There could have been a post here about Chicago cops, Rahm Emmanuel, the New York Times, federal consent decrees and Walter Katz. I can say that with certainty, as I spent a decent amount of time writing that post. But as I was reaching its conclusion, nailing down the narrow point I hoped to make, I realized something: I was wrong.
Well, maybe not exactly wrong, but I wasn’t right either.
I subscribe to the notion that I don’t know what I think until I see what I write. Whether it’s an event, a decision, an op-ed, I begin with an idea in mind that seized my interest and I write. I head in a direction and start tapping keys in an effort to make the point I think I want to make. But rarely do I know where it will end up. Sometimes it goes smoothly and the path is clear. I head off in a straight line and end up exactly where I thought I would at the outset.
Other times, however, I bump head first into a roadblock. It may be an inconvenient fact. It may be a failure of logic. It may be gap in the line of reasoning too broad to leap over in a single inference. Who knows? I certainly don’t, until I get there.
This morning, like pretty much every morning, I had no plan to write anything. So I opened the morning paper and sat back for some leisurely reading. Boom, there it was. An editorial that caught my eye about Chicago police and Rahm’s effort to avoid a consent decree with the DoJ, and how the New York Times thought it was a terrible thing. I’m not a fan of consent decrees, as I think they’re a nonsensical post hoc palliatives loved mostly by people who believe in officious righteousness that accomplish little. In contrast, Rahm stole Walter Katz as cop monitor from San Jose, and Walter understands the job as trying to change police culture from within rather than put on a play for the media.
So I wrote. And as I neared the conclusion, I looked at what I had written and said to myself, “that’s not right.” And rather than finish it up and mindlessly hit publish, I saved it as a draft and moved on.
Unbeknownst to readers, there are a couple hundred SJ posts that are saved as drafts. Some are petty little beefs. Some are stupid. Some are wrong, and others just aren’t right. I keep them to remind myself that just because I have a keyboard and a blog doesn’t mean everything that comes out on the screen should see the light of day. The same rule that applies to everyone else applies to me: don’t make people stupider. It’s a humbling rule.
Some days best thing I can do is let discretion be the better part of valor and not publish an ill-conceived post. Today is such a day.