25 September 2020

Outside Looking In

Although there are a few linguistic clues that this statement is recent, doesn't it sound like something coming from Selma in 1965 or Philadelphia (no, a different one) in 1964?

There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who, having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel suggesting they understand the facts of this case that they know our community and the Commonwealth better than we do. But they don't. Let's not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions. At the end of the day, it is up to us. We live here together. We work here and raise our families here together.

No such luck. We've instead got the Attorney General of Kentucky — a black man, no less — parroting Southern segregationists… and simultaneously engaging in an astounding leap of reasoning that no graduate of a law school in this country can fail to recognize.

Just because we "know [the] community" does not mean or imply that we will find conduct within that community acceptable. Admittedly, not knowing the community is problematic. At some point, however, "community standards"1 are no excuse. I don't claim to have much understanding at all of Warren Jeffs' community, but I can despise the man and reject justification for the conduct. Neither do I claim to have more than a (by my standards) cursory understanding of the Hutu community in the mid-1990s, but I can despise the tribalistic bigotry and genocide that followed. Conversely, I can have a deep and personal understanding of distinct communities and reject their inappropriate conduct, too, whether North, Middle East, or any other direction.

And that last example bears some further reflection. George Clooney, it seems to me, counts as a "celebrity" or "influencer"… but hardly as an outsider who doesn't understand that community. Clooney's understandable outrage probably was further influenced not from across the newswire, but from across the bloody dinner table… his wife is one of the leading human rights attorneys in the world. (He's a curious guy, too, always looking to learn something more.)

Which still leaves the question of what moron approved a no-knock warrant service on the residence of a first responder? And how much did that moron know about the races of anyone? This is a 30-bloody-second computer search — determine who else might be expected to be at the search location; it's one that I understood to make in nineteen bloody eighty seven. The secondary question of how much was withheld from the judicial authority who approved the warrant has been delegated upward to the FBI investigation… but leaves the secondary question of why there aren't similar no-knock warrants being served on tobacco executives. Hint: While both sets of suspects are allegedly involved in trafficking of dangerous substances, only one of those sets of suspects is white protestant men with lots of money and expensive lawyers.

So General Cameron gets a C– in first-year legal writing for relying upon unstated assumptions as incontestable facts. Which just really underscores what the Drumpf administration might have been looking for in potential judicial candidates. If that makes me a "Yankee carpetbagger," so be it. (I certainly don't count as a "celebrity" or "influencer," although I've been an "activist" for the Constitution for over four decades.)

  1. Implied parallel to the unworkable, illogical, ignorant "standards" for determining "obscenity" entirely intentional, such as the not-too-far-away community of Memphis.