Third Party & Independents Archives

Obama Spoke Stupidly

I’m kind of surprised by how stupid the President acted last week. The statement he made regarding the arrest of his friend, Professor Gates, conflicted itself completely and was more appropriate for a private discussion in the oval office, after the press conference about health care was over. We know Obama didn’t want to distract everyone from his health care offensive, so he genuinely said something dumb at the worst possible time.

It turned out that the arresting officer was a trainer for such racially charged situations, but at the very least, we can confidently say that both Gates and Crowley lost their cool. Gates lost it first when he went out of his way to get in this cop’s face, but in hindsight Crowley probably would’ve avoided arresting an African American Harvard law professor that was vigorously calling him a racist. What did he think would happen? They both lost control.

How many people in the United States do you think get a feeling of reverse racism from this episode? I have no idea, but that many people now don’t give a damn about health care or Obama’s drive to get anything else done quickly. The situation that Obama’s statement poured fuel on will now peel away hundreds of thousands of votes from the centrist majority that elected him.

It sure made Rush’s day. He shouted “Here’s the ACORN response!” with relish. This is the Obama the right’s been waiting for; even centrist bloggers like me tend to salivate slightly when Uncle Barry himself screws up like this.

Don’t get me wrong, this was no Governor Sanford meltdown. Obama is still Obama, but what a stupid thing to say. I know some people are just eating this one up, while others think the president spineless for correcting himself. That’s the difficult part, it seems, in politics. Pretending your right all the time is a losing battle, but you lose just as much by apologizing all over yourself for every little foible.

Some things can’t be reversed for some Americans. I’m not one of them, I can get over this, but Obama should know that his “ACORN response” has caused millions of American’s to throw away their previous image of him for good. He’ll get a few independents back when he trumps Gates and Crowley through the Rose Garden with his arms draped around both men’s shoulders, but a few beers won’t make this one go away.

The liberals and conservatives will snipe at each other over this dust up, but all will stay on the same side of their imaginary fence. The independent majority, however, will be affected by presidential foibles like this. A séance with Nancy Reagan and the Special Olympics comment got a pass, but this one lost Barry some votes.

Posted by Frederick S. Friedman at July 27, 2009 1:00 PM
Comments
Comment #285091

Apparently the woman who reported the possible break in just reported that facts in the police report were false. Such as Crowley’s report that he spoke to her outside the house prior to the arrest. What? a police report with fabrications in it to cover his butt? what else is false?

Posted by: paul at July 27, 2009 1:35 PM
Comment #285092

Frederick, you nailed this one. Even the president admits it wasn’t the comment he would have made had he taken the time to consider it before hand.

But, hey, the man has been speaking before the U.S. public for going on 2 years now, and he has racked up one, perhaps 2 flubs. I consider that an outstanding track record in his favor.

I am a wordsmith, and have been asked by folks of several organizations to rework their documents for public presentation. I am competent at it. But, I have made errors. Part of the problem is that the word selection mental process either takes into account, or ignores, the potential audience to the word choices. Which means, that an error in assessing who the target audience is or includes (police departments the nation over), what their interpretation will be, can result in regrets over one’s choice of words.

Obama erred in his word choice. The facts however, still support the idea that this arrest, which is what Obama called stupid, was unwarranted and should have been avoided, considering the potential public reaction consequences in the absence of any initial crime being committed by the detainee. The 911 tapes were released this morning, and there is nothing in the callers comments to indicate that it was likely that a burglary was in progress. She even stated the people she was referring to may be residents of the house they were forcibly entering.

There is nothing on the police tapes to indicate the suspect was causing a row inside the house when confronted by police. Though I hasten to add, the entire incident is not recorded or has not been released. This entire incident however, lacks any evidence to support the police’s arrest of this man.

So, in the end, it is possible Obama’s comment may be vindicated and the police may have acted stupidly. But, even if that is the case, it does not relieve Pres. Obama of the responsibility of his own comment having been stupidly made from a public relations, political, and police relations point of view.

There is however, something a tad bit relieving to know that our President is human and capable of fallibility. I couldn’t trust or believe a president who appeared perfect in all words and deeds, could you?

I say give the police and Obama and the suspect all a pass on this for having stupidly, escalated a non-story into the national headlines, and hopefully they each will have learned something from the incident.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2009 1:45 PM
Comment #285093

Frederick,

Ass David said I would guess this incident brings up the unanswered question of whether Obama is a mere human, or is he truly a “messiah” as the right wing pundits would lead us to believe.

IMHO the President shouldn’t be involved with issues such as this.

