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7/25/2009
A FEW RAMBLING THOUGHTS ON THE GATES AFFAIR

I have a long article coming out tomorrow in Pajamas Media on the Gates matter that will look at why everyone in that little drama acted the way they did. It is my belief that in some ways, we are programmed to respond in racial situations and that it’s like that because we just can’t bring ourselves to really talk about race in a way that would start to change the dynamics between the races.

Case in point; Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic:

I feel pretty stupid for going hard on this, and stupider for defending what Obama won’t really defend himself. I should have left it at one post. Evidently Obama, Crowley and Gates are talking about getting a beer together. I hope they have a grand old time.

The rest of us are left with a country where, by all appearances, officers are well within their rights to arrest you for sassing them. Which is where we started. I can’t explain why, but this is the sort of thing that makes you reflect on your own precarious citizenship. I mean, the end of all of this scares the hell out of me.

Coates is troubled by the attitude of his fellow citizens:

When we think about the cops, it’s scary, on one level, to conclude that a cop can basically arrest you on a whim. It’s scarier still to think that this is what Americans want, that this country is as we’ve made it. And then finally it’s even scarier to understand that no president can change that. It’s not why he’s there. He is there to pass health-reform–not make us post-racist, or post-police power, or post-whatever. Only the people can do that. And they don’t seem particularly inclined. Here is what the election of Barack Obama says about race–white people, in general, are willing to hire a black guy for the ultimate job. That’s a big step. But it isn’t any more than what it says.

Coates, a very smart, very reasoned liberal who happens to be African American. His attitude toward the police has been influenced, then, by living as a black man in America and all that implies when it comes to his experience in dealing with what historically has been the heavy handed oppression of police directed against African American males.

Is Coates programmed by his experience and by society to respond in this way? I think so - just as Gates, Crowley, and Obama were all programmed to respond the way they did.

The fact that Coates sees the American people as giving the police the green light to harass African Americans is also a programmed response. I would agree that the American people don’t seem inclined to challenge the racial divide in this country but only one who has experienced oppression first hand could lay the blame for that on some nebulous attitude on the part of citizens that arresting people “on a whim” is good and then try and connect that attitude to carrying a concealed firearm. The two issues have nothing to do with each other - unless you’ve seen the dark underbelly of racism first hand and can imagine worse.

From my PJM article:

The facts of the case are a fascinating example of how race divides America. Police, as authority figures, have a notorious history in African American communities — sometimes deserved, sometimes not. It appears from unimpeachable eyewitness accounts that in this case, despite Sgt. Crowley being an expert in how to avoid racial profiling and diversity training, the perception on the part of Professor Gates was that he was being singled out for being black.

Of course, Gates had no idea that Officer Crowley had such a stellar reputation or possessed such tolerant credentials. All he knew was his experience as a black man in America and his assumption that if he had been white, the police would not have asked for his ID.

We’ll never know if that assumption was correct. Just as we’ll never know if the anonymous woman who called the police after seeing Gates try to break into his own home would have done so if she had glimpsed a white man trying to do the same thing. We can assume the best or the worst from all involved and, within the context of our flawed understanding of each other, assure ourselves that we are correct.

The point being, all the actors in this little drama have their perception of the incident colored by what divides us. The actions of everyone were programmed by the rules under which we currently interact as white and black Americans. Gates felt his dignity attacked — an anathema to whites who can’t understand how he could fail to appreciate the police looking after his property. For his part, one might wonder how much more patient Crowley could have or should have been with Gates before arresting him. No doubt he acted professionally. But even with someone as evenhanded as Crowley apparently is, the nagging suspicion that if Gates had been white he would have somehow been treated differently is hard for many to shake. That is the trap that history has set for us and is one from which we refuse to release ourselves.

The president has been forced to backtrack so precipitously for his “stupid cops” comment that he is tripping over his Democratic friends on the Hill who are backtracking on health care reform. He is putting a bandaid on the cut by doing what we do best when confronted with our racial divide in such stark, and open terms; he is finessing the situation by setting up this little Kabuki play with Gates, Crowley, and him sitting down like drinking buddies and tossing down a few beers at the White House.

Left unsaid, as always, will be the real things that divide the races. But that’s the way it has always been in America - even with an African American as president.

By: Rick Moran at 10:05 am
61 Responses to “A FEW RAMBLING THOUGHTS ON THE GATES AFFAIR”
  1. 1
    rssg Said:
    11:11 am 

    Is it surprising to those libs and foolish “conservatives” who voted for a purported “post racial” and “transformational” candidate and he turns out to be what many of us expected: a slick talking, race hustler, not that different in worldview from Sharpton and Jackson, only smoother since he learned his Alinsky lessons well (on how to act like a moderate when you’re really a radical).

    Barry al Hussein is what he is - obsessed with race (even though he is not truly “black”, he is bi-racial, neither white nor black), obsessed with reparations, which are his policies, which are reparations by another name.

    Furthermore, al Hussein is anti-American (and laughingly ignorant of US history, especially WW2 history) and an appeaser of the first rank.

    This will go down as the worst presidency in many decades. Think Bush was so bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet. al Hussein is unfit to the the American President. Why? Precisely because of his worldview, economic knowledge (zero) and gigantic chip on his shoulder.

    Fear not. Once unemployment hits 12% or 13% nationally (officially, that is. Already over it in practice), the Pretentious Prince just may be run out of office.

  2. 2
    cdor Said:
    11:34 am 

    Without adding my own prejudiced perception here, since every possible avenue has already been covered 1,199,959 times by my latest count, I can only compliment you for a nice unbiased synopsis, Mr Rick.

    The next shoe to drop is still hanging large like a rain cloud, however. That is, of course, the audio tapes of the entire incident.

    So until then…..

  3. 3
    rssg Said:
    12:39 pm 

    Basically anyone who takes the side of another chip on his shoulder, limosine liberal, pseudo-intellectual like Gates and against the cop just shows how feminized and socialially conditioned Caucasians have become in this country.

    This isn’t racial profiling; the cop was responding to a call about what seemed like a home being broken in. After entering the home, the cop needs to see some verification that the man in question does indeed live there, hence the request for a photo ID.

