Thursday, July 05, 2007

Upon further review

The consensus in the newspaper, among those who know him, is that Rev. Jerry Doss is a reasonable and compassionate man. So how to we square that with his harsh accusations of injustice over a police action that was executed properly and without injury? Perhaps an analogy would help.

Imagine a football coach, playing on the road in a game in which every call seems to be going against his team. In reality, some of the calls were made incorrectly, while others were just calls he didn’t like. But perception can easily skew reality and the coach is convinced that the refs are playing to the home crowd and his team is the victim of their one-sided decisions.

By the fourth quarter, the coach has had enough and the next time a yellow flag is thrown on one of his players, he storms out onto the field to protest. Only this is one of those times when the correct call was made. In fact, it wasn’t even close. Yet the coach can’t see this, so enraged is he from previous injustices. His players, who were already frustrated by what they perceived as a lack of fairness, are further outraged when they see their normally even-tempered coach dissent so venomously.

Meanwhile, the home team fans are baffled. They saw the replay of the play that caused the coach to blow up and the call was correct (they’ve already forgotten about the previous bad calls where the coach had legitimate grounds to protest.) They immediately think the coach is either delusional or conniving. The boos rain down as the coach is pulled back to the sideline.

When play resumes, tensions between the two teams on the field are even greater, with the refs caught in the middle. Hopefully, the game will end before an all-out brawl ensues.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

If a white person had run into Blessed Sacrement in the middle of mass do you think the police would have disrespectfully barged in and handled it the same way? I think you're being very naive if you do.

East Side White Guy said...

Anonymous -
If I were sitting in Mass at Blessed Sacrament when an armed fugitive burst into the sanctuary trying to flee from the police, I would certainly hope that the cops would handle it exactly the same way - preferably as quickly as possible to ensure that none of the innocent people enjoying Mass would be injured or taken hostage. Silly me.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Anon,

If the police thought the white person had a gun, why wouldn't they run into Blessed Sacrament?

Are you saying that the police are prejudiced against Catholics and would allow a potentially dangerous person to hole up in the sancturary and jeapordize the safety of their congregation?

For shame.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

nancy said...

East Side White Guy

I think you mean to say "possibly armed fugitive".

What I find so interesting here is in the first day's letters to the editors, the entire "black community" was indicted for race baiting when only the Rev. Doss had voiced his opinion publicly. That's a huge problem here in Springfield. Whether or not you agree with Reverand Doss's opinion of the Springfield Police Department, it is unfair to lump all of Springfield's black citizens together, when only one has spoken. If I am correct, some members of Abundant Faith are in support of the SPD's actions that day. Furthermore, Rev. Doss called for a community meeting to discuss the deeper problem and then actually had that meeting, which I'm sure took the wind out of the sails of those who generally like to accuse the black community of complaining all the time, but never trying to come up with solutions to the problems. Damn that Reverand! And finally, Rev. Doss never made excuses for the fugitive, but you would never guess that from a lot of the white reaction to him either.

I'm not going to pretend to know police protocol in such a situation. I'm glad no one was hurt, but I'm sure it was extremely unnerving. I think Dan hit the nail on the head, and Rev. Doss had just had his limit. I sincerely hope that some serious public relations tactics and gestures of good will were implemented IMMEDIATELY after the fugitive was arrested and that the police did not just pack up and go and wait for the fall out to come the next day. If that was the case, then perhaps the police department is in need of some brushing up in that area?

m.b. said...

I'm about to give up my subscription to BFS.

Dan,

How many erroneous "yellow flags" does there need to be out of a game full of penalties before you have some understanding and sympathy for the coaches' irrational behavior? Give me a number or percentage please because you are making me believe that you are very, very sympathetic to the great disservice being done to him.

Nancy,

You kidding right? When Doss said that maybe the guy ran into his church to seek protection from the big bad police he wasn't making excuses for the guy? Give me a freaking break!

The fact that "whitey" is seeing Doss' comments as being representative of the black community maybe a learned trait. You see, anytime a white officer does something wrong suddenly it is said that the SPD as a WHOLE has MAJOR problems. See the parallel?

How about the fact that Doss feels comfortable with possibly armed criminals coming into his church. That is a problem.