I believe that both Obama and Gates both re-acted poorly to this situation. Gates has been described as a man with “the braininess of black scholar W. E. B. Du Bois and the chutzpah of P. T. Barnum….”.
Perhaps Gates may be a bit of a “prima donna”, however, putting that and the Obama/Gates friendship aside, it still makes me wonder if Gates were a white man in the same neighborhood, and in the same situation, if would we even be having this conversation.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 27, 2009 1:57 PM
Comment #285094

“Ass David said”

Spell check apparently doesn’t work on words that actually are words.

Sorry.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 27, 2009 1:59 PM
Comment #285095
caused millions of Americans to throw away their previous image of him for good

Do you really think so? I doubt there are anywhere near that many Americans whose view of the president is so shallow that one flub can irrevocably change it.

Posted by: LawnBoy at July 27, 2009 2:08 PM
Comment #285099

Gee, did that happen to Bush? Who spoke so badly that they wrote books about it? Please. If that’s all it takes, good riddance.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 27, 2009 2:53 PM
Comment #285101

Paul,

Your right, who knows what went down. The extra cops showed up because Crowley wasn’t answering his radio. This cop obviously got caught up emotionally and then tried to cover his ass using his racial profile training skills.

David,

Your right, it’s nice to have a leader that is so good at public speaking and makes so few mistakes, but admits it when he makes those mistakes. This leads back to the problem politicians like him face everywhere they turn, though.
An honest leader that admits mistakes and has open eyes when it comes to himself and America, seeing the good and bad, is not the leader that some Americans want. For example, those to the right of this column are sickened by Obama’s apologetic world tour as they call it, while I’m strangely comfortable with how he always admits the truth about himself and the country.

Rocky,

That’s the strange part about all of this. No, a white man wouldn’t have been arrested in this situation because a white man wouldn’t have gotten angry about racism and continued yelling at a police officer dangling handcuffs in his face.

No judgment there, it just doesn’t compute because a white person could only pick up a disorderly conduct charge for yelling about something else, not racism. If you disrespect most cops, they’ll take you in or do worse in some situations, but the fact remains that Gates’ behavior didn’t really constitute a threat or possible violence so the charge was later dropped.
Crowley’s training told him to get Gates in public so he could arrest him, cops use disorderly conduct all the time as a catch all, but Gates was right, Crowley didn’t know who he was messing with.

Lawnboy,

I’ll admit that most people angered by this weren’t Obama voters in the first place, but this president definitely rode into the Oval office on the votes of America’s independents. A diverse and finicky bunch, trust me.
Half of the independents are right leaning and I think some were just waiting for their own personal last straw from the president. I think he gave it to a lot of them this time.

Thanks for all the comments!

Posted by: Fred at July 27, 2009 3:29 PM
Comment #285102

Womanmarine,

W. Bush just lowered the bar so far that it had to be documented. Your comparing apples and oranges.

Posted by: Fred at July 27, 2009 3:35 PM
Comment #285103

BTW, here’s a link about disorderly conduct http://www.criminal-law-lawyer-source.com/terms/disorderly-conduct.html

Posted by: Fred at July 27, 2009 3:38 PM
Comment #285105

Fred,

From MSNBC

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32169213/ns/us_news-race_and_ethnicity/

“BOSTON - A police sergeant who responded to a 911 call about a possible break-in at the home of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. can be heard calling Gates uncooperative during a radio communication with a police dispatcher.

Sgt. James Crowley said he was with a man who claims to live in the house and with identification showing he was Gates. Crowley said the man was not cooperating and told the dispatcher to “keep the cars coming”.”

That to me doesn’t sound like the officer was unresponsive.

Look, my point here isn’t to pillory the Sgt. The police have a job few of us would be able to do.
That said, police pro-filer or not, the cop is human too.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 27, 2009 5:35 PM
Comment #285106

Obama, Gates and a whole host of folks are cocked and loaded, waiting for a teachable moment. If a person goes off on a police officer that person should be arrested. If Mass. doesn’t have a law to that effect, they should.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 27, 2009 6:47 PM
Comment #285107

While this might not have been racially motivated, as far as I know, Crowley does not have any history of such things, just the opposite. He still should not have ever arrested someone for being in their own home because of a mistake, no matter how loud and annoying the person is. Disorderly conduct is a charge that really means “he made me mad” while annoying, is not something anyone should ever be arrested for. Especially when initially Gates was well within his rights to be in his own home even if he had to force his way in. Crowley should have been prepared for an angry response and been ready to diffuse the situation, apologize, and go away. Instead he engaged Gates in an argument and arrested a man on his own property on a bogus charge. Obama was exactly right, Crowley acted stupidly.

Posted by: tcsned at July 27, 2009 7:06 PM
Comment #285108

Roy, if a police officer enters my home uninvited and without a warrant, I WILL GO OFF ON THAT POLICE OFFICER. Absolutely, NOT QUESTION ABOUT IT. If Americans want to keep the rights they have, the must do as our forefathers did, and fight to defend and protect those rights, and that includes telling a police officer to get the hell out of my house until they can produce a warrant.

