MAKING America Great

I have no idea why, but I’ve known a lot of ex-cops in my lifetime, and have had some disturbing conversations therewith. I strongly believe that certain jobs attract certain personalities, and I have to confess that I’ve always been sort of creeped out by the cop culture, as much as truly I appreciate that thin blue line. I’m hoping that the attitudes and/or actions that I describe below are the reason these individuals are ex-cops, but who knows.

Many years ago, I worked for the Florida Department of Transportation. I was standing outside my office with an ex-cop, watching one of the prison crews load their equipment onto a truck. (FDOT contracts with prison crews to do minor work such as landscaping and pothole repair.) He said to me, “Man, I wish we still had the hot box for when they act up.”

When I asked him to elaborate, he said that right there on that very spot they used to keep a tiny metal shed, so tiny that you had to squat to get into it, and when one of the prisoners on a crew would misbehave, they’d stick him in there for “a day or so”. Every once in a while someone would go by and hit the metal walls with a stick “for fun” to make the guy jump while he was in there sweating and dehydrating and cramping up beneath the brutal Florida sun. “They’d behave after that,” he said with a hint of nostalgia in his voice.

I was horrified. Shades of Cool Hand Luke.

Another ex-cop posted a picture of a flattened human being with tire tracks across his torso on her Facebook page. She thought this was hilarious. It actually made me feel kind of sick.

A third told me he wished the city cops had as much “leeway” as the county cops when dealing with vagrants. “See, the county cops will just beat the hell out of them and they’ll leave and never come back. Whereas the city cops have to be all polite.”

And just the other day I heard about a trick that some cops supposedly employ when they want to pull someone over but they have no valid reason. It’s called a wrist rocket. Apparently that’s a slingshot that they use to take out a person’s tail light.

I can understand the desire to make America great. But when your idea of “make” is to “force upon” rather than to “bring about”, you’ve crossed the line into very scary Donald Trump territory. Not all of us have the same definition of great.

Is there any wonder why some police have such public relations issues? And as a friend of mine commented on Facebook, “Is no one being taught the Constitution anymore? No one?”


4 thoughts on “MAKING America Great

  1. Howdy!

    You’re absolutely right: jobs attract personality. Many years ago I read a sociological report — it wasn’t a study; it was more informed speculation, so maybe you’re not absolutely right — that speculated that the professions attracted people who needed that profession. Psychologists came from mental health deficits in their backgrounds. Engineers were not people people. Nurses were from co-dependent families. And cops were sadists. I think there is more to the sadism and alpha-dogism of cops than what most of us are willing to admit. I think some of that is coming out with all the video tape of cops killing innocent unarmed black men.


  2. With the new all-black Seattle Police uniforms surely having been chosen to be more intimidating, along with the new combat-style vehicles in all-black, it is pretty clear that the era of “Officer Friendly” is behind us.

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