Vice President Joe Biden said this week that the deaths of two New York City police officers “touched the soul of the nation.”
I’m not entirely sure what he means by that, but the deaths did spark an additional — and much-needed — national conversation about the right and wrong ways to respond to controversy involving law enforcement.
The vice president attended the funeral of Rafael Ramos, one of two officers gunned down in Brooklyn the other day by a goon who was responding to the choking death of Eric Garner in a Staten Island confrontation with officers. Garner’s death and the grand jury decision not to indict the officer who choked Garner to death, coming on the heels of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown, has contributed a lot of unrest, violence and further criminal activity.
Ramos’s death along with fellow officer Wenjian Liu has touched many Americans at many levels. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the shootings “an attack on all of us.”
There can be no silver lining to be found in this incident, other than to call attention to the lawless response to perceived wrongs done by the criminal justice system.
The grand jury — in my view — erred on not indicting the officer who choked Eric Garner to death. No responsible individual, though, responds by attacking other police officers in the cowardly manner that resulted in the deaths of Ramos and Liu.
It does my heart some measure of good to see these officers honored. They were heroes of the first order. And yes, their deaths have touched our soul.