When I read the news of the murder of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu by shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley as they sat in their police car, it had an air of sickening familiarity.

If you’re as old as I am, and especially if you’re from New York, you remember.

You remember that in the early 70s a war against police began, a war in which police were gunned down by cold-blooded killers with a racial/political agenda and a convict past. The assailants were members of various black militant groups, mostly offshoots of the Black Panthers, such as the Black Liberation Army (BLA), which specialized in racially-motivated cop killings.

It was almost inevitable that the furor against police officers that’s been whipped up over the Brown and Garner deaths would end in some person or persons deciding that killing a cop would be just the thing. Whether Brinsley was crazy or not—and he may have been—and a lone wolf or not, even crazy people can be sparked to violence by an atmosphere of orchestrated hatred.

There is also some evidence that Brinsley was not a lone wolf, however, but instead may have been a member of a group known as the Black Guerrilla Family. The Family shares similar antecedents with the BLA, including a prison genesis and a stated leftist/socialist/Marxist philosophy.

Probably the most famous police officer ambush case was that of partners and Vietnam vets Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, which occurred in January of 1972. Witnesses and an investigation indicated that they were shot in the back by BLA members as the officers walked down the street on their beat, and then shot again multiple times with their own service revolvers as they lay dying. The murders of Foster and Laurie caused a furor because they were part of a war on police, but also because both were well-liked, young, handsome, and because they were good friends and an interracial team (Foster was black and Laurie white). There was a 1974 book and a 1975 movie about the heinous crime, and although there were suspects (some of whom have died or been killed in the ensuing years), no one has ever been tried for their murders.

The atmosphere today resembles the feeling that was in the air back in the early 70s, and that is most definitely not a good thing. This mood could be felt building and building prior to the murder of Ramos and Liu, and the fear is that it will keep on building. Today, unlike in the 70s, even some of our leadership—and by that I mean Barack Obama (who consorts with the likes of Al Sharpton), Eric Holder, and Bill de Blasio, for example—fan the flames of the hatred in ways subtle and not-so-subtle.

The NY police have certainly noticed the similarity in atmosphere:

The first assassination of an NYPD officer since the 1988 ambush of Edward Byrne has rattled the rank-and-file — and prompted cops to adopt drastic “wartime” policing tactics not seen since the 1970s.

“At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be,” an e-mail widely circulated among cops advised Saturday night.

…The memo also pointed to potential slowdowns in arrest and ticketing activity: “IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest,” the statement said.

“These are precautions that were taken in the 1970s when police officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis,” the statement added.

The police remember.

RIP Liu and Ramos:
LiuRamos

RIP Foster and Laurie, and all the other police officers killed in action by those determined to murder them:

fosterlaurie

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]