If a police officer wants to knock on my door, on the other hand, and ask me politely as his boss, to provide ID, I will be more than happy to cooperate.

Context is everything when it comes to police authority and citizen’s rights.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2009 7:08 PM
Comment #285109

Rocky,

I just saw that radio conversation on TV after posting that comment. He definitely responded and he sounded calm, but it was obviously not in his heart to defuse anything.

Six patrol cars on a 58 year old man with a cane. If he needed so much back up, I’m surprised Gates didn’t get tazed.

Yep, all are extremely human in this case.

Posted by: Fred at July 27, 2009 7:26 PM
Comment #285111

The time to fight for your rights would be later, in a courthouse David. A house is on fire. Should a cop not enter without a warrant. Suppose Gates was a bugular and Crowley failed to follow him, the bugular rushes out the back and shoots two people on the way out. Nope. Bettere way is to shut your trap, show respect for the cop and his job and take it to court. If Gates was thinking he would have invited the officer in while he was going for his ID. Instead he chose to go off on the cop. IMO the officer did his duty without fault. I would think that in most states you could be fined for such disrespect.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 27, 2009 9:15 PM
Comment #285112

Roy,

There used to be a time that you could shoot anyone that walked through your door unidentified and uninvited.
If Gates had a gun, he would probably be dead.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 27, 2009 9:26 PM
Comment #285120
But, hey, the man has been speaking before the U.S. public for going on 2 years now, and he has racked up one, perhaps 2 flubs.

1 or 2? ?

BTW, David, you have heard of ‘probable cause’? I find it fascinating that you are concerned about defending individual liberties, with a gun, when it comes to your personal home and property. But, when it is someone else…?

Last time I checked, it was constitutional for a police officer to enter your home without a warrant if they had probable cause. Are you suddenly becoming a strict constructionalist?

Posted by: rhinehold at July 27, 2009 9:57 PM
Comment #285124

Yes, Thinehold. That’s what I was getting at but didn’t know the law that well. If Gates walked away from Crowley, no matter what the pretext, the officer should be allowed to cuff and stuff him. Beats me why a person would be angry at the police for showing up at your house if a suspected bugulary was in place. Nope. Gates was looking for the teachable moment and he scored, probably beyond his wildest dreams. He will be able to publish some articles, entertain his student body, etc. He will get a lot of mileage out of it. Get kicked up a notch in the black community for black activism. People will do strange things to gain attention, further their career, etc. Remember the case of the run away bride?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 27, 2009 10:23 PM
Comment #285126
Sgt. James Crowley said he was with a man who claims to live in the house and with identification showing he was Gates.

Excuse me everyone, what the hell else did that officer need?

Posted by: womanmarine at July 27, 2009 10:35 PM
Comment #285128

Womanmarine,

Nothing more. That should have ended it, the policeman should have said sorry, but he was just trying to do his job and Gates should have replied ok, thanks for checking out someone breaking into my house…

The question is, did it not end there because of Gates becoming further beligerent (which he had a right to do, though wish he had been a better man and hadn’t), or because the officer got on a cop trip (this happens a lot and his adreniline was pumping I’m sure, police do tend to abuse their power) or because Gates was black?

To date, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest #3… Do you have any?

If there is no evidence to suggest #3, aren’t people suggesting it is part of the issue being dispicible?

BTW, abuses like this happen every day. Usually involved in ‘fighting the war on crime or terrorism’ and having nothing to do with race… So they go unreported. Where is the real outrage here and why?

How about defending his rights as a human being, not making it into a race issue? Anyone doing that, without clear evidence that it was, is part of the problem, not the solution.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 27, 2009 10:42 PM
Comment #285129

I meant to say ‘fighting the war on drugs or terrorism’ previously, sorry.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 27, 2009 10:43 PM
Comment #285130

Racism is overdone these days. We should all be so oppressed as Gates, who makes the big bucks spouting crap about race. It is a sweet deal he does not want to lose, even after conditions have changed. When the president, the mayor, the governor and the police chief are all black it is pretty hard for the rich black Harvard professor to claim victim status.

It would be like me claiming to be a victim because people who look like me in Appalachia get a raw deal.

Talking about being arrested, take a look at the TV show COPS and see how many people, white, black, brown and everything else, get themselves in trouble by making trouble. You don’t have to make race an issue. In fact, if you keep on finding racism where other explanations are more likely, you are probably a racist yourself.

Obama should have taken the opportunity to shut up about something he knew nothing about, but we can forgive him this time. If he does it again…

Posted by: Christine at July 27, 2009 10:44 PM
Comment #285131

Rhinehold:

Sounds to me like Gates cooperated, he showed his ID? And I do have some sympathy for blacks who have gone through racial profiling, it doesn’t happen much to whites, what do we have to compare with? And it does go on, we all know that. Maybe less and less, but it is still there and very real. Beligerance is in the eye of the beholder.

because the officer got on a cop trip
Crowley said the man was not cooperating and told the dispatcher to “keep the cars coming”.”

