Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lawyers, Drugs, and Money

What can I say? I've been spending my day opining all over the blogosphere and Facebook that when a police officer asks for your ID, you show it to him without arguing. I believe that any guy, black or white, who starts yelling at a cop will most likely end up arrested. Maybe we should stop the knee-jerk liberalism already, what with seeing racism behind every interaction between the law and an African-American. It's as bad as my right-wing friends who espy socialism or totalitarianism or both, for heaven's sake, lurking behind every single government program.

And I like Gates's writing, dammit. I just think he was jetlagged and went off the deep end.

Anyway, here are two (opposing) views on the situation, one that disagrees with me and another that takes my point of view. I think they both have their merits.


What is it with the Internet that makes me want to spout opinions? I don't know.


Theo had all his wisdom teeth removed this morning. Larry brought him home still woozy from all the drugs, which was sort of scary and sort of cute all at the same time. As he sat on the couch with his ice packs, he asked, "Where's Dad?"

And I'd tell him, "He went to the pharmacy to get your painkillers."

And he'd say, "Oh."

5 minutes later, puzzled, he'd ask again, "Where's Dad?"

"He went to the pharmacy to get your painkillers."


That went on for about an hour until the sedatives wore off. Maybe if I got some of that stuff for Anna, she'd be more pleasant?


I was worried (more than usual) about David this summer - according to him, he'd read "everything" (that statement might just be true, actually); and he was B-O-R-E-D bored. Once he came back from his one-week Boy Scout camp, I rather desperately searched the Internet for another affordable camp (none), badgered him to take tennis lessons (no dice), and fretted to Larry that July would be intolerable with David sitting around and staring at the wall.

Ha! The joke's on me - the boy discovered solitaire, which makes him perfectly happy. Good thing I didn't have any money to throw at that problem, eh?


  1. 1. agreed about the liberalism
    2. I don't know either, but I like the articles you link us to
    3. At least you understood what he said, when I got home from my wisdom teeth my mom didn't understand anything, so she just gave up and ignored me. I really really wanted some ice cream.
    4. I think you should teach David to knit. Takes up a lot of my time and is very useful.

  2. David learned to knit when he was 6, actually. But he's not interested in taking it back up right now. Too bad!

  3. I don't know--I used to think exactly as you did, but the more I've studied issues relating to race the more I think that there is a subtext in encounters that black men have with police that I, as a white, middle-class woman, will never be able to understand.

    Interestingly, I think this is true even when the police officers are themselves black.

  4. David coming out of sedation sounds like my Grandma (with dementia) every day.

    The one time my daughter was sedated for a medical procedure she went to fairyland for a few hours. It was hilarious.

  5. A couple of things to comment on today. I think I'll stick with David.

    My boys also hoard a little. I throw things out when they are not home. I also don't throw out everything. Just a little at a time.

    If he does not have a cell phone with unlimited texting, I would get him one. This changed everything for both my boys. The process takes 3 to 6 months, but they will find other kids and get phone numbers. My boys are both outta the house this summer after their friends text them their location. I am loving it!!! Very psyched they have friends to hang out with.

    Boys take a little longer to develop social friendships sometimes than girls. I have never had a girls parents cry at a parent conference that their daughter has no friends, but I have had too moms to remember cry about how unhappy their sons are.

    I got the kids involved and excited about music too. They both cave up with their sax or guitars and practice for long periods of time. I got them loving it by taking them to rock and jazz concerts. Many are free outside in the summer. And, I am paying for lessons which really adds up.

    ....sorry. I don't think you probably wanted/or needed all of my advice. I just love working with kids. I try to hook them up with new friends in math class by mixing up their seats. I think I have even made some "love" connections by mixing up the girls/boys. Nice.

  6. AnonymousJuly 23, 2009

    This does not only happen to African-americans. One time I went out with a girlfriend and we wound up sitting in my car outside her house and chatting for a long time. Suddenly this flashlight is shone in my eyes and there is a cop there demanding id. Some neighbor had gotten nervous about a car idling outside the house for so long latish at night. My friend realizing what was happening totally lost her cool! She started yelling, "I can't believe this! We are sitting here talking outside my own house! We are doing nothing illegal and yet we get harassed by a cop!" And I'm yelling, "He doesn't know that, you idiot! He's just doing his job! Do you want to get arrested? Shut up!" The cop was very amused at our little spat. My friend went the enraged route, I went the practical, show your id to the cop and be happy they are doing their job to protect you route.

