Monday, August 10, 2009

The Gates Thing Again...

CNN provided an article that asks a salient question. The title is about conservatives and their ability to be consistent, but the bulk of the article is about the Henry Louis Gates affair. In the interest of full disclosure I should say I read a book by Professor Gates once and understood it...

I should also say I'm about as moderate as you can get. I purposefully ask for directions to the middle of the road on just about every issue. In any event, a friend of mine who is quite a bit more liberal asked me recently about politics and the conservative ideology and I said, listen to Rush Limbaugh. We listened together right after the Gates thing exploded and I predicted Rush would be on the side of Prof. Gates. Man's home is his castle, government intrusion, etc. Then Rush came on and gave me the exact opposite of what I expected. It was all Gates's fault, the police were in the right even though the full details aren't disclosed. According to Rush Limbaugh, apparently, a man's home is not his castle, the police have a right to be in your living room even after you've proven you're in your own home, and the police have a right to arrest you if you're not fawning when you ask them to leave.

Now I wonder, if Professor Gates had a fully licensed and permitted handgun in his hand when he answered the door what would Mr. Limbaugh (and the NRA) think about arresting him? He certainly would have appeared more threatening, no? Would Rush have said he had no right to have a firearm? Sounds like it. Of course, if Officer Crowley had knocked on Mr. Limbaugh's door with the same questions, and Mr. Limbaugh somehow wound up arrested, I assume his next show would have been filled with mea culpas and explanations about why he (Limbaugh) had acted so badly...

Of course, as the article does mention, neither side has a monopoly on inconsistency. Any way the wind blows seems to be the slogan for both sides. It's to be expected - the world is a pretty complicated place. Liberals want the government to regulate everything except marijuana. Conservatives want the government to deregulate everything except marijuana... Gets confusing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Uncage Me - The Review

Friend Terrie Moran took a look at the greatest antho ever published - Uncage me! And she liked it. I could, of course, excerpt the part where she calls my story heartbreaking, but that would be self-serving, and I promised myself when I was just a wee lad back in Glasgow never to use my blog for self promotion or aggrandizement...

About the antho, I will say that it will change your life*.

Anyway, I'm just hoping that we also get reviews at Mystery Scene and in EQMM.

* Well, at the very least you'll have lost a few irretrievable hours...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Justin Barrett

Barrett is suing Boston. If you don't know Justin Barrett, he's the Boston police Officer who sent out a mass email (including one for public consumption to the Boston Globe) in which he called Professor Henry Louis Gates a jungle-monkey (as opposed to a zoo or circus monkey) He believes that while President Obama shouldn't speak about a case when he knew only a few of the details, it was alright for him to pass judgment on the case while knowing even less - after all, a friend of Mr. Gates might be forgiven for thinking they at least know one side of the story, Barrett doesn't know Gates or the arresting officer, Crowley. Still, he claims to know that the situation was handled correctly, maybe even with leniency since he claims he would have used pepper spray on Gates. How would he - a two year veteran - know the situation called for pepper spray? Well, Gates is a jungle monkey. Clearly, pepper spray would have helped things.

In any event, Barrett is suspended and likely to be fired. Of course, some court might find against Boston and for Barrett. But I don't see how he can make the argument that he can still serve as an effective officer. Could he ever arrest a black man? Or any other minority? Wouldn't a defense attorney love having to question Barrett in front of a jury? How would that play out? "Officer Barrett, you've publicly called one black man a jungle monkey. Did you call the defendant any racial names while putting on the cuffs?"

"Officer Barrett, I see you're in your police uniform. Were your klan robes still at the dry cleaners?"

Would Barrett be quick to provide backup for an officer who happened to be black? Even money.

Would he be quick to use a gun against a black suspect? Clearly, since he'd have the pepper spray out to deal with a situation that 15 year veteran James Crowley handled without the spray.

Crowley might have overreact.I tend to believe that a person in their own home can dance drunk and naked without being arrested. Clearly the outcome wasn't optimal for anyone. Still, thank God this wasn't Barrett's beat.