The reason I'm writing today is almost the same reason most bloggers and journalists have taken the net by storm recently: All of the recent run-ins with police officers that are going viral.
As per usual, I'm just needing to vent. Bear with me.
Right about now, you're probably expecting me to spout names like Michael Brown or Eric Garner. But then you'd be wrong.
What I'm gonna write about isn't about police harassing (or far worse) civilians, but the other way around.
Now, before you go seeing me as some wannabe white knight or brown-noser, don't. Just don't.
You see, I wasn't raised in a religious household. I wasn't raised with any bumper sticker-worthy quotes. I was just basically raised to give respect if/when you want respect. Herein lies the reason for my post today...er...tonight.
I just watched yet another in a disturbingly long line of "wannabe activist" slash "protestor against cops treating people like criminals" videos, and well, I'm basically fed the fuck up with them.
Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.
There are two main types that I see the most often, and both make me wanna slap a sumbitch 'til he pees a little!
These types, if I need to explain, are the geniuses out there who wanna stick it to "the man" by carrying their AR-15s strapped across their back just to prove a point; that point being that it's legal to do so. So...if it's legal, why do I have such a problem with the videos portraying it?
Again, thanks for asking.
I have problems with them (and the people filming them) for a few reasons:
In a post-9/11 world (hell, even a pre-9/11 world), anyone seeing some guy walking down the street with a rifle is going to practically shit themselves getting to the phone to call the cops. Studies show (such as the one I'm pulling right out of my ass right now) that 97.64% (a random number that sounded really compelling when I thought of it just now) of people with a pulse are going to see such behavior as strange, suspicious, or downright terroristic.
The only good reason(s) to be walking down the street with a rifle would be:
- You're goin' huntin' for varmints
- There's been a rash of break-ins, rapes or murders in your neighborhood and you're "looking out for your neighbors." (Sound familiar?)
- Specifically to get the cops called so that you can film the confrontation that you know full well is coming.
Being Pulled Over/Stopped on the Street
This type whips out their trusty smartphone and starts recording the moment they're stopped. It's almost always the same routine, too, with the same tired, overused questions, statements and actions:
- They generally only open their window enough to hear and be heard...as if they're facing some danger by opening it any further...when, in reality, they're doing it just because they can; to be a dick. (They know that, normally, the officer is going to ask them to roll their window down, so they do this specifically to get the "confrontation" started.)
- The officer asks for their identification and/or other documents, and they immediately ask, "Have I committed a crime?" or "Am I being accused of having committed a crime?" or some semblance thereof. They do this, knowing they're likely not being accused of a crime and are doing it specifically so that they can then state...
- "I'm not required by law to show my I.D. if I'm not being accused of a crime." They'll sometimes give their name or refuse to even do that.
- The officer then starts to ask more questions and/or start to show their frustration, to which the asshole with the camera then inevitably asks, "Am I being detained?" and/or "Am I free to go?"
- They'll sometimes even know the laws and statutes and learned them just so they could get their rocks off by getting the chance to recite them to the cop.
They fail to remember that cops are, first and foremost, human beings with lives outside of work. They usually have families they'd like to go back to and not be so pissed off or stressed out from work that they take it out on them.
Yes. I know. There are major, major asshole cops out there. There are many who hide behind their badge and use it to throw their proverbial weight around and treat civilians like shit. I get that. But, for fuck's sake, they are not the majority! There are no endless strings of viral videos of law enforcement officers being surprisingly calm or nice. There aren't the barrage of videos showing a cop making someone's day a bit brighter. Why? Because drama and hate-mongering are more apt to go viral. Most people don't think to spring into video journalism when something good is happening. That's the only reason it seems so many are horrid and corrupt cops now.
Being in law enforcement is often (almost always, actually) a thankless and underpaid line of work. Often, these men and women are risking their very lives every time their shift starts. They may wonder each and every day whether or not they'll get to go home at the end of their shifts. At other times, they're being assigned to the lamest tasks imaginable. Random checkpoints, sometimes being told they're not ticketing enough people and/or letting too many people off with warnings.
Damn little, if any, are going out specifically looking for trouble or danger.
The bottom line, in my humble opinion, is if you're looking for drama, you're gonna find it. If ya talk shit to a cop, you're gonna get shit back. If you act or dress like a gangsta, they're gonna treat you like one. It's not rocket science, people.
Okay. I'll end there. I'm gonna pop a blood vessel if I go on much longer. ;o)
Until next time, my friends...