Maestro to St Louis: Stop this madness now

Maestro to St Louis: Stop this madness now


norman lebrecht

June 30, 2020

Leonard Slatkin, who has made his home again in St Louis, Mo., is appalled at its state of race relations. He has written this article for the Wednesday edition of the St Louis Post-Dispatch:

What happened to my city? by Leonard Slatkin

It was supposed to be a return to the civility associated with the Midwest, where people are hospitable and welcoming. St. Louis is the place where most of my happiest days have been spent. Sure, there have been troubling incidents in the past, and dangers continue to lurk as we wend our way through Coronaland. But few had personal impact until June 28, when two incidents within hours of each other caused notes of shock to drown out the music that makes up my life.

 It began when I heard from a dear friend, whom I did not realize still lived in St. Louis. He wanted to come over to my house and drop off a couple of CDs. Because I am now at an age and state of health that requires me to exercise extreme caution, I do not let people inside. They are instructed to leave items on the porch, and my wife and I have a device that will let us know that someone is at the door.

 Did I mention that this friend is black? Not that it made any difference to me, but it sure did to him. He said that he would have a white man drive him to my rather quiet, slightly suburban, abode. I did not understand this, as my neighborhood is peaceful. My friend then said something that completely took me by surprise.

 “My concern is being stopped by the police.”

 I do not think I have yet recovered from that statement. In all my life, this is something that I had not even considered and, given the stench from the current atmosphere in our country, sadly, I now understand. We have become so self-centered that even the most well-intentioned of us do not stop to put our feet in others’ shoes.

 A heaviness overtook me, just because a friend was having to take a precaution that had been unthinkable to my naïve brain and soul. This is no way for decent people to live, and it was occurring in my own little safety zone.

 Meanwhile, just a couple miles away, another terrifying event unfolded a few hours later. When I left St. Louis, after a twenty-seven-year residency, my house was on a somewhat secluded street called Portland Place. Our domicile was modest in comparison to several of the mansions that lined the avenue. Nothing untoward ever occurred.

 But that changed last night.

 According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

 As protesters made their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home on Sunday night, demanding her resignation, they marched and shouted along private Portland Place. They were met by a couple pointing guns and telling protesters to get away.

 The background is that on Friday, the mayor read the names of people who want to defund the police department. She lives on the adjacent street.


 My former residence was five houses down from where the gun-toting couple was pointing toward the mostly mask-wearing group. It is not my place to get into a discussion of 2nd Amendment issues or the right of assembly, but the very idea that this episode took place shakes me to the core. And it should trouble each and every one of you.

 Neither incident is acceptable. We should not be a society that lives in fear. If you have a point to make, use words. Right now, I cannot make music, but if I could, I would focus on works of reconciliation—sounds that uplift the spirit and do not sow discord in our troubled world.

 St. Louis, stop it! Be the home of leaders. Be the place that I remember, one that had progressed and that did not want to look back. Be a beacon for business and commerce. Be a place of culture in all forms. Let discontent be discussed, not fought over. Think of others and try to understand all points of view. Isolationism does not become this region.

 Four generations of Slatkins have called this city their home. From my grandfather, who settled here to escape the oppression in Ukraine, to my son, who was born here, each of us holds St. Louis close to our hearts. Today it is up to each of us to make this a place of welcome. The gateway to the west is also the home for all.

—Leonard Slatkin

Conductor Laureate

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra


  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The seeds of national discord have been sown. Leadership has disappeared and the rioting vandals feel empowered; that’s how it feels to those outside the USA.

    Imagine, Maestro, if you brought your own children up with a sense of hopelessness and that they were merely victims and nothing else what their future would look like.

    Welcome to the modern world of the Left: grievance on steroids, zero agency for individuals and anger that is never assuaged. That’s just unintelligent, never mind empowering those who – like your neighbour – feel that they have to defend themselves when the state abandons law, order and authority.

    It’s hideous; all of it. And the American left still cannot understand why they got Trump. My 11 year old grandson has it worked out, so why can’t they?

    • Emil says:

      Imagine, Sue, if your children were brought up in a system where access to education, healthcare, and childcare depend on the availability of piles of money, where “At $171,000, the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150) in 2016” (, and where discrimination compounds the effects of the above. Perhaps “hopelessness” is starting to make sense?

