Ode to Cpl. Carlton B. Jones

Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates recently added a National Book Award to his MacArthur Foundation “genius” award given to him in gratitude for telling rich white folks what they want to hear: unlike all other former slaves and their descendants in the world and throughout history, being black is a “struggle” that “black bodies” cannot survive without their help and noblesse oblige. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to his deceased friend Prince C. Jones, Jr. with whom he has much in common. They both lived a life of privilege with little struggle in life (except for the beatings that Mr. Coates received from his father that he then dished out to the other kids in the neighborhood and his teachers); received much family, emotional, material, and financial support from their extended family and numerous friends all of whom were college educated; received excellent educational opportunities from their parents and the American education system; and then received a free ride to college. Mr. Coates spent five years of that free ride engaging in sexual conquests and then having a child (but at least stayed and continues to live with the mother) but never graduating. Prince Jones ended seven years of that free ride not by finally graduating but by intentionally ramming his jeep — that his mommy bought for him — into what he knew to be an unmarked police car resulting in his being shot to death by the police officer in the car. Prince Jones left behind a baby mama and a daughter — another fatherless black family. Given that Mr. Jones was twice arrested for beating the mother of his child including once when she was 8 months pregnant, with the addition of the multi-million dollar civil settlement from the offending police department some good may come out of his death after all.

 

What the “journalist” Mr. Coates almost always leaves out of his story about his friend Mr. Prince Jones, that he left out of his book except in a one-line passing side comment, and that he left out and always leaves out except as a cursory side comment in all of his discussions about Mr. Jones, as the Washington Post was at least honest enough to admit, is: “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.” The officer that shot Mr. Jones, Cpl. Carlton B. Jones, was a “black body”, the term that Mr. Coates uses in his book to refer to himself, to his son, to Mr. Jones, and to others of his “tribe” or “race”, terms that he uses despite claiming that such terms are the product or source of racism (he cannot make up his mind which). Cpl. Jones worked for and was trained by the “black elite” of Prince George’s County. This is one of the many dishonest exclusions if not outright distortions of Mr. Coates’ polemics that caused me to write the book Between the World and Us and that caused me to continue on into this blog.

 

But, to whom should I dedicate this blog? At first, as an act of irony, I was going to dedicate it to Mr. Coates’ grandmother who “cleaned white folks’ houses” in the same way that my poor, immigrant, uneducated white mother did after coming to this country as a refugee from communist Yugoslavia and a life of peasant farming going back generations. After cleaning their houses while also cleaning tables at restaurants for a few years, my mother was able to get a night job as an office cleaning lady that eventually led to the attainment of the holy grail of working class work: a union job (cleaning offices as part of the SEIU). When I was a younger man that could cry, it would bring tears to my eyes when I thought of how little I saw her during my high school years. By the time I got home from school, she had already gone to work. When I got up in the morning, she was sleeping having not gotten home until 2 or 3AM from work. I still remember a few nights when I was awake in my bed and she would quietly open my door and peak in just to see me. To this day, I do not know why I did not say anything or greet her. It just did not seem to be the right thing to do at the time. God, if I had a time machine, I would change those moments. Her cleaning lady job put food on the table, paid the mortgage, and avoided welfare for us during the years that my father was disabled from his construction laborer job and only able to find part-time work when he found any. She was glad to have the job and was good at her job.

 

The same must be true for Mr. Coates’s grandmother. Her hard work resulted in great success: his whole family including his parents and his siblings, except for Mr. Coates, are college educated and well off and thus have succeeded in the American Dream that he ridicules (his siblings work as engineers, lawyers, and business owners as did his father and mother).

 

As is true of all social elite especially writers going all the way back to Aristotle, Mr. Coates looks down on the menial, physical work done by his grandmother as demeaning. It is good enough for the likes of the poor such as my mother but not for his “gem of purest ray serene” to “waste [her] sweetness on the desert air.” Pride in one’s work and respecting the work of others, including the hard physical work in which the vast majority of humanity has toiled and is toiling, is to be restricted to the creative work of such geniuses as Mr. Coates and is not to be granted working stiffs with no hope in the present but only in the future.

 

However, I rejected such irony because such dedication would not be fair to his grandmother. If his story about her is true, which I doubt given Mr. Coates’ tendency to distort reality, no doubt she appreciates and wants her privacy in the same way my mother does. Though being a cleaning lady supporting your family is honorable work that should be a source of strength, social support, and an individual sense of worth as all work should be, it really is miserable work.

 

No, my dedication should be and is to the forgotten soul in need of much empathy in the Prince Jones half-story told by Mr. Coates: Cpl. Carlton B. Jones. Mr. Coates as with the vast majority of pundits these days gets rich sitting in the stands watching the gladiators fight life’s battles and then criticizes their technique, tactics, and strategy — another one of the privileges of life in the United States granted to Mr. Coates. This is a privilege not given to workingmen and women, white or black. This was not a privilege given to Cpl. Jones.

