You know you're thinking it. You may have even said something to your spouse or your drinking buddies. But it takes a particularly insensitive jerk to say out loud what many insensitive jerks were thinking privately after fired police Chief Terrell Bolton broke down blubbering at his news conference last week. Allow Buzz: What a baby.
Yeah, yeah, we know. Real men docry. (No, they don't.) And, of course, it's wrong to kick a man when he's down--though you can't really count as down anyone who has a lawyer and is threatening a suit.
Look, it's not that we're entirely without feeling. During our years as an editor, there have been at least a dozen occasions when we've had to chastise reporters who broke down and wept. (Most, not all, were women.) This used to disturb Buzz, who was taught that you should never, ever make a girl cry. Then a helpful female co-worker pointed out that women--and apparently men--cry not only when they're injured but also when they're pissed off. Or when they've been called outfor doing a bad job. Our heart hardened.
Still, even Buzz was moved by the sight of Bolton's tears...at least until we took, oh, about 30 seconds to think about it. Consider:
When Bolton, not long on the job, demoted his command staff, some of whom ended up cast out of the department, did he cry then?
When innocent Mexican immigrants were deprived of liberty on bogus drug charges in the department's fake-drug scandal, did Bolton, in a fit of empathy, weep for the injustice and demand answers, or did he drag his feet? Lessee...
Empathy does not appear to be the man's strong suit. Neither Bolton nor his supporters have shown any hesitation in labeling as racist anyone who thought he might not be the best man for the job--trashing reputations of honest officeholders and reporters willy-nilly while ignoring the racism inherent in the position that Bolton is somehow untouchable simply because he is black. Didn't see any of his victims crying. Certainly didn't see him shed a tear over their injuries.
Bolton also claims that he was targeted and micromanaged by Mayor Laura Miller, who just happens to be, as Jim Schutze points out in this issue, the elected mayor of Dallas. Paradoxically, County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is not mayor, seems to have had some political influence in Bolton's hiring. Guess that sort of micromanaging is nothing to bawl over. Well, some of us might...
All the same, it hurts to see anyone lose a job. Heck, we even felt for Danny Defenbaugh, former head of the Dallas FBI office, when U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson told The Dallas Morning News in 2001 that Bolton attempted to enlist her help in an unsuccessful effort to get Defenbaugh transferred. (Bolton later denied the claim.) In the wee hours, when he was by his lonesome, did Defenbaugh weep, we wonder?
Still, tomorrow's another day, etc., so cheer up, Terrell. And don't worry. You say you fear you couldn't get a job as dogcatcher now. Tell you what--if the job ever comes open, you've got Buzz's vote.