Sunday Thoughts: Tear Down That Wall Mr. America

160708-dallas-shooting-mbe-146p-2_ebc9a2aa7bb2e5763010a2b9d710b663.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000I read this advertisement. “The Drifters & the Platters Live in Quechee Vermont!”

I never knew that they had settled down there. It seemed strange advertising it like that. It was as if the Town of Brookline, which in reality is more a city than a town, advertised “Tom and Giselle Brady Live in Brookline.”

We have been through a strange week. I watched the hearing on Comey. Everyone started off by saying he was a man of great integrity. That sort of puts the inquiry to an end if you want to believe that. How can you question the decision of a man you have just praised in that manner? Can you admit his integrity while questioning his courage, or his judgment? I do not think so in this situation.

The Huffington Post has a follow-up on its story about U.S. Attorney Ortiz. It notes how the reaction to it proved its point. It has a couple of quotes from me in the article.

We have lost five police officers in Dallas, Texas. This appears to be the direct result of the killings of a black man in Louisiana and another in Minnesota. Those Dallas murders certainly threw a wet blanket over the protests that were occurring in the many cities throughout the United States. When my wife heard about Dallas she said if she were a police officer she would turn in her badge.

How about the Minnesota governor saying that if it were a white man who was stopped he still would be alive? Do you believe it? Truthfully, what do you think?

I was sitting in my car last Wednesday on Fenwood Road waiting for my wife who had an appointment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was a hot day. I was parked under a tree but half my car stuck out into the intersection of Kempton Street. My windows were down. A young athletic built black male crossed the street toward me. I was not sure what to expect. I wondered whether my reaction to him as he approached would have been different if he were white. He told me he was going to move his car which was in front of me and that I could have his space. I thanked him.

Are whites conditionied  into thinking we should be more on the alert when approached by a black man rather than a white man. Was Jesse Jackson right on when he identified the problem in himself. He was quoted as saying: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

It does seem clear that white police officers react differently when approaching a black man than one of another race. What can an individual black person do if he lives in a high crime district where he is under constant threat but carries a gun to protect himself? Isn’t that what the NRA advocates? The two black men killed last week were carrying guns which the white officers knew about which had to have heighten their fears even though neither man, as is known at this time, had the weapon in his hand.

President Ronald Reagan said to Soviet Leader Michael Gorbachev: “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev.” I believe we need someone to say to the American people that they too must tear down the walls that separate white from black. A prime example of that is the gated communities throughout America created to keep the blacks out. They should be outlawed as should the private police forces that guard them.

Then we have to swallow our racial pride and our fears and recognize that we are all Americans. We are entitled to the same rights and freedoms. Each one of us must make an effort to do better in this area.

I hope you don’t tell me blacks are better off in America than any other place in the world. Even if that were true what does it matter. They are Americans and should be compared to other Americans.

In studying J. Edgar Hoover’s life, I discovered he had one great fear. It was that the African-American population of America would tire of being left behind and become weary at not being allowed to share in the benefits accorded to the whites and would rise up like the workers in Russia in 1905.

It did not happen during his lifetime. He certainly did everything  in his power to ensure that. But many things have changed since 1972. Hopes that once filled the air seem to have disappeared.

The events we are experiencing are like the rumblings of a volcano —  warning of an explosion that may soon come – as Hoover feared. We have to do all in our power to prevent it. Let us follow Ronald Reagan’s advice to the Soviets and apply it to ourselves.



23 thoughts on “Sunday Thoughts: Tear Down That Wall Mr. America

  1. Matt

    Another back story from the whisper stream.
    My sister married a Jesuit who got his PhD at
    M.I.T. in Physics, left the field to work in
    the Hospice arena and met my sister who
    was working as a nurse in Cambridge.

    One of my favorite Jesuit stories was
    told to me about his Seminary days in
    Louisiana when two of his Jesuit buddies
    went to meet a fellow Jesuit arriving at
    the New Orleans airport.
    Both Jesuits arrived at the airport
    dressed as nuns with a 5 day growth
    of beard chomping and puffing on big
    One of the Jesuit nuns named Jerry Mohatt
    went on to leave the Jesuits, marry,get his
    PhD at Harvard while creating a community
    college for the Lakota Sioux in Rosebud
    South Dakota called Sinte Gleska college.
    More recently he set up a Mental Health
    outreach program for native Alaskans
    at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

    1. MS:

      Read Jerry’s obituary. He had a very interesting life but died too young. My association with the Jesuits actually goes back to when I was in the sixth grand and was an altar boy at the Immaculate Conception Church in the South End. One of our treats was taking the hosts out with us (before they were consecrated) to show our friends who were horrified we were carrying them in our dirty pockets.

