Thursday, July 23, 2009

BOLO: Marc Ambinder

Arrogant Harvard punk looks down his snooty nose at cops:
What happened to Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. is hardly unique and in my reporting experience; these clashes tend to involve young white students being strung out by overaggressive cops on generally bogus "disorderly conduct" charges, which is the Cambridge police officer's catch-all charge for "generally just pissing me off and acting holier than thou." . . . .
"Overaggressive"? "Bogus"? By God, sir, if I was the Cambridge chief of police, I'd dig up a photo of you and issue a BOLO poster for the next alumni weekend: "Ambinder, Mark. Guilty of dissing the cops. To be harassed routinely. Tow his car, if possible. If this punk even looks like he's about to give you any lip, clobber him first and ask questions later."

You damned Harvard sons of bitches think you own the world and everybody else is supposed to bow down and kiss your asses. Good luck with that, if Sergeant Crowley ever gets his hands on you, punk.

UPDATE: Bill Quick of Daily Pundit says in the comments:
Good lord, Stacy. "Guilty of dissing the cops? To be harassed routinely? Tow his car? Clobber him?"
I hope this is just hyperbole for effect, and not really how you think cops should behave in a free nation.
Of course not. At the same time, those of our overprivileged "meritocrats" who routinely criticize police in the manner that Ambinder has done are guilty of undermining respect for the law and for those whose job is to enforce the law. (Cf., "Attention, police: Arrest Will Wilkinson!")

To say that Harvard students are entitled to act however they wish, and that disorderly conduct charges against them in such cases are "bogus," is to say that the young Harvardian is above the law. To say that Cambridge cops are "overaggressive" in enforcement is to put yourself in a place of judgment, to look down your snooty nose at the police.

I heartily support the educational efforts of the Cambridge policeman who decides that the drunken sophomore needs to learn an important life lesson: "Yeah, punk, I don't care who your daddy is, and I don't care what you made on the SAT. You're gonna respect the badge."

One might say that in such cases, the officer is an agent of the Almighty:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
-- Romans 13:1-4 (KJV)
And let the congregation say, "Amen!" Maybe my attitude about this is affected by my extreme lack of sympathy for Harvard students. Maybe my attitude is affected by having seen those bandana-masked "Black Bloc" anarchists running amok during protests/riots in D.C. Mainly, however, my attitude is affected by the knowledge that it was overprivileged elitists like Ambinder -- and here I have in mind the likes of Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Kathy Boudin, et al. -- whose efforts to subvert respect for the law have produced such tragic consequences.

Keep in mind that John Adams, as a lawyer, defended the soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre.

Having been called a Jacksonian populist, and knowing a thing or two about whipping a crowd into a frenzy of (small-d) democratic fury, my sympathies are always with the Ordinary American, and against those (including unhelpful congressional press secretaries) who abuse the power delegated to them as hired help of We The People. When a Tennessee lawmaker employs his delegated authority to "score" with a 22-year-old intern, the fact that the lawmaker is a Republican does not prevent me from denouncing the vile scumbag.

Nevertheless, when a cop's wife kisses her husband good-bye in the morning, she doesn't know if she'll ever see him alive again. So when the cop responds to a 911 call about a possible burglary, it is the cop who is the Ordinary American, and not the indignant Harvard professor. Frankly, the world would be a better place if there were more Harvard professors in handcuffs, but I digress . . .

Despite my hyperbole and humor, there is a serious point here, a point I tried to make when discussing the vengeful terror campaign against supporters of Proposition 8:
The late historian Christopher Lasch was the first to identify (and Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon later examined in depth) how "rights talk" insinuated itself into American culture as a dominant mode of political discourse in the decades following World War II. Because Americans are taught to think of "rights" as something sacred in our civic religion, those accused of violating "rights" are easily demonized, while those who advocate "rights" are sanctified. . . .
"Rights talk" allowed liberals a means of preemptively delegitimizing their opponents and thereby to avoid arguing about policy in terms of necessity, utility and efficacy. If all legal and political conflicts are about "rights," there is no need to argue about the specific consequences of laws and policies. Merely determine which side of the controversy represents "rights" and the debate ends there. . .
This mode of discourse has engendered a malicious spirit of "mere anarchy," as the poet said:
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned . . .
Bookmark this. The next time some crackpot extemist kills an abortion doctor or commits some other insane act of lawless violence, I want to cite this as proof that I do not endorse or advocate disrespect for the law. Can Ambinder offer any such proof?


