Perception, Cynicism and You

***Amended Post***

I think we can all agree that we’ve had some good laughs this week.  At least, most of us have.  I wanted to take this idea of what cops think is funny and what the general public thinks is funny and turn it on its head a bit and talk about perception and cynicism.

Let me start by saying there exists a distinct difference between three people: the citizen, the rookie cop, and the veteran officer (also applies to other first responders).  What I’m going to explain to you may or may not make sense, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

I have a challenge for you.  I’m going to show you a picture and I want you to go to the comments and write down the first thing that comes to your mind.  Be concise.  There is one caveat, though.  Since I moderate comments, I’m not going to post any of them for a few days or a week because I don’t want someone else’s comment to influence you.

I work with a couple of guys that just returned from some training and this issue about perception and cynicism and what being a cop (or first responder) does to a person was extremely interesting.  Before I amended this post, I had said you could more or less describe everything you saw to whatever extent you saw fit.  After working some OT tonight with one of the guys that went to the training, I’m amending it to the first thing that pops in your head when you see the picture.

It may sound a bit sneaky and vague, but it’s supposed to at the moment.  I’m going to give you a peek behind the curtain of the Great and Powerful OZ.  For it to be successful, I need a lot of comments.

In your comments, I’d also ask you to state if you’re a cop and if so for how long.  Conversely, if you’re not, please indicate that as well.  Ready?



So, with regard to the gentleman wearing the glasses, what is the first thing that pops in your head?  If you have previously commented, please comment again!

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

68 thoughts on “Perception, Cynicism and You

  1. Not a cop.

    The man is a Scout leader. I think he was an Eagle Scout when he was a teen, and I would presume he’s American, though I don’t actually know if scouting in other countries uses the same uniform.

  2. Male, early 50’s in no immediate distress. Obese basing height on female to his right, noting she is likely not wearing healed shoes as the female to his left might. He wears the uniform of a Boy Scout Leader with multiple patches (badges) over the left breast. This photo is from Korea, on a military base, implying perhaps he is a serviceman or involved with the military in one form or another.

    Basic stereotypes from media include: balding, glasses, obese, taking part in child activities. In an episode of CSI he’s the child molester.

    Based on his stance he is proud of the salute he is giving and likely believes in the oath he has given. He wears a ring on his left ring finger indicating marriage.

    I use all this to establish he would be a good medical historian for himself and his family.

    Not a cop, not looking for bad guys.


  3. Hi, I’m not a police officer.

    The large gentleman is a white male wearing a tan boy scout type uniform, stands about 5’8″, maybe 275-300 lbs. He is balding with black hair and glasses. He is not armed and I bet I could outrun him and beat him in a fight so long as he doesn’t get me on the ground.

    Other than his physical characteristics, he looks like a heart attack waiting to happen. And he gives off that creepy child molester vibe. I bet he has a high pitched squeaky voice or some sort of feminine voice.

  4. Civilian all my life.

    Caucasian man, I’d estimate about 5 foot 8,between 200 and 240 lbs, overweight, wearing brown pants and a long sleeved tan shirt with two breast pockets, various club patches on it. He is balding, is wearing prescription glasses, and seems to be aged at around 40 years old.

    I don’t know what you call that garment he’s wearing around his neck like a necktie, but it appears to be a faded light red.

    • In regards to the amdended post, same as before.

      The frame of mind I am in is that I am a witness and as a witness I need to make note of every detail I can so that an officer can easily identify the suspect.

      I think in a crowd, this guy would easily stand out, so I’m satisfied with my description.

      Eagerly awaiting the education incoming from MC !

  5. 1) Giving wrong salute at Blue & Gold Banquet. Should be the Cub Scout salute instead of the Boy Scout one

    2) Cubmaster not member of Order of the Arrow

    Will hunt more after I get off work

    • Boy Scout leader, possibly Scoutmaster but the angle makes it hard to tell the badge of office. He is at a Cub Scout function. Based on the Scout salute and the lady at right’s hand over her heart, a flag ceremony is taking place. It could be a Blue and Gold banquet based on the color scheme of the tables. Wearing Wood Badge woggle (neckerchief slide) and beads, indicating that he’s attended Wood Badge (advanced leadership training in Scouting). Overweight, pushing maybe 310. Balding. The number of patches above his left pocket indicates he’s been in Scouting for a while. Hand is in an odd position, he’s either got a thumb in his picket, or he’s used to holding a sidearm. Straddling his chair, which restricts his movements. Probably not former LEO. Overall impression is that he’s harmless.

      Not LEO, but was in Scouting for a while.

