My Son Wants to be a Cop

goodcopbadcopIt was July 4th, in Lakeville, Minnesota. We had just been witness to the worst fireworks show since Christopher Columbus arrived on our fair shores, the natives celebrating with their Gattling guns, shooting glittered cherry pits into the air, peppering the smelly white folk with scented ash (hey…if David Barton can embellish history, I can too!).

We had a long walk back to the car. Two blocks, that is. Long Lakeville blocks. Traffic was everyone, everyone trying at once to get back home, faster than the next person. At 10:30PM on a Monday night, who wouldn’t want to be home faster than everyone else?

Police whistles cut the air and hurt your ears, the closer you came to an intersection. As we waited at the corner, Fred (11) watched with pure happiness on his face, as the officers waved their lighted wands, directing traffic against the lights. Then, they let us go, whistling unnecessarily, somewhat irritable.

Stepping off the curb onto the street, Fred stumbled over the feet of the crowd, making sure to continually catch a glimpse of the officers with every step he took. Pure joy was on his face.

“Daddy, I’m going to be a cop when I grow up, so I can do that.”

I bristled. A cop? You mean that police force that feels as if they’re on the clock when they encounter someone with a mental health condition? You mean the officers that treat me like a criminal during a simple traffic stop? You mean those men in blue that spout racist comments on social media, even encouraging people to run over protesters and activists calling for equal justice and actual due process, as afforded by our Constitution? You mean the men and women who sit on top of defenseless human being, citizens with every right to exist, and shoot them in the back? You mean those?

But I didn’t say that. I looked at my son and saw a generation of rebirth. One cog in the wheel of changing the system that my generation is attempting to start for him. He would have the opportunity to be a foot soldier in a new era of policing. One with recognition of rights and equality. One with empathy, sense of community, restraint, trustworthiness, yes, even love.

“Which kind? A good cop or a bad cop?”

With a look of utter disdain, side-eyeballing me with deep suspicion, wondering why the hell I have the audacity to question his character, he muttered under his breath, “You know the one, of course.”

I tousled his hair as we stepped up on the curb on the other side of the street, hoping the system won’t get to him before he brings hell to them.

Early Morning Burglary

cartoon-burglarWe were robbed last night.

I woke up at 2:35AM with a start. Light from the garage was pouring into my bedroom windows.

“That’s weird,” I thought, “I swear I turned that light off before I went to bed.

I threw my wife’s red robe on and walked downstairs to flip off the switch to the garage, beside the front door. I reached my hand around the corner and stopped cold. The switch was in the direction I had flipped it earlier, which meant only one thing – the garage light had been turned on from inside the garage.

I mustered the courage and then peeked out the window, staring at the light and the garage for a few moments, waiting for burglars to bust out of the garage, carrying away my plywood scraps, old chairs, kayak with a hole in it, and a tent that leaked when the sky sneezed. I even flipped the light off and on a few times to let the thugs know I meant business.

Nothing moved.

Groggily, I climbed the stairs again, to find my slippers. I had no interest in chasing a fleet-footed, Amazonian woman in bare feet, though, with my ample callouses, I wouldn’t feel a thing, even if I had reason to chase her over hot coals.

“What are you doing,” my wife asked, irritated?

I explained. She shot out of bed, grabbed a robe, and told me to follow her.

I obediently hid behind her, making sure to touch her butt, so she would have moral support. We walked outside together and walked to the garage. Everything was buttoned shut. Nothing was missing. Turning around, I noticed our old grill missing, our shiny new one, sitting in its place.

“Oh right. I told Josh to come and get the old grill. His wife said it would probably be the wee hours of the morning.”

Disaster averted, we went back to bed. My hero status would have to wait.

When Humanity Makes You Sick: A Rape Story

The New York Times and NPR have a story about an 18-year-old girl who took nude pictures of her 17-year-old friend, then met some guy at a mall, who happened to be 29, and decided to get together with him. The man allegedly plied the girls with a bottle of vodka, getting them drunk, then took them to a house and raped the 17-year-old.

A few minutes into the rape, the 18-year-old started live recording on Periscope. A friend saw the live feed and called the police. Now, the man and the older girl are facing a multitude of charges.

But this story smells like rape apology. While there is plenty from the grand jury indictment to show that bad decisions were made, the language from the prosecutor feels very much like the classic mantra, “Why didn’t she scream?”

The problem is, a rapist can be both dangerous and unpredictable. The 18-year-old claimed she began to tape the encounter on Periscope, hoping someone would contact authorities and make it stop, as well as to collect evidence. Both of these came true. This is a silver lining in an otherwise horrible story.

But the prosecutor wasn’t having it.

“[The 18-year-old] did not call 911”.

Regardless of all the other evidence that the prosecutor says points to the older friend consenting to the rape of her younger friend, that sentence right there is enormous in its gravity. Here is a man, 12 years older than the girl he is raping, having overpowered her while she was drunk, 11 years older than the girl doing the recording – and the prosecutor is questioning why nobody called the police?

 

The girls are still physically alive today, potentially because they precisely did not call the police. Nobody knows, really, what would have happened if the 18-year-old had decided to call the authorities. Death, maybe? As sick as it sounds, playing along with a rapist and working the system to smartly broadcast an S.O.S call, was arguably a very good move on the older girl’s part.

Again, I don’t know. Apparently the prosecutor seems to think the video shows that the older girl was very much into the experience. But the way he nonchalantly suggests she should have called 911 is hogwash.

But that isn’t the worst part.

[T]he prosecutor, said [the older girl] had apparently hoped that live-streaming the attack would help to stop it, but that she became enthralled by positive feedback online.

“She got caught up in the likes,” he said.

And that should make you sick. There were actual humans, ‘liking’ the live rape.