Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Disconcerting Images from One Who Has Refuted Allegation Against Police

As readers of my numerous newspapers articles and those who have listened to me on radio shows know I have routinely refuted spurious allegations made against police. During 2014 on shows such as Bill Bennett, Larry Elder, and Seth Leibsohn, to Dom Giordano in 2006, going to back to the Dennis Praeger show in 2001.

I disproved the false or erroneous allegations made by so-called civil rights groups, progressive Democrats, the liberal mainstream media, and most recently the libertarians of Cato and Reason. I exposed their lies and debunked their myths about racist police shootings, car stops, use of force etc.

Incidents that were beyond question, like the case of Walter Scott, were never controversial because it was quite obvious what the officer did in shooting a fleeing unarmed man was illegal.

But now there is the case of Sandra Bland. I find it disconcerting. Quite apart from the jail cell hanging, I do not see any reason for her to have been in that jail cell in the first place.

Now, I know the video shown on tv of the Bland car stop is heavily edited. But there are comments made by the State Trooper, edited or not, that do not make sense.

He tells her she seems agitated. OK so what? Most people are for being stopped by police.

He tells her to put out her cigarette. Since when is that a lawful police order for someone sitting in her own car?

Then he forcefully yanks her from the car. This woman bad mouthed him a little. But nothing that was egregious. Trooper Brian Encinia turned what should have been a routine traffic stop with either a warning or a citation being issued into an arrest.

Somebody will have to explain to me why this happened. Moreover, someone will have to explain to me why this was not thrown out by the magistrate.

Three years ago I was stopped by an Alabama State Trooper after crossing the state line, on I 10, from Mississippi. I looked every bit the middle aged, white tourist I was. I was vacationing in New Orleans with my wife. She was at a conference. So I drove to meet best selling novelist W.E.B. Griffin at his home in Alabama.

I drove a Louisiana rental car. I was wearing a souvenir New Orleans golf shirt, a souvenir New Orleans P.D. baseball cap. My camcorder was on the passenger seat.

When the trooper approached the car he asked if I knew why he stopped me. I replied no and asked how fast I was driving. He responded 56 mph. I started laughing. I said, "You have got to be kidding me."

He did not like this and asked me to get out of the car. I complied and stepped out the car. He searched me and the car - including the trunk.

He said he stopped because I swerved. ( I do not recall doing so. But I was not going to argue the point.)

I did not tell him I was a former police officer until after he issued me a warning. I was more interested as a writer/ journalist in what he was doing. After I told him I used to be a police officer in Philadelphia he relaxed. We chatted a little and we parted on friendly terms.

But I can see how someone could feel insulted. But I also know you do what the ACLU advises - cooperate until you get your day in court.

But Sandra Bland was not really uncooperative. She was a little testy, but not so much that she should have been dragged out of the car.

If Trooper Encinia cannot take a little badmouting he should be a librarian.

I do not know what happened in the cell but, from what I can tell so far, Ms. Bland should never have been there in the first place.

These are disconcerting images.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An American Race by Michael P. Tremoglie

An American Race

“I believe we are witnessing the beginning of a new race of men”
Anonymous British Officer after the Battle of Saratoga, 1777

This comment, made by a soldier now forgotten by history, was more prophetic and more significant than he probably realized at the time.

As prescient as he may have been, little could he have predicted the mass immigration to American shores that has taken place over the succeeding centuries.

Little could he have realized the beacon of hope and promise that America has represented to people from all four corners of the world. Little could he have realized how many different races, creeds, and colors would come to America.

However, come they did. They came for different reasons. They came to escape oppression of all forms; political, economic, religious. They came to seek better opportunities.

Some came, as we are painfully aware, under the cruelest circumstances imaginable. However, even they, as Thomas Sowell has stated, were the progenitors of people who enjoy the benefits of America. Indeed, people still immigrate to America from Africa.

As they arrived, they maintained their cultures, initially, and then absorbed the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture. Nevertheless, these cultures intermingled. These cultures borrowed from one another, they amalgamated, to form a distinctly, unique American culture. A unique race of people.

This fact is irrefutable. Examples of this "melting pot" abound.

Our art, our language, our music, and our literature evidence it. After all, what is Rock and Roll but a hybrid of African, and Scotch-Irish music. American English borrows freely from Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and other languages. Our movie and literary heroes reflect the self-reliance of the Native Americans and the industry of Europeans, as well as the virtues of many other groups.

Our values, beliefs, and attitudes are those of a people who value freedom, who have experienced oppression, and eschew a monarchy. More than once you will hear a recent immigrant chastise a discontented American citizen by saying “You don't know how good you have it here!”

America has an express culture, a unique culture, one that is different than the sum of its parts. Our constituent cultures, initially Indian, Northern European, Southern European and African, have combined with various Asian cultures to form a new society.

This is the result of over two hundred years of the blending of the different immigrant groups. It is the result of the fusion of different cultures.

It is the concept expressed in the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” recommended by the artist, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière. He was a consultant to the committee Congress appointed on July 4, 1776 to design a seal for the United States of America.

A unique American culture, a guiding light, is an idea expressed in John Winthrop’s sermon in 1630. He said that the Massachusetts colony would be a “city upon a hill” to be observed by the whole world.

Yet, there are those that do not want this. They deride the concept of the melting pot. They disdain “E Pluribus Unum.” These people believe in the hyphenation of America. They speak about an America that is multicultural. They envision an America that is not a melting pot. Instead America is a tapestry where everyone maintains their individual ethnic identity.

This tapestry theory is the current dogma of the liberal intelligentsia. The notion that we are separate but equal was disavowed a generation ago. For some to maintain that we must retain our ethnic identities is absurd.

Tapestries become unwoven. Such a philosophy will only lead to the balkanization of America.

America was created by Anglo Saxon, Protestant males. Why is that wrong?

Yes, they excluded some people and indirectly sanctioned a horrendous practice. However, slavery was abolished - at great cost. The exculded were included. It took time for this to evolve. Yet, there is no other country in the world where so many different people live among each other and do so freely.

The Founding Fathers created a nation that has been a symbol of hope for the rest of the world. Why would so many people have sacrificed so much -indeed risked their lives - to come here if it were not so? Whatever its faults, in the context of the period, at that time in world history, those men created the greatest government in human history.

America is not united by a language, or by genes, or geography. What unites America is an idea. America is a race united by the idea of freedom: freedom to condemn or praise the government; freedom to pursue your fortune; freedom to worship as you please, or to not worship at all; freedom from government interference or tyranny; freedom from fear of foreign and domestic enemies.

There is - and should be - only one race in America, the American race.

This idea was recently reinforced by my nine year old Sicilian cousin Lorenzo. He loves American baseball. Unfortunately, there are no youth baseball leagues in Sicily, nor are there places to buy equipment.

My wife and I bought him a bat and ball so he can practice. His mother pitched to him while he took some swats at the ball. He did very well for someone who never batted before.

He looked at his mother and said, " I must have American blood in me."