Thursday, July 23, 2009

Entering Through a Window

Shortly after I moved into my present dwelling, I locked my keys in my garage. No problem: I had extra keys in the house. Except, the house was also locked and the key to house was locked in the garage. Now that’s an inconvenience!

A few moments after putting my brain into problem solving mode, I remembered that the living room window is not locked. That window is accessible from the porch, requires no climbing, and is large enough for me to get my bulk through it. The only problem with that access to my house is that I have a table and a globe sitting in front of the window:

Getting through the window wasn’t easy. However, I (almost) logically took it step by step.

  • Remove screen, bending the frame in the process
  • Open window (not as easy as I thought)
  • Attempt to push table aside without knocking items on the table off onto the floor. Not possible.
  • Take each item off of the table and (gently) toss it onto the chair to the left of the table. Success! And, nothing broke.
  • Push left corner of table toward the right until there is space for at least my left leg.
  • Put leg through window and follow it with rest of my bulk (without jarring my genitals on the window ceil).
  • Success! I am inside the house!

I am sharing this story because it took much, much, much longer to get in through the window than it just did to write about it. And, guess what? None of my neighbors telephoned the police to report a burglary in process, even though I had lived in the house so short of a time that I was yet to be on speaking terms with any neighbor.

Unlike me, a neighbor of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., did call the police when he forced a jammed door open at his home. The responding officers did not believe that Dr. Gates actually lived in his home. He was arrested.

I wonder what is different between Professor Gate and me. Could it be the color of our skin?

Please remember Positive Day, the brilliant idea of a twelve year old girl.
Read more in Dust Bunny's blog.


  1. Nick that is probably the case,unfortunaly.It should not be this way.I hope that you are having a good week my friend.Now back the remodeling of my Rambling Stuff blog.

  2. I was thinking of a situation similar to yours and I plan to post on it soon. I have little doubt that your skin color influenced your neighbors in their decisions. Isn't that a sad note?

  3. We still have a long way to go befoe racial equality is a real thing. I understand the professor's outrage. These policemen were so out of line insisting that he identify himself when it was obvious that he was in his own home. The 911 caller, reported "black men" entering the home. This man was a suspect based entirely on his color.

  4. I don`t know the whole story, but if the guy didn`t have ID on him, and a call was made, the cops are just doing their jobs. I feel bad for the poor guy, but really if you don`t know and have no ID and the police are called.... you should sorta be happy that they are trying to protect your house. at least that is if you didn`t have ID. If you did.. well then that`s a different story.

  5. I have thought about this a lot since it happened. Putting myself in Professor Gates shoes, I cannot imagine how horrible this would make me feel. Shameful.

  6. I agree with Kim Coleman when she says in the articleL

    "It's time for America to have a long overdue national conversation about race. When are we going to have that," she said. "When are we really going to sit down and strip down and say, 'This is what I feel about you and this is what you feel about me. Now, how are we going to get over that?' "

    I would love it if we had conversations like that all over the country.

  7. Mike Golch: I'll be dropping by today to see how your remodeling is coming along.

    Lynilu: Yep, it's a very sad note. I have seen it happen many times over the years where decisions are made based on one's skin color. I keep hoping that people will learn to judge others, if they must judge at all, by something much less superficial.

    Moni: I agree 100%. As I have read comments on the case, this discussion of how black in the U.S. must constantly walk a "tight rope" when dealing with police evinced the sad state of racism and racil profiling that exitsts in the U.S.: Case Recalls Tightrope Blacks Walk With Police

  8. Xmichra: The police and Professor Gates offered differing accounts of what happened after officers arrived. The police said Professor Gates initially refused to show identification and repeatedly shouted at officers. Professor Gates said that he had shown photo identification to Sergeant Crowley but that the sergeant had not appeared to believe that he lived there. Gates also said he had brought up race during the confrontation but was not disorderly.

    Pamela Terry and Edward: I agree with you. I have seen it happen so many times! I hurt inside each time I remember how blacks are treated, especially by police. Years ago I was checking out of a convenience store when the clerk pointed outside at one of the town's two policeman as he was confronting a black teenager at the gas pumps. I recognized the young man as the son of a psychologist who lied next door to the UCC church in Tell City, IN< where I was associate pastor. I went to the policeman and vouched for the young man. After the teenager had driven away, the policeman said to me, "Well, the boy was driving a car with Perry County license plates and I didn't know we had any niggers living in this county." I was sick at my stomach.

    Carol: I agree with the need. I think it must be paramount if we are ever so have equality and justice in this country.

    Back in the early '70s when I was an army officer in Germany, I was trained to lead small groups of soldiers, blacks and whites together, in a very powerful program dealing with racial attitudes and how to overcome prejudice. I led 3 groups before the 7th Army discontinued to program. The commanding general never said why it was discontinued.

  9. I thought you did quite well, having the presence of mind to think it through logically.

    I read about Prof Gates. Tell me, are the police so silly as to think that someone would ring them if they were trying to break in to a place??? D'uh!

  10. It shouldn't have happened. But it's possible that both sides contributed to what happened in the end. The cops overreacted but Gates might have not been helpful either. I can understand that he'd be pissed as hell at what was happening, but a calm demeanor is usually best when dealing with the police.

    It still shouldn't have happened.

  11. Nick
    I think the story is a little incorrect. It was his attitude and tongue that created the problem not his breaking into his own home.
    Remember believe nothing you hear and half what you see.
    I think this whole thing has set back race relations and caused hard feelings which is not a good thing for anyone. Peace

  12. I would be a little inclined to beleive that it is a little on both sides as well for error.

    Honestly though, I can see where someone would get mad. I was almost arrested once for trying to get into my car. I was 20, goth/punk and breaking into a car. Did it matter that i was goth>? probably. I may have been able to pass had i looked how i do today. But that shouldn't be right either... i say call the cops regardless. And, to add, if you are the owner and not doing anything wrong, politely listening to dirrection and keeping a level head for explaination does far more than going off about your "apperance" and others judgement. I very well could ahv elanded my butt in jail had I made it an issue of my look.

  13. This country has so many closet racist and those who think they are not predjudice but deep down really are. One can say "oh i'm not a racist" but then you start talking to them and lo and behold what do we have here. I am a half breed and ironically i'm seeing a beautiful indian women right beneath this posting.... back to track... my family was ashamed as we were teased as kids. So the family had a hush hush attitude about it all. Not a good way to be. I chose my own path. I'm not at all ashamed. I could care less what others thing but to be black in this country... I could not even imagine for a moment what it is like. Just like they could not know for me. For such a democratic practice we have very closed minded people in the US. I'm also a military brat so i've seen a lot of it. I can't stomach it and don't agree with it at all.