It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Right, or Selective Outrage is Impotent

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. – Frederick Douglass

Just a few thoughts regarding the latest in protest and violence in America post what strongly appears to be unchecked police brutality.

I’ve had conversations with friends, African-American friends in particular who voice either in word, social media and otherwise their frustrations and disdain for looters and folk who are burning buildings in Baltimore.  They’ve praised the mother who went Ronda Rousey on her son for participating in the riots.  They say, “I hate what I’m seeing on TV!  This is NOT the answer!”

What occurred to me was the history of the world, the history of this country.  Change from those in power to benefit those with less has rarely happened without violence and physical struggle.  I think of the Arab Springs in Syria, Egypt and Morocco to name a few over the last several years.  People had decided that they had enough of their oppressive and corrupt governments.  I think of the history of the civil rights movement during segregation and Jim Crow.  Hell, I think of the Boston Tea Party!  That struggle is glorified in history books.  My response to my friends has simply been to ask them, “Well what IS the answer?  What should they do?  Call the police?  (The same police who have one of THE worst documented reports of police brutality?) Write the police commissioner? What should they do to make the difference? None could give me any answers.  I sure as hell don’t have any either.

I saw President Obama this morning demonizing the looters.  But he can ‘miss me’ with that until he also demonizes the police who crushed a man’s spine and voice box while in their custody for simply running away from them.  Freddie Gray wasn’t wanted for any crime.  The knife he had in his pocket was of legal.  His downfall seems to be that he didn’t possess NFL first round wide receiver speed to escape his killers.  The President isn’t the only using all of his vitriol against those in rebellion.  Mass media and the direction or misdirection of narrative shaping is solely focused on the fallout from Gray’s death instead of the original sin of Gray’s death.  The truth of the matter is, I am not willing to listen to anyone who is not nuanced enough to have a real discussion regarding the cause and effect of what’s going on in Baltimore, what happened in New York, Ferguson and Oakland to facilitate community unrest.  I mean, how many times does this have to happen before there is a recognition of human nature; that if you keep putting a boot on people’s necks they are going to rise up?   It’s easy to tell people, “Keep on taking this ass whooping and burying your friends and kin to police brutality.  Organize and wait for the next election.  Have a church services, pray and forgive corrupt cops and the institutions that protect them.”  Historically that is not going to be a unified or sustained response.  Again, just check the history of anywhere in the world!  It ain’t gonna happen!

woman-beats-sonjpg-2d15cc53052a14ed

 

Furthermore, I am past the point of apologizing for the looters. Looting is something I have never done nor would I.  I was in Ferguson and it never crossed my mind.  It’s not my thing.  But why should I have to own the onus of those that do when my counterparts don’t own the burden of unarmed black boys and men being murdered by police?  Am I the only one (as an activist) that needs to make concessions here and take ownership?  If they want to isolate and tell me that all the facts aren’t in, then I will say the same thing.  Dammit we don’t know who burned down the buildings.  You got a name?  Have all the facts been gathered yet?  Has there been an investigation of who exactly started the fires?  What accelerant was used? At what point in each building was the fatal match thrown? …and by WHOM exactly?  Sound ridiculous?  I don’t know… Cause sure as hell we had Eric Garner’s death from start to finish on VIDEO and we saw how THAT turned out!  Mr. Scarface said it best, “Black men are being hunted!”

I have always been an ambassador of sorts.  I bridge gaps and intermediate many potentially explosive situations.  I’ve done it all my life.  It’s natural for me.  I love peace.  Thus I am a fan of Dr. King’s non-violent work.  Yet I have always understood the need for an armed movement like The Black Panthers too.  I don’t own a gun.  I don’t desire to own one.  But I do recognize that with non-violence it’s easy for the one oppressing you to get a little too comfortable believing no retribution is possible.  Having the thought that in the back of one’s mind that he can catch some hurt if he stepped to the wrong person or set of people is just smart negotiating.  In other words, Rosa Parks is going to sit on that bus, but Nat Turner may take a shovel to your dome!

