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  • The Privilege Card

    Posted by Shannon Love on July 31st, 2009 (All posts by )

    I worked my way through college as a security guard for a company that specialized in security for the campus area of a major flagship university. The area was simply stuffed with the children of the wealthy and connected, most of whom belonged to sororities and fraternities. Most of the security and police work revolved around controlling the excesses of the frats. I got to see how the police had to deal with people quick to claim immunity because of their membership or parentage. I saw how irritated the police got every time they had to talk to one of those little snots.

    So, when I read the police report on the Gates incident I understood immediately that Gates’s mistake wasn’t  “being a black man in America,” it was this:

    I then overheard Gates asking the person on the other end of his telephone call to “get the chief” and “what’s the chief’s name?” … Gates then turned to me and told me that I had no idea who I was “messing” with and I had not heard the last of it.

    I can only imagine how many hundreds of times the Cambridge police have heard some arrogant little snot of a Harvard frat boy utter variants on that same claim to privilege. The Cambridge police also well know that frats only claim privilege when they know they’re in the wrong and they need to weasel out the consequences. When Gates played the privilege card like a frat snot, Officer Crowley immediately suspected that Gates was up to something and was trying to intimidate the officer into backing off and not investigating further.

    He was also most likely seriously pissed off. Back in college, I marveled at how police officers restrained themselves when dealing with the arrogant abuses of frats. I saw first hand how much cops hate frats. They hate being sneered at and verbally abused by drunken 18-year olds whose only accomplishment in life was being squeezed out the right birth canal. They hate having to deal with people who cause trouble just because they can and they’re bored. They hate the fact that all too often frats do manage to escape the full consequences of their actions while children of their own class and background usually do not. When Gates claimed the same unearned exemption from standard practice, Crowley would have been angered no matter how professionally he acted.

    Gates is lucky. If he had been a young, white frat, playing the privilege card most likely would have earned him a hood bounce and a slow release owing to mysteriously slow paperwork processing . Instead, he had the President of the United States leap to his defense, he’s going earn a great deal of money and he gets to play the martyr for his key demographic.

    If this was a “teachable moment,” what did we learn? Gates has learned what frats have long known. Privilege is sweet for those who have it.

     

    33 Responses to “The Privilege Card”

    1. fred lapides Says:

      This was a private home and not a frat (snot) place–you dislike Harvard, right?
      too bad Gates did not gun him down. That would show him.

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      I still don’t know if Gates showed his driver’ license or his Harvard ID to Crowley.

      I read somewhere that it was the latter. That would not have a home address. What it was meant to do instead was say “Me, Harvard professor, you dumb cop, me bigshot, you nobody”. What it also would mean is that far from Crowley being confronted by an angry but proven home owner, he is confronted by a guy who has not shown he lives there, acting increasingly psycho and abusive.

      Since the legal proceeding has stopped, we will never get all the facts, or sworn testimony from the witnesses. Too bad.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapidies,

      This was a private home and not a frat (snot) place…

      Doesn’t matter, it was the same attempt to use social rank and status to bully a police officer. The fact that it happened in a college town simply means that the police there routinely encounter such attempts from people like frats and faculty. This would make them more sensitive to attempts to intimidate.

      The truth is that Gate’s didn’t act like an innocent person who innocently had to force the door to his house. He acted like somebody caught in the some illegal act who was trying to bully the cop into not investigating further. The very fact that Gates immediately pulled rank and tried to intimidate Crowley, signaled to Crowley that something might be wrong. For all Crowley knew, Gates was in the middle of an ugly divorce and had forced the door when his wife locked him out of the house. Maybe she was laying unconscious upstairs. Crowley had no way of knowing that Gates was just a hysterical bigot who assumed that all white people were out to get him.

      I would go so far to say that all cops regard all attempts to pull rank as an indication of a guilty conscience. Innocent people don’t usually try to call the chief of police or make threats they have a lot of power because they assume that once the circumstances are explained the cop will leave. Gate did everything wrong. His lifetime of obsessing over racial injustice caused him to lose control and behave like someone caught in the act.

    4. Mule Says:

      My brother worked as a campus dispatcher for a rather “privileged” university in Dallas (the closest thing you’ll get to Ivy League in Texas). He tells stories of sorority girls calling the campus police to get a ride to class because they would have a hard time finding parking at that time of day. And he also reiterated the correlation between the privilege card and that student’s family – more money equals more privilege (sounds like an American Express commercial).

      The grey line between Dallas PD and campus PD always seemed to grow larger once the student’s lineage was disclosed, with neither side wanting to take charge in the case of a large donor or connected family.

      Unfortunately, the parents are as much to blame since they serve as the enablers for this type of behavior. Would it kill them to show little Johnny or Suzie some real world repercussions when their kids do stupid stuff?

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Mule,

      Would it kill them to show little Johnny or Suzie some real world repercussions when their kids do stupid stuff?

