On the one hand, he admits it. On the other, he does so to deflate criticism that his position is biased. But on the third hand, his argument, regardless of his bias, is utterly idiotic.
Yep, I admit it. I have predispositions. I’m a cop. Though technically retired, I’m still a cop. I’m biased towards the profession, especially since we have so few champions in the legacy wing of the media. And I’m sensitive to people who never in a million years would dare to experience what we experience on a daily basis. Yet they unashamedly use stats to paint a picture they want painted about who we are and what we face.
— Jim Glennon
Glennon doesn’t just preach to the choir of special blue snowflakes, who are under such horribly unjustified pressure by a public that doesn’t appreciate how they risk their lives for us. No, this was an attack on a “smooth talker” who ” cites stats, many put out by the ACLU and other organizations not particularly fond of the profession of Blue,” like the dreaded National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics.
This was an article about that Blue hater, Radley Balko. who had the audacity to write “Once again: police work is not getting more dangerous.” Based on statistics!
That being the case, statistically, he’s right. Generally, law enforcement is safer than it was 20 years ago. Fewer deaths, fewer pure attacks, and fewer assaults—or so the stats say.
People like Balko use stats certainly when it suits their perspective, biases and agendas. Just as I do.
But it’s different when Balko does so, because he isn’t a cop, and no one can challenge cops except another cop.
Many report that those working on ships, garbage haulers, people in the fishing industry, loggers, pilots, roofers, iron workers, farmers and truckers all have higher injury rates than cops. And that may be absolutely true.
But—and this is a big but—none of those professions incur injury and death through the murderous intent of other human beings or while in the act of saving the lives of complete strangers.
This is where the trope devolves into that hero fantasy. Forget that cops are more likely to die on the job at their own hand, whether because they drive like crap or eat too many donuts and have a heart attack, they are busy “saving the lives of complete strangers.” And yes, that does happen. Once in a while.
But — and this is a big but — that doesn’t make the times when you shoot first because the life you care most about saving is your own magically disappear.
Nobody forced you to become a cop. If the job is too hard, too scary, too burdensome for you, apply for the job of assistant manager at Dairy Queen. And hope no one walks in with a gun to rob the joint, because you can die doing that too.
Did you think the cop job you sought was the one where you would never take a risk, never get hurt, never have to actually do the job? Stop your sniveling, man. And stop repeating the lie that it’s all about being a hero. No hero killed Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley or Michael Brown. Just cops. Cops who screwed up and took the life of a human being. But then, their lives aren’t as important as yours in that fantasy world you wrap around yourself to feel more manly, more valuable, more important.
I’m no cop, so I can’t possibly understand, right? On the contrary, I understand quite well.
I understand that when someone doesn’t show you the obsequiousness your fragile self-esteem demands, you think it’s just fine to threaten them, browbeat them, punch and kick them, tase them, arrest them and maybe even shoot them, because all they had to do is obey your command. Because you’re a cop, and your command is all that matters.
I understand that when you know who the bad guy is, that makes it righteous to lie about what some mutt did or said, to bury the evidence that proves you a liar, because whatever you do is right and just, no matter how much of a liar you may be.
I understand that you have to make “split second decisions,” and it’s very hard when you’re not the sharpest blades in the drawer, when you’re of limited education and when the eventual decision is primarily motivated by the First Rule of Policing; if someone is going to get hurt today, it surely won’t be you. But that’s understandable, because you’re a cop and no one matters more than you.
So do I get it? Do I understand what it means to be a cop?
Those who sit comfortably and safely behind desks reading criminology surveys and each other’s blogs use stats to skew reality and bolster their beliefs. Mr. Balko: I’m talking about YOU.
These people waxing philosophical about the ills of law enforcement have never—and would never—put themselves in a position where they had to look into the face of pure evil.
How very melodramatic of you, looking into the “face of pure evil.” Aren’t you the hero, and aren’t we the dilettantes who sit in our recliners eating bon bons and sniping at your real men. Your complaint isn’t with Balko, but with your own inadequacies as expressed by your appeal to delusion. Your problem is that you just aren’t cut out to be a cop, if you have to whine about the job so unmercifully and pretend that you’re at greater risk from the “face of pure evil” than tripping over your body armor.
I’m not overly sensitive to criticism. I’m just fed up with the way the criticism is delivered and the hypocrisy of those delivering it.
Because nobody appreciates how hard it is to be you, and how special you are, and how hard it is. Or maybe you’re so very oversensitive because you’re so very special.
Some are saying that we only lost 118 offices [sic] in the line of duty in 2014. ONLY?!
Tell that to the countless who have been scarred permanently by those 118 losses—the wives, husbands, children, colleagues, and so on.
And the people you wrongfully and needlessly beat, tase, threaten and kill have “wives, husbands, children, colleagues, and so on,” but that’s not all about you, so you don’t give a damn about them. And your critics are hypocrites.
So we’re on defense all the time in this line of work. We must be nice, no matter how rude or threatening others are to us. We need to use necessary and reasonable force, though no one can actually explain what that is definitively. At the highest levels of stress, we need to detect the indescribable and understand countless variables in a split second, knowing we will have to justify our actions to people who weren’t there but have the benefit of reviewing our behavior with the vision of hindsight.
If you’re not up to the job, then get another job. But don’t cash the paycheck while whining about how hard it is.
We don’t ask for praise or parades. But if you’re going to criticize, get a clue before you do it. Go through some dynamic training. Experience the reality of what we actually do.
But you do ask for praise and parades. Constantly. And we do experience the reality of what you actually do, every time a guy gets beaten for not adoring you enough.
Most people would insert here the standard caveat, that what cops do is hard work and we should appreciate them, distinguishing between the good cops who protect us from the criminals and the bad cops who abuse their authority and harm those they are sworn to protect. But frankly, the incessant whining in the face of your hero delusion has grown tiresome.
You chose to become a cop. Nobody put a gun to your head and demanded you do 20 and out. And if you don’t want a smooth talking guy like Radley Balko to cite statistics to show how full of shit you are, stop whining about how you put your life on the line for us every day. Enough with the lies, the whining and the hero delusion. We’re not buying the bullshit anymore.
Update: ExCop-LawStudent, who unlike most of us, has the experience Glennon accuses us of lacking, calls bullshit too.
Mr. Glennon, you can whine and throw your little temper tantrum all you want, but instead of bashing those who are calling for a solution, you should join in and help. You need to teach officers that while the officers have a right to go home alive, so do citizens.
Look this isn’t difficult, and people with no police experience can see it as well as we can. It’s time that you remember that police are under civilian control, and that if we don’t police ourselves, reining in the excesses, at some point the people will. Make sure that you are on the right side.
Of course, ECLS credits Glennon’s purpose as benevolent, rather than apologist. If that was so, there is nothing to preclude Glennon from recognizing all the validity of Radley’s arguments, and the facial falsity of his. I don’t presume Glennon a fool, which limits the choices.