Beer Summits and Border Guards by Chris Holmes

Frank DeMartini
These are probably the last few days that the current brouhaha over Obama’s “Stupidly” assessment can stay atop the flagpole. But, just before we take it down, let us have a last look at the heart of the issue. The president’s statement seemed a knee-jerk reaction that revealed an inherent suspicion of “abuse-of-power.” This is not surprising when you consider that this was probably an issue frequently addressed while he was a Chicago Community Organizer. My best point of reference (vicariously) was having proudly edited Cooley High, an urban drama in Chicago’s Cabrini Green projects. It’s on DVD.

Possibly because the aggrieved Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a University Professor (literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, with “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities”), a familiarity with college protests comes to mind: The ‘60s Jerry Rubin mantra ”Never trust anyone over 30,” and the ‘70s “Question Authority” (ascribed to Timothy Leary, although Benjamin Franklin is quoted: “it is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority”).

Is it possible that after a long return trip from China, Gates flashed back to his student advocacy sentiments? What I don’t understand is why this was such a prominent issue for our president.

“Law and Order” seems little more than an episodic TV show to most young people these days, but these are the underpinnings of our society. Professor Gates should be fully aware that the police were there to protect and serve him and all residents of his community. President Obama, as our Commander In Chief, should be aware of the total “Law and Order” family he resides over. I would think the president has been fully schooled by now on proper police procedure, what it is like for a law enforcement officer to answer a “possible break-in is in progress” call. What does a cop do when responding? Come to the door with weapon in hand? Or maybe just ring the doorbell assured that serious problems do not happen in this neighborhood? Such a dust-up over “image.”

In trying to imagine Mr. Gates state of mind, I have to substitute an image of either a movie producer or director for Gates’ academic stature (welcome to my world). Correctly or not, I can imagine him blustering at the cheeky effrontery of a uniformed officer not understanding his “Don’t you know who I think I am” attitude (God, I hope I’ll be able to work in this town again). Come on, why do we aspire to a higher status if it does us no good (good restaurant seating aside). As for Police Sgt. James Crowely, I learned my “question authority” lesson years earlier; it is a “no win” to get pissy with armed officers with an empty back seat. This matter was resolved before cameras (but after rehearsals), over beers anyway. Oh yes, did anyone check with MADD to see if alcohol added to this equation is advisable?

There was another “possible break-in” assignment that didn’t end in an arrest, didn’t catch the president’s eye, and will not end in a “beers with buddies” scenario. It was not in the power corridors of the North East. At 9:00pm, July 24, in southern California, Robert Rosas, a 30-year-old, married father of two young children, was killed while responding (alone) to a suspected border incursion near Campo, a rugged town, in southeastern San Diego County. Mr. Rosas was an officer of the U.S. Border Patrol. How sad that his call could not have ended simply with a cheeky “Stupidly” assessment. He was shot in the head and body multiple times by his own government-issued weapon and was dead by the time backup agents arrived.

I am mystified that I did not hear any direct comment from President Obama on the cold-blooded killing of Robert Rosas while securing our international border. Janet Napolitano got the call to show respect to the fallen DHS agent, making a short, yet effective statement.

There appears to be an inequity in how Border Patrol agents are treated. Take the cases of former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean who were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively, for pursuing and ultimately wounding what was believed to be an armed illegal alien. After a couple of years in prison, President Bush pardoned the two on his last full day in office.

Although agents are issued weapons, it seems they are severely limited in their use. The DHS rules of engagement are something to the effect of only firing in self-defense. Thus Agent Rosas had his very own weapon taken from him in an apparent scuffle and was killed by it. Why not issue air powered paint-ball guns that they can at least shoot (marking their perpetrator). Do you think we could man our army in Afghanistan with that operational mind-set?

Ask any players in the Bosnian war (or any of the other regional wars) of their opinion of the U.N. Peacekeepers, or observers. You simply do not shoot at them and they can do nothing to stop any actions they saw. They were loved for always leaving behind those great Toyota 4x4s when they high-tailed it home.

If the White House ‘meet and greet’ were to get a little awkward, may I suggest a little biographical filmic relief to accompany those beers: “A Man for All Seasons” (6 Oscars, and one of my favorites, on DVD). As Mr. Gates is of “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities” and Mr. Crowely is a man of law and order, they will enjoy this treatise on human dignity, and indignity. President Obama might enjoy this film as well, as Sir Thomas More penned the tale “Utopia” (the imaginary island or nation), Greek pun ou-topos [no place], describing political pacts of the imaginary island country.

And how about a shout out, Mr. President, to all the men and women of the combined Armed Forces, FBI, DHS, National Guard, Coast Guard, CIA, local police, and all others that put their life on the line for our “law and order” society on a daily basis?

Now, go see a good movie, and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Then, talk it over with a friend over a nice, cool beer.

© 2009 by Chris Holmes. Permission to copy will be given freely upon request.

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5 Responses to Beer Summits and Border Guards by Chris Holmes

  1. Anonymous on July 31, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I am in agreement on this one Franky. Mr.Gates like everyone else (imagine that!) should know that when an officer shows up at your door or anywhere else for that matter with has palm on his pistol grip and asks you for ID…guess what?…you better give it to him!
    This guy Gates flew off the handle with a temper tantrum a 2 year old would be proud of when all he had to do is show who he was and none of that would have ever happened!
    The call came over a radio to the cop that some one across the street was troubled by the way these two men entered the house and forced the door open. Now, if a person that lives there didn't know who he was how the hell were the cops going to know who it was without checking ID!!
    On the other hand if they would not have given the call the time of day the claims would have been even uglier than they were.

    I don't care who Mr.Gates thinks he is or thought he was that day…we are all under the same law and when a uniformed officer asks for ID …you give it to him! If he knew who you were he wouldn't be asking and you don't need a college education to know that!

  2. Anonymous on July 31, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Well said. I feel exactly the same. My soin in law is NYPD and the disrespect shown to our peacekeepers is amazing. How hard is it to show ID? How hard is it to stop when a police officer asks you to stop. You only run if you are guilty.

  3. Julie K. on August 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I agree. As the wife of a PO, I think some of your sentiments are echoed here. Well, where we live for sure.
    Thanks for remaining objective but speaking truth. It is much appreciated!

  4. Ismael Mcmanuis on February 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Yet more very helpful piece provided by http://www.hollywoodrepublican.net/2009/07/beer-summits-and-border-guards-by-chris-holmes/. I have been reading the site for a long time at this time and i also notice that you happen to be positively going right up inside the serp’s which makes me glad.

  5. Tucson Arizona Realtor on March 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I live in Arizona and love the Border Patrol. Thank you for keeping us safe!

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