Wednesday, December 24, 2014

~ Dear Po Po

As a copkid, I gotta tell ya, nobody wants to type this less than I do.  I have had more conversations backing your play than I could ever begin to accurately calculate.  The little girl who was so proud of her Mom and Dad for bein' badge wearin' badasses?  I remember her.  Mostly because I saw her the last time I passed a reflective surface.  No matter how much gray sets in or how many fine lines I spy, that lil' girl who thinks she comes from near superhero stock because her folks were cops gawks back.  I make it a habit to give shit to any and all fire people I encounter.  Two words:  General principal.  No matter how many gallons of blood I've donated I'm still a bit surprised when I look down and don't see blue filling up the bag.  I am the epitome of a leave the dance with the one who brought ya kinda girl.

Any presupposed notion that I have an axe to grind with the Po-Po is the plot line of your narrative, not mine.  Don'tcha hate when bloggers say things online that they can't backup?  Yeah, me too.  Boom

In fact, what I'm about to ramble say, I say out of a lifetime of love, understanding and respect, and a desire for this?  This climate?  This moment of time?  This way you're being looked at by the public?  This extra nutting up you must have to do these days to do an already supremely difficult job?  ...A true desire for all of this to be over.

I know you think the public has turned on you.  Whenever police are the worst conversations come up I often end up saying something classy along the lines of, 'now that you know this, that 'n the other about a situation put yourself in a LEO's shoes?  What the fuck different do you do?'   --Sometimes a 'viewpoint' is just a lack of earnestly looking at something from the other side.  Personally, I always find it a pretty shitty way to formulate a viewpoint about the 5-Oh, but I also find it a pretty shitty way to formulate a viewpoint about the public outta LE.

Seeing an issue takes eyesight.
Understanding an issue takes perspective. 
And not just your own.

It's a mistake many of you are making.

Please!  I implore you, stop looking at this as a them (civilians) against us (LE) thing.  Yes, I know 20 times a shift you're getting lots of feedback that feels and looks very Us vs. Them.  I swear to you, it's not.  This is a You vs. You thing. 

There is no solution to the protests, side-eyes and criticism you're experiencing that civilians have any control over.  None. 

Think about it.  Hands upping and #ICantBreathe-ing isn't an outcry for LE to turn into hug giving, daisy and crystal carrying softies.  It's not about hatred for the police, although some people are going to hate ya solely because you sport a badge- - some always have and I suspect some always will.  They are known as assholes.   It's a demonstration of the public wanting to see LE practices, procedures and training reflective of a system that does everything possible to avoid unnecessarily killing people.   Yes.  I said 'unnecessarily'.  I fully acknowledge the danger of the job and that sometimes a bad guy gotta die.  When my guy used to Sam Browne 'n vest it up I always sent him away with a reminder that, "you are to come home."  [BBGW post: Shoot Anybody You Have To]  He knew I loved him.  As he hit the streets I needed him to know that whatever popped off that shift, whatever had to happen for him to return to me was what had to fuckin' happen.  Period.  Full stop. People understand necessary deaths.  Ahem.  Reasonable people understand that some situations unfold in a manner that practically precludes anything other than a crim dying from being the outcome.  Those same reasonable people, I, expect that those instances are the result of their bad decisions.  Not that they're the result of your bad decisions.  (Not you specifically, LE-er/random blog stumble on-er.  For the Official Record, I believe that you are probably a part of the overwhelmingly vast majority of law enforcement that is comprised of well intentioned, honorable, kind, brave people called to serve their communities, to keep their neighbors safe and within the bounds of law and order.)  Again, who is best positioned to fix the unnecessary kills at the hands of LE, you or soccer mom Suzi standing on the street with a sign?  My apologies to Suzi's and soccer moms.

What you are actually seeing is an intervention.  You can deny and deflect, or you can choose to recognize that there's a problem that others see very clearly needs addressing. 
Which are you doing?

I hate to sound like I'm Monday morning quarterbacking, it's not my intention.  It's also not my intention to be anything other than (fingers crossed) insightful/helpful as you navigate the collective relationship status update large parts of the public have recently alerted you to. 

