Scene from Reefer Madness

December 9, 2011 David Arthur Walters THE MIAMI MIRROR I’m feeling sorry for cops this morning. A Virginia Tech cop was murdered yesterday during a traffic stop by someone not even involved in the stop. Someone walked up to his car and executed him. The murderer’s motive is a mystery at this point. Who knows? Maybe the killer, who reportedly committed suicide a short distance away, knew him and was harboring a grudge against him for one reason or the other. But what first came to my mind was that the killer, if not an outlaw with a record, was one of millions of ordinary people who hate cops because they are the most obvious representatives of the political authority that disappoints them so badly lately. Crimes are variously defined by different cultures and are essentially political offenses. Nowadays the government appears to be a vast system of sanctioned organized crime that maintains and protects, first and foremost, the power elite whose

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crimes have been legalized, or are routinely ignored under the pretense that no probable cause can be found to arrest and try them. We may be madder than hell at the three whorehouses of government, but is the government the traffic cop’s fault or the fault of any other cop on duty for that matter? Hell no. All governments must have cops. A government is not the state. Hopefully our corrupt, plutocratic government can be non-violently overthrown and the state secured for the people by replacing the prostitutes who worship money with virtuous representatives; for we are ultimately the nation itself, and hopefully we deserve much better representation than we have been getting as of late. Yes, maybe it is time to overthrow the government to save the state, and we can do that nonviolently: After all, this is not Libya or Syria, is it? Many men and women join law enforcement because they have high ideals. The recruits generally want to do good deeds, to be seen doing good deeds, to enjoy the prestige of being a peace officer who maintains law and order, who arrests the guilty and protects the innocent. We might think being a cop is a glamour job. The job is glorified in movies and television shows even though the outlaws get too much credit. But think about it. Keeping good order, which involves a great deal of discipline and cleaning, is a difficult and dirty job, as every good janitor and housekeeper understands. So there you are, a janitor, ridding your area of dirt, and someone walks up and shoots you dead for doing your duty. What’s up with that? Oh, that’s not a good analogy, you might say, because the cop is dealing with human beings that should never be equated with dirt. We are directed to choose are words more carefully; in effect to lie about our feelings; perhaps that is the only way a politician can get elected. Years ago, a woman ordered me to stop calling the bums in my Upper West Side neighborhood bums: “They are not bums! They are human beings!” “Yes they are,” said I, “they are human bums, and they are fools because if they worked just as hard at a regular job as they do to get a handout they would be better off.” The next morning, a squad car pulled alongside a car in the Bronx; the officer rolled down his window to ask a question and got his head blown off with a shotgun. What should we call people who do things like that? Who kill cops in cold blood? Hopefully we will be forgiven for using a term far more politically incorrect than “bum.” This is not Libya or Egypt or Syria yet, yet police departments still need criticism; they need people to go around and criticize their operations and their bullshit public relations rhetoric. But the cop-hatred I experience I witness is uncalled for. For example, the boyfriend of a former neighbor of mine in South Beach could talk of nothing but killing cops when he got drunk, detailing how he would kill them. One day she locked him out, so he punched her in the face through her closed window, fortunately cutting only himself. He was a friend of her late husband, whom she said was murdered in a drug deal. The police report on the domestic violence event came to the attention of detectives who knew he was on probation for assaulting a cop, or so I was told. They came around but he was not there. Everyone who knew those two figured he would kill her one day. Several tenants said she

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deserved to die for not having him sent away for good, but I did not. I believed he would kill her or someone else, most likely a cop. When he did come back, he was arrested at gunpoint. The murderous attitude towards cops was common in the neighborhood until the police conducted a cleaning operation. One of many examples in the 16-unit apartment complex: A drug gang lived directly below the battered woman. It was led by a charming but rather ignorant Santeria priest, an old-time member of the Bloods gang according to its male “bitch.” The apartment was a little studio a block off South Beach’s famed urban nightclub district, where the gang was doing a brisk business, the apartment serving as an office and crash pad. The landlord there rents to anyone with cash, no questions asked, and big dogs are allowed. Thick clouds of marijuana smoke emanated from the studio to the thumping of hip-hop music as customers came and went night and day. A well dressed hood from Tampa came down regularly; he warned us to stay away from the off-leash pit bull that travelled with him. And there were the ex-cons with the teardrop tattoos. I asked them to stop waking people up at night, to stop making so much racket, and warned them that if they continued to behave stupidly, they were sure to get busted. “No problem, this is South Beach,” one said with a laugh. “Bring ‘em on,” said another, mimicking President Bush, pointing to an assault rifle, and then launched a conversation about killing cops. All that lasted about six months before they were busted. There is no end to the trash that South Beach cops have to sweep up. South Beach is an antiMecca for people on the make and take, a paradise for bums and outlaws, and that includes would-be cop-killers. Yes, cops are paranoid for good reason. Disrespect for cops also endangers their lives. Without your respect, they may be assaulted and killed. And if you disrespect people long enough, some of them will cross the line and perform accordingly. Training may go down the drain, especially in the heat of the moment. On second thought, maybe someone should not have been shot, even though he turned out to be a bad man when his record was run. Yes, there is the “police abuse” issue. Real police abuse is just wrong. Still, many South Beach merchants and residents disrespect Miami Beach cops because there is not enough “police abuse.” They want cops to do whatever it takes to sweep up the trash and dump it in the bins. But the cops are hobbled by the bosses who do not want to pay the cleaning bill including penalties for alleged civil rights violations. And civic leaders who naturally maintain homes in better neighborhoods stand to lose money and other forms of power if the wilder areas are cleaned up, so they are complicit in a virtual organized crime conspiracy. If it were not for the hefty pension, a person might be better off taking a regular janitorial job than becoming a cop. The health benefits enjoyed by cops may be better, but notice that their health statistics are far worse. Give the janitors and the cops a break. Please don’t shoot them. Show some respect. Help them clean up and keep order.

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