Is that not how our own government deal with other countries?  It goes like this: “If you don’t act right, we may use economic sanctions. Or we may bomb the shit outta you!”

Finally let me bring this point home.  If something goes down at my house where I need help, I’m calling the police.  I have several friends who are police officers.  One is a high ranking member.  If I see one of those guys driving behind me, it wouldn’t phase me a bit.  As a matter of fact, I may try to flag them down and start a conversation.  Equally true, is that because of my own experiences with bad police, I am scared as hell when one gets behind me who I don’t know.  *Especially if he is white*  I’m on the road almost every day going to someone’s basketball gym, football field or baseball diamond.  Sometimes I am some very remote areas where there are rarely is any folk who look like me.  And the reality is this; On any given day I could be the next Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Eric Garner or Oscar Grant.  That ain’t hyperbole.  That’s real!  Look, I was on a field last week working a baseball game.  I saw two cops approach and started watching the game. I hadn’t done anything wrong, yet I was scared.  I wondered if they were there for me.  At the time there was a baseball game and a track meet going on right next to the diamond.  I didn’t see any faces of color anywhere.  My tensions didn’t subside till the police vacated the property.  And it’s not as if I am afraid of any man in isolation. But I expect danger and conflict from police who I know mostly operate with impunity.  But this is my life.  And the fact of the matter is, if it IS me, if I am the next to be murdered by police many detractors will believe that I somehow provoked it or deserved it.  Yes some of my white friends will say, “Well, he is a fiery guy!  You ever see his Facebook page?  He must have went off or took a swing at them…went for his gun.”  And this is how they will live with the lie that they tell themselves in NOT getting involved or using their own voices to promote an end to this bullshit!   If I’m lucky, others will rally for me as I have rallied for them.  I shouldn’t have to live with this conflict of having a cognitive dissidence of respecting police and their duties and yet fearing the one in the badge that is supposed to represent service and protection from REAL criminals.

11129541_968447506523064_7533847537631700471_n

So no I don’t pretend to know what black folk should do in reaction every time this happens to us.  But I do know that when white folk decide that enough is enough, things will change , and change in a hurry.  Folk like Baltimore Oriole’s COO John Angelos who said;

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Jeering at protesters is low hanging fruit.  Going after bad police, digging into the policies of oppression, mass incarceration and the roots of class warfare and suffering is HONEST!  OWN THAT and then we can talk.  Otherwise… See you after the next police led murder and cover up in a city near you.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Twist of Process, or Why We Don’t Trust Them

“Mark Geragos (CNN contributor) is going in about the results of this autopsy!  It doesn’t sound good for the cop’s argument!”   That’s what my wife yelled to me as she sat in the living room, and I in the basement.  We were both watching different news stations as they covered the events in Ferguson and the case for Michael Brown vs. Officer Darren Wilson.  I said to her, “Well that may mean something to The Feds.”

“What?,” she questioned.  “Well, (I elaborated), federal officials are the only ones who would seek to use such information as a means of why they should or shouldn’t prosecute.  Certainly The County isn’t.  They aren’t looking to seriously investigate a case that would hurt Wilson regardless of any facts.”   Then it hit her… “Oh yea,” she said.

