More about the Gates arrest

I guess I should have expected it, but it surprises me yet
again that there are so many people trying to hard to sympathize
with the policeman rather than with Professor Gates.

Both the comments on the news items and the conversation after
band rehearsal last night reveal a remarkable portion of the
population (mostly but not entirely white and male) who really
want to believe in the face of all the evidence that people in
authority know what they’re doing.

Probably not all of these people have been reading the blogs
and news items as avidly as I have. But the band member who
seems to be in that category kept saying, “There might be things
we don’t know.” I pointed out that we now have the story from the
point of view of both major participants, and then someone else
said, “And one of them makes the police department look bad, and
the other one makes it look really bad.”

Here’s the police
report
, which in my opinion does not justify an arrest even if
it’s all gospel truth, and here’s Gates’
story
as told to theroot.com.

This is all pretty much what conversations were like during the
Anita Hill testimony about Clarence Thomas. There were a lot of
men who thought, “This couldn’t have happened because things like
this don’t happen.” And not all women necessarily believed that
everything happened exactly the way Anita Hill said it did, but we
all knew lots of cases of things exactly like that having
happened.

Of course, as a Cambridge voter and taxpayer, what concerns me
most right now is that as reported in the papers, the Cambridge
Police department seems to be most urgently concerned with
tracking down who leaked the report. Of course, in this case I’m
sure there are things we don’t know. I certainly hope one of
them is some better training and supervision of the officers on
the street.

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