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Officer Alex ponders the semantics and variations of poking humans with knives.
There are two primary differences between getting stabbed when you are sober and getting stabbed when you are drunk:
The first is that when drunk, your blood is generally thinner and therefore less likely to coagulate, so you really lose a lot of it, and it makes a hell of a mess. (Don’t get me started on the smell; it stinks of booze for the same reason Breath-a-Lyzers work.)
The second is that you probably deserved it.
It was 2 a.m. in the College Hill Courts housing development. A very sleepy detective was conducting his rounds of interviews about the night’s festivities while we in uniform kept the place secured from the indigenous population.
The wound of this night’s “victim” was life-threatening to a normal man, but he being intoxicated, unemployed and a convicted multiple felon, we knew he would probably be released from the hospital by morning and live to be 90 years old. In my experience senseless dying was generally reserved for the civically and socially responsible.
As for the crime itself? It was the usual: According to the victim, he was just minding his own business at midnight on Grove Street when he was stabbed “For No Reason At All”. Absolutely horrible.
I mean, what kind of world is this we live in where you can’t hang out under a street light in a federal housing project at midnight minding your own business without worrying about getting stabbed?
The poor guy was probably job hunting or looking for a child to teach to read, because you’d think I was a cynical asshole if, based on my experience and the circumstances I implied, he fit the criminal profile of one “most likely stabbed over drugs or money”.
Perish the thought, Dear Reader; I think the best of humanity.
Like most Americans, I firmly believe that thinking the worst should only be reserved for political gain or when you want to actually solve a problem.
Speaking of political gain, even the type of crime itself was getting the public relations treatment. When I started this job, poking someone with a knife was still called a stabbing, but I had watched over the years as political correctness had started to edge out the word “stabbing” in favor of “cutting”.
We couldn’t go around with scary words like “stabbing” in reports, frightening people and giving them a negative perception of crime, could we?
What would make you feel better: Hearing, “Ray-Ray stabbed Lysol over spilling his beer”, or “Ray-Ray cut Lysol over spilling his beer”? Isn’t that amazing? It’s pure horseshit, of course, but I have to credit it as brilliant horseshit.
Me? I’m a “stabbing” man, myself. It just has a gripping tone to it, but I always have been one for drama. “Cutting”, though…pure spin genius of the highest Clinton-era level, and like any worthy adversary, I had to respect it.
Whatever the word, it was still mine for the night. The excitement had come to a halt in the last hour and the firemen on scene (now known as “firefighters” or “conflagration technicians”, I believe) were about to go to sleep standing up against the front of their apparatus (once known as a “truck”).
Apparently the stress of waiting to put their years of experience and training to the test by pouring a bottle of diluted bleach onto the blood was losing a fight to their circadian rhythms, and I began wishing they weren’t there.
They were friends and I loved them…but like seeing someone else yawn, it caused me to lean against my own car, and my mind drifted to thoughts of why it was I carried my coffee in a cup instead of a vat, then answered itself with the probability that it was because my coffee was as strong as their bleach.
I then began wondering which was more likely to leave a clean spot on the sidewalk when used on blood, when finally I was mercifully interrupted by the lead detective’s voice coming over the radio giving the go-ahead to clear the scene.
I shook the cobwebs from my head as the Nozzleheads finally got to pour their bleach, driving off exchanging friendly waves of the hand, crime-scene tape still blowing in the cool summer wind as another officer began cutting it from the street signs and lamp posts.
I hadn’t gotten three blocks away when I was dispatched to another call, which was coincidentally another “cutting”…and based on the time, was also probably done “For No Reason At All”.
I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It’s part of thinking the best of humanity.