Monday, March 19, 2007

Strange Sightings Vol. XXVI

It's long been the case that I haven't liked cops. They are (in my opinion) assholes, drunk with power, only able to see the world in terms of stereotypes. I don't have a need for them. They've never prevented me from being burgled or in any way harmed. Particularly in Denver, where recently and possibly still, they lead the nation in fatal shootings. Moreover, it is possible to be too intelligent to become a cop- there are actual limits on the high end to their exams. That's what you'd like to see- someone too smart to carry a gun and uphold the law.

So imagine my horror when I left my office today and there were cops as far as the eye could see, sitting on motorcycles. Parked motorcycles. I would not have guessed the city of Seattle had so many. These murderous spot-tax collectors were just sitting there. Doing nothing. Waiting for 4PM when a protest march was to come down the block. During the wait, a big utility type truck with orange cones and traffic routing stuff came up the street, beside the parked motorcycles and was trying to go straight to the next block, but one of the older cops, resplendent in his 1970's porn star moustache, now fully gray, was screaming and apoplectically insisting that the truck turn left. To my amazement, the driver of the truck put it in park and opened the door and starting shouting back to the cop (in a manner that invites a Rodney King reception- hey I hate cops, but I know better than to give them a goddamned inch of reason to kill me. I'd sooner fuck with a raccoon with rabies). I don't know if the truck driver was aware or not, but the protest march had started and mobs of people were closing in on the argument. The trucker had the upper hand, and the cop knew it. In the end, Sgt. Frosty McHairlip let the truck go by, and cussed the driver out. Seattles finest.

If only I'd had a jelly donut to throw into the mix, just to watch them tear into each other like Christmas shoppers after a Tickle Me Elmo...

So anyway, the protest march then came along and signs on sticks were apparently required. Drums, bells, chanting, the whole package. As I stood there wondering how all of this was going to affect the bus ride home, I couldn't help but think it was all a bit of 'preaching to the choir". I mean, does anyone in this very blue state want to stand up and defend this so-called "war"? The message was misdirected. In my book, you first determine who your opponents are, and then target them. These people were just having fun I think. Well no- not all of them.

I got something signifigant from the spectacle. Somewhere in the mix of drumming and chanting masses, a woman came walking along without a sign on a stick or banner, or bell, or drum. She was prbably in her late 50's and was holding a picture of (presumably) her son. There was rain on it and my eyesight isn't what it used to be, but it said (I think) specialist Randy something, or maybe it said Rusty. It was an "R" name and the soldier pictured was shown trying to look like the hardend killer that the Army likes, but I wasn't seeing it. He had a young face and looked as though he couldn't look threatening on a bet. He was warm and human. He was someone real and individual. He died in late 2005. I looked at this image and up to this point I'd been looking at the crowds and laughing at the pantomime heads and funny jingoistic signs and had been chuckling to myself. This image stopped me cold. I wasn't smiling. I looked up at the woman that was holding this image and she was quietly walking. I can scarcely imagine the hurt that she has known. I can't pretend to understand. I looked at her face and she had warmth in the cold and noisy rain that stood out. We made eye contact, and I was still taking in the gravity of her message, and she smiled. I couldn't hardly believe it. She smiled! In this town where people make eye contact and never change from their stone blank expressions- SHE smiled. I couldn't help it- I smiled too.

Then I teared up a bit, but you know- it was just the rain.

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Blogger Hammer said...

I'm a 100% law abiding never been in trouble kinda guy. But I look like a big scary biker/ lumberjack.

50% of the cops I've encountered have been cool and tried to be professional and the other 50% were spittle flinging satanic nazi's with the little mustache and gold tooth.

I've long stated that police are unnesary and could be privatized into private security firms answerable to the people. competition and all that.

As for the peace long as they stay peaceful...thats the American way.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

I've had dealings with all kinds of cops. I'd say my experience was more like 90% cool, 10% dildos. Funny, that seems to be my take on all of my run ins with specific groups of people. Heck 10% of my teachers were dildos and 90% were pretty gosh darn commendable, given the crap they put up with.

I've known a lot of cops off-duty and that has always helped me understand the world from their perspective.

The best way to deal with spittly cops is to be very kind and as sarcastic as hell.

Cops are, indeed, answerable to the people. Ask the three guys going to court this week...

As for the protesters...

I sure would be happier if most of them stepped up and displayed an actual understanding of the situation they are protesting.

But West coast protests (especially like in San Fran) are a riot...

7:57 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

I cant abide the irish cops multiply the power hungry feeling your guys have by lets say a thousand and you have an irish cop. Actually when coming to work this morning I seen a taxi driver getting a ticket from a cop and they where arguing but the taxi drivers words haunted me on the bus and I couldnt help but laugh ' you dont intimidate me in that uniform, I want your badge number you lump of pox'..

As for your post though right at the end I too strangely enough had something in my eye. Great post!

1:50 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

You touched my soul today... not the protest experience.. but the lost soldier..

I am from a military family. Born into a Marine Corps family and I married a Marine. I have such high regards for Our Troops and their families although I detest this war more and more daily. I find myself sitting in my living room bawling as the weekly list of lost souls is reported quietly scrolling down my TV. Such a great loss of young and old, male and female, enlisted and officers. I think more of us here at home need to make eye, body and soul contact with someone who has lost a loved one during these times. Maybe then our joined voices of outrage will be heard... I am not a total pacifist.. But this occupation has to end. K I'll go to the quiet corner now...

