Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Mess

Barack Obama was asked to comment on the recent arrest of noted Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The President stated, among other things, "the Cambridge police acted stupidly."

I wouldn't be a bit surprised. But should the President, who can't know all the facts, make such an accusation?

(The police claim Gates told them "you don't know who you're messing with." Now that's acting stupidly.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

being angry for being arrested in your own house does not lead to rational statements- funny how the idntityof the victim influencesthe libertarians' fear of government intrusion.

3:14 AM, July 23, 2009  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

Actually I think both statements were wholly accurate and reasonable under the circumstances, LAGuy. The police obviously did not know they were "messing with" someone who could command the attention of the President of the United States. And it was quite mild compared to what I might have had to say under the circumstances. As to the President's statement, the police are trained to deal with people who are irate in a calm way -- it's part of their job. Someone should have to get mighty far out of line before you arrest them for disorderly conduct in their own home.

5:49 AM, July 23, 2009  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I hate it when Harvard professors getthe who/whom choice wrong (with whom?, with me, not I; with him, not he). But maybe he was misquoted.

9:50 AM, July 23, 2009  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Anon's comment, as far as I can tell, is a double non sequitur, so I don't know how to respond.

QueensGuy: I don't care if you're the governor--challenging an officer in a tense standoff is stupid. I have been hassled by the police more than once for being where I was allowed, and even supposed, to be. I wasn't happy about it, but (perhaps being less full of myself than a Harvard professor) I avoided lecturing and/or accusing the officer (Gates, we know, was uncooperative from the start, and didn't even answer questions he was asked) and kept my composure. Ultimately nothing happened. I expect Gates would have had the same result if he had done the same. Cooperation in general is probably the best way to avoid false arrest. And even if it does happen, there's not much you can do until afterward. As for claiming the police are trained to deal with irate people, this doesn't back your argument, since we don't know what happened (just like the President) and apparently their training told them this was the right thing to do.

Denver Guy: As I've argued in the past, I believe there's a different standard when speaking than when writing.

10:58 AM, July 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The president speaks for everyone. This is a local clash. Even if he knows one of the players, he shouldn't be taking sides.

11:38 AM, July 23, 2009  

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