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Politically Incorrect

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Politically Incorrect

Cops have plenty of company in stupidity

So President Obama said the Cambridge cops were stupid. And people (okay, just Republicans mostly) got all upset and demanded a retraction because hey, we all know cops are never stupid, right?

Just goes to show you I’m not a Republican. ‘Cause I have to say, sometimes cops, sometimes even our local cops, are just dumb as a box of rocks.

Yeah, I know, you Republicans are gonna get all pissy with me now, but I never was particularly good at being Politically Correct. And my statement takes nothing away from the number of really good cops (the majority of them, in fact) that we have patrolling our streets and highways. (Mark Ogg, you’re still number one with me! And there’s a whole slew of ‘em competing for number two.) But every now and then a rogue, idiot cop creeps into the force who just ruins it for all the rest of them.

One of them is currently working with the Idaho State Patrol, and he pulled my youngest daughter over a couple of weeks ago. Being a bit of a fan of the Constitution of these fine United States, I have taught all my children about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. So when this cop, out in Ponderay late one night, told my daughter he wanted to search her purse, she told him (politely) “you know, this is going to sound bad but if I give you permission to search my purse, my mom is going to go through the roof.” (Or words to that effect.)

Amy is a good student. And she knows that in order for an officer of the law to conduct a search, he or she has to have probable cause.

Amy is also a teenager, however, with both a high appreciation for, and intimidation by, figures of authority such as police officers. So when the cop told her he had probable cause, she caved and let him search her purse.

His probable cause? She looked “nervous” when he asked for her driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.

Now you might disagree with me, but I happen to believe that if a cop thinks there’s something odd in a person appearing “nervous” when they get pulled over, then that cop is stupid. Really stupid.

Not that I think this particular officer was stupid at all. I think he was riding roughshod over what he knew darn good and well were Amy’s rights against “unreasonable search and seizure,” and I suspect he probably does that a lot. Particularly to teenagers. And he gets away with it, but too many of us are afraid to call “bullshit” when something like this happens.

Note to the Idaho State Patrol: I’m calling bullshit on you.

At 10:30 at night, after Amy called to tell me what had happened to her, I called the Mayor of Ponderay, Carol Kunzman, to file a complaint. I was not a very happy camper. I can hardly believe how nice Carol was to me—I don’t think I’d be nearly as nice to someone who called me that late at night to whine.

So now you know, I think there’s cops out there who, as Molly Ivins might have said, helped themselves to a bowl-full of stupidity.

Lucky for them, they’re hardly alone.

Now I wouldn’t want to embarrass Yvette, Jim, Carl, or any of the numerous others of my more conservative friends by calling them out on the emails they send me, but man, have I been getting some stupid ones lately, as people get their shorts all up in a bunch over proposals to change our current health care system.

First, I wouldn’t worry so much about health care. Because our biggest problem has to do with health insurance, a puppy with a whole ‘nother set of spots, and it looks like all those pork hogs in Congress have no interest in upsetting some of their biggest donors by putting some reins on what must be one of the biggest lootings of the American pocket in history. (Yeah, the stimulus bill—at least, the original one and huge parts of the second one—is giving the health insurance industry a run for its money, but the HI industry has been fleecing people for a much longer time.)

But just to respond to some of the more egregiously ignorant emails I’ve received...

First, all you retirees sending out these emails who are just terrified of any kind of socialized insurance... how would you feel if, say, we just eliminated Medicare? You know, we could give you back what you paid in, and you could just buy your health care on the private market like everyone else. How’s that for a plan? What? You’re not so opposed to socialized medicine after all?! I see. You just don’t want anyone else in the country to have what you have now. (By the way, I’m not offering you interest on the money you paid in, because if you’d gotten it in the first place you would have invested in the stock market and it would all be gone by now. Be thankful I’m willing to give you what you paid in.)

That goes for our elected representatives as well. How ‘bout we take away what you’ve got, and you can buy on the private market too? Good idea?

Why not go further? Let’s eliminate all employer-purchased health care. Instead of your employer buying your health insurance for you, you can get that money in your paycheck. Then you, too, can go out and buy insurance for yourself.

Problem solved, right? Because the free market works, and the health insurance industry is looking out for you and what you need in order to stay healthy.

Sounds like it’s time to call bullshit again.

But my goodness. If we went to a system like Canada has, we would have to wait for care. We can’t have that!

Ooops, another mistake. We already wait. Let me mention friend A, who had to wait four months in order to schedule a double breast mastectomy. Or let me mention myself—I was told in late October a while back that my uterus MUST be removed. The surgery took place at the end of January. (Not that I minded waiting; I tried to get them to put it off ‘til March. But they said I couldn’t wait that long.)

I can give you story after story of people who wait for the surgery they need, so please don’t try to tell me that somehow a socialized plan would do any different than what we have now.

By the way... you wait longer if you have insurance. Because it all has to be pre-approved, you know.

Of course, a socialized plan would look to kill you off once you got old. That’s what these emails tell me. The health insurance industry would never try to do that, even though they make more money by refusing you care. So let’s just ignore the hundreds of thousands of examples of people who don’t find out they didn’t qualify for their insurance until they actually got sick—after years of making payments.

I also get a lot of emails warning me that the government is trying (mostly via vaccines) to turn us all into stupid idiots. Hey folks, don’t worry about it. They don’t have to bother, because we’re already there.

Yes, stupidity is alive and well and thriving in the American populace. It’s hardly surprising to find out some cops are infected by it too. What’s really surprising is that there’s not more of them.

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Landon Otis

Tagged as:

police, probable cause, traffic stops

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