Michael Goodwin: New Yorkers forgot how the city became great

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill deserves answers. In his heartfelt and passionate eulogy at the funeral of Bronx Police Officer Miosotis Familia, who was assassinated by a cop-hating madman, O’Neill demanded to know, “Where are the demonstrations for this single mom, who cared for her elderly mother and her own three children? There is anger and sorrow, but why is there no is outrage?”

His questions are straightforward, and sadly, so are the answers. They are rooted in the age-old warning that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Most New Yorkers are blasé about a dedicated police officer’s murder because they forget how their city got to be great, and so are blind to signs of decline. Two decades after Gotham hit rock bottom, its glorious comeback is threatened by a return of the political incompetence, corruption and public apathy that nearly destroyed it.

That earlier era was notorious for exploding crime and the emptying of mental hospitals that created the first wave of homelessness. Taking stock of the breakdown of civic order, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote an article for The American Scholar in 1993 titled “Defining Deviancy Down” in which he warned about “normalizing” abnormal behavior.

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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.