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I got The Talk. Didn’t you get The Talk?

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, I’ve read several articles about The Talk. Apparently, The Talk is the uniquely black experience of sitting your kids down (particularly your boys) and instructing them to be unfailingly polite to policemen even when you are ever so cross and the officer is ever so vexatious.

This one from the New York Post is typical (it’s a tragic tale of a young man who didn’t get The Talk and had to learn a tough lesson the hard way):

My moment — that is, my first moment — happened on Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn when I got into a dollar cab with my mother and brother. The cop who pulled the car over wasn’t after the driver. He was after me. I was a tall, skinny black kid with a baseball cap, and I fit the description of someone who was robbing people on the subway.

Right. With you so far.

It didn’t matter that I was wearing a baseball cap because I had been to a baseball game. I fit the description, and no one was going anywhere.

Okay, right. And….?

Wait…that’s it? You fit the description of a crime suspect and you were pulled over? And then questioned and released? Holy shit, dude, that’s supposed to be emblematic of the racial divide in America?

Seriously, if a middle-aged white woman in a denim jacket had just shop-lifted a hundred bucks worth of meat from a nearby Safeway, I would totally expect to be pulled over and felt up for sirloin. And I’d be nice as pie while they did it.

Wait! You did what?

I was uncooperative. I was angry. My mother, the churchgoing teacher, didn’t help. She was indignant, and she spewed words she would never use in the classroom. Only when the cop threatened to haul her to the precinct did I come around.

Holy god. You both did that, really?

Wheeooo.

My mother, who was sort of a proto-hippie and not fond of the authorities, gave me The Talk regularly.

You get stopped or pulled over, be relentlessly bland. No matter what. The cop is armed. He may be bored. He may be an officious prick. He may be spoiling for trouble. He may try to rattle you to see how you react.

Don’t react. Follow instructions. Be angry later.

My interactions with law enforcement have been few, thank goodness, but the advice has stood me well. It also works for judges, city code enforcers, irate bosses, large angry neighbors. Any situation where you are seriously outgunned and cannot possibly win a confrontation.

I wonder how much putative racism is because black people don’t realize how rudely white people often treat each other.

Comments


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 30, 2012, 10:19 pm

Apologies to Scott the Badger who is a LEO of some description. I’m just sayin’…


Comment from David Gillies
Time: March 30, 2012, 10:58 pm

On the flipside: while one should remain calm at all times, it is absolutely vital to not cooperate with the police except where bound by law. Never volunteer information. Never give your name or address unless you are required to do so. If you are arrested, say nothing without legal representation present. If you are detained but not arrested, sit on your hands and say nothing except to ask if you are free to go. If they say yes, walk. If they say no, then they must arrest you under caution. The extent to which you are required to knuckle under to police questioning varies between the US and the UK, but a good rule of thumb is that not speaking will land you in a whole hell of a lot less trouble than speaking.

The cops are not your friends. That goes for everyone, including law-abiding middle-class professionals like me.

Don’t Talk to the Police (long, but absolutely essential watching)


Comment from Hunt Johnsen
Time: March 30, 2012, 10:58 pm

Seriously good advice. I grew up in Hawaii where the racial bias and ratios are reversed, and being polite never hurt and often helped. Haoles have a reputation for arrogance and not living up to that stereotype made life a lot easier as well as facilitating some fairly incredible exploits. “Yes, Sir, No, Sir” costs only a little.

Off topic, this guy could be a loon for all I know, but may explain a lot of what’s going on in the USA right now: http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/ascendence-sociopaths-us-governance


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 30, 2012, 11:01 pm

On the other hand, it needs to be a whole lot simpler and easier to get a cop fired.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 30, 2012, 11:11 pm

Ah, I’ve seen that video, David. It’s well worth the watch.

You’ll kind of hate yourself for it. I think he even insists you don’t help even if you are innocent and have information that could help solve a crime, if I remember rightly.


