So many issues, so little space

The Sotomayor nomination.  Conservative radio host asks, “what happened to the TRUTH?”  General Petreaus says, “We violated the Geneva Conventions.”  A black off-duty NYPD officer is killed by another NYPD officer.

First off, let’s discuss the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sotomayor.  I keep hearing about how this pick by President Obama was genius.  Genius, I tell you!  The GOP can’t attack her without digging a deeper hole.  Except, the GOP isn’t attacking her.  The talking heads, like Rush Limbaugh, are attacking her.  Newt Gingrich, who is a disgraced politician hoping for limelight, is attacking her.  The GOP knows she will sail through the confirmation.  

This is a Judge who was first nominated by George H.W. Bush.  She has sided with conservative opinions the majority of the time in her decisions.  She is a moderate Judge that leans to the right.  The consideration for her nomination by Bush 41 was the same as President Obama’s; the Left would never be able to block her nomination without digging a hole with the hispanic and women voting blocks.  

Now, it is true that once a Judge reaches the pinnacle of the Supreme Court, they are then free to rule as they see fit.  Judge Souter proves this.  He, too, was a moderate conservative Judge, nominated by a Republican to the Supreme Court, who once he got there issued opinions that were more liberal.  But, this misses the point; why even appoint a moderate who leans to the right in the first place?  

Correct me if I am wrong, but, didn’t President Obama win the Presidency under the Democratic Party?  Didn’t the Democratic Party win even more seats in both the Senate and House?  Did not we just get two young stalwart republican Judge’s appointed to the bench?

If Judge Sotomayor turns out not to be another Justice Souter, President Obama has just cemented the conservative tenor of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Next, let’s discuss Eric “Mancow” Mueller and his waterboarding.  He was just on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown for the second time in the wake of the claim that his waterboarding was a hoax.  He said something during the exchange with Keith that blew my mind.  He asked, “what happened to the TRUTH?”

He says that right-wingers are giving him grief because he claims waterboarding is torture.  He says liberals hate him no matter what.  He is now caught in the middle simply because he acknowledged a truth; waterboarding is torture.  As Bruce Willis says in Die Hard when the officer responding to his distress call gets his car shot at by the terrorists after claiming there was nothing going on, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

What I saw tonight was another conservative become a newly-minted Independent.  

Onward to Gen. Petraeus stating that America violated the Geneva Conventions in Iraq.  This is the same person who stood by President Bush during speeches, who sat by and watched as U.S. troops violated the Geneva Conventions.  Who was silent as detainees were waterboarded!  And now we are supposed to believe that he had an epiphany just because President Obama was elected as President?  

Former Vice-President Cheney is out there, with the help of his daughter Liz, trying to keep from being prosecuted for authorizing torture.  Former President Bush is out there now trying to keep himself from being prosecuted for authorizing torture.  Their lawyers are out there trying to keep themselves from being prosecuted for writing the legal rationale for torture.  Condeleeza Rice has been out there trying to keep herself from being prosecuted.  We’ve already had Colin Powell out there trying to salvage his reputation after his United Nations address.  Are we surprised that Gen. Petraeus is following in their footprints?

At the expense of Godwin’s Law, I can’t help but visualize Hermann Goering, before the Nuremberg Trials, stating, “We crossed the line in this war.  But, we promise not to do it again if you simply won’t prosecute us.  I was just being a good soldier.”  I mean, truly, Gen. Petraeus knew, as did every other officer and commander, that the policies instituted by Bush violated the Geneva Convention on detainee treatment.  Now that there is talk about prosecutions, he has an epiphany?

I see “material witness” written all over Gen. Petraeus.

Finally, in New York City, a black officer that was off-duty was shot and killed by on-duty officers who mistook him as a criminal fleeing with a weapon.

As the story is reported, the off-duty officer was chasing a person who had been trying to break into his car.  During the footchase, on-duty officers became involved, fired at the officer, and killed him.  Racism?  Yes, and no.

First of all, there has always been a problem with off-duty officers becoming involved in an incident.  You know, as the off-duty officer, that you have jurisdiction, authority, and the duty, to intervene in a crime being committed.  On-duty officers, however, initially only see a civilian, and one with a weapon, until that person is identified as an officer.

Second of all, I’ve been involved in footchases.  You really aren’t focused on identifying yourself to anyone during it.  Your entire focus is on that suspect.  Because of that, you tend to get yourself into bad situations, especially when you are off-duty and in civilian clothes.

I’m also sure that once the on-duty officers saw a black man running with a gun in his hand their first thought was “bad guy with a gun!”  Whether that thought came from racism, or, simply having seen too many black men running away with, or without a gun, is debatable.  It is a rarity that an officer can stay on a force for any length of time without getting a form of racism.  And, yes, I say “a form of” for a reason.

This racism doesn’t come in the normal form.  It comes from being assigned to an area where all you deal with, especially in big cities, a certain demographic of people, and, all you deal with are the dregs of that demographic.  It doesn’t matter if it is black people, hispanic people, poor whites, or even rich whites.  When you deal with that demographic in the worst possible scenarios, day after day, year after year, you come to see the worst and associate it with that demographic as a whole.

If you patrol rich, white neighborhoods, you come to hate rich, white men who think that their social status and money gives them the right to berate you every time you pull them over to give them a traffic ticket.

If you patrol poor, white trailer parks, you come to hate poor, white men when you are continually responding to that domestic disturbance call because he’s drunk, again, and he beat up his wife, again.

So, yes, it is a form a racism.  You simply come to equate the demographic with the worst in people.  But, that isn’t what should be the focus in this story.

The off-duty officer was chasing a suspect.  He was shot in the back.  I don’t know the policies of the NYPD, but, every officer learns that if you are going to fire at a suspect, you don’t shoot them in the back as they are fleeing unless they fired at you first.  And, I can guarantee you, that off-duty officer did not discharge his weapon in the direction of the on-duty officers, who, btw, were in an unmarked vehicle themselves.  

The officers in the unmarked car saw two men running, one with a gun in his hand.  They pursued in the unmarked vehicle.  At some point, they fired at the off-duty officer, who was still chasing the other suspect, hitting him in the back and killing him.  

My take on this incident?  I can see this as just another incident swept under the rug in a long line of incidents where officers acted wrongly.

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