 

As a workingman, Cpl. Jones joined both the Army Reserve and became a police officer because according to his deposition he was “inspired by the vision of racial harmony invoked by Martin Luther King, Jr.” As many a workingman did throughout United States history, he joined the military and gave the rest of society a blank check for his life to use as it saw fit to defend the Constitution of which Mr. Coates is always invoking its protection — though never willing to risk anything to protect it. Regardless of how naive this inspiration was, I admire the willingness to do it as I did and am grateful personally that he as a “black body” did so regardless of the overall or ultimate ethical nature of the military. Having grown up in a segregated working class neighborhood that defended itself against all it perceived to be a danger to the little its residents had, all strangers or outsiders both white and black ones, the military was my first opportunity to work with and become shipmates with a “black body.” He and all other “black bodies” who joined the military throughout the years and became trusted shipmates and comrades did and do much to reduce racism in this country, vastly more than either pretend intellectual elites such as Mr. Coates or pretend warriors such as the Malcolm X’s and Black Panthers of the world too busy concentrating on their struggles for personal power to be mates or comrades to anyone else. Though I am not a fan of police officers, I do understand and admire his inspiration to become a police officer to put the bad guys away and to fight for truth, justice, and the American way of life.

 

Unfortunately, as young idealists such as Cpl. Jones soon learn, it is not always clear who the bad guys are, and truth, justice, and the American way of life are not what Martin Luther King nor any other politician, white or black, makes them appear to be. As Clarence Darrow once said, “there is no justice in life, in or out of court.” As Mr. Coates’ journalism, books, and awards establish, truth is what those in power say is true — most of the time, in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is not king but a danger to be eliminated. That aspect of the American way of life consisting of the High Noon image of a solitary peace officer standing up against the bad guys is an idealistic one but also a delusional one. As many a military veteran has learned and as Cpl. Jones learned the night that Prince Jones decided to ram him with his jeep, despite intense training, the facing of death and danger with rational reserve and then spitting in their faces sounds nice and looks cool on television, movies, and in the books by writers such as Mr. Coates who have never faced such a situation and most likely never will, but it is a completely different matter to face in reality. Facing what appears to be an attempt to kill by someone willing to kill is scary, especially the first time. If John Wayne or Russell Crowe faced Prince Jones on the night that Cpl. Jones did, perhaps they would have been able to transfer their screen persona into life and everyone would have survived completely unharmed. Based on my life experience, I doubt it. As many a man or woman in similar circumstances throughout history have done, Cpl. Jones got scared, could not think straight, and began to shoot wildly at his attacker. A mistake with which he must live for the rest of his life.

 

The undisputed fact about life is that if one tries to work, to do things in life, to actually fight the battle and problem that is life, one will make mistakes about which the critics such as Mr. Coates sitting in the stands watching can then critique, ridicule, write about, and be rewarded. However, my hat and dedication is to those in the arena fighting the battle that is life. Cpl. Jones seems to have disappeared from the county police department and I have not been able to locate him anywhere. No doubt, if he still is or ever was the idealist that his court deposition makes him appear to be, he is somewhere still suffering from the guilt of his mistake. He is doing so without the empathy of public sympathy but with the public humiliation of having his mistake constantly marketed and publicized by Mr. Coates so that he can sell books. Wherever he is, I wish him good hope. As a military veteran and thus as a warrior, he should not need and I hope he succeeds in dealing with his guilt without the publicity and public sympathy that Mr. Coates needs and craves. At least, as a fellow workingman, I hope that we are comrades in the never ending struggle with the powers-that-be that we are destined to lose — in this life at least.

15 thoughts on “Ode to Cpl. Carlton B. Jones

  1. You wrote: “What the “journalist” Mr. Coates left out of his story about his friend Mr. Prince Jones, that he left out of his book, and that he left out and always leaves out of all of his discussions about Mr. Jones, as the Washington Post was at least honest enough to admit, is: “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.” The officer that shot Mr. Jones, Cpl. Carlton B. Jones, was a “black body”,….”

    Perhaps you didn’t read the book before jumping to commentary …. page 83 (ISBN 978-0-8129-9354-7):
    “Here is what I knew at the outset: The officer who killed Prince Jones was black. The politicians who empowered this officer to kill were black. Many of the black politician, many of them twice as good, seemed unconcerned. How could this be?…”

    Why is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing so threatening to you?

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    1. One line in 175 pages of propaganda that is never mentioned again nor analyzed in any of his polemics. I guess I missed it while reading it among all the nonsense and B.S. My error. One honest error does not excuse the harm he intentionally causes by his knowing misrepresentations and omissions.

