Sez me, you have to be crazy to become a cop these days.
There is a great uproar over the discovery that Washington’s cops, not realizing that email sent between police cars on computers was being recorded, have said things that were racially offensive. Politicians are pretending to be appalled and shocked. They talk of firings, and of getting the Feds involved with the government’s vague catch-all laws about civil rights.
Give me a break.
If these remarks-by-email had been made publicly, the problem would be genuine. Cops have no business making racial comments in their official capacity. But they didn’t. The officers had no idea that they were going to be retroactively monitored. What we have here is punitive political correctness. Mind control.
Show of hands: Who, reading this column, has never made a racially derogatory remark to a friend?
See what I mean?
Suppose that one of your incorrect remarks unexpectedly became public –you left a letter on your desk and someone read it. Do you think that you would deserve to lose your job because of it?
Let’s face facts. The races don’t much like each other. Sure, most people of both races are pretty good folk, and most of us know blacks/whites that we respect and like, and lots of us wish things would improve. Still, there is a lot of antagonism. Maybe there shouldn’t be, but there is, and thought-policing isn’t going to make it go away.
In fact, nothing is likely to make it go away. While blacks are lots better of financially now than they were in 1954, I can’t see that racial tension has diminished at all. And it’s two-way, as the email reveals.
Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know all of this?
So yes, cops of both races are privately going to make racial remarks and tell racial jokes, and many cops of both races are going to regard homosexuals as ridiculous or incomprehensible. Further — this will be a revelation — men are going to make critical remarks about women and vice versa. In fact, lots of people are privately going to make critical remarks about lots of people. So what?
In the Washington Post’s version of the story, a police official paraphrases one of the emails: “I feel like going out and punching whitey today.”Speaking as one who has been a white boy for some time, let me suggest what ought to be done to the black guy who said this.
So far as I am aware, black cops in DC do not punch out whites. I have no reason to fear black cops. In my encounters with black cops as a citizen,they have run from the too-common not terribly considerate (which is just as common among white cops) to, usually, courteous and helpful. That’s good enough.
A cop is paid to do a job. Liking me isn’t part of that job. What cops do is my business. What they think is their business. I’ve got no beef with black cops. I don’t care about their emails. And firing a perfectly good cop as a sacrifice to the Purity God would be idiotic.
I suspect that the effect of this virginal posturing will be to lower morale, increase the number of cops who decide to find other jobs, and make recruiting more difficult. Who wants to work on a force that seems to be looking for ways to throw the book at you?
Cops deal daily with a racially antagonistic and potentially explosive world. It’s called “the United States.” They have to deal with fellow officers of the other race, with whom there is friction. The citizenry often regards them in racial terms. Review boards tend to see everything they do in racial terms. White cops have to be very careful in making arrests so that their racial numbers don’t lean the wrong way. Maybe this is burden enough. Maybe they don’t need their personal email examined for thought-deviation.
As a practical matter, note that the problem has been solved. The troops now know their email is being monitored. They will avoid incorrectness henceforth, without further intervention.
I have a splendid idea. If the current email shows that cops did anything criminal, prosecute them. That’s what one does to criminals. If it reveals that they use bad words, and have the thoughts and attitudes common to American humanity, why don’t we drop the whole business, and find something useful to do with our time?