The Curious Case of the Bench in the Night Time

7 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Bench in the Night Time”

  1. Decades ago, the common name for a guy with a badge was a “Peace Officer.” Today, we’re more inclined to call them “Law Enforcement Officers.” Now, the term we use to describe something doesn’t change the thing itself, but it does change perceptions and perceptions over time can reshape our world.

    Did Johnny interact with a Peace Officer, or a Law Enforcement Officer? If you were sitting on that bench, which one would you rather interact with? If you were the shopkeeper who called in the report, which one do you want responding to the call?

    Also, I’ll note the case of Eric Garner. He died while being arrested in NYC for selling “loosies” (individual cigarettes). His death was one of the initial motivating factors in #BlackLivesMatter. Without reaching any conclusions about the officers themselves or the way in which they did their job, did the system they work for send them out to keep the peace, or to enforce the law?

    Peace, or Law Enforcement? There’s certainly some overlap in the Venn diagram, but emphasis matters.

  2. I am replying in the hopes that it will cause your fab blog to come to my inbox, and not to my promotions/social box on gmail. Thanks, Johnny, for great content and original thinking.

    Beth

    On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 3:58 AM, Granola Shotgun wrote:

    > Johnny posted: ” Events in the news reminded me of an experience I had a > few years back while renovating an old fixer upper in the countryside. The > house had electricity, but it was a mess of cleaning, painting, and light > carpentry at the time. Cell phone coverage” >

  3. Interesting comments…

    A good friend of mine who has traveled the world has said many times, we do not have a sense of community. I know most people feel the same. When one feels he or see is not part of the community, they feel left out. The have no stake in the game. Millions of dollars spent on education, etc has not solved the problem. I have known many policemen and found most to be honest and caring. They are responding to what society wants. We do not want crime but no one is suppose to hurt or arrested. Let’s decide what we want.

  4. There has been a decision in this country that there will be no consequences for police murder of civilians. The Supreme Court has even given them the “Get out of jail free” code – “I was in fear for my life.” It seems to work every time.

    I think the key is for killing by police to be a career ender for them. Dead civilian by your hand, no matter what the circumstance, is the end of your career as a police officer. No retirement, no severance package. Just find a new career path. One and done.

  5. The way we approach community safety/peaceableness in the US is the way we approach health in this country. In health we identify the “culprit” (disease/failing organ, etc) and apply drugs and/or surgery to eliminate from the body. In policing, we identify the “culprit” and shoot/imprison it to eliminate from the community.

    But neither approach creates a body free of disease or a community free of crime. Sometimes identifying and getting rid of the culprit is necessary, but this is due to a failure of health. It is not a source of health in and of itself. If we put even half the resources that we currently put into policing and health care (retroactive, blunt force solutions) into cultivating actual healthy bodies and communities, our need for doctors, hospitals, police and prisons would shrink drastically.

    How do we nurture body health? Drastically cut down consumption of sugar, processed food, fast food. Walk or bike 30 minutes a day. Eliminate air pollution from industries, power plants and automobiles/trucks. These three measures alone would cure/prevent 80% of American health problems.

    How do we nurture community health? This is tougher, but the chief of police in Richmond, CA made a stab at it.
    https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/11/17/richmond-police-chief-chris-magnus-looks-headed-to-tucson/
    Other measures: reduce income inequality to European levels, treat cities/neighborhoods/towns as living ecosystems, nurture local economies, push decision making as far as possible down to local levels. Build physical activity and human interaction into the fabric of daily life, which means streets, neighborhoods, infrastructure built for humans not cars. Last but not least, trees! (High tree canopies, not low brush.) http://www.citylab.com/crime/2012/05/can-trees-actually-deter-crime/2107/

  6. I think our fear of 9/11 still is a major driving force in the USA. The Bush Administration homeland security boondoggle not only has cost a fortune but militarize our police departments. I think the same gungho of the military of my experience in the 1960’s and sports teams today’s seem to me to be an attitude of “kill before we get killed!” I notice the cop never got out of his predator mode and said “I am just checking on things.” There is no
    manners” or “common sense” on the fear that a simple pedestrian is up-to-know-good. Had there been a wave of robberies in your area as the excuse said or is it our usual “white” American jitters? I live in Costa Rica and the cops here wave at you as the pass buy and once when I was walking home on my country road they stopped and the younger of the two got out and offer to cry my grocery bags. Just like “Boy Scouts” in the USA use to do in previous times. God only knows what would happen is happening to the “Boy Scouts” on the streets of the USA? Particularly if they if they are young people of color!

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