I am hesitant to write about the immediate future not because I am afraid of being wrong about it; I am hesitant because I am always wrong about it. I just don’t want this time to be like the other times I’ve been wrong.
Except for the New York Giants recent example of a great Bowl game, I literally can’t remember the last thing I was right about—and who saw that coming? For instance:
The mayor won’t stop hiring cops, not for two whole years anyway, which has never been done and would cause a 20 percent reduction in the force that could only be made worse by a simultaneous pay freeze. At least they’ll be able to respond from their homes, because the loss of 58 percent of the cars they use to bring their officers and bodies to in-progress and other major investigations could cause a spike in crime. Gangs were already a problem, after all.
And if that happens, he’ll never hire a lawyer and a minister to address the problem, because that would seem re-freakin’-diculous. He also would never, ever do all that under the guise of fiscal restraints and then direct financial resources to the City Wellness Center to the tune of $4.1 (Holy God) million-dollars; it would give the impression he’s making the city vulnerable for a Hamilton County government takeover, which also seems strange.
I know these things, because I’m so smart. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Maybe time has been the problem though?
Five years ago, I would have called you were nuts if you said the mayor’s office would allow a firm owned by a convicted felon to be hired to install closed-circuit security TV’s in police headquarters, particularly if they were unlicensed (because they’d be in violation of State Law T.C.A. 62-32-315, not that anyone looked).
Someone would notice. Someone would care. (Wrong. Well, partially. Someone noticed, but no reporter cares. Emotionally numb maybe?)
And surely someone like me wouldn’t bring it up like this. Imagine the heat I’d catch. But that’s not what’s got me more introspective than usual about my prescient handicap.
I once would have thought that no one would help a man flee a community corrections program and acquire and hide guns, cover up robberies committed with them, and ultimately aid and abet him after murdering a police officer. Which is what brings me to my quandary.
I’m writing this on a Thursday, but the sentencing hearing regarding the above for the murder of my co-worker isn’t until the following Monday, and this won’t see print until the Thursday after that dates.
What if they get the maximum sentence available? I want that very much, as much as I want the soulless son of a bitch who was witnessed killing my friend to feel rabbit-like terror when he feels cold poison sliding up his arm from his antecubital veins as he’s tied down to a cross-shaped stretcher. (Color me Old Testament, if you will; I’ll live with it.)
So if I’m wrong about something as obvious as receiving maximum sentencing for assisting in such an obviously horrific crime spree—something more shocking to the conscious mind than even the framers of those sentences may have conceived—do I want to write about it four days in advance of the hearing and seven days prior to going to press?
I guess reading this column answers the question.
And do you know why? For the same reason I’m so wrong about these other once-obvious conclusions: I’m an optimist, I guess.
I’m a glass-is-half-full guy, a good-guys-always-win idiot. Sunshine and puppies? Well, it’s cloudy most days and I buried my dog with a sizeable portion of my soul in chert and clay soil not too long ago, so not so much that. But in general I’m a pretty cheery son of a gun. And my charitable, light-hearted nature is clearly a weakness.
I want to be told why any of the numbers I spat out are “good.” I want to know why a little boy named Nathan Upshaw who now only lives in my dreams had to live through 80 years’ worth of horror compressed into five short ones. I want to know why politicians can’t do things by just doing them for the right reasons as opposed to the absurdity that is finally getting people hurt and killed (yes, I said that) through violence perpetuated by irresponsible decisions and priorities.
And I want to believe that Ray, Kathleen and Rachel Matthews, as well as Rachel’s idiot boyfriend James Poteete, will get every minute possible in sentencing for their crimes.
By the time you read this we’ll find out just how half-full or half-empty that glass really is. But still, what difference does it make?
All my natural optimism doesn’t make this world any less of a shitty place, but at least I’m trying.
(And my building surveillance was very well installed, “laws” and “impropriety” aside. See? Mr. Cheerful to the end.)
Columnist Alex Teach is a full-time police officer of nearly 20 years experience. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/alex.teach.