This right after he showed his ID? I would sure like to know how he wasn’t cooperating, and why the cars would need to keep coming. Sounds like a cop trip to me. If my ID didn’t suffice for the officer I might become beligerent too, in my own home.

Like you, I see from what little we know of the interchange no evidence of #3, but there is some indication that might cause Mr. Gates to suspect it, when his ID wasn’t enough and the Sgt. called for more cars. Just my take. None of us were there, but frankly, this just seemed to be over the line.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 27, 2009 10:54 PM
Comment #285133

Womanmarine,

Agree, but again, no one was there and no one has provided any evidence to suggest racism. It is more likely how I suggest it went down, to tell the truth. Occam’s razor and all.

Simply put, cop shows up after a 9-11 report of a possible breakin, cop shows up and startles Gates, makes Gates feel like he is being mistreated. Gates, because of his background, jumps to conclusions and gets indignant, starts making a huff. Cop, pumped on adreneline, amps up his power over the citizen to try to keep everything calm (but secretly because he gets off on it a bit, power is a powerful thing), this infuriates Gates who doesn’t think he should have to take any of this, more cops are called out to ‘keep the peace’ and this escalates a bit.

Again, this happens all of the time. Cops just don’t get adequate enough training to really know how they are going to handle a situation and they default to the ‘pump up the power over the citizen’ stance to protect themselves. And we have a shortage of people willing to put up with what it takes to be a cop so the screening process misses people who we don’t know until too late get off on power trips, etc.

It doesn’t help that the person in question was a proud man who is jacked up on civil rights like myself, I know that if it happened to me I would probably have reacted the same way as Gates, it is my home and once I showed them that they had no cause to be there they need to apologize and step the &$*#( back off of it. I wouldn’t do well either and it would probably go down the same way.

I see no reason, at all, for anyone to make this a race issue and as long as people are willing to do so, on either side, we are going to continue to have these idiotic issues.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 27, 2009 11:11 PM
Comment #285134


A teachable moment?

Maybe. But the lesson is one we should have already learned. There was definitely prejudice at work in this story. However, the prejudice that I’m referring to is not that which may or may not have existed between Officer Cowely and Professor Gates.

News Flash…”African American/Harvard Professor taken away in handcuffs from own home by white Police Officer”.

“Oh no, not again”. My mind now began to reconstruct a scene to which I had very little concrete information.

Why would I do that?

Well, let’s go back to headline….”African American/Harvard Professor taken away in handcuffs from own home by white Police Officer”.

Damn you 24 hour news cycle. You got me again.

Now, as the facts of this encounter reach the surface; it hardly lives up to the hype and I think to myself….”When will we ever learn to look before we leap?”

Posted by: Randy at July 27, 2009 11:57 PM
Comment #285135

This adds some mystery to the story. It appear either the officer prevaricated or was confused:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/27/gates.arrest/index.html

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2009 12:51 AM
Comment #285136

I think it might be possible there was another woman in the area that saw them entering the home and the police officer confused that person with the person who called in. That is my initial guess, it would explain it best (the different race, the fact that he says he talked to her, etc). If that is not the case, it would appear that the cop was trying to cover his tracks once the incident blew up in his face.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 28, 2009 1:14 AM
Comment #285137

Christine,

“Racism is overdone these days. We should all be so oppressed as Gates, who makes the big bucks spouting crap about race. It is a sweet deal he does not want to lose, even after conditions have changed. When the president, the mayor, the governor and the police chief are all black it is pretty hard for the rich black Harvard professor to claim victim status.”

Really?

Th house in question is owned by Harvard University.
This “rich, black, Harvard professor” appears to have worked his ass off to get to where he is, and probably deserves a little respect in his own house.
This guy with “the sweet deal” has walked with a cane since he was a teen due to a misdiagnosed injury that the doctor called psychosomatic, and as a result his right leg is 2 inches shorter than his left, thus the cane.

BTW, just how many 58 year old burglars walk with the use of a cane?

The man had just arrived home on a flight from China, a flight some one around here equated to torture.
After a flight like that, even if he was seated in first class, I might be a little cranky too.

Just a thought.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 28, 2009 1:22 AM
Comment #285138
Really?

Really.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 28, 2009 1:27 AM
Comment #285144

Christine,

If you live in Appalachia, you are well aware of those that live on the dole there, because they are “special” victims.