    After verbally abusing the policeman, Gates got what was coming to him. He got arrested. Boo-hoo. Now maybe the great “scholar” will learn the lesson that you don’t give the police a hard time when they are investigating a potential crime and you are the prime suspect, in something that did indeed look suspicious.

    The neutered Caucasian-American continues his downward spiral…….

  4. 4
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:25 pm 

    1) No American citizen is required to produce ID.

    2) It is not against the law to yell at a cop from your own home.

    3) Police, in order to arrest, need probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. There was no crime, as evidenced by the dropped charges and the police officer’s own report.

    Crowley was wrong. Gates may be a loudmouth, but cops are supposed to be able to cope with that. The police acted stupidly. And if any law was broken, it was broken by the police.

    Obama acted stupidly in commenting the way he did, and intelligently in defusing the situation the next day.

    If Gates had been a white guy, in his own house, not breaking any law, and let’s say holding a legal firearm, every conservative in the country would be on Gates’ side. In fact the NRA would make him a cause celebre.

    But of course he was on old, gimpy, unarmed black guy. So that’s different.

  5. 5
    funny man Said:
    2:41 pm 

    Rssg,
    you seem to have a problem with your feminine side. However, you seem to whine quite a lot for a rugged individualist. Yawn! This post is actually about our own perception of history, our own prejudices.

  6. 6
    Dennis Said:
    4:33 pm 

    You might want to consult your lawyer dude … actively interfering with the police constitutes the crime of “Obstruction of Official Business.” Actively interfering with a police officer will get you arrested. It’s not a social contract where you get to negotiate. Regardless of charges being dropped, if an officer determines that obstruction is taking place, he can legally make the arrest … period. It is no defense that the arrest was wrongful, as long as the officer reasonably believes that the suspect has committed an offense.

  7. 7
    funny man Said:
    6:13 pm 

    the most disappointing in these discussions is the lack of any personal accounts regarding this issue, just finger pointing. Forget about the incident. Most if not all people are prejudiced to some degree and there was a history of racism in this country. It is therefore not surprising that most people of a given ethnicity have a different ‘movie’ going on in their head while looking at the same incidence.
    I frankly am not interested to find out some liberals are hypocrites and some conservatives are too. That is just the human condition.
    However, race and the problems connected with it are so ingrained in American society that one has to conclude it is history that just doesn’t want to go away. For me this is not so much about guilt but more about honesty and I commend Rick for these insightful blogs.
    Of course, similar problem also occur in other societies. I’m German and we had our share of dark moments. So are we guilty as a people for the holocaust, is the Wehrmacht soldier guilty even though he tried to be a decent man? I would say as a people we are responsible for the holocaust just as Americans are responsible as a people for their past.
    So when incidents like these occur can we at least try to make an effort to understand both sides. I can just say that it not always pretty what I think about people of other races sometimes (and my own). So I’m not going to pretend like it is always the others etc.

  8. 8
    michael reynolds Said:
    7:17 pm 

    …actively interfering with the police constitutes the crime of “Obstruction of Official Business.”

    And with what official business was Mr. Gates interfering?

    No law allows total, unfettered leeway to the police. If there is a law that law must be defined, the limits established.

    So, what legal business were the police pursuing? And how does a man in his own home yelling at them impede that legal purpose?

    The cops had nothing. I’ll repeat: if anyone broke the law, it was probably the cops themselves. And if Mr. Gates wishes I’m sure he could do a great deal of fiscal damage to the town of Cambridge were he to pursue a civil case.

  9. 9
    Bob Said:
    7:28 pm 

    Gates should have said “here is my ID officer. Thank you for coming by”,,,,no he went nuts. There could have been someone around the corner.Gates could have been a criminal. Look just because you are black and and friend of the president you are not above the law.

  10. 10
    John Rogers Said:
    7:54 pm 

    How wonderfully moderate and nuanced you are.

    King Solomon *loved* people like you.

  11. 11
    michael reynolds Said:
    7:58 pm 

    Gates should have said “here is my ID officer. Thank you for coming by”,,,,no he went nuts. There could have been someone around the corner.Gates could have been a criminal. Look just because you are black and and friend of the president you are not above the law.

    Gates is 5′7″. He walks with a cane. He is 59 years old. He was dressed in business casual attire. It was broad daylight. He had no weapon. He was carrying no burglar tools. No getaway car was parked outside. No one was inside the house crying for help.

    Veteran cops develop an instinct for this. Crowley did not believe Gates was a criminal. Not unless Crowley is an imbecile.

    Since when did conservatives start believing that the police have unlimited powers to arrest any and all who vocally disapprove of them?

    If Gates had been white and holding a hunting rifle every conservative in the country would support him. But he was black. So conservatives pull a 180 and support unrestrained police power.

    A large portion of the conservative community still rants and raves over FBI attempts to enter David Koresh’s compound — a compound where there were stockpiles of guns and allegations of child abuse. And don’t tell me it’s just because of the fire, the FBI didn’t start the fire, the FBI and ATF were trying to enforce legal search warrants.

    This is racism in action. Pure and simple. Crazy white people with guns? They’ve got a right not to be hassled by cops. Black scholars in their own homes? Not so much.

  12. 12
    busboy33 Said:
    8:29 pm 

    @Dennis:

    The “investigation” was over — officer had ID’d him as the homeowner. There’s no OOB.
    Now, if the officer had said “I think that’s there’s a burglar in the house, so I’m going to do a protective sweep of the building” and Gates said “hell no”, then you’re treading into possible OOB situations.

    @Bob:

    You’re right . . . that’s what he should have done. He got mouthy, which is friggin stupid.
    Ther cop should have said “sorry to bother you” and left . . . but no, he went off. He also acted stupidly. The difference is that what the cop did is illegal.

