Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obama Was Right

Now that more facts are in, it is becoming much clearer that President Obama was right in stating that it was stupid for Officer James Crowley to arrest Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home. More than stupid, I think it was outrageous. That said, I think Obama, Gates and Crowley, don't really understand what went down.

Any right thinking American should feel the same way as Obama that it was stupid for Gates to get arrested. But I don't think the arrest was about race, it was about power and control. It was about the individual versus the state.

It is very difficult on many occasions to know completely why men act the way they do. Are either Gates or Crowley racists? Who really knows? Gates is married to a white woman and therefore his children are half white. It is reported that Crowley performed mouth to mouth resuscitation on the black Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, when Lewis collapsed and then died because of a faulty heart. Race issues, from a distance, aren't easy to determine about Crowley and Gates. The power and control issues are much easier to understand.

Unfortunately, if President Obama brings Crowley and Gates together, we will have never ending television talk about racism in America. The talk should be about the individual versus the state.

Here's what I think went down.

Gates was in his home, when he found Crowley on his porch. He had to have been shocked. I know I would be shocked if I found a police officer on my porch. I don't think I would have reacted the way Gates did, but he clearly has a sensitivity to people on his property. Note that in all accounts, he was clearly attempting to call some police station, whether it was the Harvard University police or Cambridge police is not clear. That suggests to me that he wasn't sure who was on his porch or why, and he was trying to get the matter resolved.

By all accounts, Gates asked to see Crowley's ID. Gates said Crowley did not give it to him. Crowley says he did.[It should be noted that everything else Gates has stated about the incident, though not always flattering to him, appears factual. This is not the case, as you will see, with Crowley] Maybe Gates misunderstands the purpose of Crowley being on the porch, or just doesn't like being told what to do, when asked to step outside by Crowley. Remember, Gates is a big shot prof at Harvard and he built an internet site that he sold to Time-Warner for $10 million plus. I promise you in his daily routine, no one is ordering Gates around.

In Crowley's daily routine, he is always ordering people around. "Step out of the car." "Put your hands up against the wall." Most people comply because they know the cuffs are coming out next, if they don't. Instinctively, they no their command and control situation relative to a cop.

When Crowley asked Gates for ID, Gates complied by giving Crowley his Harvard ID, thus signalling to Crowley that he is a man of solid standing in the community and not a robber. So Gates, though apparently outraged by the cop being on his porch has done two things. He has attempted to reach a police department, and provides ID that not only shows his name but should begin to establish that he is far from a robber.

When Crowley continues to order Gates out of the house, Gates continues his ranting. As Crowley is leaving, Gates continues his rant. This is the equivalent of a farmer finding two poachers on his property. He goes in the house for his shotgun. When the poachers see the farmer and the gun, they run. The farmer, just to let the poachers know who is in control on his property, fires a shot into the air. Gates' continued ranting at Crowley is the equivalent of that gun shot in the air. "Stay the hell away," it means. "Don't ever order me out of my house."

Thus, Crowley was not in control. He did the only thing that police officers are used to doing in such situations, gain control. Arresting Gates was Crowley's attempt at gaining control. LOL, little did Crowley realize that Gates had bigger control cards than him, i.e. Barack Obama as a personal friend.

This forced Crowley to go into damage control mode, where he has been caught in contradictions. Here is Crowley during a radio interview, sometime after the 20 minute mark of the interview, he tells the interviewers, in a very convincing manner, that he told dispatch to slow the other cars down. But, on the actual recorded call to dispatch, he does the opposite, he says, "Keep the cars coming."

After Gates checked out as the resident of the house, if this wasn't about control, Crowley would have left, leaving Gates to yell and scream like a lunatic if he so chose. Since it was borderline loony, but not criminal.

Obama got this one right, it was wrong to arrest Gates. Command and control by government of private individuals going about their affairs is always wrong, whatever the situation, including healthcare. Thus, Obama gets it when his buddy is abused, but doesn't get it when he, himself, abuses the masses with his attempt at a command and control of the healthcare system, financial system etc.. A typical reaction for a command and control leader way out of control.


  1. Everyone knows that when a police officer tells you to do something you do it - immediately. They have the power, not us. You don't argue and rant and rave and freak out. That makes you look like a certified loony and gives them a reason to slap the cuffs on. Obama should not be commenting on these types of situations, it makes him look small and weak and nosy.

  2. I agree with you, Mr. Wenzel (mostly). There was a suspicion of a robbery, so the police had a reason to be there, but once it was established that there was no robbery and the person in the house was the owner, then the police had no more business there (no matter how much Gates ranted).

    Gates acted stupidly, but not illegally. There's a reason why you don't poke a bear, and there's a reason why you don't yell at police. But police aren't bears, they're humans. They have a hard job, but nobody is forcing them to have that job If they can't do it right (i.e., make the correct decisions about when they're allowed to use force, and when they aren't), then they probably shouldn't be police.

    In this situation, based on the facts I've heard, the police were wrong. They've already admitted that it was established that Gates wasn't a criminal, but the rightful property owner. Gates was no physical threat to anybody, but he got arrested on his own property for merely speaking his mind.

  3. @Anonymous

    Yes, and when the government tells you to bend over becasue that's the only kind of healthcare you are going to get, smile like a good little boy and do so.

    These are really the ONLY things Obama should be commenting on, excessive force by the state.

    And we should be ranting, everyday, about the state infringements on liberty.

  4. Wenzel,

    Agreed essentially completely (and disagree strongly with the tool Anon poster).

    This is about power, control and private property. Not just Gates' home, but his person, which the police officer apparently owns because he can slap some cuffs on him and haul him away just because he wants to.

    I disagree about Obama's role. The personal connection issue aside, Obama's role in this should be ZERO. He shouldn't even take it as an opportunity to speak out on a topic near and dear to our hearts (state control of individuals). He should shut up and mind his own business, something he doesn't seem to be disciplined enough to do. Then again, who expected a socialist, a person who is irresponsible by nature, to be disciplined?

  5. @Anonymous:

    So acting like a "loony" on your own property is grounds for being arrested? I would love to hear the moral justification for that.

  6. Obama, as head Executive, needs to rein in his cops. He won't. He contradicts himself in this case. He need not make this more of a spectacle than it is. For the short-term, then, they (the State) must conceal their willingness to use force. They will not do so in the longer-term. And Obama will be caught by his words, especially once the Civilian Security Force and the GIVE Act start sprouting green shoots.

  7. I have to agree that Gates behaved very poorly. It would seem that we are all products of our conditioning. Even a Harvard Professor.

    Racial profiling as just another form of conditioning.

    I think it is great that they sit down for a beer. It was after all Sgt. Crowley's idea.

  8. ""Here's what I think went down.""
    Your fatal error.