We are all stressed from concern over the pandemic, and frankly also from really bad government policy that's left us with both highest death toll in the world, and caused untold economic collateral damage. 20% of Americans are out of work, and 100,000 are dead in 90 days. That toll is most heavily placed on our poor and non-white communities. Contrast that to only 58,000 died in Vietnam over a decade over ill conceived government policy and lack of accountability at the height of the civil rights era. So yea, the country is already on a powder keg.
But right now we need to face some hard truths. It's our fault, not some government bureaucrat.
Officer: You Work For Me.
I really don't know how to say this any other way. You carry a badge with your gun. You're paid to enforce laws. Not everyone treats you with respect. Your boss is telling you to hit a quota and work harder. You've got a dash cam and cell phone video watching you. Nobody really trained you for this. You've got to work with the guy next you, so have to be careful what you say. You see the dirty underside of our society everyday, and get lied to 30 times a shift. You feel like you give an inch, they take a mile, and nobody watches your back. You're worried about your personal safety. You're trying to take pride in your work. I get it.
But what you don't seem to get is the root cause here. You've forgotten that you work for me. I'm your boss. I'm your customer. I pay your salary. Those laws you enforce are written by elected officials who work for me, too. You, they, and the laws, all exist at my behest.
Who am I? That 25 yo black male in car you just pulled over for expired tags or running a light and happens to have a warrant out. That blitzed, high and a little crazy 47 yo female you were called out because some shop owner thought she was stealing and scaring off customers. The business owner mad at you because there's too much crime in his block, and that rich lawyer who doesn't think the law applies to him. Or that frustrated angry protester in downtown Houston stressed out from a really crappy year in 2020, who lost his job because of the Harris County Judge and Governor's lockdown orders, is tired of feeling like a second class citizen, and is frankly fed up with the whole police thing from the last TV fueled debacle from an officer who screwed up royally. And yea, me. All of us. That's how this deal works.
Your attitude needs changing. Start treating every single, damn person you meet, every suspect you arrest, every person you pull over, like they are literally your boss. They actually are. Handle your inquiries and arrests every time like you would if you were arresting one of your supervisors.
I agree with you, there is a double standard here, for a damn good reason. But not the kind you think. With power comes responsibility. You chose to wear a badge, we let you carry a gun to do your job. We let you have some delegated authority. You need to own the fact that you're held to hell of a lot higher standard that the people you deal with. They aren't beneath you, they're above you. Your line supervisor or police chief or mayor shouldn't ever have to remind you of this. Your job is actually working for and looking after that guy you just put in handcuffs, not some line supervisor. Sorry. That's the way it should be. I don't think your job is easy. And I don't care.
If you don't like it, or can't deal with that, you're in the wrong job. If you can't hack the responsibility that comes with authority in a tough job, it's a free country. Feel free to join the 20% unemployed from this pandemic. One of them will happily take your job for $1/hour less money tomorrow.
Protester: It's Not Your Property
Brutal hard truth here. Every single one of us knows the police are out of line a thousand times a day in this country. And our elected officials have done a pathetic job of getting this model right.
But seriously people, who the hell do you think you are? There is nothing the incompetency of a government official can do that makes it ok for you to destroy private or public property that IS NOT YOURS. And please don't make the mistake of doing that on my property.
You want change? Are you sure about that? Because this is ALL on you. In the final accounting, the only way the police and our government officials start treating each of us like their boss and and customer, is if we start acting like we are. When police officers screw up, it's on their police chief. When action still doesn't happen, it's on the mayor and city council. And when it still hasn't been fixed it's on the citizens, voters and jury. There is no "Man". Or "System". Just you. The buck stops on your desk, not theirs. You are actually in charge. They are just minions. All of them. Stop acting like a powerless, whining Joe Irrelevant, and step up to your inalienable right and God given role. Act like the CEO if you want change.
If you want to see what a real problem looks like, watch Hong Kong. Those protesters have no guns, no power, no chance, and yet have been in the streets fighting for over the course of an entire year - literally for rights you already have.
Here's the prescription I'll give you. These are the hard truths. You are in charge. And you haven't been doing your job as CEO.
1) Do your jury time. In the final accounting for that police officer you're so mad about, an American jury is God. They interpret the law, they overrule the judges, they decide right and wrong, truth or lie, matters of fact, and judge good law vs bad law, extenuating circumstances vs just deserts. Every judge knows it, even when they carefully instruct you to "follow the law". And if I'm ever unfortunate enough to be prosecuted. I want you there making the call, not some judge or prosecutor, or nitwit who trusts everything they're told, you. And I want each of you bringing the full power of a citizen jury to that jury room making it unmistakably clear that it's your call to make, with no deference to the prosecution.
2) Show up at your city council meeting. Not once, but regularly. With friends and organizations. Watch what they do, stand up and make a comment, make an appointment and visit their office. Your presence voice in those chambers is pure, unadulterated, raw political power. Even in a city as big as Houston, these folks are just like you and me, and they'll listen, because it's their job. No city councilor will turn you away from an appointment for a hearing on an issue.
3) Organize. You by yourself are a lonely voice, easily ignored. You in a mob of protesters, easily written off as an aberration, a joke, the problem rather than solution. You leading a call to action as a dues paying, meeting attending, phone banking, block walking, issue discussing, out in public, community helping, voting member of an organization of lots of yous? You put the real fear of God in our elected and government officials. That's when they know you're for real.
4) Vote, or run for office. Voting and challenge is the only voice "they" hear. Your single vote may not count, but the symbol does. And "they" hang on every single minute change in voting trends. You may lose a race, but someone standing up is the only thing that keeps our elected officials honest. Last cycle half of Texas races were unopposed, including 70% of judgeships. You can vote or run by literally filling out one form, just like they did.
5) Buy a gun. Then lock it in your closet, Why? Because it's your right. Let it serve as a reminder of who actually runs this city and country, it's upon each of us whom the final accounting falls. That you are never powerless, and should never have to use your power. That if somehow the the best system ever designed collapsed, or heaven forbid we actually became Hong Kong, that we have 250 mm armed citizens to back up our military and police forces, or bring them back into line if needed. Behind me as I write this sits a .308 Winchester, 12 gauge, and a 20 gauge, and 500 rounds of ammunition. That's not a threat. I haven't shot a gun in 5 years. That, along with the jury trial, voting, organizing, and running for office, is locked in our Constitution as my right and my protections. Rights and protections that Hong Kong citizens do not have.
So go ahead, throw a fit in public if you think it will work this time. Or start acting like the CEO you are.