Gates’s Crime? Dissing the State Enforcers

henry_gates_porch_072109Here’s one you don’t hear about much these days — when we’re told Henry Louis Gates’ arrest for failing to show the proper obsequiousness to a Cambridge police officer warranted his arrest.

One has an undoubted right to resist an unlawful arrest, and courts will uphold the right of resistance in proper cases.”

-United States Supreme Court, United States v. Di Re, 1948.

Funny you don’t hear that much in this day and age when we’re expected to act like serfs if we’re stopped, questioned, or detained.

And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

That quote’s from an LA police officer writing at National Review’s website in response to Gates Gate.

Tell me, are you comfortable with the idea of police thinking they’re justified in shooting you if you assert your constitutional rights?

(h/t ProLibertate)

Good Thing There’s No Crime Problem in Dallas, or The Bathrooms Are Secure, Sir

storyOkay, so comes word that since Monday, Dallas Police have arrested four men for cruising in the bathrooms at NorthPark Center. Comments, of course, have been sober, serious, reflective and not at all in the vein of, say, the Inquisition or anything crazy like that.

Sure, everyone can agree meeting someone in a bathroom for sex is pretty gross, right? Well, not gross, per se. I mean, not for heterosexuals. On airplanes. Any other members of the Mile High Club here? Ah? Yes? I see some hands. So much for that absolute.

And what you do in a stall is supposed to be private. I mean, I hope there’s no hidden cameras in there checking us all to make sure we’re not sporting a half a chub.

And propositioning another person in public isn’t a crime in itself either. Well, technically, it is in Dallas.

Code Section 31-19(a): “In this section SODOMY [ed: their caps] means any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person.” Code Section 31-19 (b): “A person commits an offense if he solicits another in a public place to engage with him in sodomy not for hire.”

(That means what you think it means. If you’re in a bar or on a sidewalk or in a restroom, and you even ask a stranger, your significant other, or even your spouse for a special favor, even one to be granted later, in the comfort of your own home, you just committed a crime. No, this isn’t about prostitution—that’s a whole different section. Good lord. What Talibunny wrote these laws?)

Of course the composed, thoughtful, witch-burning commenters immediately started in with their “Think of the children!” sing-along. Never mind that their precious little snowflakes isn’t what closeted gay males and married guys on the down-low are cruising for when they’re cruising bathrooms.

Never mind that little Josh is in almost exclusively more danger from weird Uncle Steve or the step-father than a stranger.

Strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.
-Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,
7/00, NCJ 182990, U.S. Department of Justice (more)

And those same composed, thoughtful commenters, of course, demanded that pictures of those arrested be published, the goal being to shame them. Never mind that a person charged with a crime has not been found guilty of a crime, and that never in history have police brought wrongful charges against anyone. Not in Dallas County, anyway.

I mean, if you’re charged with a crime, clearly you committed it, right? Due process is so pre-9/11.

GEORGE MICHAEL GETS THE MUNCHIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT* EXCAnd what guy hasn’t been in a restroom where some dude started leering at him? Guess what. You walk away. These sad sacks cruising the restrooms are looking for like minds, not a confrontation. You do your business and get out. Seriously, what guy makes a point of looking at other dudes to see if they’re checking him out?

I mean, I don’t even look at my own business, much less check to see if the guy two urinals over is shaking it too often.

And really, officer, you’re peering in stalls? Who’s being creepy now?

But I’m getting sidetracked.

Let’s get back to the bathroom cruisers police have been busting at NorthPark.

All gotchas out of the way, it is for certain that a venue for guys to meet for anonymous, Idaho Republican style extra-curricular activities is not what Macy’s and Dillard’s has in mind in their restrooms. And yes, I think it’s gross and icky.

But the key words above aren’t gross and icky. The key words are their bathrooms.

Guess who should be patrolling the restrooms and showing creepy acting people to the exit? Yep, that’s right.


Let the stores monitor their own facilities on their own dime. Dallas still has one of the worst violent crime rates in the country and a near nine-figure budget shortfall.

And yet we’re sending professional, sworn peace officers into bathrooms to do pecker checks.

I’m sorry, but this kind of behavior just doesn’t get a rise out of me.