      • Bone says:

        What an interesting study! I’m sure Asian and Indian populations show similar levels of wealth disparity compared to whites, right? Or has the study omitted / ignored those results for an agenda?

        • Bruce says:

          If they were studying wealth disparity in whites vs blacks, then “Asian and Indian” (dead giveaway here that you’re an American; there was a previous post about this) would not be included in the study.

          Perhaps it also did not include male vs. female wage disparities or numbers of deaths at the hands of police, or black-on-black violence in Chicago, or any other favorite “what about” talking points. Perhaps it was a study of just one thing.

          • Kev says:

            Yes Bruce,
            Democrats are quite narrow-minded and can’t handle being challenged on facts.

            Note the current rioting in the face of a global pandemic!!

            Such insensitive and dangerous boobs exposing each other and contaminating everybody else they come into contact with.

            Then there’s the elderly, ill and infirm as well..

            Such blatant disregard for one’s fellow man.

          • anon says:

            What about the Obamas?

            How are they supporting the Arts???

          • Bruce says:


        • Tuba Minimum says:

          In 1965, the US reworked its immigration system to get rid of nation of origin quotas, and another piece of background is to remember many laws actively singled out China or Asia as a whole until 1952. The new law gave priority to those with relatives already here and applicants with high levels of education and skills in high-demand industries. The result of that latter part is significant in perpetuating the “model minority” stereotype because you are recruiting the best trained, best educated, largely STEM and medical background portion of those populations. You shouldn’t be surprised that the children of engineers and doctors were able to make their way into the middle or upper class.

      • Devin says:

        “At $171,000, the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150) in 2016”. WHAT???

        Emil, you seriously believe most white families make THAT kind of money correlating with NW and assume that both white and black ‘families’ operate with TWO parents?!?!?

        Further, your ignorant assumption that white people have no problems to manage and do not face discrimination is truly SICKENING!

        The Left can’t even define what ethnicities constitute as ‘white’! Can you??

        Somehow there is a MYTH that all ‘white’ people live in a cohesive, non-controversial, wealthy, accepted bubble. Really??

        BTW, sourcing a leftist institution using figures from 2016 (the OBAMA years) says how LITTLE he did for blacks!

        • MacroV says:

          What’s the surprise? Blacks have for generations lacked opportunities open to whites to build wealth – restrictions on buying homes, exclusion from the GI Bill, redlining, and much more. The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 that’s been – finally – getting some mention lately was an assault by whites on blacks who actually achieved some level of wealth.

          Obama was not all-powerful; disparities decades in the making could not be resolved in eight.

          Brookings may be left-leaning but they do good research. And others have found similar disparities. Yes, you’ll get a different perspective from sources like Breitbart and QAnon.

        • Emil says:

          Oh Devin, let’s take those in turn:
          – If you’d bothered reading, that is an average of wealth, not revenue. It’s not about how much a family earns in a year – it’s how much it possesses, on average (you know, assets-debts and the such?). As for your dig about “two parents”, it shows plainly what kind of stereotyping you’re entertaining.
          – I did not make any assumption about the “problems” faced by white people, but the compounding burdens placed on African-Americans are well documented. And again, these are about averages, not individual cases.
          – Sure. Those that consider themselves as white and are recognised as such by society in general. Race is always a matter of self-identification and social identification.
          – There’s no assumption of the sort.
          – Brookings is a “leftist” institution? Dude. Also, well done, you’ve discovered that structural racism takes place in long-lasting entrenched structures, and does not disappear or appear magically following the election cycle.
          So Devin, try reading the words as written, and not as you think they are written.

          • Bless you Emil! says:

            Thank you Emil.

            Love your comments!! So cute..

            They always make me glad I changed parties from Democrat to Republican after listening to that shrew Hillary. Her braying and hate changed my attitude toward the Left along with her own white privilege.

            Actually believing she was somehow ‘entitled’ to be president because she was a woman made lots of laugh so hard!! She wasn’t woman enough for Bill so how could she be woman enough to handle the country.

            She only ever chose affluent, white neighborhoods to live in, sent Chelsea to private, predominantly white schools and used her white privilege to land Chelsea her first 6-figure job.

            Then there is the Clinton Foundation which, of course fell after her rich, white donors weren’t going to get what they paid for in donations; access and priority minorities couldn’t afford. At least she returned most of the money after she finally sobered up..