Comment from Deborah
Time: March 30, 2012, 11:19 pm

My parents didn’t need to give me the talk. I was blessed/cursed with a lot of curly red hair and freckles. Having red hair apparently meant total strangers had the right to comment on my looks. Needless to say, doing something that could get me in trouble was the last thing I would have done. I spent most of my life trying to look inconspicuous.


Comment from Gromulin
Time: March 30, 2012, 11:24 pm

God as my witness, I once was pulled over for expired tags with several friends in the car. It was one of THOSE cops…early 80′s, buncha white punks (probably on dope), POS car with expired tags, so he gives us the full treatment. Everyone’s ID please, gonna run warrants..

Very smart-ass friend in back seat – “Put your bullet back in your pocket, Barney”

Other friend in back seat goes pale as a ghost (I can see this in the mirror). Rest of car, including me “STFU BOB, AND GIVE HIM YOUR ID OR YOU WALK”

I get ticket, no outstanding warrants (currently..) in the car and we are on our way. I ask ghost-friend WTF was up with you back there? He pulls out a HALF OUNCE of coke he was carrying as a delivery. I’d probably still be in jail.

Damn hippies.


Comment from Cobrakai99
Time: March 30, 2012, 11:28 pm

Wait, people need “the talk” to learn how to be polite to others?


Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:16 am

My parents? Hell, my Friends gave me the talk. We weren’t from a bad area and we weren’t bad kids…. but just the same we kids taught each other not to antagonize someone who could haul you off to jail and decide to let you go after you went for the ride.

My take, unfortunately, is going to come off as racist. It’s not actually, it’s culturist. American Black culture is simply a bad thing. I’m not going to bother to say I have good black friends, etc….because that defense is always a waste of time. I’ll just launch into it.

I’ll include links to the sources from which I’m drawing my statistics. The conclusions, however, are my own.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States
As of 2012, the United States has a total resident population of 313,269,000. Whites are 72.4 percent. Blacks are 12.6 percent. Hispanics are 16.3 percent. Note: for the FBI statistics used below, Hispanics are included with Whites Thus the White population is 88.7 percent for our purpose.

Here is “Easy Access to the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports 1980 – 2009″

Between 1980 and 2009 there were 581,566 murders in the US.
Of those, 199,076 were committed by Blacks. That’s about 1/3 (34%) of murders caused by 12.6 percent of the population.

Of those 199,076 murders 29,763 (992 per year) (15%) were White victims. Thus the statement that most murders by Blacks are of Blacks is true.

However for that same period, 11,485 Blacks were murdered by Whites (an average of 382 per year). Of those 11,485 murders 1586 (13%) were Black Females murders by White Males (52 per year).

For White Females murdered by Black Males the number is 7,221 (24%) 240 per year average.

http://ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezashr/

So 277,869,603 people committed 3.82 murders per 100,000 people. 39,471,894 people committed 199,076 murders. I’ll
let you do the math for that one.

I’ll just say that White fear of Blacks is not unjustified. As President Obama would say “they punch above their weight”.

Given this, I can’t say that I believe that Blacks who dress gangsta style can say that they’re unjustifiably being stereo-typed as dangerous – ‘without any justification.

Sigh… I denounce myself for pointing this out.


Comment from Pupster
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:19 am

I’ve given my boys the talk. “Cops spend all day, every day, dealing with people who are having their worst days ever, most of whom try to lie to them. Yes sir, no sir, and I’m sorry sir are the best and only answers in a traffic stop. If the handcuffs come out you ask for your phone call and say nothing else.” Chris Rock says it funnier:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gCCjFbFXn8&feature=related


Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:25 am

With apologies to David, the deputies in my little town prove on a daily basis that the are, in fact, your friends. That said, a deputy walks up to the car and says to the driver he just pulled over “license and registration, please”. The driver pops off about his “rights” and NAZI police tactics, and the deputy cracks him across the forehead with his flashlight. The driver then quietly ponies up his ID and the deputy writes him for 10 over. After the driver signs the ticket, the deputy walks to the passenger side of the car and asks the smirking passenger, who’s been mumbling this and that about “police brutality” during the stop to roll down the window. The deputy reaches in and cracks him across the forehead with his flashlight. “Why did you hit me!” asks the passenger. The policeman replies ” you struck me as the type that would have gotten a mile down the road and said to your friend ” I wish that fat son of a bitch would have hit ME with that fucking flashlight” . . .

