It’s absurd that the boneheads at Brown made former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly a sympathetic victim. Yet, they did, or more specifically, they drowned out Kelly to prevent him from giving a speech he was invited to give. As FIRE president Greg Lukianoff calls it, disinvitation.
At the College Fix, they note that Kelly finally got his chance to speak at the William F. Buckley Program’s second annual “Disinvitation Dinner.”
Kelly was honored by Yale’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at its second annual “Disinvitation Dinner” at the Plaza Hotel on Thursday night. Last year’s inaugural dinnerhonored columnist George Will, who was disinvited from speaking at Scripps College.
The response to Kelly’s 2013 lecture at [Brown], which was canceled after repeated disruptions by protesters, ended up altering Brown’s entire policy for guest speakers and allowing student activists to create a do-not-invite list going forward.
And like that, Ray Kelly became a hero of free speech.
Kelly told the Plaza Hotel audience Thursday night that he was “disinvited from the podium” at Brown by the very faculty member who had invited him. He said most faculty and the Brown administration were “largely complicit” in the student-led effort to silence him.
“At the risk of creating a microaggression,” Kelly joked, “let me tell you what the Brown students would have heard had they let me speak.” The room erupted with applause.
And like that, the first issue, silencing Kelly because his words weren’t what Brown students can bear, enabled the second issue, Kelly’s rationalization of one of the worst constitutional violations ever perpetrated. Brown took this lying mutt and made him a hero rather than let him spew his lies and then rip him to shreds for them.
Kelly gave his original speech defending the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, saying it is not racial at all. (The practice has declined in use under Mayor Bill de Blasio.)
The policy was based off of trends, eyewitness testimony and observation of social networking trends related to known perpetrators of local crime, Kelly said. It amounted to “less than two patdowns a week per officer” in reality.
The College Fix has done an admirable job of chronicling campus issues. When it comes to criminal law issues, it’s way outside of its wheelhouse, which makes it an easy mark to accept lies. Kelly, of course, is utterly full of shit, but it would require a minimal knowledge of how Stop & Frisk happened to recognize that Kelly was spewing nonsense.
This preference for “proactive” over “reactive policing” resulted in several thousand fewer homicides under Michael Bloomberg than in the previous 12 years, as well as a 72 percent drop in minority deaths, Kelly said.
The policy also led to the confiscation of “thousands of illegal weapons,” he continued: “I don’t know how to say it more emphatically – this tactic saved lives.”
Fewer homicides in New York City? Sure. And everywhere else where there was no Stop & Frisk. Sure. Correlation does not prove causation. Not even when Kelly tries to sell it to people who aren’t good with logical fallacies.
And then there are the millions (yes, millions) of frisks that produced a few thousand guns. These were flagrantly unconstitutional risks, cops tossing black kids against brick walls because their supervisor told them to make their numbers. And that’s the “trends” of which he speaks; only toss kids in uptown Manhattan and the Bronx, and the numbers show that all the crime happens in uptown Manhattan and the Bronx. Empirical magic. For the clueless.
Want real numbers?
The only difference is that the total number of people subject to stop and frisk for nothing has increased from 469,000 (2007) to 490,000 (2009) to 575,000 this year, all but 53,000 being black or Latino. The good news, however, is that of the more than half a million people stopped and frisked, the cops recovered 762 guns.
This was just three years’ worth, but as Stop & Frisk went on, the numbers continued. Kelly didn’t mention that his cops tossed more than a half million black kids against walls to find 762 guns. That wouldn’t have made him look like nearly as much of a hero.
“I don’t know how to say it more emphatically – this tactic saved lives.”
Did it save lives? Probably. How many can never be said, and the drop in homicides in New York City and every other city in America isn’t the metric, even if Kelly wants to pretend it is. And the only cost for the unknown number of lives saved was a half million black kids’ constitutional rights forfeited.
What can’t be explained is that the College Fix, a staunch defender of the First Amendment, has neither a clue nor concern about the rank violation of the Fourth Amendment. Kelly lied, and they uncritically bought it for the wrong reason.
Yes, it was deeply wrong that Brown University stifled Kelly’s speech because the students hated what he would say about Stop & Frisk. Their inability to hear words they dislike is an affront to free speech, and Brown deserves to be castigated for its failure to respect speech that doesn’t comport with what their delicate students want to hear.
But the “disinvitation” of Ray Kelly being wrong doesn’t make what Ray Kelly has to say right. Let liars like Kelly speak. Then counter their lies with the facts, the numbers, the law. Honor the First Amendment to the Constitution, but honor the rest of the Constitution as well. It comes as a bundle, not a la carte.
And if you lack the substantive knowledge and expertise to distinguish the difference between lies and reality, then try not to let the fact that a guy like Ray Kelly was disinvited, a victim of Brown’s hatred of free speech, influence your grasp of what Kelly actually has to say. Brown was wrong to silence Kelly. They weren’t wrong about Kelly. He’s every bit as full of shit as they said.