some people can't be told you know
today, in cambridge, dr. henry louis gates, jr. was questioned by a police officer who was investigating a reported break-in at his house. best that can be deduced by the circumstances, gates had forgotten his house key, and had just done what we've all done before, which is break into his own home. so far so good. right away, a neighbor called the local police to report a crime in progress, (the eyewitness was right there to confirm it when the first officer arrived), and a confrontation and questioning of an unknown individual answering the description of the suspect was quick to ensue. also so far so good.
now here's where crazy meets crazy. first of all, and in a complete farce, i might add, the homeowner decided not to be appreciative of the local constabulary's interest in the security of his property, and set in to ranting about the intrusion. in this case, pops gates happens to be black and of a certain generation, so he sees white cop and cannot wait for reason to pull out the old race card. doesn't matter that he's in the middle of a reported crime scene and perfectly matching the description of the perpetrator, because he is, in fact, by virtue of breaking into his own home, ironically enough, actually the perpetrator. i don't mind saying this appears to me as so patently ridiculous a situation as to be the surest evidence that, in fact, it's gates who is the unrepentant racist--bellowing at a white cop for doing exactly what he's been trained and paid to do--but i'm just an old white guy, so what do i know.
next, and here's where gates will (unfortunately for us who will have to read about it) have his day in court--the cop gets so incensed about having been challenged, he finds it necessary, even after being assured of the identity of the homeowner to reasonably conclude it is, indeed, dr. henry louis gates, jr. acting like a three year old on his own front porch, he's compelled to lock the old man in handcuffs and haul him down to the station. off his own front porch. after the cop knew exactly who he was and for sure he wasn't the burglar as was first reported. for no better reason than (i believe) he feared his penis was too small, or something like that. because i can think of no other possible reason.
this was all so not necessary. one's a crazy old man whose entire view of the world is locked in a 1960's time warp, and the other is a plain and simple coward. henry, don't mouth off, just show him your ID. and, geez, mr. policeman, take a chill pill and walk away, will ya? just the wasted court time to let the idiot rant his racist polemics alone is too much bother, and we haven't even got to the part where al sharpton is going to be involved... nuts and nuts.