  6. I’m not a cop, and I would have assumed that this was a Boy Scout dinner. I see the kid in the background, and perhaps they are thanking the scout leaders for their service.

  7. My very first impression is of a dad/ at a BSA banquet, anticipating an award for his son, or for himself.

    He appears to be a middle aged scout leader, likely the father of a scout. I don’t recognize the uniform but it doesn’t look like police or military. Overweight, but with good posture, he may be former police or military. The length of his hair suggests he is no longer either. Graying thinning hair says he could be retired, but he looks a little young for that. He’s probably married, his ring is on the correct finger. Instead of a parent, he could be a volunteer through the community or church. He might even be a pedophile who is good at blending in. I would characterize his facial expression as comfortable, pleased and fairly enthusiastic. He doesn’t appear bored or smug. He looks confident.

  8. I am not in LE, just a cop lover, and a teacher under hire for 5 years in an indentured servitude/hostage situation type of job. THe Guy with the glasses appears to be representing himself as a member or leader of a scout type organization with the clothes and mannerisms. However, the other lady and his overall demeanor indicate that he has some skeletons in his closet, and not just the large slabs of beef bought a Costco. IT just screams this is not a typical event with average citizens. He is sooo up to something.

  9. Why is he wearing a boy scout uniform and doing a girls scout salute? I would hate to lift him. He’s sweating. The woman in the back has three glasses of water in front of her. Is that an arm over the chair In front of him? Ok you got me. I’m only an emtb. I’m sure I could go into his weight and his stupid looking smirk, but without being in the eniviroment I can’t pass judgment.

    • Forgot to add, Not a cop. And wondering what this poor guy is going to think if he stumbles onto this page.

  10. I am currently a certified peace officer (eight years sworn – eleven total if you count time as a dispatcher), who has the greatest duty assignment in the world (motorcop).

    First thoughts as follows:

    Spectacled gent: Chomo (slang term for child molester); discreetly trying to hide the arising bulge behind the conveniently placed chair in front of him. Note flushed skin tone and awkward smile.

    Stoic female by his side: Naive single mother who has lived near the ‘very friendly, generous, and kind’ neighborhood scoutmaster for years looking forward to the day he could take her and her son under his wing (coincidentally standing, partially visible, behind her). Unfortunately unaware of the impending years of emtional toil and pain her son is enduring as a result of the “one-on-one merit badge tutoring” sessions.

    Seriously though, that is the first thing that flicked through my brain with professionally honed cynicism. Then my at home, off-duty Christian based cop filter clicked on and I reluctantly thought, “What nice picture of some clean cut, intelligent, unselfish, kind hearted pillars of the community.”

    Thankfully I feel I have developed over the years a healthy balance at home between a necessary hypervigilent instinct and the blind sheep-like victim mentality.

  11. Sloppy and unprofessional. Shirts not even tucked in, salute is crap, even his glasses are askew, collar isnt buttoned, it seems like the collar is to small to be buttoned. It seems as if they are doing the pledge of allegiance or the National Anthem based upon the plained-clothed woman to is rear with her hand over her heart. If that’s the case, his “attention” is terrible, hands in the wrong place, slouching

    LEO 3 years
    EMT 3 Years

  12. Pervert is the first thing I think of. I’m a 23 year veteran, a patrol sergeant, in an east coast town of 250,000 people and about 470 sworn officers.

  13. First thing, mouth breather. The guy looks a little out of shape to be a cub/scout leader; but it must be something he enjoys. He sweats alot, i can see his face getting red under strain. I think he may be single, or married to a mousy woman or a foreign born wife (Filipino, Chinese, Russian). The guy probably likes the companionship of pre-teen and teenage males, which is a red flag to me. I figure there has been more than one allegation of wrongful touching against him. Probably never legally proven. The guy is probably a great talker and an attentive listener, he always has a story. I work in Immigration and I am also a volunteer firefighter.

  14. Fat guy that shouldn’t be in a uniform. First thing that pops in my head. But I also see a proud man saluting the flag,

  15. Sorry, I didn’t follow all the directions. I am NOT an LEO but have LEOs in family and I have worked in LE, civilian employee.

  16. First thing that came to mind was that guy looked suspicious. Why is he smiling, and who is he looking at? Also why the salute/uniform.
    Not a cop.

  17. Coming from a family of LE and being in LE for six years. First seeing the pic was total PC290. LoL

  18. Shitbag, but that’s coming from spending time in the Marines where there’s little exposure to that look (excepting Navy lol)

  19. The first thing(s) that I thought when viewing the picture:

    Is he a boy scout leader?
    I never knew you were supposed to salute with three fingers.

