I'm glad that Digby weighed in on the Gates arrest for "disrespecting" a police officer. I had the same reaction that she did when she read the analysis by a police officer who posted on this topic on Crooked Timber.
And I wondered what Dr. Joseph McNamara would say about the philosophy that citizens need to show respect or all hell breaks lose. Here's what he thought about the corrupting of our police forces by the futile drug war. He was a leader of police officers and he expected those on his team to act as a "citizen peace officer, a peace officer whose fundamental duty is to protect life and be a community servant." Our society and our police force has been subtly corrupted by the tough on crime and war on criminals that has been running now for some 40 years and which has created a lack of trust between the police and their communities.
Today instead of being schooled in the art of Conflict Resolution, our police officers are being handed tasers to control the bad guys. As McNamara said in 1995 most whites didn't think police overreaction was a problem because they didn't experience it. Today, that might not be so true.