Monday, July 27, 2009

Conversation With a Conservative

We Were Talking About Race, Police, Personal Freedom

And shit like that. On Friday I'm playing the harp and the pipes at a funeral for a local kid (23) who was gunned down on the border. He was a Border Patrol Officer, and the place he was shot is a hot spot for smugglers of all types.

My friend was gigging me, since my views on immigration are best described by saying "Desajunes Solos." (leave us alone) I wish that the federal government, the Minnitmins (I refuse to equate those racist, and often criminal thugs to our founders), and everybody who doesn't live on the border with us would just go the fuck away and let us live our lives, together.

It's not going to happen anytime soon. I've ridden search and rescue stuff with the Border Patrol, I've worked with them when the water stations that we keep in the desert were being vandalized. I find them to be decent, for the most part honest folks who have been tasked with an impossible and thankless task. None of that means that when a young officer of that patrol is gunned down for no good reason that it doesn't make me grieve, and nothing would stop me from doing what I can to help his family in this horrid and sad time.

We got around to talking about the Gates case and my friend, who is foursquare in personal liberty and responsibility was saying "Gates shouldn't have mouthed off to the police."

I said "Dude, there wasn't any crime there until the police arrived."

I would hope that something like this would provoke an involved and thoughtful debate on the whys and wherefores of both race relations but our relationship with the police. Respect the badge? Only to a point. I've seen too many police departments which are covers for uniformed street gangs.

I hope that the meeting, over a few beers, at the White House might be able to provide more than a silly photo op. Police Sergeant Crowley is by most accounts a thoughtful and sensitive man, Professor Gates is the same. For them to meet, reconcile and come together would chart a path for the rest of us.