Update: New York Firefighters Warned Not To "Retaliate" Against Affirmative Action Hires

Here are a couple of updates on the campaign against hiring by merit into the Fire Department of New York. Both are taken from yesterday's New York Post.

(1) A "filler" news item headlined FDNY BOSS WARNS RANK-AND-FILE NOT TO "RETALIATE" AGAINST COURT-ORDERED MINORITY HIRES:

FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano is bracing for trouble in the ranks.

In a memo last week, Cassano said the FDNY, under court order, may bring on up to 293 "priority hires" ─ minority applicants who took entrance exams in 1999-2002 but didn’t get jobs.

Cassano then warns that "retaliating against" such hires, or anyone seeking compensation under the litigation, is strictly prohibited.

"Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who is found to retaliate in any manner," he states.

Insiders said Cassano has good reason to fret about hotheaded firefighters.

"If the FDNY thinks that taking people who failed the test and bringing them to the head of the line will not cause anger and resentment in the ranks, it's dead wrong," said a member.

The 293 will have to meet all current FDNY qualifications, except for age limit.

That last bit should of course read: "...except for age limit and a passing grade on the firefighter exam."

(2) A letter to the Post from the Staten Island President of Merit Matters, which is an organization of firefighters and supporters pushing back against the judicial attempt to impose race quotas on the FDNY.

The Merit Matters guy is playing PC jiu-jitsu against the Post having quoted him on the topic of FDNY hiring of persons with felony convictions. He is concerned that anyone might think he thinks there's a racial element there.

I would like to question the person(s) responsible for having this information posted to determine if they believe black and Hispanic candidates are more likely to be felons, thus accounting for the decision to post this information. If so, this is an incredibly offensive belief.

I have gotten this a lot with things I have written. "For heaven's sake, Derb, don't you realize that's offensive?"

I have never given the matter a moment's thought; nor, as an opinion journalist, should I.

Such protestations, including the Merit Matters guy's, are a defensive shield thrown up to deter anyone from asking the much more interesting and important question: Is it true?

So, Mr Mannix: Is it true that "black and Hispanic candidates are more likely to be felons"? Whaddya think? Got any numbers, any data?

Of course, no-one is much interested in that. Where's the moral one-upmanship in discovering the truth about something?