    Everybody attacking the homeowner for being a dick . . . so what? The issue here is was the cop justified? I’m hearing two seperate and incompatable views. First, the cop was the very model of a modern major general, and second the homeowner not only asked for it, but should be thankful he didn’t get tazered.
    If the cop was cool, then the dick suspect is irrevelant. Focusing on how the homeowner was a dick justifies the cop flexing some muscle (it’s amazing how many mouthy suspects have trouble getting in the back of a squad car, accidentally slamming their forehead on the lip of the roof. Clumsy).
    Maybe the cop had a reason to flex some muscle. He’s got good reason to flex muscle (don’t let a situation slide out of control, noise makes it difficult to detect and observe, situation might get violent, etc.). Hell, he’s trained when and how to flex his muscle.
    But he shouldn’t have done it in these circumstances, with what’s been released so far about it. He’s held to a higher standard than the dickhead citizen . . . that’s why we let them carry guns and shoot people.
    The only race-issues I see are the homeowner jumping the gun, so lets assume he was dead wrong in how he reacted. What’s the arrest for again? A cop that’ll arrest you “because you deserved it” will arrest you “because I felt like it”. It is a serious problem, and a serious issue. The cop may be a great officer, but this is one of the inherent dangers with policework. A great soldier, after 4 tours of combat, is going to suffer some effect. A great cop, after decades dealing with thousands and thousands of criminals and crimes (and amirably is still going on B+E calls instead of sitting behind a desk), is GOING to be effected.

  13. 13
    busboy33 Said:
    8:30 pm 

    @mike reynolds:
    I’ll admit your comparison is valid . . . but if there was the slightest possibility somebody from the LandOfRed was going to re-evaluate their position that example pretty much nailed the door shut on it.

  14. 14
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:51 pm 

    Busboy:

    I don’t shade the truth for the audience. Besides, nothing will get through to some of them. Read any comment thread on Birthers, you’ll see absolute refusal to allow critical thought to enter into the deliberations. I don’t think this issue is any different. Facts are irrelevant. It’s like arguing logic with a religious nut. Be as reasonable and as thoughtful as you like, Busboy, I’ll be stunned (and admiring) if you turn anyone.

  15. 15
    Doug King in Washington Said:
    11:07 pm 

    I admire funny man’s honesty (post #7). We must recognize the wrongs of the past but not fixate on blaming people today for what their fathers did long ago. No progress is possible otherwise. People in the Middle East can’t get beyond their past — they are stuck in history.

    Prejudice shortchanges rational thinking. Mr. Gates, under stress, accused the officer of racism and in so doing indulged in racist behavior himself. From what I can tell, the officer was just basically following procedures. President Obama, however, saw a brawl and instinctively jumped without first investigating the facts. That’s the problem with racism and prejudice — the question is no longer what is right but whose on my side?

    We’ve made a lot of progress against racism in this country. If we want to continue making progress, our leaders need to show us better examples of cool-headed thinking.

    Labeling every perceived injustice as racism is like saying everyone who throws up has the Swine Flu. It’s true some of the time, but not all of the time.

  16. 16
    11B40 Said:
    11:54 pm 

    Greetings:

    I grew up in the Bronx of the ’50s and ’60s, back when the beat cop would come down the block flipping his nightstick. If he didn’t like what he saw of you and your friends, you would get a standard “Move along” or perhaps a “Keep it down”. “Sassing”, as Mr. Coates terms it, was considered bruise-worthy.

    Mr. Coates seems to suggest a “right to sass” and it seems to me that his concept has taken hold with certain parts of our society. When I see how some members of minority groups treat the police officers with whom they come in contact, I know that if I were a police officer, I would not be able to put up with it.

    My question to Mr. Coates and his fellow travelers would be, in this day and age, in what other job would it be permissible for employees to be so treated? Would not an employer have an obligation to protect his employees from mistreatment and/or harassment? Do other individuals have a right to sass Mr. Coates?

    I see this as an attempt to establish some kind of affirmative action program for minority group acting out; another attempt to define deviancy downward. If “contempt of cop” isn’t against the law, maybe it should be.

  17. 17
    busboy33 Said:
    12:58 am 

    @11B40:

    “I know that if I were a police officer, I would not be able to put up with it.”

    Neither would or could I. If I had to take lip all day (and they do), and I could get away with “bruise-worthy” behavior (and they can), then damn straight I’d accidentally be bouncing suspects off my roof, or making arrests on what they called BANAL in my jurisdiction (Being and A$$hole wihout a No A$$hole License).

    I’d do it. You’d do it. That’s why we aren’t cops, and that’s why we shouldn’t be cops. That’s why I call a good cop “sir” — they are better human beings than I am.

    “Mr. Coates seems to suggest a ‘right to sass’”

    Yes. You have a right to sass. Is it rude? yes. Is it illegal? No. Should you sass a cop? No. Should a cop arrest you (or provide a corrective bruise) because they got annoyed at you? Hell no! You are being a jerk when you get mouthy with the person at the counter of the DMV, or the meter reader giving you a parking ticket. Should they therefore get your car towed, or cancel your license, just because they have the ability to? Do you think that’s a good idea?

  18. 18
    49erDweet Said:
    1:25 am 

    I see quite a bit of misinformation on many of these comments, but that’s not important.

    What I do find hard to understand is how someone who feels he is not being “respected” could imagine disrespectful responses would help the decision. Most adults learn early that peas go down easier with honey than vinegar. I honestly wonder about Dr. Gates mental or cognitive state during this episode.

    As a former officer, with many cross-ethnic situations, my experience was that persons choosing to respond to an on-duty officer with assertive or challenging rhetoric or action were invariably temporarily impaired - for some reason.

    It is quite telling that even black officers on the scene agreed with the arrest. I, on the other hand, do not. I think the sergeant should have used better discretion. But I wasn’t there.

  19. 19
    Nik Mendota Said:
    6:30 am 

    If Crowley had not arrested Gates, none of the FACTS of this case would have come out. Instead, as in so many other cases in which those in protected “victim” groups scream “racism”, the press would be ranting about how “racist” the police are and Obama would have cause to give yet another sanctimonious speech about what a “racist” country America is.

    The BEST thing about this whole episode is that there’s pushback against the screams of racism that have cost others their jobs and reputations.

    Because Crowley is the CPD expert on racial profiling, he KNEW that HE was being profiled by the arrogant Harvard professor. He did what he had to do to force the story so much into the public that the FACTS had to be investigated/revealed. He also had the good sense to turn on his microphone/recorder so the FACTS might be supported with evidence. I fervently hope those tapes are released.

    I write this as a woman of color who knows Gates and has experienced personally what an arrogant, condescending ass he is. It’s clear to me that this case is all about CLASS, not race. The haughty, prof spits on the working class (presumed-by the prof-to be uneducated) cop.

