake injustice.  I urge you to read the text of the petition, if you want to know what really happened.

In recent months, Mayor Franklin and Police Chief Pennington have pointedly refused to speak out against the high toll of violent crime, accusing residents, instead, of merely “perceiving” the crime wave that has left people dead on the streets, and at their jobs, and in their homes.  I don’t know anyone in Atlanta who doesn’t either own an alarm system or live behind locks and bars, or both.  That’s normal for Atlanta, a normal that is growing worse.  Yet the mayor feels that people are exaggerating the effect of crime on their lives, while she simultaneously feels that there should be a federal investigation over a passing remark made about her in anger, in the midst of a City Council meeting about her outrageous treatment of wounded officers.

So if your back door gets kicked in by armed thugs, or your car gets stolen, or somebody holds a gun to your son’s head, then you should just shut up, sit down, and not complain.  But if somebody says something in passing about the Mayor while talking about something else, then there should be a federal investigation, with all the resources of the government brought to bear, punitively, on any citizen who deigns to express anger at her Highness.

She gets — to demand that free speech be investigated if it displeases her.  You get — to hope that a cop is available to show up when your life in endangered by a violent criminal.  The cops get — to stand between you and the criminals, risking a fate like that of their fellow, paralyzed officers who are treated with raw contempt by elected officials.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is calling the controversy over Kreher’s remarks a “debate.” Well, not really.  Debate implies that both parties have the right to speak freely, and that is not the case here, where Franklin may whip up hatred and demand federal government action under the guise of being frightened by what she is codedly pretending to be a racial remark, while Kreher and his supporters, and anyone else who deigns to be upset over the crime situation, or the paralyzed cop situation, must grovel and apologize while expressing their point of view.

It’s an ugly tactic that should be outdated, but is not.

Senator Vincent Fort, the crown prince of such double-standards, has, of course, weighed in for the Mayor.  This is Fort’s stomping grounds: he has spent most of his time in office trying to codify such double standards into law, simultaneously lobbying for leniency for violent criminals and harsher sentencing for so-called hate crimes, the system of selectively enforced, selective outrage that dictates that some people’s victimization is more important than others’.  The hate crimes code is also what underlies Franklin’s demand for a federal investigation of Kreher, a chilling threat.  If Kreher had said such a thing in Canada or Britain or any one of several European countries these days, he would doubtlessly be facing hate speech charges.  Luckily, our unique bill of rights largely protects us from prosecution for hate speech, though that would change in a heartbeat if Fort and others had their way.

Fort also, predictably, had bad things to say about the police, playing the police brutality card for the press:

“If I had said that to a police officer on the street, where do you think I’d be?” said State Sen. Vincent Fort.

Fort’s comment here is worth contemplating: he brings up non-existent police brutality but refuses to address the actually brutal treatment of the paralyzed police officers at the hands of Franklin’s administration.  Talk about a double standard.

And what a perfect expression of the realities of the hate crimes movement: some people get to have police protection against words.  Other people have to beg for any protection against crime.  Now that he has inserted himself into this debate, Fort should be called on the carpet, both for what he said about the police, and what he did not say.

Despite the fact that he believes that some people matter more than others.

Here is Shirley Franklin’s latest statement on Kreher, who has already apologized, grovelled before her:

“His threat cannot be tolerated or explained away,” she said on the city’s official Web site. “I believe his threat to be serious and an attempt to intimidate me and other city officials and my family.”

Here is what she said about the wounded officers:

”           “

Here is what she said about real crime victims in the city, in an op-ed scolding the public for demanding more police officers:

“The city is safer now than it has been in decades.”

In Atlanta these days, you had better know your place.

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