Here in New York, over the last few weeks, we've seen a turbulent and tragic series of events which might seem far-fetched in its plot line if had it unfolded in a novel. Protests erupted in the aftermath of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, an event which was itself catalyzed and primed by the roiling protests in response to the death of Michael Brown near St Louis. Major street protests followed. And then, as if to bring all the tension to a head, a deranged and violent man perpetrates what can only be called a street execution of two police officers waiting in their car in Bed-Stuy. The fact that the alleged assailant, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend hours earlier in Maryland suggests there was some deeper, more personal impulse to violence and self-destruction behind his rampage. But there is no getting around the fact that at a minimum he grabbed on to the wave of protest against police brutality to provide some logic or rationale for his violent end.
So now we have police and their critics, each with their own righteous aggrievement, thrust together for a collision with no good outcome for anyone involved.
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