Among us is a delicate dance between the everyday man desiring civilization and who we want to be the sheepdogs. Although we have let things detour a bit from the way that they were intended, most people mean well. The vast majority of police understand that they have an unwritten mission to “serve and protect”. (Look past the fact that the Supreme Court proved that they have no legal duty to take care of the public, outside of what their employer tells them to).
I have had my share of “decent” interactions with police. One or two tried to be humorous. One or two were non-chalant. One or two were stupid, illiterate rednecks. Some did their best to be professional and were polite, yet firm. I’ve never been slammed around although I have been caught in an infraction (insurance, speeding, etc.). I know that most of these dudes and dudettes don’t want to hang out with me in the middle of the road as oblivious idiots try their best to mangle themselves. I was reminded of the perilous position that many LEOs inhabit, a somewhat thankless job coupled with qualified immunity. (Not looking at a generality that many bring up that “we can kick your ass and get away with it” or “messing with minorities”). In this frame of reference; I wanted to look at two cops in my local police force.
Fortunately, there are more than two policemen in Lower Mogadishu. I have met all but one. That one is the new guy. The two people I will focus on are “Taylor” and “Biff”. (Yes, these are aliases).
Taylor is someone that went to school with a family member of mine. He was a relatively uneventful person to go to school with. Taylor was never the one to pick on anyone or to be picked on himself. I had heard plenty of good stories about the guy. He married someone that was well known and respected in my nearby circles. I was thrilled to find out that he bought a house a few doors down. I didn’t mind having a clean cut guy living nearby instead of someone that would throw dirty diapers in their walls.
I finally ran into the guy at the mailbox. I tried my best to introduce myself. I found out what kind of cop he really was. He is and was a “Us vs Them” type. He couldn’t say more than a “huh” or an “okay”. I’m not quick to throw someone away but I had an experience that solidified my attitude towards him. His visiting cop buddies got lost in the neighborhood. I ask them if they were looking for (x) house number. The one idiot just kind of laughed and turned up his nose. The next car of blatant bacon just gave me a bizarre look before he drove off. I’m not an idiot. I can see off duty cops or local yokels. I know when people go through our neighborhood that don’t live here. This includes off duty cops.
Taylor isn’t on my preferred police list. Anyone that rejects the idea of doing intelligence work and treats his neighbors like that can’t depend on anyone to call a paramedic when they see their lungs flood with delicious sanguinary fluid.
Biff is an established policeman in the community. Many people have been chased down by Biff during his heyday. I have had nice conversations with him and he was a very “aware” cop when he pulled me over. We spoke of his family’s military career and insights to life. His information has helped me reach out to people locally and helped understand people in general. He doesn’t mind if you call him by his first name. He remembers things about people and businesses. He has an insight for when things go wrong. He doesn’t phone it in. His people stop to talk with you.
It is unfortunate that Taylor can not learn from Biff. I am not under the delusion that Biff is my friend but I am also not under the delusion that Taylor is an outright enemy. But this is the world that we live in. It is the tale of two cops. The space in between them is where public opinion forms. It is the longest mile to overcome.