Friday, July 24, 2009

Hipster's Excellent Post on Henry Gates, Jr.





Xavier Onassis, aka Hip Suburban White Guy weighs in
on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and does a fine job of sticking to the facts while making some keen observations based on his own life experience and his plentiful, plentiful years observing human nature.

Here he speculates on Gates state of mind,

...he had just returned from a trip to China. [skip] I used to do a lot of business traveling. I know that even after an overnight trip that only involved a 3 hour flight, all I wanted to do was get home and sleep in my own bed. Anything that stood between me and that was the enemy and had to be defeated.

Abundant comments follow and they are moderated well. You should really go read the whole thing.

I do have a point of contention, though, with XO's oft stated point:

Bottom line...neither one of us were there so we don't know what happened other than what we read in the news.

I contend we already know the most important facts about the event based on the report of someone who WAS there, Officer Jim Crowley:

  • At no point did Gates physically threaten, contact or impede Officer Crowley, because if he had it would be in Crowley's report.

  • Crowley states in his report that he had already established that Gates was the owner of the home before he arrested him.


Bottom line...Officer Crowley arrested a citizen who was standing on the front porch of his own home in the middle of the afternoon because that citizen made the mistake of berating Officer Crowley in a very loud voice in front of Officer Crowley's fellow officers and other onlookers.

I've seen various comments online by good ole' boys reminiscing about the attitude adjustment they received when they mouthed off to a cop and how Gates should realize that cops will sometimes haul you in if you just breathe in their direction.

Complete, total and utter frickin' BULLSHIT! Simply hurting an officer's feelings should not be a goddamn crime subject to arrest.


But that is where we are today and that is a fact. A NY Times article captures the attitude of some law enforcement,

“I wouldn’t back down if there’s a crowd gathering,” the Brooklyn officer said, in part out of concern of sending a message of weakness that could haunt another officer later. “We’re a band of brothers. We have to be there to help each other out. If there’s a group and they’re throwing out slurs and stuff, you have to handle it.”


A 13-year veteran of the Denver police force, who did not wish to give his name, said likewise. “We’re not going to take abuse,” he said. “We have to remain in control. We’re running the show.”


I wonder if the NYT reporters received fractured skulls when they asked for the officer's name?

Screen actor Jeffrey Wright and Josh Brolin learned their lesson last summer, outside a Shreveport, LA. bar.



Jeffery Wright took the occasion of Gates arrest to discuss his unfortunate interaction with law enforcement. Very interesting reading.

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