This sort of thing happens on small and large scales every day, with the level of suspicion far beyond what’s reasonable. The effect on society is destructive, and it sets a vicious circle into motion.
This all gives us a clue as to how views of the verdict can be so colored by race.
Sometimes, cases like Trayvon’s are hard to talk about productively, because we’re not really arguing about the same story. What story you hear when you follow the case depends on the experiences you’ve lived through. And your experiences are determined, in part, by the color of your skin.
Most of the time, there is a tragedy that overshadows the two fundamentally different views of what happened, so that it’s impossible to divorce the consequences from the mechanics. Not so when it comes to the story of 59-year-old Louise Goldsberry in the Herald-Tribune, where it’s about as clean and clear as it gets.
It’s basically a he said, she said story when the operating room scrub nurse arrived home from a day at work, only to find as she washed some dishes at her kitchen sink a guy outside in a “hunting” vest pointing a gun at her face.
Police use profanity to convey fear and the seriousness of their mission. They are also all pumped up, not knowing what they will find on the other side of the door. But to the ordinary person inside, it runs contrary to the whole Officer Friendly thing law enforcement has fought to perpetuate while arming themselves with tanks and drones. Police are our friends. Police are polite and respectful. Police would never, well, you know.
They eventually broke down the door, dozens of United States Marshals from the fugitive division, together with local cops and anyone else hoping to get an easy medal.
[Federal marshal Matt] Wiggins knows he’s a cop, so that means Gooseberry had to know. How could she not, since anything obvious to him must be obvious to everyone else? Duh.
Stories like this rarely reach the outside, as it’s “dog bites man” for newspapers. There was no blood, and without an emotional hook, who cares? But in these rare instances where tragedy doesn’t happen from the confusion, arrogance, self-serving stupidity and, well, First Rule of Policing, it lets us see clearly how easily tragedy can occur when the police, the zebra in the lives of ordinary people, just can’t grasp that the rest of the world isn’t anticipating their breaking down the door at any moment.
It also reminded me of this John McWhorter speech, reprinted in the Winter 2011 issue of Cato’s Letter [PDF], where he argues the war on drugs is behind “the strained relationship between young black men and police forces,” and racial progress requires ending the drug war.
If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, a libertarian is a person who has been the subject of police misconduct or lied to by the police.
“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”
You will respect my authitah!
End the drug war.
Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading. Oh, and pay “public servants” what they are worth.