The Blissfully Unaware Hecklers at Brown

The nauseating combination of ignorance, self-righteousness, entitlement, and boorishness that characterizes campus  politics today was on appalling display yesterday at Brown University, as a massive crowd of students prevented New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from addressing the school. Kelly had come to Brown to talk about the New York Police Department’s unmatched success in lowering New York’s crime rate.  The students, however, heckled him off the stage, shouting that Kelly had “institute[ed] systemic racism” in the city through the NYPD’s contested stop, question, and frisk tactics.

The protesters of course take for granted that they can go about blithely squandering their parents’ tuition money at Brown without fear of getting shot, robbed, or raped.  Nor do they have to navigate through a gauntlet of drug dealers on their way to the store or while picking up their mail.  Residents of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods by contrast endured just such constant fear and disorder until the NYPD embraced proactive policing and other revolutionary reforms in the early 1990s, reforms which Kelly perfected.  When every criminologist predicted that the NYPD’s 1990s crime drop had bottomed out, Kelly drove crime down another 31%, in the process saving another 5000 minority lives.

The Brown students have zero understanding of the massive disproportionality in crime commission in New York and other American cities.  In New York, for example, blacks commit nearly 80% of all shootings, though they are 23% of the city’s population, while whites, 34% of New York residents, commit around 2% of all shootings.  Such a disparity means that policing will be concentrated in minority areas and will result inevitably in disproportionate police activity, including stops.   The police focus on minority neighborhoods in order to protect the many law-abiding residents there; if the police ignored those areas, only then could they rightly be accused of racism.

Unfortunately, a federal judge declared the NYPD’s stop practices unconstitutional in August.  Judge Shira Scheindlin’s opinion, profoundly ignorant of policing and rife with bias against the department, is now the gospel truth on the NYPD.  The Brown protesters (and their sympathetic professors) undoubtedly ate her opinion up without having the slightest capacity to evaluate its claims.  At a stop, question, and frisk panel at Pace Law School this month (in which I participated), a professor read aloud the most egregious passages of Scheindlin’s opinion as established fact.   And so it will go across the country as equally uninformed anti-cop protesters increase their pressure against any police practice targeted at crime that has a disproportionate impact on minority neighborhoods.  The result will likely be an increase in crime nationwide.

The Brown protesters disgraced themselves and their school in silencing a selfless public servant who has done more in twelve years for New York’s poorest neighborhoods than decades of the big government redistribution programs that the Brown hecklers most certainly support.  Their behavior represents a failure of civic education and of basic manners, which Brown has apparently failed to correct.  (Brown’s president Christina Paxson rightly denounced the protesters’ silencing of Kelly; too bad there was not adequate security to remove the hecklers before Kelly was so brutishly humiliated.)  If the protesters’ idea of policing takes hold, however, they better figure out a way to stay indefinitely in the safe bubble of their Providence campus.


  • Heather Mac Donald

    Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of the bestseller "The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture."

25 thoughts on “The Blissfully Unaware Hecklers at Brown

  1. The brown hecklers are a typical example of liberal fascists. In typical hipicritical leftist fashion, they are really big on free speech for themselves, but dont think much of it for anybody else.
    Others make a good point though that other cities have gotten similar crime reductions without stop and frisk. I think far more important than stop and frisk was his idea to redeploy police to the neighborhoods and areas that actually had to most crime, and try and prevent crime, instead of just prosecuting it.
    Others made an even better point that if the non-criminal population had not been disarmed by the leftists, they could stop crime themselves, and extreme measures like stop and frisk would not be necessary.
    The guy talking about repubs being racists and not wanting blacks to have guns is nonsense. The big cities, and the states, that have gun control, that has disarmed blacks and whites alike are all run by dems. While all repub run states, and most repub run cities, let all people have arms, including blacks. So if you want to talk about racists disarming black people, look at the dems first.

