Good ol’ Richard Pryor, who had me at, “You sure you got the right case?!” in the movie, “Stir Crazy,” could really cap off a story with his talkative eyes. He once …
Good ol’ Richard Pryor, who had me at, “You sure you got the right case?!” in the movie, “Stir Crazy,” could really cap off a story with his talkative eyes. He once related how he was performing for a captivated audience in a high-security prison and later asked one gargantuan, quadruple-murderer, “Why did you kill everyone in the house?”
He nonchalantly answered, “Well, they was home.”
Pryor said with trembling dismay, “I was right there among the baddest-of-the-bad. I talked to the brothers and they was honest with me.” Then with wildly widening eyes he gasped, “Thank God we got penitentiaries!”
Well, I’ll drink to that, although not prudent at this time. Imagine a country where ice-cold, sadistic killers are suddenly let out of prison. Well, OK, that does currently describe our national situation, but now imagine if you will, suddenly there are very few cops, and those remaining are increasingly underpaid, always under scrutiny and under fire. Ah geez; I’m again describing our grim reality.
The treatment of law enforcement nationally is downright frightening. As open and wide-spread evil becomes more commonplace everyday — cities burning, innocents dragged from vehicles and beaten without repercussion — I shudder to leave my house.
OK, you got me again. I always have preferred not leaving my house, but like Pryor, I gasp, “Thank God we got policemen!”
I would ask any anti-cop zealot: If you’re being chased by an angry mob of Quakers intent on beating you senseless and stealing your expensive new sneakers, who ya gonna call? Exactly!
But there’s a problem. Like any vocation, not all policemen are good people. There are bad cops, bad judges, bad barbers … heck, you’ll even stumble upon a degenerate roofer from time to time. But when that impostor is someone paid to protect and omit a sense of calming trust, it stands out like a sore thumb. And like a wicked man masquerading as a Godly preacher whose punishment is a hotter corner of hell, so should a trusted public servant’s.
I have a mini-solution for the persecuted policeman, most of whom are disgusted by the bullies among them. When approaching a potential perp, ask yourself, “WWAD?” Yes, “what would Andy Griffith do?” We all know Barney Fife puffed up occasionally, accidentally discharging his firearm with his allotted one bullet hitting inches from his foot, but how did Andy handle himself while proudly sporting that uniform?
Sheriff Andy Taylor was a friend to the community who sincerely liked his fellow citizens. Stopping to visit Floyd the Barber was common during Andy’s beat. “How you doin’ today Goober?” “Mornin’ Mister Sprague; that sure is a swell-lookin’ bow tie.” “Hubba hubba, Miss Krump.”
Mayberry was pretty lily white, but I know Andy would treat all suspects the same, whether White, Black or even an albino from rival Mt. Pilot. Ya see, Sheriff Taylor didn’t see color or sexuality and never saw guilt prematurely. If every policeman left the house each morning with that kind of welcoming mentality, this society would be much better served and protected.
True, this isn’t little Mayberry and it’s not the ’50s, but can’t we go back? I’m not advocating allowing the town drunk to ride his cow into the jail, grab the keys and let himself out in the morning, but isn’t there some middle ground between Andy of Mayberry and Derek of Minneapolis?
I know my advice is unsolicited and possibly not welcomed, but maybe that’s just part of my charm. To any officer in that meany-minority, I might suggest: Don’t encourage us to fear you; condition us to respect you. Act as if you hope we’re innocent; not determined to find us guilty of something. Also, maybe land on the gentler side of “borderline” once in a while.
And for God’s sake, would it kill you to say, “Sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite” as you slam that cell door?