As MENSA members go, I’m considered a rather sharp tool in the cutlery drawer of life. Even with superior intelligence I am not invulnerable to allowing my mind to wander from its primary focus, which is women’s breasts. Current events necessitate a daily bloody program. Politics, racial injustice, climate change, hell I could’ve stopped at politics and filled the dance card of my cognitive process for some time. Blue versus Red is indicative of our tribal inclinations and as such, are beneath my immediate consideration. Good versus Bad is equally as antediluvian. One could be waylaid at any number of stops along the route of our political dilemma. The quandary lies in the American inability to learn from anything. We treat age old political implications as if we’ve stumbled onto and belly flopped into, unchartered waters ie:marching headlong and goose step into Nazi Germany of old.
Racial injustice:we champion any and all programs of improvement. We vote for a person of color at least once on each ballot, lest we be identified as a bigot. If queried, we are at the ready with some superficial reason we voted for him or her. Remember superficial. Enough to indicate a working knowledge but not to the point an explanation is necessary. You’ve fulfilled your civic responsibility. Everyone knows you support the Black mayor because you’ve told everyone you support the Black mayor. With all your bases seemingly covered, you certainly aren’t expected to pore over the news and engage over an unarmed Black man taking six slugs for ostensibly questioning his being ordered to submit to arrest. If not for the body cam on one of the police officers, we might not question the patrolman’s report, the suspect was reaching for a gun.
Subsequent reports that the deceased was previously arrested for the possession of drugs, eases your mind. “Aha, a drug dealer. Good to have him off the streets.” That the deceased was fourteen years old when arrested and the contraband was a negligible amount of marijuana, is buried with the fact the shooter has a record of excessive use of force including death. The shout for more training, resounds through city hall and the issue can now be passed off the mayor’s desk and is considered addressed. Handshakes and pictures all around and one of two things happen:we pay overtime or take cops off the street so they may be admonished not to shoot unarmed people.
Police are not inherently bad but when one of them is irresponsible, they are all center stage, unfairly or not. The “blue wall,” is nearly impervious when challenged with a mundane question and answer period. When poor performance or questionable decision making is witnessed by a mid level supervisor, the Sgt. can say “yeah, it happens all the time,” and ignore it. Or, they may address it correctively. Not with a stern declaration of misdeed, unless the situation demands it, corrective in the sense of how it should be done, how the alternative has worked better in the past. In conclusion, there must be a clear understanding on both ends of the information imparted.
Boots on the ground, effective supervisors and senior officers are the most effective conduit of positive information and support to line staff. Those are the ones who must buy into the mission statement.