Commentary

Five Takeaways From the Jussie Smollett Matter

By PETER INCARDONE | Feb 27, 2019

For almost six weeks now, the alleged hate crime against the TV actor Jussie Smollett, who plays a role in the show  “Empire,” has transfixed many Americans who have a stake in the well-being of our great country.

To quickly rehash the incident, in late January on a bitter cold, windy night, Smollett told Chicago detectives, he had left his home to get a sandwich and was accosted by two masked men who screamed anti-gay and anti-black slurs, specifically saying “This is MAGA country,” hit him and put a noose around his neck. This allegedly took place in a city that voted 88 percent for Hillary Clinton two years ago, occurring in a black neighborhood during a quick, late-night excursion on a sub-zero night when everyone else was at home to stay warm.

The five takeaways are quite simple for the reasonably intelligent person regarding this matter. By the way, notice I said “reasonably intelligent.” So let’s examine this supposed serious hate crime on the person of Jussie Smollett.

One, thank God the Chicago Police Department did an outstanding job in putting a goodly portion of their 12 detectives’ offices into investigating this serious hate crime to determine what happened, who was involved, and what the coming consequences would be. However, as the Chicago police superintendent said himself on national TV late last week – and this brings me to Point Two – this alleged hate crime diminished many of the other crimes against the people of Chicago who never garner the very attention they so deserve because this national celebrity, literally, hogged the spotlight on crime in Chicago, which everyone knows is a serious matter every day now.

Three: The police superintendent, as a black man living in Chicago all of his life, took special notice of, and called out very clearly in his comments, the fact that the media, along with news commentators, celebrities and even presidential candidates, for weeks after this incident, kept talking about it at the expense of the city of Chicago. These media outlets took a supposed hate crime and made it political, insinuating that President Trump and Trump supporters were to blame for a broader trend. The last time I checked my date book, I can’t recall mugging anyone in Chicago in at least six weeks.

Four: This brings me to the Covington, Ky., high school kids who were – and still are – vilified for weeks about their alleged attacks on that poor Native American man who was beating his drum while reportedly being mocked by these young white males spewing out racial hatred at him at the very same time. Pure nonsense as we now know.

But the underlying and critical story here is very clear: Stop jumping to very early conclusions when you hear something that on its surface sounds strange. And keep your political conclusions to yourself until evidence and proof come out to either support or refute your political theory. Thank God the parents of that Covington boy hired one of the best libel lawyers in America to now sue The Washington Post and shortly, hundreds of others who libeled this high school boy of 15 years of age all because they wanted to score political points against the president of the United States. How sad.

And finally, Point Five in a very sad matter in America today: I would strongly suggest the people of this state begin to pay very close attention to the actions of our very own Gov. Phil Murphy. While many of you were writing articles blasting President Trump over the last year, you have either ignored or do not know that the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is fast approaching reality.

Do you realize what has occurred in Colorado, one of the first states to approve this drug? Automobile accidents there have increased, according to one study. Secondly, insurance rates have jumped off the charts as well. I have no desire to meet up with a stoned driver while on Route 9 at night (see deaths on Route 23 in Wayne this week due to a driver reportedly under the influence of illegal drugs).

Fortunately, just about every police chief in New Jersey, with the exception of our urban Democrat cities, has come out strongly against legalizing weed here. Furthermore, is this what residents in this state have now come to – having to get your jollies by smoking weed? Really?

When you tie this in with the recent tax increases (online purchases and the coming so-called rain tax now in discussion), New Jersey is fast becoming the California of the East. What’s next for this governor of ours? Taxing the air we breathe? I’m just waiting to see all the homeless people on the streets in New Jersey as we now see in San Francisco and Los Angeles, shooting up drugs and defecating on the sidewalks. I would strongly recommend we all begin to pay attention to the real problems right here in our very own state.

Peter Incardone is a Surf City resident and a former mayor and chief of staff for the Bergen County, N.J., executive. He is also a retired university professor.

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