Sorry Lois, I’ve Been Kind of Busy…


But I’ll be back at the Planet ASAP.

My Sunday DMN Column, Available Today

Here’s the link to my column in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. (The long version is a few paragraphs down on this page below the dotted line.)

And here’s a link to Shawn Williams’ column on much the same topic, from a different angle but not as dissimilar as I expected. In fact, they’re going  to the same point from two approaches. (We talked as we submitted them but didn’t go into detail.) Here’s a link to Shawn’s blog. Shawn’s column is really pointed, and mentions a book I just finished a few months back as well — Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Both Shawn’s column and the book are must-reads.

Regarding my column; I’m a long writer, and good editors keep me trimmed down. Sharon Grigsby did a great job cutting my column down to newspaper size. So, hat tip to Sharon and Mike Hashimoto.

However, if you’re interested in reading the long version that includes some points that didn’t make the final cut — and no, I never said “you people” — anyway, here she is.


Growing up with my dad was like being Daniel Larusso to Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. There were all these rules that made no sense. Paint the fence. Wax on, wax off. Study. Control yourself. Clean up your mess. Focus, Daniel-san.

I didn’t get it at the time, but I’ve come to learn it wasn’t to make me miserable. It was to try to make me into a man.

No easy task. A man is honest, fair and just. He has an honest — and not posturing — sense of self-respect. He’s self-reliant and he’s responsible for his family. He has humility, grace and respect for others. He practices chivalry even when it’s considered out of fashion. Above all, he has a sense of humor — especially about himself — and a sense of perspective. The software install is rough; often takes two decades before they’re retail ready.

No one likes to hear this because we’re all supposed to pretend that there’s no real difference between men and women, but there’s a politically incorrect fact of life: it takes a man to raise a man. (Stick to the truth even when it’s not popular — dad’s life lesson No. 3.)

A boy at birth is an intelligent, tool-using primate with natural instincts of aggression, competition, and, yes, violence. The potential danger and damage is manifest – look at history. Savagery is in our nature. You have to shape, curb and refine those natural instincts, so that they serve the boy in ways that are positive for him and all around him. With rare exceptions, what that requires is a father or other strong male role model in the home, every day.

This is the first thing that came to mind when, after another round of murders, I was asked why there’s so much violence in southern Dallas, especially in the black community.

Before I go any further, let’s make this clear: “Violence within the black community” doesn’t mean the majority are perpetrators or victims of violence. I’m talking about a group within a group. If you talk about the left-handed kids in a classroom, you’re talking about the five who are left-handed, not the other 30 righties. To speak of a problem within a group is not to say the whole group has a problem. Are we clear? Because study after study shows that kids – especially boys – from single-parent households are twice as likely to crimes as kids from families where the father is present, regardless of ethnicity.

So why so much violence in the black community in Southern Dallas? My answer: I think too many black males aren’t black men.

Look at the numbers. More than 70 percent births to black women are out-of-wedlock, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That means you have boys growing up never learning even the basics of manhood. Not just this house or that – whole neighborhoods.

It wasn’t always like this. Before we started killing the black family with kindness through welfare, single-parent black households were the exception in this country.

In 1960, just 22 percent of black households were headed by a single mother — less than the percentage of single-parent white households today. By 1970, it was 29 percent. By 1990, 40 percent. Today? Seven of every 10.

Call it the “Not-So-Great Society.”

Absent a father in the home, these boys don’t have a clue what manhood is, so they hide behind false, emotional and violent bravado. They think violence is an assertion of manhood. Minor insults become fighting words when your manhood is faux and fragile. What two men with confidence would let be just an argument becomes a fight. What should just be a fight becomes a shootout. Inmate logic. Be the baddest or be on the bottom bunk, so to speak. (Real men know insults come from small people not worth noticing — another lesson from dad. No. 23, I think.)

The numbers from the U.S. Department of Justice don’t lie, and you’re fooling yourself if you think it has nothing to do with the culture of false manhood that’s risen in the absence of fathers. Almost half of all violent crimes are committed by black males even though they represent just seven percent of the U.S. population. In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were six times higher than the rates for whites, and offending rates for blacks were more than seven times higher than the rates for whites.

