Translate this Blog

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vulnerable Profile

The events that unfolded in Cambridge during the week in July 22, 2009 are similar to hundreds (if not thousands) of events that have played out in this country over many decades, in many cities, towns and communities across this nations. They were events that are not supposed to happen any more but ultimately still do. A black man is arrested by a white police officer for some reason (legitimate or not) and a lot of people weight in with their opinions as to that legitimacy without knowing what actually happened.

I go on the record as saying I don’t know what happened. I can say why, however. At least one participant did not use the best judgment in his/her actions. This includes ALL the people who weighed in on the matter without considering the ramifications of their statements. If profiling is a factor in this debacle, just who has profiled who? Did the white office use a profile to determine the threats of Mr. Gates. Did the President of the United States use a color profile on the officer as a “blue pig”? Hasn’t a lot of Americans profiled this same officer as being offensive to African-American men?

In the CNN web stories they stated: Dennis O'Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, also took aim at Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who reportedly has characterized the arrest as "every black man's nightmare and a reality for many black men." I believe that it is immaterial whether this arrest was legitimate or not, the scenario remains a nightmare for innocent men who find themselves in any situation where an office of the law is involved. Therefore, Govenor Patrick’s statement is valid.

CNN continued with: “Echoing the words of Crowley, O'Connor said he was dismayed that the president and governor would opine on the issue without all the details.” Yes it is important to get the facts first, something that (here comes an opinion) most news outlets and sources have eschewed Post-Cronkite.

It is fortunate that Mr. Gates was not hearing impaired or did not reach for his wallet to provide identification and that Sgt. Crowley was not either Sean Carroll or Edward McMellon. What a nightmare it would be to be hit by 19 of forty bullets because of the impressions in the minds of a group of armed men.

Tough situations that go from bad to worse where one or both or all parties are incrementally wrong in their actions deserve apologies and all attempts to defuse the matter before they go really sour. Emotions seem to lead the way after they are first sparked.

I agree that minority males are disproportionately at risk for maltreatment and that constitutes a Vulnerable Geometry for which there is no excuse. We have a long way to go toward equality for everyone. Our only explanation is that our laws are less than 50 years old that assert that equality. Our Constitution is only 233. These documents are supposed to undo several thousand years of “an eye-for-an-eye” attitude. And this assumes that everyone actually believes in those ideals and wants to abide by them.