Monday, December 29, 2014


For the lack of good parenting

By Greg ‘Gadfly’ Doyle

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
December 28, 2014

There was a time on this continent, a time before any now living experienced, when a British king ruled thirteen colonies with absolute authority. The colonists were subjects of the crown of England and therefore subjugated by British rule. They were taxed for their labors by a government that neither cared for their concerns, nor represented their needs.

When they protested through legal channels, the king made few concessions and found other oppressive methods of taxation. Then some colonists spoke out against the king and his government. As a result, the military presence in America was increased. Appointed governors and the king’s army enforced the law.

Resentment, indignation, and injustice fueled a great cause that would lead to revolution. But the leaders of this revolution believed that freedom from an oppressive and non-representative government required an agreement among the governed in order to form a new government. Once the revolution had succeeded and the colonists were free of heavy-handed British rule, the leaders of the free American colonists (referred to as the founding fathers) were seen as good parents, those who would guide our new nation and the path it would take. The founding fathers spent years drafting a singular ruling agreement that eventually became our Constitution.

Our founding fathers as new Americans were not perfect. One of the compromises that could not be overcome during the Constitutional convention was the matter of Black slavery. In order to hold the colonies together as a country, to keep the southern states within the greater union, the slavery issue was set aside during the drafting of the Constitution. None of the founding fathers could know, nor would any live to see, the compromise on the issue of slavery would become the impetus for a bloody civil war.

In the decades that followed the enacting of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, American freedoms became the envy of the Old World (Europe.) American citizens were free to worship as they pleased. They had the right to vote for their leaders, to speak freely without fear of government reprisal, to protest in public, and to have a press free of government entanglement. They could keep and bear firearms to protect themselves in the event an oppressive government took power. Other rights were guaranteed by this government, unlike any other place in the world. Yet still the problem of slavery remained the great, ugly contradiction within early American life.

A constitutional crisis threatened to tear apart the Union of the United States of America. Common practice had held that Blacks could live free of slavery only if they could escape to Northern States. In 1857, with its infamous Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court overturned twenty-six years of legal precedence in the Northern States (where escaped slaves were granted freedom and citizenship as freed men) by declaring (whether slave or free) no one of African descent could be a citizen of the United States. The divisive nature of this court ruling gave rise to the abolition movement (and the Republican Party) in the North, and fear of the anti-slavery movement among slaveholders in the South.

Now a much larger country, with territory spanning the width of the North American continent, the southern slave states seceded from the rest of the nation to form a confederacy in an act of open rebellion. Four bloody years of struggle, pitting friends and family against one another, resulted in a defeat of the confederacy, the assassination of the first Republican president, the preservation of the Union, and the abolition of Black slavery. In 1865, one hundred forty-nine years ago, for the first time in the United States of America, all Blacks were given rights as citizens.

Unfortunately, though defeated in battle, the heavily Democrat southern states did not relinquish power easily, nor welcome freed slaves as equal citizens under the Constitution. A divided, segregated South existed for almost one hundred years, where Black citizens were excluded from full and equal participation in daily life. The White South made no attempt to hide its contempt for Blacks in general with signs like “Whites only” posted in restaurants, restrooms, and on water fountains.

It was not until the mid-1950’s, that a dynamic and brilliant Christian pastor named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., raised his voice against the entrenched segregation policies of the Democrat-Party-held South. He organized peaceful protests and engaged his followers to participate in non-violent civil disobedience. Wherever segregation was strongest in the South, Dr. King would march. In short, King was often arrested and jailed for violating the laws prohibiting him, a Black American citizen, from accessing public areas deemed White by legal ordinance.

To his memory and credit, Blacks in America are no longer prohibited or restricted by legal precedent in the United States of America. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. That was forty-six years ago.

I am an American, of Irish descent, who happens to have been born White. I grew up during the turbulent 1960’s. I remember the protests. I remember the Watts riot. I remember the assassinations of the Kennedys and Dr. King. I have not forgotten.

I am very proud of some of my fellow Americans who happen to be Black. Some of those Americans have succeeded in the entertainment industry and have risen to prominence—Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopie Goldberg (to name a few.) There are other Americans who have risen to high level positions within our government who make me proud (whether I agree with them politically or not)—Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Eric Holder, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell. They are success stories who owe their good standing as citizens to Dr. King, Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, and their parents who taught them first to be good citizens.

But I am also proud of some of my fellow Americans who happen to be Black and are also police officers. Three in particular that I worked with at Upland PD for many years are Steve Turner, Virgil Rush, and Pete Brown. I love them not because of the color of their skin, nor for the blue uniforms they wear, but because they remain faithful public servants, great cops, good men, and loyal friends. I trusted them with my life on the job, as they trusted theirs with me. And I would lead or follow them to the gates of Hell if they needed me. I never met their parents, but having known Steve, Virgil, and Pete, I have no doubt each came from an excellent upbringing.

I am less impressed, however, with what I have seen and read about American citizen Michael Brown, who was killed at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. His actions were abherrant, his conduct unacceptable, and his manner threatening. In the aftermath of the shooting, Brown’s parents leave an even less favorable impression. I cannot help but wonder, had Michael Brown received a better upbringing, would he be dead now, and would ex-Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson have suffered such ignominious treatment by the press and protestors?

So I take exception to the cop-haters, race-baiters, and anti-American instigators who insist that insurrection is the answer to this particular perceived injustice. The American press brought two instances into focus; where in two separate incidents White cops killed unarmed Black men in America. Our media made it appear as if all White cops spend their on-duty time making sport of killing unarmed Black men.

Out of hundreds of thousands of police calls everywhere across this land, every day, where no one is shot or killed by police, why have these two events been deemed worthy of extreme focus by the media? Now the cross-hairs of hatred for authority have resulted in the sacrificial assassination of two NYPD officers, by a lawless thug— an adherent to this cause and cry of injustice.

Now the lawless take justice into their own hands. This is what the right of freedom of the press, coupled with irresponsible journalism, has wrought. (By the way, no one has mentioned that neither of the slain officers were White; however, they were wearing blue.)

This tragic mess is a lesson in need of an audience. Words mean something. Pictures tell stories. And sometimes, these days more often than not, some of those story-tellers are habitual liars, unfit citizens, and bad actors. For the lack of good parenting, our media has become a tool of despots, cheats, and opportunists. Who will hold them responsible?

To all my brothers and sisters in blue or tan and green: Please watch each others’ backs. The press has unleashed the whirlwind upon you! May God watch over and keep you safe.

I pray all of you make it home to your families this Christmas, and many more to come.

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