(Image source: YouTube)
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This is called "context," my friends.
If you live near McKinney, Texas and you like to party, you might have been aware of the Dime Piece Cookout before it went down this past Friday.
It was advertised heavily on Twitter for a full month leading up to the event, and organized by a professional promoter named Tatiana Rhodes. Rhodes is a grown woman who, apparently along with her mom, put together this party primarily as a means to sell tickets to another event, Make It Clap Pt 2, which was supposed to happen in late June.
This was a massive blowout held in a private community, fully equipped with a DJ, advertised on social media to hundreds of people, but never once cleared with the local homeowners association. It was also promoted as a pool party (hence the giant image of a pool on the flyer), even though the pool is off limits to non-residents, unless they are guests of residents. Residents have a limited number of friends they can invite. I'm not sure what the number is, but I assume it's somewhere south of 100.
The organizers claim they got permission, but the HOA confirmed to local media that they neither sought it nor received it. This fact is essential, because it confirms two things: 1) The people who threw this party did not care about respecting the clearly outlined rules of the community, and 2) They don't mind lying.
It's important to note that this was both designed and advertised as a loud and ruckus affair, held -- again without permission -- in the middle of a community, utilizing private resources, right next to a private pool where parents bring their young children.
It's also perhaps relevant that the party goers were not innocent little children attending a "Dora the Explorer" themed birthday bash at Chuck E. Cheese. These were teens looking to get drunk and hookup:
I hope I meet a fine ass nigga at #DimePieceCookout tmrw.— ♊️June19th♊️ (@NasiaChristine) June 5, 2015
The liberal media has since presented this as an "innocent children's pool party," but I've never encountered a children's party where people go to meet "fine ass n*ggas."
In fact, I've never heard of children's parties with terms like "Dime Piece" and "Make It Clap" in the title. For those mercifully uninitiated, the former is a slang term for attractive women. "Dime" as in a 10-out-of-10 on the sexy scale, and "piece" is short for "piece of ass." The latter, "make it clap," refers to a girl twerking on the dance floor and making her butt cheeks clap together.
One can only imagine why a mother would help her daughter put together a "dime piece" and "make it clap" party for underage teens, but one possible theory is that she's irresponsible and immature (at best). Irresponsible and immature parenting is a theme we should keep in mind when analyzing this story.
[sharequote align="center"]Irresponsible and immature parenting is a theme we should keep in mind when analyzing this story.[/sharequote]
So we have an unsanctioned, heavily promoted, loud, sexually charged teen party right in the middle of a neighborhood filled with parents and children of all different races. This party is being organized by people who have shown themselves to be both loose with the facts and unconcerned with respecting the peace, privacy, and rules of the community. And we have no adult supervision -- save for a few alleged grown ups who see no problem with a bunch of bikini-clad 14 year olds playing the role of "dime pieces."
This is called "context," my friends.
And with this context, we can now take another look at the latest racial outrage surrounding this event in McKinney, Texas over the weekend.
You've likely been made vaguely aware of some butchered, half-cocked version of something that approximately resembles a few of the facts related to the incident in McKinney. Nevertheless, if you operate like so many in our country these days, you've formed a full and unchangeable opinion on the matter.
If you're in that crowd -- the Oblivious and Proud Club -- you know that at some point during the Dime Piece party, cops were called. You know that amidst a lengthy attempt to control the mob and investigate the situation, a seven-minute sliver of a small part of the overall scene was captured on video. You know the footage shows Officer Casebolt running around and yelling at a group of uncooperative teens. You know that he curses at the teens -- no doubt causing lasting emotional scars by introducing them to the F word for the first time in their lives -- and generally acts unpleasantly towards them. And you know that eventually he ends up throwing a teenage girl to the ground and drawing his weapon.
(Image source: YouTube)
By the standards of the peanut gallery and their ringleaders in the media, that's all you need to know. The girl was black, the cop was white. Racism. Period. End of discussion. Time to protest.
But, being that I'm dumb enough to care about the full truth, I can't help but wonder if our judgments should be based on more than an isolated, momentary glimpse of an out-of-context scene.
