Holding Everyone Accountable for the Actions of One
By Four Walls
July 8, 2016 8:54am CST
Most of us don't think that all Mexicans are drug smugglers because of the actions of "El Chapo," the notorious drug lord. Most of us don't think all women are crazy because of Lisa Nowak (I'll leave it to you to look up what she did...oy). Yet people are thinking all cops are bad because of the actions of a few. I highly recommend you watch the movie Serpico, one of my all-time favorite Al Pacino films. It's the true story of New York police detective Frank Serpico, who was an honest cop in a police department loaded with dishonest cops taking bribes, graft, and everything else. As a result, he took a near-fatal bullet to the face when two of his partners pulled back and allowed him to be shot. There was a study conducted by Stanford University in 1971 that took volunteers and indiscriminately assigned them to a role of either prisoner or prison guard. The study found that those who were guards underwent a dramatic shift in personality, becoming dictatorial and abusive in their roles. That shows that there may be a legitimate psychological disorder that causes power to "go to their heads" when some people get in a position of authority (such as a police officer). However, that doesn't mean that every cop hates blacks, is trigger happy, or relishes pulling people over and seeing how nasty he/she can be to the person they stopped. (I had that happen to me when I came home from Cincinnati one night, about 2 AM: I was speeding, and a cop pulled me over. He chewed me out for not stopping on the interstate [which I did not do because the authorities state on the news that if you don't feel safe drive to a lit area, and any real cop will understand that] and talked quite brutally to me: after asking where I had been, if I had anything to drink, etc. and I told him I had been in Cincinnati seeing Dale Watson he replied, "What is a 'Dale Watson?" However, I realized, after the fact, that he was trying to antagonize me to see if I was drunk. A drunk would not have sat in the car, answering the questions coherently and politely without flying off the handle [e.g., "why don't you go look him up on You Tube, jerk?"].) Yes, there are some. I, for one, would love to see police departments across the country institute an annual psychological review of every police officer to go along with their physical, because I think they need to be mentally fit as well as physically fit. And, for the record, I've heard stories from Caucasian men about how badly they have been mistreated in a traffic stop, so don't think it's just blacks. Some of these cops just don't have good carside manners. My brother joined the Navy during the Vietnam war. During that time people in uniform were vilified by anti-war protesters, some being spat upon and called "baby killers." My brother never went to Vietnam (by the time he finished his specialty school training to be an aircraft electronics expert the war had ended), but he was lumped into that category. And why? In 1968, in the village of My Lai, a second lieutenant by the name of William Calley oversaw the systematic slaughter of hundreds of innocent South Vietnamese citizens. That was one man's actions, and yet hundreds of thousands of military men and women bore the brunt of his shame. We call it "stereotyping" when someone says "all blacks are criminals" or "all Italians are Mafia members." Let's stop stereotyping every policeman in the US because of the actions of a few. Instead, let's work hard to support the honest cops who keep us safe daily, and work equally hard to make sure that procedures and tests are in place to make sure that those few who are trigger-happy are found out and kicked out before they take another life.
8 people like this
• United States
8 Jul 16
I agree that periodic evaluations regarding the mental health of police officers need to be put in place. It does seem that stereotyping is common habit of humans. We all need to stop and practice taking an overall view before making judgements.
• Los Angeles, California
8 Jul 16
And African Americans need to realize only a small percentage of whites are racist and stop with the attitude all whites are automatically racist. And it goes on and on with groups. You have to ask those waging war on cops Do you want to live without law enforcement? Is that what would make you happy? For the Purge movies to come to reality? Yeah, none of us particularly like law enforcement but they are an absolute necessity.
• United States
8 Jul 16
It's hard for people to hear when I say it But I had some very nice officers help me at times. When I was arrested I never felt mistreated by the people who booked me. All down to the nice detective who visited me in my cell.