Final Notes On Jackie Robinson Day

1. On this day in 1947, April 15, one of America’s many lucky breaks occurred: the perfect individual, with exactly the special qualities of character required for a daunting challenge, was on hand to take on that challenge, and the nation was never the same. The individual was Jackie Robinson, and when he too the field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, American society began it’s long post-Civil War climb out of the damning twin curses of segregation and Jim Crow racism.

The Ethics Alarms essay, from 2012, is here.

2. I know, I know: polls. But these two sets of results, both from Rasmussen are interesting, and to me at least, not surprising:

  • Regarding voting ID laws—you know, “Jim Crow on steroids”?—62% do not believe they are discriminatory. Majorities of all racial groups, 59% of whites, 56% of blacks and 63% of other minority voters, say it is more important to make sure there is no cheating in elections than to make it easier to vote. Majorities of all racial groups —64% of whites, 59% of blacks and 58% of other minority voters —reject the claim that voter ID laws discriminate against some voters. Conclusion: the public is not quite as gullible and foolish as I thought it was,
  • A majority (51%) of voters believe it is likely that cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, including 35% that say it’s “Very Likely” cheating affected the election. 74% of Republicans believe it is likely last year’s  election was affected by cheating. Amazingly,  30% of Democrats agree!

3.  Yes, this is certainly not what we needed right now. Video of 13-year old Adam Toledo’s fatal shooting by police was released to the public today, April 15 (as I write this).   It shows the boy throwing his pistol down and raising both hands as he was instructed to do, and the police shooting him dead. I presume the officers will say that they did not see the gun being dropped in the dark and in the tension of the moment. Since a cop deliberately shooting a black kid with his hands up at this moment in history is the rough equivalent of that officer sticking his head in a woodchipper, I would be inclined to believe him. Of course such a thing “shouldn’t” happen, but as long as police officers are placed in situations facing armed and defiant criminals, it will happen eventually. “Eventually,” however, has seldom had worse timing.

6 thoughts on “Final Notes On Jackie Robinson Day

  1. 1. Robinson, as you say, was exactly the right person at the right time to break the ‘color barrier’ in MLB. A minor quibble from the 2012 essay — I don’t think he was court-martialed for striking an officer, nor was he ordered to the back of the bus by an officer. He apparently did behave in a manner that some might consider disrespect to a superior officer, but he was acquitted of that charge at the court martial. It was the bus driver, apparently a civilian, who ordered him to the back of the bus, setting off the incident that led to the court martial.
    A detailed report of the whole thing is here: https://tjaglcspublic.army.mil/the-court-martial-of-jackie-robinson
    For those more visually oriented, the movie “The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson” tells that story and more about the man who truly was an ethics (and civil rights) hero.

    3. The combination of instant reporting and slow (painfully at times) trickle of facts is a fact of life we must learn to live with. Eventually we will learn the truth of why a 13-year-old was out in the middle of the night with a 21-year-old, why the adult took a shot at a passing car, and why he gave the gun to the kid, perhaps telling him to run. Meanwhile, the narrative of police brutality against minorities will drive much of the reporting and further cement that view in much of the public. What is needed is aggressive follow-up by honest journalists as police and other investigative reports are completed and the facts better known. I am not optimistic about that. Such follow-ups, when they are made, typically receive far less prominence than the initial reports.

  2. Video of 13-year old Adam Toledo’s fatal shooting by police was released to the public today, April 15 (as I write this). It shows the boy throwing his pistol down and raising both hands as he was instructed to do, and the police shooting him dead.

    And the uisual suspects will start accusing the cops of being violent racists who habitually gun down unarmed black men.

    I heard on the radio of another mass shooting, so these same usual suspects will call for “common sense”, “sensible” gun legislation- while ignoringthe fact that these laws would be enfoerced by these same police.

    • “It shows the boy throwing his pistol down and raising both hands as he was instructed to do, and the police shooting him dead. ”

      This is true but when you see the video in real time it isn’t that simple. This statement makes it seem like it happened over several seconds. Plus, some news outlets have altered the video by slowing down the video significantly and making it appear much worse. In the original video I can hardly tell the boy turned around, let alone threw down a gun, turned around and raised his hands. The officer was already pulling the trigger when he was turning around. All around it was a bad situation.

      I’m not excusing the officer but the media will once again fan the flames and make this incident much worse with these edited versions of the video. In real time the officer had less than a second to decide and was responding to shots fired call. The point is, it’s much more complicated than – the boy complied by dropping the gun and raising his hands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.