Monday, February 15, 2021

Microstory 1561: One Last Ride Along

I wanted to grow up to become a law enforcement officer right up until I watched a video of a cop literally murdering an innocent black man on the street, and ultimately getting away with it...

...after abusing the trust of his office, the public, and the justice system. And you can’t unsee something like that. I have an impulse to get back to my kind of gun culture (I have no interest in owning an assault rifle) because I don’t like the mindset that is starting to take hold where guns are the problem when they’re not. We need to get our heads on straight about where this is all going. Please don’t take my desire for peace away because of my prejudices. I have friends who belong to different groups than me and they’re great. But when we lump all those groups into the same population, I don’t want to be part of it. It makes me want to question my own bias a little bit because how can I be anti-gun when I grew up with them? I have a friend who is a responsible gun owner. He owns his own gun, is a hunter, and is an NRA member. We’ve been friends for years and I’ve known him long enough to know his background. He wasn’t raised in a religious environment (he’s raised his children as Jews) but he became religious later in life. He’s still able to function as a Jewish man and raise his children in that environment. He’s a pretty decent guy who hasn’t been in...

...a lot of debates about responsible gun ownership. He avoids them. Like me. I can’t avoid them anymore, though. Not with a new travesty seemingly popping up in the news every day. We need to hold people accountable for their actions, and cops should not be immune to this expectation. Today is going to be awkward. I’m scheduled for another ride along. I live in a large metropolitan area, which means I have a lot of different police stations at my disposal, and I’ve been going to each one of them, to see what a day in the life of an officer is like. They’re more different than you might think, because they each have their own area to cover, and different officers handle the same kind of situation differently. I’ve always loved it, and the more experience I can get before the academy, the better. I don’t know if I can continue to pursue this career, though. I’ve wanted this my whole life, but everything changed when I watched that video. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t change my mind immediately; it’s been the outcome of a long period of self-reflection, discussing it with my parents, and getting input from a black retired police officer who lives three blocks down from us. I thought about cancelling this last ride along—and it really will be the last, as I have seen every other outfit within reasonable distance—but I chose not to. It’s located in a dense urban area, not unlike the one shown in that horrific video. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to ask the hard questions, even if it makes me uncomfortable; even if it makes them uncomfortable. There is still a slight chance that I’ll change my mind back to the uniform, and I’ll be using this as my deciding factor. How this one cop responds to my unapologetically unfiltered questions could sway me one way, or the other. We’ll see...

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