I’m not sure I get your argument.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2009 7:38 AM
Comment #285145

From everything I have heard racism was probably not the motivation - power was. While this policeman might have had all good intentions up to the point where the argument started. Crowley should have been prepared for an angry response from Gates and not engaged him in this argument that lead to the bogus arrest. While I can see Crowley’s point that he was just trying to make sure Gates’ home was safe and expecting a “thank you this was all a misunderstanding.” Gates was angry and Crowley should have been able to deal with it in a way other than taking a man to jail for being in his own home. Crowley blew it used his power unwisely and caused a firestorm. Obama was right he acted stupidly.

Posted by: tcsned at July 28, 2009 7:39 AM
Comment #285146

Talking about being arrested, take a look at the TV show COPS and see how many people, white, black, brown and everything else, get themselves in trouble by making trouble. You don’t have to make race an issue. In fact, if you keep on finding racism where other explanations are more likely, you are probably a racist yourself.

Hmm, I dunno ‘bout you, but I don’t recall the Harvard professor episode. Why DID the cop say that the complaint was about black men, when it wasn’t? Why did a cop arrest a man in his own home after he identified himself? I doubt if this was a COPS variety black man being arrested, we’d be talking about this would we?.

You may also be a racist when you NEVER see it.

That said, I don’t know anyone here, or Obama, who has assumed it was racist. I haven’t seen that argument, except from Gates. He was there. He may know something we don’t. It WAS an abuse of power, though within the cops privilege to do.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2009 7:50 AM
Comment #285147

In defense of the officer, I want to add dispatch often doesn’t give all the information to the police on the scene.

In Houston, the powers that be implemented a computer dispatch system. The officers complained that they rarely had relevant or accurate information due to problems with the coding and training of dispatchers. I dealt with officers on some business break-ins, where I worked. They hated the system.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2009 7:58 AM
Comment #285148

How come race experts like Gates and Sharpton are using the term racial profiling here? If Crowley saw 10 people at the house and he went after the black one that would be racial profiling. This has nothing to do with racial profiling.

Posted by: Schwamp at July 28, 2009 8:05 AM
Comment #285152

“It WAS an abuse of power, though within the cops privilege to do.”

Wrong. It was not within the officer’s privilege to arrest Gates. The officer had already inspected the man’s identification and the interior of the premises. It was clear that a burglary was not in progress or had been attempted. Asking the man to then step outside the house to continue the discussion was unnecessary and possibly entrapment. Under the Mass. statute for disorderly conduct, the offensive acts must be made in public and sufficient to significantly alarm the public audience. Simply yelling at a police officer in the privacy of the person’s home or for that matter in public is insufficient to support a disorderly conduct charge. Hence, the inclusion in the arresting officer’s police report that some bystanders “appeared” alarmed. There is no independent evidence or even suggestion from other officers or bystanders at the scene that the onlookers were significantly alarmed by the verbal altercation on the porch.

Gates may have exhibited boorish behavior and overreacted to the presence of the police but he commited no crime.


Posted by: Rich at July 28, 2009 8:58 AM
Comment #285153

If folks don’t see police, firefighters, EMT workers, etc as being there to help them and want to go off on them and act beligerent then I would like to see them arrested and hit where it hurts. In the wallet. Something like a $500 fine. As a taxpayer I want first responders respected and dealt with in a serious manner when they show up to help you out.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 28, 2009 9:19 AM
Comment #285156

Roy,
“If folks don’t see police, firefighters, EMT workers, etc as being there to help them and want to go off on them and act belligerent then I would like to see them arrested and hit where it hurts.”

I respect the fact that these folks do a hard job. I respect the fact that they often put their own lives on the line for all of us, and I also respect that it takes a special kind of person to do that.

However…..

I have met policemen that take themselves way too seriously even in a mere social setting, and anyone that would allow a situation to escalate, or even worse, become a part, or a reason for that escalation is unacceptable.
There comes a time when understanding a situation calls for backing off and allowing people to vent.
A 58 yr old man with a cane isn’t much of a threat to society or a policeman.
If had indeed Gates supplied his ID when asked for it, and proved that he actually belonged in the house, that should have been the end of it, and the officer should have left.
As I said earlier in this thread, Gates has been known to be a prima donna.

Being a a*^hole isn’t against the law.

Christine,

“It would be like me claiming to be a victim because people who look like me in Appalachia get a raw deal.”

It’s curious that you chose Appalachia, as Gates was born and grew up in West Virginia.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 28, 2009 10:38 AM
Comment #285157

Ask yourselves this. If Gates truly deserved to be arrested based on what the cop said he did, why would they drop the charges? You arrest a guy in his own home, put him in jail and then a couple hours you let him go with no charges. Sounds like they knew they overreacted and now they are trying to defend that they had to arrest him but not charge him? DOn’t get me wrong Gates certainly contributed to this situation, but for the cops to claim Gates was the problem and that Obama should apologize “to all the police in the nation who were offended” but then never offer even close to an apology to Gates oir even charge him, well thats just nonsense.

