Every One of Them is a Piece of Shit

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Is everyone in here a piece of shit?

That’s a visceral title, I know. You may be tempted to not read further because you’re offended by it. But you come to MCPD to learn more about how LEOs operate and what our collect perspective may be.

It was a terrible piece of advice I received from the best training officer I had. I grasp the counterintuitive nature of that statement, believe me. He was referring to inmates in a custody setting. Sure, they had all landed in the pokey for a reason. I’m not what you’d call overly sensitive, but at the same time, I’d like to think that over the last 16+ years, I’ve made an effort to maintain my humanity in a job that does its level best to reduce it.

The training officer had a lot of experience and he taught me a ton about this job. At the time, I took his comment at face value. After all, he had seniority and had been doing the job much longer than me. Who was I to offer a differing opinion?

When you’re in training you have one job: Shut. Up.

You don’t have an opinion. You have too much to learn and too little time in which to learn it. So, pay attention to what is going around you. Take it all in. You can develop your own style as the years progress.

Consequently, I merely nodded my head in subservient agreement.

“Yes, sir. All of ’em. Pieces of shit. Copy that.”

The problem is it isn’t true.

More to the point, it serves as the battle cry of far too many police officers. We love the “Us versus Them” narrative because all too often we are pummeled by it and buy into it by virtue of exposure and training.

Don’t misunderstand. “Us versus Them” has an appropriate place. I whole-heartedly agree that it’s the good guys against the bad guys. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, it’s very easy to fall into the feeling that the “Us” represents cops and the “Them” represents everyone else.

When you start to let that feeling take root in your soul, you have started on a slippery slope that will not be beneficial to you professionally or personally.

11208648_980417818643410_3810805345673891669_n-2It’s an active struggle to push back against that temptation. It’s something that even I struggle with.

 

Case in point: The picture to the right. These pictures were taken during the Baltimore riots in late April of 2015. Thankfully, my first thought was “Thank God there is still decency in the world.”

My second?

Less positive.

“I hope those bottles only contain water.”

See what this job does to you?

I’m proud of both the young men pictured above. More so, I’m proud of their parents for instilling that kind of behavior. If we had more parents like that, Baltimore wouldn’t be the pile of burning rubble that it is.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you the cynical whisper in my head. Those whispers will be with me until the day I die. I could find solace in saying this whispers keep the saw sharp when I’m on duty…and I do. What I don’t want, though, is for it to be my reality and knee-jerk reaction.

It isn’t fair.

It isn’t positive.

And most importantly, it’s a lie.

If we (LEOs and civvies alike) don’t actively look for the good in our lives and in our community, we are relegating ourselves to a dire and unfulfilling existence devoid of compassion and joy.

It’s easy to look at Baltimore and paint a very negative picture with a very broad brush. I’ve posted before about the Silent Majority. I still believe in the inherent goodness of people. I also believe in the stupidity and selfish motives of a very loud (and small) group of criminal opportunists.

We can’t argue the presence of both of these groups in and around Baltimore (not to mention the rest of the country).

I encourage you to do your best to find something positive to focus on in a very difficult time and remember this:

Not every one of them is a piece of shit.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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10 thoughts on “Every One of Them is a Piece of Shit

  1. Excellent blog post. This is something we have discussed in briefing over the years. It is easy to forget that 95% of the citizens in the worst neighborhoods are decent upstanding citizens that are struggling with their situation.. Easier yet when you are continually dealing with the same 5% of criminals and idiots that make our job difficult.

    Political correctness is another barrier to open communication and further isolates US from THEM… because we aren’t allowed to express honest opinions for fear of being labeled a bigot or a racist.

    This is an excellent video on the topic of race. Well worth watching and sharing: https://youtu.be/xl7Q36V9pg4

  2. first, THANK YOU for (again) saying what I was thinking. I wondered if I was the only one who worried exactly what was in those bottles. & I’m not even in law enforcement. (sigh) …….and second, thank you for saying that you still work to maintain inner balance between cynical & gullible. May you be wise AND safe.

  3. You are correct. I wish people would learn to think before they speak and act. We all have immediate thought responses to things we see and hear about. But God also gave us a brain for thinking it through and reasoning. Perhaps if everyone had more compassion and less of a sense of entitlement, perhaps then we would rather look at each others humanity without always thinking the worst. God bless you and thank you for your service to your community. Stay safe!!!

  4. This is something that gets harder and harder to remember with every shitty job. I really like your take on it and will try to keep it in my mind. Great writing.

    Found your blog via various paramedic and police blogs so was happy to see the mention of Happy Medic – will be downloading the podcast once I’m home 🙂

    *Vet Nurse, Medical Admin Worker, and Paramedic Hopeful*