Breakfast Before Court: A Short Story

The morning was crisp and cold, but the air was unusually calm downtown. On Main Street the sun hid behind the clouds. Across the street from a dying bookstore store, two cops with an hour to kill before court lumbered into a restaurant. They kept their coats on; cold air poured in through a back door that had been propped open to accept the morning grocery deliveries.

“Are you getting coffee?” the shorter cop asked, placing his hat upside down on the sticky table.

“The coffee here stinks, but sure,” the taller cop said as he sat down.

“Can we get two coffees?” the short one asked a girl who was rolling silverware in paper napkins up front.

“I hope it’s at least hot this time,” the taller cop groused as he placed his hat on the table. He rubbed his eyes, tilting his head to the right to meet his hand; he yawned and stretched back.

“The coffee’s free. What else matters?”

“Enjoying it matters.”

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Conservatives Have Heard the Call of the Wild

Say what you want about Donald Trump, but the Trump phenomenon has single-handedly cut the leash that tethered conservatism to the Republican Party.  Republicans are quickly losing their monopoly of influence over blue-collar conservatives as “conservative” and “republican” are no longer interchangeable terms.

Free from their republican handlers, the Right is now running wild in the world of politics and identity, attempting to make sense of the world around them as they search for answers (see the alt-right and the #nrorevolt hashtag).

The Right has finally started to question conventional republican policies on issues like trade, immigration, and war. They don’t recall voting to send all their jobs overseas or to open the border for the third world. Bloody cycles of destabilization and nation building in the Middle East isn’t what they had in mind for the endless War on Terror either.

As conservatives now run wild and free, republicans nervously wander around the political landscape holding a broken leash calling for their return.  “Come here, boy!” they desperately plead.  Their faithful companion is gone though, having heard the call of the wild.

In Jack London’s classic novel, The Call of the Wild, the main character is Buck, a domesticated dog that was taken away from the comfort of home and thrown into Alaska’s brutal Northlands during the Gold Rush as a sled dog.

The story chronicles Buck’s transition from a soft, domesticated pet to his roots as a wild, free animal and is reminiscent of conservatives who have broken their comfortable ties with American Republicanism to venture off into the political wild to seek more effective and instinctual answers.

And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down. – Jack London

Conservatives have taken the first step to shed their sterile, suburban, materialistic non-culture in search for their rich ancestral pasts. But just as Buck’s transition from pet to beast was not without the attempts of others to control him, conservatives in the wild also face opposition, especially from other conservatives who respect the leash and fear the wild.

They threw clubs at him. He dodged. They cursed him, and his fathers and mothers before him, and all his seed to come after him down to the remotest generation, and every hair on his body and drop of blood in his veins; and he answered curse with snarl and kept out of their reach. – Jack London

The instincts of the Right are sharpening as they run deeper into the wild.  The days of guilt and suicidal compassion are fading as ancestral instincts that built and protected empires are reemerging.

They came to him without effort or discovery, as though they had been his always. And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. And his cadences were their cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe and what to them was the meaning of the stiffness, and the cold, and dark. – Jack London

The Right is running wild and neither the Left nor the old guard of The Right can stop them.  The Trump phenomenon has given them a taste of blood.  They sense a weakness in the opposition and feel hope for restoration.  Whether Trump stabs them in the back or not in the end doesn’t really matter—the ball has already started to roll.  

They are coming out from under their beds; they feel a part of something beyond themselves and sense a unity forming that has long been forbidden.  They are questioning the virtue of their estrangement from one another and seek the congregation and fellowship they have lost.  The individual is being challenged.

At the end of The Call of the Wild, Buck eventually separates from the dog pack and wanders alone into the woods.  The narrator tells of the Yeehats, a fictitious Native-American tribe who note a change in the breed of timber wolves in the area and tell the legend of a Ghost Dog that runs at the head of the pack.  An entire valley is feared by the Yeehats who have found their hunters, “with throats slashed cruelly open and with wolf prints about them in the snow greater than the prints of any wolf.”

