On May 11, in Franconia, New Hampshire, 48-year-old police Cpl. Bruce McKay pulled over a 24-year-old, longhaired ne'er-do-well named Liko Kenney for speeding. The two had met before -- in 2003, Kenney pled guilty to assaulting McKay during an arrest.
Now, Kenney blithely informed McKay that he would prefer to deal with another officer. Then he drove off. McKay quickly followed in his patrol vehicle. About a mile down the road, he forced Kenney off the road, then pepper-sprayed Kenney to subdue him.
Kenney then pulled out a handgun and shot McKay four times. As McKay staggered toward his vehicle to call for help, Kenney drove over him with his car, killing him.
Ex-Marine Gregory Floyd, passing the murder site in his car, saw what was happening. He stopped his vehicle, grabbed McKay's gun and shot Kenney to death.
McKay was a solid police officer, the father of a 9-year-old girl. He was scheduled to marry his fiancee in July. Kenney was a hippie with violent tendencies -- his own aunt took out a restraining order against him.
Yet the town of Franconia, New Hampshire is split over the McKay homicide and the Kenney death. "It's a tragic situation -- two men lost and two families devastated," mourned local store-owner Steve Heath. Local florist Jean McClean called McKay's murder "vigilante justice."
In Los Angeles, a continent away, pro-illegal immigration activists continue to flay the Los Angeles Police Department. On May Day, illegal immigration advocates held two large rallies. The first rally proceeded without a hitch. The second rally, attended by 10,000 people in the Mexican gang-infested MacArthur Park area, devolved into chaos around 6 p.m.
Protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, refusing to disperse after ordered to do so. Local teenagers -- likely gang members -- began obstructing streets with plastic garbage cans. Some threw material at cars; one threw a hubcap, while another bashed at a bus with a piece of wood. Members of the LAPD responded by advancing on the protesters, firing foam bullets into the unruly crowd and restrainedly batoning resistant protesters. No one was seriously injured.
Nonetheless, allegations of police brutality followed immediately on the heels of the protest. Leading the charge against the LAPD was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. On May 17, Villaraigosa spoke at another MacArthur Park rally. "We're here because we love this great country and we want to share in the American dream," Villaraigosa stated in Spanish. "Only with justice can we get to peace." LAPD Chief William Bratton has already reassigned the two ranking officers at the rally.
In the 1960s, counterculture anti-war protesters routinely labeled police officers "pigs." Today, the counterculture has become part of the legitimate culture. An alliance has formed between those who wish to break the law and their former-hippie enablers. And that alliance is hell bent on crippling police officers' ability to protect and serve the public.
Americans are rightly cautious with regard to police power -- no one wants to see brutality become the rule rather than the exception. But the answer isn't castrating the police every time a violent protester meets the business end of a foam bullet. In the wake of the Rodney King beating and the Rampart scandal, the LAPD hobbled itself, adopting insanely restrictive self-policing standards that devastated morale and recruitment. Predictably, gang activity flourished.
No other group of people endures the level of hatred police officers do; none acts with more honor under fire. But we cannot expect the police to pursue crime with alacrity if we cut their Achilles tendon. Sympathizing with cop killers is cutting the Achilles tendon. Throwing officers under the bus for responding to violence is cutting the Achilles tendon. There will be no one left to protect and serve if we continue to watch idly as anti-police radicals sharpen their scalpels.