There's a lot of crazy in the world. I know that — heck, I coined the phrase. And I believe it. But you can believe something to be true, sincerely, in your heart, and still marvel at specific examples.
Take yesterday's column, about Chicago police recruits taking ethics training at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. It was a long, seven hour day, spent at the Holocaust museum, 9 a.m to 4 p.m., with 113 would-be cops. Too long to be at the Holocaust Museum. I do not recommend it. Not to take anything way from the institution. It tends to bring a person down.
Still, it was worth it, because it led to an interesting story, I felt, delivered fairly directly. No need for me to get on a soapbox. Just present the interesting thing going on. It raises enough important questions on its own.
If you haven't read the column, read it here.
Done? Feel like you've understood it? Good. Now we'll have the police reaction. Pause, to imagine what that reaction might be. What do you think a veteran police officer would say? Got your idea? Good.
Here's the reality. We'll just use one, but he expresses a common reaction. The most common reaction:
I am a highly decorated, retired Chicago Cop (31yrs.)with several thousand( you read that correctly- several thousand) arrests under my belt. Comparing The CPD to the Nazi Third Reich is so insulting & idiotic, that I really don't know how to respond. I would also imagine that comparing innocent Holocaust victims to "Inner City Thug Casualties" is just as insulting to the Jewish People. I don't think any Holocaust Victims were robbing,shooting,wielding weapons, car-jacking or threatening anyone, when they were murdered...........do you?You owe Cops an apology.What do you say to that? It's just so sad. It made me sad to read, to think about, not because it was a unique reaction, but because it is the common condition nowadays, not just with cops and this story, but with so many people. Our vision has become kaleidoscopic. We can look at the most mundane thing and see a shattered, swirling mosaic of crazy. What can you do in the face of that? Nothing.
Look on the bright side: this asshole is retired and not using his badge to abuse citizens any longer.ReplyDelete
You can never tell what will set these guys off.ReplyDelete
Years ago there was a children's book called "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble." It was a perfectly pleasant kiddie story that won whatever the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize is for children's lit. The book used the common narrative device of using different animals to represent different occupations. On one page, a police officer was depicted as a pig.
Well, did that ever cause a foofaraw. Police unions howled and organized a boycott of, not only that book, but every one put out by its publishers. Talk about overreacting. Seriously? They were that concerned about a children's book?
A might defensive, aren't they?ReplyDelete
Considering all the s**t they go through which most of us couldn't even begin to understand let alone deal with on a daily basis, it's condescending and unthinking to call them defensive. Having read your column, I can sure understand why some officers would get the impression that the "lessons" were aimed at them in a negative sense.Delete
Nobody forces them to become police officers. Anyone taking offense at Neil's original column has a serious reading comprehension problem.Delete
One could also consider all the s**t the residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods have been going through every day of their lives, without a safe home to go back to after a shift. Just as most police officers are doing their best in a difficult job, so are most people who live in "bad" neighborhoods simply trying to get through life.Delete
But is that even the point of the original column? Isn't the point that it can be a slippery slope, and a gradual, subconscious process, from considering members of one group somewhat less worthy of respect than one's own group to denying them an increasing number of rights to oppressing them? And that the process can begin by ignoring the wrong-doings of one's colleagues?
I agree with Coey, except that at some point, the subconscious thoughts should become apparent through repetitive behavior by the the group(s) being oppressed and, more importantly, those doing the oppressing.Delete
Teaching police recruits about how police behaved in Nazi Germany, provides a context for understanding about how you are perceived by others. The Nazi police went out of their way to disrespect Jewish citizens. A typical example, in the German language there are two modes of address, the familiar case used when talking to children and animals, and the formal case when talking to strangers. When the police addressed a Jewish person they used the familiar case, which is very insulting, a form of dehumanization. It is hoped that this ethics training would reinforce the importance of treating all people with respect. The first step if you wish to be respected, is to treat others with respect. It should teach them that terrorizing people with fear is not going to create the kind of respect you want. After the sniper killed five police officers in Dallas this summer, some police were worried about the same thing happening in Chicago. This attitude seems reminiscent of Proverbs 28:1 "The wicked flee though no one pursues." The retired cop in mistaken if he believes they are "comparing innocent Holocaust victims to Inner City Thug Casualties", when the comparison is being made between Holocaust victims and innocent citizen casualties. We have been very fortunate not to have the kind of riots that has plagued other cities when things like the Laquan McDonald shooting occurred. We still have a chance to put things right, the ethics training is a good start.ReplyDelete
This topic certainly provides food for thought.ReplyDelete
Communication is a two way process. Most of us got the drift of what you wrote, but the cop has a different frame of reference. As George Kristof Lichtenberg put it. "A book is like a mirror. If an ass peers in you can't expect an apostle to look out."ReplyDelete
A few "frame of reference" jokes.
The Boston tailor's guild raised a fund to send a long-time member to Rome, and the Archbishop arranged a meeting with the pope. When he got back they asked him what His Holiness was like and he said "A 41 regular."
Tourist on 57th street asks a man with a violin how to get to Carnegie Hall, and the answer was "Practice, practice, practice."
A couple of gay guys in a Manhattan restaurant watch a beautiful girl enter and make her way to a seat and one says, somewhat wistfully, "Gee Frank. Do you sometimes find yourself wishing you were...a Lesbian?"
Now you've done it! Neil will be getting letters from Catholics, musicians and lesbians excoriating him for allowing such hateful comments to appear on his blog.Delete
Oh, I forgot -- the asses will be braying as well, if not the apostles.
I do know some Lesbian musicians, some of them probably Catholic. I think they would be cool. Don't know about asses and apostles. Or tailors.Delete
I can't add much more except I almost feel sorry for the cops who, for reasons we will apparently never fully grasp, view everything through a distorted lens. I hope these classes help the recruits in some way; perhaps there should be ethics programs for veteran cops if there aren't already some in place. Or maybe it's too late for that.ReplyDelete
It's very difficult to learn anything new if you're never wrong.Delete
Methinks he doth protest too much.ReplyDelete
It seems no matter what you write people just make up their own story and read it instead, must be frustrating.ReplyDelete
There's a lot of that going around. What amazes me even more is that the cop's comment got 20 percent more views than the original piece.Delete
The headline "A kaleidoscope of crazy" probably caught their attention.Delete
Seems to me you were simply reporting on something the CPD was doing to train recruits. You didnt either create or exaggerate the situation. I really dont understand the hostile remarks. Then, again, yesterday there was a photo of women dressed like the Handmaiden character protesting the tax bill in DC, and soneone I know posted " get a job" as his comment. Sometimes I just want to sink into a combo of reality tv and old episodes of West Wing.ReplyDelete