That said :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JuBSkYTK74


Comment from exiting enter sandman
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:28 am

Stoaty I request that you bestow the Barney/ Joe Biden etch a sketch I sent you on this thread. Surely this merits a showing. Course, Biden couldn’t carry Barney’s neck stretching apparatus, but still…


Comment from Pupster
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:29 am

Sage advice, twice.


Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:30 am

We just got a ticket for buying a new car on friday night and driving it on saturday afternoon without having an insurance card for the new car… You can’t drive a car off the lot without proof of insurance, you can’t get a card for the new car until monday AND you have 30 days to report it to your insurance company. But Barney decided we needed a ticket. Mr C went to the courthouse to pay it and the guy looked at him like he was telling stories. He even said you don’t belong here. But there is just no telling a cop that he’s wrong.


Comment from exiting enter sandman
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:35 am

And as a former and recovering reserve Depatee Shereef, I have to say a lot of the guys I went through schools with are first rate pricks and their departments encourage “aggressive enforcement” meaning tickets and fines, fees and seizures. In North Carolina a portion of every ticket issued by the HP goes into their retirement fund. No shiite. And judges, bailiffs, magistrates all get at least some of their funding from those tickets and fees.

So, sometimes, being polite and cooperative doesn’t get the job done. Just be aware that you are always on icy ground, and this heavy handed trend has only sped up with post 9/11 and the Pat-riot Act,etc.

But for full disclosure, I were once one of dem peeplez…


Comment from exiting enter sandman
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:39 am

That wedge headedness of dear Br’er barney…I see what you did there. Charming. You got skillz.

A-

:)


Comment from AliceH
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:41 am

This is why I love this blog. Once again, both sides of a conversation are brand new to me.


Comment from beasn
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:49 am

Shit, my dad was a cop. When he was hot, it was ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ or get tapped upside the noggin.

I don’t ever remember the ‘the talk’. We were weaned with an understanding.


Comment from EZnSF
Time: March 31, 2012, 1:03 am

I got pulled over in the wasteland of the redwood coast for a broken headlight. Daytime. Yeah, I’m so law abiding I drive with my headlights on during the day. When he asked to search my car I was dumbfounded. Didn’t say a word. Stood some distance away, totally pissed that he thought I was some sort of cartel drug smuggler, and wasting my time.

When he was was done and said I could go, I mouthed off at him. Can’t remember exactly what I said, but was glad he looked up and said ‘what?’. “Nothing officer”, feeling like some sort of criminal and thinking this twat had nothing better to do than entertain himself at my expense.

And this whole Florida thing is pissing me off. I never thought of myself as a racist until I moved to the big city years ago. You may say stereotype. But there is a lot of truth in ‘stereotypes’. Mold don’t bloom on sterile ground. I frequently question myself about my observations, and typically can’t decide if I’m being racist, or just making obvious judgments to obvious behavior that is obviously on the fringe of any socially acceptable behavior.

Also; I have friends and work with people from all over the world. You want to see racists? I’ve seen racists! I KNOW racists. And they aren’t white. Fact is your average fat, white, American, male got NOTHING compared to some of the characters I’ve know. And it’s not the particular person. It’s damn near cultural. But it would be racist of me to opine which race/culture I think is far more racist than most.

I’d like to say something like ‘can’t we all just get along’? But I don’t really give a shit anymore.


Comment from Poindexter
Time: March 31, 2012, 1:04 am

Pupster and Clifford beat me to it with the Chris Rock video. I played that several years ago for a few of my teenagers (who are quite white) and told them it was great advice and that they should pay close attention to it. To their credit, they largely did.

