CHRIS POWELL: Our own aspiring terrorists; and burying Henryk Gudelski

Published on Friday, 23 July 2021 21:02

Connecticut has its own aspiring terrorist and subversive group, and it's not the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys, or even al-Qaida.

No, it's the Self-Defense Brigade of "the Reverend" Cornell Lewis of Hartford and Power Up Connecticut founder Keren Prescott of Manchester, who are stomping around the state displaying guns and other weapons to show they are serious about interfering with anyone they dislike and eventually overthrowing democratic government.

In candid interviews with the Journal Inquirer's Eric Bedner, published last weekend, Lewis and Prescott maintained that they aren't going to follow the laws and rules of decent conduct that apply to everyone else. Their politics elevates them above those things.

The Lewis-Prescott gang first paraded its guns at a protest June 9 at the site of construction of an Amazon warehouse in Windsor in which two nooses had been found without any accompanying explanation. "There is nothing like Black people exercising their Second Amendment right to get folks moving," Prescott said. "We are tired of being nice."

Of course, flaunting guns is a bit more threatening than whatever those unattended nooses meant.

Two days later on the Windsor town green the Lewis-Prescott gang broke up a "unity" rally against racism. Gang members, supposedly foes of racism, hurled racist taunts at the rally's organizers.

Prescott warns: "We are going to continue to disrupt."

Indeed, Lewis threatens the warehouse project with destruction. "We're going to close it down," he says. "They're not going to be able to work on that site for a while after we're finished with it."

Lewis' ambition goes farther. "Democracy," he says, "has failed the oppressed in this country. I believe democracy gave birth to and continues to nurture the endemic racism that the oppressed face. We must disrupt, dismantle, and then disperse the democratic system because it does not help us in our existential condition and the oppression we live with."

Of course, the country is full of self-obsessed loons who ordinarily are of little importance. The problem with the Lewis-Prescott gang is that state and local government officials, members of the clergy, and other well-meaning people, especially in Windsor and Manchester, have been humoring the gangsters either in the belief that their objectives have merit or out of fear of becoming their next target.

But the more the gangsters are humored, the more threatening they get.

The country and Connecticut are also full of racial disparities arising from pernicious government policies, like social promotion in schools, subsidies for fatherlessness, and exclusive zoning. But the Lewis-Prescott gang's obsession and fetish, the nooses found at the Amazon warehouse, could not be less relevant to racial justice. One of these days the worthies who have been humoring and helping to publicize the gang should find the courage to stop and leave them to the police and FBI.

* * *

For a few days six weeks ago the killing of Henryk Gudelski was a sensation in Connecticut. But it has disappeared from the news and discussion at the state Capitol, where legislators expressed concern about it before adjourning. Gudelski was the 53-year-old New Britain resident run down in the city June 29 by a stolen car apparently driven by a 17-year-old boy with a long criminal record who still had been freed by the juvenile justice system.

Legislative leaders said they would review juvenile justice procedures but nothing has happened, probably because nobody in authority wants to press the crucial questions, which were implied by a former state legislator and criminal justice expert who discussed the case in a radio interview two weeks ago. Somebody, the former legislator acknowledged, had "really messed up."

Indeed – but exactly who, how, and why, and how can the public and its representatives find out as long as the juvenile justice system remains secret by law? How does that secrecy benefit justice?

Of course, it doesn't. Secrecy benefits only the proprietors of the system.

But this secrecy will be preserved because in Connecticut exempting government employees and failed policies from accountability remains more important politically than Gudelski's life – and anyone else's.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns on Friday, 23 July 2021 21:02. Updated: Friday, 23 July 2021 21:05.