      We had little to do with the priests other than serve mass – we’d do three or four a morning. Brother Aerhart controlled us as well as he could. I think we got a stipend for each mass we served something like a nickel. Maybe not. What I most remember is when I would serve early Mass when I was at Boston Latin we were allowed to eat in the kitchen before going on to school. As you might know the Jesuits took the vow of poverty as individuals; as a group they took well care of themselves. I never saw so much food as I did when I would go into get my breakfast. They ate quite well and the beer trucks that pulled up on occasion to their living quarters showed that they also enjoyed a glass or two too.

      Thanks for letting me envision two Jesuits dressed as nuns smoking cigars with their six day beard growth – if only one could have been there.

      AS they used to say: Pax Vobiscum!

  2. One thing that unites both shootings by police officers last week is not just that the shooting victims were black, but that the shooting victims each carried a concealed weapon. One man was a convicted felon who possessed a weapon illegally but who was reported to the police as brandishing a weapon. It is unclear whether the responding police officers knew that the man was a convicted felon or whether they knew that he had previously been arrested for felon in possession of a weapon. The other man was a motorist with a broken tail light who was pulled over by a police officer for the equipment problem who volunteered the information that the he had a license to carry a firearm and was then carrying a firearm. Neither man had his hand on the weapons they carried concealed. One man was thrown to the ground by two officers without explanation, resisted the assault, and then shot by an officer when the other officer determined that the man did have a weapon and yelled “Gun!” The other man was hot multiple times while attempting to access his wallet with his license and registration at the request of the officer. It appears that the officer misinterpreted the driver’s compliance with the officer’s request for the license and registration because the officer then had knowledge that the driver was armed even though the driver was compliant.

    Some states require people with licenses to carry concealed weapons to identify to any police officer that they are lawfully armed. Like Massachusetts, Minnesota does not require that you volunteer that information until you are asked by the officer. Does this identification that you are armed prejudice the outlooks and actions of the police officers? This may a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. If an officer considers blacks to be threatening, then armed blacks are more so to that officer, even when that black man is licensed to carry a concealed weapon or is an off-duty police officer.

    What is the solution? Our state-by-state system of licensing of the carry of weapons is ridiculous. We do not have the same restrictions on any other enumerated civil right. Imagine that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts maintained a list of who may worship in a Catholic Church, that you paid more than $100, was fingerprinted and photographed and received the approval of your local Police Chief to get on that list, and that your license to worship was checked at the door at the church’s expense before entry to your local Catholic Church. The right to worship was instead treated like a privilege. “Ridiculous!” you would say, but that is now how we treat the right to keep and bear arms in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and most other states.

    Rather than having government maintain a list of who may keep and bear arms, let government maintain a list of who may not. The list would clearly and publicly identify the individual, the reason why his rights were restricted – mental defective, drug abuser, on probation, etc. and the government agency responsible for the individual’s presence on the list. Presence on the list could be quickly and freely contested at government expense, ensuring the due process rights of those on the list. In the meantime, police officers should consider that everyone that they encounter is lawfully armed, and treat them with the respect and courtesy that they deserve. The best way to get respect is to give respect. If you are unable to work that way, find another line of work.

  3. “While investigators released little information on Yanez, a St. Anthony Police Department 2015 annual report highlights some of his work:

    “In May, Yanez “volunteered with the Cinco De Mayo Celebration in St. Paul. He participated in the parade with other members of the National Latino Police Officers Association.”

    Talking about this in the pub after the great Portugal win, one local said he hoped Yanez would claim he was 1/32 Cherokee as a defense. I had nothing to say to that.

  4. a species that hires mercenaries to
    protect them
    loose the ability to protect themselves
    and each other

    and are doomed to extinction
    when their bodyguards turn on them

    Before I respond to Matt’s
    Queechee Vermont Rorscharch
    for the day let me grab a brown
    paper bag and hyperventilate.

    Down here in the whisper stream at Flying
    Pond variety the Matt Connolly
    irregulars gathered around the
    Green Mountain coffee
    dispenser were still working on
    unifying Quantum Mechanics
    and Special Relativity
    when the news of Dallas broke.

    “We don’t have too many
    social scientests in our MC
    criminal justice tribe.
    The ones we do have are difficult
    to understand with their thick
    Hanover street -downeast accent brogue.”
    Elbows Wychulis said.

