But the “Sizzle Theory” which I mentioned up top says we’ll be hearing and reading and seeing smart-phone videos of the most sensationalized stories. The most explosive ones. The most disturbing ones.
The most frightening ones.
The juiciest ones.
Violence sells movie tickets and makes for good ratings.
And people who (long before they became aware of the incident at hand) were already assigning blame started making blanket generalizations that suited their own prejudicial purposes.
And different people who (long before they became aware of the incident at hand) were already assigning another kind of blame started making equally ludicrous blanket generalizations that suited their own prejudicial purposes.
Let me apologize in saying that not every single person wearing a badge and shouldering the accompanying responsibilities is the reincarnation of Sheriff Andy Taylor.
Let me also infuriate some citizens by saying that those same noble folks are not all potential un-subs on “Criminal Minds”.
And for folks on both sides of that particular fence: if you find the other guy’s generalizations to be nauseatingly offensive, then the same holds true for yours, like it or not, so save us all the caterwauling and histrionics. We all have enough greenhouse gasses to worry about without your pompous pontifications.
The thing is, when someone is contemplating a career path they will inevitably consider the mystique and aura of a given position. The “perks” that can only be measured in terms of the quasi-orgasmic satisfaction gleaned from performing the assigned job duties.
Pedophiles? Elementary school teachers. Or volunteer Boy / Girl Scout leaders for the more giving of the bunch. And we’ve heard all about the priests, while we can rest assured we haven’t heard about all of the priests.
Cut-throat materialists? Goldman Sachs or organized crime.
Caring nature, compassion: medicine, the Clergy.
OCD? Forensic accounting.
Nurturing types? Child care.
OCD nurturing types? Neonatal ICU nurse.
Emasculated bullies with anger management issues and latent Napoleonic tendencies?
Cop. That’d be a good job. Could be a killer career.
You get to stop anyone you want to on the street, ask them whatever you want to no matter how personal or irrelevant, tell them to do whatever you want them to do, exert the authority given to you by your badge and taser and pepper spray and Glock and maybe even the law to possibly make them do whatever they don’t want to do and – if you’re truly lucky – ruin the rest of their lives because you don’t like the way they looked at you.
The vast majority, overwhelming majority, vastly overwhelming and overwhelmingly vast majority sign up to preserve and protect, but there are indeed some bad apples in the barrel.
I would suppose the recognition of that phenomenon is what led to Internal Affairs divisions.
So even the cops admit it.
Let me get back to Mrs. Paperboy and other like-minded Custodial Parents for a second.
There is a mindset, an unwritten understanding that if a Custodial Parent wants to spend most of their lives waiting for the support check to come in, cares not to have to put in any more effort to provide for their children than absolutely and superficially necessary …
… well, there’s really not going to be much anyone’s gonna do about it, now is there?
It’s as close to a free ride as they can get. Every time the Non-Custodial Parent gets a well-deserved promotion, they figure they can go to court and get a raise for themselves. Maybe even cut back their own work hours.
And the particular branch of the System with which I grew familiar is not going to give them much of a reason to think otherwise.
In Ferguson, Missouri the Prosecutor made no attempt whatsoever to get an honest decision from the Grand Jury. He might as well have taken them to Baskin Robbins for double-dip cones with sprinkles and mini-Gummy Bears.
I didn’t say “indictment”. Maybe if they had heard all the evidence from all the witnesses the Grand Jury format actually allows? The Jury’s honest decision still might not have brought an indictment.
Would have at least shown an effort on his part.
Some law enforcement jurisdictions don’t even put in that much of a testosterone-challenged effort. Won’t even pretend to attempt to meet the requirements of the mandated legal process.
Did you see that? I want to make sure you saw it:
I said “some” law enforcement jurisdictions.
And the way people have gotten about politics, religion, foreign policy, ethnic stereotypes and Black / Blue Lives Matter, it would seem that this one four-letter word has fallen wildly out of use.
If my old client could get away with tossing around The Sentinel for a “living”, she was gonna go for it. Irresponsible, immature, possibly immoral… but she was allowed to do it. No one did a damned thing to stop her, and she has all her devoted BFF’s who back her on that one.
If a uniformed officer – not under any imminent or immediate threat of bodily harm to self or others from a citizen who truly offered no apparent or reasonable cause for suspicion – if that officer decides to unload a chamber into a citizen the officer has no standing to presume is a “bad apple”, they could just decide to go for it because they, indeed, are.
And I hear way too many people not even acknowledging the possibility. Even denying that it could be possible. The thought does not even enter into their side of the conversation.
Just so I don’t take off chasing another distraction, and in order to try to piss off both sides equally, here it is:
sometimes, under certain sets of circumstance, in specific and individual situations, the only alternative – unless all the empirical and subsequently verifiable evidence proves otherwise – the only alternative is to pull the trigger.
Just not necessarily to kill.
All those years of dealing with (yet without being able to confront) Mrs. Paperboy and her ilk has substantially led me to my feelings on the recent spate of officer-involved killings. No details till we really, really know them, okay? There have been deaths.
While both of those situations are deeply disturbing, one of them is about a measure of the quality of lives while the other is a matter of literal, mortal lives.
The part that infuriates me about the killings is the blind, deaf, quasi-comatose reaction of those who can not and will not admittedly conceive of any degree of likelihood of a dishonorable hypothesis.
Come on, guys: even Jackie Peterson must have at least considered the wild-eyed chance that Scott killed Laci.
And if it can happen with one cop it’s not that long a stretch of the imagination that it could happen to two or five or ten.
And sooner or later they will find themselves some cozy little hamlet where like minded individuals will just look the other way and blame the other guys just like their are still neighborhoods where white folks are just not safe going to alone. Or even in twos. Or threes. Even packing heat.
There are towns and cities and regions and their respective departments and precincts which propagate an atmosphere in which one who has acted either mildly or wildly inappropriately can expect they will not be held, at the very least, accountable for their actions.
I remember once hearing the saying “That which is not impossible is inevitable.” Think it was Robert Heinlein.
Sooner or later, a strand of the Thin Blue Line will tear.
Some suspects and perpetrators just might have it coming while others don’t. Ugly fact of life.
Works both ways, rolls in either direction.
Grow the fuck up, people:
not all cops are pigs, not all the goons wearing the white hats are good guys, okay?
I can’t believe people have to argue about this.
I can’t believe we even have this shit to argue about.
And it’s the folks on both extreme ends of the barrel we have to blame for it.
let’s be careful out there.