Square Peg

I had another conversation -a facebook conversation- with a young man I know and like.  On the day 4 police officers were assassinated in a coffee shop, he posted:

“G.E. to buy NBC, Huckabee’s contentious record of pardoning convicts, four policemen shot dead, Obama to send around 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan. Just another front page in America”

I was feeling particularly emotional that day.  It didn’t seem like just another day to me.  it seemed like a sad day.  I tried to loop my young friend in with me.  By the time the exchange fizzled out I felt even more sad and plenty agitated.  He and his cohort of young educated white kids brought the hammer down on my conformist sheep-like ass.

me- One of those policemen was a woman. All were parents. They probably had favorite TV shows and appointments to keep before Christmas. It makes me sad.

Nice boy: Now apply that to the thousands of troops being sent overseas. Kids, appointments, wives, husbands, aspirations, dreams, youth

It’s vastly less tragic that they’re missing all of those appointments when they willingly signed up to go. Still a volunteer only military. They, and their families to some extent, did make the choice to be in that position.

Friend of nice boy: The officer who murdered him of course won’t face prosecution, because this is America. And in America we only prosecute people who don’t get special privileges.

me-That officer didn’t murder him. He threw away is victim card a long time ago. How many cops or civilians would he have had to kill before you considered it justifiable homicide?
I suspect if you came home to a violent intruder you’d call whom? Maybe a Cop? For god’s sake don’t you know any blue collar people? These aren’t especially ‘privileged’ people. Neither are the armed forces. They’re working stiffs who probably had many fewer privileges than you have.
The world isn’t nearly as simple as you think it is. I know I’m just a mom and a nag, but please try to give the people who protect your rights as much consideration as you give the people who pick your vegetables. And stop assuming all brown people are victims of The Man.

Friend of nice boy: Well, after reading one article I see he was executed apparently in cold blood. If you or I killed a person in retribution we’d go to prison for murder. Cops? Doubtful. This is what I call privilege, because they are practically immune to punishment. And don’t assume anything about me and I wont assume that you’re a complete moron.
Oh ouch
And no, of course I won’t give carte blanche to anybody to “protect my rights.” Especially not by giving them the right to murder me without even a trial.
its made vastly more tragic when you consider that our volunteer army caters to and draws soldiers disproportionally from the lower classes who need the food, money, housing, opportunity for education and upward mobility that the armed forces supplies.

Nice boy:  It’s definitely pretty messed up that the officer killed him. I’d agree. That statement of the ‘unnamed patrolman’ said that he ‘thought that he recognized him’ and when he tried to flee he fired several rounds. Not okay. There is a very real possibility that it had not been him.

Also, vigilante justice – especially by the state – should  NEVER be tolerated. That man deserved his right to due process, a full investigation by someone other than the media, and a conviction by someone other than an angry cop. Everyone does. The day we make exceptions to that rule is a terrifying day.

The cops will stand together on this one – we will never know if the guy was executed or shot in self-defense (he was reaching for a gun . . .?)

I’ve thought it over and the nice boy and his friends are right about a lot of things.  But not everything.

I have some confessions to make.  You might not be able to even look me in the eye when I’m done.  Bear with me.  This is hard, and it’s getting in the way of my relationships. Here goes:  I am a liberal.  I’ve said that before, but I need to state it again just so we’re clear.  Paul Wellstone is one of my heroes.  I still remember Gary Eichten coming on the radio around ten-ish to say that there were reports that a small plane had crashed and that it was reportedly carrying Paul and his wife…  I was heading East on Marshall near Lexington.  My stomach dropped.

I am a liberal, been to anti-war protests, gay rights  marches, busted my ass for the public schools.  I almost always vote Democrat, but I’ve made exceptions (and in the case of Arne Carlson, I’d do it again).  I believe that legalization of marijuana would make the world a better place (but that in general the use of it makes you stupider than you were before).  I think it isn’t fair for people to hoard massive amounts of money to themselves and their families even after they die (if it all keeps moving up, the 95 percent of the population who make up the non-rich end up fighting each other for fewer and fewer resources). I’m pro-choice and pro- science.

Get my drift?  That isn’t the confession, isn’t the thing that seems to be getting me in trouble with my friends lately.  Here’s what is:  I like cops.  Well not all cops, but I really respect the idea of being a cop and believe that the people who work in law enforcement are good people, most of them.  I am grateful to them for doing everything from asking the neighbors to pipe down to checking out my house if the door is open when I come home, to chasing juvenile delinquents who poke holes in my tires or break my windows.

Lastly I need to confess that I’m torn.  I’m torn about a lot of things.  The world is way more complicated than I can figure out.  It seems like a lot of the people I know can’t be torn about things, can’t wrestle with their consciences or change their minds.  It worries me as much as the right wing whackos do.


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