If you operate your own website and are following the Crowley/Gates brouhaha, you’ve probably noticed an abrupt switch in your comments section; one side went from being pro-Gates (reasonable enough) to virulently anti-Crowley within the course of several hours. It’s kind of fascinating to watch that happen; presumably the tapes and testimony coming available is acting as an irritant.
So, since the president is keen on offering instruction, here is what I would advise he teach his Ivy League pals, and anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer: You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing.You may be tooling along on a Sunday drive in your 1932 Hupmobile when, quite unknown to you, someone else in a 1932 Hupmobile knocks off the nearby Piggly Wiggly.A passing police officer sees you and, asking himself how many 1932 Hupmobiles can there be around here, pulls you over.At that moment I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you.He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend.And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.
When the officer has satisfied himself that it was not you and your Hupmobile that were involved in the Piggly Wiggly heist, he owes you an explanation for the stop and an apology for the inconvenience, but if you’re running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression and what have you, you’re likely to get neither.
…because I was actually in a situation like this once. A couple of friends of mine and I were coming back from a play, and the cops pulled us over because a car just like my friend’s had been involved in an armed robbery; and my friend unfortunately looked a little like the suspect. Fortunately, we were all scrupulously polite, none of us had robbed a retail establishment, and we all had identification indicating that the three of us were two doctors and a library studies grad student, not an armed and dangerous criminal gang – which I’m sure was as much a relief to the cop as it was to us. Given that he was risking his life, and we weren’t.
That’s the point: the cop didn’t know that he was dealing with three people who meant him no harm. And at the time, we didn’t really think about how this entire situation (which ranged for us from annoying to funny) looked to him. Continue reading Release the Crowley/Gates tapes.
…and why it showed up in a press conference about the President’s proposed health care rationing program – OK, I can’t help you there. But you can get the basic details of the Gates arrest here (via John Lott’s Website).
The scene – two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day – triggered events that were at turns dramatic and bizarre, a confrontation between one of the nation’s foremost African-American scholars and a police sergeant responding to a call that someone was breaking into the house.
It ended when Gates, 58, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct in allegedly shouting at the officer; he was eventually taken away in handcuffs.
But the encounter is anything but over. Some of Gates’s outraged colleagues said the run-in proves that even in a liberal enclave like Harvard Square, even with someone of Gates’s accomplishments, a black man is a suspect before he is a resident.
Bolding mine, and there to highlight my sardonic observation: what do you mean, “even?” Not to be rude about it, but there ain’t no racist like a Bostonian racist*. Which is not necessarily a knock on the cop; it’s a knock on the neighbor who called the cops on Prof. Gates in the first place.