      I am not threatened by him. I disagree with him. Despite his history of beating up on teachers and of being the neighborhood bully, I do not fear him nor should anyone. Persons like him will always back down when faced with a worthy adversary.

      I approved your comment. If you start the game of calling anyone who disagrees with your views as “threatened” by them, I will delete them. So, leave things be.

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      1. First point: In the article “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.”, which you cited in your blog, the text stated that ” According to the police version, Prince Jones then got out of his vehicle and approached Cpl. Jones. The police officer identified himself but flashed his gun, not his badge”. Why shouldn’t Prince Jones fear for his life after he’s been trailed by a suspicious vehicle at night, and when he stops to confirm that he was indeed tailed, only to discover that a man, claiming to be a police officer, flashes a gun at him as proof rather than a badge. I’d argue that it was perfectly rational for Prince to fear for his life and attempt to escape rather than submit to the man with a gun. Given that this was the police’s account, there no reason why the officers would “distort reality”.

        Second point: If the only lesson that you’ve learned from reading this book was that Cl. Carlton B.Jones, a black man, shot another black man as a police officer, then it is clear that you could use a second opinion. The author’s main focus was to showcase that despite being a privileged black man, Prince Jones was nevertheless shot dead at the hands of law enforcement, regardless of the actual race of the officer. It is natural that the officer shot Prince Jones out of self protection(Prince Jones did attack the officer’s vehicle); however, the under lying question is why would he be scared of a fellow man with a “black body” approaching him claiming to be a police officer? Why would an innocent, privileged black men fears for his life when confronted by a police officer? So fearful and distrustful that he chose to assault the officer instead of cooperating. The answer is not that he has read Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates’s work and suddenly developed an irrational fear of police officers, but that as a man with a “black body”, he’s developed a fear and distrust towards law enforcement that was very much rational, backed by facts. The fact is, that as of 2019, a black male is 2.46 times more likely to be shot by law enforcement than that of a white male(https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/after-ferguson-black-men-and-boys-still-face-the-highest-risk-of-being-killed-by-police). The fact is that police brutality toward “black body” is a indeed a institutionalized norm in American Society that takes away the lives of many “black body” with little to no attention given by the legal system to combat it.

        That was my main argument, the following is my opinion: I am deeply disturbed that you decided to use black servicemen and women to support your argument: the very fact that black service members has to die for the constitution (a document of paper) to gain the same rights as their fellow American (and to convince those fellow Americans that they are not inferior just because they have “black body”) is not one we should be proud of. Why do some people have to join the military to be able to effectively “reduce racism” in this country, while plenty of others, without the “black body”, can accomplish just as much if not more simply by writing it on a piece of paper? Why shouldn’t Mr Coates be able to invoke the protection of the constitution, which was specifically written to protect him as a citizen, without willingly risking his entire life to protect it? Especially when there are plenty of others who doesn’t serve and writes for a living that are apparently entitled to, and receives the protection of the constitution simply on the basis that they don’t have a “black body”. Following your logic, we might as well strip civil rights from American citizen’s who’s never served in the military, since they clearly are “never willing to risk anything to protect” the constitution, and thus are unworthy of its protection. If being an American citizen and living the “American way of life” includes volunteering to die for a country that doesn’t give a crap about 12% of its citizens, then there is something deeply wrong with that “American way of life”.

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      2. First Point: I have never seen your version of the events stated anywhere, including in Mr. Coates’ book nor in the jury trial transcript. According to all versions of the events that I have seen, Prince did not try to run away from someone with a gun following him, he rammed his Jeep into the vehicle following him several times. Cpl. Jones’ defense was that he fired in self-defense. In my life experience, if you chose to ram your vehicle into a vehicle driven by someone with a gun, you risk being shot and you should be smart enough to know that and not complain if you do get shot.

        Second Point: Given that about 80% on average of homicides of Black men are committed by other Black men, I can fully understand why he would be scared of another Black man. I can even understand why he would be afraid of cops. I hate cops. Having grown up in a bad neighborhood, I know most young bullies and criminals become either adult criminals or cops — the young bully Coates was smart enough to become a con man telling rich White people what they want to hear about the poor people Coates has left behind. What I do not understand is why someone who is supposedly afraid of being shot would ram multiple times a vehicle in it with an armed driver — who may or may not be a cop. If it were me, given my life experience, if I believed someone was following me, I would wait to confront them in as public a place as possible with as much light as possible so there are plenty of witnesses around. It would never be an option to confront them in the dark by myself and then ram the vehicle several times. He was not afraid, he was arrogant and stupid as most spoiled rich kids, White or Black, usually are. Those statistics have been criticized as unsound and invalid by multiple experts including by the Black Lives Supporter economist Roland G. Fryer, Jr. at Harvard. A major error in those studies is that they fail to consider the nature of the confrontation between the cop and the Black man. On average, depending on the area, though Black men are only 5-14% of the population at most, they commit about 50% to 85% of the violent crime. Thus, the fact they are on average 40% of those killed by cops is expected statistically and is statistically an under representation (if a group commits 50% or more of violent crime, one should expect them to be 50% of violent confrontations with police). The rest of your statement is pure hyperbole with no basis in fact.

        Third point: I served six years in the US military. I did so after escaping along with my family communist Yugoslavia. Unlike you and Mr. Coates, I have direct experience with real oppression. I joined the military not to gain protection of the U.S. Constitution but to defend it and its principles from those that threaten them. I commend Cpl. Jones for doing the same and I consider him a brother for doing so. The fact that you took this as an insult instead of a compliment shows you are as privileged and as spoiled as is Coates and as was Prince. You all want the protection of the Constitution but you only want it if others provide it for you. As I point out in my book, if you, Prince, or Coates or the pretend liberals who support you really lived your lives in fear of violent crime (as I did growing up), you would have cops knocking down every door in the neighborhood to find those who are a threat to you and to imprison them and you would not give a damn about the Constitution (as the recent virus lockdown most recently proves). You whine about the Constitution and demand its protection because you know it ultimately will be only working class stiffs such as me and Cpl. Jones who will ultimately come to your rescue and protect it and you and not yourselves. You as with Prince, Coates, and the rest of the ruling class have the option of living in sheltered bubbles allowing you to spend seven years in college without graduating or laying about somewhere else pretending to be an artist or writer or whatever while smoking grass as Coates likes to boast and live off the fat of the land whining about how miserable you are. There is something wrong with the American way of life, Americans — White and Black — are too ignorant to realize how lucky they are.

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  2. Random reader here that stumbled across this blog. I’ll leave a real email address, but just ’cause I don’t know you or what you’ll do with that info, I’m not leaving my primary email or full name. Over the past 2 years, I have been seeking out conflicting perspectives and trying to find ways to engage in dialogue, rather than just hurling opinions or screaming into Facebook echo-chambers.

    I can understand why someone would subscribe to your perspective here. From my perspective, it appears that you are feeding a strong confirmation bias and evaluating information through a lens that supports that bias. I believe that is evidenced by the way you contextualize your subjects, the use of charged words and descriptions, and quite a bit of hyperbole.

    I also understand the “workingman” argument. How many people of different races, ethnicity (insert marginalized population) etc. etc. achieved the “American Dream” through hard work, and oft’times an equal amount of luck? Lots and lots. What I don’t see here is recognition that our systems were created, designed, built and grown, for generations…centuries, by those that were, and still are, in power. Power as in, holding the influence, money, property, security and control. Now on “systems”: I’m using that term very broadly. By systems I mean economic ones those that built, created and distributed (evenly?) wealth in this country, political ones that established power, districts, influence, tax codes, criminal law, social ones that drove community development, neighborhoods, social norms, pop culture and things we consider “values” or the moral fiber of our society etc.

    I also don’t see acknowledgement that here some of the even more nuanced, or less tangible elements of our class system are similarly problematic for those not in the ‘majority’ population. Barriers and challenges exist that those in the ‘majority’ population rarely, if ever, encounter the way other demographics do. The structure of the systems we have built favors those that built it. That is not to say that we all do not share a common humanity, and that stress, struggles, poverty, injustice, tragedy or even opportunity are limited to a demographic. What I do think is glaring is that, well, if you take any measurable category (poverty, criminality, class mobility, housing, health outcomes…just pick one), patterns emerge, and they are consistent. Large patterns of problems, even behavior, can usually be understood and treated by looking at the system…not focusing on the individuals serving as the symptoms. This isn’t a perfect analogy by any means, but let’s say a company can’t maintain a steady workforce; there is revolving door of staff…people are getting hired, and quitting, pretty consistently, within a year or two of being hired. Each staff member that leaves is making a personal decision, sure, but if you blame the staff or pin it on the identities of those that come and go,without exploring the “why”, or making structural change, would you expect the problems to go away? In society, let’s use health outcomes as the parallel. There is a correlation between obesity (and related illnesses) and income. Generalization here, but the gist is lower income means less money spent on food. Cheaper food is less healthy and more readily available. So those with less income have a less healthy diet. Of course it gets more complicated when you add all of the other nuances like education, physical activity, access to health care etc. And each person included in that data makes their own food choices, sure. So let them all kill themselves with factory food and no exercise? Maybe…can’t cure lazy…OR….recognize that our food system, among many other things, has major problems and is working against the health (and healthcare costs) of Americans. Systems evolved to unevenly shift opportunity, changing the odds. Back to center: Our history, to me, with regard to racism and classism illustrate a pattern of those in power, protecting their power, by way of preserving the systems, pushing fear, exercising prejudice by exclusion, tactics like victim blaming, huge dollars spent on politicians, the ability to pay lawyers to squash nuisances… Personal responsibility is great, we all agree on that, but the stakes and the risks are different depending on how, where and what you were born.

