I wanted to talk with you all today about something that's been rolling in my head for a little while. There's been a lot of anger and emotion floating around as of late and it seems to be getting worse. I see a lot more cop bashing than what I used to see. I also see a lot more cops losing it. Things seem to be building towards something ominous if we don't get a handle on it. We all seem to be losing a little perspective and with emotions at an all time high something is bound to explode.
First of all I want to talk about anger. Anger is a natural emotion and anyone that says otherwise is delusional, there is nothing wrong with being angry about something. It's very common to want to hurt someone badly. We all have those thoughts no matter if we admit them or not. We all have that tipping point in my experience, it usually seems to be caused in some form or other by a lack of respect or perceived lack of respect but that's another article. Sometimes it can get pretty deep and you'll shock yourself but I promise you that you aren't the only one who has had those thoughts; it’s just in our society we seem to be so repressed about everything and deny everything that doesn't conform to some social protocol.
Years ago I was struggling and decided to get a roommate so I could have cheap rent. It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time and the guy seemed easy to get along with so I didn't see a problem. Well after this dude moved in and I got to know this person better...there was a problem. He was one of these wannabe "hustlas" that thought he could bullshit his way out of anything and rip people off. He was incredibly immature and irresponsible for his age. My main beef is that the bills didn't get paid on time but he always had money to party and buy video games. There was always a bullshit excuse that was obviously crap and I was insulted that someone thought I'd believe it. I'd always paid my stuff on time I wasn't going to let this jerk mess up my credit simply because he was an idiot.
Over time I found myself getting angrier and angrier and I was always an even tempered person. Even when I worked in the strip clubs bouncing and had to toss a guy out I wasn't angry when I did it. It was just another fun part of the job. But I was pissed. I was tired of the excuses. At the same time I was starting a business and beating this guy senseless and putting him in ICU was a charge I didn't need especially if I was going to be training police I had to hold myself to a higher standard. I would sit around sometimes and just think about where and how I was going to take him out. I even picked out a spot in the hall where his body would fall. I thought often about would I just break a finger or his entire arm?
For a short time I even thought about after he was beaten so bad he couldn't move I'd cut off part of his tongue so I'd never have to hear him talk again. I even thought about taking pictures of his bruised and battered body and posting it on FaceBook so others could see him being humiliated.
Sounds pretty messed up doesn't it? It is but you've probably thought something similar. In the end I realized how crazy that was because this was a worthless insignificant person and I had a future. I always say, "Don't let someone who has nothing to lose take away everything you have to gain." What I decided to do was tell a mutual friend my plan to break his legs knowing he'd go blab it. I told several people actually. They told the guy and scared the hell outta him and he started paying everything on time until I broke the lease and had him kicked out on his ass. Sure it was manipulation but he deserved it and I didn't break a law.
The point is everyone gets pissed and thinks messed up stuff but there's a big difference between thinking about it and actually doing it. When you’re a police officer dealing with the public the first trick is you can't personalize anything. You represent a department and you wear a badge you are not the badge. People are going to provoke you all the time and they'll probably be ignorant when they do it. Screaming about a constitution they've never read. Yelling about how they pay your salary. How they know their rights when it's obvious they don't. There's a special place in hell for the ones that do know there rights but don't think anyone else has them.
You see some disgusting things that bother you and they should. If you go to a domestic violence call and see a woman beaten half to death by some jerk that doesn't care and you aren't upset about it then you need to take a vacation or find another line of work. At the same time you have to have control of your emotions because in the end it isn't about you.
When you've lost your humanity you've lost something far more than a job. Being an officer is a hard job very few will ever understand. We see the worst the world has to offer every day. It's hard to shake it when you clock out which is why police have a very high divorce and suicide rate. Sometimes it's like you’re a time bomb just waiting to explode. Some people just don't get it.
I was on a police site awhile back and was watching a video about an incident in Oakland where it appeared an officer shot a cameraman with a beanbag for the hell of it. Now from my understanding since then there may have been some editing done on that video similar to what was done in the UC Davis incident where protestors attempted to kidnap police and threaten them then edited a video to make it look like police were pepper spraying "peaceful" protestors for no reason. However you couldn't tell that from the Oakland video at the time.
Some of the officers posting on the thread about it didn't sound much different than the protestors that were bashing them. They were saying things like," Those protestors are scumbags they deserve whatever they get kill them all." A friend of mine that retired from the FBI always used to tell me, " Be careful in your pursuit of the monsters lest you become one."
These officers posting on that board were well on their way, you could tell it was beyond thinking about. If you allow those dorks to provoke you into becoming just like them then they win. Remember you have to uphold a higher standard. But we all get angry and that isn't as easy as it sounds is it?
Remember you can't personalize or politicize things. When someone provokes you they aren't provoking you, they are trying to provoke an ideal or displace responsibility for something that they've done; maybe they are just really ignorant and immature. Do you really want to let a childish idiot beat you? Take your job and damage your department's credibility? That doesn't just hurt you it hurts all good cops because at that moment you are the face of police everywhere and how you behave affects them as well.
Being a cop may be who you are but it isn't all that you are, it isn't the sum of every part of you. You need to find unrelated things to do to keep perspective. If you’re on all the time it'll drive you nuts. I've already mentioned divorce and suicide rates. If the occupational stress becomes a problem get help don't let it mess up your family as well. Remember when a bomb goes off that bomb is also destroyed and a big enough bomb not only destroys its target but everything around it. I encourage you to find other things to focus on.
Personally I write short stories as well as music. There are times when I'm calling departments to try to get a course set up and it's like they are delusional or just don't give a damn about officer safety. Usually after about 3 calls I have to take a break and I pick up the guitar by the bed and play a few songs until I feel better then go back at it.
Remember these things I've said and remember you’re not the only one going through them. Continue to be a solution to the problems don't become a part of them
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