Thursday, July 23, 2009

Continued amazement at stupidity on parade

Update: It is now Friday morning, almost 24 hours after I started writing this post, and the MSM is still obsessing, but now it's "should Obama have said what he thought about his friend being arrested?" Then they did a sound bite of the cop being totally unapologetic, saying he did absolutely nothing wrong, and that Professor Gates "had total control of the situation. Oh, and he shouldn't have said bad stuff about my mother." Or words to that effect. WTF?! The person in control should have been the guy in the uniform, the one with the gun and the civil authority. Letting some relatively small, physically disabled (Professor Gates needs a cane to walk) middle-aged academic goad you into arresting him does not speak well for the officer's cognitive abilities. Behaving stupidly doesn't begin to cover it.

I made the mistake of turning on the television this morning. The main stream media have finally decided to stop telling me that Michael Jackson is still dead, and have moved on to a couple of new (sort of)obsessions, both tied to racism, and both of which I really hadn't intended to say anything about because other people have already said it better, but I feel the need to vent:

Item 1. Noted scholar Henry Louis Gates being treated like a criminal in his own home. Lots and lots of blathering on and on by (what a surprise) white people about how Gates should have behaved. You know, done a little shuck and jive and maybe a Bojangles soft shoe shuffle, just let the man in the uniform know that Gates recognized both their places in society, and all would have been well. Shades of "Yassuh, Massa, just let me fetch you a mint julep, maybe shine your boots, and we'll pretend none of that uppity stuff ever happened." Hey, I know there are a lot of good law enforcement officers out there, but I also know there are some power-tripping jerks in uniforms -- and it sounds like Professor Gates had a run-in with the latter. Would Gates have been treated the same way if he was a middle-aged white guy? I doubt it. Even moronic cops tend to recognize white guys living in a good neighborhood might have some influence with local politicians. And would the typical middle-aged white guy have meekly allowed himself to be treated like a criminal even after producing proof he was in his own house? I doubt that, too.

Still, I think I'd be disturbed in any case by the immediate assumption of so many people that if the police say or do something, it's automatically right. This isn't some third world banana republic. The last time I checked we still had the right in this country to question authority, and even to be obnoxious in the way we do so (especially when standing in our own kitchens). Any cop who hasn't mastered the art of placating angry citizens (i.e., defusing a situation) instead of bullying them into getting even more ticked off probably needs to look for a different line of work. But that's a subject for a separate post.

2. The birth certificate. When are the tinfoil hat types going to give it a rest? We get it. You're all annoyed that someone who, in your warped world, is the wrong color is now in the White House. You can't come right out (unless you're so far over the edge you're openly a Klan member) and admit that's why you're ticked off. Even hard-core bigots have learned that it doesn't pay to openly admit to being a bigot. You can't bitch about his qualifications -- the man is educated, erudite, and obviously a heck of a lot smarter than most of us. So you obsess about the birth certificate. Which, incidentally, has been produced multiple times, starting back during the campaign, which is yet another reason why every time this subject comes up the people obsessing about it look more and more like morons. The birthers have actually progressed to suggesting the birth announcements in the Hawaiian newspapers were faked, too (hard to do when back then birth announcements in newspapers came from either the hospital or the county clerk's office, not the parents or grandparents). As a commenter elsewhere noted, "What's next? Demanding the US Geological Survey produce official certificates that the earth is round?"

Oh well, there is a bright side to the lunacy: Lou Dobbs has climbed on to the bus to crazyville. Maybe that's going to get him a fast ticket over to Faux News, and I'll never have to hear his voice again. (I watch CNN because the S.O. is a Jack Cafferty fan, which means that every so often we're treated to Dobbs doing a promo for his show.)


  1. Stepping out of the political news has really left me out of the loop. I thought all this talk about birthers was about midwives.

    I'm glad to know that even this superior to all nations has its share of crazies.

  2. Not to long ago I saw a news clip which showed a bunch of people, single file, hands behind their heads, exiting a building. There were police in riot gear stalking up and down the like, shouting at them, gesturing to keep their hands where they were, uttering threats. A friend who is deaf got a good enough look to tell me one police officer was saying something to the effect that if (unspecified person) looked at him like that again he'd rip off his god damn face. There was no sound with the clip.

    Wasn't seeing a clip of the aftermath of Attica, it was a school where some student had threatened a teacher but turned the gun on himself, and authority was on hand, asserting itself.
    Most of the kids appeared to be lily-white

    Were they being "extracted" or merely captured?

    I used to participate in drug demand reduction flights with CAP, all kinds of cop agencies, and for the two years I did that I learned the following: They seem to group society into three broad groups.
    1. We, including themselves and others in "The Job" and their superiors.
    2. Perps, those apprehended and jailed.
    3. Suspects, everyone not in the first two categories.

    And yes, from what I heard them saying, race and social/economic status played a big role in the liberties they would take and how much of the law they would bend if not break.

  3. One of these days I'm going to do a long post on the militarization of the police and the growing disconnect between them and the general public.

    I've been told the thing to notice when interacting with LE is to pay attention to how they're addressing you. As long as you're sir or ma'am or Mr. or Mrs. you're a citizen; as soon as they switch to your first name you've become a perp and you're in deep shit.

  4. Scary stuff. And you're right - just because many, or even most, police are honest persons trying to do a good job does not mean we shouldn't recognize that racism does exist and some police officers are "bad apples," and do everything we can to get rid of them. The mentality that we shouldn't ever even suggest that a police officer might have done something wrong really scares me.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.