TO ANSWER the folks who have asked me if I will attend the Million Man March on Monday: Hell no. The reason? I don't follow jackasses and lunatics.
The national director of the Million Man March is Benjamin Chavis, the former head of the NAACP. He is the jackass of this tale. The lunatic here would be one Louis Farrakhan, who called for the march. But more on him later.
Chavis, holding forth on Congressman Kweisi Mfume's talk show "The Bottom Line" a few weeks back, railed against the "three strikes and you're out" provision of the recently passed anti-crime bill.
"The crime bill itself was actually a crime against the black community," Chavis preached. "Three strikes and you're out is not going to work for black people in America."
It was a jackass statement. Which "black people" is Chavis talking about? In America, there are black people. And then there are black people. Most of us are honest, law-abiding and hard-working. A tiny minority make life a living hell for the rest of us -- and those unfortunate whites who stumble into their paths -- by committing murder, assault, robberies and rapes. A glance at any police blotter should let the good Revvum Chavis know who is being victimized by crime and who the perpetrators are. The crimes committed against us are primarily committed by us.
So which of these black people will object to "three strikes and you're out"? The tiny minority committing violent crimes, of course. The rest of us -- their victims -- will be all the safer if they are locked away for good.
Chavis is of a breed of skittish black leaders who automatically conclude that when someone mentions "crime" they are really saying "black." He needn't worry. Statistics show whites commit their fair share of mayhem.
So let's look at some of those statistics. Uniform Crime Reports issued by the FBI for 1993 show that blacks lead the way in murder and robbery arrests. But whites lead in arrests for forcible rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, car theft and arson. So under the "three strikes and out" provision of the crime bill, there will be some white folks going to jail. Most white Americans will be glad to see them there.
But this isn't just about statistics. As a black man who has been stuck up -- by black men -- I'm all for three strikes and out. I've been stuck up, my son's been stuck up. I have other relatives and friends who've been stuck up. If "three strikes and out" gets those who murder, rape and rob off the streets for good, I'm all for it.
Chavis can't see that. I charge him with showing more sympathy for black criminals than their victims. I charge and convict him of making at least two jackass statements. The first was about the crime bill. The second was the lulu in which he charged, without the slightest evidence, that "certain law enforcement personnel" might try to prevent bus convoys carrying marchers from reaching Washington. I find him guilty and sentence him to spend hours locked in a room listening to recordings of his own lamentable drivel.
The man who called the Million Man March, Nation of Islam "leader" Louis Farrakhan, claims he visits -- on a regular basis -- a "mother ship" hovering somewhere in the skies and talks to the presumed-dead-for-20-years Elijah Muhammad.
I've had my ups and downs with Farrakhan's leadership over the years. When he's at his best, he's giving speeches like the one in which, according to a wire story, he told a group of black college students that African-Americans need more self-discipline and had best study math and science or remain at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
Farrakhan went on to say that "the ghetto has become a giant crib for immature children to play with themselves so others can go on to rule the world." That is Farrakhan at his best -- a black leader telling his people the cold, harsh realities of life they might not want to hear.
At his worst he's a Jew-baiting lunatic prone to weaving tales about his visits to spaceships to talk to a dead man. I don't know which one will show up Monday, so I've made other plans.
Meanwhile, a million black men are supposed to gather in Washington on Monday to seek atonement and forgiveness. They should start by asking God to forgive them for letting jackasses and lunatics lead the way.
Gregory P. Kane's column appears Wednesdays and Saturdays.