      I think that most wealthy parents actually do a good job of this. When I was working security, I saw several cases of parents coming down hard on irresponsible children. It’s simply that when they don’t, it’s a lot more obvious. I poor kid who shop lifts doesn’t stick the mind the way a drunken frat breaking a window does. I think its really a minority who try to play the privilege card but the ones who do play, do so repeatedly.

    6. Joshua Says:

      As I’ve pointed out in comments on other blogs, it’s not enough to say “Don’t you know who I am?” Every so often at least, you (or at least your connections) have to make good on the threat implied by that question, lest the privilege card lose its value as the “little people” figure out they can call your bluff without fear of repercussions.

      Gates’s stunt was a show of dominance. The subsequent public ostracism of the arresting officer and the person who reported the incident to police was a method of reinforcing that dominance for all the world to see. As the old Chinese proverb goes, “Hang one, warn a thousand.”

    7. ArtD0dger Says:

      The most extraordinary characteristic, not just of Gates’ actions but of the identity politics movement in general, is their gambit to secure their own privilege cards, thereby rejecting the fundamental liberal principle that there can be no privilege. They thereby have chosen Hobbesian competition with traditional privilege holders – the wealthy, the high-born, the royals, as well as the priestly and soldiering classes. Do they expect to best these contenders, or are they so naïve to think that all parties will perpetually affirm their elevated status? Across the ages, privilege holders have only maintained their status through violence and ruthlessness. Yet the decision to pursue privilege is mutually exclusive of basic liberal tenets, such as the principle of equal protection.

      Shannon, this is a great post and I think you have probably described the mindsets of the players accurately. Nevertheless, I cannot tell from reports whether Crowley was acting appropriately, or merely attempting to trump Gates’ privilege card with his own. There’s a lot of that going on, too.

    8. tdaxp Says:

      Shannon,

      Your post is easily disposed of, as a collection of bigotires and non sequitors.

      I can only imagine how many hundreds of times the Cambridge police have heard some arrogant little snot of a Harvard frat boy utter variants on that same claim to privilege.

      Irrelevent.

      . The Cambridge police also well know that frats only claim privilege when they know they’re in the wrong and they need to weasel out the consequences.

      Poorly phrased. If you replace “know” with think, then your claim concerning the bigotries of the Camrbdige police force may be true. I don’t know. I don’t go around slurring police forces like that, though, so I won’t agree.

      However, the subtance of your claim apperas to be that young males in college fraternity are only claim privilege to avoid responsibility. This is obviously false. People claim privilege for all sorts of reasons, including avoiding responsibility, avoiding unfair hastles, getting laid, and so on.

      However, as Dr. Gates is neither in a fratnerity nor a “boy,” the sentence is irrelevent.

      When Gates played the privilege card like a frat snot, Officer Crowley immediately suspected that Gates was up to something and was trying to intimidate the officer into backing off and not investigating further.

      Obviously, this assumes a slure, but let’s dispose of the entire sentence before the first comma so your sentence can be taken seriously.

      So, is your assertion that if someone is non-servile to a police officer, the officer has probably cause for arresting him?

      Or is this only the case in Camrbridge?

      Or only the case if the citizen is in a frat? Or a “boy”?

      He was also most likely seriously pissed off.

      It’s obvious Gates was.

      Crowley was too.

      Too bad Crowley let his emotional state interfer with his professional to this extent.

      Back in college, I marveled at how police officers restrained themselves when dealing with the arrogant abuses of frats.

      Many police officers are professionals, and worthy of the badge they wear. Too bad Crowley is not in this number.

      I saw first hand how much cops hate frats.

      What other groups do cops hate?

      To what extent does this impact their professionalism?

      What is the appropraite reaction of a group that is hated to police, upon the breaking of their home’s entrance by a policeman?

      They hate being sneered at and verbally abused by drunken 18-year olds whose only accomplishment in life was being squeezed out the right birth canal.

      In your opinion, then, do cops view all Harvard professors as identical with these “boys”?

      . They hate having to deal with people who cause trouble just because they can and they’re bored.

      The other officers must really hate to deal with Crowley then!

      They hate the fact that all too often frats do manage to escape the full consequences of their actions while children of their own class and background usually do not.

      Not sure what is meant here. I am unaware of pending criminal charges against Crowley, which implies an amazing rant of de facto immunity from the consequences of one’s actions.

      When Gates claimed the same unearned exemption from standard practice,

      No idea what you are talking about here.

      Crowley would have been angered no matter how professionally he acted.

      I thank you for repeatedly bringing up Crowley’s emotional volatility. I hope future inquiries into this consider it.

      Perhaps, in a just world, his sentencing may involve anger counseling, medication, etc., for what you imply to be a debilitating rage issue.

      Gates is lucky.

      I do not feel that being deprived of liberty and property by what you describe as an angry, hate-filled cop is being lucky.

      y. If he had been a young, white frat, playing the privilege card most likely would have earned him a hood bounce and a slow release owing to mysteriously slow paperwork processing .

      Are you implying that the Camrbdige police unconstitutionally deprive individual’s of due process and abrogate the judicial function for themselves?