This conversation brought to bear the inward struggle that many of us are facing in the midst of this ‘investigation’ and ‘waiting for all of the facts’ to come out from the state.  You see if Michael Brown had shot officer Darren Wilson under any circumstances whatsoever, he would have been arrested at the very least.  He wouldn’t be home receiving a pay check with enough benefit of the doubt  by authorities to keep Al Capone  out of court for tax evasion.  There wouldn’t be cries from authorities telling his family, friends and supporters to calm down, and wait for the investigation; all while strategically releasing information to defame the officer’s name and reputation.  There would not be a militarized police presence in Wilson’s neighborhood telling angry residents to go home, shut up or be pelted with rubber bullets and smothered with tear gas.  There wouldn’t be tanks in Wilson’s neighborhood.  There would be no photos of white friends of Wilson’s holding their hands up in surrender while several officers point automatic rifles at them.  No, in essence what we have if a reversal of fortune, a twisting of the process.  Those who are supposed to advocate for the death of an unarmed man and his family, are in reality doing the total opposite.  They are working 24-7 to convict Brown of being a menace to society;  A worthless thug worthy of at least 6 bullets including two to the dome for simply existing.  They don’t see Michael as a young man with a future ahead of him, on his way to college.  They see him as a wretch to their America; a nuisance to be tolerated only when totally necessary.  After all, they can no longer legally be enslaved and they can’t be made to go back to Africa.  What an inconvenience.

Ferguson

This sobering reality came crushing down to my wife as she pondered the thought.  Not that she didn’t realize it before.  For there is still something inherent in black folk that says, “If the evidence is there ‘they’ will pursue it and “they” will follow it where it leads. They have to!”   That county prosecutor Bob McCullough would actually do the job of pursuing the truth in the shooting of Michael Brown.   Alas it is not to be.  McCullough, the man who publicly scorned Governor Nixon for replacing his merry band of trigger happy police officers, the man in charge of leaking information condemning the 18 year old dead kid, is in charge of the evidence presented to a secret grand jury as opposed to public preliminary hearing.

As we talked more about the predicament we find ourselves in, we discussed our Caucasian friends, some who happen to be conservative and their reactions to what they are witnessing since August 9th.  As events have passed and information has been revealed, they have conferred with us to tap our hearts, to get our perspectives.  They see us as people who lean to what we believe is right regardless of one’s ethnicity.  She explained in this case some of our Caucasian friends seem to vacillate between, ‘Maybe the cop was wrong,’ and ‘Gee he may have been justified.  They are struggling with admitting that a police officer could actually be a sinner and do something sinful while in uniform.  That he could have biases, prejudices, and that he would act them out in the line of duty.  I told her that is absolutely the truth, but equally true is that people who feel this way also have a difficult time believing that the black people who are victims of these cops are legitimate people, citizens who are worthy of such considerations.  The first is easy to get them to admit to, the second, no so much.  But in uplifting the cop’s moral standing in one’s mind, you must downgrade the target of his affliction.  Can’t have one without the other.

Much has been made of the military-like presence with the police.  Some dress in fatigues as if they are in Fallujah and  many have removed their name tags so that they couldn’t be named if they themselves commit crimes against the citizens.  Are they attacked before they shoot, or are they challenging those in the streets protesting peacefully?  Regardless I question the tactics.  Why are they patrolling the streets anyway?  While they were in the streets Sunday night there was looting.  There hasn’t been any fighting in the streets.  The only conflicts have been between people and the police blocking paths and drawing lines in the sands.  If they are concerned about looters, who not stand in front of businesses instead?  I suppose that isn’t as much fun and confrontational.  After all, how often does one get to use the military equipment they got from the Pentagon for the ‘war on drugs?”  How often does one get to scream “Bring it on you fucking animals!” to a crowd of black folks he’s just waiting to sink his teeth of  hate and rage into?

Then there is the history.  If white people honestly think that this case and the anger of Black America is solely about Michael Brown they are deceiving themselves.  This case is on behalf of every black person who has been pulled over, arrested, beaten, or killed for merely being black, and the officers who gets away with it.  Locally speaking, go to any municipality among St. Louis County on traffic court night.  All you will see is black folk standing in a line long enough to wrap the building.  These municipalities get the majority of their revenue by giving out traffic tickets.  Doesn’t matter if it’s Ferguson, Florissant, Dellwood, or Hazelwood.  And don’t talk to me about population, because that would assume that the only drivers in their towns are residents.  And though every police study in these United States show that Whites are more likely to carry contraband, stops by the police don’t reflect the data.