Posted by: Paul at July 28, 2009 10:41 AM
Comment #285180

Rocky Marks, I believe it is better to remain calm and sensible when encountering first responders. If you have a beef then take it to the city council or some avenue of redress. After a few folks have leveled similar complaints there should be some personnel action taken by government.
Paul, Cops arrest people for all kinds of reasons and no charges are filed becuase the attorney representing the governing authority feels the case has no merit under the law. Maybe we should hire only lawyers to be first responders.

Posted by: ellis999@peoplepc.com at July 28, 2009 12:19 PM
Comment #285213

How is it possible that two Rights can be Wrong?

Well, given that both sides come at the same question from two different sides or points of view I’ll let you answer that question; however, when the dust settles I do believe that reasonable people will come to the logical conclusion that both genetlemen fell into the Creek of Stupidity.

Yes, Professor Gates should have known better than imped a Law Enforcement Agent doing his job by challenging his Court Appointed Authority; nevertheless, Police Officer Crawley should have stepped aside and allowed his Commander set the record straight. And than if the Professor wanted to carry on any further than excuse the pun, but if you want to play with fire than you are going to get burnt.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 28, 2009 3:18 PM
Comment #285216

Paul:

Ask yourselves this. If Gates truly deserved to be arrested based on what the cop said he did, why would they drop the charges?

Because Gates is upper class with a good attorney?

I suppose one would need to ask is he were a poor white kid would he have gotten off so easily?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 28, 2009 3:38 PM
Comment #285224

ellis,

“I believe it is better to remain calm and sensible when encountering first responders.”

Of course it is.
The police officer was just doing his job, a bit over zealously if Gates’ account is to be believed.

Look perhaps I have been amiss in making my point.
There are times when a policeman needs to be a hard ass. Once Gates ID’d himself and informed him of the circumstances Crowley should realized he wasn’t dealing with some crazed crackhead and he should have backed off.
Gates had just gotten off of a plane from China. I know for a fact that the travel time from Shanghai to San Francisco alone is nearly 15 hours, I have been on that flight. It sucks even in first class.
Although I haven’t been able to find where Gates flew from, if he landed in Boston that adds at least another 4 hours to the flight time. That’s going to wear on anybody.

Our first responders need to not only be in charge, but they also need to have some empathy for the people they deal with.

Craig,

“I suppose one would need to ask is he were a poor white kid would he have gotten off so easily?”

Assuming that the “poor white kid” produced ID that placed him in his own home I think he would have gotten off just as easy.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 28, 2009 6:30 PM
Comment #285232

Rocky:

Not if the poor white kid was making as big of an ass of himself as Gates was doing.

Great Ivy league presentation of self control.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 28, 2009 9:57 PM
Comment #285234

Craig,

“Not if the poor white kid was making as big of an ass of himself as Gates was doing.”

Being an ass in one’s own house isn’t against the law, even in Massachusetts. The officer had to get Gates outside of his house to arrest him for being disorderly in public, and as far as I am concerned that’s just plain wrong.

You just can’t legislate against people being *&^holes, and if the officer had just left it at investigating the “burglary” we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 28, 2009 10:30 PM
Comment #285235

Craig,

Look I am not absolving anybody of any guilt in this matter.

All I am trying to do is to point out that there were plenty of outs for both of these men before the situation escalated.

That neither of these men chose to “be the bigger man” and walk away from this situation is unfortunate.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 28, 2009 10:50 PM
Comment #285236

Rich, by within his privilege, I mean within his power to make a judgment about whether to arrest or not. He is not required to consult with anyone to make that decision.

The police department has already said he acted within their procedures.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2009 10:56 PM
Comment #285240

Rocky,
Being an “A” hole may not be against the Law; however, being Ignorant enough to question the Rightful Authority of a Law Enforcement can be. For what Parent or Adult is going to allow a Child to question their Authority without putting the child in their place?

Graig,
Being a Poor White Boy that actual had to produce ID under close to the same conditions I can tell you from personal experience that why not as bad as Mr. Gates there is an Unspoken Line that you do not want to cross.

For why I was not arrested for running my mouth off to the police officer, My towns cheif of police left no room for misunderstanding on what he would personally do if I ever pulled that stunt again.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 29, 2009 2:46 AM
Comment #285245

Look, officer, I’ve been on the road for a few days, just off a 12 hour flight from Asia. I’d really like to resolve this thing and get some rest.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 29, 2009 8:43 AM
Comment #285246

gergle,

You said that the officer abused his power but he was within his rights to do so. Do you not see the inconsistency?

Posted by: Rich at July 29, 2009 9:02 AM
Comment #285248

Roy,

“Look, officer, I’ve been on the road for a few days, just off a 12 hour flight from Asia. I’d really like to resolve this thing and get some rest.”

How do you know that these words weren’t spoken, and things didn’t escalate from there?

