Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama says police acted stupidly...

Realistically it would have been smarter for the President to have just stated he didn't have all the facts on the case of the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates rather than what he said that's gotten headlines:
As for Gates, "I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

This of course has created reaction, Crowley's union predicts Obama will regret remarks with it being stated as a clarification from the White House that the President didn't call the officer "stupid" -- which is word games, if you say "the Cambridge police acted stupidly" you are basically calling the officer "stupid" -- at least from what I understand of the word "stupidly":

1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
3. tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.
4. annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
5. in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue.
6. Slang. excellent; terrific.
7. Informal. a stupid person.
1535–45; < L stupidus = stup(─ôre) to be numb or stunned + -idus -id 4

Related forms:
stu⋅pid⋅ly, adverb
stu⋅pid⋅ness, noun


T. F. Stern said...

I feel a Forrest Gump line about to surface?...Stupid is as stupid does...This applies to police officers and presidents alike.

Gates clearly was wearing his feelings on his chin and for that he showed his own racism and likely egged on the situation that should have ended with, "thanks for checking on the welfare of my house and for verifying that I am in deed the rightful person who lives here."

Having been a police officer, once it was determined that Gates actually was the owner and that no burglary had happened, I can see how arresting a fellow in or outside of his own home for making a fool of himself is a touchy line in the sand; but since I wasn't there I refrain from a full out thumbs up or down.

This is exactly the same sort of restraint the president should have used, he wasn't there and lacked sufficient data to make a foolish public statement which has brought the spot light on his stumbling.

Barga said...

One of my cowriters actually just posted his whole response to this on my site. I think you will like it.

As for me, I personally feel that the cop should have simply asked for proof that it was his residence, and, baring that, arrested him under suspection.

elly higginbottom said...

there is an absolute difference between someone who is stupid & someone who has behaved stupidly - which seems to be summed up when you include the definition for "stupidly", the actual word used by president obama.

Adv. 1. stupidly - in a stupid manner; "he had stupidly bought a one way ticket"