      I am really surprised how your post implies much for systematic and substantial violations of the constitution in Cambridge than I have heard elsewhere.

      Instead, he had the President of the United States leap to his defense, he’s going earn a great deal of money and he gets to play the martyr for his key demographic.

      Too bad all victims of human rights abuses are not so fortunate.

      Still, your anger at Gates for this is bizarre. Do you also despise other high-profile victims of violence, if their plight is highlighted in the media?

    9. Bill Waddell Says:

      Tdaxp – you certainly took up a lot of space to say absolutely nothing.

    10. ElamBend Says:

      Tdaxp,
      Let’s start with the premise that the arrest was unjustified (something I believe and I think Chris Hitchens expounds on well: http://www.slate.com/id/2223673/ ).

      However, I also completely understand Shannon’s take on the issue. Unless Crowley’s report was complete fabricated, it is clear that Gate’s first reaction to being asked for identification was to a) act like a blow hard and make it a racial issue [his right and not illegal, but boorish] and b) to claim superiority based upon who he was [not illegal, but definitely boorish] and c) try to fix a situation by using his influence “Get me the chief.” Crowley’s questions were completely valid, there had been a 911 call about two men forcing their way into the house and indeed it turned out to be Gates and his companion. If a police man comes to such a situation AND finds that the door is broken, it’s reasonable for him to ask the person at the door to identify themselves.

      I had Shannon’s same reaction that it seems part of Gate’s response was that he felt he was beneath having to deal with the police because of who he is.

      Having been the president of a fraternity at an Ivy league school, I can attest that relations with campus police are completely different and more friendly than with the local PD. We always tried to work with the police when they came around and keep a low profile and I never saw anyone in my fraternity claim immunity due to their wealth (which many certainly had). I have seen some people at the school act boorish to public servants, “I could buy you,” but I’ve seen others act like jerks based upon nothing else than that they ARE jerks.

      What I found most offensive about Gate’s attitude of victimhood is that it is a farce. He had the President of the United States speaking up for him. His attitude makes a mockery of a young black man in a poor inner city neighborhood who knows that they better avert his eyes and not make trouble because the policeman has great power over him WILL come out on top in a he said-he said argument. Only three people yell at cops, the stupid, the drunk and those who think they can get away with it. Gates knew he had nothing to be afraid of.

      However, the stories Shannon relates are penny ante, the wider point is that down the road, these same people may commit larger offenses OR may need government short cuts and may just get them because of who they are. This is one of the reasons I do not like further involvement of government in the economy. The move the government is involved in our lives, the more who you know will matter. We’ll never get rid of the power of influence, but we should avoid increasing its value.

      I believe that Shannon is not asking that you not condemn Crowley, but to recognize that merely that Gate’s reaction was very telling.

    11. Shannon Love Says:

      Tdaxp,

      What other groups do cops hate?

      Do you have some arguments that don’t begin with the premise that all cops are bigots? I mean, that’s what it all boils down for you doesn’t? Gates was black, Crowley was white and white people are evil therefore Crowley was in the wrong.

      I’m sorry my post confused so badly. Let me boil it down for you. (1) The attempt to play the privilege card is a suspicious act in and of itself. People who play the race card are usually trying to intimidate an officer into not investigating further. (2) Cops who work in college towns know this because they have to deal with a subset of the children of privilege.

      Sorry if you couldn’t grasp that.

      The really sick thing here is that if Gates had been up to something, say he’d forced the front door so he could attack his wife, and Crowley had deferred to Gates as you claim in hindsight he should have, you would now be claiming that Crowley’s deference was actually just racist unconcern for the safety of African-Americans. You would claim that Gates’ belligerence and playing of the privilege card clearly should have been warning flags for Crowley but he just didn’t care about what when on in a non-white household to push Gates.

      Face, no matter what the facts were, Crowley was always going to be wrong in your eyes because….hey…in your own words what other groups do cops, as a class, hate?

    12. Occam's Taser Says:

      Ironically, Officer Crowley’s displayed far more class (and courage) than Gates could dream of displaying. Can anyone imagine Gates attending a meeting with an accuser that was hosted by President Bush?

    13. plumpplumber(balding) Says:

      Shannon, some folks ain’t ever gonna get the point. Perhaps he would feel differently if he was in actual physical danger and was counting on the aforesaid “racist” cop to save him. You see, effiminate leftist liberals don’t have a clue when it comes to actual physical harm. The way that Gates was blustering was a clear signal that something was up. How can you expect a protected effiminate liberal male to understand that? Crowley looks at Gates and see a perp with something going on, and had to make sure that there wasn’t anyone in danger.

      Now, I know that it isn’t PC to point out that most white rich kids that demand such “privilege” are worthless, however, someone has to deal with them until (1) they kill themselves in a DUI, (2) get hooked on something they can’t break free of, (3) move on to greener pastures and inflict themselves on others. Someone made the comment that Gates was threatening Crowley with the destuction of his career and livlihood by his threats while Crowley was merely taking Gates into custody where his liberal creds would get “polished” and come out to rave reviews.

