Do “Cops” Deserve Disrespect

COPS! What? They call policemen cops??? What kind of low class place is this? This was my response to a headline in “The New York Times” or “Herald Tribune “or “Newark News.” When I moved to New Jersey there were a lot of newspapers.

I grew up in the state of Washington and do not remember being told what to call police officers. You just knew that you did not call them cops. To do so was disrespectful, demeaning, denigrating to the officers and made the speaker a low life. I could not believe a newspaper would use the word cop. But New York and New Jersey ones did. Still do. But my prohibition about its use stayed with me. It is beginning to wane, however, because reports of police officers behaving like thugs have been coming at us with increasing frequency. I won’t discuss the race issue, just speak of police creating havoc and fear for any citizen. Police now get themselves decked out in fancy costumes, grab some military weapons and go out to show the community they’re something, the something looking like the legal goons in police states.

Drugs figure prominently in many thug stories. Someone says there are drugs in X house and a SWAT team roars in. No warrants, no nothing but guys high on fancy dress and weaponry. And too much testosterone, or maybe it’s too little of the big T, thus demanding proof of manhood. And what better proof than tanks, flash grenades and guns? Police smash into homes, throw people to the floor, shoot dogs doing nothing but barking. One particularly awful event included throwing a flash grenade into a baby’s playpen, blowing a hole in the child’s chest. A “protector” of the community would not allow the mother to go to the child. The baby survived but his ultimate condition is unknown. There were no drugs in the home.

COP behavior reared its ugly head with an invasion of the mayor’s home in 3000 person Berwyn Heights, Maryland. The Mayor’s dogs were shot, having made no attack moves. There was no authorization for entering or questioning, but the Mayor and his mother-in-law were interrogated, handcuffed, in his home for hours, surrounded by the blood of his dogs. The Mayor was later awarded damages, costing taxpayer money because of the brain-dead behavior of militarized law enforcement officers. 

I have become increasingly worried. No, I’m beyond worried. I’m scared. I wonder when I’ll see tanks with SWAT boys on top armed with assault rifles roll down the streets of my town of 6000 people. If other towns need SWAT teams and heavy weaponry, why not mine? Of course there have to be drugs somewhere in this town. There are drugs everywhere in this nation. Let someone point to my home and I could be looking down the barrel of a gun made for war.

I look for good news about police officers. I really would like to think of them as protectors, not as thugs being commanded by the unbelievably pathetic, but I fear cop might become a regular part of my vocabulary because for me cop is a word for those you don’t, can’t respect.

Additional Information—

Police Overkill Has Become the Default American Police Policy

Flash Grenades Kill — A Whole Lot of Innocent Citizens