7:33 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I'm loving the people wearing the big heads. I wonder what you have to do to get to wear a big head? Maybe they held auditions.

I'm purposely not commenting on the rest of your post...because I have something in my eye.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Irrelephant said...

Damn son, you know how to hit where it hurts, don't you. I sometimes wonder if the warmongers are the ones who have forgotten that it's their children, their little boys and in some cases little girls who are out there, fighting and bleeding and dying in foreign lands, and it's the people who remember that fact who stage the rallys and the protest marches. The people who don't want to see any more kids with their arms or legs blown off, or sent home in pine boxes.

4:33 PM  
Blogger General Catz said...

Very moving piece.

I've had few experiences with the police but what i've had has generally been not-so-good. Some were cool but mostly not. One was dangerous.

I don't understand the attitude when i go up to talk to them (i talk to strangers often). Then i started to wonder if the attitude isn't partly cos they're wondering if the person they're talking to is going to whip out a piece and shoot them in the head? I live in the 2nd most dangerous state in the union. I suppose if i were them i wouldn't be particularly friendly either.

7:00 AM  
Blogger General Catz said...

p.s. Judith, i had dealings with the guardai several times and they were fabulous compared to american cops. friendly people they were!

7:01 AM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Yeah, that thing in the eye seems to be going around.

You know how I feel about cops, and why.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

*note to catz* I reported two police because as I was crossing the road with my chikdren in a double stroller two of them where driving up a one way street and in the wrong direction, I called them arseholes and they did a u turn and tried to intimidate me asking me what my problem was when I did tell them they started bark at me about using profanity, I told them Id use whatever language I fucking like when they are putting myself and my girls life in danger. It went on and they went away with sore ears, Ive shit loads of instances when they have been obstinate and offensive..

1:46 AM  
Blogger General Catz said...

J, there are always assholes, aren't there? In any walk of life. Just saying that my experiences (with 4 of them over there, 2 on horseback on Grafton Street) were very positive.

7:52 AM  
Blogger David said...

Cops are sublimated force. There are some decent policemen out there, but on the lines and protests, their job is usually to act as a viscious, private army. I do not have an irrational dislike of the police, I have a very logical one built from more than 20 years of wrongful arrest, punches to the face and threats.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Stucco said...

Hi Hammer, I don't know that I'd advocate privatising cops, but they are in need of a grounding. What concerns me most is thier collective lack of smarts. I'm inclined to require service limits like air traffic controllers have.

Scott- you are a fortunate man in several regards.

Judith- Insulting a cop here is a very risky thing to do. Might get you dead or worse. I like the "lump of pox" bit tho...

Cheesy- I'll admit to having a not-entirely-flattering view of soldiers, but I'm more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. When Bill Maher got his heaping ration of shit for saying of low recruitment rates "we don't picked all that low hangin' Lyndie England fruit", I ws thinking the same thing. I'm unconvinced that these people should be used for anything other than killing people, as they are often poor ambassadors. That being said, these are people who were asked to do something unreasonable, and arguably impossible, and in turn should be commended on sucking up and trying. I've never claimed to "support the troops". I also don't oppose them, I'm fairly indifferent most of the time. In my cynical mind, they (for whatever reason) chose to serve, and this is the consequence. Perhaps it will get them and their families to think the matter through a bit further when they vote for a war-monger. What chaps my ass is hearing dumbasses saying they support the troops, and then turn a blind eye to the hardship this deployment causes the soldiers and their families. It's bullshit. I'd prefer to have them all home where they are needed most.

Catz- the stats I heard recently mean you are in Louisiana. If that's right, you can take solace in the fact that the cops there have ALWAYS been terrible. Famous corruption in law enforcement there. I hear gun sales are throught the roof though. That'll probably end well...

David- You indirectly make a valid point, in that I should consider whether or not my contempt for these cops is irrational or not. I'm not sure how I could qualify that, but I've never been seriously burned by a cop (well, traffic inffractions not withstanding). I have seen and have direct experience with police racism and brutailty. Maybe some time I'll blog about my friend in Highlands Ranch, Colorado (who, contrary to some apparently unwritten local ordinance, is black, and is currently going through chemotherapy for advanced prostate cancer) who was struck and pinned to the ground on the sidewalk in front of his home by the cops for no defendable reason.


12:37 PM  
Blogger slaghammer said...

I have a long and varied relationship with cops of all flavors. I’ve been held at gunpoint, insulted & had my face banged on the hood of my car but I’ve also been let go when they had everything they needed to bust me. I was searched by a cop in ’76 and was sweating it when he grabbed the lump in my sock, stretched it a bit and then let it go with a pop. Another cop pulls up, jumps out of his car and yells at me to assume the position. My good cop tells the other cop that he’s already searched me and I’m clean. I was busted a few days later for “green leafy substance on my floorboard,” which was Bermuda grass from a freshly mowed lawn. To be fair, I was at a house that was being raided at the time but still, I was busted for Bermuda grass. I still run into asshole cops every now and then but for the most part, they quit giving me shit when I quit flipping them off for no particular reason. Sorry for the long comment.

11:48 PM  

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