    Probably should have started with this, but if there isn’t agreement on those basic elements existing, those of a ‘stacked deck’, or if there isn’t basic agreement that prejudices have oppressed many, for centuries, and those powers are still at work now, even if things aren’t as bad as they used to be…if you don’t believe those things, is there really a foundation for meaningful discussion? I guess a question to you would be, do you believe that racism is NOT baked into the structure of our systems? Are there economic, social or political patterns that support this? I’m not interested in statistical outliers to support a position, but do you see evidence of our systems operating such that they truly offer access and opportunity without prejudice?

    If ‘Between the World and Me’ does not provide a compelling account for you, or you take issue with the narrative and information used to support it, I get it. Personally, I do not enjoy Coates’ writing in this book. And although I tried, I never really understood what he meant about race being an illusion, or how, when pointing out race in the rest of the book, it was in those cases *not* an illusion. I am curious to know what other books you have read or researched to understand what marginalized populations experience, now, or have throughout history, at the hands of the system, or of the political, social and financially elite. And “marginalized” can really be a loose term too. We don’t have to exclude Native Americans, women, LGBT, immigrants from countries America don’t trust etc. There are countless examples of our systems being built at the expense of their human rights and freedoms as well. But since the topic here is a story about African Americans, I guess that’s what I’m most curious about.

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    1. The substance of your verbiage is that social classes are a necessary part of social reality. If you would read the rest of my essays, you would know that I agree with you. We have always had social class and if we want to continue our struggle to survive and defeat the universe before it defeats us, we will always have social class. However, acknowledging reality and accepting it are two different norms. No one has any ontological, normative obligation to accept their class just as they have no ontological, normative obligation to accept their position in a company workforce. Thus the other side of the coin: history is class struggle. A Utopian reality of equal individuals and no social classes is a dead reality. There is no “foundation for meaningful discussion” only a foundation for meaningful struggle; as the Athenians told the Melians: “But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that in the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where there is equal power to enforce it, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must.” For the weak to gain any power in life and thus add to social material progress they must fight for it. The war will always eventually be lost but the few battles won materially affect history — often for the better if they occur at the right time and place.

      The danger of modern technological society with its need for uniformity of thought despite pretensions for diversity is that with the aid of con-artists like Coates it will reduce everybody to two classes: the rulers and the lower class consisting of unisex, uniform, solitary, lonely, paper cutout wage slaves who have no basis for social unity and no hope to continue the class struggle. Without race, ethnicity, religion, community, or other form of social cohesion for workers, they are just powerless individuals who “grant what they must”.

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  3. You’re wrong in the post about TNC not mentioning the race of the officer. He clearly does as stated in the comment.

    Why don’t you correct it. You’re truly doing exactly what you falsely accused him of doing.

    You’re cheating your readers.

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    1. I already responded to this back in September and admitted that in one line in 175 pages of propaganda that is never mentioned again nor analyzed in any of his polemics he admits that the cop worked for a black county and that “I guess I missed it while reading it among all the nonsense and B.S. My error. One honest error does not excuse the harm he intentionally causes by his knowing misrepresentations and omissions” that he continues throughout the media. I am not cheating anyone. If you do not like what I write, do not read it.

      I went ahead and corrected the line anyway. Now that you got your nominal correction, you can continue to ignore the substance of what I said.

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  4. Again, First Point: The article which I used was literally cited inside this blog(“as the Washington Post was at least honest enough to admit, is: “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.”), therefore you have seen this report at some point when writing the blog and choose to ignore its content, for reason I do not know(also its not “Washington Post”, its the “Washington City Paper” which published this article, https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/article/13020801/black-victim-black-cop-black-county). If the claim that “if you chose to ram your vehicle into a vehicle driven by someone with a gun, you risk being shot and you should be smart enough to know that and not complain if you do get shot.” is indeed true, then self defense in a dangerous situation should not be attempted since clearly its an unnecessary risk and invites danger. Perhaps to some of us, the only form of “valid” self defense is that with an hand gun.

