Brick helps explain conservative outlook

October 29, 1997|By GREGORY KANE

It was about 11:40 a.m. Monday when I walked out to my car. As I was about to put the key in the lock, I noticed the concrete brick on my driver's seat.

Shards of glass surrounded the brick and covered the front passenger seat. The glove compartment was opened, its contents on the passenger's seat. The passenger-side window was gone.

I didn't get upset. I couldn't. Losing two sisters and a brother in less than 16 months tends to make me keep my cool when far less serious things happen. Instead I muttered to myself, showing scarcely a trace of emotion, "This is not how I left this car."

The thief - part of the growing poot-butt posse making life miserable for law-abiding citizens across the nation - made off with a cellular phone and a gray satchel containing a checkbook, personal items and some bills I'm sure the miscreant has no intention of paying. Most precious of all were some letters from readers - including a Muslim inmate at the Jessup House of Correction charging officials there with religious persecution - and the papers and grades of students in my opinion writing class at the Johns Hopkins University. These are of no value to the thief but are priceless to me, which made the vandalism and theft a nuisance and an outrage while not being devastating.

I called 311 - the police nonemergency number, because the emergency had long since passed - and talked to an Agent Weiner, who took down my complaint information. I declined his offer to send an officer to the scene. The thief was long gone, and police could better use their time catching criminals in the act, one of whom might be the miscreant who wrecked my car window.

It cost $179 I didn't particularly want to part with to repair the passenger-side window. I kept the concrete brick the poot-butt had hurled through my window. On the off chance we might meet someday, I wanted to return his gift.

Of course, I'm not alone. The guy at Windshields of America on Liberty Road who did the repair work said he gets comments like that all the time: "If I could get my hands on the guy who broke this window." In some suburban areas car vandalism is done for kicks. In city areas like mine such acts are probably carried out by crackheads and other addicts foraging for any item they figure will bring the cash to buy them that next fix. My sympathy for them can be measured in milligrams.

The perpetrator of this crime - as I live in a black neighborhood - is probably black. That's not a certainty, because we do get our share of white visitors. They're usually seen cruising around before stopping at drug corners to buy their wares from the street-level independent pharmacists.

But as most crime in black neighborhoods involves black perpetrator and black victim, I think I'm on safe ground here. And it's these black perpetrators who, years ago, pushed me ever rightward.

At a round-table meeting of black conservatives this year in Washington, I said as much to those assembled. Gathered around the table were Willie and Gwen Daye Richardson, publishers of Headway magazine, and nationally renowned black JTC conservative Armstrong Williams. The question was, "What made you become a conservative?"

"Trifling Negroes," I said without hesitation when my turn came. Of course, "Negroes" wasn't the word I wanted to use. I was just being sensitive to the concerns of those still sensitive about the use of the "N" word (see Oct. 19 column). But my message was clear.

"Years ago," I told the others, "when I lived on Pimlico Road in Baltimore, some drug dealers chose the corner near my house to deal drugs." Soon there was a veritable Gathering of the Dysfunctional on the corner. Along with the dealers came addicts, who took to ensconcing themselves on the steps of those folks on the block who had real jobs. When the hard-working black folks came home, they had to either step over or order from their steps poot-butts too trifling to get jobs.

It suddenly occurred to me that black liberals and leftists had, for years, taken up the cause of the blacks who were dysfunctional and poot-butts, all the while totally ignoring that overwhelming majority of blacks who held themselves to a standard of good conduct and put in a hard day's work. Black liberals and leftists, I concluded, were totally out of sync. My drift rightward started. Now it's complete.

When I die, the headstone on my grave will read, "Trifling Negroes turned him into a babbling right-wing lunatic."

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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