Obviously, I'm not the arbiter of what legally constitutes an unjustified kill.  But I have eyes.  And common sense.  And both tell me that with five? Six officers on the scene?  There were other outcomes which didn't involve a man dead.  As anyone with an internet connection can see this wasn't a time sensitive situation that simply stood no chance of de-escalating, where the only solution was going to ground and choke-holding, this wasn't a terrorist with a kill switch, this was a big ass guy selling single cigs on the sidewalk.  Look.   I get that like tango it takes two (or more) to escalate a situation.  But I also get that it's a crims job to be a crim (with all of the dumbassery, poor impulse control and bad decision making skills that accompany it) and it's LE's job to be the professionals in any and every situation that comes down the pike.  LE is trained in de-escalating, it, like qualifying, and paperwork is part of the job.   Having an actual snuff film featuring a failure to handle what probably could should have been the most minor interaction any of those officers had with a criminal element that day, going viral and the subsequent protest is not a sign that they are off the rails.  Give any 'yeah, but' response ya want, my answer would be the same--   Is that how you'd want your loosey slingin' family member to to be managed by the police if they were at the same level of agitation?  Every MOS has that family member.  (Full disclosure:  Mine was a cousin by marriage who got pinched on drug charges.  My Dad had to arrest him.  'Had' is disingenuous phrasing.  He didn't have to, any number of others could have, I think he thought his presence would make a difficult situation go down easier.  Needless to say Christmas's after that were awkward.  j/k.  We didn't Christmas together before.  There is also a distant family member arrested for shoplifting meat from a grocery.  I'm just sayin';  We all got 'em.  If one draws down on LE, of course you expect they'll be unloaded on.  But you can't deny that you too would expect them to survive a LE encounter over a minor violation that doesn't include your kin tryin' to get lethal with LE.)     

If the protesters want no more than what your expectation of good policing would look like when applied to your family?  Are you starting to see how this has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with how Team Us is collectively conducting itself?

To get suddenly succinct?  Police your own brass and all of Team Them goes away. 

If you're not inclined to listen to some random blogger listen to @ChiefBlackwell:

Obviously, you are not responsible for any one other than yourself.  Again, most reasonable people understand this.  However, much like when you're working and you know who needs to get locked up, but you jusssssst need some wit to speak the fuck up to be able to start to fix whatever problem you've responded to--   You have to be the person to speak the fuck up in this situation, that is, if you wanna fix the sitch and return to your rightful place of being a looked at as the badasses you are, and not the bad asses we see played out too cringeworthingly often on the news. 

Instead of reacting like protesters have some kinda unmitigated fuckin' gall being outraged, consider why they have so much to be outraged about?

Stop giving people ammunition to be used against you.  If you don't want significant portions of the population to think you are a bunch out of control, bunch together to put a stop to out of control behavior.  What you see that never makes the news, people can't even imagine.  But look at the videos of late that leave nuthin' to the imagination...  Eric Garner12 y/o Tamir Rice.  John CrawfordMarcus JeterLevar Jones.  Marlene PinnockAlbert Flowers.   Officer punching child ...You can't objectively look at those and really wonder how Team Them arrived at suspicion, anger and protest.  I guess, ya can.  Look, it's fillin' up my feeds, but I sure as shit don't recommend it if your looking for perspective and an end to this.  Now, ya might not like how protesters are going about displaying their disdain over what they've seen, but you don't get to pick other people's reactions.  Ever.  But specifically when you've devised, instituted and sanction, either tacitly or expressly what it is they are reacting to.  Ya can't give someone sour milk and then be angry that they don't like getting sour milk, and angry that they puked on your shoe, ya know?  Bottom line is if they have nothing to be up in arms about, then you won't see hands up, et al type reactions.   

This shit?  Is not the way to bolster benevolence from the public. 
It is a great way to ensure hard feelings, skepticism and animosity. 
It's a fantastic way to breed contempt in the communities you serve, and not with the assholes are never going to like you but with the solid citizens who want to have your back-- the people you count on the most aside from your fellow officers.  You're moving the line from hard to almost impossible to back you for too damn many Americans.     

It's 2014.  There are cameras e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. 
Act like you understand that. 
(Please Note:  The threat of a viral video shouldn't be the
deterrent to dickhead deeds.  Decency should be.)

As things are, and just so we're clear, here's where we are...  One of my friends is also a copkid [actually, several are] her father recently tried to dissuade his grandchild from considering a career in LE.  Now, I've never known this man to be anything other than proud of his service to his community.  Proud of his profession.  (As he fuckin' ought to be.)  And he's tryin' to talk his grandkid outta badging up.  Not because he's afraid for the kid's safety.  But because he doesn't see any ebb to this current flow of mounting distrust of LE and doesn't want his family member to have to be painted with that brush. 

Maybe I'm na├»ve, but I believe I think the tide can be turned.  You just have to turn it.  Bad apple practices, procedures and people gotta go.  If your expectation level is that community members have to nut up and help solve a problem in their house/'hood, what would make the LE house/'hood any different? 