    Second Point: Well written, but still misses the point. First of, the statement:”He was not afraid, he was arrogant and stupid as most spoiled rich kids, White or Black, usually are. ” is an opinion. Can you produce a single evidence that can prove this assumption, especially when your assumption apparently justified his death? When was the last time the news played a segment about a white, privileged ivy league college student gunned by a police officer during confrontation? Secondly, your claim that his response to the situation was a result of his “arrogant and stupid” nature due to his level of privilege is just as arrogant and stupid as you claiming his response is. You putting yourself in the situation and inventing a solution while disregarding the the various factors that influenced the decision making is just willfully ignorant and arrogant: how are you supposed to know how Prince was going to respond to a situation like this when you’re not him? Maybe he doesn’t have your life experience. Maybe he happens to be in his girlfriend’s neighborhood and thought the proximity to someone he knew would constitute a safe environment to confront a trailer. Perhaps to him ramming a pursuers car was the most logical form self defense in that situation. Of course, I wouldn’t know, because I’m not Prince Jones, I wasn’t there, and I don’t have audacity to try to propose that this event could have unfolded in any other way than the way it actually did. Finally, I continue to maintain that Prince Jones’ fear and distrust for law enforcement out of his own race is justified. There is plenty of evidence demonstrating that the likelihood of being shot by a police is not associated with the crime rate of a race. According to “A Multi-Level Bayesian Analysis of Racial Bias in Police Shootings at the County-Level in the United States, 2011–2014 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634878/), a study specifically conducted using a fact checked data base with the goal of reducing bias in the reporting process itself, “the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average”. While I recognize the inherent bias in the self reporting data collection method which the database used by study employed, I believe this is just as valid of a data source considering the existing bias in most government sources, such as intentional misreporting and so forth.This type of analysis is independent of the overall crime rate, since its an analysis of likelihood to being shot while unarmed vs likelihood of being shot while armed, rather than likelihood of being shot vs likelihood of not being shot. This proves that in the process of police decision making, race is indeed the influencing factor in decision to shoot, not the overall crime rate + race ratio in an area. This kind of association between race and police brutality is not a hyperbole. Furthermore, why do you think 5 – 14% of this country’s population in particular commits 50 – 85% of the violent crimes on average depending on area? Maybe the fact that nearly all of that population’s ancestors were slaves up until mid 1800, lived as legal secondary citizens in large parts of this country until 1964, may have had something to with these statistics. Crime is usually linked with poverty. Perhaps poverty that came from generations of racial segregation and second class citizen status that literally denies equal opportunity at education, job employment and economic venture, poverty from racist exclusionary zoning laws that still determines where most blacks are born in this country and where they will receive their education and live during adulthood.

    The insult I took from your writing was your notion that people shouldn’t expect civil rights to be provided to them without negotiation. Civil rights, like human rights, is not something you earn when you’re a birthright citizen. Its given to you at birth, and cannot be stripped under any circumstances regardless of your merit in life. A good chunk of the constitution is detailed around the treatment and rights of criminals, who have in fact broken the law this constitution is a part of and are about be stripped of most of the civil rights the constitution details. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the notion that people are entitled to their civil rights and protection of the constitution simply for being alive as an American Citizen. That’s what the Deceleration of Independence explicitly says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and what the 14 amendment was written for “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside”. The protection of the constitution is meant to be extended into the legal system, which is made for the purpose of serving the citizens of this country. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with expecting the law enforcement and legal system of America to recognize and provide the constitution rights of the people they were meant to serve. The government, the military, and the legal system does not exist for the sole purpose of upholding this constitution: it exists to serve the people as outlined by this constitution. The constitution is a contract that the people of this country signed to give the government the power it has, and in return we the people expect all the civil rights outlined by this contract. I’m not arguing that its wrong to defend this constitution: I’m just saying that as a citizen of this country, like Mr Coates, like the privileged “pretend liberals” you mention, and like a veteran such as yourself, we are all entitled to civil rights by birth, the very rights our government has historically denied providing to 12% of our population. I do not seek to discredit your merits in terms of dealing with oppression and military service. However, I will say that if you truly believe some people are not entitled to this constitution’s protection on the basis that they have not contributed as much as you and Cpl Jones had, you have some deep misunderstanding about the ideals which this constitution entails.

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    1. First Point: The article you cite states: “Prince Jones pulled off into a driveway near his girlfriend’s house, apparently to check out the mysterious car on his tail. The officer passed him and then came back and stopped at Prince Jones’ car. According to the police version, Prince Jones then got out of his vehicle and approached Cpl. Jones. The police officer identified himself but flashed his gun, not his badge. Prince Jones then got back into his car, put it into reverse, and rammed the officer’s Montero at least twice.” It does not say as you claim that he tried to escape rather than submit to a man with a gun. You are correct, self-defense in a situation where you are unarmed and the other person has a gun is stupid. This is not television, if someone points a gun at you, especially if they claim to be a police officer, submit. That is what I would do and have done. In fact, pulling out a knife or being bigger and stronger than me is enough to get me to submit and hope for further options later. This is reality not television or a movie. I am not a coward but I am not stupid either. My conclusions that Prince was stupid and arrogant is based on my life experience and I am entitled to this opinion as much as any opinion you have based on the numerous times you have been assaulted — exactly how many times have you been in a fight? From what I have seen of rich spoiled white people, they are at least not stupid enough to take on someone with a gun pointed at them; maybe all this “wannabe a gangstar” propaganda some Black men rap about is part of the problem.

