Bigotry Roundup: Baltimore County and Anne Arundel

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Longing for the days when bigoted public servants felt comfortable expressing their prejudices? Well those days were back for a moment in Anne Arundel and Baltimore County this week.

Cpl. Charles “Butch” Brenner, of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, is the subject of an internal investigation after officers of color complained about an offensive email he sent to several of his colleagues. The email called for “the closing of the country’s borders, the establishment of English as the nation’s only language and the institution of mandatory drug screening for everyone receiving government welfare assistance.” The email also included the warning that coming presidential election will determine whether “liberty will survive” in this country.

I hope that the Anne Arundel County Police Department understands this as more than a PR disaster — bigoted police officers are a threat to public safety. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but these are people entrusted with an awful lot of power who occasionally have to make split-second, life-or-death decisions, and prejudice impairs judgment.

(By the way, The Sun implies that Benner wrote the email himself, but I wonder if it was a forward; it leads with an overpunctuated, overcapitalized phrase — “Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!!!” —  and it ends with a classic chain-letter style fake statistic, “Only 86% will send this on. Should be 100%. What will you do?”)

Del. Patrick L. McDonough, of Baltimore County, sent out a news release with the intriguing title “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays.” In it, the delegate and talk-radio host (surprise, surprise) said that the Inner Harbor should immediately be declared a “no travel-zone” to “protect lives.” From what? Well, any and all black youth, I guess. McDonough said police told him that all the people involved in recent incidents of violence were black, and to leave their race unremarked upon would be “political correctness on steroids.” But what’s his solution? Encourage Baltimoreans to fear every black person they see? Is it really political correctness to keeps race out of the discussion? Or is race simply not useful information?

According to The Sun, McDonough was inspired to write the news release by incidents he witnessed on two recent visits to the Inner Harbor, one on St. Patrick’s Day.

Del. McDonough, we call that “inductive reasoning,” and we normally don’t base news releases on it. That’s why I have never released my own “Black Family Mobs Order Pizza at Ledo on Weekends” or “Sideburned White Mobs Work at Barnes & Noble Whenever I Happen to Be There.”

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