11 December 2006

Jumping the gun with Steve Jett (no pun intended)

When I was a kid, I had this little wooden jig-saw puzzle map of the United States. I loved that thing. I think that's why US geography always came easy to me. I remember that Idaho was a fat yellow 'L' shaped state that went in fourth, after I put in Washington, Oregon and California. Now, while I knew where the state went in relations to the other 49, I had no real idea of the cities and towns that made up the fat 'L' shaped state. So when I heard about a town called Greenleaf considering a unique gun ordinance, my first question was "Where in the hell is Greenleaf?" That question stood out so much with me that I ended up using it as a title in my blog posting about the creator of this 'ordinance', a councilman named Steve Jett.

The article I read was compressed from several east coast newspapers and a news website. It implied that this Steve Jett fellow was implying that hurricane Katrina refugees or refugees like them could end up in the small town of Greenleaf and he was suggesting that townsfolk arm themselves against the impending crimewave that would insue. I think if anyone could have seen me when I first heard this on the radio and THEN read it in print - they would pobably think I was about to blow an artery. I was livid, to put it mildly.

So, I started blogging. Basically I tore this Steve Jett a new one.

Then I noticed a comment on my posting, actually two comments, several weeks later. This person identified themselves as a Greenleaf citizen and they told me that the story I heard/read had been spun out of context and they suggested I do more research. I agreed.

In my posting, I called Steve Jett an asshole. Actually to be perfectly correct I called him a 'Racist Asshole.' To me, those are two significant words to call someone and at the time I felt I was justified. At the time I thought this guy was using race and fear to stir up his town. I have since found that the articles I encountered were spun a fair amount. So basically, I now believe that I was wrong about Steve Jett. From my newest research I have concluded that Steve Jett is neither racist OR an asshole.

In a nutshell, the basis for Steve Jett's gun ordinance suggestion, which was part of a larger community ordinance, called for citizens to consider [CONSIDER] arming themselves to be prepared to protect their homes from possible spill-over crime from larger cities in the region - NOT from possible hurricane Katrina victims! Greenleaf is a small town with less than 900 people, no reported crime, and practically no police force. Personally, I agree with what he is saying. I agree with it and I do it myself. I have been the first-hand victim of spill-over crime from people that came from DC to my neighborhood to steal from me, and I have quite a "welcome" for anyone foolish enough to break into my home while I am there. So, I was wrong to call Steve Jett a racist asshole for what he is trying to do.

I know that most blogs are just opinions and rolling conversations, I consider mine to be just that. If I was talking to someone or sharing my opinion face to face with anyone that was kind enough to listen [or read, in this case] and I said something that was wrong or improper to them or about them, I was raised by my parents to be the type of man to apologize - so, I apologize to Steve Jett for calling him a racist and an asshole. I'm sure he'll personally never read this blog, so my apology may just go out into the cybersphere, and that is fine with me. I believe the universe tends to unfold as it should, so I have sent my karma out to wherever it is supposed to be.

PS. I still don't agree with Mr. Jett's claims to be using the second amendment to the Constitution in his ordinance, but a lot of folks make this claim and I happen to disagree with them all.



Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post! Who can't admire someone willing to do the research and make an apology if they deem it necessary?

I totally agree with the idea of karma and sending energy into the universe. Who knows? Maybe someone who has wronged you in the past may apologize to you.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hello Anali-
Thanks for stoppin' by and thanks for your comments.

I have to admit that I'm pretty amazed at how small the world feels with the Internet and now too, with blogs.

For someone who is actually from Greenleaf to come across my posting, I was truly stunned.

I think my first post was fueled by pure anger. I'm glad I was encouraged to look a little deeper.

See you in the blogosphere, My Sister-

CreoleInDC said...

I'm glad you did the right thing especially since the major media outlets still haven't as it relates to this situation. Kinda makes you realize that you have to take mostly everything you read by them with a grain of salt.

I'm proud of you. You STILL da man!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back in action, bro!

I, too, am proud of you. Proud that you took a stand in the first place. Prouder still that you are a man of integrity that can apologize when you were wrong.

It seems like a simple thing, but it isn't for many people.



jac said...

hey man !

Drifted in from anali's

I really liked it. An apology though you could have cared less. This is the thorough writing.
When your research found your assumptions wrong, you went out of the way to say it
Kudos !
I will be back to read all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the apology.
-the same Greenleaf citizen

DJ Black Adam said...

Takes a real man to admit they were wrong and apologize, respect.

Steve Jett said...

Dear Sir,
What makes you think that Mr. Steve Jett would never read your blog? Here I am! Apology accepted. The AP news reporter that twisted the story around has never stood up and apologized like you did, and I respect you very much for doing so. Yes, at some point in the interview I said, "we could get refugees." I wonder if perhaps I was speaking at the time of the part of the ordinance that mandates Greenleaf to have a plan to house and feed refugees?? My own aunt and uncle were evacuated from the Gulf Coast, so I am sure that the Greenleaf "Receipt of Refugees" plan would not include shooting them on sight! Anyway, I respect your opinion to disagree with my reference to the 2nd amendment, but this country protects the right to have that opinion. But, again, I do respect you for the apology. Stop in and visit Greenleaf anytime. We have a great cafe for lunch.
Steve Jett
Greenleaf City Council