            Now the Dems are left with sorrowful, laughable Joe needs to be in a nursing home but he has the government health package he’s entitled to and is rich and lilly white and a male. He’ll be a big hit with anyone who still has hair he can sniff.

            Keep commenting Emil! Frustrated as your group is; it’s SO entertaining for those of us on the winning side and encouraging for Donald’s second term.

      • Karl says:

        The racial wealth gap not get better after the civil rights era legislation was passed in the 1960s, after years of affirmative action, or during the Obama administration. Up until the pandemic it looked like that might be turning around. Black unemployment was at an all time low. Trump’s ‘xenophobic’ policies actually make sense. “Black employment is more sensitive to an immigration influx than white employment. For white men, an immigration boost of 10 percent caused their employment rate to fall just 0.7 percentage points; for black men, it fell 2.4 percentage points.”

        • Emil says:

          Now why would that be, Karl?
          Blaming immigration – and not the structural inequalities that restrict nonwhite workers to lower-paid sectors of the economy – is just plain disingenuous.

      • PaulD says:

        In the United States, the key to financial stability is marriage. Over seventy percent of black children are born to single mothers, sometimes having children with multiple fathers. There you have the roots of poverty and despair.

        • Emil says:

          I think you’ll find that inherited wealth tends to smooth over most difficulties. As for the “roots of poverty and despair”, you may find a lot of those in the fact that slaves were freed with absolutely no wealth (while the white slaveowners kept their property and land), in segregated educational and state institutions, in policies that restrict access to healthcare, education, etc. based on wealth, in systematic exclusion from political processes, educational circles, etc., in Jim Crow laws, in redlining, etc.

        • Draco says:

          This comment is so tone-deaf and superficial. Please do your reading.

        • facts says:

          You forget Obama.

          White mother…died of cancer while in office.

          Black father…African drunkard who abandoned the family and died of self-induced alcoholism.

          Raised by both of his white mother’s grandparents…became US President with white upbringing.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        I have read Thomas Sowell. He knows all about being a deprived African American and I’d believe his commentary over grievance-junkies and identitarianism any day. All of us have or have had our grievances; I’m Catholic and we’ve had our share of discrimination and abuse over the years. Think “Northern Ireland”.

        Imagine, Emil, if you brought your children up teaching them they were victims and that there was no use trying to succeed – that they would always be in the underclass. Not only would this be child abuse, it would belie the success so many wonderful African Americans have enjoyed, including Dr. Sowell himself.

        We have on life to life. Better make the best of it as nobody owes any of us anything at all.

    • Dr Presume says:

      “And the American left still cannot understand why they got Trump. My 11 year old grandson has it worked out, so why can’t they?”

      America got Trump because of the preposterous and undemocratic “Electoral College” system. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a considerable margin.

      • Bone says:

        She won the urban population centers. She lost the country.

        • MacroV says:

          Yes, she won where people live. Cactuses don’t vote.

        • Draco says:

          Again, systems such as the electoral college, lack of representation for D.C., etc., are “small d” undemocratic and do not represent us. They do not reflect the will of the people and they were created by white men to keep their power. The system is broken and needs updating.

        • HMus says:

          the “population” IS the country, you idiot. The spaces of open ground in between is not.

      • Cubs Fan says:

        If presidents were determined by popular vote, the Trump campaign would have been run in a way that he would have captured it, too. BOTH parties ran the 2016 election looking for an electoral win. Trump won because Americans of all stripes are sick and tired of slime bag politicians who promise much and deliver little. And never discount the power of celebrity. The electoral college is genius.

      • only a man says:

        Hillary Clinton was high up in US government for decades yet didn’t do anything about the Electoral College.


        Apparently (as her What Happened book claims), she’s ONLY a woman.

        • CelloDan says:

          Because abolishing the electoral college would require a constitutional amendment – not going to happen any time soon. Read the document!

        • MacroV says:

          You really need to go back and review your civics. The Electoral College is prescribed in the Constitution. To change the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress and ratification (by majority vote) in 3/4ths of the states. OK, I guess in six years as a Senator she could have proposed an amendment to change the system, which in a chamber controlled by the GOP would have gone nowhere.

      • John G. says:

        I respectfully submit that that’s why it’s called the “United States.” The electoral college gives those annoying “fly-over states” a equitable voice on national issues.

        I thought that “diversity was our strength.” If you don’t approve of the electoral outcome, well, maybe not so much.

