Cliche: “You must have lots of time on your hands to defend the police.”





I am obviously a prolific writer keenly interested in learning as much as I can about the subjects I am interested in and then expressing my views thereupon.

That is, researching subjects and expressing my opinion is my vocation. Yet I am occasionally presented with the cliché, “You must have a lot of time on your hands,” when I logically contest a proposition put forward. That is meant to imply that I am not engaged in a legitimate i.e. personally profitable pursuit.

For example, an international attorney who has taken up liberalism with a vengeance after the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency posted a video on Facebook of police officers removing a cursing young woman from a subway. Apparently she had put her feet up on another seat of the relatively crowded subway car. She appeared to be refusing their commands and resisting arrest.

The indignant attorney, who has in the past served some time as a municipal judge, claimed that putting feet up on subway car seats is not an arrestable offense, and that the First Amendment right to free speech had been violated. One of his followers chimed in with outrage at an alleged abuse of the police power, although it was exercised rather minimally, just enough to get her off the train.

The rest of his followers agreed with the forceful removal of the foulmouthed woman from the train, and one viewer hoped she had learned a lesson. Another pointed out that we did not see what happened before the video was taken by a person questioning the conduct of the police and demanding badge numbers.

I remarked that the police action was proper. Furthermore, I said that I rode the New York City subways for decades, remembered the Bernhard Goetz incident, and why he had been moved to take the law into his own hands, as vigilantes are wont to do when the police power is dysfunctional.

Putting feet on subway seats happens to be an arrestable misdemeanor albeit the law is controversial, so I posted a New York Times article to that effect. To that the attorney said other issues were involved, yet he refrained, when asked, from identifying them.

He did not respond when asked whether or not the woman was detained and released, or taken to the police station and booked.

I declared that a lawyer should inquire into all the facts before presenting a case, and should not be unduly prejudiced by ideological preferences. I observed that if he knew the history of law enforcement on the subway system, as I did from personal experience, he would understand the reason people might be removed from trains or arrested for misdemeanor conduct. He perceived that remark as a personal insult.

He deleted my comments, and came after me in the Messenger facility, apparently not wanting the verdict of his jury of followers.  He said I must have a lot of time on my hands, and that he did not have such time, and that I did not know when to stop.

I responded that I had ample time to seek the truth and state my opinions. As a matter of fact, I had invested no more than five minutes in making those few brief comments. He has time to posting political subjects on his “news” feed, and to hover over commentary, responding immediately to comments as if he were being rated by Facebook, as some accounts are.

He mentioned President Trump, whom I said was irrelevant, as was the reference to free speech, for the woman had spoken freely with fighting words, and had a right to suffer the consequences.

I said I thought it contradictory that he would delete my comments when he was arguing for a right to free speech, to which he said he had a perfect right to do on Facebook.

It was obviously his own free speech he was concerned with, that there would be no consequences or “arrests” of his argument. Of course he can delete at will, but I informed him I had learned from several lawyers to tolerate critical commentary, and sometimes I love it when it is ridiculous. He claimed I was “hard not to delete.”

He said I did not know whether he rode the subways as I had. I said I did know because I had collected a file on him and knew that his background did not include decades in New York City or time when transit law enforcement was pathetic.

He felt threatened that I said I had a “file” on him, and I explained that I had accumulated information about him before I came to his defense when he was sitting as a magistrate and city officials interfered with his independence. My coverage of that issue was influential.

The time I expended was about forty hours, pro bono, and well worthwhile since I believed justice was served in that matter. In this matter I believe he was mistaken.

Another cliché he resorted to was, “Get over yourself,” which I informed him was his own projection. “You must have a lot of time on your hands” I have heard several times, almost always when I disagree with someone who believes they have a license on truth.

He knows I am a journalist. I thanked him for the interview and the quotes, which I have not directly quoted here. He deleted the entirety of his post. Case voluntarily dismissed.

Perhaps this record will be useful. Normally reasonable people are losing their heads and jumping to conclusions. It is time to take more time thinking.


Miami Beach

January 28, 2018