    Rev Elbows Wychulis sermon for today
    was BLM.
    Black Lattes Matter

    The preacher mesmerized the crowd
    with his a capella singing of Twilight Time.
    He then segued into telling the parable of
    the FBI Prodigal son Dr. Fred Whitehurst Phd/JD
    who worked at the FBI lab for 15 years.
    He blew the whistle on the FBI lab analyzing
    crime scene evidence so it would favor the
    prosecution and target people of color.
    Whitehurst said the most common scientific
    word heard at the lab was niggah.”

    Reverend Wychulis reminded the
    group that as voters and taxpayers
    they owned the criminal justice system
    and until they took control and create
    standards of performance and enforce
    those standards through volunteer civilian
    review police boards with subpoena powers
    then the mercenaries would create their own standards.


    1. MS:

      You err! You start out on the wrong foot. You write – or I should say your alter ego the Rev. Wychulis says — as voters and taxpayers they owned the criminal justice system.” I guess there is more in that Green Mountain coffee than you let on. It has been several decades since the voters and taxpayers owned anything. They are nothing but drones — not the kind who fly for the criminal justice system — that dutifully do their duty when nothing they do matters. Didn’t President Wisenhour tell us he was going to simplify the tax code – so did every president that followed – has it happened? No. Do people continue to vote? Yes. This year the voter and taxpayer are being presented with a choice between two people who over 75% dislike and feel are frauds. How can you say they own anything when that is the case.

      The volunteer civilian review police board would be something like the ACLU review board in Chicago. The police just stopped making arrests; Chicago has seen its shooting soar. That’s not to say the police should not be held accountable but if we trust them to patrol our neighborhoods should not we trust them to properly patrol themselves.

      When my oldest grandson was three years old after listening to me a bit said: “Grandpa, life is not as you want it to be. It is as it is.” Good advice.

      1. Matt, your grandson has obviously been influenced by those devious Jesuits, or someone influenced by them. That which is, is.

        I think Obama suffers from that liberal college professor naiveté , much like Wilson before him. They see the world as it should be, not as it really is.

        1. Henry:

          My grandson as best I can tell had no connection to the Jesuits even though his grandfather did and who knows how much he was influenced by them. They often considered him one of the wayward sheep warning others it was best to stay clear of him. Perhaps they recognized in him the naiveté which made him pull the lever on two occasions for Barry and felt he would be forever lost so best isolate him from the other true believers.

          As you can tell my grandson was wise beyond his years and like the Jesuits did see that I was not properly facing the situation that existed. Whether his wisdom came through divine intercession on account of the prayers offered up for my redemption by the Jesuits or in some other manner that made him see that the world was not living up to my expectations I cannot figure.

          But it does serve as a warning to all those who read this blog.

  5. One does begin to wonder about some African-Americans in the US when considering the 620,000 Union dead who bought them out of slavery with their lives.

    And can anyone calculate the trillions spent on them as a group since 1964? Education and housing alone must be nearly incalculable. Too late to ask Judge Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr., though.

    The cop in Minnesota who shot Castile was a Latino named Geronimo Yanez. So they can’t claim white racism (but they will anyway.) I do know that I’d want to be very careful and think twice before telling a cop anywhere “I have a gun,” as the late Castille said to Yanez.

    African-Americans are about 13% of the population, but Hispanics are moving up – now 18%.

    Anyway, there will be no end to this until people stop applying labels like race, origin, nationality and sexual tastes to themselves and to other people. A person should just be a person, not a identity label. The law should apply to persons and not to labeled groups. Once you begin creating labels, you create favoritism and ‘special’ programs, which also inevitably are resented by those excluded and resented by those favored as not being enough.

    Oscar Wilde said it: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    At my local I’m told I’m too cynical, but I’m beginning to think I’m not cynical enough. Let’s see how it is when the police all go home and leave policing to the ACLU and BLM.

    1. Henry:

      Right – many white men died so that other white men could not keep blacks as slaves. But the nation did lapse back after that and the days of Jim Crow were for most blacks as bad as those of slavery and it is fair to say for the next 100 years things were pretty grim for most blacks although some progress was made.

      I wonder myself at what happened to the trillions spent. In reply to Bill who set out lots of statistics I suggested those statistics were probably not far the ones one would find back in the 1960s when the Civil Rights legislation was enacted and Jim Crow in its legal manifestations came to an end.

      You suggest trillions were spent on trying to change things and if the statistics tell pretty much the same story they have been totally wasted. The Judge Garritys of the world despite their good intentions were wrong in their approach. If the statistics are the same then everyone has been wrong in their approach.

      You note how the Asian population is growing. It has tripled over the last twenty years and is half that of the black percentage which is remaining steady. So too is the Latino population growing fast. Within the Latino population are whites and blacks so suggesting the officer was not white not be correct.