As for me…well, my dad was career Navy; my Little League coach — who ended up being my church youth advisor a few years later when I was a teenager — was a cop; and I played four years of high school football (early lessons: the coach doesn’t care what you did or what you thought; in fact, he doesn’t want to hear anything but ‘Yes, sir!’ and ‘No, sir!’). Needless to say, I did not smart off to any adult in authority. ..poindexter..


Comment from AliceH
Time: March 31, 2012, 1:04 am

On the other hand…if I stretch things a bit, I can see some similarities of the attitude conveyed by that NYPost guy to some company-mandated “sexual harassment” triggered discussions. Specifically, the habit of thinking of oneself as a ‘minority’ member at least as much as an individual, reinforced by convenience of attributing negative results to group identity vs. individual responsibility. I was startled by how many women claimed they were victims of discrimination — and angry when every damn example they cited struck me as “no, not because you were a woman, it was because you were an idiot, unqualified, and/or all around disagreeable.” But no one disputed them, which just meant more reinforcement I suppose. What a sucky way to go through life.


Comment from Ric Locke
Time: March 31, 2012, 1:13 am

Let us all pronounce a curse on the name of Robert Peel.

Prior to him, the only example of “police” on any country-wide or society-wide scale was the Czar’s Okhrana, which was devoted to beating in the heads of people who didn’t like the Czar, and (in a genuine case of Green parsimonious thrift) was recycled into first the NKVD and later the KGB, without changing philosophy or methods in any way. This was not widely admired… the only reason there’s no prohibition of the idea in the U. S. Constitution is that nobody, nobody on any of the several sides involved including the folk who were agin’ it, thought anybody would ever be stupid enough to establish such a thing.

But here we are. If you ever get access to a time machine, I suggest you invite a delegation of the folk debating the Constitution to view affairs, especially regarding the police, as of, say, the year 2000. I guarantee the document resulting will be substantially different (and let’s not even mention the Commerce Clause).

As for white vs. white — the real difference between Europeans and everybody else is that Europeans spent roughly a millenium (call it Charles Martel to Gustavus Adolphus, just for markers) inventing new and more ingenious methods of killing one another, and new and more specious excuses for doing so. When that died down the survivors looked at one another, nodding in mutual acknowledgement that that isn’t the way to do it, and set up the institutions that have served us so well for the past three centuries or so. Unfortunately the memory is no longer green, so we’re in the process of renewing the custom, with the Marxoids providing the Church and the Greens the Inquisition. Gonna be nasty out for a while, folks.

Regards,
Ric


Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: March 31, 2012, 2:17 am

I got pulled over once for DWIAHC (Driving While In A Honda Civic). The officer told me that a Honda Civic had been reported stolen in the area, so he was checking me out (it was a weird time of day for me to be where I was). I handed over my information and thanked him for checking.

Actually, I’ve been pulled over almost ten times and have gotten only one actual ticket. It helps to be polite. (I’m sure being cute doesn’t hurt either. I don’t flirt, though – if I were a cop, flirting would make me MORE likely to give a ticket, not less.)

Something I plan to tell Baby Peel when he starts driving is to remember that pretty much every cop knows someone, maybe even himself, who has been shot on a traffic stop. So they’re a little tense on every traffic stop, and part of the reason to follow the protocols (keep hands in sight, etc.) is to convey that you’re going to cooperate.


Comment from Armybrat
Time: March 31, 2012, 2:49 am

The talk my dad gave me was “if you’re picked up by the cops, spend the night in jail. It will be more pleasant than calling me.”. I believed him and never tested him on it. My twin on the other hand…..
For the record, hubby is a retired cop.


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 31, 2012, 4:40 am

I’ve dealt with cops a few times and always have been polite and interested in what they had to say. They’ve been polite back and we parted on good terms. If you’re decent to a cop I suspect they are so surprised they’ll treat you well out of reaction to not being screamed at for once.

I wonder how much putative racism is because black people don’t realize how rudely white people often treat each other.

I am certain a great deal of it is that, and a great deal is another effect: being told your entire life that the reason people respond to you in any way is because of your ethnic background. Maybe they had a horrible day. Maybe they were having bad memories and you got their attention.