I've been informed repeatedly that such thoughts stem from my bigotry, which is odd, because I never knew "bigot" means "guy who refrains from jumping to baseless conclusions."
So maybe it's my bigotry talking, but when I look at the video, even before taking anything else into account, I'm not sure I see immediate evidence of racism and brutality. Indeed, we're told that the officers only singled out the black partiers, but what I see is most everyone, black and white, being told to leave. A few are instructed to sit on the ground and wait for the cops to come talk to them. With what little we can view of the whole scenario, I can easily spot at least one white kid among the ones told to sit.
I see a number of others running away. Many in the court of public opinion seem to take issue with the police pursuing them, but I don't understand that criticism. The police were called to the scene because residents reported that laws were being broken. They arrived, and immediately a number of potential suspects fled. Are the police supposed to have some policy that says all you have to do to evade arrest is run? Because -- what -- running from the cops is a human right?
Finally, I see Casebolt attempting to detain the girl in the bikini. You can't tell what happens in the moments leading up to this altercation, but that hasn't stopped most everyone from conclusively determining that the poor girl "did nothing wrong." Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. At a minimum we know she failed to follow instructions and leave along with the rest of the crowd. She could have, but she chose not to. That was her decision, and a bad one.
Casebolt tries to get the girl to sit on the ground, but she does not cooperate. There is a struggle, and eventually she is slammed down. I don't like watching a teenage girl get thrown to the sidewalk, either, but of all the hand-wringing over it, nobody has suggested what else an officer is supposed to do when a person -- teenage girl or otherwise -- refuses to comply. Just let them walk away? Keep asking nicely? Tickle them into submission?
At this point, a group of men rush up to the officer as if to intervene. One guy can clearly be seen in the video reaching towards his waistband. Casebolt draws his weapon and the courageous man runs away. Two other officers pursue, and Casbolt reholsters.
He never points the gun at the girl, or at anyone else.
He draws. The guy runs. The end.
And, even if you haven't been paying attention to this story, you know what happens next.
The video goes viral, sans context, and the nation erupts in another round of racial outrage. It's immediately decided that the cop was racist, the "children" were all innocently attending an innocent pool party and had done nothing at all to provoke the police response, and yet again the police war on black America has reared its ugly head.
The media ran with it, as usual. Liberal bloggers and commentators added to their volumes of "white cops are evil" literature. Last night, protests were staged. The cop was suspended, and many called for him to be arrested on assault charges. The whole debacle is again portrayed as entirely the fault of the police, who victimized a group of entirely blameless and entirely innocent black people.
Like always, those who wish to fit this incident into the liberal narrative have gone embarrassingly overboard. Just as they called the violent thief Michael Brown a "gentle giant," they speak about these teenage party goers as if they were toddlers decked out in floaties and Spongebob swim trunks.
After I briefly addressed this controversy on my Facebook yesterday, I was greeted with predictable accusations of racism and white supremacy. One woman sent me a private email echoing the sentiments of many commenters:
"Matt, you are a racist! How dare you take the side of the cop who VIOLENTLY assaulted INNOCENT CHILDREN who just wanted to come and share some special moments with their friends! How would you like it if YOUR KIDS were beat up by police just for wanting to have fun?"
Well, my kids are two, not 17. I probably won't be taking them to a Dime Piece party anytime soon, or ever. And to say these kids were "beat up" for "having fun" is so absurd and childish that it makes me question the sanity of anyone who suggests it. What is this, Footloose? A bunch of curmudgeon adults were angry to see "children" dancing and having a wholesome good time? I guess that's possible. I suppose it's technically a possibility that the cops dispersed the crowds because of reports of "fun" and "special moments," but as a rational adult, and someone who has both encountered teenagers and been one, that wouldn't be the first conclusion I'd jump to.
Especially given the story the resident of the community are telling.
According to their accounts, there were over 100 teens blasting loud, vulgar music, drinking, smoking pot, and trespassing on private property, as actual children played nearby. One black adult resident has stated unequivocally that the police response was not about racism, but about out-of-control teenagers. Another community member reports that the teens -- excuse me, "children" -- were scaling the fence to enter the private pool that is only available to residents.
