By now I’m sure many of you have seen the video of a 77-year-old woman dragged out of her car by a police officer in Texas. With our video watching habits bordering on ADD, a great deal of people watched 10 seconds of the footage, decided right then that the officer was in the wrong and probably immediately logged onto Facebook to spread their outrage at the “assault.”
In the United States of the Aggrieved, we take every opportunity we can to spread our disgust at the latest travesty, no matter what it is. It is almost like we are proud to be the grumpy old Muppets in the theater balcony – the ones whose crotchety comments sent us chuckling time and again when we were young enough to see how foolish faux outrage is.
I have half a mind to believe that our high unemployment rate is due to outraged people getting their wish for firings to happen. You’ve seen it before. A cashier exhibits poor customer service or shorts you money and the knee-jerk reaction is “They should be fired.” A waiter turns your attempt at a quick meal into a marathon dinner and it isn’t simple enough to complain, you want to extract a pound of flesh to boot.
I’ve already seen the comments of social media czars looking to strip the badge off of the officer in Texas. I have a problem with this on many different levels. First off, every single interaction the police have with a person breaking rules is an opportunity to die. For some of us, the only chance we have to expire on the job is if we get electrocuted by the coffeemaker. Second, when did it become en vogue to ignore police commands? When somebody is told 15 times to provide their license and registration and they refuse, what is the next move?
Had this been a young kid wearing a hoodie who refused, I’m sure the police officer would have a lot less heat on him right now. I hope my perception is incorrect, but it sure seems like I’m more and more in the minority in expecting people to follow orders, have manners and not emulate the cast of the Jersey Shore when they interact with other humans.
The woman’s lawyer offered two solutions: The first was that the officer should have recognized the signs of distress and confusion and given some leeway. The other was to follow her to a place with a restroom, let her do her business and then issue a ticket. In the first case, I’d wonder if the woman was confused and distressed by a conflict, then should she even be behind the wheel in the first place and in the second situation, why is it acceptable to expect our needs to come before the administration of the law?
The police have a difficult job to do and we really don’t like when they treat people differently, except when they are 77-year-olds, I guess. The police aren’t always right, but when we ignore their orders, we are almost always wrong.