I read about some guy complaining because he gets dirty looks. Hey, genius, maybe they were looking at the guy behind you, or beside you, or they weren’t looking at anyone but were just remembering that jerk that cut them off in traffic and staring into space.

This idea that people care about you or are thinking of you is the dumbest mistake most people make.


Comment from catnip
Time: March 31, 2012, 5:31 am

Cops in our city are pretty decent guys. I’ve only been stopped once, but the incident was memorable.

I was in bed late one afternoon following surgery, zonked on pain pills. My young son, who had earlier been given a ride to a function downtown at the local Y, phoned to say that he was stranded. It was about 25 degrees outside, just beginning to snow. In my stupor, I tried phoning the husband, then several neighbors to see if anyone could give the kid a lift. Nobody answered their phones, but it’s not clear that I dialed correctly.

My hair-do looking like the rat’s nest of the century, I pulled a nicely styled, but long outdated and nearly forgotten woman’s wig from the closet shelf. I plunked it on my head and staggered out to the car. The route to the Y is one I drove several times a day working a split shift. Driving it was like being on auto-pilot, hitting all the stop signals after a certain point so that they were all green. But I stupidly took a different route, and a cop pulled me over about a block from the Y. After requesting my license, he asked me if I realized I’d run a red light a block back. I said I was sorry, I hadn’t noticed. He asked me where I was going and there ensued the usual checks, strictly routine. Throughout this he kept eyeing me very strangely. Finally, since I had no traffic record, he let me go, cautioning me in a rather concerned way to drive carefully on the slick streets.

When we got inside the house where the lighting was good, my son asked me why I was wearing the wig sideways.


Comment from Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Time: March 31, 2012, 5:58 am

I have to admit that it did not help when I called the TSA witch an effin liar. It did help that I was able to establish that.
But I’m out one .45 magazine.


Comment from exiting enter sandman
Time: March 31, 2012, 7:10 am

oceania=qweef olberdouche.

that is all.


Comment from Oceania
Time: March 31, 2012, 7:35 am

Maybe – if I knew what your Quaint sayings meant. But I am Right.


Comment from Mike C.
Time: March 31, 2012, 9:16 am

Never had The Talk from anybody – guess my parents expected me to use common sense. But I did have an analagous training session. Six years in an RC school with nuns as teachers. It was very much ingrained that when s person in a dark-colored uniform said something to you, you pretty much replied politely and precisely, or they beat you to death – no exceptions. I suppose that training technique is considered quaint and old-fashioned these days…


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: March 31, 2012, 11:02 am

No offence taken Stoaty, there are a certain percentage of police that are jerks, as there are in any line of work.

But being polite is very helpful, and causes politeness in return. By the same token, if you sow the wind, don’t be surprised if you reap the whirlwind.


Comment from Pupster
Time: March 31, 2012, 11:28 am

This idea that people care about you or are thinking of you is the dumbest mistake most people make.

^This.


Comment from Oceania
Time: March 31, 2012, 12:36 pm

Sweasle is particularly sensitive to issues of Race … which is Ironic.


Comment from Formerly known as Skeptic
Time: March 31, 2012, 2:17 pm

Interesting. I have experienced a very similar traffic stop. I was on a winding two-lane backroad in the woods of northern Massachusetts near the NH border, after dark, when the lights went on behind me. I pull over while trying to think if I crossed the double yellow line on one of the corners since I actually wasn’t speeding even a little bit. My young son (~12 y.o. at the time) is in the car with me and we are as white (Caucasian) as you get. Cop is all business with the flashlight in our eyes. Turns out the car fits the description of one used in crime nearby. “Oh, really, officer. We’re just passing through on our way skiing. I hope you find them, sir. Thank you, sir.” I’m on my way. Years in the military help with the “yes sir, no sir” routine, but it is mainly just being polite, recognizing authority and knowing that he has a job to do and making it harder for him doesn’t help you AT ALL. To me, this started out looking like a routine traffic stop for some violation, but to the police officer, he was potentially approaching (alone I might add) a vehicle fleeing a crime scene (I don’t know what crime) with a desperate criminal inside. Good object lesson for my son. THIS is why you put your hands on the wheel and do everything you can to reassure the police officer that you are cooperative at the start of the contact.