        • Tuba Minimum says:

          I have trouble saying that a single person’s vote in Wyoming carrying three times the weight of someone’s in Iowa towards an electoral college vote is equitable. I don’t think it’s fair that someone in Delaware carries the weight of more than 2 voters in Texas towards picking the president when you look at population versus electoral votes. The Senate already gives smaller states an outsized voice in national politics. No need to create an “every vote counts, but some count a lot more than others” in how we elect the highest office in the land.

          I also think Nebraska has it right with its system and “winner takes all electoral votes” is silly. If 60% of the state votes for one candidate and 40% votes for the other, that should be reflected in the national total.

      • Karl says:

        Clinton was a terrible candidate. She called people who supported Trump a basket of deplorables and “They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic”. She had no empathy for people who were losing their jobs and way of life. It resulted in the large shift of undecided voters towards Trump.

        • V.Lind says:

          But a lot of them (including the man they lionised into 1600 Pennsylvania) ARE racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic. They brag about it.

          The term “deplorables” is revolting, and I suspect turned quite a lot of her own supporters against her. And I would not argue that she comes from a class of politician that does not see the micro-problems of people in places she has not experienced in a real way.

          It’s a characteristic she shares with Trump, who’s a bit low on empathy for immigrant children torn from their mothers, black people protesting the continuing shooting of their unarmed men (and women) by cops, the poor, the victims of Covid-19, which is not that serious if you have a bottle of disinfectant to hand.

          The last politician I can think of who showed genuine empathy with others than his own kind was Bobby Kennedy. He didn’t start out that way; he is also perhaps the only politician I have ever seen who truly changed.

          • Franz Heinrich says:

            Hillary and Bill always have Hati as an achievement if only on paper.

            How are those people doing after Hillary’s ‘leadership’???

      • CelloDan says:

        Have you ever read the U.S. constitution/state papers?

        How do you propose to get rid of the electoral college Dr. Presume?

        Are you an American? I “Presume” you’re not!

        Good luck genius

        • Tuba Minimum says:

          The best fix to the electoral college is to get rid of “winner takes all.” That was a twist decided upon by the states after the Constitution was written, which is not in the Constitution and horrified Jefferson when it emerged. Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that award their electoral votes proportionally based on how their citizens voted. And in my opinion, it should matter if a Republican can win 45% of California or only 25% or if a Democrat is beat in a landslide in Texas or keeps it close. Otherwise your vote really only matters if you happen to live in a state that’s not a forgone conclusion. This would still give small states a larger say in the presidential election compared to their population, but it would help to make the votes cast by the vast majority of Americans more relevant to the outcome of the election.

          The issue with this system is that in 2016, 99% of all ad money was spent in the 14 swing states. The candidates spent 95% of their time in those states (when they were not raising money in their “safe” territory), and it’s a pretty safe bet that they bent their campaign over backwards making promises and their platform that appealed to the citizens of those 14 states while largely ignoring the other 36 + DC/territories.

    • Amos says:

      Cue up the footage of your favorite scenes from the Nuremberg rally. Where is Oswald Mosley when you need him to restore order? You are nothing less than a stain on humanity.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Sue, YOU MUST STOP TAKING TIME AWAY FROM YOUR JORDAN PETERSON STUDIES!!!! It’s an outrage that you are depriving yourself in this way for our benefit. You must be more selfish and stay focused on studying his brilliance and wisdom.

      Please immediately disconnect your computer and go back to re-reading his books and watching his DVDs. It is critical that you not return here so you can more fully immerse yourself in Jordan Peterson.

      • Last Laugh! says:

        So women really can’t think for themselves.

        Sure explains the 2016 election, doesn’t it?

        Hillary STILL can’t come to grips with reality; even at the inauguration.

        • Herr Doktor says:

          No, she can’t think for herself. That’s why she needs Jordan Peterson and his ilk so much. Ideologues can’t think and don’t think.

          • V.Lind says:

            Absolutely right — they prate the party line. Ever seen Ann Coulter or any of her ilk on TV? They never draw breath, they are always word perfect, they do not stop to think what an opponent has said and frame a response. I used to always wonder why they always talked over the other side — I now know it’s because they don’t want to lose their place in the script.

      • Eric says:

        And then reread all of Ayn Rand while praising the benefits of creative destruction.

        • V.Lind says:

          God, not even I — having slugged through all of it — would wish a re-reading of Ayn Rand on anyone — even Sue.

    • John Kelly says:

      I think the seeds of national discord were sown in the 18th century when slaves were brought from Africa…………

    • Peter B says:

      That you distort Slatkin’s heartfelt message into a rant against the left, proves that you are either too stupid to understand its meaning or too vile to respect it.

      You are utterly unworthy to call yourself a music lover. There are no civilized words to describe how much I despise you.

    • Brook No Idiots says:

      Goodness, this site attracts a lot of reactionary scum.

  • PaulD says:

    The protesters were trespassing on private property. The couple called the police. However, in view of the failure of many police departments to protect private property from demonstrators, it is understandable that the couple decided to protect their own home.

    Ironically, the couple are self-described civil rights attorneys.

    • Emil says:

      Sidewalks are public, Paul.

      • Salome says:

        Huh?? It’s a PRIVATE gated community “Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing, and told them to leave,” the police summary further states. “The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”

        • Simon Behrman says:

          Ah, Fox News, the most ‘fair and balanced’ news authority since Pravda.

        • Orchestra man says:

          Only laughable outlets like Fox News would describe these gun toting nutters as “victims.”

          • Orchestra non-binary says:

            Still have only ONE news station to trot out and demean???

            How common.

            Also, your moniker is highly offensive to orchestra WOMEN and TRANNYS!!!

            Get educated will you..ugh.

        • CelloDan says:

          You have it right Salome!

          I’m a big fan of Leonard Slatkin and his distinguished family and appreciate his letter to the editor. I’ve had the privilege of playing under Maestro Slatkin on several occasions.

          My take from this is not a left/right debate but rather a plea to stop the madness that we have all been witnessing not only in St. Louis and other major cities in the US but around the world as well.

          Do we want to live in a society where the rule of law applies equally where a 911 call will bring police or EMS quickly, or succumb to rule of the mob where the first responders would rather not get involved.

          Serious question: if a lawless mob comes after you and your family minding your own buissnes in your neighborhood what are you willing to and/or going to do to protect yourselves?

          Places in Paris, London and elsewhere in Europe that are “no go zones” for police would seem to be the new model for the USA.

          Rule of law or rule by mob – our choice and it seems that few civil governments anywhere are willing or capable of protecting us.

          Good luck to all living in urban environments worldwide.

      • Alan Blochowiak says:

        Emil – this sidewalk was not public. They broke a gate to enter a private area

        • Emil says:

          Right – I missed that, sorry, my mistake. And I think their reaction says everything there is to say about why they were concerned about keeping that sidewalk ‘private’ (and from whom it is to be kept).

          • V.Lind says:

            I find the whole concept of gated “communities” distasteful. Gated homes, okay. That IS private property. But gated communities are there to keep people out of (partly) publicly serviced areas. Ever think of the criteria for getting through those gates?

          • Georgina Blum says:

            Then you ABHOR Nancy Pelosi!

            Her GATED neighborhood with a GUARD has its own private street and she has ARMED SECRET SERVICE DETAIL 24/7.

            Then there are the Biden’s and Clintons and Obamas. ALL with the same HEAVILY ARMED setup in wealthy, predominantly white, private enclaves.

            Bless your heart!

          • V.Lind says:

            I still object to gated communities. I do not object to those people having security guards. They are in an at-risk category — the sort of rhetoric Trump used against Hillary Clinton would have triggered all sorts of madmen, let alone her own enemies based on legitimate opposition to her own doings.

            If the communities they live in are “predominantly white,” you are just making my point about those gates.

      • Bone says:

        Not in this area, Emil.

      • Alank says:

        The so-called protesters were threatening the family. They had the right to defend their property and their lives from a violent mob. The American left is now dominated by Jacobins who have no vision other than to destroy the foundations of democratic capitalism. They stifle speech, the destroy books, they cancel history, and they demand total conformity. No different than the brown shirts of Italy or the quaint revolutionaries of Maoist China.

      • Presidio SF says:

        Try going for a stroll around Nancy Pelosi’s neighborhood.

        Go ahead.
        Enlighten us.

    • Brian says:


      Nobody should be brandishing military weapons in a civilized society. This is banana republic behavior.

      • Alank says:

        They had a shotgun not a military weapon. Unlike the 3 council members in Minneapolis who voted to defund the police department but who are using tax payers money to pay for their private security, these people had to fend for themselves.

      • Dennis Evans says:

        Those types aren’t ‘civilized’.