Henry,

We, all of us, have every right to question authority, especially after we have opened the door to our own house to the police officer, allowed him to check the house and proved our right to be in our own house.


All,

Nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act there are still racial issues in this country, even in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ignoring these issues will not make them go away.
We all act badly at times. Blaming a crippled old man for re-igniting racial issues is just the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps now we actually can have a meaningful dialogue on these issues and solve them once and for all.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 29, 2009 9:45 AM
Comment #285249

Rocky,

There was no racism here at all, so talking about it or ‘using it as a learning experience’ is pointless.

If you want to ignite issues that don’t exist in this situation for some perceived political gain, be prepared to have those of us who are tired of this ploy come down on you like a ton of bricks.

If you have any evidence that anything was done here that resembles racism, plese provide it. Otherwise, quit being part of the problem.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 29, 2009 9:50 AM
Comment #285251

Rhinehold,

Did I actually say, or write the word “racism”?

I’ll help you out, the answer is no.

More to follow later. I have things to do.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 29, 2009 10:35 AM
Comment #285263

Henry:

Being a Poor White Boy that actual had to produce ID under close to the same conditions I can tell you from personal experience that why not as bad as Mr. Gates there is an Unspoken Line that you do not want to cross.

For why I was not arrested for running my mouth off to the police officer, My towns cheif of police left no room for misunderstanding on what he would personally do if I ever pulled that stunt again.

And if you went one step further?

As a middle class white boy in my community it would have been unthinkable to talk back to a officer as Mr. Gates had done. Being arrested would have been the least of my worries.

I was taught far more respect than Mr. Gates evidently. My dad would have said you got exactly what you deserved. He would have let me rot in jail to. Not a chance he would have posted bail money as he would have thought a little jail time would have done me some good.

In my house, my parents would have backed the officer 100%.

I can’t even imagine what my family and community would have thought, had I spoken in such disrepectful tones to a man in uniform as Mr. Gates did. If he were a black officer it would have been the same or even stronger.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 29, 2009 3:18 PM
Comment #285271
Did I actually say, or write the word “racism”?

I’ll help you out, the answer is no.

No, you used racist and racial… You are right, you never used the word ‘racism’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 29, 2009 6:05 PM
Comment #285273

Rhinehold,

“No, you used racist and racial… You are right, you never used the word ‘racism’.”

If you read what I wrote I never used the word “racism” either. The only time the word appears in any of my posts on this thread is in a response to Christine, and it was in a quote from her post.

“There was no racism here at all, so talking about it or ‘using it as a learning experience’ is pointless.
If you want to ignite issues that don’t exist in this situation for some perceived political gain, be prepared to have those of us who are tired of this ploy come down on you like a ton of bricks.
If you have any evidence that anything was done here that resembles racism, plese provide it. Otherwise, quit being part of the problem.”

I will not accept that merely because I acknowledge there are still racial issues in this country that I am “part of the problem”.
These issues still need to be solved, and placing our hands over our collective ears, and closing our collective eyes will not solve them. There will always be people that will use incidents like this as grist for the mill.
I have already heard it starting from both the left and the right.
If those of us that “seek a higher path” (to coin a phrase) can use incidents such as this as a true “teaching moment” perhaps we can solve some of these issues, and shut these people up for good.

Here is an interesting quote from Gates in an open letter to his daughters;

“I rebel at the notion that I can’t be part of other groups, that I can’t construct identities through elective affinity, that race must be the most important thing about me. Is that what I want on my gravestone: Here lies an African American? So I’m divided. I want to be black, to know black, to luxuriate in whatever I might be calling blackness at any particular time—but to do so in order to come out the other side, to experience a humanity that is neither colorless nor reducible to color.”


Craig,

I treat the police as I would treat other people. I respect them until they give a reason to think otherwise.
However difficult their jobs are, they are not Gods. The police are still humans with the same failings we all have.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 29, 2009 7:03 PM
Comment #285274

Tell me, Rocky, how do we irradicate the thoughts of people of free will who choose to hate others just because they are of a different color skin?

We can’t. We can only accept that some people will hate other peopel for many idiotic reasons because they are have mental issues involving self-loathing. That is the real issue, most of these people need medical assistance for their mental issues. They should be pitied, not forced into thought camps to be reprogrammed.

So, we educate, we prosecute any action based on racsim (or sexism, or orientation, etc). Otherwise we have to let it go and let people be aholes.

Unless we want to bring out the thought police?

Maybe that is the ‘learning opportunity’ we have. Because I can tell you that many of us who are not racist in any way are starting to get VERY tired of being lectured. Especially those people who are being lectured at because of their race, the real irony.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 29, 2009 7:30 PM
Comment #285284

Rhinehold,

“Tell me, Rocky, how do we irradicate the thoughts of people of free will who choose to hate others just because they are of a different color skin?”

