Thursday, January 20, 2011

My love of law enforcement officers...

I've implied from time to time that I'm not a huge fan of the law enforcement industry, as a whole. The truth is I've toned it down consistently, every time the subject has come up, because my views on the topic are extreme even by the standards of the people I know who largely share my other views. And that's cool; I'm definitely not here to tell other people what to think.

But an incident happened the day before yesterday that illustrates how and why I came to have the opinion I do. Yesterday I got a call from my neighbor J, who was stranded on the road and needed help. He's got a '69 Pontiac that he's been having fun fixing up, and - due to a newly-defective fuel gauge - ran out of gas. The Pontiac has made him a very regular visitor to the little repair shop just outside the little town about 12 miles from where we live, and that's where he was coming from and where he heard this story.

It seems that day before yesterday something very bad happened at the shop, something that barely avoided being something truly horrible. The owner's wife was driving a pickup into one of the shop's stalls when a large truck on the lift next to that stall fell off the lift. Onto the truck she was in. Smashing the roof flat.

I don't know what happened. Maybe (probably) the truck wasn't on the lift properly, she momentarily lost control of the truck she was in, touched the lift, and the other truck fell. Maybe a casting chose that moment to break - I had a friend whose son was killed that way. It could have been a lot of things; it's not a safe business and I should know.

What I do know is that the owner's wife came that close to being squashed into ketchup before his very eyes. She managed to see it coming in time to hit the floor, the roof pillars sort of held, and she was uninjured. They've got good insurance, and the customers and shop damage will be made good. But she was understandably hysterical, he was damned near hysterical, a customer's truck was wrecked and another badly damaged. A very, very bad day.

How could it get worse? Here's how. The truck she was driving was owned by a local cop.

Anybody would have been upset - I'm told it was a nice truck. I could understand some ranting and raving. But this guy was a cop, and that gave him access to other means of expressing disapproval. Like arresting her. Like - when no grounds for actually arresting her could be found or concocted - still having the authority to demand she go in for drug testing. The woman's a Mormon: As far as I know she doesn't drink coffee. I've met her, she's a very, very straight lady. It was just an accident and she already had enough going on in her head, thank you very much. And it wasn't even her fault, because there's no way she hit that lift - if she hit it at all, I don't know - hard enough to bring that other truck down if the truck was on the lift properly and/or if the lift wasn't defective. I've been there. These Things Happen.

But this was a cop, so let's make matters a hundred times worse just because we can.

This is my position on the subject of cops. I've said it before. I will not accept the company of a person who chooses to be paid - with extorted money - to look for opportunities to do to me what I would deserve to die for doing to him. What I would never dream of doing to him, because I have some sense of morals and ethics.

Don't come here to talk to me about "isolated incidents" and "good cops." Lord Acton, though he wasn't talking about cops, was right. An individual cop might not have chosen to act like this particular asshole did, but any cop could have. Which is why they cannot be trusted. Anybody who chooses that line of work has made the last decision that interests me - I will not abide him.

Jeez, I'm getting upset all over again just telling the story.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad she's okay. Well, aside from the scare, the stress, and the months-if not years-of nightmares she's going to have. I am sure she feels her chosen Deity was watching over her...she may very well be right!

As for the cop? Well, he should have what's left of his vehicle shoved up his ass...what a fuckwad.

Jac said...

I'm upset just reading about it... what an asshole.

Anonymous said...

If it had been my truck, I wouldn't be a happy camper about it, but as long as no one is hurt(most important), and insurance covered the damages,well, sometimes These Things Happen,regardless of who you are, or think you are.That's what insurance is for.
Her Guardian Angels were definitely on the job..

Anonymous said...

This guys name should be published so when anyone enters his name into the search engines people will know who this dickhead is.

Claire said...

I agree with Anonymous 11:58, Joel. I can understand why you don't want to publish the Only One's name. But it deserves to be published far and wide.

What a jerk. I wondered momentarily whether it was your favorite local officer. Then I remembered -- tee hee -- he got de-cop-ified.

Joel said...

It's a good idea and if I can do it I will. I'm going there tomorrow to get a part worked on for M's tractor. If I can learn the name it will be published here.

Kevin Wilmeth said...

Happy to hear she turned out okay. It sounds like she's a quick thinker, to react decisively and save herself like that.

The cop? Sadly, it's no surprise. Your Lord Acton reference is spot on; this is precisely what happens when accountability no longer balances "authority". It is inevitable and we see it all the freakin' time.

And how about that Acton guy, anyway? As good as the core quote that we remember him for is all by itself, it's even more notable taken within the context of the other words immediately around it:

"I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it. "

Wow. Just read that a few times if you need to feel a little more human.

The modern definition of the word "inconceivable" just might be the very idea of words like that coming from any elected or appointed official, today, from beat cop to chief executive.

At any rate, hopefully some good comes of this. Chances seem likely that the lady in question may have learned just exactly what she needed to know from all this, and maybe she will carry the lesson forward in her own life and impart it to others.

Think of it as (since this concept seems to be so important to elected and appointed types) contributing to the cop's legacy. (And for that matter, the cops' legacy, too.)

Anonymous said...

I would rather make friends with a gaboon viper than one of the only ones and I was one, briefly, until I realized just what that meant. And what I was becoming.

Brass said...


I completely understand your view on police, and completely agree. The barrel has a tendency to ruin the apples. And scientifically, one bad apple does cause all the apples adjacent to it to become corrupted.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

As they sow, so shall they reap.
Karma is a real live living MF.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joel,
How 'bout sharing the story of your favorite LEO(Liberty Eradication Orrife). You know, the one who got cast out Power.