A giant step towards nutting up and solving the problems at your doorstep?  This:

As much as many of you would like this not to be a race thing.  In large part it simply is.  Look.  Yes, racism exists in every profession.  And if you aren't a racist, congratulations, you have met one of the bare minimum requirements the public looks for in a law official, and a decent human.  But institutionalized racism doesn't exists without people within the institution lookin' the other way, whether intentionally or out of ignorance.  Regardless, when there is actual evidence (see what I did there?) proving that race adversely impacts the interactions with LE at a disproportionately and disturbingly high level to the detriment of people of color, the U.S.S. BenefitOfTheDoubt has already sailed.  If you're busy denying racism within the ranks you're not adept at taking in clues and are in the wrong job. 

Denying something doesn't make it not so, or better. 
Acknowledging something doesn't make it worse, but it is the first step in fixing it.
If you're not willing to do anything about it you're definitely in the wrong job.  (5-O Fact:  Pussin' out is not a desirable attribute in an officer.)  It's not that people expect that LE should somehow magically be exempt from having bigots in the bunch.  Although you'd have a lot less shit to deal with if magic worked that way. It's not that people somehow think every other profession might/could have racists but LE is the only place the phenomena doesn't exists.  It's that the public expects that you will protect them against that too.  Clearly, that's not the experience of too fucking many citizens. (Or, apparently, fellow officers.)  Reminder:  That's not a Team Them issue to solve.  Team Them being fed up with it isn't the problem.  Media coverage of it isn't the problem.  Hashtactivist aren't the problem.  Too many good cops sitting silently as the dregs degrade the profession is the problem.  Don't be that badge.  Don't let others get away with bein' that badge on your watch.  It doesn't make you a loyal cop.  It makes you a weak one.  And a hypocritical one the next time you're pushing someone to tell the dirt on some sumbag they have knowledge of and you're nine kinds of pissed when they don't. 

I know you think this is a protest.  But if you look it really is an intervention.  As I glance at this long ass and curse-y post (honestly, through a few tears) I realize it's nothing more than that letter you see on TV being read by a family member who wants nothing more than to help to try to coax their loved one to be the best they can be, to help pull them from the grips of what plagues them.  The people on the street?  They might not think of you like family as I do, maybe they'd never sit ya down and have a heart to heart with ya like a good friend would like I sincerely am attempting to be, but make no mistake, no matter how you're seeing the message phrased or framed, no matter how much you don't want to hear that noise all Team Them wants is the same thing the same thing I do--  For this not to be.  For your reputation to be beyond reproach.  For all citizens to consider you their safety and not question if you are their danger.  (The exact same things you should want.)  As with all interventions, regardless of how much others desire *goodness* for you?  This battle to bring that to fruition is ultimately yours.   And I sure hope you want it as much as I do for ya.   I don't know what will happen if you don't.  This is a fulcrum moment.  Please tip yourselves away from the bad apple-ing that is rotting what should always be considered one of the noblest of titles, Police Officer. 

~ BBG 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

~ Why I Hate The Elf On The Shelf

1)  I suffer from Tooliteralism therefore I find it unacceptable that he seemingly spends so little time on a shelf.  If it's part of your actual name?  Live the fuck up to it.  Jimmy 'the Greek' wasn't German. 

B)  I feel like he is in the early stages of a coup.  It's well documented...  Santa knows when you are sleeping.  He knows when you're awake.  He knows if you've been good or bad.  ...So what's this prick up to?  Santa doesn't need a frail, loose lipped lackey in his entourage.   He's the man.  Elf is nuthin' but a chump biding his time until the I'm assuming bloody holiday hostile takeover begins.  #Usurper

Trois)  I'm not even convinced this sneaky child watchin' bastard is even an elf.  Granted, my knowledge of elves is quite limited.  But what I do know?  A:  Elves have pointy ears.  Those look like perfectly average ears.  (Elf ear peepin' - hereLollipop guild member?  Maybe.  Elf?  Nah.  ...And if he lies about that?  What else is he lying about??

IV)  Now, I'm not a parent.  This in no way precludes me from providing parenting advice.  I get that sometimes snitching is the best course of action.  We are in the era of if you see sumthin', say sumthin' after all.  I don't begrudge Elf for reporting accurate information.  But that's situational.  When habitual it's called bein' a tattletale.  Right after don't hit/bite and this is how/where to pee, one of the first things a kid learns is, "don't be a tattletale".   Yet each Christmas a confusing message is sent that while they shouldn't tattle it's perfectly permissible for the Elf to do so.  The holidays are already too convoluted by hypocrisy.  The meaning of the season vs. the marketing and materialism of the season.  This extra layer of don't tattle/no, tattling is totally ok is just unnecessary.  Eliminate the confusion.  ELIMINATE THE ELF! 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

~ Separated At Birth

When I was a lil' brown girl I spent my hard earned money on this book:

In fairness, my Mom probably spent her hard earned currency.  I likely invested my funds in shares of Lic-A-Stick.  Nonetheless, this book was one of my LBG faves, as demonstrated by the fact that I still fuckin' have it. 