Once again you guys are soooooo naive it is unbelievable. Please do me a favor. At about 10:00 p.m. on a hot summer night get in your car, by yourself, and drive to the area of 14 & Pine, and just kind of drive around the block for about a half an hour. I'm sure you will come away with a better understanding of what that horrible, horrible Springfield Police Department and all their fellow officers around the country are up against.

One more time. You can read the ridiculous nonsense pumped out by the local and national media about the racial injustice being done by the police or you can listen to someone who knows first-hand what really goes on. Your choice...bury your head or open your ears.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

M. B.,

I'm not defending anyone, just trying to understand a mindset. I know that a football analogy trivializes things, but I thought it apt in explaining how different people can view the same situation in opposite ways.

If I haven't said it for the record, I do think the police acted correctly in this situation and I give them the benefit of the doubt in most others.

I thought Walter Williams' column this week was very interesting in light of this issue. In short and as relates here, he said that most people simply don't care enough about other people to intentionally harm them or make their lives miserable. That's why I think the officers weren't thinking about the skin color or socio-economic background of the people in the church they were about to enter, they were carrying out their duties the way they were taught. That same attitude would have led them into a Catholic church under similar circumstances.

And about your subscription, our billing department would like a word with you.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

Anonymous said...

It wasn't an armed fugititve. He had no gun and wasn't threatening anyone in the church.
Why did the police assume he had a gun? Because he was black so he must be dangerous? Or was the "he had a gun" excuse something they came up with after the fact?

It wasn't the black guy who barged into church with guns blazing. It was the police.

But you go right ahead and keep on believing that the police treat rich white people (including the church where many city leaders attend) just the same as poor black people. Be sure to tell the elves hello in your magical world of make believe.

nancy said...

Monkey Boy

While our customary pissing matches are always great fun, they seldom get us anywhere. Let's try this on for size. If I make a real effort to understand the challenges of the Springfield Police Department, and I respond specifically to your plea that until I have walked in one of those officers' shoes, I have no idea what they are up against, will you accept that you really have no understanding of what it is to be a black citizen in the city of Springfield? That you cannot truly understand the challenges facing that segment of the population?

I will admit my shortsightedness and jumps to judgment concerning the police department. I'm willing to listen to people who know more than I do because they've been there and lived the life. Are you willing to do the same concerning Springfield's black community?

Really, there is a lot in common between the two entities who both are made up of mostly decent people yet are constantly under fire, constantly feeling the need to defend the actions of even their worst members, constantly in need of quality leadership and both have long histories of just really bad mojo in Springfield Illinois.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Anon,

Why did the police assume he had a gun?

If you had followed the news reports, you would have learned that there were several reasons why the police suspected him of being armed.

The individual had a record, including a charge for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

At rollcall on the day of the incident, officers were relayed a tip that he was carrying a weapon. (believe it or not, the police try to keep tabs on the bad guys instead of just harassing people at random.)

At the time he was pulled over, he reached under his seat. He later fled, which suggests there was something he was trying to avoid other than a ticket for tinted windows.

He later said that he could lead the police to a weapon if they would drop the charges against him.

It's very easy to look back at hindsight and say the guy didn't have a gun, but the police didn't have the luxury of hindsight. They had to deal with the situation as it was playing out and the information they did have suggested that he might be armed.

And finally, the police didn't go in with guns blazing. No one was injured, but you wouldn't know that unless you actually bothered to read the accounts.

I never said that rich, white people aren't perceived differently than poor blacks. I just said that the police would have followed the same procedures for apprehension no matter where this incident took place.

It's wrong to stereotype all blacks as criminals, but isn't it also wrong to stereotype all cops as racists. Yet that is exactly what you've done by assuming the police were in the wrong without ever bothering to look at the facts.

You really should try to be more open-minded and tolerant.

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

m.b. said...

Dan,

My beef was with the part of your analogy in which you basically said that Doss (The coach) reacted the way he did because of past negative contacts (erroneous flags) with the police (officials). I think to infer that is a very broad leap of faith. What do we know about Doss' past that would suggest such a comment? I don't know, and I'm pretty sure you don't know. I think that by you saying that it lets Doss off the hook for saying something really super ignorant.

I didn't read the Williams column but I certainly agree with his assessment. I have not thought of that specifically but it makes a lot of sense....common sense that is. That maybe my new moniker. SOCS - Supporter of common sense.

Nancy,

You are 100% right, I don't know what it is like to be a black citizen in Springfield as it pertains to most things. If Doss wants to make a comment about how the black citizens of Springfield are mistreated at McDonald's I am happy to sit back and listen intently to both sides as I have little to no first-hand knowledge of the situation.