      Second Point: Of course this is opinion just as what you say is opinion. This is an essay blog that is a conceptual analysis of life, my life experience, and the concepts used to describe life and to reach normative conclusions by others particularly by Coates, it is not statistical modeling. It is an conceptual analysis of the premises used for statistical modeling. For every report you cite, I can cite another one that reaches different conclusions by using different premises. http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/1639265/d7991fa4a05de5bd51d75918f0bda26a.pdf?1516762819 and https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/745731839/new-study-says-white-police-officers-are-not-more-likely-to-shoot-minority-suspe . It is undisputed that if you ignore the violent crime rate of Black men and treat them solely as a percentage of population that you will get the statistics you cite. Such premises are unsound. You can statistically prove anything if you make the right assumptions, the key to statistical analysis is making the right assumptions. If Black men commit 5 times as many violent crimes as their percentage of population, one would reasonably assume they would represent 5 times as many of the police killings. The fact that they only represent 3.5 times as many may mean that there is under representation. Everyone’s ancestors were slaves at one time or another, including in Africa where slavery was eliminated only as a result of Western Powers eliminating it by force. That is an excuse not a justification for violence. I had grand-uncles who disappeared into Nazi slave labor camps in the 40’s never to return and those that disappeared into communist slave labor camps in the 50’s never to return. Coates was not poor and was not a bully because his ancestors were poor. His mother and most of his grandparents were well-educated and his mother a teachers who made good money and who taught him English and French while he was a small child. His father was well-educated, was a book publisher until he became head librarian at Howard University. That is not an impoverished background. Unlike his siblings, Coates was a bully because his father who had five kids with four different women was a bully and taught his son to be one. Saying crime is associated with poverty is a rich man’s elitist dismissal of the poor. Except for the few like Coates and his father, the working poor — White or Black — are primarily honest and hardworking people who have more integrity that most rich people I have met. My parents were illiterate peasants who with the rest of the working poor worked their whole life, promoted honesty, and taught me that education and hard work are two of the greatest values in life. So, F–k you and your dismissal of the poor as a bunch of criminals. Coates, his father, and the rest of their bully lot who go around telling rich people what they want to hear of the poor to make money and as excuse for their own laziness are the true criminals.

      Third Point: You obviously have not read the rest of my blog. I joined the military, as did Jones, right out of high school when I believed the verbiage you are spitting out. I have learned much during and after that service. No, I do not believe anyone has any inherent human rights nor most definitely any civil rights. Morality is the will of the powerful. Ethics is no more than ruling class ideology. The law is ruling class ideology with a monopoly on violence. Life owes you nothing. You do not want to be a slave, than revolt and win your revolt. You want to be a master of others, than win power over them. If you are stupid enough to fight someone with a gun and lose, take it like a man and do not whine about it. History is class struggle. If you do not want to be in the working class or any lower class, then fight those who rule over you and win. Victory is not guaranteed, in fact, you are guaranteed to lose that struggle as there will always be a ruling class. Struggle is an end in itself and is life.

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      1. At this point I’ve addressed all of the issues I’ve found with the first point and responded to them. I believe I’ve done a reasonable job at that, although you insist on your version of the story and continue to judge Prince from a god’s eye view and refuses to accept any other explanation of his course of action. In fact, you introduce new fictional “factors”, such as “wanna-be-gangster” propaganda, what ever that means, and use them to justify your assumptions on the event. But then again, this is all your opinion, and I have no will power nor time to alter your own constructs of this event.

