Here’s the question he asks: “What is ownership?” Fred is 55 years old. He is smart and well educated. He works in a flour mill in Rapid City, South Dakota. Most weekends, he goes home to Porcupine SD. It’s only a hundred miles away. That’s a short hop when it comes to distances out there. He makes $16 an hour. He is, among his home reservation neighbors, a rich man. He does not understand the idea of “Ownership.”
“We are all tenants,” he says.
I have known Fred for 30 years, but we have never met in person. We have communicated on the telephone and on the internet. We have communicated by US mail. But not recently.
Fred does not understand the idea that activists have destroyed property. I had invited him to New York and he declined. He has invited me to Porcupine and later to Rapid City. I have declined.
There are about 800-thousand people in South Dakota. Five thousand of them have contracted the C-virus. About four thousand of them have recovered. That’s a pretty good number. Better than a lot of other places. It’s certainly not because of superior medical facilities.
About 15-thousand of those South Dakotans identify as black. None have been killed by police officers, even among the handful who’ve carried Black Lives Matter into the streets. Nor has anyone else.
Fred says he wonders why that is. I tell him it’s because the blue wall of cop-itude doesn’t apply there. It’s because the cops and the victims belong to the same country clubs, all three or four of them in an area of 77-thousand square miles.
Are there lessons to be learned from these numbers? Sure. Cops who think like or look like the people they’re sworn to protect can do their jobs without kneeling on some guy’s neck.
NOTES FROM ALL OVER:
(SPRINGFIELD, IL) -- Governor Pritzker, a Democrat, says “defund the police” doesn’t accurately describe what people want and need. And he says people want to “re-think” how policing is practiced and change it for the better. Change is imperative. But it can’t be solved via bumper sticker law.
(STONY BROOK, NY) -- Dr. G was happy she could at last book an appointment with her hairdresser, or so she thought. But she can’t because she spends her workdays treating people with the trump virus… so they won’t let her in.
(STATE COLLEGE, PA) -- Dr. X has the same problem as Dr. G. But she has taken the matter into her own hands. Imperfectly.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2020