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Crime & Punishment

It's Good To Be Back!

Thanks to NPR's Jacki Lyden for sitting in for much of last week and thanks to those of you who were able to join me when I sat in for Diane Rehm.

Some of you might be wondering,huh? What's up with all that round robin?

Well, NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, for those of you who are not familiar with that program, is a call-in show and I love that format. So when the opportunity arose to sit-in for her, I jumped on it. But I could not physically do both her program and Tell Me More because of the timing of when both shows are produced live (and we are, actually, produced in two different locations). So it emerged that Jacki was available and interested in sitting in for me.

So a good time was had by all. Thanks for tolerating our little experiment.

And now on to this week ...

Of course, we are watching the events related to the arrest of the Nigerian national who allegedly tried to blow up that Northwest airliner en route to Detroit. But, as usual, we are looking for the angle you will not have heard elsewhere. So we are on it.

I'm thinking about today conversation with the Rev. Al Sharpton about the police profiling discussion. The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been ordered to release the statistics related to the number of people shot at by the NYPD, not just hit. This, of course, in the wake of the Sean Bell shooting in 2006. Bell was an unarmed black man shot to death in New York on the morning of his wedding by police as he and two friends left a nightclub.

Rev. Al has his perspective. But what I am wondering is, how do you take race and out of the equation ... and cultural context?

I went to college in the Boston area shortly after the busing controversies were winding down (read more here), but I was constantly subjected to racial harassment on the street. It was years before I cold look at a group of young white boys or men without tensing up. Waiting for the racial insult to come, or not, but I was aware of my reaction and tried hard to combat it.

But my life was not at stake (or I did not perceive it to be).

But what if it were?