Opening point: I have no love for the cops.
Although I am a law-abiding citizen, except that I am inclined to speed a little bit and sometimes perform unorthodox maneuvers while driving, I have been on the receiving end of police attention many, many times. And you know what? You always lose. Whether you are right or wrong, you lose because the cops have the power.
Henry Louis Gates Jr was arrested.People who believe that he was arrested for breaking and entering his own home are the same people who believe that Bill Clinton was impeached for sex acts. Does no one read any farther than the headlines these days? People, please - have a little intellectual curiosity instead of falling back on ingrained knee-jerk reactions.
He was arrested but not because some racist cops responded to a complaint from a racist neighbor. He was arrested for sassing the cops. I understand you perfectly, Henry Louis Gates Jr. I often replay my police encounters in my head, rehashing what I should have said or practicing withering remarks for the next time. But when I get pulled over, I just sit silently until its over. Sometimes I cry. You can't make it better - you can only make it worse. In the end, the police have the power to make it worse for you and I sincerely believe it depends on how they feel at the moment.
There's a lot being written about this on the news outlets and on the blogs today about it but the most sensible commentary I've read about it was in the comments on Gawker:
UPDATE: Charges against Gates have been dropped.
Here's a picture snapped by one of the bystanders. Note the calm impassive expressions on the cops. They know they are in control. What's it to them how many citizens are upset? Also note the black cop. So much for racism. Al Sharpton is already at Harvard Square Station waiting for a train back to New York.
I'm sure Gates pulled the old "Don't you know who I am?" thing. Now it seems its more like a case of elitism rather than racism. Hah-vad professor, doncha know? Maybe he's one of those riches that are going to pay all of our taxes. They had to let him go so he could start writing out checks for our Obamacare.