  20. 20
    CZ Said:
    6:39 am 

    If I were the police officer a trip to the WH would be a nogo. He’s being lured into a public relations trap where OB and Gates will be absolved by the media. Stay home buddy.

    Stay home, avoid the media, keep your mouth shut and sue Gates for all he’s worth.

    Race hustlers like him make a ton of money being race hustlers.

  21. 21
    Neo Said:
    11:16 am 

    Willie Brown -
    I know Skip Gates well. He’s a small person physically, less than 150 pounds wet, but he is very big when it comes to militancy.

    For many years, Gates has been one of the strongest academic voices on the black experience in this country. But, like many academics, Skip may not have had a lot of personal experience when it comes to dealing with cops.

    Now he can write about the subject forever, having met up with them full force in his own living room.

    I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop.

    The only thing that surprised me about the incident was that he didn’t have a video camera going.

  22. 22
    busboy33 Said:
    11:50 am 

    @49erDweet:

    ” my experience was that persons choosing to respond to an on-duty officer with assertive or challenging rhetoric or action were invariably temporarily impaired - for some reason.”

    Let’s assume that’s a true statement . . . so what? What’s he being arrested for then? Being intoxicated, or pissing the cop off?

    “It is quite telling that even black officers on the scene agreed with the arrest.”
    As ex-Blue, surely you’ve encountered the (completely understandable and commendable) Blue Line. Doesn’t really matter whether the officers support it or not — you back up a brother or sister in front of others. Disagreements are private, not public. Especially when the suspect is screaming harassment, you sure as hell aren’t get into a discussion in front of the suspect about whether or not the arrest is justified.

    @Nik:
    “Because Crowley is the CPD expert on racial profiling, he KNEW that HE was being profiled by the arrogant Harvard professor. He did what he had to do to force the story so much into the public that the FACTS had to be investigated/revealed.”

    So its your opinion that the arrest was for the purpose of leting the public finally know how hard it is for cops, being yelled at. He knew he had to arrest Gates to let the world see that people are rude to cops. In your opinion, the arrest wasn’t for Disorderly Conduct, but was intentionally a cop flexing his muscle and correcting an upity civilian . . . and you approve of that. How Republican of you.

    @CZ:
    “sue Gates for all he’s worth”
    Yes . . . sue Gates because you arrested him. The claim would be what, “forcing me to show you who the man is around here”? “Not kissing my ass”?
    Seriously, what do you think Crowley has a claim for?

    @the people supporting the arrest:
    What crime do think was occuring? I think this is the relevant statute:
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-53.htm
    What’s the arrest for now? For a moment, set aside how bad Gates is, how he deserved what he got, etc. What CRIME was being committed?

  23. 23
    JS Said:
    12:38 pm 

    “…Coates, a very smart, very reasoned liberal who happens to be African American. His attitude toward the police has been influenced, then, by living as a black man in America and all that implies when it comes to his experience in dealing with what historically has been the heavy handed oppression of police directed against African American males…”

    This is not an attack, just some advice. We could start making a difference, and putting an end to the ridiculous notion that America is racist, by ceasing to play by Black/ Liberal rules. A great starting point would be the end of the “name of the month/ chip on the shoulder” game that Blacks play. The insistence that they be identified as “African-Americans”, while they freely shuffle between Black and African-American (a thoroughly idiotic term), is nothing more than manipulation. We should stop. They are Black, we are White. If that simple way of identifying the two parties who are at war is too offensive, then what hope does one have of engaging in fruitful work?

    Anyone caught up in this game is there because of fear. There is really nothing to fear. This is not about the dreaded “N” word.

    Enough already.

  24. 24
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:40 pm 

    JS:

    Or people like you could stop being idiots. That might help, too.

    Here’s the way the game went. For the first roughly 400 years whites enslaved, raped, beat, tortured, sold and murdered blacks.

    For the next 40 years or so — up to and including today, July 26, 2009 — only a substantial portion of whites continued to wish they could enslave, rape, beat, torture, sell and murder blacks.

    So it’s black people’s fault. We should all move on.

    Just as it’s Jews fault they’re a bit paranoid about genocide.

    Moron.

    You are saddling the current generations of white americans with the sins of previous ones. “I shall be treated as I should be treated and not as my father should be treated” is a fundamental tenet of the republic and piling the transgressions of our ancestors on the backs of today’s Americans is wrong across the board.

    Recognizing past oppression is necessary. But you are talking about revenge, not reconciliation.

    ed.

  25. 25
    busboy33 Said:
    2:30 pm 

    @JS:

    Great!

    So . . . without mentioning race, what was Gates arrested for?

  26. 26
    funny man Said:
    2:44 pm 

    JS,
    without mentioning liberal/leftist and whatever. Are you saying you don’t have any racist thoughts coming up? Are you saying that America does not have a racist legacy? Forget about all the cheap rhetoric but if you are honest you know this is not all made up.

  27. 27
    JustIce Said:
    4:14 pm 

    I find it interesting that if support the police you must be a Right-wing nutcase and if you support the Professor you are a Left-wing radical. This just goes to show that lack of progress that has been made over the past years. In my opinion the constant barrage of complaints of racism have had a “Chicken-little” effect. So that when legitimate cases of racism and discrimination occur, they are often lost in the noise. The Gates affair is one of those “bogus” racism claims that damages real efforts to move forward. Bad judgement by both parties does not constitute racial profiling. But since Prof. Gates has leveled the charge now it must run its course. I believe nothing will come out of this that will have any permanent positive effect on race relations. In the short term, however, I believe it has ratcheted up the animosity of the country towards fellow americans. I have to hold the President responsible for that fact.

  28. 28
    funny man Said:
    4:32 pm 

    Doug King,
    I agree with most of your analysis. I just don’t like it when people shift into automatic gear every time this subject comes up. I just think this doesn’t help anyone and often is dishonest. I’m not even concerned about this case since this shouldn’t have made national and even international news. Maybe the local paper. However, everyone is eager to exploit this for their political agenda. The left to show how racist this society is and the right to bash Obama. They are both hypocrites.

  29. 29
    busboy33 Said:
    5:07 pm 

    @Justice:

    “Bad judgement by both parties does not constitute racial profiling.”

