Friday, July 31, 2009

making excuses

The Professor and the Police Officer Got Trapped in the ‘Script’

Gates’ reported behavior felt offensive and abusive to the police officer, but an immediate acceptance of Gates’ identity and residence followed by a quick and effusive apology by Crowley might have calmed the storm

First, what would the officer have to apologize about? Doing his job? Trying to be certain that the man claiming to live at the place was actually the man who lived there?

And in any event, disrespectful behavior to a police officer is not against the law,

Yeah, that makes it all ok

and an arrest for disorderly conduct of a small 58-year-old man with a cane, on his own porch, when there was no threat to public safety involved, does appear to justify the accuracy, if not the political wisdom, of President Obama’s suggestion that handcuffing Gates was acting “stupidly.”

Because police should put up with insults and abuses form old men with canes, even after that old man was obviously trying to make an issue of his race against the race of the officer.

All accounts I've seen from other officers who were there say that Crowley handled things correctly.

Police officers should get a great deal of sympathy, understanding, and support for often very tough split-second decisions where the lives of citizens, or their own lives, are at stake; but this was clearly not one of those situations.

And Wallis would know Perhaps he was there?

And Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson insightfully treated the charge of Gates’ alleged “You have no idea who you’re messing with” elitism when he observed that “meeting a famous Harvard professor who happens to be arrogant is like meeting a famous basketball player who happens to be tall.”

This was the statement that stuck out most to me. Oh, the arrogant Harvard professor acted arrogantly, what can we expect? He makes threats (what else can "You have no idea who you're messing with" be but a threat or retribution?), and that's ok, because he's an arrogant Harvard professor who, of course, acted arrogantly?

This has to be one of the weakest excuses I've ever come across. You know that if this had been, say, Rush Limbaugh who said this to a policeman, Wallis would not be using the arrogance to excuse his behavior, but would be condemning the arrogance and the behavior.

But because the man is a black Harvard professor of a decidedly liberal orientation, the arrogance comes off as an almost charming feature in his article, a bit of a personal foible endemic to Harvard professors, and should be shrugged off.

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