Cop Killers as Political Heroes, Part 2 [OPINION]
Like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur is only a celebrity because she is convicted of murdering a police officer. If she hadn't murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster on May 2, 1973, in a shootout on the New Jersey State Turnpike, escaped in a violent breakout from prison and been given sanctuary by Fidel Castro in Cuba, most people would likely not know her name. Unless she killed a different police officer as a revolutionary. She is a thug with a public relations team.
The murderer hiding out in Cuba today was born Joanne Chesimard in New York in 1947. She joined the "black power" movement in the 1960's and moved rapidly into violent revolutionary action including murders, assaults and armed robberies. Her twisted self-image imagined she was part of a popular movement to violently overthrow the capitalist Republic of the United States, and submerge into the Communist world of Cuba, China, East Germany and Vietnam.
She was operating in a fantasy world, but her actions were real--as were the results of her psychotic behavior. People were murdered, including Trooper Foerster, because of the actions of Chesimard and her actions as her self-created fantasy character, Assata Shakur.
David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, thought a dog was speaking to him and ordering him to kill. Mark David Chapman believed he was like Holden Caulfield, the character from the novel Catcher in the Rye and he wanted attention, so he slaughtered the musician John Lennon. Both of those men, like many others, were operating in a fantasy world, but their violent actions destroyed the lives of real people.
Joanne Chesimard, playing the fantasy role of her character Assata Shakur, like Berkowitz and Chapman violently assaulted, robbed and murdered innocent people to fulfill her goals in an imagined world. She imagined herself a slave in America and a warrior destined to overthrow the "Amerikkka plantation" by killing the overseers. Chesimard was her "slave name" so, like Clark Kent emerging from a phone booth, she became Assata Shakur.
Today, the fantasy of Assata Shakur is a real person, and she has a following of believer--including members of Congress and the protection of the Cuban government that includes a job and a home. The people of Cuba, living a human rights nightmare literally as slaves, work every day so an imaginary slave, Assata Shakur, can live in a home and lecture against the United States.
Members of the House Congressional Black Caucus consider her a victim of political repression. In 1998, the House passed a resolution asking Cuba to repatriate Assata Shakur and all other fugitives from the U.S. so they could face justice for their crimes. The House used the name Joanne Chesimard, not the cartoon character name Assata Shakur, and that fooled some of the Democrats who voted in favor of the resolution.
Not a single member of the House voted against the resolution requesting the return of the convicted murderer. The vote was 371 in favor to zero on H.Con.Res 254, with some members of both parties not voting, likely because they were not in the House at that moment.
Massachusetts liberals like Barney Frank and James McGovern joined with Maxine Waters, John Conyers and Barbara Lee of the Cong. Black Caucus and the Republicans in voting in favor of the extradition of the U.S. fugitives hiding out in Cuba.
Then all hell broke loose from the radical supporters of the convicted cop killer. Rep. Waters currently, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, moved to apologize to Cuba's dictator Fidel Castro for her vote requesting he extradite the murderer of Trooper Foerster.
One of the most legitimate criticisms of Waters' vote by the left is that she later claimed she didn't know who Joanne Chesimard was and was tricked by the Republicans.
Waters sent a letter to Castro apologizing for her vote and attacked the FBI, the U.S. justice system and celebrated the Communist dictatorship in Cuba. She was only the member of Congress to sign her letter to Castro, but she claimed other members of the Congressional Black Caucus agreed with her explanation that she was tricked by the GOP.
Her defense was essentially saying, "I am dumb and too lazy to read the bills I vote on, but I am smart enough to support convicted cop-killers who are fugitives in Cuba after I'm reminded that I'm dumb and lazy." Read the letter for yourself.
This is the ranking member of the committee that has oversight of all banks, stocks, bonds, mortgages and monetary policy in the United States, begging forgiveness from a Communist dictator because she asked for a woman who escaped from prison after being convicted of murdering a police officer to be sent back to her country. If the Democrats win control of Congress, she will be the top House member of the Financial Services Committee.
Waters believes the cartoonish fantasy of Joanne Chesimard, and she excuses her murder conviction from her powerful position in Congress.
Massachusetts has seen two police officers murdered this year. Don't forget the sacrifices made by Officers Gannon and Chesna, and don't stand by silently if their killers are transformed into radical folk heroes.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.