The Yeehats are visited every summer by a lone wolf, “like, and yet unlike, all other wolves.” He comes out from the “smiling timber” and howls “once, long and mournfully” before he departs.

But he is not always alone.  When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack. – Jack London

Conservatives aren’t running down meat in the valleys but they are learning the song of the pack.  Some conservatives still resist the music though.  They plug their ears when the song plays and then go buy another gun.  They can be seen resisting the call in defiance, but with feet instinctually tapping to its tune.

Policing Isn’t That Dangerous?

We all know that policing is a dangerous occupation. It seems more so recently. But it’s a danger that’s hard to quantify. If you try to look up the most dangerous jobs in America, you’ll no doubt have to scroll a bit before you see police officer. Most of these rankings tend to use total on the job deaths, or in an attempt at the scientific method, total on the job deaths weighed against total employees. Either way you look at it, police typically make the list, but nowhere near the top. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 133 officers died on-duty last year, and again when weighed against the nearly one million sworn officers in America, that makes for pretty good odds for guys like me.

The conclusion drawn from these comparisons and lists is inevitably that policing is not as dangerous as it’s cracked up to be.

The number of officers currently working is confounded however, and difficult to nail down; I’ve seen estimates for total officers from 600,000 to more than 900,000. And how many of those actually wear a uniform and patrol a beat everyday? Two-thirds? Half? Probably less. The number of officers who are actually in harm’s way on a somewhat regular basis is but a fraction of those who have sworn in. Continue reading “Policing Isn’t That Dangerous?”

Why I Support the “Pool Party” Cop and You Should Too

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I support Cpl. Eric Casebolt of the McKinney Police Department and his actions that were caught on tape in the infamous “pool party” video.

I’ve been in his shoes before. I don’t mean being the subject of a viral video where everyone is comparing a simple police take-down to the holocaust – I mean being a police officer who was tasked with bringing order to a situation that was out of control.

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The Truth: Why Cops Don’t Always Police Themselves

I want to present a scenario to anyone who is not in law enforcement:  Imagine that you are a police officer.  During your journey though my brief scenario that I am about to present, please carry with you all of your ideals and notions of what an officer should be.  Please keep your highest standards intact, but all I ask is that you be honest.  

You are a cop and you are riding with your partner on duty.  He’s a good friend of yours – not your best friend, but a good friend.  You guys get along and hang out a little after work, but not much.  Your supervisor puts you two together because you do good work and you guys make good arrests.  No, not drug arrests.  I’ve expressed my opinion on drug work before.  You guys have a knack for tracking down the robbery boys and the burglars. 

You have had a rash of burglaries in your beat.  Hard working citizens have been coming home to find their doors kicked in, property rummaged through, and items missing.  When you have shown up to take reports, you’ve seen the horrified look on the faces of the children whose imagination ran wild with images of what kind of monster invaded their safest place and destroyed their home.

For weeks, you’ve had little to go on and have only acquired a vague description that provided no real help, but today, you get a break!  You get a call from a woman who walked in on the burglar in her home, but before he flees, he throws her down and kicks her a few times in front of her daughter, telling her that she better not call the police. 

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Active Support is Law Enforcement’s Only Hope

As the dust continues to settle from the first riot in Ferguson, there is no doubt that politicians and lawyers are scrambling to prevent any dust from being kicked up again. And who better to rely on than brave politicians and virtuous lawyers, right?  Police officers across America have their ears to the ground right now, listening to hear if a train is going to come their way – and not from the rioters, but from the system.  I think there is no doubt that after years of obsessive, undefended scrutinization of the police, change is on the horizon, and new paths are being paved right now, intended for us to eventually patrol down.

It is my belief that the direction we ultimately take will not be determined by the media, politicians, courts, police administrators, or even by police officers themselves.  Our course will ultimately be guided by the victors of the battle in the court of public opinion between the citizens that support law enforcement and the citizens that condemn law enforcement.

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