Unnecessary Widows

For release: 04/04/24

When will it end?

By Cal Thomas

Tribune Content Agency 

Another day, another dead New York City police officer, another grieving widow.

The familiarity of these incidents should breed more than contempt. Instead, we get meaningless condemnations from politicians who are responsible for putting district attorneys in office that do not protect the public. Too many of them release career criminals, some of whom commit new crimes, including the murder of cops.

The latest, but likely not the last if things don’t change, is the widow of slain New York City cop Jonathan Diller. Officer Diller was gunned down by a criminal with a lengthy rap sheet. Diller’s widow, Stephanie Diller, 28, asked a question that has been asked by other widows of murdered officers: “How many more police officers and how many more families (she and her husband have a one-year-old son) have to make the ultimate sacrifice before we start protecting them”? Good question. And the answer is? (see below).

In 2022, the widow of another slain NYPD officer, Dominique Luzuriaga (her husband was Jason Rivera) spoke during his memorial service: “The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore. Not even the members of the service.”

Who is responsible for “the system”? It’s not only the people mishandling it, though they deserve plenty of blame. System members include New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg seems more concerned with “getting” Donald Trump rather than keeping dangerous criminals off the streets so New Yorkers feel safe and protected. Other big cities with “woke” prosecutors are experiencing similar tragedies and disrespect for law enforcement in the wake of the “defund the police” movement.

In Los Angeles, George Gascon is another failed DA who regularly gives get-out-of-jail-free cards to violent criminals and other dregs of society. There are others. Some of their campaigns were financed by billionaire lefty George Soros, who seems to have bought the view that criminals are unfortunates who haven’t had good breaks in life. Most people who might be said to have had bad breaks have not turned to crime, so that is a weak argument.

The ultimate responsibility (and therefore they have blood on their hands), are the people who vote for governors and district attorneys who believe that criminals are victims of (name your excuse) and deserve second, third, even fourth chances. Too many use those multiple chances in ways any rational person could predict. 

What are voters thinking, especially when they have the power to change things by voting for law-and-order candidates? If Republican Lee Zeldin had won the last New York governor’s race it is likely he would have ousted Bragg and others who coddle criminals. Too many people vote for a party label and not the policies of the candidate best positioned to fight crime. If voters don’t like what is happening, they should try something else. Otherwise, the blame is on them.

We now have what C.S. Lewis called a “humanitarian theory of punishment” in which the criminal is treated better than the victim and the victim’s widow and children. The fundraising campaigns, while helpful, can never make up for the loss of a husband and father no matter how much is raised.

These women should not be widows. Their husbands should be home with them and their children. They might not be widows if the criminals were in jail and people felt the streets (and subways) were safe as they once were under previous governors, mayors, and prosecutors.

Every Republican should make replacing soft-on-crime prosecutors, mayors, and governors a top issue in the November election. If not, expect more widows and fatherless children.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at [email protected]. Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America” (HumanixBooks).


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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist. He has worked for NBCV News, KPRC-TV in Houston and Fox News. 2024 marks his 40th year as a columnist.


  1. Don Fryer on April 11, 2024 at 1:05 am

    In the era of Bush #1, it only took 1 death for him to successfully portray Michael Dukakis as soft on crime….the Willie Horton case. Sadly, now the daily murdering of police officers by repeat felons released by soft on crime prosecutors and politicians isn’t enough. The media, liberal politicians, and seemingly 51% of voters just yawn and shrug.