Thursday, October 22, 2015

Headlong Into Danger

The world is a dangerous place to live;
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
- Albert Einstein

Officer Randolph Holder

It is the great sportswriter Jerry Izenberg who has - on more than occasion - referred to sports, which is the milieu in which he has made his mark, as being something akin to the "kiddie swim" portion of the program.  While athletic competition invariably involves winning and losing, rare is the occasion when a win or a loss is a matter of life and death.  And there is not, of course, a goddamn thing wrong with that at all.

I was reminded of Mr. Izenberg's prescient observation yesterday morning when I awakened to learn that Police Officer Randolph Holder, a 33-year-old Guyanese immigrant and a five-year veteran of the NYPD, had been murdered in the line of duty on Tuesday night in East Harlem.   The Missus and I had stayed up late (for us) on Tuesday night watching the Mets win Game Three of the National League Championship Series and had fallen asleep without watching the local news.  We went to bed unaware that Officer Holder had been shot in the head by a fleeing suspect and that Officer Holder, who had been rushed to Harlem Hospital Center, had been pronounced dead, there, at 10:22 PM.  

Randolph Holder was a third-generation police officer.  His father and his father's father both worked as police officers in Officer Holder's native Guyana.  Officer Holder joined the NYPD in July 2010.  He worked in the Department's Housing Division, which is the Division that is charged with the responsibility of policing the City's public housing complexes.  It is the Division in which officers are required to regularly perform "vertical patrols" of the stairwells in the various high-rise buildings that comprise a significant portion of the City's public housing units.  A dangerous beat and one on which, by all accounts, Officer Holder performed in an exemplary fashion.   

At Harlem Hospital Center on Tuesday night, Commissioner William Bratton, whose Department has now seen four officers murdered in the line of duty since last December, said of Officer Holder, "Tonight he did what every other officer in the NYPD does when that call comes - he ran towards danger.  It was the last time he will respond to that call." 


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