      Well, here’s another point of view. We now know that Obama is a racist, and holds law enforcement in contempt. His further actions have emphasised the point, to where the average white person now understands that this man means to destroy our way of life. It’s out in the open now, and really, without Gates, we wouldn’t have such public knowledge of this cancer in the Presidency. And, just for contrast, compare how Crowley has acted, and we’ll see the judgment of the average white voter on this race-baiting marxist. What, average white folks don’t have the right to a point of view? Well, that’s racist, in and of itself, and the free ride for race to be used as a weapon of destruction is over with. Race hustlers such as Obama and Gates won’t be protected anymore by white guilt. We now get it – nothing we can do will satisfy such hustlers, so forget these people. The Police have the task, however unpleasant, of dealing with such folk everyday, so let’s remember them in our prayers.

    14. tdaxp Says:

      Bill,

      I agree my comment was much longer than it needed to be,.The substantive portion is one sentence long (“Shannong, Your post is easily disposed of, as a collection of bigotires and non sequitors.”) The rest is a sentence-by-sentencfe reuftation of what Shannon wrote. But as most of my criticisms are obvious, I can see how many could have stopped reading after the first sentence.

      ElamBend,

      I generally agree with your comment.

      I agree the arrest was unjustified, and Gates was rude to a caller.

      When dealing with a cop like Crowley, however, asking for management is entirely justified. I do so whenever CIS Border Patrol is confused, which at airports is a good deal of the time.

      However, if Galtes “felt he was beneath having to deal with the police,” he would have closed the door, and ended the situation. Rather, he was attempting to deal with a specific, incompetent, and dangerous police officer in a way that protected himself. Gates succeeded in this. There is photographic evidence of Gates being arrested, recorded evidence of Gates demanding to speak to a supervisor, etc. Because of Gates’ clear thinking in a dangerous situation, who knows what false charges Crowley was not able to press.

      Gates attitude of victimization is certainly wrong-headed. However, he has the right to believe what he does on his own property. Crowley, however, does not have the right to break an entrace without probale cause. Thus, while Gates pecadillo is on for the social gossip column, Crowley’s should lead to his dismissal and prosecution.

      If Gates had the rhetorical sense to say “This is what happens to a home owner in America,” he would have been able to gather support from the Kelo-hating right-wing. Instead, he pandered to an equally quixotic strand of grievance-based politics on the left.

      I believe that Shannon is not asking that you not condemn Crowley, but to recognize that merely that Gate’s reaction was very telling

      I am not sure about this. If so, then Shannon’s post is best read as an analysis of his mental state, as opposed to an analysis of the situation. It readss like an attack on Gates, however. Perhaps Shannon could clarify?

      Shannon,

      I note you did not answer any of my questions. Instead, you redirect the conversation. Out of kindness I will respond to your new points, but out of intellectual honesty you should respond to mine.

      Do you have some arguments that don’t begin with the premise that all cops are bigots?

      You are the one that argued that Crowley was angry and hateful, not me.

      Thus, it is your argument, not mine, that cops are bigots.

      I was wondering what other groups you believe that cops hate.

      I mean, that’s what it all boils down for you doesn’t?

      Again, you are the one that argued that Crowley was angry and hateful, not me.

      Gates was black, Crowley was white and white people are evil therefore Crowley was in the wrong.

      I do not understand. Are you arguing that I believe this (in which case, what is your evidence), that Gates believes this (inwhich case, what is your evidence), or that you believe this? None of those perspectives makes any sense.

      (1) The attempt to play the privilege card is a suspicious act in and of itself. People who play the race card are usually trying to intimidate an officer into not investigating further.

      What other forms of political speech are suspicious acts in themselves, according to you?

      (2) Cops who work in college towns know this because they have to deal with a subset of the children of privilege.

      If this is relevent, then why was Crowley viewing Gates as a child, a boy, etc. Gates is obviously an adult, and neither a child nor a boy.

      The really sick thing here is that if Gates had been up to something, say he’d forced the front door so he could attack his wife, and Crowley had deferred to Gates as you claim in hindsight he should have, you would now be claiming that Crowley’s deference was actually just racist unconcern for the safety of African-Americans.

      What evidence do you have for this? I mean, besides your own race-based narrative of the world, etc.

      Face, no matter what the facts were, Crowley was always going to be wrong in your eyes because….hey…in your own words what other groups do cops, as a class, hate?

      You are the one that argued that Crowley was angry and hateful, not me.

      Occam’s Taser,

      He did, as Crowley “accused” (that is, arrested) Gates on false charges that were immediately dropped.

      Plumpplumber(Balding),

      Someone made the comment that Gates was threatening Crowley with the destuction of his career and livlihood by his threats while Crowley was merely taking Gates into custody where his liberal creds would get “polished” and come out to rave reviews.

      If this is true, so what?

