Monday, November 2, 2015

Week of 11/02/2015

They’re Still Our Dogs
When I was a young child, someone broke into our home.
My father worked as both a police officer and also at the local shipyard building subs.  He made plenty of enemies during his time, and one of them decided to pay us a visit.  My sister and I were not harmed, and we didn’t even know about what happened until after the fact.
But the incident convinced my father that we needed a guard dog.  Our current dog, which my parents got when I was born, was a loyal protector, and did her best to help fend off the intruder, but she wasn’t strong enough.  We were loaned a German Shepherd for a while, but that was only until the eminent threat was gone.
We got a Doberman puppy which we named Knight.  It was believed that Knight would be the kind of guardian dog that would deter anyone from bringing trouble our way.
Keep in mind that this was the 1970’s, and Dobermans were the pit bulls of the day, especially after the release of “The Omen” movies.  They were sleek, black, and seemingly bred for violence.
That’s great for being guard dogs.
But it’s also bad for a family with young children.
Knight proved himself to be a real nightmare... for us.  He snapped at people.  He charged at myself and my sister.  He destroyed anything he could get his jaws around, especially shoes, clothes, pillows, and our cherished stuffed animals.
And remember that my sister and I were young children at the time!
The final blow came when Knight lay in hiding and then charged at my little sister.  At that point we realized that we couldn’t keep him anymore.  He wasn’t a guard dog anymore.  He was a menace.  He was a threat.  And we had to give him up before he caused any more problems.
That wasn’t the last time we had a dog in the family, but it was the only time that we had a pet that we had to give up.  It also pretty much cemented my preference for cats.  And I know from experience that cats can be just as protective as dogs, even if they don’t look it.
And it wasn’t an easy decision to make then.  We didn’t want to give the dog up.  He was cute and he was young, and when he wasn’t being a menace, he was playful.  But my little sister lived in fear of Knight after that incident, and that was no way to live.
Every time I see some news report about abusive police officers, I think back to those days with Knight.
Look, I get it.  We don’t want to hear about cops behaving worse than the criminals.  We’d rather hear about the cops that do good things for the people in need.  We want to hear about the cop that stops a shoplifting mother and then buys groceries for her and her family because they need it, not about the cop that pulls a girl to the classroom floor and drags her like an animal carcass before handcuffing her because she supposedly “deserved” it.
Like I said before, my father was a police officer.  I worked with police officers.  I have a degree in criminal justice from one of the best colleges in the country.  If not for some physical complications, I probably would have been a cop.  So I really don’t want to be hearing about cops acting like a bunch of junta thugs.
I’m also not a big fan of the “Black Lives Matter” crowd right now because of their recent actions.  Look, I understand that you want to be heard.  You want to get your point across, and it sometimes feels like nobody cares.  You’re not the first person with this problem.  Talk to the “Occupy” crowd if you don’t believe me.  But storming the stage and taking over speeches of the people that would otherwise be on your side is definitely not the way to do it!
But do you know what I’m also really sick and tired of hearing?  All of the pompous, self-righteous, self-serving police sycophants that beat their chests and scream “Cops lives matter too!”  All you people are doing is feeding the extremist bunker mentality that has been slowly growing within the ranks of law enforcement.  You’ve turned the “thin blue line” into a six-mile war trench, and reinforced the siege mentality that says that there are no rules for cops, that anything is fair game, and that the ends always justify the means.  No, quite often the victims of these very public instances of police abuse are not “saints”.  But does that still justify what is done to them?
Ask yourself this question: if you ended up on the business end of that nightstick, how would you want to be treated?  Don’t think it won’t happen to you?  There are two reporters that were arrested and subject to police abuse in Ferguson whose only crimes were sitting in a restaurant and reporting on the protests as a part of their jobs.  There have been people arrested for the “crime” of sitting on their own porch at their own homes and recording police officers doing their jobs across the street.  Still don’t think that it can be you on the business end of that nightstick?
Let’s get brutally honest here... we need to accept the reality that these police officers are our “dogs”.  We pay for them.  We train them.  We arm them.  And much like that little Doberman my family used to have, we expect them to be our protectors and our friends.  We expect them to go after the “bad guys” but to also “serve and protect”.
And much like that little dog my family used to have, when our taxpayer-funded “dogs” get out of control, it is our responsibility to deal with them.  If they can’t be controlled, then they need to be removed.  It is that simple.
This is what we expect when it comes to dog owners.  We hold them responsible when they can’t keep their dogs under control.  Not all dogs are bad or out-of-control.  A lot of them are caring and loving and loyal.  But every instance of them attacking and mauling and killing people, especially children, poisons the faith and trust we have with them.  That’s what happened to German Shepherds and Dobermans in the past, and, now, of course, pit bulls are under public scrutiny.
Likewise, as I’ve said in a previous article on the subject, I’d like to think that most cops are good and decent.  They want to make a difference.  They want to help out their fellow man.  Unfortunately, every publicized instance of their good deeds are negated by the abuses.  And with the overabundance of digital cameras on cellphones and tablets, and the access to online social media to host those videos almost instantaneously, there really is no alternative.  I want to hear more about the good things they do and less of the abuses.  But that’s entirely up to the police and their sycophants.
Granted, cops aren’t dogs.  And that actually makes it worse, because at least when the dog crosses the line, we don’t really blame it.  We blame the dog’s owner.  Cops, on the other hand, are human beings, which means they are supposed to know better.  We’re paying for them to be trained to not only know better but to actually do better.  We should expect to see that in how they do their jobs, not see that our tax money is being spent in vain.

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