I’m Thankful I’m Not a Police Officer

Once upon a time, when I was very young and feeling virtuous and ready to save the world, I wanted to join the Los Angeles Police Department.  I started the application process and even went so far as to train with other applicants in LAPD-sponsored fitness sessions.  Unfortunately (or at least I thought so at the time) during the background investigation interrogation I admitted to having tried cocaine.  And unlike a certain ex-president, I did inhale.

I was actually naïve enough to think this made me a better candidate.  I had danced with the devil and said a polite no thank you.  I saw how addictive it could be and I didn’t like the feeling.  Wouldn’t you rather have someone who had tried the stuff and wasn’t susceptible to its powers than someone who was untested?

The LAPD, however, begged to differ and kicked me to the curb.

I was devastated at the time, but I realized years later that I had dodged a rather large, ugly bullet, as the department subsequently became embroiled in scandals involving drug abuse and sexual harassment of its few female officers, who it turns out, had little opportunity for advancement.  I surely would have been miserable there.

But that’s not the only reason I’m thankful I’m not a policeman.  It’s a tough job.  People don’t respect cops any more.  They teach their kids to spit on them and curse them and disrespect them.  They give them realistic looking toy guns to play with and cry baby killer when the kids get shot.

Back in the good old days of cops and robbers, if a cop told you to stop right there, you did one of two things.  If you were a law abiding citizen, you did as you were told.  If you were a n’er-do-well you made a break for it, screaming “You’ll never catch me alive, copper!”

You didn’t try to beat up the policeman; you didn’t charge him or menace him, and you certainly didn’t go repeatedly reaching in your pockets ala Rodney King for what might be a weapon.

Cops are scared.  They’re people too, after all, and they never know what’s going to happen.  Every traffic stop could be their last.  Across the nation, over 1500 police officers have been killed in the line of duty over the last decade — that’s one every three days.  I wouldn’t want that job.

During the Vietnam War, our soldiers never knew whether a seemingly innocent villager, even a child might lob a grenade at them.  Much like cops today, they had to treat everyone as suspect.  And thanks to some yellow journalism, they came home to a hostile nation.

Once again, yellow journalists are fanning the flames in Ferguson, and everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon.  Even though a jury of thoughtful men and women listened to more than 70 hours of testimony from some 60 witnesses, medical examiners and subject matter experts over a period of three months and concluded that police officer Darren Wilson did nothing wrong, they think they know differently.

The people burning down Ferguson don’t care about evidence.  They’re the same kind of people as the jurors who made a mockery of the OJ Simpson trial, pretending to deliberate for 15 minutes and high-fiving each other on the way out of the courtroom.

A black man killed a white woman and got off scott free.  Did a mob of angry white people proceed to burn down Beverly Hills?

Did Kato Kaelin start lobbing Molotov cocktails at police cruisers driving by the Simpson estate?

Did Nicole Brown’s relatives start selling T-shirts with her picture on them and then get into a knock-down drag-out fight over the proceeds and have to be taken to the hospital?

Rodney King resisted arrest.  I saw the video.  Did the cops get a little over-zealous?  Maybe.  That’s what adrenalin does to a person.  He was belligerent and he did keep reaching in his pockets.  He could have had a gun.  He hadn’t been searched yet.  He was resisting.  Resisting.

But the poor hapless fellow who got pulled from his semi and beaten to a pulp by an angry mob after that hearing, why did he deserve that?  And why weren’t the perpetrators convicted?  Fear, that’s why.  Everybody’s afraid.  Because when people don’t respect law enforcement, we live in a lawless society.

If I were Darren Wilson and a 300 pound gorilla started punching me in my own police cruiser, I wouldn’t have even gotten out the car.  I’d have shot him on the spot, and then run him over with the car a few times for good measure.  And I’m sorry, I don’t care what color your skin is, if you’re 6 foot 4 and weigh 300 pounds, you’re a gorilla in my book.   And if you’re a wrestler, you’re most  likely proud of the moniker.

If a police officer tells me to stop, I’m going to treat him or her like a dangerous bear.  I’m going to stay perfectly still and do nothing that might spook them.  Cause I know they’re probably just as scared of me as I am of them…

Medical examiners — subject matter experts, not bigoted construction workers — testified that the wounds to Michael Brown’s arms show that he could not have had his arms raised in surrender.  In fact, much of the physical evidence directly contradicted the testimony of “witnesses,” to the point they could actually be prosecuted for perjury.  Authorities declined to do so, however, saying “I’m sure they believed what they were saying.”  Sadly, witnesses whose testimony supported Darren Wilson’s version of events had to do so anonymously, in fear for their lives.

No matter how you try to spin it, the facts are the facts.  You can clearly see what kind of person Mike Brown was in the security video where he stole the cigarillos, and then pushed the shopkeeper around.  Sorry, “Big Mike.”  I’m sure your family would prefer to remember you as the cherubic 12-year-old in the photo they released to the press, but that’s not the person Darren Wilson encountered that day in Ferguson.

Boy, I’m thankful that I’m not a police officer!


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