      Gates has the right to speak out against a government official, the freedom to use a press to publish reasons that official should not have his job, the freedom to petitition for the removal of the officer, etc.

      Crowley is a public servant who has only the powers granted to him to function. These powers do not include arresting people without probable casue to protect his own career.

    15. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I think your observations have more to do with Harvard than with fraternities. Fifty years ago, when I was working my way through college (admittedly a less prestigious one than Harvard), fraternities were the cheapest place to live on campus and I was thousands of miles from home. I grant that they may be less egalitarian today, after a period in the 60s when they were almost completely eclipsed in college life but the changes in college life (That I observe from my youngest daughter currently a student at a state U) today from 50 years ago make the fraternity effect difficult to sort from the general debasement of behavior. Most universities have eliminated the old cheap fraternity house and forced everyone to live in university housing where the greek organizations become less practical and more of a social luxury. I would probably find a state university student less obnoxious than a Harvard one regardless of affiliation. MIT might be another matter.

    16. plumpplumber(balding) Says:

      Here in Texas the Texas Rangers have a saying that goes something like this-“You can’t stop a good man whom keeps on coming.” What that means is that Crowley is showing these racists up at every level. Imagine the dismay in the leftist-marxist camp as the wheels come off the Obama machine. Is he finished? Hardly. But, even reasonable democrats are realizing that he is a marxist. And what’s worse, that he is going to kill off a lot of elderly folks thru Obamacare and rationing. So, what’s next? As he loses more support and trails more blood in the water, well, the MSM hypocrites are gonna find “religion” and turn on him trying to salvage their credibility. Good luck with that….Human nature being what it is, when folks fall off the bandwagon, they have to work double hard tryin’ to prove just how bad Obama is. Look for his college papers to miracleously “surface”, and many other things come to light in a belated effort to vet this con artist. Some things never change, and the various charachter flaws that were carefully hidden are gonna bust out into the light of day. I reckon that the rot in Obama’s soul is deep, and we’re gonna observe a lot of things that are gonna horrify average white folk. You see, Obama hates us, and is determined to reeducate us. Sound kinda familiar? So, I applaud Gates and his attitude of entitlement, and I can’t wait to see what is exposed of Obama’s soul next.

    17. Anonymous Says:

      Not much question that Obama hates this country and loves tyrants. A rancid soul.

    18. Shannon Love Says:

      Tdaxp,

      I’ll do a post in more reply. You’ve obviously have no idea what actually happened and instead are just arguing from a prefabricated narrative. I’m going to have to break things down for you so you can understand why an attempt to intemdiate a police office who is asking perfectly reasonable questions in the context of the circumstances is suspicious.

      I’m sorry if I confused you by my example of the frats.

    19. Plumpplumber(balding) Says:

      Shannon, I was once advised not to urinate into the wind. Seems apropos.

    20. tdaxp Says:

      Shannon,

      I will look forward to your post in reply, though I hope it has less of the ad hominem attacks.

      I am happy you won’t be comparing professor gates to a drunk, a 19-year-old, or a boy.

      I hope that you will explain what forms of political speech and petition you believe are criminal to issue in front of a peace officer.

    21. Bill Waddell Says:

      Tdaxp,

      You have missed Shannon’s point comletely. You really need to go back to the original post and read it, making at least a minimal effort to understand it.

      I doubt that you are willing or able to do so. Your statement, “Too bad all victims of human rights abuses are not so fortunate” indicates that you have drinken the liberal KoolAid so long and deep that you are beyond rational thought.

      A full professor at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, pulling down a reputed quarter million plus dollars a year, in a city with a black mayor, in a state with a black governor, in a country with a black president claiming that black men like him can’t catch a break because of systematic racism is so absurd it is beyond the pale.

      How you can see him as a victim of anything – especially human rights abuse – is ridiculous. At best, the incident was a misunderstanding; at worst he was abusive and in the wrong; but there is no rational way of looking at Gates or this incident and concluding that he is a victim of anything. If having a cop treat him rudely is the worst that happens, Gates should get down on his knees and thank God for the blessings that have poured down on him, enabling him to live a life beyond that which most Americans of any color can dream.

    22. tdaxp Says:

      Bill,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You have missed Shannon’s point comletely. You really need to go back to the original post and read it, making at least a minimal effort to understand it.

      I gave a sentence-by-sentence refutation of Shannon’s post. If you disagree with any of it, please say so. Broad-brush comments, such as the one you begin your comment with, indicate an unwillingness to engage in intellegent discussion.

      I doubt that you are willing or able to do so. Your statement, “Too bad all victims of human rights abuses are not so fortunate” indicates that you have drinken the liberal KoolAid so long and deep that you are beyond rational thought.

      No idea what you mean by this.

      A full professor at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, pulling down a reputed quarter million plus dollars a year, in a city with a black mayor, in a state with a black governor, in a country with a black president claiming that black men like him can’t catch a break because of systematic racism is so absurd it is beyond the pale.

