Help Me to Understand

I am just a broke down retired cop.  When others were fleeing from danger my brothers and I ran towards it.We saw things knowing once seen they couldn’t be unseen. When others looked away from unpleasantness, those of my persuasion, took a deep breath and sharpened our focus so we might better bear witness.  

The violence we witnessed was not something stylized by Hollywood and it was presented in so many more dimensions than can be represented on film.  I remember doing CPR on my first suicide victim, more than forty years ago.  He shot himself between the eyes with a .22 rifle. Not a particularly gory scene, except that every time we did a chest compression blood spurted from the wound and every time  we compressed the ambu bag the wound bubbled with escaping air. It wasn’t this visualization that stays with me but the sucking sound as the compression was released and the hiss of the bubbles with every breath.

While working undercover I accepted toddlers as collateral (or hostages) because you never “fronted” the money in a dope deal.  I lost track of how many wives and girlfriends found themselves in that position.The toddler, wife or girlfriend was supposed to be reasonable assurance that momma or daddy or boyfriend would return with the promised drugs. None of of the dopers ever offered me their dog to hold.  This may or may not be a commentary on the relative importance of wives, girlfriends, kids and dogs in doper scheme of things.

This isn’t a woe is me I am a victim screed.  I walked into law enforcement with my eyes wide open.  I tell you this not illustrate that there is unpleasantness in the world.  I don’t want you with me in the sewers I have traveled, that would defeat the purpose of my brothers and I being there in the first place.  It is enough that you acknowledge that evil exists and should you be called upon to make that judgment you will not shy away.

This leads me to the story that got me going in the first place.  I first read about it on Patterico’s Pontifications. Jonathan Capehart holds himself out as a journalist and pundit.  He writes for the Washington Post and appears as a contributor on MSNBC.  I don’t want to be accused of putting words in his mouth, here is a transcript of a conversation he had with Nicole Wallace on Morning Joe:

Jonathan Capehart, political writer at the Washington Post and regular guest on MSNBC, admitted that although he can’t stomach watching the Planned Parenthood videos, he nonetheless supports Planned Parenthood:

Capehart said he couldn’t watch them because “there are some things where I just have to draw the line.”

“I would say, I haven’t seen the videos,” Capehart said on Morning Joe. “The discussion of the videos is disturbing enough.”

“Is that why you haven’t watched them?” fill-in host Nicolle Wallace asked. “You just feel like you have enough information?”

“There are some things where I just have to draw the line, things that I can deal with as a human being,” Capehart said. “I cannot get to the point, though, where I say that Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded. They do so many other things, providing health care to women.”

Capehart added a woman tweeted at him that she was still alive thanks to Planned Parenthood. The BlazeTV’s Amy Holmes told Capehart he should watch the videos, “as we’re discussing this issue,” to decide for himself if he could abide the conduct being discussed.

“We are on the same page on that issue,” he said. “What I’m saying is I then can’t go the next step, like a lot of the Planned Parenthood opponents, and say that Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded.”

Where to start?  Mr. Capehart has not seen the videos for himself, but has followed the discussion about the content.  Based on the discussion he has overheard he has decided that the content of the videos is #1 disturbing and #2 effectively indicts Planned Parenthood (PP).

Mr. Capehart is willing to accept wrongdoing on the part of PP based on second and third hand opinions, rather than relying on source material.  For my part, I see a compelling narrative unsupported by evidence that could be admitted at trial.  That evidence may very well be there. It is not the job of the film makers to provide a prosecution ready case.

Though Mr. Capehart is willing to condemn  PP role, he is unwilling to take away their funding.  How does one condemn and reward at the same time?  Is this an admission that organizations cannot evolve, that we are stuck with PP with all its flaws?  Or is Mr. Capehart preserving his options being both for and against PP?  I find it difficult to believe that a journalist, one whose bread and butter is to be a witness to history and document his observations could willingly and proudly close his eyes because what he is called upon to witness is unpleasant.  Imagine Mr. Capehart on 9-11.  Did you see the planes hit the buildings?  What buildings? What planes?

Is there any point where Mr. Capehart and his fellow travelers shrug off moral equivalency and say enough I will not sacrifice my knowledge of what is right and wrong at the altar of political expediency?