Anderson and Graham -- who likely killed Mike Rumberger, a White Jersey City resident just days before -- began their December 10th killing spree ambushing Detective Joseph Seals, a husband, father of five, and decorated 15-year veteran of the JCPD, with a shot to the head. They then drove a van, complete with firearms and a live pipe bomb, specifically to a nearby Kosher grocery, located next to a synagogue and yeshiva, across from a church, and with sad irony on Martin Luther King Boulevard, where they immediately gunned down the store owner, 33 year-old and mother of three, Lean Ferencz and her 24 year-old cousin Moshe Deutsch, along with Miguel Rodriguez, an Ecuadoran immigrant who was working at the store to provide for his family.
In the ensuing four-hour shootout with law enforcement, two officers and a civilian were also injured, before Anderson and Graham were taken out. That afternoon, some city streets, a section of the New Jersey Turnpike and all Jersey City schools were locked down.
It was the darkest day in Jersey City’s history (other than 9/11) and, arguably, the single worst anti-Semitic attack ever in New Jersey.
It’s worth noting that after the killings, US Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib inexplicably tweeted, “White Supremacy Kills,” regarding the tragedy. She didn’t apologize, nor was she taken to task by her party or the media. Joan Terrell-Paige, a Black member of the Jersey City Board of Education -- a powerful position in the city -- had the gall to call members of the city’s Jewish community “brutes” in a rambling Twitter post. She did not apologize and is, stunningly, still a BOE board member.
Yet, amid what had already been simmering tension in the community, and while Jews were specifically targeted by these two Black criminals, were there any White or Jewish-led protests in the aftermath? No.
Was there any rioting? No.
Was there any looting or property damage? No.
Were there any Black businesses boycotted? No.
Were there any Whites coercing Blacks to get down on a knee and denounce their ‘inherent’ racism? No.
Were the funerals for Rumberger, Seals, Ferencz, Deutsch or Rodriguez televised, or even covered by the media? No.
No doubt there are a variety of socio-psychological explanations for why the White or Jewish communities did not rise up and blame all Blacks for what had happened. But I think the answer is as simple as, Anderson and Graham were no more representative of the Black community than, say, Derek Chauvin is of law enforcement, in particular, or the White community, in general. All of the anger and blame deservedly lay with those two evil people, just as, in the case of George Floyd’s murder, all anger and blame should have been directed solely at the evil Chauvin.
Yet, some eleven days after the death of George Floyd and with riots destroying cities across our country, there is the call to defund or abolish local and city police departments. No decision could be more misguided or deleterious to those communities.
On December 10, 2019 -- given the fire power that Anderson and Graham had -- a ‘defunded’ Jersey City Police Department would surely have resulted in dozens, if not, hundreds of additional civilian casualties that tragic day alone. Many hundreds, if not thousands of residents, of all colors, would have been killed or harmed in the six months since.
I’d hate to think what might happen to the rest of our country moving forward.
Alfred C. Martino
June 10, 2020