      If by ‘beyond the pale, you mean quixotic, I agree! As I said:

      “This is what happens to a home owner in America,” he would have been able to gather support from the Kelo-hating right-wing. Instead, he pandered to an equally quixotic strand of grievance-based politics on the left.’

      If by ‘beyond the pale, you mean illegal, I disagree.

      How you can see him as a victim of anything – especially human rights abuse – is ridiculous.

      How so?

      If you are so willing to criticize people you meat online at ‘drink[ers of] the liberl KoolAid,’ perhaps FoxNews contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano can convince you. [1]

      At best, the incident was a misunderstanding; at worst he was abusive and in the wrong; but there is no rational way of looking at Gates or this incident and concluding that he is a victim of anything.

      As you are obviously wrong, I obviously disagree. [2]

      If having a cop treat him rudely is the worst that happens

      Sadly, this was not the worst, as Crowley also violated Gates’ liberty and property.

      Gates should get down on his knees and thank God for the blessings that have poured down on him, enabling him to live a life beyond that which most Americans of any color can dream.

      Your grievance-based rhetoric is interesting. When I was reading your comment, I thought ‘thank God for the blessings’ would be immediately followed by ‘for being born in the United States, a free country where the Constitution guarantees his rights.’ Instead, you focus on a class-war angle.

      The Right’s betrayal of conservatism is interesting. [3] Your concluding paragraph is an example of this great divorce.

      [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/07/31/crowley-violated-the-federal-constitution.html
      [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/07/31/henry-louis-gates-american-hero.html
      [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/08/01/the-rights-betrayal-of-conservatism.html

    23. Bill Waddell Says:

      Tdaxp,

      Your blathering seems to know end. You apparently are trying to make a point, but it is impossible for me to grasp. Let’s keep it simple. Can you please explain in a brief, factual, logical manner how Mr Gates, a full professor at Harvard making $250,000, a year is a victim of human rights abuse?

    24. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

      Can you please explain in a brief, factual, logical manner how Mr Gates, a full professor at Harvard making $250,000, a year is a victim of human rights abuse?

      Bill, can you please explain how a person’s yearly salary makes them immune to human rights abuses? I mean, I could go there now and string Gates up, put a burning cross in his yard — but not abuse his rights because he makes $250,000 a year?

      Your argument seems to come from the “grievance-based” perspective Dan mentions. Since so many others, perhaps yourself included, don’t make 250k/year, anything done to Gates would be justified. This is reminding me of the French Revolution, and I’m wondering if I should start looking for the guillotine.

    25. Anonymous Says:

      Curtis,

      I will take that as a “no” – you cannot explain in a brief, factual, logical manner how Mr Gates, a full professor at Harvard making $250,000, a year is a victim of human rights abuse?

      I will take a crack at answering your question, however.

      In fact, I do pretty well financially, which makes Gates all the harder to understand. It seems to me to be a rather parallel situation when I was stopped by the Mexican police not once, but three times, driving from one side of Culiacan to the other. I did nothing wrong, but was accused of concocted traffic violations for the purpose of extorting money from me. All around me were Mexicans driving like maniacs, as anyone who has driven in Mexico would understand – but none of them were stopped. I was singled out because I can be spotted as a Gringo from a mile away.

      It never occured to me to scream at anyone, or to claim that I know powerful people, or to call in the press or the American consulate. In fact, while I was miffed at the inconvenience (it made me late for a wedding) and did not enjoy having to pay out 3 X $20, I viewed the whole thing as a rather amusing incident – fodder for a goood story to tell when I got home.

      I felt that way because I have lived a good life. I have been given the opportunity to have a good education, a good career, and live well … just like Mr. Gates. On the whole I am very, very grateful for the country I grew up in that made such a life possible. On balance, a minor hassle – like mine in Mexico or like Mr Gates in Cambridge – is an insignificant blip on a great looking radar screen.

      There are lots of people in this world who are very legitimate victims of human rights violations. I go to places like China, South America and deep into Mexico and see them up close. These are people whose day to day existence is in doubt – people who have suffered and continue to suffer incredible hardship, all at the hands of oppressive government officials, or at the hands of some very bad people who are able to operate outside of the law. These are children who are likely to never see the inside of a classroom or a real medical facility. I would be embarrassed to compare my trivial inconvenience at the hands of a Mexican cop with theirs.

      And I find it incredible that you, or anyone else, would classify the Cambridge cops asking the professor for his drivers license as a ‘human rights abuse’. To me, that trivializes the very real abuses in this world, is an insult to the people who suffer from them, and makes the professor look like a spoiled, rotten brat.

    26. tdaxp Says:

      Curtis demolishes Bill’s rhetoric quite handily.

      Still, to answer Bill’s question:

      Dr. Gates’ right to property (specifically, his ability to control access to his own home) and right to liberty (specifically, his ability not to go to jail) were both violated by Crowley, without justification and without cause. I give major props to the prosecutor and CPPD for swiftly recognizing this, dropping the charge, and apologizing to Dr. Gates. Hopefully, there will be some justice in this situation, and Crowley will be disciplined, dismissed, and tried for his assault on Gates’ constitutional rights.

