President Trump made an amusing joke Friday afternoon, while addressing police officers in New York. The gist of the joke was "don't be too nice when you arrest suspects."
Politico's Jimmy Vielkind was shocked that the police officers found it funny.
The Council on Foreign Relations' Max Boot was unimpressed.
The New York Daily News' Josh Greenman was appalled.
BuzzFeed's David Mack said Trump had issued a tyrannical order.
Task and Purpose's Adam Weinstein linked to a boring 2014 article attacking Indiana Jones.
"Full time #resistance," Jeffrey Wright said.
Trump encouraging police brutality in his Brentwood vaudeville act is why some folks hate & mistrust cops. This helps no one/solves nothing.— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) July 28, 2017
I laughed and lamented.
Laughed, because Trump's joke was funny. It was well-timed and the police officers enjoyed it.
Lamented, because the commentariat reaction was sadly predictable.
First off, Trump was clearly joking. Even if he wasn't, however, the police are sworn to uphold the law. As I've explained before, they are not sworn to uphold Trump's law. Consequently, the officers regarded Trump's words as a joke, even if he didn't mean them to be a joke. Which I think he did.
Still, there's a broader tragedy in the boring reaction to Trump's joke.
After all, it comes from a place of insufferable ignorance. As with Joan Walsh's attack on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Thursday, the outrage crowd come across as clueless. For one, their reaction suggests that they simply do not understand what officers go through every day. They do not understand, for example, what it is like for officers to deal with scumbags day in and day out for years. As any cop will tell you, it takes a toll on the psyche.
That toll is why police officers have a dark sense of humor. It's either that, or they become depressed at humanity's capacity for gross inhumanity. Trump gets this, and played to the dark side of humor. The cops laughed.
Nevertheless, it's clear what's really going on here. Put simply, many in the commentariat view the police as little more than thugs. They see police brutality as a norm rather than an exception, and police officers as agents of injustice rather than servants of safety. Most crucial of all, they ignore the fact that the police are often the only thing between criminal gangs and young minority men.
For reasons of populist conformity, the commentariat pretend that blue hats are the biggest threat to young black men. But while that lie might be easy, the cost is bloody and high.
Does more need to be done in order to ensure police professionalism? Absolutely. Do we need criminal justice reform? Yes. Do too many police officers pull over minorities without adequate cause? Just ask Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
But today Trump made a good joke. And the cops were right to laugh.