But you are 100% wrong to say that I don't know what I am talking about in regard to their relationship with the SPD. That is about the only thing I am sure of.

Your last comment has a lot of truth to it. The only difference as I see it is that the leaders of the SPD do not publicly make outlandish, divisive comments. And Doss is certainly viewed as a leader in the black community.

nancy said...

Monkey Boy

Just a couple of nits to pick and I'll be done.

"You are 100% right, I don't know what it is like to be a black citizen in Springfield as it pertains to most things"

That would be ALL things, right? You're not black.

"But you are 100% wrong to say that I don't know what I am talking about in regard to their relationship with the SPD. That is about the only thing I am sure of."

Um...what? Where did I say that? Unless you are going through BFS archives in which case you're going to have start citing dates and topics and degrees of hostility for me to properly respond.

"The only difference as I see it is that the leaders of the SPD do not publicly make outlandish, divisive comments"

I might give you this one. Let me sleep on it.

m.b. said...

Nancy,

"Um...what? Where did I say that? Unless you are going through BFS archives in which case you're going to have start citing dates and topics and degrees of hostility for me to properly respond."

The theme for this debate is the allegation (or the perception of) of police misconduct tinged with racism. You asked, do I know what it is like to be black? For the most part, no. But my VAST experience on this topic leads me to the conclusion (not merely based on what I have read) that cries from the black community in regard to mistreatment and racism by the police is mainly (notice I didn't say totally) a learned mindset based on irrational, baseless teachings, and fueled by an irresponsible, paper-peddling media. So as it relates to my ability to speak with authority on the ORIGINAL topic I am more than qualified to know how and why black citizens feel the way they do about the police. Did you ask that specifically? No. But it is relevant to this debate and my position on it.

It sounds as if you want me to say that if I am not black then I cannot comment intelligently on their condition. Yet I ask you the same thing. From where do you draw your experience to comment with authority on this issue? I assume you are not black. Did you at one time live in a predominately black neighborhood? Go to a school with a large black student body? You praised Rev. Doss for calling his meeting and said that you agreed with Dan that he may have "had his limit." Really? Do you know the good Reverend? Spoken to him?

But it is rather frustrating to hear and see people comment on things that they have very little first-hand knowledge of, especially when I have some practical experience to bring to the plate. As I alluded to before, if someone wants to blog about electricity I'm out. I can't comment because I don't know what I'm talking about. As it pertains to things related to law enforcement, allegations of racism by police and the media's role in the debate, I kind of know what I am talking about.

(Written without the benefit of "hostility")

nancy said...

M.B.

1989-1994 I resided in Rogers Park in Chicago Illinois. I wouldn't call this a predominantly black neighborhood as it is as ethnically diverse as you'll probably find anywhere in the United States, definitely unlike the rest of Chicago's neighborhoods which are largely segregated by their immigrant populations. Rogers Park is where Loyola's Lake Shore's campus is located, but the campus is its own little oasis and once off it, you are pretty much free to experience other cultures for all the good and bad they have to offer, and I did.

From '91-'94, I lived in a fairly large apartment building where the vast majority of residents were black; shared laundry facilities with them, went to parties there, complained about parties, had complaints about my parties, you name it, it happened.

My apartment was broken into WHILE I WAS HOME, by a black person. (That was one black person, by the way, not the entire population). I rode along with the police as they tried to encourage me that if we didn't find the actual person who had been in my apartment, there were plenty of other bad apples on the street that they'd had previous problems with, so if I'd just ID one of them, I'd still be doing my community a service. (My distrust of cops a gullible reliance on the media? I don't think so.) Fortunately, we were able to find the guy who broke into my apartment, and I happily continued through the prosecution process where he was convicted.

Throughout my years in Chicago, I worked at two different jobs downtown in the Loop, some late shifts. It was very often my black, male friends who would walk me to the subway for the commute back to the northside, sometimes even riding the train with me, NEVER doing anything to compromise our friendship or my trust in them.

One of the retail jobs I had I was the only white person on the entire floor of over 100 employees. Once a month, several of us wouuld go out to Bennigan's (I know, lame, but good Margaritas). I became such good friend with a few of these girls that I would go to their homes on the south side of Chicago. Now THAT would be an eye opener for this little girl from the Patch, but still nothing ever happened to me and I met some of the nicest people I've known.