        Secondly, you are misunderstanding the statistics I presented. I’ve already explained that black people committing more crimes is independent of their chances at being shot. What I mean by “the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average”, is that, in the exact same situation, with a police officer facing an unarmed suspect, the suspect being black make the suspect 3.49 times more likely to be shot than if the suspect was white. This itself is independent of the overall crime rate among the different races. And I agree with you, that we could theoretically find statistics that backs up any claim. However, I can use the exact same argument to claim your sources are just questionable. If you cannot accept that my statistics as valid, I can’t argue with, nor accept, any of your arguments. I’ve been debating in your own framework and using your evidences, why will you not? I do not to use personal assumption of an entire socioeconomic class as evidence in any of these arguments. Poverty’s association with crime is undisputed. I dare you to produce one evidence that claims that poverty is absolutely independent of crime rate. My claim that poverty within black communities is in general higher than poverty in the rest of America is just as factual. If you are unwilling to agree that blacks commit more violent crimes than the rest of America because of their poverty, I’m curious to what other possible reason you can use to explain this statistics. I wont address your Coates argument because its irrelevant to what I’m responding to. In response to your story about your great uncle: I suppose that also justifies the Yugoslav people’s oppression under Communism since their ancestors were once slaves as well and thus apparently deserves to be treated as such for their spineless lack of struggle against their oppressors. In your own words, “You do not want to be a slave, than revolt and win your revolt”. And since no one is entitled to human rights, as you’ve said “No, I do not believe anyone has any inherent human rights nor most definitely any civil rights”, this oppression is completely justified and you should stop whining about it. When referencing the history of slavery, at least have the decency to go read a History textbook instead of twisting history to portray the white man as the savior of the rest of the world. True, the Britons did create slave patrols to stop slave trade, but what is also true is the wealth used to finance those slave patrol came from the same profit created with nearly 300 years of slave trading, by the Britons themselves. But then again, based on your last paragraph, all of this would have just flown over your head, since, “Morality is the will of the powerful. Ethics is no more than ruling class ideology”. I’m confident that this is not remotely near what constitution says and am deeply confused on why you enjoy referencing it. Finally, for someone claiming to understand and believe in the “American way of life” alongside with the justice and liberty it represents, you have an odd distrust and hatred for the very system which the “American way of life” exists in. If you so firmly believe in this american system, which guarantees freedom and justice to all who climb it, regardless of their position on the climb, why would you also claim “you are guaranteed to lose that struggle as there will always be a ruling class”. Its been long. So long.

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  5. First Point: You have not addressed any of the issues I have raised either in this reply or in my essays in this blog nor in any of my books that you have clearly not read. Of course it is opinion, all normative conclusions are ultimately opinion, you seem to have no clue as to the nature of modern knowledge. All statistics is opinion. Anything that relies on normative assumptions of value is ultimately just opinion. This is not quantum mechanics, it is normative argument based on normative premises. The fact remains that if Prince had shut his mouth, raised his hands, and submitted, he would be alive today. He was shot not because he was Black but because he was stupid. Being stupid does not mean one is morally deficient or normatively deficient in some sense of ultimate value but it does have consequences. Black on Black violence and police on Black violence is a cultural and class problem not a race problem. You clearly do not want to read me, so I suggest you read the books by the economist Thomas Sowell (a Black man who started out as a sharecropper’s son) on this issue such as “Intellectuals and Race”. Life is not black and white, good and evil; it is nuanced, vague, and indeterminate. Since you love statistics, as Sowell points out in his books, statistically in all categories varying from marital status to employment status, Blacks were better off before 1964 than later. Why? Coates and many like him take advantage of the need for simplicity among some like you to get rich and for propaganda that hurts the poor both Black and White. Here is a simple version as a warm-up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzdzAaFsZks .

    Second Point: I am not misunderstanding anything; you refuse to understand the need to factor into the assumptions the nature of the confrontation between police and suspects and how it affects the results. If you have ten children in your family but two of them are responsible for 50% – 80% of the violence problems in the family, are you telling me this fact will in no way affect the nature of the confrontations between you as a parent and those two as compared to the other 8? Another example, how do you define “unarmed” and “armed”; Prince drove his car multiple times into Jones’ car, was he armed or unarmed? You would say unarmed, Jones would say armed, what would the statistician say? Again, if you do not want to read my essays, open your mind and read stuff by Sowell or similar writers. Coates is a dishonest con artist who tells Black children education is a waste of time. You will learn nothing from him except how to lose in life so he can win. Poverty’s association with crime is undisputed does not mean that poverty is associated with race nor that it requires a culture of violence; there are far more by tens of millions non-Black poor people than Black yet they lack a present culture of violence. Again, read Sowell if you want to open up your mind and do not want to read me. I have clearly read more history than you. Until the 19th Century, everyone in the world profited from slavery: Brits, Chinese, Mayan, Tibetan, Navajo, any tribe in Africa, you pick anyone at random. The question is who ended slavery for the first time in human history? It was not the Chinese or Tibetan, it was legal there until 1948. It was not Islam or any African culture, slavery was legal in parts of the Mideast and Africa until the 70’s. It was Western Civilization that ended it, open your mind to reality before you lose it. If you would actually read my essays, you will see that my reasoning is consistent. Until they revolted and defeated their overloads, oppression of the Yugoslavs was justified. Power makes right. If they want to keep their present freedom, they need to keep up class struggle and avoid a new ruling class from taking over. Same for the U.S. The American system does not guarantee freedom and justice to anyone and never did. At one time, because of its separation from the class society of Europe, it gave the opportunity for all classes of society to work equally work for and struggle for freedom and justice. As I have admitted in my essays — which you refuse to read — such is no longer true. The U.S. has become a class society. One of the ways the ruling class have achieved this is by maintaining race struggle among the working classes through writers such as Coates who keep the poor, Black and White, fighting among themselves instead of joining together against their oppressors.

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