  2. Wow, this is a sad surprise coming from a leading light of so-called Libertarianism. Stop and frisk is CLEARLY Unconstitutional. What is the probable cause? If it is anything other than race and maybe wardrobe, I would like to hear what it is. What no one will say, which is sadder still, is that no crime of violence…. indeed, no ENVIRONMENT of violence puts the Constitution out of order. There is a solution to this problem though. As usual it is a more vigorous application of our founding principles. What New York needs is for its fascistic policies on armed citizens to be recognized as Unconstitutional, which they are. Shootings and all crimes would quickly fall to a rate near that in more civilized locales like Texas and Arizona. Forward.

  3. Why are you surprised. Who is going to run the bureaucratic state after society breaks down, due to the policies they espouse. Those Brown students were simply making sure no one got to listen to Kelly, and perhaps adopted his policies. They just wanted to make sure there were jobs out they when they graduated with all those useless degrees.

  4. Nothing newt Brown. Free speech is dead on most campuses unless you advocate something useless or left wing. Manners do not exist. There’d be open minds IF there were any minds.

  5. We could make it more entertaining by bringing a covered rubbish tip front and center in the speaking venue into which each protester could be ceremoniously dumped down a one-way shoot while warming up for the real speaker. The warm up speakers could promote blood diamonds, fracking or killing whales. As the tip got full it could be hauled outside and dumped in the river. It would be more entertaining if there were sharks.

  6. What else would you expect from an institution that sponsors sex week, a carnival of carnality that celebrates nihilism?

  7. These are the same people who cheered Obama when he said that he was going to fundamentally change America.
    Now they can go onto, and see what their monthly payments will be to live in the fundamentally changed kingdom they cheered for a couple years ago.
    Morons are morons, no matter what degrees they hold from what Ivy League universities they attend.

  8. The Brown students are brownshirts. Full stop.
    At the same time, Bill Reeves is correct, and so is Santiago.
    Self-protection is significantly more important to bad neighborhoods, and the racism of gun control measures needs to be highlighted more sharply.
    Likewise, correlation is NOT causation. Stop-And-Frisk’s effectiveness needs to be a subject for serious debate, and people also need to consider how things like stop and frisk DO eventually come to all neighborhoods.
    Traveled by plane lately? The TSA’s humiliating and ineffective security theater has, at it roots, the same impulse and logic behind stop-and-frisk. I assure you that people in poor neighborhoods don’t like it any more than you love the TSA. Now, combine the practice with *quotas per officer*, which destroys the presumption of reasonable suspicion that could make the practice even worth arguing about. That’s the reality.
    These practices will spread further, according to the whims of whatever bureaucrats decide it’s a good idea, unless the core logic behind them is exposed and repudiated.
    The approach used by the Brown “students” has nothing to do with debate, and the best response to it is expulsions. What’s hilarious is that the students’ own mentality is perfectly suited to the tactics they criticize, while the author supports a practice that is completely opposed to her own ethos.
    O brave new world, that has such people in it…

  9. When I attended Brown University in the later 1980s, there was a serial rapist attacking Brown women on and around campus. The protests were quite different during those times. How quickly people forget.

  10. If crime itself is racially biased, why wouldn’t policing be?
    You don’t often hear complaints that men are targeted about 10:1 for investigation of violent crime. That’s not because police are sexist, it’s because men commit about ten times more violent crimes.

  11. Back when Rudy Guliani was running for President I took a hard look at his claims that he ‘cleaned New York City up’ after four years of David Dinkins and his feckless Police Commissioner Lee Brown’s leadership. And sure enough NYC crime and violence fell precipitously. But here’s the catch: During the same period as Rudy ‘ran’ NYC, Houston’s crime rate fell by an almost identical percentage. So why is Houston relevant? Because for most of that period Houston’s Mayor was the feckless(?) Lee Brown.
    Correlation is not causation, Heather. And selective coercion is not justified by statistics no matter how good. It’s a pity you’re not part of a group singled out by the Popo because I guarantee that if you’d been shoved around by badged thugs with guns a few times you’d be howling for their heads.
    I call this surfeit of self righteousness among the Matron class “Church Lady Syndrome”. And it drives an incredible amount of cruelty and coercion towards those the Church Ladies fear.

