This afternoon I drove to Cambridge, MA, in order to view the site of the 7/16/09 arrest of Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct. Specifically I wanted to try to spot any visible signs of agitation in the immediate neighborhood connected with this story. I am very familiar with the area, having attended night classes at the university some years ago. And believe me, when Harvard Square gets its knickers in a twist, it shows.
Although Prof. Gates' street address is blacked out on the police report, it appears elsewhere on the internet so I see no reason not to disclose it here: 17 Ware Street, Cambridge, MA. If you have access to an online streetmap with visuals, check it out. You will notice that the bright yellow house sits on a relatively narrow street which is tree-lined and deeply shaded. In addition, the front door is to the right and set back from the front windows and porch. It has been reported that Prof. Gates' house had been the site of a possible attempted break-in previous to his return from China. This was investigated by the Harvard University police and was the reason the front door was stuck in the first place.
When I drove by there were 2 to 3 media vans with antennas parked on Ware St. and two more (local FOX affilate and NECN New England Cable News) on an adjacent street. There were no spectators visible on these streets other than the media. I spent about an hour walking around the Harvard Square and university area and saw no protestors, no flyers, no street interviews being conducted, no signs, no bumper stickers, no buttons, no t-shirts -- in short, the community was going about its business apparently unconcerned with the momentous drama that has been unfolding up the block for the past week.
Therefore, and in light of the continuing nationwide media flap and irresponsible comments by the President of the United States on this subject, I have a few questions:
First, if the arrest took place on Thursday, July 16 (coincidentally? the same date as Obama's race-baiting speech to the NAACP) why does it appear that the incident was not reported in the media until at least July 20?
Why has the Boston Globe removed the police report from its website? The report is, of course, available at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF so there is no point in the Globe attempting to hide it.
According to the police report, the witness who phoned in the July 16 report of a possible break in, Lucia Whalen, made a good-faith call for police assistance in the belief that she was witnessing a crime in progress. Does Prof. Gates intend to accuse Ms. Whalen of "racial profiling" as well? According to some witnesses, Gates screamed at Crowley, "...you believe white women over black men".
Prof. Gates is damn lucky I wasn't the witness. I'm a senior citizen with a cane and I'm not afraid to use it on lying racist weasels.
According to WTTK commentator Michele McPhee, Prof. Gates' extended high volume rant was recorded in the background of Officer Crowley's attempt to transmit information on his radio to the Cambridge Police HQ. When will the public get to hear this recording so that we will be able to decide for ourselves about Prof. Gates' conduct?
Don't hold your breath.
Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas held a press conference this afternoon in which he defended both Officer Crowley and the department against the spurious charges and comments by Gates and others. The conference can be found at http://wbztv.com/local/cambridge.police.commissioner.2.1098662.html. Officer Crowley has rightly refused to apologize. He has nothing to apologize for and he deserves the support of every citizen. God knows he needs it. In 1993 it was Officer James Crowley who administered CPR in a desperate attempt to revive Boston Celtics team captain Reggie Lewis, who had suffered a fatal heart attack, a tragedy which broke hearts all over the Boston area. Reggie was African-American. When informed of Gates' accusations against Crowley, Lewis' widow, Donna, mumbled something about the "unfortunate situation" and the importance of "peace" but refused to defend the cop who had tried to save her husband's life.
There are cowards and hypocrites and opportunists flapping their jaws all over the place. Gates is demanding that Sgt. Crowley "beg my forgiveness". I say, give the good professor the response he deserves. It will only take one finger to do it.