As for this case, so far we know a few important facts.  In the biggest case of St. Louis County Police history, they not only are choosing to use a grand jury (secret) vs a preliminary hearing (public and standard for a felony potential crime) county prosecutor McCullough is assigning his assistant to do the case.  **Now we KNOW McCullough is pulling the strings and making all the decisions on whats presented and how it’s presented.** However, he won’t be the face of it.  In addition, Darren Wilson IS BEING ALLOWED TO TESTIFY TO THE GRAND JURY… (which I repeat is in secret)… (How often does THAT happen)  Consider too that McCullough has been legally challenged for decades regarding the amount of jury strikes he’s used against African-Americans.  What do you think the grand jury will look like? Lastly,  McCullough has said this process will take weeks or months.  Why is that?  This is not a whodunit, but the contrary.  Not to mention, if Michael Brown ‘bumrushed’ Wilson and beat the hell out of him as the county officials are alleging, that should be easily proven with hospital records and photos.   McCullough could end this quickly!  One would think anyway right?  I’m reminded of the Kermit Meme when he sarcastically says, “But that’s none of my business.”

As of Tuesday night supporters of Darren Wilson have collected over $25,000 for him.  The question is why?  He’s on paid leave.  In addition, he won’t be charged with a crime by the county.  In essence Wilson’s defense is already being paid by tax payers.  Seems to me the money is a reward!  A thank you for his part in keeping the tone and precedent alive regarding black male life.  As I told my wife, “This isn’t about Mike Brown to McCullough and county officials;  They do NOT want to send a message that any unjust shootings by a White police officer to a black male/female could be challenged in a court of law.  McCullough has the support of police for a reason.  It’s a long standing relationship.  Question one, and they would have to question every fatal shooting or beating going forward.  They are going to stick together on this one like they have previusly.  This is about precedence and a tone set throughout the area.  He is not going to be ‘that guy’ that prosecutes his own.

Some of our well meaning white friends are having a hard time with resonating with our position.  They love my wife and I.  They think highly of our character.  They feel we are exceptional.  We continue to try to dismiss that myth.  That we are not exceptional and more important, we are not the exception.  We are in the same boat as Michael Brown.  And truth be told, no matter what they think of us, if we were to be confronted and shot dead in the streets by a white police officer, they too along with many other white folks who don’t know us will believe it justified regardless of the circumstances.  What will it take to open their eyes?  A courageous exercise in self awareness and American history.  It’s a challenge for humans to perform.  For in doing so they would have to consider reevaluating so much of what they have inherently believed their entire lives.  Its the same challenges that exist when it comes to opening ones mind about their life long religious beliefs.  And that’s hard.  Especially when our White conservative friends are used to having their interest represented in a court of law.  They haven’t been hurt or labeled in the same vain as their Black counterparts in the justice system.

I mean… just look at this satirical yet truthful summation of events.  If this doesn’t confirm the hypocrisy, I’m not hopeful.  And I can tell you this, when they let Darren Wilson off, preserving the precedence,  history will yet again repeat itself.  Another black youth will be murdered by white police, and the same song and dance will be sung and danced by the same white people who have not confronted their prejudices favoring the cops while cursing the value of Black life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball, BackStopping and the Power of Unity

As I reflect on my experience during the 60 Hour World Record Baseball Game benefitting BackStoppers, there is so much that come to mind.

Many have asked how I became involved with this group of people.  It started when I donated time as a basketball referee for the World Record Basketball Game benefiting Joplin tornado victims.  I was so impressed with the dedication of the players, I knew I wanted to be a part of the next challenge they embraced.  When Chuck Williams sent me the email asking if I wanted to umpire for the 60 Hour Baseball Game, my answer was an unequivocal ‘no.’  I wanted to extend my commitment past a few hours and complete the entire task with the group.  That decision proved far more rewarding than even I anticipated.