Several of my black friends from Chicago became so dear to me, that after I moved back to Springfield they made the trip down here for my wedding. Two of them didn't have very good experiences while here in Springfield. SURPRISE!!!! I know them. They didn't make it up.

It is dangerous to assume that you know so much about other people and that you have so much more experience under your belt simply because yours is more public. My guess is all you know about Reverand Doss is what you've read about him in the paper, correct? Have YOU ever talked to him or are you letting the media guide your opinion?

Be very careful about what you know and what I don't.

m.b. said...

Nancy,

Never claimed that I knew Doss or his background. YOU are the one who agreed that he had "had his limit." I merely indicated he had no idea what he was talking about in regard to proper police procedure and that his comments were divisive and ignorant.

I too lived in Rogers Park....for about a month. Had my apartment broken into once and my car twice. I guess my SIU education was worth more than your Loyola education...I moved....fast.

After reading your extensive history of befriending every black person in the Chicago area I stand down. I now know that you are indeed an expert in police-minority relationships.

I once met a guy named Ortiz, now on to illegal immigration!

I quit.

Anonymous said...

Nancy aren't you quite the hypocrite?

You state that your apartment was broken into by a black person. (That was one black person, by the way, not the entire population).
Then you continue on with your story about riding around with the police looking for the perpetrator and you insinuate that the police suggested to you that if you'd just pick anybody out on the street that they would lock him up. You indicate that from that experience you now distrust the police. (My distrust of the police a guilible reliance on the media? I don't think so.)
Tell me Nancy, was the entire Chicago Police Department in the squad car? Just as one black thief doesn't make the entire black population crooks neither should one bad experience with a Chicago cop cause you to distrust the police in general.
Then, to top it all off, you go on to suggest that the Springfield Police harrassed your wedding guests while they were in town. Your insinuation is that you'd expect no less than that from the Springfield Police Department. At least that's my take on what you are saying but you fail to tell the reader what happened to your guests. Maybe I have it all wrong but I don't think so. Shame on you!

nancy said...

M.B. and Anonymous

I never claimed to have befriended every black person in Chicago.
My point was that we all form our opinions based on our own experiences.

The experience I had with the Chicago police did help shape my opinions. That was just my personal experience.There's probably no way to convince you of this, but that situation only taught me to just keep my mind open to the idea that any allegation could be true or false. I swear to you, my first gut instinct isn't police=bad, black suspect=good. It just simply isn't. As you may be able to tell from this blog, I'm a person who likes to hash things out A LOT and I don't think things are necessarily always as they appear right away. I don't claim to be an expert on any of this and I certainly think I have shown an openness to see other's points of view.

Anonymous, looking back at my post, it could be construed that I was suggesting the police harrassed my wedding guests. It was not. It was security at White Oaks Mall and a Springfield Mass Transit bus driver. I was commenting on the racial climate in Springfield as a whole. I apologize for the confusion.

(Incidentally, I did not let the bad experience I had with those Chicago police adversely affect my opinion of even other Chicago police. There was a really nice officer Reppen, who used to go to a tavern I went to and they used to call him Lethal Reppen.)

Anonymous said...

There's one or two folks out here who seem to have alot of extra time on their hands to spend arguing over the internet with other bloggers. Don't you people have lives of your own you should be paying attention to? I wonder what issue or whom was being neglected during all the time it took to debate this neverending-hardly-a-winning-battle issue? Geesh. Give it a rest.

One for God said...

After view the event and attending the meeting held wityh officals, I find they our society has misinformed the masses. The issue is not a black or white issue , The issue is a God and government issue. The official told Jerry Doss ( prior to the press confrerence) That the Did Not detect iminent danger! Therefore Gun were not necessary. SPD hosted their weapons and the State troopers did not. A older white lady was knocked down in the service which brought a reaction from the the Pastor. The issue is what is the apporpiate procedure for law enforcement to enter without showing respect to the ministry and by passing the church officials. This issue is not a black man with an east side church. The issue is a man chosen by God that leads a church that shows the diviersity of God without race, class or denominational barriers. If a white boy ran in it would of recieved the same reaction.

The question still stand would the police run into a westside, northside, southside church the same way? Point! This is God and government issue not a racial issue. We are all one in Christ.

1908 is over Springfield wake up

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