    I am not a cop.

  20. Fat Boyscout troop leader (or some similar type of organization) standing for pledge of allegiance (most likely). He’s obviously overweight but to me that’s just an observation and not a negative. Then again, I’m fat too so take that into consideration. It took a second thus it wasn’t immediate but I also had good thoughts that he was in some kind of Boyscout type organization and likely doing good there. I’m not a cop or medic. Joe civilian.

  21. Scoutmaster. Volunteering his time to help raise well-adjusted, respectful members of society.

    Or… A major pedophile. Could go either way.

    Not a cop, been in Fire and EMS for 22 years.

  22. OK, first glance only? I don’t trust him. The face, both the expression and the features bother me.

    If I get the chance to talk to him my impression would change.

    Very curious to see what you have in mind here.


  23. I am not a cop.

    First thing that pops into my head, “man, I am sorry about the nation’s obesity problem, but am happy to see the diversity in the scouting ranks.”

  24. First: That grin is a tad creepy

    Followed by: How on earth am I getting him out of there if he should collapse? (yup, not cop, EMT)

    Which lead to: Straighten your shirt! (I think I am becoming a good uniform fanatic)

  25. Dwight Schrute (The Office, US version). I am not a cop. Also he reminds me of an incompetent nincompoop called Hermes Endarkis from an Australian 90’s kids show called “Ship to Shore”. I’m sorry, I’m sure he is very good at his job…

  26. I’m not a cop, I was able to past the firefighter test and have been a firefighter for the past 16 years.

    Dude looks like a 290 registrant.

    • Bahahahaha…and you work in California, by the sound of your first line. I’ve been in various aspects of law enforcement for 15 years, with the last 11 as a sworn cop, but I am also an Eagle Scout. And the first thing that came to my mind was still, 290.

  27. Boy Scout leader, wears the “wood badge” articles that signify that this person demonstrates the ideals of scouting. to be tacky, does need to lose weight though, makes the uniform look bad. I am a former soldier, combat vet and never have been a cop.

  28. Checked his fruit to see if he’s an Eagle Scout; can’t tell from the picture, but probably not, it would be on the bottom row with the Arrow of Light . I am not a cop.

  29. I’m a simple ol’ citizen. And honestly? First thing that came to my mind was “Too many donuts…”

  30. It might be the angle of the picture messing with me when it comes to his eyes and glasses, but it looks like he may either be a bit cross-eyed or have a reduced mental capacity.

    Not LEO.

  31. My honest first thought was ‘pervert’ and the internal radar started clanging.

    My second thought (after I reprimanded myself for being so critical) was he’s probably a proud dad helping his community by volunteering with the Boy Scouts. He’s probably a nice guy, but I’d have to talk to him to get a proper read on who he is.

    LEO for 17 years.

  32. I’m going to step out of the box here and comment on the above comments as a side note. Is there something to be said when so many people can’t even recognize the Boy Scout uniform nowadays? That was an American staple for decades.

    Picture wise: The first thing that pops to mind is “overweight”. The next is it’s always good to see someone involved in community service. Yeah, he looks a little frumpy but at least he’s doing some good.

    Currently a rookie cop, firefighter/emt, Army officer.

    • Of course people don’t recognize the BSA uniform. They don’t sell cookies, obviously! hehehe Now pass me some thin mints and samoas.

  33. first impression only?

    1. pink, vertical. no obvious distress early to mid forties, 290+ pnds.

    additional thoughts? (besides the exit route, recruiting the additional four people needed to carry back board,hoping that if i expose him i don’t find pictures of missing boys tattooed to his chest etc.)

    2. fruit loop

  34. Have to amend my Gastropod statement, it is easy to judge someone fast, but in all likelihood this person is doing a good community service that many would shy from. I think the point here is if in private, humor can be crass, hell some of the funniest comedians touch on uncomfortable borders. Sorry, but humor is usually funny because of it’s commentary, even when it is stereotypical or short-sighted. We all need to vent and let off steam. And even the best of us have some sort of prejudice built into us whether that is towards obesity or general creepiness.

    MC has good readership though lots of civic minded people, cheers to that.

  35. I am not a cop. I have a hard time concentrating on him when Ive got the distracting injury of a girl in the OA Brother sash. By the way, I think I recognize his Scoutmaster patch and Eagle scout badge. Looks like a blue and gold banquet in Korean Church basement. As an Eagle scout I gotta say I never ran into any child abuse in my 6 years of scouting. Then again I didn’t grow up in Happy Valley, PA.

    So whats the deal Motor? spill

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