    But it does constitute bad judgement. And Law Enforcement making bad judgements is a subject that should be of concern to citizens. It happens, no moral accusations against the officer, understandable action, no real harm . . . but its still a bad decision, as is Gate’s harassing the cop who came to investigate the report that someone was breaking into your home. Wouldn’t you be happy that somebody jimmies your door and the cops roll up minutes later? I’m glad they’re so prompt in protecting my stuff. Given the circumstances, the cop should be wary of the situation until they get more info. Gates was wrong to holler, and it certainly does reflect on him badly in regards to character and reasonableness.

    But a cop arresting someone, or locking the cuffs “accidentally” 1 notch too sharp, that’s a bad decision that harms citizens. The reaction of conservatives shouldn’t be “God Bless the armed hand of the Government siezing citizens and violating their freedoms! If only Gates had a gun in his house, then the cop could have really shown him something by blasting the crap out of him!”

    I 100% agree that there’s no real reason to think this is a racist thing. I agree 100% the homeowner, regardless of if they are black, white, purple, should not be suprised when acting that way to a cop ends poorly. But none of that means that the cop didn’t do wrong (as you said, “bad judgement by both parties”).

    If the issue of racism is dismissed, does the matter as a topic become irrevelant? Or is there still something to talk about here — cops making bad decisions?

  30. 30
    Doug King Said:
    5:32 pm 

    Funny man — I think we agree on many points. The topic of racism has such a political football in American politics, I sometimes wonder if it is unsolveable. A favorite tactic of the Left is to accuse (white) conservatives of racism, while a favorite reaction from the Right is to accuse liberals of reverse racism. To a large extent, they are both right and wrong. Right, in that racism and reverse-racism are alive, well, and ugly. Wrong, in that making loud, hysterical accusations only makes the problem worse.

  31. 31
    John Said:
    9:53 pm 

    Quite frankly I do not see this as a white cop vs a black citizen. I see this as two alpha males who got into a pissing contest and it went south from there.

    Gates is a very prominent scholar (I have read some of his writings) who, because who he is (and what he is - prominent) got upset because he felt he was being disrespected because — #1. it was his home #2. he is a well known scholar #3. he is an alpha male and heaven forbid someone challenge him. He therefore acted the way he did and unfortunately for him, another alpha male took umbrage with his behavior.

    Crowley is a Sgt in a police force, and he took umbrage that another individual (and a prominent scholar at that) would basically have a temper tantrum (in his own home for heavens sake) and basically disrespect him in front of all his peers. (could you image what would have occurred at the police department if Crowley had left the home without responding back?)

    Why do I believe is a more accurate senerio?

    Almost 30 years of police and private security work (to include military law enforcement). Been there, done that, but also learned from my mistakes.

    Because the color of the skin is not the same, does not automatically make it a racial issue. Sometimes it is a little more simple — 2 strong personalities, without the common sense to take a deep breath before acting.

  32. 32
    John Said:
    9:58 pm 

    Quite frankly I do not see this as a white cop vs a black citizen. I see this as two alpha males who got into a pissing contest and it went south from there.

    Gates is a very prominent scholar (I have read some of his writings) who, because who he is (and what he is - prominent) got upset because he felt he was being disrespected because — #1. it was his home #2. he is a well known scholar #3. he is an alpha male and heaven forbid someone challenge him. He therefore acted the way he did and unfortunately for him, another alpha male took umbrage with his behavior.

    Crowley is a Sgt in a police force, and he took umbrage that another individual (and a prominent scholar at that) would basically have a temper tantrum (in his own home for heavens sake) and basically disrespect him in front of all his peers. (could you image what would have occurred at the police department if Crowley had left the home without responding back?)

    Why do I believe this is a more accurate senerio?

    Almost 30 years of police and private security work (to include military law enforcement). Been there, done that, but also learned from my mistakes.

    Because the color of the skin is not the same, does not automatically make it a racial issue. Sometimes it is a little more simple — 2 strong personalities, without the common sense to take a deep breath before acting.

  33. 33
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:05 pm 

    John:

    I think that’s right.

    I don’t see racism in the confrontation. An ivory tower intellectual and a street cop? That’s trouble regardless.

    Tow points. One: the scholar isn’t trained to keep his cool in this kind of confrontation, the cop is. So the burden is one the cop to chill.

    Second: the racism is in the reaction to this incident. In the fact that conservatives who would catapult themselves to the defense of Gates if he’d been a white man with a hunting rifle, suddenly put themselves on the side of the cops. They are blind to the rights of a black man — even a cranky old black man.

    Gates was probably a dick. But Crowley violated his training and the law to enforce his alpha male control.

  34. 34
    bobwire Said:
    10:43 pm 

    Shame on you Rick. You wrote “The president has been forced to backtrack so precipitously for his “stupid cops” comment…”

    Obama instead said the police ACTED stupidly.

    But here you are putting “stupid cops” in quotes as if they were not your own words, but ones that came from Obama. Shame on you.

    Pick up any book on relationship problems and you will find that couples must separate actions from the person itself. If one wants marital harmony, and still must criticize a partner, then you criticize the behavior/action and not the person.

    Obama was criticizing the actions, but not the cops as persons. This maintains the dignity of all parties to a better degree.

    Who among us has not behaved stupidly while still being not stupid people?

    Why on earth would you put “stupid cops” in quotes, when they are your own words?

    You have written stupidly. But you are not a stupid person. Were you trying to escalate this discussion? Own up.

  35. 35
    jms Said:
    12:07 am 

    Interesting that Obama would invite Crowley to discuss racism over alcohol. Given Crowley’s Irish surname, and the ugly stereotype of the drunk Irishman, isn’t this the equivalent of a white president inviting a black man over to eat watermelon and discuss racism?

  36. 36
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    1:34 am 

    @jms

    If Obama asked Crowley to share a bottle of Jamesons, that would qualify as ethnic profiling. But no stereotypes are presumed in asking any American to have a beer!

