If not now, when?

“No, the time for justice, the time for freedom, and the time for equality is always, is always right now!”

-Samantha Booke

Following the shooting of two police officers in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for activists to stop the protests until after the officers were buried.

“It’s important that regardless of people’s viewpoints that everyone step back,” de Blasio said at a Police Athletic League event Monday, his first of two public appearances to discuss the Brooklyn shootings that day. “It’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time.”

If I were a New Yorker, my reply would be: hell no.

The deaths of the two officers was a tragedy, and it came at a particularly horrible time as the city and the nation are dealing with the serious topic of police brutality and the bigoted policing of minority communities. That, however, is no excuse to call for end to the protests.

I sympathize with the Mayor, really. Idiots like Rudy Guilliani have blamed him in part for the officers’ deaths, and he is also dealing with the near insubordination and inflammatory comments coming out of the NYPD. He’s probably just trying to get a grip on the situation and keep it from becoming more heated. But the cat is out of the bag.

The frustrating part is that the Mayor’s comments are hardly a surprise. One of the most common tactics used to silence those who call for change is to attempt to put off the discussion until a later date. You see this a lot in the aftermath of mass shootings. The calls come immediately to stop discussing gun violence and gun laws.

“It’s too soon”

“Stop being divisive, people were killed!”

“Don’t use this tragedy to score political points”

One can see why we get these remarks: because merely talking about making possible changes to the status quo upsets people, and rather than try to have an honest conversation, they attempt to claim the moral high ground and guilt people into avoiding the issues altogether.

But that’s bullshit. We can mourn the slain police officers and continue the protests and calls for justice for victims of police brutality. It’s not an either/or situation. People who say otherwise are only trying to silence those who are calling for change, and that’s not acceptable.