With that said I wanted to offer a few shout outs to some very impressive people.  Please keep in mind that for me name recognition is limited and I am in no way trying to discount anyone’s contributions of whom I am not aware.  I am basically the new kid on the block.

320333_10150991044146630_197078686_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Traube

1) Steve Pona and Chuck Williams are some visionary and giving individuals.  I am  grateful to know them and to have worked with them.  In addition to their regular full time jobs, these charity events require a totally separate full time obligation in order for them to succeed.  These guys make it look very easy.  I saw much of just what they went through during the event let along before it to help make things run smoothly.  It only takes one or a small group to spark a fire for a great cause.  Steve and Chuck are a force to be reckoned with.

2) Michelle Bommarito Pona, and Cari Atkinson are warriors above and beyond the call of duty.  I can’t even count the amount of things they had their hands into from breakfast, lunch & dinner; to ice, managing logistical snafus, and last but not least dirty stinking laundry in the wee hours of the night after working all damn day!  Cari scared us a bit when she suffered some effects from the heat.  But she wasn’t going home until the deal was done.  I witnessed her arguing with EMS and Jeff Lange as she lay on the floor with ice bags all over her.  Even the Sargent (Jeff) couldn’t ‘detain’ her to house arrest.   I don’t think I recognized Lynn Coats by face, but she was so instrumental with helping me finalize my silent auction item.  Of course there were many more whose name I never learned.  But their faces were familiar throughout the process and we all leaned on one another.

3) My teammates (Liebe) were just awesome.  Great guys to hang out with who kept it light, fun and competitive.  Most of us proved extremely unselfish in being on time for shifts and picking one another up.  Some of us needed extra time for rest or to nurse an injury. The support was plentiful as it should have been.  The point was to finish strong together and we did just that.  Kevin Wheeler was a hitting machine who was really fun to watch.  Matt Savoi caught about 100 innings.  And lord knows how many innings Todd Hinderliter threw.  Through the heat, the midnight/sunrise hours, and the sore muscles, boy was it fun!  I had some of the best laughs ever, most of it laughing at ourselves.

4) Speaking of sore muscles, none of us would have made it without the help of our friends from SSM Health Care!  They became familiar with me rather quickly.  Many of us sought them for Biofreeze as if they were street dealers. “Give me just one more package!  I promise not to ask again!”  Seriously they took great care of us and were just awesome!

602493_533725927687_762347839_n

Baseball during 4th of July Fireworks

5) What I will remember about the opposition (Traube) most is that boy did they want to win.  After shooting out to a 30-4 lead, the few times we almost caught up they made their minds up to put it out of reach.  Sure we had a lot of light and care free innings.  But when I got picked off at first at 5 something in the morning I knew what time it was.  (LOL) Charity be dammed they wanted to win!  That was cool though as they are a great bunch of guys.  I don’t recall the catcher’s name but he actually helped me get out of my slump by giving me some suggestions about my approach.

6) Sponsorship was vital.  Liebe Lettering and Traube Tents provided great jerseys for both teams.  Great tents!  We truly thank all of the sponsors who donated time, food, balls, (Markwort) bats, (Area 51) clothing, and so on for lending their name and products.  Being pregnant with a vision doesn’t cost a thing birthing it out cost big $$$$$$$!

SSM Healthcare

7) I am so proud of my umpire brethren.   Before the basketball game for Joplin, I sent request to every basketball official I knew.  Unfortunately, though we had some support, there were plenty of times the guys had to call their own fouls and independently run their games.  The umpires commitment was so significant that I don’t recall seeing anything less than a 4 man crew for the entire 60 hours.  Even one of my crew chiefs who shall remain unnamed (Greg Willem) paid one of the other umps $5 to ring me up on a bogus strike three call. (100% true story) If that ain’t love I don’t know what is.