You know as well as I do that bias, prejudice, racism, whatever, is learned. All we can do is lead by example. Sooner or later those with the issues will die off and the world will be a better place for it.

“Because I can tell you that many of us who are not racist in any way are starting to get VERY tired of being lectured.”

Hopefully you don’t think I am the one doing the lecturing, if so I apologize.

Occasionally I do speak to the obvious.

It’s a habit that’s hard to break.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 29, 2009 10:09 PM
Comment #285285

Rich,

No inconsistency. Officers have the discretion on when to make an arrest. This is within their power. This is legal. It’s a decision that can be made on the thinnest reed.

However, since Professor Gates simply yelled at the officer and correctly asked the officer to leave. The reed the officer used was that he was creating a public disturbance.

If you’ve listened to what lawyers and officers have been saying, most say they would have simply walked away. The D.A. chose not to press charges, because they had no case. (D.A.’s do not let people go to be nice)

The cop gets a pass because he followed procedure, or at least tilted his report to fit department procedure.

On Larry King tonight, a judge asked what would have happened if Gates had resisted? Since there wasn’t really legal basis for arrest, it’s likely that Gates would then have grounds for a lawsuit. In the actual situation, it’s doubtful there are damages to make a lawsuit sensible.

It’s quasi-legal, but still an abuse of his power.
We give officers certain powers. They can abuse those powers in mild ways and get away with it. It’s a trade off for the serious nature of their job. Judges and D.A.s have much greater power, and much greater potential for abuse.

Both individuals here seemed to be angry and on power trips. Only one made the extreme choice to infringe on the other’s freedom.

Posted by: gergle at July 29, 2009 10:26 PM
Comment #285291

Yeah, that was always a big part of why I never liked cops.
They play this game with everyone they mess with.
It’s simple … you just have to kiss their butt and then you can go about your day, but only after you’ve been thoroughly punked and disrespected.

When you don’t kiss their butt, you better be prepared for the consequences, but I haven’t experienced this much since moving to Oregon.

I hear the cops used to be uppity, then all the citizens got together and cut their budget(i.e. fired a bunch of them). Oregon cops are now very respectful as they should be, it’s a two way road. And no, crime has no gone up in Oregon, go figure.
My years of living, working and traveling on the East coast exposed me to the most arrogant and dangerous cops out there(especially from Virginia South).

I recently heard some CNN analyst paraphrasing somebody who said “here the people fear the government, but in France the government fears the people”

Like I said, the cops in Oregon show mutual respect and do their best to not arrest you, unless your a Meth head or something else dangerous. It should be like this everywhere in the U.S., cooperation with the authorities would soar.
You can’t tell me there isn’t a story out there every other day involving some arrogant pigheaded move by some cop.
Pulling over people driving or being driven to the hospital or something else because of some ego trip they want to take everybody on.
These guys need better training and better trainers.

Posted by: Fred at July 30, 2009 2:15 AM
Comment #285294

gergle,

“We give officers certain powers. They can abuse those powers in mild ways and get away with it. It’s a trade off for the serious nature of their job.”

Nonsense! Subjecting a person to arrest and incarceration for improper reasons is hardly a “mild” abuse of power. It is traumatic, humiliating and expensive for the person involved. An arrest record follows you for life.

Police officers do have extaordinary powers. It is because of the extaordinary nature of those powers that abuses must be controlled. Excusing “mild” abuses is a slippery slope that many police departments come to regret in the long run.

Posted by: Rich at July 30, 2009 8:43 AM
Comment #285299

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon0727hs.html

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 30, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #285310

Rich,

I’m not excusing anything, I’m stating fact, and a simple reality of life. Anytime you give someone power they will use it when they deem it necesary, not infrequently, that can be for petty reasons. It’ll be nice when we live in Nirvana and everything will be perfect. Until then….well….

Posted by: gergle at July 30, 2009 1:44 PM
Comment #285313

Rhinehold,

I love how a column about supposed post-racist Obama, whatever THAT is, slings about terms like race hustlers and then criticizes Gates for not cow towing. Sounds damn close to saying he’s uppity.

I’m curious what do we call stodgy old white men who never see racism, and haven’t for 50 years?

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Posted by: gergle at July 30, 2009 1:54 PM
Comment #285367

Craig,
Why I can’t post what my dad said a few weeks later when he found out. I can assure you that I got in almost as much trouble as the officer. However, lets just say if my chief of police would not came down so hard on me that my dad was prepared to make it perfectly clear to me.

And so I learned well as a teenager that why I can question any and all Authority that I must resapect its rights to exist or lose my right to challenge it.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 31, 2009 1:25 AM
Comment #285477

Stupidly is as stupidly does.

Why was that deleted from this thread?
How is that worse than “Obama Spoke Stupidly” ?

Posted by: banned at August 1, 2009 6:13 PM
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