  37. 37
    cdor Said:
    9:35 am 

    Interesting stats pulled from an article at Rick’s own American Thinker compiled by the Dept of Justice and the FBI in 2007:
    57 Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) were killed, 82% of those were caucasian
    Of the 62 known perpetrators 29% were Negro males
    Negro males equal 6& of the population but kill LEO’s at a rate 61/2 times their percentage of population.
    A LEO’s first job when on duty is to make sure he/she doesn’t get killed (one does lose one’s effectiveness when dead). Although a cool, calm, and collected perp can be most dangerous, a highly agitated citizen is very likely to be dangerous. Also in responding to B&E or domestic violence, protocol is to always get the resident out of the house. This eliminates the possibility of a perp hiding or coersing and forcing the resident to state all is fine, when it isn’t. It also is safer for the officer. Although the absolutely rude and insulting behavior that Gates exhibited began inside his house, it continued outside, according to multiple witnesses. The tapes need to be released. My suspician is that they could prove very embarrassing for the good professor.

    So now I will state my prejudiced opinion. The only mistake the cop made was taking the idiot professor to the jailhouse when he should have gone to the nuthouse.

  38. 38
    JustIce Said:
    10:57 am 

    Busboy33: I can understand your position and did not mean to imply that police have an unchallenged right to arrest people. They obviously do not and should never be able to.

    I was simply stating that, from what I have read and heard on the subject, there are two major issues at play in the arrest and one major post-arrest problem: the charge of racism leveled at the police officer by Prof. Gates and the charge of police harassment level at police in general are the first. The actions of teh President to draw attention to the matter is the post-arrest problem. In both of the first case, the actions of the individual are ignored. Prof. Gates is above reproach, I’m not sure if it is simply because he was/is an American homeowner, on his on property, legally. Or if it because he is a black, Harvard professor, who teaches about the problems of race in America and is therefore above suspicion. I suspect it is probably both, with black Americans shifting a little towards the latter reason (as should be expected).

    In any event. I think the biggest issue is the post-arrest problem created SOLELY by President Obama. His naive attempt to rectify the problem has made it bigger. As a CEO of the largest economy in the world, as Commander-in-chief during an on-going war, as the person who should be able to see the world picture, he exhibited extremely bad judgement in making this issue a moment of national history. I see it as a sign of immaturity and selfishness. Two qualities I do not admire in a leader. Yes, he can apologise and backtrack, but the words have been spoken.

  39. 39
    lionheart Said:
    12:50 pm 

    Michael Reynolds,
    My understanding is that Gates followed Crowley out of his house, yelling at him, insulting him, and in general, creating a disturbance. I’m a gun-toting NRA member, and I would not at all be surprised or outraged if I were arrested for disturbance for following a cop outside, insulting his mother, and in general, creating a disturbance.

    Your strawman is illogical: since (some) white people think the cop was justified, you say that they believe cops should have unlimited powers to arrest those who disagree with them. That is pure manipulation, and is just as invalid an argument as if I were to say that since some liberals think Crowley went too far, all liberals want to pay slavery reparations. There is no consensus on either side in which to group all white conservative thought.

    I have no doubt that there are some racists on some police forces (maybe all forces). This was not one of them, and I can feel your pain that the arresting officer has been proven to be categorically non-racist. If he were racist, perhaps you could twist this into something other than what it is, but you’ve got nothing but an angry black man with a chip on his shoulder. I’m not going to convince you and you’re not going to convince me, and your supercilious attitude about those that disagree with you ironically belittles your own intelligence.

  40. 40
    KenGirard Said:
    3:18 pm 

    As a long haired white male who smokes a pipe and has been pulled over many times for nothing (My favorite was having a cop stop me while I was walking to catch a bus so I could go do jury duty) I fully understand how profiling works.

    I understand that in my neighborhood filled with middle class yuppies I stand out (When the manager of a store remembers that you came in one time before, and that was three months ago on the first day the shop was open, then you know you are not like the other customers). Looking different does not give the police a reason to ask me questions that they are not asking the woman who was also walking down the street about 100 yards in front of me… but they never stop and ask the white yuppies questions. Why is that?

    An interesting examination on the this is:
    “What the Henry Louis Gates Jr Incident is REALLY All About”
    http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/432862.html
    But then most of what Brad Hicks writes on is interesting.

  41. 41
    JS Said:
    4:00 pm 

    Reynolds:

    You don’t see race in the confrontation? Well isn’t that precious? And also, totally insincere. You, with the immediate ad hom’s, and the “the cop needed to chill” (Chill? C’mon man…) are not worth the effort…

    John:

    Just two Alpha males…? So why then, did one of the “Alpha males” immediately bring race into it? Also precious, but no deal…

    Funnyman:

    WTH?That was not coherent…

  42. 42
    busboy33 Said:
    4:59 pm 

    @lionheart:

    “My understanding is that Gates followed Crowley out of his house”

    This is where the lack of determinied facts makes the situation fuzzy. The version I heard has the officer requesting Gates accompany him outside, which becomes an issue since its virtually impossible to Disorderly Conduct in private. Suspicious people see the request (if it happened that way) as a form of entrapment — moving an insulting citizen into a position where the sop can “retaliate” for the insults by arresting him.

    Regardless of the version, somebody other than the cop actually has to be disturbed or likely to be disturbed to make a DC charge. Additionally, if the disturbance is because of the cop’s presence, and the officer’s official work is done (confirmed Gates is homeowner, no break-in), then the officer shoud be the bigger man and walk away from the insults.

    “I would not at all be surprised or outraged if I were arrested for disturbance for following a cop outside, insulting his mother, and in general, creating a disturbance.”

    Well, that’s a few different things, isn’t it? Let’s seperate them out. You wouldn’t be outraged if you wer earrested for “creating a disturbance.” Would you be outraged to get arrested for “insulting his mother”? Or is being rude to a cop automatically “creating a disturbance”?

    Again, take the race away. Crowley isn’t racist. Do you support a cop arresting citizens solely because they pissed the cop off? If there’s no issue of racism, and there’s no issue of Disorderly Conduct . . . what else was the arrest about?

    I’d expect to get my ass kicked if I mouthed off to a cop. That doesn’t make it acceptable, legal or correct behavior. If I was sitting in a dive and insulted the guy’s mom sitting right next to me, I’d expect to get popped. Does that mean that the guy didn’t commit Assault?

    I can’t tell you how many times I heard that excuse from civilians — he pissed me off! Sumbitch got mouthy! My wife pissed me off, that’s why I hit her! It’s not like I just walked up and hit her for no reason!

    Having a “reason” to lash out at someone means you are not sociopathic . . . it doesn’t mean you’re right.

