Through the Woods

My dad was career FBI. But before he joined the Bureau he was a beat cop in Bessemer, Alabama, a small town outside Birmingham, and famously Bo Jackson’s hometown. (My dad was also rumored to have dunked a stick in the 7th grade . . . in a cup of coffee.)

My mom was regularly asked about whether she feared for my father while he was working bank robberies or hijackings or kidnappings as a federal agent. She always said no. For her, the element of surprise and uncertainty inherent in the work-a-day demands of a street cop were far more dangerous than the relatively informed and prepared investigatory work of an FBI agent. When an agent walks in on a suspect, they typically know everything. A cop is almost completely blind.

No matter your view of them, police officers perform a terrifying service. I think we underestimate, severely, the nerves that we might feel just approaching a Toyota Sierra (an admittedly horrifying vehicle) on a traffic stop, much less an IROC-Z after a car chase or a domestic dispute on a house call. So when cops find themselves facing real weapons and real bad guys on real drugs down dark alleys, the emotional energy must be off the charts.

There are a lot of bad, invidious reasons for police brutality. And, it sounds like Chris Dorner was possibly the latest, in a long line, blowing the whistle on LAPD. But, as we rightly condemn it, we should also try and understand. I know its their job, but I have always imagined that if I were quelling a prison riot or taking down a suspect, I, too, might be a little more preemptive and a little more excessive with my force than the moment might objectively require. Hit him before he hits you, sort of thing. Not an excuse. Just an explanation.

So the last thing a cop needs, on top of every other kind of danger and assault posed against him, is one of his own, another cop, trying to take him down.

So, even if Dorner had cause to accuse, he never had it to kill.

And by the way, the answer to today’s question is (a) villain. Just so I’m clear.

white cabin

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.

Today’s blong here:


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