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Truthful, Personal Confessions About America's Police
I'm going to my best, without digging up what is sometimes thought of to be a "Viper's Nest," people who have a general dislike for the police. Are we on Memory Lane yet? I thought that "this" time, the Turbulent 60s with its Free Love, Flower Power, Anti-Vietnam Protests, Burning Bra's, Draft Cards, City-wide, Nationwide Protests, "Make Love Not War," Signs and caught most in front of (this) wave of disdain, anger, and hatred, The Police. I didn't say that this narrative was a work of Sunday church harmony. It's a slice of real life served with big spoons and gallons of Apathy to wash it all down and hopefully won't come up on someone's new shoes.
Cops: Gotta love 'em. Most Americans with souls do love the police. Maybe not the police from the 1800s stretching clear through the 1970s, "these" guys were the Grunts of the Military. Ask any of them who served in American Hot Spots like Chicago when the 1968 Democratic Convention was going wide-open--protesters burning cars, buildings, chunking rocks, pipes, and Molotov Cocktails and the activities--August 26-29 at the International Amphitheatre were worse with the state delegates charging the speakers yelling "Bring Our Boys Home!" while the Right Wingers (not Debra) were sticking to axiom: "America First." Somewhere hidden conveniently away in these aforementioned statements is a smooth-running rhythm--almost poetic to the ear.
The most attention was given by The Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard, won the election over the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon went on to win the Presidency with his running mate, Spiro Agnew--and no, I see no use in writing another grievous level of over-kill about the events both public and private (Watergate) that came to light in Richard Nixon's last days of his administration. You've heard it all too much.
But even during the Watergate there were the constant, faithful presence of the local police. I cannot see how or why Americans (me included) in "this" trying, arduous time-frame only looked on the Boys in Blue as the enemy with American facial features. A taunt cap bill set almost over the eyes, a Billy Stick on the side hanging ever so close to his trusty .45 automatic that was used only as a last recourse. The Police, after all of our griping, belly-aching, and down right puking with vile hatred, were and are very human. I for one, confess that I forgot this top-level fact when all of this strife was healthy in '68 when the Police were seldom thanked, given a sincere smile, and trusted. I know that it must have cut like a Butcher's Knife when some bum in Hippy's clothing yelled, "Pigs! Get outta here, Pigs!" I can only imagine just how tough it was for these men and women of the police forces ranging from all points.
Superman did not show-up when fiery riots broke out in Ferguson, Mo., and Charlotte, N.C., But the police showed-up--some were injured, cripped, and when the riots grew larger and even near-death conditions, some police officers lost their cool and went over that little invisible line of Authority and Lawlessness. The arrested officers were acquitted and this inflamed the riots that had started to subside. My only question, which is asked from a non-biased standpoint: What happened? Did the police in Ferguson and Charlotte not know how to handle such dangerous activity? Or were the police departments not fully-trained in Riot Control? Something had to be wrong and this is not a knock on the police or the citizens of Ferguson or Charlotte who did get out of the Legal Confines of a Peaceful Assembly--by that I mean rocks thrown, vehicles overturned and burned, stores looted, rioters trying hard to harm the police and the poor innocent by-standers who were just there. Somehow, in both cities, there were two Scape Goats sacrificed to atone for the violence: The Police and The Rioters in both cities.
And we, the American Nation, can hide from the Race Issue when we see an incident on the evening news when a White Police Officer is being investigated his his Internal Affairs Dept., for trying to stop a potentially-fatal event for physically subduing the lawbreaker when a gun is pulled on him or her. I do not know about you since I haven't worked one day or night in any police department, but I can imagine that when a person who pulls a gun on me, I get scared right off. Are the police not to be scared? Are the police to just throw down their guns and give the hands-up surrender gesture? You tell me.
Do I really know how depressing, dreadful, and tough it is to work as a police officer? No. I won't beat around the bush. And I pray that I never do. I am not cut from the right fabric to be a police officer. I cannot answer for you. But the one thing I do know and I do not want this to be so slanted as a Pro-Police narrative that those who agree (which is a Constitutional Right) with rioting, that my head will be asked to be put on a piece of linoleum. I am not walking that pathway. But at the same time, I am not going to put our police down to a point of self-deception that might lead my thinking to be a case of "Doing What I Want," although the police see me break a few laws.
I happen to know a lot of men and women in my area police departments. I worked with a guy in the radio business for a short while in 2000 before he joined the Alabama State Troopers. I attend church with a retired police officer and city detective. All of these guys, if asked, would not lie to you. They had much rather walk their beat if that is still the case, or just sit in their police cruisers and watch for a crime to be committed and in both cases, all without any physical altercations, gunfire, or bloodshed . . .by the criminal or police officers.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery