Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Johnny Law

Driving towards the silver mines on the outskirts of Butte, Montana for work this morning, I was struck by the abuse of power exhibited by the police officer in the car in front of me.

We pulled up to a red light, the police car third in line waiting to proceed, my car behind his. It was an unusually long light and the cop had run out of patience. He blared his siren, crossed the double yellow line, passed the civilian cars waiting dutifully for the light to change and traversed the intersection, causing oncoming, green-lighted traffic to apply the brakes and make way for King Po-Po.

This incident bothers me. Cops drunk with power. Who knows - maybe Sergeant Impatient is just a few more siren blares away from going full-blown Richard Gere in "Internal Affairs." Perhaps he decides to break some bigger rules, wins an election and sets up a prisoner camp somewhere in Cuba off the jurisdictional grid.

Obey the rules of the road when acting under the color of law. Goes for Officer Gere. Goes for Officer Bush. The open spigot of lawlessness trickles down.


Defective Pants said...

How do you know he didn't get called to an accident or other incident while he was sitting at the red light?

Warm Apple Pie said...

Because after he cleared the intersection, he turned off the siren and proceeded at a leisurely pace.

Defective Pants said...

Well with that clarification, we can agree that this is prime "piss-me-off" behavior. I was recently talking to my cousin who is friends with a bunch of cops. They were all getting trashed at some wedding and my cousin confronted one of his cop buddies about driving drunk - "why do you feel you can get behind the wheel tonight and out people's lives in danger, but tomorrow night you'll pull over some college girl who had maybe one too many drinks and ruin the next few years of her life by arresting her?" His answer - "we earned this right in the academy." Maddening - not on the level of cracking down on drunk drivers (the chick should be arrested), but on the drunk with power (no pun intended) behavior that is completely rationalized, flaunted and borderline encouraged by looking the other way.

Warm Apple Pie said...

Agreed. My uncle was a cop. Highly regarded. And he used to bemoan this "above the law" mentality, especially in younger folks recently out of the academy.

Take pride in the badge. We put so much faith in the honor of the uniform because we recognize the risk to life and limb of those who wear it. But it should not be unwitting faith and the first indicia of corruption, no matter how small, should be called out.