The murders of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu may have just happened over the weekend, but for Jim Dwyer, the killings were eerily reminiscent of the early 1970s. Writing for the New York Times, Dwyer describes the Macombs Dam Bridge he used to walk across as a boy, and how it was the site of a May 1971 ambush shooting of NYPD officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. He recalls four other NYC police officers viciously attacked (two of them, Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, died) over the next year, noting that "in an instant this weekend, it seemed as though 43 years had not passed, and that it was 1971 again." Ramos' and Liu's deaths shocked New York, which hadn't seen an officer fatally shot on duty since 2011, or partners die together since two auxiliary officers were gunned down in 2007, per the New York Daily News and the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Dwyer touches upon the differences between the NYPD of his day and the current NYPD—specifically, the more diverse makeup of today's officers, men and women from 50 countries who "speak scores of languages" to create a "Police Department [that] looks more like the city than ever." And yet, he sadly notes, that diversity isn't bulletproof: "To the person who killed Officers Liu and Ramos, just as to the people who killed Officers Jones and Piagentini, Foster and Laurie, the only color that mattered was blue. All of them, with skin tones that ran from black to white, got bullets to the head." But while Dwyer laments how the vitriol on social media is a "river of rage" that shows "contempt for racial [and] political others," he ends with the words of Ramos' aunt, who told reporters Sunday she hopes "we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful coexistence." Click for the full piece. (More NYPD stories.)