I don’t usually write about stories immediately as they are happening. But Monday was different. Sunday night, I saw the video of McKinney cop Eric Casebolt subduing black teenagers in swimsuits. I went to my computer and wrote my immediate reactions and hit “publish.” I didn’t even know if anyone else was paying attention to this.
Then, the next morning, I saw the story on Good Morning America, and I knew this was a real, big thing.
As my Facebook feed flared up with links and comments, I wondered if I had got things wrong. I boldly claimed that – yes, we do not know the whole story of what happened at that pool party, but – no, none of the rest of the story matters.
I wondered if some insightful person would offer a comment that would punch a hole in my theory, that the rest of the story doesn’t matter.
I looked and looked. No one was able to.
Oh sure, plenty of people offered “explanations” and “defenses” and “analysis” of the police’s actions. But none of them changed my mind. None of the extenuating circumstances made a bit of difference on what we saw on film.
I am tired of the ridiculous, indefensible excuses being made on behalf of abusive police officers. These are among the comments that may cause me to block you in my social media stream.
“So Many Officers Die In the Line of Duty…”
I get it, policing is a dangerous job. And some police die.
Why people bring up statistics like that, I don’t know. Does it have any bearing on the matter at hand? No. It is a way to change the subject.
This line of reasoning is akin to looking at a case of spiritual abuse in the church and saying, “You know, thousands of pastors are depressed, burned out and unfulfilled.”
Policing is a dangerous job, and guess what? Every single man and woman who wears the uniform signed up for that danger. They were not coerced. They were not wrestled to the ground or put in a choke hold and forced to become policemen and women. Taking part in a dangerous job does not mean that you get to hold that over our heads as a reason for bad behavior.
Just because a few policemen may become martyrs in the line of duty, it doesn’t mean that the job description includes every police officer taking on a martyr complex.
“Most Police Are Good Guys, Just Doing Their Jobs”
Yes they are. I have known plenty of good cops, and I am glad they are there. They should get a keen sense of satisfaction from doing their job well.
But again, this reasoning is a red herring. It’s a way to change the subject from the matter that is staring at us.
Whenever something like this happens, some people inevitably get all patriotic about the police and feel the need to remind us that the police “are here to protect us and protect our freedoms,” like they are reciting to Mom and Dad what they learned in school.
Reciting to me the preschool version of a police officer’s job description does not change the fact that some cops do not live up to the honor of the uniform. Yeah, I don’t want good cops being blamed for the bad behavior of a few. But that’s the way it is sometimes.
I’m here to educate your kids, and not get paid enough for it either, but that’s my job. If I abused children in the classroom, you would not respond by saying, “Most teachers are really great people, so we don’t need to worry about this guy.” The fact is we actually have a lot of pretty crappy teachers in our classrooms, and we seem to have a lot of crappy guys on our police forces. If there are so many good police officers, they should not be tolerating guys like this tarnishing their jobs.
“We Will Never Know the Whole Story”
Again, I say, “So what?”
We have seen enough to know how this guy acts under pressure. I think police should be disciplined just for the language that guy was using.
But more than the matter of the language is a pervasive, consistent practice of making excuses, of minimalizing, even trivializing events like this. Breitbart, The Blaze did a completely predictable job telling readers that the mainstream media didn’t tell us the whole story (read: if we knew the whole story, we wouldn’t be mad about an officer kneeling on a teenage girl in a bikini.)
Remember, the teens were uninvited.
Remember, the teens were being vulgar.
Remember, the teens were being uncooperative.
Remember, black and white neighbors say this isn’t about race.
NONE OF THAT MATTERS TO THIS STORY.
The story is: Cop Goes Nuts, Flips Out on Teenage Girl.
Everything else is just an excuse to minimize one cop’s bad behavior, by trying to maximize the bad behavior of others.
What is amazing to me is that we often bemoan the fact that “postmodern” people are all relativistic, that they don’t believe in objective truth, or universal standards of right and wrong. That is true, and this is an ironic product of our broken thinking. We are saying “It is objectively wrong for a cop to wrestle a bikini-clad girl to the ground…but not in this case, because she was ‘running her mouth.'” That is moral relativism, and it’s coming straight from the right-wing voices that constantly cry over the destruction of our culture’s morals.
I am tired of this culturally enforced pseudo-worship of authority figures. What is ironic is that the establishment, the people who have an interest in maintaining and defending the status quo came of age amid war protests and sit-ins. The generation that practically invented modern civil disobedience has completely lost its way, and now here it sits, in the big comfy chairs of the authorities, the politicians, the elitists that they once worked so hard to unseat.
And like the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm, the rest of us now look on, from pig to man and man to pig, but now find it impossible to distinguish between the two.
God help us.