      I agree that we have to look at others like people not as something different. But will that be done. When confronted by the statistics showing blacks are more violent than whites as a whole should a police officer feel different when approaching a black person than he would a white person?

      You, Bill, and NC point to something that deserves study. Why has little changed among the black statistics (if that is true) despite the best efforts to bring about the change. What was done wrong? If that is corrected will things change? It would be nice not to have “special programs” but when a certain group in the population lags behind then maybe you need them but not the kind you have been playing with.

      Oscar said a lot of good things and the poor guy died broke in Paris. Maybe you have come upon a good idea. For one day all the police should call in sick – or maybe for a few days – give advance notice to the ACLU which in Chicago overseas their every move – let the ACLU send in its people to keep the peace. That may be the first thing we must do in doing things differently.

  6. We all hope for better racial relations, that all people are treated equally, especially under the law in America. The Dallas killer wanted to kill “white officers”; one officer killed was a Mexican-American. Was the killer “demented”? a “racist”? was he whipped into hatred by anti-white, anti-police rhetoric?
    Here are some ROUGH facts. FBI statistics: Over forty-percent of cops killed are killed by blacks. (Blacks are 13% of population; black men 6.5.%; young black men @3%). Blacks commit about 50% of murders in America. Blacks commit about 50% of armed robberies. Blacks represent about 50% of persons arrested for carrying guns. Blacks are responsible for about 40% of all violent crimes.(FBI statistics) So, these are ROUGH facts. America has a problem of crime and violence among black men, especially young black men.
    It is also true that 27% of persons killed by police are black (2015-2016 FBI data.) So, it’s true, that if you are black, you are twice as likely to be killed by police; But is that because you are four times as likely to be carrying a gun or engaged in a violent crime?
    If about 5,000 blacks are murdered annually (about 90% by other blacks) and about 150 are killed by police (90% with complete justification), then about 15 out of 5000 black murders annually involve possible police misconduct. 99.7 percent of black homicides have nothing to do with police misconduct. The protests and media outrage rightfully should be directed at the criminals who kill, not at the police who protect.
    A 2010 study of federal, state, local incarceration, showed (roughly) 40% of inmates were white, 40% were black, and 20% were Latino. So, roughly, blacks have a greater than 3x chance of imprisonment, Latinos 2x, and whites less than 1X.
    I’ve seen statistics that of the annual 550 police shootings (killings) of civilians, roughly 90% are justified. Ten to fifteen percent are questionable. When you have mace, pepper spray, Tasers and batons, they should be used first. Guns should be used only as a last resort, and perhaps only when a civilian actually displays a gun and refuses to put it down. We all realize split second decisions need to be made and split second decisions are sometimes wrong. Police have a right to self-defense, too. Police make mistakes, too. But to portray police shootings as intentional targeting of blacks by white officers is wrong and is belied by the statistics.
    In Minnesota, the officer who did the shooting was Latino.
    The day after Dallas, where 5 police officers were killed and 7 wounded, police were shot in Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri. The press and media downplayed these shootings.
    Hateful, inflammatory rhetoric against police leads to the false narrative that police are targeting blacks. Ignoring the statistics leads to false narratives.

      1. Henry:

        Interesting statistics – add to it the homicide rate among blacks is much higher than that of whites and you recognize those statistics are really a breakdown of that figure.

    1. Bill:

      1. It is impossible to guard against someone like the Dallas killer who has grown up in America and been a member of the armed services. Obviously he must have had bad experiences interacting with whites or Latinos but so have thousands of others so that does not explain his actions. The killings of the two black men in the days prior to his actions obviously precipitated it but it had been in the planning stages earlier from what I can surmise. Hard to say it was the anti-polic rhetoric since so many others have listened to that. Demented, must have been to some degree. Racist, clearly – he wanted to kill white police officers. Hopefully we will learn more.

      2. Your statistics show why the cops are more likely to shoot first when confronting a black man than to treat him like a white. The statistics give reasons for whites to look upon blacks differently from others. I would agree it would be preferable to have better policies than shoot first and give answers later.

      3. Statistically blacks suffer more murders than whites and more are murdered at the hands of other blacks. They are taking a bad beating. The adverse statistics shout out something is not working. Why is it? The hateful and inflammatory talk by blacks toward whites obviously is not helpful. Blacks blaming whites for the crime among themselves is not helpful. The many programs designed to better the conditions between the races have not helped.

