Monday, December 23, 2013

We all have to suck it up

My dad read an interesting story from a book he is reading to me tonight.  It talked about a cop who had a particular way of getting revenge on people who drove by him and yelled out "PIG!".  He would write up a fake parking ticket for them and then just toss away the portion that is supposed to go to the driver; eventually they would end up paying a ticket they never got or arrested for unpaid tickets far down the road.  We talked a bit about how we treat the police and whether or not they deserve special respect.

I feel like a key part of the reason that the police commit terrible crimes against civilians and get away with it is the sense that they are entitled to take revenge in this way.  If a bartender decided to fake a crime and try to pin it on somebody just because that somebody called him a nasty name we would roundly condemn it.  The same goes whether or not the profession in question is accountant, homemaker, or pilot.  However, when it is a cop involved some people feel they are justified in abusing their power to get vengeance for something as minor as an insult.

Police do not have a job that is unique in terms of danger; many jobs like fishing are vastly more dangerous.  Police do not have a unique position in terms of public service either - we would not accord the right to abuse the law purely for spite to a nurse or a postal worker.  If we want the police to act in a responsible and fair manner we all have an obligation to treat them just like we would any other citizen doing a job and insist that they treat each other the same way.  Any other citizen faced with a random insult simply has to grumble and walk away.  Police should do the same and we should hold their feet to the fire when they do not.

Contempt of cop is not a crime, just as contempt of salesperson is not a crime.  Cops need to learn that lesson and all of us need to make sure that they hear the same thing.  Only when cops play by the same rules that the rest of us do will they truly earn the respect of the population they have sworn to protect.

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