Open Letter to Rudy Giuliani (2016)

Sir. First, I would like to beg you to please exercise some restrain when, if as it has been reported, you become our nation’s attorney general. Second, I want to ask you two questions: 1) If you were an African American mother, or father, how would you feel if every time your kids left home you had to worry about whether they would ever come back alive? 2) What do you think will happen if you—based on irrational fear, need for vengeance, or whatever else motivates you—go ahead with your plan to institute a nation-wide policy of stop-and-frisk?

   We are not in China, Mr. Giuliani. we are not in Russia either. This is America, and in America, people have rights (By “people,” I do not mean just white Americans. I mean all of us: every citizen, and anybody else who resides within our country’s borders—regardless of their immigration status.) One of those rights is the right “to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Only “upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,” can this right be violated. But I suspect you know these things: you are a lawyer! Could it be that you think the laws of the land do not apply to you, or to the police?

Actions bring about consequences, sir.

   How much longer do you think we, minorities, can put up with the abuse, especially at the hands of improperly-trained police officers, cops who—apparently—have been indoctrinated to see the civilians they are supposed to “serve and protect” as a threat, as the enemy? Have you any understanding of the incredible burden you would be placing on good police officers all over our nation?

   We, humans, are imperfect by nature, and while there certainly are pockets of bad apples in American police forces, officers who use their uniform as a cloak to hide the abuses they commit—and their corruption—I would like to think that most police officers out there (some of whom served in our armed forces) are “men and women of good,” as they say. As I indicated in my letter to our country’s police chiefs, I do not believe for one minute that most police officers in our country get up every day bent on inflicting pain, suffering, and humiliation on their fellow-Americans—race aside. However, guess what would happen if you, as the attorney general, make Stop and Frisk the law of the land? What that means is that “Stop and Frisk” would become law; that is, even good police officers (despite their hearts telling them it is the wrong thing to do) would feel obligated to enforce it. The problem, you see, is that some people, even the most tamed among us, tend to rebel when they find that their self-respect is being eroded.

   I for one, thanks in no small part to the twenty years I spent in the US Navy, learned to respect authority; however, even in the military, where we learn to obey an established chain-of-command, we learn also that, as officers and non-commissioned officers, we are required to obey only lawful laws.

   I can do that—just like the next gal or guy.

   What I will not do is stand by if I see abuse being committed, not by anyone, and even if I know the perpetrator is “just following orders.” I will intervene even at risk to my life. I am not fifty years old yet, but although short, my life has been long and good enough that I could care less if I die tomorrow or the next day. Idiocy or romanticism—call it what you will—nothing could be more honorable to me than getting a bullet in the chest for my having interceded in an innocent person’s behalf because her civil rights were being violated.

   This is not a threat, no sir. It is just an exhortation from a New Yorker to another; an exhortation for you to stop for a minute and put yourself in someone else’s shoes for once (even if that other person’s skin color is five or ten shades darker than yours), and to exercise some measure of restraint.


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