That doesn’t make it a black thing. It’s neither a race thing nor a poverty thing.

It’s a man thing.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, cited exhaustive studies when she wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that the “relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime.”

If you want to stop the violence, you have to get fathers back to raising their kids. Period. Full stop.

I don’t know how to do this, but we can’t talk solutions until we’re honest about what the problem is. (Lesson No. 15 from dad.)

No matter what the flaws in the thinking of the welfare state advocates, they didn’t set out to destroy the black family. But they did. So whatever is done going forward, we’re going to have to watch for unintended consequences. And we’re going to have to accept that the welfare state is not a family value.

If you want to look at my mug shot above and discount what I’m saying because of the color you see, fine. Listen to what this other guy had to say:

“We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison… We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.”

If you don’t agree with that, send him a letter. He, it turns out, is the rare exception to the usual outcome of growing up in a fatherless home. His current address is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C. He lives there with his wife and his two kids.

In Regards to Fathers, Manhood & Southern Dallas

Call this a shameless plug, but it deserves it. Regular commenter and all-around man of muscle and awesome Tom* posted a comment and I consider it a call to action.

I’ve been active in Big Brothers Big Sisters for four years. Our local chapter has been working recently to find Big Brothers and mentors for boys in South Dallas and Oak Cliff.
Because most “Bigs” and “Littles” are matched within a 5-mile radius of one another, there’s a stronger need for mentors in those areas.

But that doesn’t mean you need to live south of I-30 to volunteer. It takes just a few hours a month to make a difference in a young person’s life.

You can learn more about the Big Brothers & Sisters program here.

BBBS of North Texas – Dallas County Office
2900 Live Oak
Dallas, TX 75204
(817) 277-1148

* he earns that based on whom his fiancée is

Programming Note: I’m All Over the DMN Place This Week

In a rare down moment late last week I dashed off a quick comment on the Dallas Morning NewsGap blog. (It’s a blog about the divide between North and South Dallas, not about the place you can buy stuff to send me as presents.)

That posting prompted Sharon Grigsby, the ViewPoints editor, to have me write a column that’s going to run in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. Also, it prompted three letters to the editor that will run in tomorrow’s issue, where some folks take issue with what I had to say.

UPDATE: The discussion in this thread got sidetracked. This is one of those rare times I want to talk seriously about an issue and have people throw in their two cents, so the main unrelated comments not on topic have been removed. This includes my own comments. We’ll have that discussion another day.

Quote of the Week: Matt Welch

The more you cede your own well-being to an 800-pound gorilla, the more that 800-pound gorilla is going to act like a thin-skinned asshole.

Context here, but it pretty much is a universal axiom.

Evildoers Beware

img_22671The Girl is on patrol.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Mind-Controlling Monkey Robot Overlords

Bring me Charleton Heston's corpse!

Bring me Charleton Heston's corpse!

I really have to get to work, but I can’t pass this one up. It’s got everything — I mean EVERYTHING.

Monkeys. Robots. Mind control.


On My Reading List: Why ‘Income Inequality’ Is No Big Deal

With a big hat tip to Reason, because I’m too busy these days to do any reading, I’m adding this to my reading list — which I’ll get to by year’s end.

Recent discussions of economic inequality, marked by a lack of clarity and care, have confused the public about the meaning and moral significance of rising income inequality. Income statistics paint a misleading picture of real standards of living and real economic inequality. Several strands of evidence about real standards of living suggest a very different picture of the trends in economic inequality. In any case, the dispersion of incomes at any given time has, at best, a tenuous connection to human welfare or social justice. The pattern of incomes is affected by both morally desirable and undesirable mechanisms. When injustice or wrongdoing increases income inequality, the problem is the original malign cause, not the resulting inequality. Many thinkers mistake national populations for “society” and thereby obscure the real story about the effects of trade and immigration on welfare, equality, and justice. There is little evidence that high levels of income inequality lead down a slippery slope to the destruction of democracy and rule by the rich. The unequal political voice of the poor can be addressed only through policies that actually work to fight poverty and improve education. Income inequality is a dangerous distraction from the real problems: poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and systemic injustice.

Print the PDF and read the whole thing.