Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jennifer C. Hunt's "Seven Shots"

Jennifer C. Hunt is a sociologist and university professor. She has done fieldwork among police in New York City and Philadelphia and also worked in the training division of the NYPD. Her publications include police department training materials, as well as a book on ethnography.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Seven Shots: An NYPD Raid on a Terrorist Cell and Its Aftermath, and reported the following:
On July31,1997, a six-man Emergency Service team from the NYPD raided a terrorist cell in Brooklyn and narrowly prevented a suicide bombing of the New York subway that would have cost hundreds, possibly thousands of lives. Seven Shots tells the dramatic story of that raid, the painstaking police work involved, and its paradoxical aftermath, which drew the officers into a conflict with other rank-and-file police and publicity-hungry top brass.

Applied to Seven Shots, the page 99 test is somewhat deceptive. Page 99 gives the reader a snapshot of the bombs that were found inside the suspects’ apartment. It provides a glimpse of the official account of the lethality of the bomb in a quote by Police Commissioner Howard Safir’s that appeared in the New York Times. It also provides information about how the two Palestinian terrorists managed to sneak across the U.S. border and attempt to execute their plot. What doesn't come through on page 99 is the essence of what appears in the bulk of every chapter of the book except the introduction. Seven Shots provides a rich description of a major police event that penetrates beyond the official version of a high profile event to reveal what really happened underneath and how it was experienced by the cops and detectives who risked their lives to serve and protect the people of New York. Included in every chapter are accounts of the officers’ thoughts, dreams, conversations,arguments, and how they managed to survive the highly politicized environment that is the NYPD. Seven Shots thus provides a riveting account of the experience of five police officers and some of their bosses from the near disaster in 1997 through 9/11 when they once again risked their lives to aid in the rescue and recovery attempts that surrounded the World Trade Center disaster. In so doing, Seven Shots reveals how the interests of rank and file police officers are sometimes sacrificed in order to enhance a public image of a police administration. Extraordinary actions that should have resulted in the gaining of medals and promotions turned into the opposite, resulting in a downward turn in the officers’ career.
Read an excerpt from Seven Shots and visit the Seven Shots website.

--Marshal Zeringue