Friday, July 24, 2009

It's not about race

At least not per se. What it's about is the increasingly bad attitude of "law enforcement," an attitude not just tolerated but generally backed up by everyone from President Obama to Joe Sixpack.

Attitude like this:

"We're not going to take abuse," [a 13-year veteran of the Denver police force] said. "We have to remain in control. We're running the show."

Well, no, you're not. In theory, at least, you work for us, remember?

"We pay these officers to risk their lives every day," says another interviewee in the story. True enough ... but so what? It does not follow from the fact that being a cop may entail some level of risk that we, their putative employers, are in any way obligated to bow, scrape and genuflect every time a badge is flashed.

Like the man said, we pay them. They're not conscripted. They choose the job -- a job which, by the way, is not only not the most dangerous job out there, but doesn't even make the top ten list. And if a cop finds the level of risk in the job unacceptable, well, maybe Nerf® is hiring.

I do not know exactly what transpired at the Cambridge, Massachusetts home of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Neither do most of the people running their yaps about the incident on either side. What I do know is that the professor's account is facially more believable than the police officer's account -- not because of the racial characteristics of the individuals involved, but because of the institutional arrogance of "law enforcement," an arrogance put front and center by the "law enforcement" establishment in the fallout from this incident and visibly manifested every day on America's streets.

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