We just need to be sure who the enemy really is.
I witnessed the downfall of a very old, very established, and very decent forum over just this kind of discussion – where people of otherwise like mind took shots at “their own.” Reading the posts (and not even needing to read between lines) there is no one here saying that we should always be 100% comfortable dealing with LE, that we have nothing to fear. Nor do I see anyone claiming things are just the same today as they were 50 years ago, in terms of trusting cops. From the newbie on the block, please don’t let this forum go down the same road – there’s far too much like-mindedness here to let a difference in perspective on a single issue turn brother against brother. This doesn’t have to be a “sides-taking” issue here, where an otherwise spirited discussion has to turn personal.
Not long ago, our neighbors were out of town for a long weekend. A car pulled up with four 20-somethings in it. They got out, knocked on the front door, found no one at home, and proceeded around the back of the house. They were casually but reasonably decently dressed, any “profiling” wouldn’t have raised any bright red flags, but it just seemed odd. So, I went out my back door, concealed myself sufficiently to where I could observe the back of the neighbor’s house, and it appeared the foursome were inside. I called police.
When police arrived, they stopped in front of my house just moments after the foursome had exited the house and driven around the corner. I went out to meet the police, and promptly informed one of the four cops that I was carrying, in case they happened to notice it (on my own property), and stated that I was merely informing them so as to avoid any discomfort on their part. I was sincerely thanked by the officer I informed, and not hassled by any of them (nor did I detect any discomfort on any of their parts). We then immediately proceeded to discuss where the foursome had gone. They were quickly located, and it turned out they had a key, and were there to check on the dog (that our neighbors neglected to inform us had been left indoors for the weekend!). No problem, no hassle, good cops.
But then just weeks ago, I saw a radar cop on a motorcycle in an area I’ve often wondered about with regard to the speed limit (without going into detail, it appears to be one speed for almost a mile in one direction, and another speed in the opposite direction). Perfect opportunity to get clarification, I thought! I pulled in and proceeded to ask him what was the enforced limit in the questionable direction, and explained my reason for the question, based on very confusing signage. I was aggressively and immediately accused of interfering with him or trying to start an argument! I went into it expecting the old “good cop” response with a reasonable answer, followed by my “thank you,” and his “no problem” response. That’s what most of my many decades of experience has been through the years – no intent to hassle, no expectation of being hassled. But suddenly this was a scary situation, complete with hassle and a bad cop. Based on the highly inappropriate response, I began to expect to be taken into custody on some bogus charge, based on his off-the-wall response to me. Shocked? Unfortunately not anymore, but I simply refuse to lump all LE into that category, even knowing that it’s an increasingly larger category (particularly with many former deployed Soldiers going into LE, with all their issues). But I’ll still start out with every LE (and former LE) officer with the opening assumption the s/he’s decent.
So with respect to this thread, in the words of that great philosopher Rodney King, can’t we all just get along here? (Ol’ Rodney died just about three blocks from my old house….) My initial newbie impression here is quite comfortable, or I would not have finally joined. But this particular thread brings back uncomfortable memories of several decent people being driven out of an otherwise nice place to hang out together. That place finally ceased to exist after well over a decade, with some great people over the years (some here today, thankfully, and one of whom pointed me here finally).