I had an epiphany last week on the way to work.
It was around 4AM and I approached a 4-way stop intersection in my neighborhood with a red light greeting me. Looking around, I realized that those to my immediate left had the green light but were not moving; as I surveyed the situation, I observed a cop car not moving, with a civilian car behind them. The light remained green, with no movement by the cop at the front of the line.
Eventually, the light turned yellow and then red, with no movement by either the cop nor the car behind. As it turns out, I was in a left hand turn only lane, and the next round of green lights went only to those going straight, and so I sat.
After a painfully long many seconds, the lights cycled again and gave the cop and the car behind the green light again…and again, no movement.
Having been on dozens of ride-alongs with various law enforcement agencies, I knew exactly what was going on; the officer was solely focused on their computer screen and was oblivious to the world otherwise. The possibilities of what was distracting the cop are endless; perhaps they were getting details about a call, or confirming directions to respond. The officer may have been debating whether or not to pursue a car that had appeared as suspicious as a result of its’ license plate running through an intersection with a recognition system. Regardless of what the distraction was, there have been many times I have been on a ride-along and turned to the cop I was with and politely said “the light’s green.”
What struck me was the car behind the law enforcement vehicle. They sat there, compliantly…as though a marked police vehicle, without its’ lights on, has a right to obstruct the flow of traffic and impede the movement of society. They do not…it’s really that simple. The car started to make a move to go around the cop, and then aborted and fell back in line as the light turned yellow and then red. It was as though the car was a metaphor for a person who knows that masks do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of covid-19, yet still sheepishly puts a masks on and wears it because…y’know…others.
I got a green light and made my turn, and as I did, I slowed and pulled aside the deputy, awaiting their window to roll down, which it did. She said “can I help you,” and I responded “I know you’re busy and I’m sure you’re working on something, but I just wanted to let you know you’ve missed two green lights and there’s a car behind you…”
She cut me off and said “oh my god! Thank you…I was so focused on this call we’re getting!” I thanked her for her service, went along my way and saw, in my rearview mirror, her pull aside and wave the citizen behind her forward while presumably offering a wave of apology. And as I continued on my way, the epiphany hit me.
Had I been the car behind the officer, I’d have given a courtesy honk and then, had they not moved, pulled around them and proceeded on my way. However, many, if not most, people are intimidated by the idea of questioning authority or, in this case, challenging an officer of the law. It’s the same phenomenon that occurs on the freeway when people see a cop car going 55 MPH and suddenly decide they won’t pass a cop car…lunacy!
I mean, seriously…if any other car was in front of you at a stoplight that turned green, how long would you wait before straight-arming your horn? About 1.1 seconds, I’m guessing. But for some reason, because it’s an almighty “officer of the law,” too many of you would demure…solely because “they’re the law.”
Well guess what? That’s exactly what tens of millions of Americans are doing as it relates to Coronavirus lockdown orders and travel restrictions, as brought down by civic leaders and health officials. There is literally no difference between your deference for some human you’ve never met wearing a uniform and your neighbor’s deference to an elected official holding an office we’re all taught to respect. In both cases, both people are literally abandoning their own personal freedoms in the name of authority; you just both think that your authority is better than the other one…they’re not, you’re all idiots.
On the issue of Covid, I am thrilled to see law enforcement agencies across the country refusing to comply with idiotic stay-at-home and curfew orders; however, I will not use that as a springboard to suddenly lend blind support to everyone that walks the thin blue line. News flash; there are bad cops…and there are good politicians. In neither case, should you stupidly follow or refuse to listen to either. Think for yourself, use common sense, and stop willfully relinquishing your power to others.
There was a news report this weekend from Southern California, where the mayor has literally banned taking a walk by yourself outside. A woman, holding a baby, was interviewed and said it all; “I don’t think any of the rules make sense, but I’m not an expert and I’m sure they know what they’re doing.”
Yup…just like Derek Chauvin knew what he was doing when he kept his knee on George Floyd’s throat for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while dozens of people stood by trusting the “expert” at law enforcement.
We’re all the same…well, you’re all the same. Sorry, but I’m proudly unwilling to be part of this cadre that renounces its’ own civil liberties to anyone, whether they be someone I tend to agree with or not. You’re all the same…you have too little faith in yourself and you insist on believing that there are other people that have your best interests at heart and will protect and guide you. They don’t and they won’t. The sooner you figure that out, the closer you’ll be to actually having full control over your life. Until then, bend over and keep taking it.