8) The BackStoppers family which was the motivation behind this entire event is something special.  Chief Ron Battelle is such a gracious and honorable man.  He’s one of my favorite kind of guys.  He walks softly and carries the proverbial big stick.  Not because he flaunts it, but just the opposite.  His leadership is founded upon and revealed within his heart to serve.  This is why people follow him.  Needless to say meeting Officer Matt Crosby, and Julie Weinhold and family brought the issue right at home.  It is for them and the 60 other current families being served by BackStoppers that made this all worth doing.  For these families whose loved one have given the ultimate sacrifice WE are grateful!

To all I say thank you for everything. I look forward to the next cause…the next act of love!

And lastly, don’t get it twisted.  The game is over but we are still taking donations!

The Group

Of Cars, Bars, Friends and Strangers

drunk_driving_626_article.jpg

Recently I went to a local watering hole to have a cold one while watching some Sunday night football.

While there I had a brief conversation with BR. BR is a respectable enough fellow. He proudly wore his Vietnam Veteran baseball cap.  Upon noticing it I thanked him for his service to our country.

Shocked he thanked me and said, “Wow I don’t get that too often. Since those days I’ve normally gotten the opposite.”

I assured him that regardless of the politics of the war itself he was a soldier following orders and he should never be faulted for that. I appreciated BR as an American and my thanks to him was indeed sincere. After that we dabbled in a little conversation about politics and since he was rather full of the vine he was kinda loud with it.

It was clear that BR had too much to drink. After a while as he was saying his goodbyes I asked him how he was getting home. He showed me his keys and started to stumble for the door.  I knew he had no business driving that Lincoln Continental in the parking lot so I tried to convince him to let me take him home.  He tried to convince me that he was just fine and didn’t need my assistance.  As he stated his case and started to make his way to the door he stumbled into my arms.  I looked him in the eye and said, “BR, I know you think you are OK and perhaps you aren’t used to another man challenging you in this area.  But this is not about that.  Screw pride.  You are in no shape to drive.  This is not a judgment on you, but a plea that you accept the help.

BR was a tough customer.  I sensed he wanted to let me drive him home but he didn’t want to leave his car at the bar.  I supposed the thought of trying to get it the next day was burdensome.  I had to go for broke and pull out all the stops.

“Where do you live BR?” 

“About a couple miles from here,” he said.

I told BR that I would take him home in his car and arrange my own way back.  This seemed to satisfy the chap.  I drove him in his car and when we got there walked him into his home.  It took about 10 minutes to get from his drive way to his side door entrance as the man was totally six sheets to the wind. 

How are you getting back he said?

I’m walking… but its cool.  I’m in excellent shape!  Have a good night BR.  See you around.

drunk-driving-stop-293x300

Fast forward to this past Friday:

I celebrated my daughter’s 21st birthday where she was looking to get inebriated.  Not that this was her first day of drinking, but first day of legal drinking.  She was great on transportation as she and her family on her mother’s side took a school bus where they all rode together. 

When I got to the restaurant/bar I tried to get some photo shots of the birthday girl with my blackberry and initially had trouble with the lighting.  I decided to check my car to see if I had my camera handy.  Upon walking out the door I noticed two women leaving and walking toward the parking lot.  Well sort of.

Really they were all but stumbling towards the parking lot.  If I were to estimate the level of intoxication of the two, I would say woman 1 was about a 5 on a scale of 10.  Woman 2 was an easy 9 at best.   As they looked at me one of them made some sort of comment and laughed as I walked by.  I went to my car to search for the camera.  After a few minutes as I locked my car door noticed woman 1 had escorted woman 2 to her car.  Woman 1 literally had to help woman 2 into the passenger seat.  Woman 2 couldn’t stop laughing at herself obviously amused at her state.  Woman 1 said to woman 2 between chuckles, Call me when you get home so I will know you are alright.” 

These two events are what prompted this post.