      4. By now things should be different but they aren’t. Why is that? Doesn’t that suggest something is not being done right? You know all the statistics you mentioned which are accurate were probably similar to the statistics in the late 1960s almost 50 years ago. The Civil Rights legislation of the Sixties, the school busings of the 1970s, and other problems were supposed to make a difference. Sure things might be a little better now and many blacks are better off than they were back then but the statistics tell us things are not well. Why is it?

  7. The murder of the police in Dallas was not the direct result of Minnesota and Louisiana incidents. Those acts may have been a catalyst but Johnson was going to kill Whites and White cops at some time anyway. But the press tells us there is no racism in the Black community. The media hype and the howls of the race baiters and cop bashers were more likely the cause than the actual events. No one even knows if the police committed a crime at this time. Recall the media outrage after the false Duke lacrosse allegations and the riots and media frenzy over Freddy Gray. In both instances nothing happened. Yet we had a liberal wilding. Media and liberal irrationality are not the fault of White America. Blacks along with everyone else are blessed to live in this land. All the riots and demonstrations of recent days are political theatre by the left to paint a false picture of the country. This dishonest narrative is a calculated effort to assist the political campaigns of the democrats. The trouble O Ceasar is not in the Cops but in ourselves. 2. Is White America responsible for what happened in Rawanda? Somalia? Kenya? Nigeria or Haiti? Crime and violence are not caused by cops or exclusive to America. Snoop Dog and many other sensible Blacks have told their brothers to stop playing the victim. This is the land of opportunity and millions of Blacks have succeeded here. 3. One can tell that Black Lives Matter was a bogus operation when over the July 4th weekend 50 people, probably over 90% Black were shot in Chicago. They were shot by other Blacks. No reaction from the media and Silence from BLM. It is about 50 times more likely a Black will be killed by another Black than a White cop yet no one notices. Hope Black Americans see they are being played by forces that don’t have their best interests in mind. Black America would like but can’t expect perfect police behavior. After all they are only human. The local police can’t replicate the perfect shooting record of the FBI. The liberal media consistently paints a false portrait. As Wolfe said the press has failed in it’s job to chronicle the lurid carnival of modern existence.

    1. NC:

      1. A catalyst true but it came on the heels of those killings. Had they not happened the Dallas killer may not have acted out on his desire to murder white police officers.

      2. I don’t think the media says there is no black racism rather it plays it down and also it will justify it whereas with whites it highlights and condemns it. The media accepts blacks have a reasons to hate whites but not the other way around.

      3. Whether the police officers were justified in shooting the black men is not the question in the immediate aftermath of such incidents; just the manner in which they have been shown on social media is enough to rile up the people. Remember what the Minnesota governor said.

      4. It is in a sense political theater but also based on the beliefs of those involved that blacks do not get a square deal from the cops. True it is not a cop problem but a societal one – that is what makes it so hard to address.

      5. True many blacks have had successful lives here but there is something that makes it seem that it may not last when incidents like the two killings occur. If I were a black man I would be a little on my guard if a cop approached me more so than I am now.

      6. Yes, Chicago under the liberals has become a killing field. All cops stops require a two page report with 70 items to fill in which are sent to the ACLU for review. It is reported over 90% of the stops are down. The Chicago cop has been handcuffed so that it is best not to do the job.

      7. I have no problem with peaceful protests by Black Lives matter. Much better that than having more people like the Dallas shooter thinking that is the only way to level the playing field. It is going to be a hot summer so let the protests go on as long as they remain orderly. I believe most blacks are thankful of the police presence especially as they see black police officers being part of that presence.

      8. You are right – blacks cannot expect any police department to be perfect even though the FBI shows all of us that it is possible to be perfect in killing people especially if they are Muslims. All in all I think it best we all try a little harder and things will work out.

      When is the next gathering at the cheeseburg factory?

  8. Matt,
    Well, I will say what many are probably thinking.

    With the first Black P.O.T.U.S. having had eight solid years to lead that fight, he seems to have come up painfully short.

    We seem worse off now (in that department) than we when was first elected.

    …..And look at the two choices we have now for “leader of the free world.”

    : (

    1. Rather;

      I think when Obama got elected the expectations that he would help with racial relations in the country were high. His years of being unable to do much other than giving some jobs here and there to blacks brought about a realization that it was always going to continue to be a difficult slog. We are worse off now precisely because as Eric Hoffer wrote that if people see better things or imagine they are coming and then they do not happen there really get turned off and fall into despair. Some say the times remind them of the late 1960s – I don’t see that. The mass involvement by college students that happened back then will not repeat itself since most are not affected as they were when there was a draft. As to which way we will turn at this juncture I’m not quite sure but I hope it is for the better.

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