The dumbing down of the American society
The American society of today has been dumbed down to the extent that Bill O’Reilly can send out his man; Jessy Waters; on the street and at noisome find college kids that can’t get by what was 6th grade civics; when Bill and I went to school in the 50’s, with questions like who was the vice president, or secretary of state? Then they look at him with a blank stare.
With that I wish to relate a real story from my book: A View From The Street / River City Policing, coming out this winter.
It was a warm summer evening. The children were partying and generally enjoying themselves. I was working the 2 Robert 9 district. I had responded to a loud party call, probably from some social outcast who hadn’t been invited to the party. I had been dispatched to the complaint in a large apartment complex around 10 p.m. Everyone in the complex was partying. Most of the sliding glass doors were open. The evening being warm, you would expect that. The call was routine. (Hey cops out there, before you say “nothing is routine in police work,” don’t you think I know that? It’s my story. Snotty office poges say those things. I contact the complainant and the party goers and try to come to some accommodation between the parties. That might have been the end of the fun had it not been for the 8 to 4 crew who had swung by to back me up. The 8 to 4 crew’s sole purpose was to be a floater car. They went where the action was.
I cleared the noise complaint after getting the parties to respect each other’s right to exist. As I was about to exit the lot, I saw that the 8 to 4 crew had stopped a group of revelers in a car across from the apartment complex at the Gull gas station. There were two apartment buildings along NE 4th with their rear decks overlooking NE 4th.
About 20 feet to the rear and south of the unmarked patrol car, was a young man dancing around shaking his fist at the officers of the 8 to 4 crew. He was yelling at the top of his lungs the vilest obscenities imaginable. I let them know I was there and was observing the young gentleman. I exited my patrol car and strolled across NE 4th noticing as I did, the young man had garnered the attention of most of the folks in the two buildings along NE 4th. There were several other groups of people coming out of the other buildings to see what all the commotion was about. The young man was seemingly oblivious to me or the audience he had attracted with his antics. I walked up behind him and stood there and looked around at the crowd. I lifted my hands in a jester meaning, “can you believe this?” The young man still had not noticed that I was standing right next to him, just to his rear. He was still spewing out obscenities when I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, “F YOU.”
He then jumped straight in the air and spun around. At this point he noticed that I was a 6 foot 5 inch police officer in full uniform and there was a crowd of at least 100 onlookers laughing and pointing at him. That’s when he was overcome with religion and piety.
The young man started jumping around and yelling at the crowd while pointing at me repeating over and over “HE SAID THE F WORD.” While doing this, he lost all his concentration on the 8 to 4 crew, who by this time had finished their warning of the driver of the car they had stopped. They had exited their unit and were now standing behind the young man. As he bounced around yelling, “he said the f word,” and pointing at me, he happened to back up into the 8 to 4 crew. They snatched him up, one on each side of the young man, lifting him off the ground. At this point, this young man demanded to see the Sargent. “I am the Sargent,” came the reply, “and you’re under arrest for disorderly conduct.” The crowd roared.
I know I should not have said the F word. Something came over me. The sight of this anarchist challenging authority over something he knew nothing about created an exigent circumstance. At such times, the Supreme Court has ruled that police can act outside the bounds of decorum to reestablish public order. I have every expectation that the ACLU will forgive this slight peccadillo on my part. Choices have consequences.
This young man had been educated in the finest of our public schools or so the local educators claimed. I suspect that the part of the education process called discipline was absent in the school and home life of the young man in question., Apparently that aspect of his upbringing had been remanded to us the working cops. Now we take personal offence to being the default administers of corporal punishment but, we did the job when forced into it.
S Henry Knocker