This isn’t about the drinker who has too many and decides to get in the car irresponsibly.  That’s because most of us understand the dangers in that and there are plenty of organizations to sound that alarm.  Not to mention we do have millions of alcoholics in our nation.  Alcoholism is an addiction and as such I understand that any addiction brings with it irresponsible behavior.  Driving while impaired is dangerous for any and everyone on the road.  That includes myself, my family and friends as well as any of yours. We get that?  Or do we?

My problem in these two instances were not so much the drinkers, but the other patrons and friends who see someone in a drunken state whether a stranger or worse yet a friend about to get behind the wheel of a car and let them.   Believe me when I tell you that though I took BR home that night, I knew him the least of everyone in that bar and not one of them was willing to help him.  They were fine to watch him possibly turn his car into a missile and hurt himself and or others.  Woman 1 whom I referenced seemed to have thought to come to a stopping point where she wouldn’t be so bad off.  Yet she had no problem putting her “friend” behind the wheel knowing full and well she was not capable of expertly handling that vehicle.  Why wouldn’t she take her home?  Why not call her a cab?

Think about it.  Where I live there are thousands of restaurants and bars where one can buy liquor.  When I go to a bar, I know within 5 minutes who needs to drive who doesn’t.  In most every bar there is a great chance that every single night of the week there is at least one person that drives away intoxicated.  Victims of drunk driving can testify to the damage.  So can police I’m sure.  But how many of us enable people by not even saying a word.

BR could have kept blowing me off.  I don’t know what I would have done if he had.  Maybe I would have followed behind him.  Maybe I would have called the police.  Maybe I would have asked for some assistance.  I don’t know.  It just didn’t seem right to do nothing.  I think at the end of the day, the man knew that I cared and that made the difference.

I know we live at a time when folk don’t want to get in other folk business.  I know that challenging someone not to drive drunk can cause conflict.  It just seems to me that I would rather have a person tell me ‘no’ than to not say anything at all.  It don’t seem right to see someone who may have had too much get behind the wheel when it could be a tragedy waiting to happen. 

I hope others will extend a hand and show someone you care when someone can’t help themselves.  The life you save may be your own or someone you love.

Eric Holder Was Right!

When it comes to the subject of race, overall we are a nation of cowards.

As the “fellas” gather today to have a cold one at The White House, we see yet another police officer acting as if he is GOP member when it comes to sending emails.  But of course, just like the rest of them claims he is not a racist and while naming off the fact that they have a colored TV at home.   I don’t know what some people feel racist is, but the words jungle monkey seemed to roll off Officer Justin Barrett’s his fingers rather easily and often.  And how do you think he conducts his business when it comes to deciding who to stop, search and interrogate on a daily basis? 

This is what most black men are talking about.  What happened to Gates happens in some form or another every day to other black men.   And yet so many are squabbling over this incident trying to dissect it as if it didn’t have any racial reasoning.  Gates outwardly admitted that he had racial feelings, the officer added the two black men element in his police report, not the third party neighbor call, and apparently it was the officer who asked Gates to go outside before he arrested him, because he couldn’t do so in the home. 

Colin Powell said what I have been saying all along:

“I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department,” Powell said. “Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would’ve thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said ‘OK look, it is his house. Let’s not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.’ “

My whole thing is that while most will admit that race is a problem in our country, when it comes to specifics many refuse to admit it on the spot.  Racism is cool to talk about as long as there is some ethereal element to it not pointing out the guilty or to speak on the abuse of the innocent.

And just think of the Republicans.  It seems that one of these email incidents happen every other week.  But supposedly some people act as if we are in some post racial society because we have a president of African descent.  Whatever

Add to that… as the meeting approaches between Obama, Gates and Crowley we actually have politicians fussing about what kind of beer is being served.  What is everything marketing these days?  This again proves that beer is easier to talk about than race or this picture.  I am amazed at time with the lack of real talk in America.