Some of the kids who went to the party claim that white people were standing around shouting racial slurs, but most of the people in the community seem to dispute that charge. The teens say their peaceful, family friendly fun was interrupted by frothing-at-the-mouth racist honkies, but the actual homeowners who witnessed the whole scene vehemently disagree. And while the teens call the cop a racist, adult members of the community have commended him.
We are left with the word of teens who are mad that their "ain't no turn down" party got summarily turned down, versus the word of adult community members, both black and white, who say the whole thing was unlawful, disruptive, violent, and fueled by drugs and alcohol. Call me prejudiced, but I tend to believe the latter group in that scenario. Not because the former is comprised of black people, but because it's comprised of teenagers, who, I'm told, will sometimes resort to untruths in order to cover up misbehavior. Shocking, I know.
Another video has surfaced, taken before the footage of Officer Casebolt, showing a violent altercation between a white woman and a group of party goers. Tatiana Rhodes, the party promoter, says the white woman told her to "go back to her Section 8 home," called her a "black f**ker", chastised her white friend for consorting with black people, then punched Tatiana in the face. All of this, according to Rhodes, was unprovoked.
There is no evidence of any of this -- only her word. Maybe she's telling the truth. Maybe not. As we already established, she has shown a willingness to lie, but that doesn't mean she was being dishonest in this case. It just means she's lost the right to be taken at her word.
Likewise, the girl in the bikini has spoken out, claiming she didn't do anything to cause Officer Casebolt to detain her. Again, maybe this is true. Maybe it isn't. Either way, is there any chance she'd say anything other than, "it wasn't my fault"?
I can recall during the Ferguson ordeal when I suggested that a number of the "eye witnesses" were lying. I was crucified for saying it, but guess what? Turns out they were lying. Why did they lie? Maybe because they don't like cops. Maybe because they were trying to cover up their own indiscretions. Maybe because human beings are sometimes inclined to blame the other person instead of themselves.
Or maybe because telling the truth in these situations can get you killed. Indeed, just like in Ferguson, residents who have spoken out in McKinney have been rewarded wutg death threats and vandalism.
Could self-interest, bias against police, threats of reprisals, and just general dishonesty cause people to give skewed and inaccurate accounts? You'd be an idiot to reject the notion.
That's why it's best to hear both sides. And once both sides are in, apply a little common sense and reason to the proceedings. I will admit that I don't know for sure what happened. But given the background of this party, the eye witness accounts, the police response, and my general understanding of how teenage parties work, I have a hard time dismissing the idea that this was an out-of-control situation, and the real culprits are the human beings -- teenage or otherwise -- who chose to act out and cause this disturbance in the first place.
Does that let the officer off the hook? Not necessarily. I can agree that he shouldn't have cursed at these kids, though it's hard for me to cry tears over it considering they were just blasting vulgar music. But, still, he should have remained calm. Of course, it's easy for me to say this, as I've never had to almost single handedly control a rowdy mob of 100 teenagers who are predisposed to dislike me because of my profession. Have you?
Whether he had reason to detain the girl is impossible to know at this point. I do know that if she'd walked away as she was told, this could have been avoided. I also know that making her into a martyr only validates her behavior. And if she disobeyed a lawful order, then she brought this completely on herself. To say otherwise is to suggest that she ought to be allowed to do whatever the hell she wants, which is precisely the attitude many of these teens had, and precisely the attitude a mature and grown up society would try to break, not encourage.
Finally, it seems clear that the cops showed up because people were breaking the law, refusing to follow the rules, and being obnoxious and disrespectful. If they'd acted properly, this would not have happened. It is their fault. Not the police. Not society. Not the system. Not racism. Put the blame on the individuals for once.
As far as how much blame the individual officer in the video should get, I'll have to rely on those closer and more equipped to investigate the situation in its entirety and come to that conclusion. I'd hope that verdict will be fair, but considering the implicit and explicit threat of riots and chaos if this officer isn't publicly flogged for what he did, it seems fairness will be difficult to recognize or attain.
That's the environment we're living in.
A lot of anger, a lot emotion, a lot of assuming, a lot of threatening, but little concern for the truth.
This just the latest example.
Next week there will be another one, and another one, and another one, with no end in sight.
God help us.
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