LAUGHING MATTERS — Last week’s column “Ferguson or Fergustan?” brought a slew of e-mails. (Technically five or more qualifies as a “slew.”) Some of the emails didn’t even seem all that complimentary. Actually, “irate” is more like it.
One was from “southieluvit.” (FYI, “Southie” is also short for S. Boston racked with violent racial clashes 42 years ago.) The subject line of Southie’s email was “Why don’t you write about this?” Hmm… interesting.
Curious, I eagerly opened Southie’s missive. I was immediately greeted by, “You know nothing!” and “you’re just one of the idiotic writers in this liberal Daily Press!” Hmm… ouch.
Southie complained that I write about white cops killing African-Americans but never the reverse. He also included a link to a rather dubious “Twitchy” website reporting on a Salt Lake City killing of an unarmed white man by a black cop. I say “dubious” because the website featured a mean-looking Uncle Sam pointing his finger reproachingly, “Say no to illegal aliens!”
Twitchy didn’t use “undocumented” or “illegal immigrants” but “aliens,” as if they aren’t even human. Curiously, their Salt Lake killing article was alongside one about Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards. (And no, Miley didn’t do any twerking.)
Ms Miley didn’t even accept her VMA. Instead she sent a strikingly handsome homeless man who accepted “In honor of the 1_ million homeless and runaway youth in America.” I sense soon Miley’s homeless beau is going to be a Calvin Klein model. (But first he has an outstanding arrest warrant in Oregon! Oops.)
Back to Salt Lake where unarmed Dillon Taylor, 20, was killed by a black cop. To Southie’s complaint that I didn’t write about it, actually I didn’t even know about it. I suppose that’s his point and, on that, it’s well taken.
However, I was put off by the website’s reader comments including, “I guess when a black cop kills whitey, it’s no big deal.” (Sounds like Southie?) Hopefully there’ll be a thorough investigation, which ultimately enables justice and the same happens in Ferguson.
Speaking of Ferguson, imagine for a minute its population was 67 percent Caucasian with a police force 93 percent African-America. Ludicrous? Yes, except the reverse happened in Ferguson. And imagine instead of Michael Brown’s it was Dillon Tayor’s body that lay in the street for 4 _ hours. Inconceivable? And yet the reverse happened.
A tip-off that Twitchy isn’t exactly impartial were the exaggerated photos of Obama and Biden and a caption “Fire Andrea Mitchell.” That said, Google “Dillon Taylor” and decide for yourself.
Now for Southie’s contention that we’re outraged by white cops killing blacks but not when it’s reverse. First, the number of black cops killing whites pales against the other way around. Within the past month we’ve had three cases of blacks killed in very suspicious circumstances by white police.
Southie’s implied contention that one tragedy balances the other is a false equivalency. It completely ignores who’s had power in this country for the past two hundred years.
Some of the critical emails blamed Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for exacerbating racial tension. And yet, both men attended the protests for Eric Garner’s chokehold death but there were no riots in New York City.
Why no riots? Because NYC has community policing and their Police Chief and Mayor took met the media immediately and were adamant that chokeholds are illegal. Seemingly clueless, Ferguson’s Mayor dodged reporters’ questions and said there was “No problem.”
Yes, absolutely we must wait until the investigations in Ferguson, St. Louis and Staten Island are over before judging. But on the surface it looks very bad.
In Ferguson, of the 53 police officers only three are black. One of my readers suggested that blacks weren’t on the Ferguson force because “To do so requires a high school diploma.” Honestly, that email so depressed me I couldn’t even muster a response.
Including a bloody and devastating Civil War, after all America has been through to achieve civil rights it’s beyond tragic that racial tension is so prevalent. But there’s also hope.
On Monday, Michael Brown’s funeral was held at a Ferguson Baptist Church with 4,000 mourners attending, including Jackson and Sharpton. (Whose stirring eulogy called for social change and community policing.) And yet there wasn’t a hint of street violence.
There may also be hope in utilizing police body cams that might benefit citizens and police alike. Early statistics reveal that where body cams are used there are drastic reductions in citizen grievances, police brutality cases and costly civil suits.
And finally, there’s hope in that since Ferguson the subjects of race relations and police practices are being discussed more openly in the public square. And that’s a good thing. You’d think. Personally, I’m reserving judgment until after this week’s email from Southieluvit.
To promote police body cams Google “Petition for Michael Brown law.” Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or firstname.lastname@example.org.