        You certainly wouldn’t live in one of their neighborhoods Brian. No nice places to live, good schools quaint places to shop, good hospitals, health spas…

        Just ghetto life with normal black in black murders.

      • Karl says:

        Lawless mobs shouldn’t be looting, committing arson and vandalism with impunity. If the police don’t stop them a citizen’s militia will eventually emerge to do it. Remember the Guardian Angels? They are coming back as crime in NYC increases.

  • sabrinensis says:

    Well, there’s much more to that story, far more than “couple points guns at peaceful protesters”. There always is more to the story when the US media are involved. I’d save the outrage for fuller disclosure of the actual events.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    Thank you, Leonard. How sad that it has to be said. Every good wish for your health and safety.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    A very nice YT interview with Maestro S here

  • non-victim says:

    But the Democrats are ‘upset’ again…

    as usual…


    • John Kelly says:

      …….most Republicans are congenitally upset as well it seems to me……’s what’s known as a “democracy”

  • Bone says:

    Good that you won’t get into a 2nd amendment discussion. The police are emasculated and the couple – with poor trigger discipline – felt compelled to brandish their forearms to ward off potential threats.
    Protestors are going to continue to rule the streets in urban USA until they come face to face with people willing to stand up to their terrorism. Stop the insanity!

    • Simon Behrman says:

      Almost every line in your comment, Bone, illustrates so much of what’s wrong with the US – obsession with the 2nd Amendment as holy writ; casual assumption that widespread gun ownership is necessary in a civilised society; the dog whistle of ‘urban society’; conflating protest with terrorism.

      If you want to ‘stop the insanity’, try looking in the mirror first.

      • Brianna says:

        Go take a vacation in Saudi Arabia Simon.

        See what it’s like IF you can assimilate to their customs.

        Oh, bring a girl with you…with no head covering. See how that goes over.

        PS Make a will first.

      • Juan Girrardo says:

        Where are the rioters and ANTIFA getting their guns from not to mention the blacks who love to kill their own kind??

        • V.Lind says:

          You ask where Americans are getting guns? How naive are you?

          Blame the NRA: who objected to any minor changes in background checks lest one rightwing loony with a mental violence disorder was restricted from being able to buy a military-grade weapon at a gunshow or over the internet, or even had to wait two days to so so…

          • Herman Unger says:

            Aren’t you the dim bulb V.Lind…..

            You think criminals, gangs, drug cartels, ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter BOUGHT all of their guns & ammo along with their other weapons all nice and legal using background checks?!?!?!


          • V.Lind says:

            Your country will never grow up till it loses its thrall to the 2nd amendment, which is wilfully misinterpreted. Well-regulated militia my eye. Frontier justice, more like.

            And if all the groups you mention by-passed background checks, why are “law-abiding” Americans so anxious to avoid them?

            Have I seen reports of BLM protesters brandishing guns?

    • Alan Blochowiak says:

      Hear Hear!

    • Eric says:

      The police emasculated? I think you mean militarized.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Bravo, Maestro!

    Regarding your friend: I had a very similar experience a couple of weeks ago when I found out that neighbors of ours — salt of the earth people in this thoroughly (and boringly) middle-class neighborhood — had had more than one experience of being stopped for driving while black. Not once had they committed even the most minor traffic infraction.

    Never had I imagined that sort of thing happening here. Hearing it literally made my stomach churn.

    How far we still have to go to achieve a just society…

    • Bruce says:

      “Never had I imagined that sort of thing happening here. Hearing it literally made my stomach churn.”

      Speaking of naive… I first heard the term in the 1970s, before I was old enough to drive. Still, once you realize, it’s appalling how easy it is to have no idea what other people’s lives are like, isn’t it?

      Here’s a charming video of a group of people (white, naturally) here in lovely Spokane trying to stop a black man leaving a parking lot with his 2 children because they insist he must have stolen his car:

      One of them gets on a motorcycle and chases him; another goes for a ride on the hood. Clearly these people are not OK.

      Here’s another one from Spokane, a couple days ago: white people pull guns on a black woman who they people accuse of shoplifting

      The man says “I can f**ing shoot you, because I’m a Democrat and Democrats get away with everything.” (0:25)

      It appears the woman really was shoplifting; police only say that “one person at the scene was issued a citation for theft.” Police say that they prefer people to intervene by taking photos and license plate numbers, but they’re not planning to charge the vigilantes.