Comment from JuliaM
Time: March 31, 2012, 5:07 pm

“Don’t react. Follow instructions. Be angry later.”

And switch your iPhone or CrackBerry to record


Comment from Anonymous
Time: March 31, 2012, 8:02 pm

so true, I ‘dugg’ ya.


Comment from Oceania
Time: March 31, 2012, 11:01 pm

I see that most of you have been trained like Pavlovs Dogs …


Comment from Mija Cat
Time: March 31, 2012, 11:56 pm

Regardless whether the cop is a prick, an asshat, a moron, or a straight-up guy, in a traffic stop they’re tense.

Be polite. Don’t be stupid.

If they ask why you think they pulled you over, the only correct answer is “I don’t know, officer”. Anything else is either admitting what they already know, or giving them something else to write you up for.

If they ask for something that’s not visible – wallet is in back pocket (for guys) or purse (for ladies) *tell* them “My wallet is in my pocket, I’m going to get it.” before you reach behind to grab it. Ditto getting the registration or insurance card.

This has two effects. First, it shows them that you’re aware they’re tense. Second, *when* you hand them what you told them you were going to get, it goes to your credibility.

If the cop’s a jerk or is working on a quota (and don’t tell me there aren’t quotas) you may still get a ticket, but this has gotten me off with warnings, when the cop knows darn well the tags are expired or the passenger wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Regardless of what the cop hands you at the end, say thank you. It costs you nothing, but again affirms your cred.

I haven’t just gotten the talk, I’ve *given* the talk .. my teenager has used this approach and bragged about it getting out of several tickets … when he thought I wasn’t listening, of course!

Mew


Comment from Ghost
Time: April 1, 2012, 12:24 am

I really do despise the badge and all it represents, but I treat every single cop just like I would treat an armed bank robber: do exactly what he says in the nicest way possible.

I may not like cops, but I’m not stupid.

And every white kid I know has been “profiled.” What, black kids are the only ones allowed to wear backwards hats or hoodies? Add a skateboard to the mix, a wallet chain… And ask any rookie cop: pulling over a kid in a backwards hat (white black brown purple), 9 times out of 10, the kid has drugs.


Comment from BillT
Time: April 1, 2012, 6:14 am

I see that most of you have been trained like Pavlovs[sic] Dogs …

Pavlov didn’t spend his time working blind tests with dogs which had a 50-50 chance of being rabid.


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: April 1, 2012, 8:21 am

Ghost, I find I am just as likely to find drugs in a BMW driven by a lawyer, doctor, or other professional as I am a kid with his hat on backwards. There is no standard appearance to a criminal. What is a better guide is what’s out of place. Someone who is unnaturally nervous at a traffic stop, a car that keeps driving through the same neighborhood, a car that has occupants that is just sitting for an extended period in a parking lot. None of these are against the law, but they do raise one’s interest level.

In the example given by Formerly Known as Skeptic. I have made traffic stops of vehicles that fit the description of a wanted vehicle, and before making the stop, when I ask for a back up, I find the nearest deputy is 60 miles away, at the other end of the county, and the nearest Trooper is in the next county over. This does not redusce the tension of the officer making the stop. Please give us patience as we do our jobs, as you ask the same of us.


Comment from Ghost
Time: April 1, 2012, 5:35 pm

Scott,
It seems that you may be the exception that proves the rule, and maybe I only deal with power-tripping cops, but allow me to clarify what I was saying:

If a guy with a gun tells me to step out of the car, badge or not, my answer is the same. “yes, sir.” When I get home, “who te hell does that guy think he is? I’ve got rights!” but at the time, “yes, sir,” “no, sir,” “I don’t know, sir.”

I understand that it’s a job, and that it is by no means easy; that said, it’s a position of power that is very easy to abuse. And like priests, teachers, or other collectives worried about damage control, cops don’t clean their own houses. When a cop is caught doing something wrong, the wagons are circled, and no one breaks the Blue Code.

