Disclaimer: Political-esque post to follow…you’ve been warned.
Remember the good ‘ol days when people, particularly those in Power, let’s say politicians, would have to be very careful what they say?
Welcome to Change, my friends.
Our President had to do some pretty decent backpedaling this past week after wildly over-stepping his bounds in regards to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr, a Harvard professor and apparent friend of President Obama. I’m sure by now the majority of you are familiar with the incident that occurred on July 17th of this year in Cambridge, MA. Here’s the report generated by Sgt. Crowley along with the supplemental report by Ofr. Figueroa.
Here is the audio (via YouTube) of the 911 call….and by the way, you dispatchers out there, is it just me or does this dispatcher suck?
Here’s the question posed by a reporter and President Obama’s remarks. Pay particular attention to the actual question…
What does that say about race relations in America? Well, Ms Sweet, exactly nothing. This incident wasn’t remotely racial until Professor Gates made it one. What the public is either not privy to or doesn’t really care to know is that there are a procedures in place for the police with regard to how to properly handle a call of this type. Identifying all involved parties is at or near the top of the list. Refusal to identify yourself and having an attitude is a huge red flag for us. I don’t care what color you are, how old you are, what your socioeconomic status is. I just want to know your name.
What has this world come to? Well, folks, it’s the same old world it always was. If society tries to move past racism, someone or other will pull us right back in. It runs the gamut. Insert race here. Every race is guilty of it. Yes, even Canadians. (I’m aware that’s not a race, but it’s been awhile since I gave America’s Hat a hard time…much love, Canada!)
Here’s what really sticks in my craw, though. First, how are we as police officers supposed to respond now to what, by all accounts, appeared to be a possible in progress residential burglary? Do we need to staff our departments with every shade under the rainbow in case the possible suspects in a call are of Inuit descent? What’s that, you say? Irish suspect? Get O’Shaugnessey over here. But make sure to check the Irish suspect’s religion first! Wouldn’t want a Catholic suspect meeting up with a Protestant copper!
Secondly, what the hell was President Obama thinking? He had little knowledge of the facts of the incident; however, since “Skip” Gates is a friend, the stupidity lies solely in the lap of Sgt. Crowley? This is the man that makes Decisions. Note the upper case…we’re talking globally impacting Decisions. In this case, he, in my opinion, went off half cocked without taking the time to look into the incident first.
Thirdly (and this has been a bone of contention around the PD this week), would I (or you) agree to a meeting at the White House over a beer? Um….hell no. If I were in Sgt. Crowley’s position, the only way I’d go is if I was ordered. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to visit the White House and meet the President. What a great honor! However, under these circumstances, you wouldn’t catch me dead there. Here’s why. I don’t know if Professor Gates is pursuing any litigious activity. Ain’t no way in hell I’m making any statements to the man. Also, if I were in Sgt. Crowley’s shoes, I would be of the opinion that I would only be giving validity to claims of racism where none existed.
The bottom line is President Obama, in my opinion, had no business saying anything about this incident until he was more properly educated. And honestly, even after that, I’m not so sure his commentary would be beneficial. How’s about a nice political “the matter is being looked into.”
I find the entire issue distasteful and f’n irritating. Having read the report, it appears to me that Professor Gates vastly over-reacted and haphazardly (at best) threw out the race card. Unfortunately, everyone, racism exists. It always will. I’m not saying it’s justified/proper/appropriate and I’m not saying I advocate it by any stretch. I think it’s naive to think we can alter the thinking of every man, woman, and child with regard to this issue.
All I can do to combat it in my backyard is to treat everyone the same, regardless of whatever label and/or category you want to ascribe to a given individual.
Shame on you, Professor Gates. And you, President Obama. Both of you should have known better. At least knee jerk reactions are color blind.
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