  43. 43
    funny man Said:
    6:58 pm 

    JS,
    I just told you that you never reflect on your own prejudices. What is there difficult to understand? That is not meant as an insult. I’m just bored if I get the usual statements from right and left but never with anything personal. I know it is easier to bash Bush, Obama than to take a look at oneself. For example, at least #37 is an honest, happy racist.

  44. 44
    JS Said:
    8:00 pm 

    funny man

    How on earth would you know what I reflect on?

    And please point out anything that makes #37 a racist. Nothing he said was racist. This was what my original post concerned. The defining of terms, the insistence that whatever you want, or however you want something said, or thought , or done, MUST be followed, or else…they are a RACIST!!!

    People are tired of the game, and yes, it IS a game. Tired of watching government sponsored and approved, segregated organizations like the Black Congressional Caucus (imagine being a White guy who voted for some Black guy, only to find out that the Black guy’s main purpose is to represent Blacks, and not all of those whom he “represents”, and who voted for him? Sucka!!), whose members insist they be called “African hyphen americans”. Tired of the NAA “Colored” P, etc. If “colored is so GD insulting and worthy of violence, then why don’t they change the name?

    Easy. It’s part of the giant chip-on-the-shoulder game. Even asking the question renders one a “racist”.

    People are starting to get it. People are starting to not care about people like you calling them “racist”

    It’s getting close to end game, so enjoy while you can.

    A great man like Clarence Thomas is called an Uncle Tom, because he plays by the “White man’s rules” (law and order, no kids out of wedlock, etc, I guess…), and I’m supposed to take YOU seriously? Lol. Sorry, my friend. Do. Not. Care.

  45. 45
    busboy33 Said:
    11:04 pm 

    Hey JS:

    I’m so glad you can see through the racism. It’s clearly something you don’t focus on too much. Odd how all them black folks are so racist, though. Truly, only a non-racist can expound on how damn racist those blacks are. “chip-on-their-shoulder”, sucka-playin’, gamin, NAA*colored*P-callin’themselves-and-I-cant-call-them-coloreds-colored, blacks. Way to really make your point. You’ve seen through the Great Black Scam, how they’re all out being hypocritical. Well, not all. You’ve even got a friend who’s a black (Clarence Thomas), so clearly you don’t hate blacks. Most of the rest of the negros sure . . . but not all of them. That would be racist, which you’re clearly not.

    Out of curiosity . . .

    “a great man like Clarence Thomas”

    Really? What made/makes him a great man?

  46. 46
    funny man Said:
    11:09 pm 

    JS,
    no problem seeing fault in PC. I used to live in inner city Detroit so I had my share of black nationalists and race hustlers. No need for an education by you.
    However, look at the tone of #37 and you know he is racist. You rant and rail against imaginary Al Sharptons but you never say how you personally feel about other races. That’s not very courageous. In the meantime, there is a country to be made better.

  47. 47
    funny man Said:
    11:12 pm 

    busboy,
    thanks, couldn’t have said it better

  48. 48
    cdor Said:
    6:58 am 

    funny guy Said: “look at the tone of #37 and you know he is racist.”

    Uh, would that be me who you are calling names based on some “tone” that seems to be ringing in your little head?
    You are not very funny, but you are pretty darn strange.

  49. 49
    cdor Said:
    8:09 am 

    This exerpt from Iowahawk. You really must read the whole article Mr Funny. I will link to it below. If you left click on the highlighted portion, you should be able to read the whole article. The narrative is from a gentleman who is in charge of the School of Harvard Faculty Asshole Studies as he describes a horrifying experience of having to commingle with the lowbrow…

    “Case in point: last winter I was slated to deliver the keynote address for an intradepartmental asshole colloquium at Lowell House. Running late, I temporarily parked along Plympton. As I emerged from my Audi, I discovered that I had captured the unwelcome attention of a CPD officer. “Hey Buddy, is that your car?” he barked.

    “Why? Because I’m a Harvard faculty asshole in America?” I cleverly retorted.

    “No asshole, because this is a snow route and you can’t double park here,” he sneered, concocting a flimsy excuse for his continued harassment. “You have to move it now.”

    “That’s Professor Asshole to you, you fascist townie,” I explained, tossing him the Audi’s remote-start key. “Need a valet? Call your mother at the brothel.”

    It doesn’t take an experienced asshole rights activist to tell you what happened next: my Audi was on its way to impound while I rode to the Cambridge Police Station in the unheated vinyl rear seat of Bull Conner’s squad car. To add insult to injury, the desk officer refused my request for a dignified background bookshelf for my booking photos.

    Thankfully the Constitution still allows even Harvard Assholes a bare modicum of human rights, so I used my allotted phone call to alert the Dean and the Faculty Grievance Committee to my plight. In those 35 excruciating minutes I wasted away waiting in that stark cell, I wrote the opening chapter of “Letters From a Cambridge Jail,” my forthcoming scholarly magnum opus on the grim legacy of Asshole oppression in America.

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/07/cambridge-police-profiling-still-a-grim-reality-for-harvard-faculty-assholes.html

  50. 50
    funny man Said:
    10:33 am 

    Cdor,
    yeah, bashing the elite, that’s new and your comment #37 is just an ironic take on political correctness, lest I forget.

  51. 51
    cdor Said:
    11:29 am 

    Actually, the end of racism happens when anyone is comfortable treating a person of any skin color like an asshole when that person is behaving like an asshole. The cop went to the jerks house to protect him and his property. What does the cop get for putting his life at risk? He gets to listen to some arrogant POS call out his mama and call him a racist. Then he gets to hear POTUS call him a stupid actor on national primetime TV. Then he gets to read all of the PC crap from idiots like Michael and funny man. If I am the cop, or any of the other cops, the next time a call comes in for 17 Ware street, you can bet I am driving really really slow. Add to that, if I am a burglar, I now know that the race pimp Gates makes a pretty nice income. He just might have some cool stuff lyin’ around that place with the door that won’t lock and the address the cops will avoid. Sometimes there is justice in life.

  52. 52
    funny man Said:
    12:04 pm 

    cdor,
    it’s obvious you and rssg,js and whatever other pseudonyms have a problem with other races. Being against certain aspects of PC doesn’t mean you going on calling people names. Michael Reynolds is a liberal and I’m a conservative so we disagree on the role of the government and taxes but not on treating other people with respect. I wasn’t even talking about this incident.

