Skip to main content

Mussmann’s Iraq comment went too far

June 15, 2018 12:38 am

Give Hudson 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann credit for her assessment of the simultaneous drug raids June 5 in Hudson and Greenport: It is bad for Hudson’s image as a community on the move to have an elite police squad in camouflage carrying military-grade weapons on city streets.

Unfortunately, Mussmann couldn’t stop there. “These are military machines that were coming in and terrorizing,” she said in to the Common Council on Monday. “I stepped out the door and I thought I was in Iraq.”

This kind of hyperbole doesn’t suit Mussmann. She co-owns arguably the city’s leading art-performance space, Time & Space Ltd., on Columbia Street. She is an outspoken champion of equality and diversity. And she has created programs for children and young people that ingeniously blend education and entertainment.

Her comment about Iraq was exhibited poor judgment. We don’t know for sure, but it might be safe to say Mussmann has never been there. If that is correct, she can ask any Middle East veteran who will tell her that one night in Iraq was 1,000 times worse than any 15-minute police action on a city street.

In her remarks about what doesn’t belong in the community and the urgency of getting things under control or nobody will want to live in Hudson, Mussmann was not talking about last summer’s deadly gun violence and the presence of weapons and drugs a short distance from her own artistic endeavor, but a brief deployment of the Shared Services Team, a unit of specially trained officers from Columbia and Greene counties.

For their part, they have a duty and responsibility to protect themselves from harm. That, in an era of gun proliferation, means mounting a defense against suspects who may be as heavily armed as they are.

Mussmann has a right to her views, but comparing what happened June 5 on State Street to Iraq was a mistake. We suspect drugs, street crime and gun violence are more likely to drive people out of Hudson or keep them from settling in the city than the sight of 30 highly trained police officers doing their jobs.