  1. Love the town-gown tension.

    Crowley is winning the Facebook war -- many more "Support Crowley" groups than "Fire Crowley" ones.

    Think he had the line of the day -- "There will be no apology."

    Can't in good conscience join one of them, b/c Crowley really should've just taken off once he figured out that Gates was the resident and was in a bad mood, but I will smile at it, anyway.

    Silly times.

  2. Good lord, Stacy. "Guilty of dissing the cops? To be harassed routinely? Tow his car? Clobber him?"

    I hope this is just hyperbole for effect, and not really how you think cops should behave in a free nation.

  3. I live just across the river from Cambridge, and have many years experience dealing with their snobbish, elitist types. One example stands out for me: when Tommy Lee Jones was in town, and dealt with a particular store's employees as if they were steaming human excrement. I swear, I wanted to get into my car, wait for him, and run his ass over for his arrogant nastiness.

    Harvard is a mental disease.

  4. Stacy, how come it's impossible to cut and paste a blockquote from your posts into a comment? Is it something you've set up, or is my browser somehow bonked?

    Anyway, this: "I want to cite this as proof I don't endorse or advocate disrespect for the law."

    I think that is too sweeping. It could have been said of Nazi Germany (screw you, Mike Godwin - sorry, an old bugaboo of mine...) that it was a nation of laws, not liberty.

    Our government is a legal sausage machine. It passes thousands of laws every year that restrict our liberties, are probably unconstitutional if examined closely, are ruinously expensive, and actually threaten our existence as a nation - often times laws that are not even read before they are imposed - yes, imposed - on us. It seems to me that the legislators who pass these laws have done far more to foster disrespect for the law than anything Marc Ambinder could ever accomplish.

    Do you respect these laws?

    Yah, sure, we're supposed to "use the process to change the laws we don't like."

    How'd that work out for John Adams? There actually was a process in England the colonies could have used to try to change the laws they abhorred. And, in fact, they did try to use that process. Of course, such attempts at change failed, but...

    Nor, even though I have actually worked as a police dispatcher in a big city, do I subscribe to the notion that police deserve mindless respect and/or immediate obedience, and abslute deference, simply because they wear a badge. There is a name for a nation in which the police exercise incontrovertible authority - it is "police state."

    I advocate taking each example individually: You hate Harvard students. Fine. But you cannot rationally advocate taking away their rights to fair, constitutional treatment from the police without endangering your own rights to the same treatment. Just as, once upon a time, people hated blacks in this nation (post bellum) so much that they advocated using the police to keep them from exercising their liberties, and governments passed laws to permit the police to do so. I don't respect those laws, or the police who willingly, even eagerly, enforced them, either.

    We give police officers the ability to exercise the power of life and death over us. All the more reason for the police, then, to be like Caesar's wife when it comes to violations of our liberties. And all the more reason for the rest of us to refrain from advocating exceptions to our constitutionally guaranteed liberties based primarily on those whom we dislike.

    And yes, I do see this aspect at work in the reaction to the Gates contretemps: People despise Gates so much that they can't get past it, and apparently would approve almost any police actions against him, simply because he's a "mouthy race baiter," and in comparison, the police will always be the good guys.

    Canaries in coal mines, and all that.

  5. But what gets me about this is the lockstep unity of calling Gates an, oh so holy, scholar is really, what is he a scholar on?
    Did he solve Kepler's conjecture, observe distant stars, dig up a new dinosaur, discover who Jack the Ripper is?
    Does he study quantum physics, engineering, medicine, science?
    Then what does this August academic, scholar, noted blah blah blah do?
    Oh, right, he complains about white people.
    He was just doing his job when he verbally abused that officer.

  6. To say that Cambridge cops are "overagressive" in enforcement is to put yourself in a place of judement...

    No shit, Sherlock. This is a feature, not a bug. You claim your sympathies are with 'ordinary Americans.' You are either a liar or a hypocrite, and I don't particularly care which.

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  8. "Frankly, the world would be a better place if there were more Harvard professors in handcuffs,..."

    I agree totally. I dont care what race or gender you are, if you follow the cop out to the street while screaming at him constantly in front of the neighbors, you can expect to widen your experience with the criminal justice system just a bit.