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January 27, 2011


Anonymous Coward

The first thing that struck me when I read McCann's piece in the Herald Sun yesterday was the similarity of Maj. Martin's comments to those of my father.

My father was a racist to his very core. He had a tightly held belief that 'ethnic gang wars' would envelop the US, forcing out 'us true Mer-cans' [the white folk, I guess]. The only way to stop the ethnic violence was to do everything possible to stop non-whites from getting any sort of position of authority or political power.

Now, I know exactly where my father got these beliefs. They were message boards affiliated with hate groups on the SPLC watch list (and before the internet, there were 'newsletters').

I'm not accusing Maj. Martin of communicating with any of these groups, it just scared the shit out of me to hear the similarity between his comments and those of various hate groups.


Nice selective quoting in your editorial. I guess you disagree with the entire quote, in context? That the black community and education levels since 1970 have gotten better in Durham? That most of Durham's young black males are articulate and well read? That the culture of drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, despair, etc shown in the "Welcome to Durham" documentary are all healthy and benign? That those really aren't prostitutes walking around my neighborhood?

"I have watched since the 1970s as about 70% of the black community has retrogressed in Durham. A large percentage of young blacks have been sucked into this criminal culture, and many can barely read and write. This educational retrogression is attributable to the thug culture. Yet no one speaks out, except to grab for federal grant money to construct Utopian schemes." - Sheriff Martin

There's also absolutely nothing about welfare, drug testing, or entitlements in that article.

Don't worry, I'm sure people posting on blogs from the comfort of their office know more about gangs in Durham than actual cops and District Attorneys.

Bull City Rising

@T.Star -- The paragraph in question noting positions on welfare and drug testing appears in the PAC2 email, not the H-S coverage, and appeared in the wrong place in this post due to an editing error on my part; now fixed. (Thanks for noting that.)

Is Martin saying those things in passing anyway? Well, I think it is hard to hear anyone talk things retrogressing since -- specifically, as Martin is -- the 1970s without seeing the link to War on Poverty and the Civil Rights era that preceded it.

Oh, and I was posting from the delicious, tasty goodness of Old Havana Sandwich Shop. (Great coffee!)


T.Star, you quoted the money quote in context right there:

"This educational retrogression is attributable to the thug culture."

That's open to debate, to say the least.

Todd P

With comments like this out there, I imagine that Maj. Martin might have trouble winning the Democratic primary in 2014...

Michael Bacon

T. Star,

I'm perfectly open to hearing the opinions of law enforcement officers, but when someone has been as spectacularly wrong as Maj. Martin has been in the past, and his pronouncements sound so completely different than what I witness and what I see for myself and hear from other law enforcement officers, it's not all that unusual to think he's fallen off his rocker again.

Worth Hill's performance as Sheriff, which used to be above average, has been slipping slowly for years. I wish there had been a moderately acceptable challenger to him last year, but regardless, we've got to find someone better for 2014. Maj. Martin has pretty clearly shown he's not fit for his current job, much less the top one.


This is nothing more than posturing for the 2014 election, a race which IMO should be nonpartisan.

There's been plenty of vigorous debate on the PAC2 listserv over the years, but most of it is "nuanced" (to use John Kerry's term) and thoughtful, at least from the libertarian commenters such as Sean Haugh and myself. I don't get why the conservatives always post anonymously. It doesn't help their case.


For the first poster, that implied Major Martin may have some ties to racist groups, or at least racist motives, you do know he is african american, right?

Bull City Rising

@Durham: Are you sure about that? (Honest question -- he struck me as Caucasian from media coverage, though that's a sensitivity....)


Frank Hyman


Paul Martin told me years ago that he has mixed race heritage. His comments are hardly motivated by racism. I have a lot of respect for the work he's done to keep neighborhoods safe in Durham. I suspect his predictions (that aren't borne out by events) are motivated by the incredibly poor quality of life experienced by the working poor and the non-working poor in our city. FWIW.


Paul Martin is in fact an American of African descent. Many folks have known this for years-- though he doesn't broadcast this info. Here's verification:

JD Overton

So, is it alright for someone who is black to say "thug culture" is bringing black kids down, but not alright for anyone else?

It is pathetic to me to read the comments of people I suspect have educations, but who wince away from difficult problems because they have been trained like Pavlov's dogs to dismiss anything that doesn't fit their lefty world view.

The only chance any of these kids have of entering the middle class is to get educated, and we should all be interested in removing any barrier that stands in that way. "Thug Culture" and gangs, parents who don't care about education, and lack of resources all play into this equation. How could anyone doubt that?


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