I am not sure where Mr. Gates grew up but I learned early in life you do not mess with the police. On at least two different occasions I found that treating the police with courtesy and respect helped keep two of my friends from being arrested for public intoxication. I knew that when I talked with a police officer that there was a fine line between respectful and argumentative and I was not going to cross it. From reading the police report it appears that Gates got mad and crossed the line. I am about 99% sure that if I told the officer, "I’ll speak with your mama outside", both my friend and I would be booked for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, or both. I bet there are plenty of Harvard undergraduates who are willing to lecture Mr. Gates on the foolishness of arguing with the police on such a trivial matter. It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth are remove all doubt.
You know, I know everybody has a different temperament and personality. But I remember being with my father when I’m ten years old and my brother and parents were all in the car. We were driving back home from someplace in Arkansas and it was at night and we got pulled over by state trooper.
And I remember the way my dad dealt with the guy. He just sirred the trooper out: "Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir." He didn’t argue, was not belligerent. He was totally cooperative. And whenever I’ve had any encounters like that, and there have been few, but, you know, I just don’t start yelling at people. It just doesn’t occur to me. It’s not in my makeup, especially if everything’s okay. I’m going to do what I can to prove everything’s okay and end the situation. Let the cops get on their way and let me get back in my house or whatever. This business of Gates continuing to yell as though he had some special privilege because maybe he’s a teacher at Harvard or whatever? This whole thing is just… Especially when you learn that the cop is trained in racial profiling. None of this makes a whole lot of sense.