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Sunday, July 26, 2009


After a spot of the deep thinking which will characterize these pages, I have determined that what this country truly needs is
  1. Yet another blog
  2. Yet another discussion of the run-in between the professor and the cop.
Re point 2: The facts remain in dispute, and are likely to remain so indefinitely. (Even if the White House beer bash results in the warring parties making nice, this results at most in a third set of facts, which while mutually agreed on will not necessarily be accurate.) If in lieu of the truth we apply Occam's razor, the following results:
  • Cops who feel they have been abused will find a way to get a bit of their own back. Disrupting the perp's day by placing him under arrest is a popular one. That charges were quickly dropped does not invalidate this as a tactic; it still cost Professor Gates significant amounts of time and perhaps money.
  • This tactic can be and in fact is used on victims of all races, colors, and creeds. Think how often you've read that demonstrators have been arrested en masse and were later released without being charged. That's pretty much the same thing. It does not constitute evidence of racism, prima facie or otherwise.
  • It is, however an abuse of police power: as president Obama quite sensibly commented, there is no excuse for arresting someone in his own home when it's clear no crime has been committed.
  • Anyone who dwells on Gates's alleged misbehavior or how dangerous police work is and how we owe them respect may be correct, but if they go on to justify the arrest, they show no understanding of the point made above. They are happy to live in a police state (presumably, only so long as it's people they disapprove of being its victims.)

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