Weekend Reading

Read this, read that!

President Harmon and his lawyers don’t look me in the eye. They zero in on the eyes of Mama, as Harmon tells her that I am being suspended from Millsaps for at least a year for taking and returning Red Badge of Courage from the library without formally checking it out.

He ain’t lying.

I took the book out of the library for Shonda’s brother without checking it out and returned the book the next day. I looked right at the camera when I did it, too. I did all of this knowing I was on parole, but not believing any college in America, even one in Mississippi, would kick a student out for a year, for taking and returning a library book without properly checking it out.

I should have believed.

The FBI, which annually tracks every two-bit break-in, car theft, and felony, keeps no comprehensive records of incidents involving police use of deadly force, nor are there comprehensive national records that track what police officers do with their guns. Because of that we have no sense of whether such killings are waxing or waning, whether different cities present different threats, whetherincreased use of private security guards poses a greater or lesser danger to the public, whether neighborhood watch groups are a blessing or a bane to their neighborhoods.

Since launching my war, I have shown the following in lieu of an ID badge to pass security: a business card, my US driver’s license, someone else’s business card, my Brussels Air frequent flier card, and, I shit you not, an ‘invisible card’.

When asked to sign the security log, I have signed as: William Shakespeare, Whitey McBlanco, and Ban Ki Moon. I have represented: NASA, the White House, Bob’s Clam Hut, and Hollywood.

After carefully examining the school occurrence reports for the year, Nolan found that the majority of arrests and summons were, ultimately, the result of “insubordination” or “disrespect”; in other words, students ignored or resisted officers who told them to take off their hat, hurry up, or show their ID, and the situation escalated from there. These confrontations, which often stem from legitimate frustration at capricious and unaccountable authorities, routinely lead to arrest. (As Nolan shows, some officers appear to publicly humiliate and antagonize students for sport, yet students are expected to react like saints to provocation from their superiors. Taking umbrage is a punishable offense). The “crime” of breaking a school rule — not the law — lands students in court, which, in turn, further derails their academic progress, since they must miss school to appear before a judge.

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