  • Karl says:

    Your friend is 1,000 times more likely to be killed by a ‘peaceful protester’ than the police. At least 25 people have died during the protests. Over 7000 black men are victims of homicide every year. According to the left wing Washington Post’s database of police shootings, police killed eight unarmed Black men in 2019. And the police are far far more likely to be killed than your friend. “According to statistics reported to the FBI, 89 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2019. Of these, 48 officers died as a result of felonious acts. ”

    The problem is fed by social media and everything being on video now. Policing is like making sausage. It’s not pretty to see, and it’s being used to vilify police unnecessarily. Use of body cameras is actually reducing incidents of police brutality. A 2013 study conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum found the use of body cameras reduced the number of complaints made against officers by as much as 88% and reduced the number of use-of-force incidents by 59%. In a 2016 study conducted by Cambridge University, officers who wore body-cameras received 93% fewer complaints from the public versus officers who did not wear body-cameras.

    The St. Louis Police Officers Association says the department is short 152 officers. That could be one reason for rising crime. If they had shown up at the private street that couple wouldn’t have felt the need to go outside with their firearms. We can see what has happened in Seattle. The police free CHOP zone isn’t a safe place.

    • MacroV says:

      The friend was concerned about be STOPPED by police, which happens quite frequently to black men, especially in upper-class white neighborhoods where they’re assumed not to belong.

      The rest of your tirade is beside the point here.

      • Todd Ogden says:

        How are whites treated in lower-class neighborhoods?

        Yes, it MATTERS!

        You’re too entitled to live in a black neighborhood MacroV. I’ll bet you still lock up your front door and your automobile as well, eh??

      • Karl says:

        I’ve been stopped by police countless times. All you have to do is cooperate with the officer and there will not be a problem.

      • V.Lind says:

        They’re not afraid of being stopped. That’s just insulting, humiliating and racist. They are afraid of being dragged from the car and put in a chokehold that does not stop even if they cry out that they cannot breathe.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    These are terrible stories, and I feel terrible for Maestro Slatkin and his friend.
    And I totally agree with his call for sanity and reconciliation.
    If obtaining those were only as easy as writing a letter to the local newspaper.
    Americans: VOTE this November! You MUST VOTE and get all your friends to vote! Vote in person or by mail, but VOTE!
    It’s the first step.
    (And keep your effing guns in the attic.)

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Given the recent riots and violence as background, I understand the precautions taken by Maestro Slatkin’s friend, and one can argue that the ‘gun-toting couple’ was simply caring for their safety and propriety. In the case of the couple, what is appalling is not the guns, but that common people (they were unmasked, and are easily identified, since they were in their home; they were surely ‘doxed’ by SJW-people) feel constrained to act that way (what are YOU going to do when a masked mob comes to your neighbourhood crying things like ‘eat the rich’ or worse phrases that I am not going to repeat here?). As for Maestro Slatkin’s remark (‘I am now at an age and state of health that requires me to exercise extreme caution, I do not let people inside, etc…’), is it only age and health or also a urgent need for personal safety that med him use video surveillance (I suppose that is the ‘device’)?

    Sad times. The world is gone mad, civilization regresses to tribal thinking, and there are not enough caves for all the people to hide.

    • May says:

      “…doxed’ by SJW-people”
      Despite the mostly mild-mannered language in your post, you just revealed your true sentiments.

    • MacroV says:

      I’m concerned about their propriety, too.

      Maybe they could have stayed inside; from all indications the marchers walked right past their house without incident, and didn’t loot the houses of neighbors who weren’t out playing Rambo.

      • Karl says:

        The protesters were trespassing on private property. That’s an incident. And we’ve seen what can happen at peaceful protests. Many have turned into arson, looting and vandalism.

  • annnon says:

    Maestro, I have no doubt of your sincerity, but I am stunned by your being stunned; it goes beyond naivety, I daresay it speaks of wilful ignorance, I mean, it’s been literally in the headlines of every major newspaper for years, so unless you skip the front page to go direct to the arts section everyday, I don’t see how you could live in such a cocoon.

  • Jack Riehl says:

    Well said Maestro.

  • Anon says:

    How many St. Louis Symphony donors own a gun, or twelve?

  • Gerald Martin says:

    I believe Maestro Slatkin was just stating a sad fact of life– not intending to ignite a mudslinging brawl.