Obviously, sumthin' rubbed off on me...

Dear Mark & Ethan,
Stop being the same person.

Please note:  Fame is not necessary for doppelganger-ness.  Kid?  Of course everyone knows Kid and his esteemed colleague, Play.   But unless you find yourself watching tv in Buckeyeland, Rob Nestico may be an unfamiliar face name.  Now, I donno what kind of an attorney he is, but he makes a strong case for starting the rumor that Kid entered witness protection, changed his name, got a haircut, moved to Ohio and passed the bar.
(Rob/Kid's commercial - Here)
Separated at birth can even happen to things not actually born.  

Did I take the picture of the Brussels sprouts because up until that very moment wanderin' the aisles of Trader Joe's I believed that Brussels sprouts (aka: mini cabbage) were made in the same way regular cabbage is made, in the ground?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  (So, thank you Trader Joe's for being both a place to buy things and a learning opportunity.  Love,  ~ BBG)

I'm not suggesting Son of Sam and the Top Chef-er have the same mother/father.  But without conclusive DNA results I certainly can't rule it out.  Can you?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

~ Where's Your Wallet?

In my experience, it's fair to say unless you are currently engaging in the alcohol arts you probably know exactly where your wallet is.  It's one of those items we, with the exclusion of tipsiness, would never really let out of our sight, but more accurately, our presence.  Sans sandman time, we tend to keep our money on us.  Most people go to great lengths to secure their wallet.  It's so the norm that it's hard to conceive of a scenario where you would purposefully put your wallet in danger of being stolen, isn't it? 

Which is what made what I watched unfold earlier today so heartbreaking.

It was a quick stop at a gas station convenience mart for some smokes.  (From the Do What I Say, Not What I Do Files;  Don't smoke.  This isn't hypocrisy, it's when people who do something say you shouldn't do it, that's your sign-risy.)  As I pulled into the parking space a black guy wearin' a black hoodie walked by and in just before me, I passed him in an asile, he gentlemanly stepped outta my way as I breezed by.  That was the extent of my interaction with this stranger guy.  He wound up in front of me in the line for the cashier.  I had taken no special note of him.  Which is sayin' sumthin' because I am one of those drive up to a gas station (really, anyplace) take a second to look to see if anyone/thing looks hinkey before entering type girl.  (aka:  A girl who was raised by Police Officers to be situationaly aware.)  I want some smokes, maybe a pop.  I do not want to walk into a armed robbery, ya know?   

But it didn't take long for black/black hoodie guy to have my full and undivided attention.  As he stepped up with whatthefuckever he was purchasing he said something to the cashier and I watched him turn around step away from the counter, walk towards the motion sensor-y doors, bend down to get his backpack from the floor.  He proceeded to pull out his wallet and return to pay for his items.

As I stood there shame and pity overwhelemed me.  I felt it wash over me from head to toe as I recognized that a man didn't recklessly leave his money at the entrance of a store just begging to be pilfered.  I wanted to be wrong.  And I hate being wrong.  I so wanted him to be a dumbass who just didn't understand the ramifications of leaving ones valuables unattended in a public place.  I knew I wasn't.  But I asked anyway... Come on, humanity-- No Whammies!

"If you've got a second I have a weird question for ya?"

Once I completed my transaction I turned to find black/black hoodie guy misguidedly patiently waiting for me, as we stepped outside I super nosily asked him, "why was your backpack on the floor?" 

His answer?  '...girl, you know.  Less hassle...' 

I heard his words.  But what I felt, what broke my heart and filled me with shame for our society was his subtext;  As a black man in 2014, in America, I live in a culture where it's preferable to have all of the valuables I'm carrying stolen than it is to walk through a store with anything that might give someone even the slightest of notions that I might be committing a crime. 

The next time someone tries to tell you about what a magical post-racial climate we're livin' in before you nod in agreement, ask yourself if that's actually true?  Or if the only truth is that s/he is a skin color that is culturally afforded the benefit of the doubt that s/he probably isn't there to thieve and isn't made feel that in order to avoid being unnecessarily inconvenienced the safest, easiest, best course of action when buyin' a snack is to leave their wallet on the floor by the door?  

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