On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Just Being Helpful

Badtux, the snarky penguin, is concerned about the ability of law enforcement in the Bay State to recognize real threats so he has produced: A tutorial for the Boston Police Department and Massachusetts State Police.

No word if he’ll explain to the Connecticut police agencies the difference between flour and anthrax. Well, it’s not as if the Hash House Harriers is large group [international, in fact, and they have a chapter in my town]. They shouldn’t have started this [they have been using flour or chalk dust to mark routes for over a decade]. If that were the case the authorities would have been notified [the FBI and HSD have both put out fliers in the practice].

[Note: They use flour because it doesn’t kill anything, doesn’t add any litter, and washes away with the next rain.]

Fear makes people stupid, which is the whole point, because no thinking person would have elected the current administration.


1 whig { 09.23.07 at 7:33 pm }

Were they ever elected?

2 Bryan { 09.23.07 at 8:31 pm }

Well, that’s not exactly a given after what we have found out about the Ohio election process. I know who won in Florida in 2000 before the Supreme Court decided to overrule Florida law.

3 hipparchia { 09.23.07 at 10:54 pm }

[Note: They use flour because it doesn’t kill anything, doesn’t add any litter, and washes away with the next rain.]
plus, it scares the living daylights out of people, which is the really fun part.

i laughed when i read about the lite-brite incident, but when i read about this one, it was no longer funny. noooooooooo! not the hashers! we can’t let them kill off the hashers! i never went on any of their runs, but i did go out drinking with some of them a few times. ok, a lot of times. a drinking group with a running problem, what’s not to like?

4 Bryan { 09.23.07 at 11:15 pm }

For a while they were stapling plastic plates to telephone poles, with different colors for different actions, but the electric company got annoyed so they went to flour.

5 Steve Bates { 09.24.07 at 12:17 am }

Good grief. Even a Houstonian who has never run after anything knows about the Hash House Harriers, and has an understanding, albeit in very general terms, of what they are about. What is wrong with these people? Is it some new rule instituted since your days in law enforcement, Bryan, that some cities’ police personnel must be lacking in general education? If so, would you consider coming out of retirement and instructing them?

6 Bryan { 09.24.07 at 12:35 am }

This is what fear does and among police officers the crazies get promoted. I see these guys running around in black military uniforms and think to myself, nothing says “protect and serve” like looking like the SS.

It isn’t a war on the streets unless you make it one. Dressing and acting like you’re going to war doesn’t help you control the situation or head off trouble. Nobody wants to talk to a jerk, so the street people will not be your “non-enemy.”

This is common sense. You have to get out of the car occasionally and talk to people after you find out what they want to talk about.

This instant jump to red alert is an expensive waste of time.

I couldn’t believe it happen in New Haven, home of Yale. Stupid tricks is the norm in a college town, and you need a sense of humor.

7 Badtux { 09.24.07 at 10:58 am }

“It isn’t a war on the streets unless you make it one.”

Yeah, well, laws making consensual commerce illegal, making it illegal to be homeless (basically), etc., tend to make it one also. When a government outlaws conduct that a significant minority of the population wishes to engage in and which harms nobody other than the people engaging in it, or outlaws conduct over which people have no control due to financial issues, mental illness, etc., what you do is create a war between government and a significant minority of the people. Paramilitary cops simply reflect the fact that there is this disconnect between government and the people they supposedly “serve and protect”. I’m not sure you can blame the cops for this as much as you can blame the sanctimonious self-righteous pricks who pass the laws the cops are supposed to enforce. B.F. Skinner would look at the set of stimulae in the system and note that the behavior exhibited is exactly what the set of stimulae reward and reinforce.

As for the notion of “serve and protect”, that’s so… Carter-era. The days of my youth, when cops in uniform would congregate in my dad’s shop (down the street from the police station) and talk and joke with each other and the civilians therein are over. Now if a cop is in uniform, he’s scanning the crowd as if expecting an insurgent enemy to pop up and take a potshot at him, and doesn’t really relax until he gets home and takes the uniform off and can blend with the civilians somewhat. Cops nowdays are so tightly wound that if I have any interaction with a cop in any way, I treat it the same as if I’m being accosted by an armed criminal on the streets, i.e., say as little as possible (don’t want to offend heavily-armed criminals after all), comply with everything he says, and get out of there as soon as possible and count myself lucky that I’m still alive. As you say, that’s hardly the way for a cop to accomplish anything other than a massive waste of time and resources escalating situations that do not need to be escalated, but I’m not sure, given the perverse set of incentives operating in the War-on-Drugs era, that we can blame the cops for this. We elected the pricks who wound up the cops this way, and we keep electing them, year after year (most Representatives and Senators basically have lifetime tenure). We have met the enemy, and he is us.


8 Bryan { 09.24.07 at 11:31 am }

I don’t blame the cops, they are doing what they are told to do by the politicians. The system is rigged so that the public employees who actually deal with the people only have the power to say “no,” while the elected politicians reserve to themselves the power to say “yes.”

I’ve been in more than one screaming match with my boss when the pols ordered a “vice” sweep around election time and my budget was going to get tapped to pay for it. I had plenty of cases with victims who had been injured physically and fiscally that needed to be cleared without wasting money on sin.

I always favored keeping the peace over enforcing the laws. I didn’t want to ride with people who dressed or acted like gunslingers because they caused trouble, and there is always an ample supply of that on the streets.