    27. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

      Anonymous (Bill?),

      The thread is called “The Privilege Card” and Bill Waddell’s brief comment specifically introduced the 250k/year wage and place of employment. The inference is that these aspects are the most important consideration for judging the facts; the wealth and professional position have in fact been raised repeatedly in the thread as a justification for what happened to him: as if rudeness in a would-be aristocrat (back to the French Revolution analogy) automatically means he has forsaken any right to civil rights.

      Dan’s repeatedly outlined the actual abuses of civil rights and the Constitution relative to this case, here and at his own blog. If you/Bill Waddell want to focus on a discussion related to said civil rights, and whether or not they were abused, no mention of professional position and yearly salary should be necessary.

    28. Ginny Says:

      I am curious how a policeman is supposed to act when he is told by a neighbor that two people have broken into the house next door and he arrives; noticing that the door has been forced, he asks the person within for identification. He is met with anger, but he realizes that this may be feigned; he also finds the person unwilling to leave the house. He realizes that although most of the time this means that the homeowner has lost his key and is short-tempered, it may also mean that this is not, indeed, the homeowner. Other, probably rarer options might be that the homeowner either doesn’t realize that the person who has broken in remains (dangerously) in the residence; less likely is that the homeowner is speaking, knowing a loved one is a hostage within the house. As unlikely as some of these sound to some of us, police regularly have such encounters. And anyone who thinks these kind of tensions aren’t a part of a policeman’s day does not know what domestic disturbance calls are, why police dread them, and why they are dangerous.

      Then, there is the “you don’t know who you are dealing with” and my friend is chief of police, mayor, governor, president. This is seldom the choice argument of those who see our system as one of laws and not of entitlements. Such priorities are, of course, not attractive to someone whose job it is to enforce those laws.

      When my mother-in-law died recently, I was surprised the police appeared as she was being taken to the hospital. But, as they politely told me, this was the procedure in a death. I thanked them for their care, even if their care was to take down the particulars of her death from my sorrowing daughter and me, then later from my husband. I appreciated the fact that they were viewing this as important, in whatever formal way they communicated it. I feel better that our police department is skeptical; I do not want one that is credulous.

      Txdp’s last statement indicates why a policeman such as Crowley might feel endangered himself by charges of racism by Gates. The police are not always polite and they are not always right. Most of the time most policemen do the best they can – not knowing how to read minds. They have developed procedures designed in terms of the safety of the public and the police themselves. Asking them to not follow those procedures when faced with such arguments as Gates is not likely to lead to greater safety.

      Shannon’s argument that police are especially irritated by those invoking privilege comes from the deep recesses of those who know that the rule of law (merciless as it sometimes seems, unfair as a fallible human version of it might be) is more likely to protect – and even at its worst, at least make predictable – the lives of the poor, the minority, the misunderstood. In this case, procedures were developed to protect; the next domestic call that is met with such bullying tactics as Gates’ is likely to be problematic for the officer who arrives at the door.

    29. tdaxp Says:

      Ginny,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I am curious how a policeman is supposed to act when he is told by a neighbor that two people have broken into the house next door and he arrives; noticing that the door has been forced, he asks the person within for identification. He is met with anger, but he realizes that this may be feigned; he also finds the person unwilling to leave the house

      That is an excellent question.

      I doubt the answer is falsely arresting someone for disturbing the peace, or to falsify a police report, or to break into a home without due cause.

      Then, there is the “you don’t know who you are dealing with” and my friend is chief of police, mayor, governor, president. This is seldom the choice argument of those who see our system as one of laws and not of entitlements. Such priorities are, of course, not attractive to someone whose job it is to enforce those laws.

      I was under the impression that the polic were charged with enforcing the law, not in using violence and intimidation in order to punish those who speek in petition in ways the police find personally annoying.

      Txdp’s last statement indicates why a policeman such as Crowley might feel endangered himself by charges of racism by Gates.

      He may well be.

      Crowley’s fear for his source of income does not give him the right to falsey arrest individuals, or break into their homes, or fabricate police reports, or…

      Most of the time most policemen do the best they can – not knowing how to read minds.

      I agree, which is why Crowley’s criminal behavior is such a tragedy. It tarnishes the good name of those thousands of police who respect the Constitution.

      They have developed procedures designed in terms of the safety of the public and the police themselves.

      I sure hope this is the case.

      Can you indicate in what procedure are officers instructed to enter a premises without probable cause, or falsley arresting a homeowner, or fabricate a police report?

      Asking them to not follow those procedures when faced with such arguments as Gates is not likely to lead to greater safety.

      I agree, which is why the blaise acceptance of Crowley’s bizarre behavior is so disturbing.

      Shannon’s argument that police are especially irritated

      I am not sure what the purpose of this sentence is, unless it is to indicate the manner in which Crowley lossed his good sense. In other words, such an argument may be used to defend him in a criminal trial against intentional malice, if instead his defense argues that he suffered a temporary loss of control due to rage, etc.

