Thursday, July 09, 2020

Good Intentions Or Not

The question for today is: can someone be self-serving and gracious at the same time? (The answer is "yes.")

In a decision which should- but won't- disturb Americans concerned about inequities in the criminal justice system

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called the police after a black man asked her to keep her dog on a leash, has been charged for filing a false report.

The New York Times reports that Cooper, who was filmed by Christian Cooper in the Ramble at Central Park, where it is against the rules to have dogs off a leash, will face misdemeanor charges. Christian Cooper was in the area bird watching, and when he approached her requesting she put her dog on its leash, she threatened to call the police. In the video, she told the police via phone that she was being threatened by "an African-American man."

"Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper (no relation) for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree," said Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance. "We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable."

However, the sensitive side of Christian Cooper (considered the victim of this dastardly criminal offense) has come out as he now concedes "On the one hand, she's already paid a steep price. That's not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on."

"Piling on" is exactly what it would be. Her attorney notes "She lost her job, her home, and her public life. Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?”

It's a pound of flesh Cy Vance and some others are after. However, Christian Cooper has (for whatever reason) risen above that and has stated that he will not cooperate with the prosecutor's office. This is praiseworthy, even if Cooper is acting out of self-interest.


"If you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it."  Some people, understanding English, would recognize that as a threat. After A. Cooper called the police, she waited for the authorities. He did not. You figure it out.

I can't vouch for the veracity of C. Cooper's Facebook post. It is on social media, the vehicle which allowed thousands of people to jump to conclusions about "Karen" after viewing a video of the second half of a confrontation. "That's when I started recording with my iPhone," Cooper himself admitted, possibly unaware there would be so many people who are a) lazy; b) bigoted; or c) stupid, thus eager to be outraged without seeing a confrontation from beginning to end.

Maybe Christian Cooper realizes that he is legally vulnerable. Or maybe he's merely a kind-hearted, sensible bird-watcher who likes to feed strange dogs and threaten their owner if she balks.  Either way, if he continues to refuse to assist the prosecution, he is doing the right thing.

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