The left's unilateral suicide pact

The contrast between the Times’s attitude toward domestic policing and its attitude toward Islamic terrorism is striking. When it comes to terrorism, the public should “recognize that more attacks will very likely occur, despite our best defenses,” the Times says. It is also “critical that immigrants, especially Muslims, are not stigmatized.” If the Times were talking about police shootings of black males, it would never counsel acceptance of the alleged inevitability of more shootings. As for not stigmatizing an entire group for the actions of a few, when it comes to the police, there has been no shriller a stigmatizer than the Times. It has crusaded against cops in the most inflammatory terms, accusing the police of systemic bias against blacks. Unlike a terrorist, an officer almost never initiates an interaction with a civilian with the intention to kill, unless he is confronting a suspect who poses a deadly threat. True, a few individual officers have made horribly wrong judgments about a suspect’s threat level. But those misjudgments do not occur out of homicidal animus. Regarding Islamic terrorism, the Times intones that “Understanding is critical” and inveighs against “whipping up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds.” The Times has never tried to “understand” why officers are more likely to use force in high-crime, gang-ridden areas or why officers try to restore order there (answer: because the law-abiding residents of those anarchic neighborhoods beg them to do so).

Applebaum warns against “politicizing” the “natural” emotions triggered by the attack—“horror, anger, sadness, fear, revulsion.” Why shouldn’t those emotions be politicized? Every left-wing cause, especially the anti-cop crusade, is the result of politicizing an emotion. When it comes to terrorism, however, a country is apparently not allowed to say: “Enough is enough, the status quo is not working, we need to rethink the policies that have allowed this mayhem to flourish.” Mob justice, of course, is abhorrent, and any changes of law must follow the normal deliberative process. But the public should not have to resign itself abjectly to future attacks.