Officer Alex takes issue with a columnist’s view of “positive” cop stories
In an interesting twist, I cannot tell this week’s story without quoting someone else’s. It’s all about “context,” you see. Well, and being a Complete Nimrod. Allow me to explain.
Heather Denkmire is a special contributor to the Bangor Daily News who submitted a column earlier this month titled “The false message from those ‘good cop’ stories? Things aren’t so bad.”
Being a cop, naturally the only thing I can read is the dosage for my steroid injections, sports scores and captions for “Guns and Ammo” pictures, but I was feeling adventurous since tonight’s dogfighting match was canceled and the NSM meeting the night before was a complete bust.
“When I saw a flurry of stories being shared on Facebook about police officers doing kind things,” Denkmire started out, “I felt sick to my stomach. Every ‘this cop helped the pregnant woman put on her license tags instead of giving her a ticket’ or ‘this cop helped a puppy’ story mutes the larger issues of police violence against black and brown people.”
I raised an eyebrow. This is an interesting approach, I thought. Approach to what, I had no idea, but it had me, so I continued reading.
“We need to keep the facts about police brutality against black and brown people in the forefront of our awareness. We must not cloud the issue with feel-good stories about the police.
“Just because there are stories about police officers who aren’t pinning innocent people to the ground, shooting them, choking them or tasering them to death doesn’t mean those ‘positive’ stories need to take up any of our public space,” Denkmire stated.
Now I just smiled. This was a fascinating approach to race-baiting on a more direct level than I’ve ever seen, and for that alone I respected it. “Clouding the issue with ‘feel-good stories’?” “Positive stories take up public space”? She owned it. No one’s ever been “taser’d” to death that I’m aware of so she wasn’t even letting the truth get in the way of her version of the truth, and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is commitment.
Then, I got to her closing statement and my new happy thoughts were silenced in a way—or by a means—I never thought possible. (Again, this story can’t be fairly told without quoting it for context.)
“If you feel bad for the cops who you think might be lumped in with all the awful ones,” Denkmire opined, “by all means, write a note to your local police department thanking its officers for their service. Support one of the agency’s charity efforts.
On a personal level, and quietly, go ahead and let them know you think they are doing good work. But every time you ‘like’ or ‘share’ these news stories about non-violent cops on social media you are saying by implication—even if it’s not what you believe—‘I think black and brown lives matter less than white lives.’”
I actually just sat there for a second, unable to fully process this...and I am one of four documented people that totally kept up with the movie “Inception” from beginning to end. (I didn’t even need to see if the totem kept spinning in the end or anything. Boom.)
There is a human being out there that believes if you express approval of a genuinely good deed done by a police officer in any kind of public manner, you are a “racist.” Period.
As a cop, I’m a racist no matter what. I get it. If I wear pants? Racist. Check my mirrors while driving? Racist. Put on my boots? Forgetaboutit, I’m the illegitimate child of David Duke and Byron De La Beckwith. I totally accept this after years of being told so. But to accuse John or Jane Doe Citizen of such for simply publicly expressing approval of a cop helping someone cross a street or fixing a flat tire? (Seriously, read the column.)
Am I mad at her? No. But I do believe that thanks to acts of assery like this, we as a society have finally crossed some invisible demarcation line that may just finally lead to the end of documenting actual racism, and that is not a good thing. Add too much water, and Kool-Aid isn’t Kool-Aid anymore; it’s watery red (or purple) stuff that nobody wants to give the time of day.
You can be a radical. “Extremism” is the new bla…is the new popular thing, I get it, but there really is a tipping point when you stop helping, and start hurting. Badly.
This lady? I suspect that was some time back, because she’s just charting new territories of dumb with this kind of incendiary nonsense, but the rest of you can hold the line.
Until then? Let’s keep this to my boots and drawing of air. Let the citizens appreciate good deeds publicly while they are still “allowed to.”
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.