Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Max Said

Max said "Good Morning Detroit! Peace to you from Paname City, France!"

No, what Max actually said was "Yeah, well, this juvenile custody story is only hitting the front pages because the kids are white, upper middle class, straight A students. It happens to blacks and arabs all the time and no one gets upset at all!"

Ain't that so?

A while back, Max's friend D was taken into custody for "attacking" a policeman. Max has known D since second grade and Mom and Papa have too. We have couscous with his family and play music and sing all afternoon. The parents are a mild mannered, rock 'n roll lovin', EDF engineer and his homemaker wife who fled terrorism in Algeria in the 90s. D was witness to some pretty awful sights before coming to France. He had nightmares for a long time his parents told us.

When taken into custody, D was 16. He kicked a policeman in the shin. The guy was roughing up D's 16 year-old girlfriend for rolling a cigarette while admiring the Seine. The policeman didn't even fall over!

All the kids involved - there were five of them - were taken into custody. All the white kids were let go after a few hours. Parents were eventually called and they came to get their kids. D's parents also came of course... But D was held for 24 hours and his parents didn't get to see him. In the end they were told to leave the premises, that they'd be called when he was released...

The policeman D kicked got a medical certificate saying he would not be able to work for 8 days - which is the legal limit for being able to sue someone for coups et blessures - being physical abuse leaving wounds. The police declared that D's parents didn't come for him, that he was an unsupervised juvenile - and who cares that D's parents really were there and have witnesses?

It's their word against the police's, right?

Hmmmm? Where have we heard that recently? (See Michelle D-P's comment to yesterday's post.)

D's parents have had to come up with written statements by witnesses to their parental authority - which is a total laugh because D's father has SO much charisma that other kids dream of him being their Dad (there was a case of it back in 6th grade where a young boy who was adopted by a single mother began hanging out at D's and in the end said he wished he too had a dad like D's. - once again, see A Rebel without a Cause for a cultural reference to this kind of pre-teen behavior. There are other details to that story but we won't go into them.).

D's mom is the kind of woman who's always ready with a pot of stew - or whatever - big enough to feed any of the neighborhood boys D and his brother T might want to bring home for dinner. Max delights in her pasta to a such point that were Mom the jealous type she might refuse to let Max go over to D's house for dinner anymore... When Ulysses showed up at our place saying he'd been put out in the streets by his dad for four days, he told us he often stayed at D's house. Mom immediately called D's mom to find out what was up and D's mom explained Ulysses' situation. These are the negligent parents we're talking about here...

But, whoa!

Careful there, Miss Crankypants, hold your punches! You don't want to be giving your kids a bad example now, do you? Hitting other kids and policemen is not right! You might hurt them, you know!

Miss Crankypants says "Sticks and stones might break my bones but words can never hurt me... unless it's my word against the French Police State's! If that happens, baby, you better watch your step!"


  1. If it helps, I know of a white Ivy League student who spent the night in the pokey, had to be bailed out, and then spent his food money for the semester on lawyer's fees because he was charged with "resisting arrest." (Not me this time, honest; one of my roomies.)

    His crime? Asking an officer his badge number because the officer was beating the hell out of another student. The grand jury eventually found "no true bill" (the legal equivalent of "You've got to be freaking kidding us. Get out of here.") It was one of the steps in the path to what we referred to at the time as "The Semester Without Protein" when a bunch of us were really poor for various reasons. That was really when I learned to make dinner out of what appeared to be nothing to eat in the cupboard.

    The upside? Um, Monique got to eat a tasty pizza pie last night, thanks to those tasty-dinner-from-very-little skills. Not much solace to those of you in Paris, I suppose, but know that we're rooting on Miss Crankypants while we stuff our faces.

  2. Oh, and that pizza pie was good!

    The continuing tales from the streets of Paris are, well, sobering to say the least. Be diligent, be steadfast, but be careful too. And by all means, keep lot of people involved with you.

    I could say so much more here, but, can't now. Keep us posted.

    Also, Max, love the picture. Something tells me that those involved with making those disposible Piston cups had no idea, in fact could not have dreamed, of just how far that little cup would travel!