Monday, March 28, 2011

Alien Nation Right Here at Home

Last Tuesday something horrible happened in Athens. Two police officers were shot as they responded to a carjacking. Senior Police Office Elmer Christian, a 33 year-old father of two (ages two and five), was killed and another officer was seriously wounded.

Jamie Hood was quickly identified as the perpetrator and a massive manhunt was launched. The media reported Mr. Hood had been released from prison two years ago after serving a 12-year sentence for armed robbery. He held up a pizza delivery driver and got three dollars.

While he was in prison, his 22-year-old brother was shot and killed by Athens police. If his weapon hadn't jammed, the brother would have been a cop killer, too. My heart breaks for the poor mother.

After a three day search, Mr. Hood was determined to be holed up in an apartment with ten hostages. The hostages were friends and family members he intended to use as human shields. Negotiations went on all day.

A search for "Jamie Hood" on Twitter during the negotiations turned up hundreds of comments. Believe it or not, the vast majority with an opinion believed Mr. Hood was the victim of racism. Many hoped he would come out with guns a blazing and take out still more police officers.

After a long stand-off and a lot of cocaine, Jamie Hood turned himself in on Friday. Knowing police don't take kindly to cop killers and afraid for his safety, he demanded his surrender be televised live on an Atlanta television station. The police complied, bringing an end to a very scary time here in Athens.

Yesterday, as officer Christian was laid to rest, a fan page for Jamie Hood sprung up on Facebook. After a mention on Atlanta's Fox News channel, the number of people who "like" the page jumped into the thousands. The overwhelming majority see cop killer Jamie Hood as a hero.

Ignorance is a factor. As an educator and a writer, the absolute absence of proper spelling and grammar is appalling. The sentiment behind the comments is frankly terrifying.

On both Twitter and Facebook, the racist comments--from both sides--are among the most offensive I've ever seen anywhere. They reflect a world that is foreign and unfamiliar to me. I'm shocked and horrified.

Race isn't the issue--it's an excuse. The real issue is poverty. The poorest Americans live in a world that doesn't resemble mine in any shape, form, or fashion.

Poverty is the single-largest problem facing this country. You'd never know it. Listening to our politicians talk you'd think that abortion, gay marriage and Muslim terrorists were the biggest threats to our society.

Just another reason I am...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

jg said...

GREAT post! I'd love to see this post as a 'letter-to-the-editor' of the NY Times & more nat'l newspapers.
Poverty is 'cancer' in America today.
So proud of you for taking a stand to speak to this major (& under-publicized) problem.

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