  12. If you want to put these fools in their place, put some black youths in gang garb and have them walk around their precious little campus. Instruct the actors to be loud, but not aggressive. Record the 911 calls that will come pouring in from these little darlings reporting “suspicious persons” on campus and play them back to the student body. Hilarity will ensue.

  13. The whole purpose of Judge Scheindlin’s opinion was political. It was an avowed attempt by a partisan judge to stigmatize the Republican achievement of crime reduction as being racist. It’s the only way to distract from how poorly the Democrats governed NYC. The judge was little more than a dishonest partisan operative.

  14. Why isn’t there any discussion that this inherent racism of stop-and-frisk being a result of the also racist disarmament of the New York City population? ”
    This commenter’s post — obviously a Democrat — is example A why liberalism is a failed governing philosophy. This misguided fool would not dare walk through these crime-infested parts of major cities around the world without an armed escort, and yet he/she weighs in with all the usual racist nonsense we hear all the time. Asking them to grow up is a waste of time because this is how they believe throughout their adulthood.

  15. Not to apologize for the heckler’s actions, but I wouldn’t trust any data from NYC on the numbers or types of crimes commited, since they are well known for cooking the books.

  16. If any of the students could be identified, I would collect them together and have a serious talk about manners and what is expected of them at the school. A repeat could result in a suspension for the remainder of the semester or some other appropriate punishment.
    If any professors of teaching assistants were part of the protest, they should be dealt with individually. They should be told that what they did was inappropriate. Depending upon what the contract allow, some financial impact on their lives seems appropriate as well.
    In any case, the administration should put out a all hands notice about this, and apologize to Mr. Kelly.

  17. Why isn’t there any discussion that this inherent racism of stop-and-frisk being a result of the also racist disarmament of the New York City population?
    Disarmament also disproportionately hits minority communities as they are poor, lack the more consistent police coverage and have higher violent crime rates. Disarming them create a nexus where criminals can do their business with little fear – which necessitates draconian police measures like stop-and-frisk to combat it.
    It is really disheartening that Republicans are all about the negative consequences of disarming an otherwise peaceful populace unless it happens to be black people in which case, hey man, just submit to random friskings at a police officer’s discretion, it’s for public safety reasons.

  18. When they visit NYC in a year or so they’ll change their tune after they, if they’re lucky that nothing worse happens, get mugged right in the middle of Times Square.

  19. No, I don’t think this ruling will prompt a “nationwide” increase in violent crime, except in those areas which prohibit personal self-defense as does NY (city and state), Chicago, CA, and other benighted Blues. In the “real” parts of these United States, aggressive criminal behavior is in danger of being stopped cold by law-abiding citizens who avail themselves of the Right of Self-Defense and who carry concealed. Interestingly, most of those parts of the country also endorse the Castle Doctrine (even CA), and Stand Your Ground, two philosophies that put a restriction on the rambunctiousness of the criminal element. Crime is, after all, a business and when the cost of business increases for the perpetrator, he doesn’t engage in it so much.
    But, these are realities that we would not expect the cloistered, privileged that attend sanctuaries such as Brown to know about. I wish all of them well in their chosen careers in our country’s minority neighborhoods helping the downtrodden – I just hope they survive.

  20. The vast majority of the hooligans were not students, but community activists, who thrive on the media attention their boorish acts generate.

  21. I would never go so far as to accuse a bureaucrat of being selfless. A selfless bureaucrat being the very example of oxymoron.
    Other than that, University students have long been known to be dumber than their own weight in rocks, witness the Vietnam War protests, the nuclear energy protests, or OWS.

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