  53. 53
    DoorHold Said:
    12:35 pm 

    Apoligies if this repeats what someone else has said, but I haven’t noticed one particular issue being raised. That is, the qualifications for what constitutes “disorderly conduct” depends on the witness. If a frail old lady is visibly upset over having witnessed a particular behavior, that could constitute disorderly conduct and might end with the arrest of the offender. If a POLICEMAN witnessess the same thing he may, because of his authority, experience and duties, be expected to deal with the situation in a manner that would not result in an arrest, if at all possible.

    From what I’ve read I believe the officer was unable to deal with the offender in a manner that might defuse the situation and therefore HAD to arrest the offender to end the confrontation. Due to the officer’s history of commendation and professionalism I tend to side with him on this (as has, as far as I know, every professional who’s reviewed the case as presented).

    The fact is you DON’T have the right to treat an officer investigating a possible crime as your own personal whipping boy for whatever issues you might have. Obviously many people don’t know that, or are unwilling to accept it, or have were taught otherwise, or wind up getting overemotional “in the moment” and ignore it — But it’s still a fact.

    Funny stuff: If you haven’t seen Chris Rock’s “How NOT to get your a** kicked by the police,” search for it. He does imply there can be a racial component, but that’s not the the jist of the clip.

  54. 54
    cdor Said:
    12:51 pm 

    52funny man Said:
    12:04 pm

    cdor,
    it’s obvious you and rssg,js and whatever other pseudonyms have a problem with other races. Being against certain aspects of PC doesn’t mean you going on calling people names. Michael Reynolds is a liberal and I’m a conservative so we disagree on the role of the government and taxes but not on treating other people with respect. I wasn’t even talking about this incident.

    HUH?

    funny guy Said: “look at the tone of #37 and you know he is racist.”

    BUT IT IS OK TO CALL SOMEONE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW A RACIST

    You may be a conservative (as am I) funny man, but this converstion makes me believe you are one strange dude.

  55. 55
    funny man Said:
    1:42 pm 

    Cdor said:
    Negro males equal 6& of the population but kill LEO’s at a rate 61/2 times their percentage of population.
    Choice of words

  56. 56
    JS Said:
    3:57 pm 

    Liberals rock. They love to invoke “logic” and how others can’t keep up with their profoundly intelligent conversations, etc. You know, things like this:

    “…For the next 40 years or so — up to and including today, July 26, 2009 — only a substantial portion of whites continued to wish they could enslave, rape, beat, torture, sell and murder blacks…”

    The author says that a SUBSTANTIAL portion (probably meant percentage? Who knows?) of Whites, TODAY, want slaves. Not just to own, but to beat too! And we’re supposed to take him, and them, seriously? Toss in some name calling - always a favorite of Liberals - and presto! they actually think they win arguments.

    Another guy has decided what words White people can use, and has also developed the ability to read minds through the reading of said words. He knows what we reflect on! Spooky, huh? (Oops. I thing I just used a banned word. Shoot!)

    This incident was like a Little Golden Book of racism. It couldn’t have been any simpler, and yet they perform incredible (to them) mental gymnastics to twist the racism out of it. The first thing out of the mouth of a racist with a proven track record of being a racist, White hating, race hustler, is racist, and they see….Alpha males! Awesome!

    Anyway, I have to go beat some of my slaves. Ah, WTH, I’m feelin real good today. I’ll beat them all!

    What retards…

  57. 57
    funny man Said:
    4:22 pm 

    JS,
    your ramblings sound straight out of the far left cookbook. Liberals like you indeed rock!

  58. 58
    cdor Said:
    8:29 pm 

    funny man Said:
    1:42 pm

    Cdor said:
    Negro males equal 6& of the population but kill LEO’s at a rate 61/2 times their percentage of population.
    Choice of words

    AND EXACTLY WHICH WORDS IN THAT STATEMENT OFFENDS YOU, OH RIGHTEOUS ONE? From my perspective, the fact that Law Enforcement Officers are being killed is offensive.

    (6& is a typo that should have read 6%)

  59. 59
    JS Said:
    9:22 pm 

    cdor

    Bulls-eye! Dead cops, eh…”negro”? OMG!!!!!!!!!!!

    On a sadder note, the fun-guy has resorted to “I know you are but what am I?!?”

    Liberals…Crap; filibuster; insult/ rave and rant; walk out. Great formula…

  60. 60
    funny man Said:
    11:21 pm 

    JS, sorry can’t follow you, you probably had too much of Obama’s Kool-Aid. I identify with conservative values and they include decency. Why don’t you go to a black barber shop and start talking your talk there. It’s so courageous to do your anonymous trolling under what, three pseudonyms. I’m impressed.

  61. 61
    busboy33 Said:
    1:40 pm 

    @doorhold:

    I linked to the Mass. statute above for DC. As I understand it, the police report indicates that the arrest was for yelling — no indication that anybody was disturbed (except for Crowley).

    “the officer was unable to deal with the offender in a manner that might defuse the situation and therefore HAD to arrest the offender to end the confrontation”

    He could have left. He had IDd gates as the homeowner. He confirmed that there was no break-in. The call was over. He could have said “sorry for the confusion”. gotten into his cruiser, and left. That’s what he’s supposed to when he’s finished.

    “The fact is you DON’T have the right to treat an officer investigating a possible crime as your own personal whipping boy for whatever issues you might have.”

    Actually, that’s not true. You have a right to be rude to a cop. It’s called freedom of speech. It is rude, boorish, demeaning, and indicates that Gates is certainly quite an asshole . . . but its legal.
    Crowley, in uniform, represents the government. All citizens have a right to mouth off at the government. Threaten? No. Insult? Yes. People can tell Obama to his face that he’s a foreign-born, American-hating, Zebra Socialist that is the living incarnatino of pure evil. That would be extremely dickish . . . but totally legal.

    Think of the consequences otherwise. What’s “rude”? Gates clearly was rude, but what about a more diluted situation? You ask the cop that’s giving you a speeding ticket if they ran out of donuts. Rude? A bit. So they drag you out of your car and take you to jail. Now, you’re not being arrested for a crime . . . you’re being arrested because the cop wanted some payback. That is a VERY dangerous standard to allow.

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