GOP presidential hopeful and possible Zodiac killer Ted Cruz took a break from fight-tweeting with Donald Trump about their wives yesterday to dispense some helpful anti-terrorism advice to the NYPD. It appears Cruz is bummed those "New York Values" he loves so much no longer include overtly unconstitutional racial profiling through the department's brazen Muslim surveillance program, and Cruz, staunch defender of the aforementioned Constitution, would like us to resurrect it.
It was revealed not long ago that during the Bloomberg administration, the NYPD ran a number of Intelligence Division units that started conducting surveillance in neighborhoods with heavy Muslim populations around 2002. The ACLU says the unconstitutional program "swept up Muslim communities throughout New York City, as well as every mosque within 100 miles of New York, and extended to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and more," and involved photo and video surveillance, mapping of communities police informants, and the tracking of individuals, among other tactics. And when de Blasio came into office in 2014, he put an end to the program, which by then was largely inactive.
That move, according to Cruz, was nothing more than political correctness on de Blasio's part. Following the attacks in Brussels yesterday, Cruz announced that the U.S. should "empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,"—later, at an event on the Upper East Side, Cruz added, "New York had a proactive policing program that Mayor Michael Bloomberg championed to work cooperatively with the Muslim community to stop radical Islamic terrorists. And Mayor Bill de Blasio, when he came in a peak of political correctness and cancelled the program -that is refusing to acknowledge the threat that we have in the world."
Neither the Mayor nor the NYPD seem particularly happy with #1 New York Fan Cruz's comments. De Blasio called them "reprehensible," adding, "His comments are not about safety and security, it’s demagoguery." Police Commissioner Bratton had his own words for Cruz, per Politico NY:
"The statements he made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country,” Bratton said. “We don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country,” he said. "As the mayor mentioned, I have over 900 very dedicated officers in this department, many of whom do double duty, and they serve as active duty members of the U.S. Military in combat, something the senator has never seen,” he said, referring to Cruz’s lack of experience in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“So before he starts denigrating any population, he should take a close look at who he’s denigrating,” Bratton said, adding that “I take great offense” at his characterization of Muslims.
It's easy for a politician to use fear to rally support from voters—Donald Trump's entire presidential campaign seems to consist of claiming immigrants and Muslims are out to steal jobs and lives from the orange-skinned and stubby-fingered. But while widespread surveillance might seem like a way to prevent future acts of terrorism, spying on religious leaders, limiting free speech in communities, and instilling fear violates the rights of American Muslims nationwide. If you don't have any empathy for people who aren't you, note that once that Pandora's Box is open, it can (and will) be easily applied to any other group of citizens, and that is much scarier and widespread than a potential suicide bombing.
Anyway, here's a great clip of Cruz re-enacting an entire scene from The Princess Bride, because it's really easy to rewatch movies a million times when you have no friends.