Over the weekend, young toughs with buckets full of water randomly soaked cops in Harlem and Brownsville just for the hell of it. At one point, an officer got conked on the head by an empty plastic bucket — to the vast amusement of jeering onlookers.
It was apparently an internet challenge sort of thing — and a horrifying sight, at least to those who understand the implications of unchallenged anarchic public behavior.
But it should have surprised no one.
The NYPD, under orders from City Hall, has been standing down for years now — watching fare-beaters beating fares, pot-dealers dealing pot and addicts and insane people defecating in the streets, all without consequence.
And the street people have been watching the cops watching them, but without objection, and all of a sudden the penny drops — Pax Guiliana is over, and now the bad guys believe they can get away with anything.
If the bucket-brigade action is fair testimony, they can.
The irony is that Mayor Running-for-President set out to rid the city of broken-windows policing — the well-tested notion that little crimes left unaddressed beget bigger crimes — and he succeeded. Now the subways stink of urine and it has all come roaring back.
When an in-your-face town like New York suddenly realizes that City Hall tolerates minor crime — as a matter of social equity, no less — it gets more of it, fast. Presently, citizens are pouring water on cops. One shudders to think what comes next.