I have been thinking about the last week alot today. I followed the riots in Baltimore last night on Twitter thanks to Oliver Laughland who I follow who writes for the Guardian. He posted a video and it is just so sad to me. All these people in so much pain wanting to know when the killing is going to stop and when are they as a people going to be pulled up and treated like everyone else.
That got me to thinking about my town. Everyone here has a story about living here. Years ago a lovely professor from RPI told me he had to warn his son never to go out running in the community without his ID on him because people would call the police and have him checked – why? because he was black. The father had been stopped numerous times wanting to know what he was doing in the neighborhood, the one that he lived in. We have the largest number of minorities in our school district percentage wise of any suburban school district in the capital region, about 21%. But of that group only about 2-3% are Black. The rest are asian or middle eastern due to the number of scientists and medical professionals in our community. It is hard to be part of a minority group in this community.
When we moved here we thought our kids would attend the local school about a two block walk through the woods from our house – but no, it turns out that school had been closed the year before we moved in and our kids were going to another school in a “fancier” neighborhood. I had met some mom’s and one invited me to a meeting she was going to at the school so I could meets some folks. The only thing I remember about that meeting was this one woman who turned to me and said hello and asked me where I lived. When I told her she gave a little huff and turned her back on me. Turns out I lived on the “wrong” side of the street. The other side of Rt. 7 was not good enough. She was a lawyers wife and he was also an ex-NBA basketball player and her head was somewhere up in the clouds. She never, ever spoke to me again in the 13 years our daughters were in school together. So, sad. She might have been a nice person but I will never know.
And in this town if you have connections it would also appear that if you get stopped for anything or have an underage drinking party there are few if any consequences. I have been hearing more and more stories about people getting pulled over for drinking and driving and being let go – parents called to come and get them etc. I am just wondering about the liability of a town if this same person kept driving day after day intoxicated and eventually killed someone and it was found out that they had not had any consequences in the past for their behavior? I would think it would be a huge liability.
I remember in one of the towns where I worked how upset folks were when the police stopped driving people home or letting them call a friend to come and get them. When they started writing tickets and actually arresting people for DWI it was a shock, but over time the number of crashes went way down and the arrests went down because people knew that if they were stopped they were going to have to face a consequence. That is what prevention is all about. I am still very upset about the girl who hit Denis’ car as it sat in front of our house – 19 years old, intoxicated and totaled his car. Before I could even check with the courts she had been in and out with little consequence as far as I am concerned. Nothing about the damage she had done to our vehicle. Never got even an apology from her. She did not care and she still hangs out in this neighborhood. But mommy and daddy had a good lawyer and they have connections all over town so we cannot punish her too much – it might ruin her future… not giving her stiff consequences sets her up to do something really bad in the future.
I guess this has all had to do with my thoughts on what a screwy society we live in. Black men being killed by police officers and making us have to look at how different life is for black men in our society. I would fear for my sons every day if I were a black mother. I fear for the young men I have worked with in Troy who are such good people but are judged by their color not by their qualities. I also fear for the children in this community who so often do not face natural and logical consequences for their actions. What are we teaching them about priviledge? Do they really deserve it? Thank goodness for the state police up at Brant Lake for not only ticketing our students for underage drinking but for letting the school know so that there will be consequences. I honor those officers for doing the right thing.
End of sunday rant…..