    But she became a hippie Buddhist and I went to law school. So I guess we were just tempermentally different to begin with.

    I really like Gates, too. I watched his documentaries on Africa and on finding his African roots and thought they were incredible! I think, unfortunately, unfair things happen in life and sometimes people don't respond the way they should. Too bad the media heard about it.



  7. Were you sitting at my supper table last night? I said the exact same thing. It was jetlag. Seriously, the guy've very smart (love hearing him speak whether or not I agree with him on the particular subject). I think next time he needs to take some melatonin on the return flight.

  8. I think that should be "guy's", not "guy've". I need more coffee.

  9. Hey Suburban, nice to meet you :)
    Hmm...interesting. Suzy from Where Hot Comes to Die wrote me this morning with a warning about Thai police in the Bangkok airport (I'm heading there this weekend), and how they're following tourists into duty free stores in the airport and accusing them of shoplifting. If, however, the tourist pays a hefty fine, they get off. Police problems, huh? Thailand's got 'em....

  10. I have absolutely no intelligent comments to make regarding the whole Gates issue. I DO think it's much harder to be a black male in American than, say, a white male. On the other hand, people tend to make things worse on themselves. I mean, was it Mel Gibson who wasn't content to get pulled over drunk, he had to start spouting anti-Semitism? (I may be thinking of the wrong celebrity.) Unfortunately sometimes you just have to go along with Authority, something I'm currently trying to teach my five-year-old.

  11. I'm glad your kid found solitaire--he'll be all set for when he goes off to college and needs to stall before writing term papers (hahaha).
    Hope your oldest boy feels better soon.
    I'm somewhere in the middle on the whole Gates thing--I feel bad that it happened to him, but angry people + cops always = ticket. They find a way, even if it's for a busted taillight.

  12. Wouldn't it be great if we could drug all our kids?? Okay, I'm kidding, sort of, but you know you know what I mean.

  13. AnonymousJuly 24, 2009

    I thought Gates had given prove of identity and was mad because the officer didn't want to give him his name and badge number after they knew that it was really his house? But then maybe I got that wrong...

    The whole story hasn't really made it overseas, yet.

  14. Gates was angry at the officer right away. The officer asked him to step outside (at the beginning) and Gates refused. Then Gates refused to show ID. Remember, the officer had been called to the house by a concerned neighbor - he couldn't just walk away and say that he didn't know whether Gates lived there or not. The officer then entered the house and Gates showed him ID while yelling at him.

    The source you quote is Gates's media baby. Check out the accounts in the New York Times.

    The only things under dispute are whether the officer refused to give his name and badge number, and what tone the officer took with him. Also, whether the officer had a right to book him for public disturbance (Gates followed him outside and was yelling at him in front of a crowd of onlookers).

    It turns out that the officer (far from being an ignorant bigot, as many people - including Gates - are trying to paint him) teaches a racial profiling class (alongside an African-American officer) at the police academy. This sounds like a misunderstanding all around. Gates probably has never had to deal with a policeman and doesn't understand that they use the same dispassionate, abrupt tone with everyone. The officer probably snapped after being yelled at for just doing his job and humiliated in public. Gates all but accused him of being a bigot.

    My point is, Henry Gates is no Rodney King. But Gates is escalating this to the point where no mediation, no apologies are possible. If he wants the police to apologize for booking him, he needs to apologize for yelling at them for simply doing their job, and insulting them to boot. Several people have pointed out that it's not against the law to yell at someone. Technically, yes...but next time you're stopped for a suspected traffic violation, try it and see how far it gets you.

  15. My husband after he had a kidney stone removed last year was a sweet as he has been in a decade. Gave me hope, it did.

  16. I so agree with you on the whole Gates thing. I don't want to pretend that I know what it's like to be a black man in America, but like you said, listen to the cop. If you need to vent, to do it later or file the complaint if you feel the incident was racially motivated.

  17. Hope Theo's recovery went well! MusicMan had an incredibly easy recovery, which was good: I needed his leftover pain meds when my tooth began demanding a root canal 12 hours prior to our 12-day vacation.