So, since the president is keen on offering instruction, here is what I would advise he teach his Ivy League pals, and anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer: You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing. You may be tooling along on a Sunday drive in your 1932 Hupmobile when, quite unknown to you, someone else in a 1932 Hupmobile knocks off the nearby Piggly Wiggly. A passing police officer sees you and, asking himself how many 1932 Hupmobiles can there be around here, pulls you over. At that moment I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.
When the officer has satisfied himself that it was not you and your Hupmobile that were involved in the Piggly Wiggly heist, he owes you an explanation for the stop and an apology for the inconvenience, but if you’re running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression and what have you, you’re likely to get neither.
…because I was actually in a situation like this once. A couple of friends of mine and I were coming back from a play, and the cops pulled us over because a car just like my friend’s had been involved in an armed robbery; and my friend unfortunately looked a little like the suspect. Fortunately, we were all scrupulously polite, none of us had robbed a retail establishment, and we all had identification indicating that the three of us were two doctors and a library studies grad student, not an armed and dangerous criminal gang – which I’m sure was as much a relief to the cop as it was to us. Given that he was risking his life, and we weren’t.
That’s the point: the cop didn’t know that he was dealing with three people who meant him no harm. And at the time, we didn’t really think about how this entire situation (which ranged for us from annoying to funny) looked to him.
There are a bunch of people out there who would like to see the tapes of the incident released; I’m one of them, simply because at this point it’s probably the only way to resolve this matter one way or the other. If the material on them is unfavorable to Officer Crowley, best that we find this out now so that we can do something about it; if it’s not, then the sooner Gates can go back to being a moderately obscure Harvard professor. I assume that by now there’s going to be allegations of a coverup/whitewash either way that the story resolves. I also assume that releasing the tapes will help make sure that said allegations aren’t widely named.
So, release the Crowley/Gates tapes.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.