That’s honestly the only thing that makes me distrust all police officers. They aren’t loyal to their community, their loyal to their badge and unions.

I hope none of that offended you. I don’t mean “you, officer badger, are a corrupt pig!” I’m speaking generally.


Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: April 2, 2012, 12:06 am

Ghost: A lot of that is the non-support of police by political superiors and sometimes the community. Police officers are expected to do a dangerous, stressful job, and to make split-second life-or-death judgements.

When they err, or it even appears that they erred, they are often made into political scapegoats. They are also subjected to continual abuse and threats from some elements of the public. That tends to create a mood of defensive solidarity.

However, the “blue wall” is nowhere near as solid as some think it is. Second City Cop is a blog run by a Chicago police officer, and the commenters are cops. They can be quite scathing about fools, thieves, or jerks that bring discredit on the force. (And they name names, knowing quite well that outsiders read SCC.)


Comment from Ghost
Time: April 2, 2012, 1:31 am

Rich
I absolutely agree that it mostly is the system, the political power that effs things up. And yes, I know that cops can make honest mistakes, but a lot of those mistakes could be prevented by the cops not breaking the law. I know that sounds strange, but I have an example. In my county, a woman saw men in black clothes creeping through her backyard. She tells her husband who grabs his gun and runs outside. The men in the yard were police officers, serving a warrant on a neighboring house. They were trespassing on this guys land in order to surprise his neighbor. The cops shot him for thinking he had private property rights.

It’s a horrible tragedy. And one that wouldn’t have happened if police officers weren’t “above the law.”

My point is this: you’re a good upstanding citizen who has broken no law that you can think of. When was the last time a cop pulled into your rear view and you thought, “Oh, thank God. The police. I know I’m safe now”?

I mean, I hear that there are no quotas to fill. I’d feel better about cops if there were, because then, hey, they’re just doing their jobs. But if there’s no quotas, then there are a lot of power hungry a-holes hiding behind a badge. I’m not going to snowflake here and give you a bunch of personal unprovable anecdotes. But those guys are the majority of cops the populace deals with (pulled over for ashing a cigarette, or walking on the sidewalk with my head down [and I'm white!] etc…) the nice cops, as I suspect Mr Badger is, don’t make it a habit out of harassing people, so we really don’t deal with them unless we’re speeding because we’re late to work.

(I’ve never been arrested, either.)


Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: April 2, 2012, 2:23 am

SCOTTtheBADGER – Thanks for doing the job. Not everyone’s giving you the stinkeye . . .


Comment from Goober
Time: April 2, 2012, 7:45 pm

So, apparently black folks don’t realize that we all give our kids this exact some talk, right?

Look, it is pretty well-known that there is a large cohort of police officers out there who are overly officious, arrogant, “respect mah authoritah” DB-types. Not all of them, thank God, but a lot of them.

odds are, you’ll find one some day. Odds are, you’ll be in a lot better position afterwords if you shut your mouth, do as you’re told, and if he does something illegal or violates your rights, work on lawyering up ans suing him AFTER THE FACT. Resistance is futile, and only serves to make you look like the bad guy.

I had an old mentor tell me once, in regards to cosntruction project disputes, that if you are going into an argument, and you are 98% right and 2% wrong, you’re wrong. YOu have tot ake the high road. be 100% correct, 100% int he right. DOn’t cop an attitude. Don’t be a dick. “yessir, nossir,” and sue his ass later.

I think it’s funny when people come to me with things about how much harder it is to be themselves. I had a woman complain to me about how i had no idea what a pain it was to shave my legs… I shook my head, smiled, and asked her if she’d ever tried running a razor over her face…

Everybody thinks their plight is unique. My very white friend was stopped once for a bank robbery that he didn’t commit because his car matched the description of the get-away car. If he’d been black, he probably would have called it a case of “driving while black” but it wasn’t – when you match the description of a criminal, you will probably be stopped and get questioned. Don’t blame the cop, blame the a-hole committing the crimes who looks like you.

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