      While Crowley has been unable to present a consistent picture of why he acted the way he did, a criminal inquiry into his violation of Gates’ constitutional rights would shed some more light on this situation.

    30. Bill Waddell Says:

      My dear Tdaxp:

      From YOUR blog dated July 31, 2008: http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/07

      “Like a child who has learned to make a scene, Obama has long since learned that people will go easy on him if he complains about racism while speaking standard American English. Having likely received every position he ever held because of his race, a world without affirmative action is a world inconceivable to Barack Obama. Whenever things do not go well for him, Obama has learned to complain of racism. What a cry baby.”

      Yet when Shanon makes essentially the same point concerning Mr Gates – the champion and poster boy for Affirmative Action – you wrote of “the hateful and idiotic comments made by Shannon Love and other loons at Chicago Boyz,” and of “Right-wing extremists, such as Shannon Love and other lunatics.”

      Does your hypocracy know no bounds?

    31. tdaxp Says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      You earlier stated that I have “drinken the liberal KoolAid so long and deep that you are beyond rational thought.” Now you criticize me for a very un-liberal attack on Obama!

      Does your hypocracy know no bounds?

      Or do you retract your earlier statement?

      Likewise, you note that I dislike certain political stands taken by Obama.

      In my understanding of the American constitution, this gives me a good reason to vote against him.

      You note that you dislike Gates for similar reasons.

      In your understanding of American politics, this seems to give the police good reason to deprive him of liberty and property!

      Does your support for tyranny know no bounds?

      Or is your comment merely empty rhetoric?

    32. Seerov Says:

      I can see tdaxp’s tactical reasoning here for defending Gates Constitutional Rights. This kind of logic can be used to argue against affirmative action, or America’s loss of freedom of association, or any future losses of freedom of speech. But I guess what I don’t quite understand is tdaxp’s version of what happened? Crowley was reacting to a situation that could have been dangerous. When he got to the house he asked Gates for ID and Gates replied about “being a black man in America.” After Crowley asked him to step outside Gates said something about “meetin’ yo mamma outside.” Tdaxp makes it sound like he ran in the house and instantly arrested him. Gates also wouldn’t give a straight answer about where the other guy was? So if tdaxp is pushing the Constitutional angle for future tactical battles, then that’s OK, becuase this is over-with anyway, so we might as well try to gain some political ammunition for the future. Tdaxp is generally on the Right so his taking on this Constitution uber allis position shows consistency. I’d just like to remind tdaxp that the left doesn’t care about how “fair” you are, or how “symmetric” you appear to be. They’ll smear you a “racist” and ruin your reputation even after 30 years of solid liberal attitudes. Noble Prize winner James Watson learned this the hard way.

    33. tdaxp Says:

      Seerov,

      Thank you for your comment. It was well thought-out and I enjoyed reading it a lot.

      After encountering so many irrelevent tangents (i.e., lkjasdf’s [1] and Kelly’s [2]), as well as the class warfare [3] and bizarre half-truths [4] that fill this thread, I was despairing of any hope of a dialog here!

      My points are on the tactical nature of the Constitution and Crowley’s outrages.

      1. I see what you mean by “tactical reasoning,” but I would put the importance of the Constitution higher than that. It is a strategic or even grand-strategic concern. The Constitution is the greatest legal ruleset in the history of the world. When we violate it, we are in a tremendous amount of danger. You are right that Leftists (and Rightists) are both unreasonable, and will never stop their namecalling or false accusations. A strong Constitution protects us from these factions. When we begin destroying the constitution because it fits our class-war or race-war narratives, however, we destroy that which protects us.

      2. I apologize if I gave the impression that the arrest immediately followed the home invasion. This is not true. Indeed, Crowley committeed three different outrages at different times. This argues against any mental imparement defense, as it is a consistent pattern of actions.

      The first outrage was to enter Gates’ home without just cause or invitation. This seems to have been done as part of Crowley’s over-zealous polic work. In other words, if it is a crime, it is a crime of incompetence.

      The second outrage was to arrest Gates’ after Gates’ criticized him. This seems to have been done either because Crowley was annoyed by the content of Gates’ political speech, or else because Crowley was afraid that Gates would later petition officials to remove him from the force. In other words, if it is a crime, it is a crime of censorship.

      The third outrage was to falsify accounts of the reason for the call. Both Crowley’s written and oral accounts (none of which are consistent with the others) claim that the reason he was out there was because a witness had seen two black males with backpakcs on the front porch. This was not simply not true. In other words, if it is a crime, it is a crime of cover-up and framing.

      We must defend the Constitution, and we must fight those men who oppose it.

      [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/08/03/you-are-always-nearbye-1945.html#comment-296719
      [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/08/02/the-deluded-class-warfare-of-the-american-right.html#comment-296703
      [3] https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/8425.html#comment-325340
      [4] https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/8425.html#comment-325310