Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Police Pity-Parties

I've known a few honest cops in my life -- a city cop here, a sheriff's deputy there -- and 90% of them quit the job and took up other work instead.  I've also -- having lived in central New Jersey, Chicago, and northern California -- had a thwacking acquaintance with a good many dishonest cops.  I'll admit that 90% o them were not crooked for money but for power, for the fun of making civilians "show proper respect".  I also must say that the ones who were crooked for money often got it by politicking rather than suborning bribes.  For that reason, I'm rather cynical about police department spokesmen and their various claims at budget-review time.

I'm exceedingly tired of hearing police whine about how dangerous their jobs are, and that old cliche about how they have to go down dark alleys at night where Dangerous Criminals might be hiding.  Tsk.

When I hear that hoary old tale, I can't help thinking about the people who have to walk down those same dark alleys -- with no gun, no club, no taser, no tear-gas, no armor, no partner, and no back-up troops waiting in the wings -- every night of their lives, because they live there.  I've lived in poor-working-class neighborhoods like that.  Believe me, the police were very slow to come when called for emergencies there.  Instead, we relied on our neighbors for help, and those neighbors did a damned good job of it -- for the simple reason that they knew it would be their turn to need help soon enough.

As for the fearful-terrible danger of police work, any insurance company can list for you at least ten jobs that are more dangerous -- jobs that are more likely to leave you dead or permanently injured -- than being a cop.  These include:

Farmer (farm machinery and large farm animals are not safe)
Coal Miner (they've died on the job at the rate of one man per shift, per day, per year, for the last century)
Sandhog ('nuff said?)
Hire-Iron Construction Worker (")
Chemical Plant Worker 
Heavy Equipment Repariman
Professional Football Player  (no kidding!)
High-Wire Electrician
Timber Worker (including sawmill worker and lumberjack)

A little searching can add several more to the list.  I've deliberately left out military jobs, such as paratrooper or Explosive Ordnance Disposal worker;  we're just talking civilians here.  On occasion the media will carry stories of workers at these various jobs going on strike or otherwise agitating for higher pay, or better health insurance, or safer working conditions -- and the tales are inevitably accompanied by the usual grumbles about the greed of uppity workers, and how this will raise prices/taxes/insurance payments for everyone else.

You don't see those grumbles when police departments agitate for higher pay, better benefits or bigger/better equipment, and the reason given is that police work is necessary and -- of course -- dangerous.

Why don't jobs that are equally  necessary (except maybe Pro Football Player) and provably more dangerous get at least the same respect?   



Anonymous said...

I'm told that one of the most dangerous jobs around is professional fisherman/crabber. And I hear you about people who have to live in dangerous areas, particularly those poor souls who can't/won't/aren't allowed to carry weapons.

You'll probably laugh at me, but at cons I often loan my services to people who're nervous about going to where they're parked after dark. Just the sight of another person along is often enough to deter muggers.

Leslie Fish said...

Ahahahahahaha! I've performed that same service at cons myself!

As for "legal" weapons in no-no states and municipalities, let me recommend the sturdy cane (particularly if you can get one with a sword inside). A course in quarterstaff fighting (usually available from your local SCA chapter -- as is short-sword technique) can make you safe from the average street-mugger.

Muggers like to get close to their prey, close enough to be within cane-range, and a good wallop with a sturdy cane can not only knock the weapon (yes, even a gun) out of the thug's hand but break his wrist as well. Then a good swift jab to the solar plexus will put him on the ground and leave you free to go after his buddies, if he has any.

The fun part is the dismayed, even outraged, look on the thug's face when he realizes that his prey can and will fight back. I actually heard one of them howl "unfair!", as if he thought it was a law of Nature that his victims would always be weaker and easily scared into submission. You've got to wonder where these fools get their education.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Anonymous said...

The sword-canes I've ever seen (and I own an antique that once belonged to my grandmother-the-doctor; she carried it b/c she had drugs in her bag and didn't want to get robbed) aren't weapons I'd want to rely on. The idea is good, but a lot of the execution is junk. Kind of like switchblades.

I do have a bo staff I use as a walking stick at SCA events, and with that, even untrained, I think I could take your average knife-wielding punk. If I lived in a place where lessons were available (the nearest SCA is fifty miles away and the nearest city is eighty-five miles) I'd be interested in some lessons in quarterstaff or bojitsu.