Ben Stein's Diary

Beating the Heat

The worst is over -- but what about in our Detroits?

By 7.29.13

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Sunday–Sandpoint
Hallelujah! I awakened, went out on my tiny little deck facing the lake -- and it was actually cool. Glory be! The blue sky had a few fleecy clouds and a mild breeze blew. I could hear and feel Mr. Buffett’s trains roaring by. Glory, glory, glory that the heat has broken.

I threw my bad self together and went off to Staples to buy some printer cartridges. The stockpile was immense and the sales woman was super friendly. I was startled by the difference in price between the HP “compatible” cartridges and the genuine HP cartridges but I bought the HP ones anyway. I have never had an HP product that was not a fabulous machine or thing.

I came home, made some deathless scribbling about Richard Nixon, and then quickly lay down again. I was going to go to my favorite store on the planet, the Sandpoint SuperCare Drugs, which is combined with an Ace Hardware, but there was no point. I had been there yesterday and flirted with the salesgirls, pharmacists, and aides and gotten all of my medicines. I had also run into Mark Fuhrman and we had a wonderful talk about publishing and about Fox News. Mark looks great, truly great, and is very cheerful considering that he was basically murdered by the media when he tried to give truthful testimony in the O.J. Simpson case.

At 1.30, we all went over to Bottle Bay for lunch. It was delightfully cool, and a gentle wind was blowing from the west through the trees. Nevertheless, five scary bees buzzed around us, sending us into confusion. By us, I mean Alex, big wifey, the Vissers, Tim and Penny Farmin, and your humble servant. As the bees buzzed, Tim told us about flying a float plane this morning. He is an amazing guy. He can do anything that has to do with fixing engines, driving or repairing boats, shooting rifle or shotgun, flying planes, haying hayfields, anything I can think of. He assembles my furniture and hangs my pictures. An amazing guy. Always a fabulous can-do attitude. He also orders food with great restraint. He almost always has fish. Impressive.

I dripped some ice cream onto the deck at Bottle Bay. A swarm of bees attacked it. I stomped on them and boy, did that make me feel good. Bees are not supposed to scare us humans. They are supposed to pollinate things.

We rode back to Sandpoint and an immense cloud formed to our northwest. The sun was behind it, shooting out sunbeams into the air. I stopped the boat and took many pictures with my fabulous new Samsung Galaxy 4. What a machine that is. At first, I hated it. Now, it’s my best friend. I can still do almost nothing with it, but I am learning day by day and it takes miraculously great pictures. I sent a pic of the cloud to Phil DeMuth. “God is that cloud,” he wrote back. But of course God is in everything beautiful.

We went home and I lay down again, and then the Vissers and Alex and I drove up to the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. It’s July, so there’s not much skiing up there. But there is a good little restaurant run today by my stunningly beautiful pal, Kellie. She is a truly rare specimen: gorgeous, smart, incredibly hard working. I have known her about half of her life and always been impressed. The main point of the trip was to get Alex to eat a second dessert on top of the one she had for lunch -- and she did, so I was happy. Kellie is about go get married to her long time beau, whose name is “Beau.” Good luck to them.

Then, home to some brilliant e-mails from my pal, John R. Coyne, Jr. We talked about race and about the race con men like Al Sharpton and how we would never get anywhere until black people who did not make a living off race baiting and whipping up race hatred were bypassed. The crisis in the black part of America is acute and it is not improved by blaming it on white people. It is improved by education, work, stable families. I feel terrible about the conditions of many poor black people but I don’t think giving them someone to hate helps much.

This reminds me. No one, and I mean no one, is talking about race and Detroit. Detroit is in terrible shape now not because of Toyota or Kyocera or Daimler Benz. It is not in trouble because of the United Auto Workers. It is not in bankruptcy and a terrifying place because of municipal workers’ unions. It is in terrible trouble because of lawless young men, almost always black, who have preyed on and scared away decent people, black and white. Middle class, or else hard-working laboring class black people have made up the great majority of those who have fled Detroit in the last 20 years and they have been forced out by violent gangsters, usually black. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this ? Detroit is not a story of the principles of the Democrat party run wild. Democrats hate crime as much as Republicans. Unions hate crime as much as entrepreneurs.

Detroit is a story of a city -- once a great city, the city my father was born in -- in which gangsters have basically taken over and they are almost all black. Who gets hurt by this? Not the rich people in Grosse Pointe. Not Ben Stein in Idaho. But the decent black people who have lost a city they thought was their home. No one talks about it. It’s as if race had zero to do with it and it is a story all about race.

We never tell the truth about race any longer in this country. Sad. We will never get anything done about our domestic problems until we recognize the unspeakable pain black people have suffered here, first at the hands of slave owners and overseers, and then at the hands of white racists -- and now at the hands, the bloody hands, of black gang bangers. Dr. Dre put it well. The gang bangers, said he, are worse than the Klan. It’s not the GOP who are weighing down black people. It’s not the liberals. It’s gangsters and no one talks about it except to glorify it -- which is nauseating.

You will search for the truth in the New York Times your whole life and never find it. Who are we helping by hiding the truth?

By the way, the moon is a perfect ivory half moon tonight.

Yesterday I ran into a man who told me he had been a Marine in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. Out of 22 men in his unit, he said, four made it out of the jungle alive. “You know why I love Idaho?” he asked me. “No crime. All white people. That’s why I love it.”

“With respect to your service and sacrifice,” I said, “I don’t think the issue is black or white. It’s violent or peaceful. I would far rather live near black people who are peaceful -- and I used to live across from Ernie Isley and he was a perfect neighbor -- than white people, and I have lived next to multi-millionaire white TV stars who were violent, disgusting drunks who beat their wives who were also drunks. It’s about who is peaceful.”

He nodded in agreement and shook my hand. But as I walked back home along peaceful North Idaho streets, I thought, “...epur si muovo.” There is way too much violence in the black community. It’s almost an ongoing terrorism -- directed mostly at other blacks. Has Mr. Obama ever even mentioned it? Black gang violence is terrorism. Will Mr. Obama or any politician ever say it?

I’ll ask the moon.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.