If you see something, say something.
This mantra became part of the American lexicon in the aftermath of 9/11. Suffice it to say, America as a collective was on its heels. The theory behind the attack was that we had just suffered the mother of all sucker punches. As that day fades further into history, the admonition to say something if a citizen sees something that is amiss during daily life has become part of our culture.
If you see something, say something.
At first glance, this seems like a simple statement that is rather straightforward. Something…something…something… what exactly might this something be? And to whom exactly are we to say something when we see this mystical entity that has only been termed as… something?
I’m going to point out some painful truths as I see them this week. Some of you may get offended. That’s fine; feel free to offend me back. Some of you may pine for yesteryear when the forthcoming rhetoric wraps across your emotional knuckles. I am with you. Some of you may label me as an enemy. That’s fine as well. If this describes you, then may we part on the understanding that not all streets are one way in their direction. Put bluntly, we probably feel the same way about one another. But it is time someone said… something.
America has a worship problem; in that we worship the wrong things in deference to turning our backs on the entities of worship that made America a righteous nation at her beginning. Alexis de Tocqueville once proclaimed that America was great because she was good. In the event that America ceased to be good, then America’s greatness would wane. Dear readers and friends, we are there. We are no longer great, because we are no longer good. We are no longer good because we are worshiping false gods. Those false gods are embedded in the American culture and body politic.
The false gods modern America worships could fill libraries full of tomes, but in the wake of the recent events in Minnesota, we will zero our focus in on the worship of those apparatchiks whose charge is the protection of the American way of life, most notably the police. We have been led to believe that the police are there to protect and serve the public of which they both belong as citizens themselves as well as owe their livelihoods. Yes, Officer, that taxpayer does indeed pay your salary. The question then becomes, are you earning your bread by the sweat of your brow?
If you see something, say something. I see something, so I do believe I will say something, thank you very much.
Recently, American cities have been throttled by violence in the wake of a horrific case of police incompetence, malfeasance, abuse, and criminality by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. While being watched by three fellow Minneapolis Police Department officers, not to mention passers by with mobile phone cameras working at warp speed, Chauvin placed his knee across the neck of suspect George Floyd, who had come into the crosshairs of the police for allegedly passing counterfeit currency at a local business. Reportedly, Floyd had a peppered past in terms of criminality, and there have been allegations of a troublesome past with this particular officer. After nine minutes with his knee across the neck of a handcuffed suspect, George Floyd gave up his spirit and passed away. The rest, they say is history, and it continues to unfold.
There is no other way to say this, other than to say something when it has been seen by millions of my fellow citizens. This particular officer is a clinical moron. Many make the argument that the police profession as a whole should not be judged based on his actions. Many argue that this is an isolated incident. At the beginning of this saga, many on social media argued that presumptions should not be made until all the facts were known. All three arguments, taken individually and as a collective, would provide a colorful garden of flowers with a novel scent if this excrement of a statement were spread across said garden. It is bovine feces. It is bovine feces because it is becoming too common in our society.
Bloggers sometimes remain objective. Bloggers sometimes offer personal insights. I’m not really sure which side of this characterization I reside. This week, I’ll speak my mind professionally and personally, because like we’ve been admonished to do, I see something. So, I’ll say something.
The police in this country have lost their way. They want to be seen as protectors of the American way of life. Because of rising threats, the militarization of the police has been seen as a necessity. Because of the inherent nature of the work that is indeed dangerous, the police are given wide latitude on how they protect people who sleep peacefully in their beds at night. And when that latitude becomes problematic, a case involving George Floyd comes along.
The police want to be respected. Like any human being, they should be respected. The police want to be treated with dignity and to the greatest extent possible kept free from unwarranted abuse. I concur. The problem though arises when the police have elevated themselves to a class that sits above those they serve. No one…. No one… should be subjected to power and its associated force that does not justify that force by their own actions. George Floyd may have been a criminal in his past. He may have been a criminal at that point in time. George Floyd may have used drugs. But what George Floyd did on May 25, 2020 did not warrant his killing by a police officer that at his core is a criminal and a coward.
If you see something, say something.
The police want to be respected. They should be respected, But ladies and gentlemen of the badge, you earn that respect by your actions. You are not respected because you simply pass through a rigorous background examination, graduate from training, and put on a uniform. The police officer used to be a symbol of community cohesion and portrayed a feeling of safety. Today, the modern image of the police officer roving the streets while you and your children sleep include this officer: https://www.instagram.com/ofc_kk/ and this officer https://www.instagram.com/officer__t.lara/ If you can’t uphold the image, respect, and dignity that your badge and uniform historically demand, then our communities will reap what they sow in cases such as George Floyd.
During the corona virus, there were scores of news stories published in which officers were dispatched to cite and arrest “violators” of curfews and public health orders unilaterally passed by city councils and governors. Yet, we are now forced to suffer images of police officers that are kneeling in front of rioters that seek to alter or overthrow the way of life that defines America. We are now faced with forcing down bile as we watch officers stand by and watch criminals destroy businesses, burn historical monuments of all types, and deface churches. It was easy to enforce laws when there were no repercussions it seems. But now when the stakes have been raised and your hand has been called, the maestro is conducting a different orchestra. That wet feeling you are feeling in your shoes, Officer? That’s your own urine.
It staggers the imagination as to how people such as Derek Chauvin ae not cognizant of their actions. We live in a security society, in which cameras record actions of every animate and inanimate object on a constant basis. I support the surveillance state in the private sector. With the proliferation of mobile phones with cameras, one would think that malcontents such as Chauvin would think twice about what they were doing. This goes for any and all citizens whose mens rea is morphing into actus reus. But no, he stares directly into the camera and kills a man. The virtue of that man is a non-issue because in this case it was unjustified. It can be put no other way: Derek Chauvin, and those that behave in a similar fashion, are low functioning imbeciles.
Police officers are human beings. They make mistakes. They have emotions, needs, desires, and fears just like you and me. The problem that led to this sad state of affairs is two-fold. First, the culture of the police enforces an us versus them mentality. Second, the cop worship mentality of American society has placed the police officer on a pedestal that they are ill-equipped to occupy.
When the police are doing their duty, I will support them. When they are being targeted unjustly, I will defend them. When they are wrong, I will call them out on their misdeeds. This episode sheds light on a problem that has been kept in the dark for far too long, and it is endemic to all walks of public service. It does not matter if the person in public service is a police officer, a public-school teacher, a judge, a United States Marine, or the President of the United States. As a public servant, you answer to the public. The public does not answer to you. You purr when you are stroked. That’s the way this works, and if that is unacceptable, then your charge is to find another path in life. When public servants forget their mandate and arrogance sets in, episodes involving the likes of George Floyd occur.
What makes me qualified to pass judgment on the police? After all, the public has no idea what they go through every day. I can make these judgments because at one point in my life I held a badge. I graduated at the top of my class actually. I also fell from grace because like all officers, including Derek Chauvin, I am a human being. Ladies and gentlemen of the badge don’t forget two things. Do you think things like the George Floyd and Derek Chauvin case can’t happen to you? Yes, it can. And please, I implore you, don’t forget from whence you came. Those people that you look at every day? That is someone’s father, son, daughter, or friend. Before you make any decision, good or bad, remember that.