The Talk, Codified

Some cops will hate this. They will rail about how this teaches young people to think cops aren’t there to protect them, to serve them. They’ll mumble about the War on Cops and how young people should respect them because, well, people should just respect cops because reasons. Such fragile teacups, guns and shields notwithstanding.

The Talk. Black parents have been giving it to their black children for ages because they love their kids and want to keep them alive. Is it a shame they need to do this? Of course, but the shame isn’t that they give The Talk, but that they need to give The Talk. But they do.

[Virginia Assembly Delegate Jeion] Ward crafted a bill requiring driver’s education classes to teach students how to handle themselves during a traffic stop.

On Monday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed Ward’s bill into law, making Virginia one of only a handful of states grappling with an issue made urgent by the high-profile wave of police-related shootings of African Americans in the past few years.

Illinois enacted a similar measure last year. Texas, North Carolina and Mississippi are among states currently weighing their own legislation.

It’s not that kids will be taught in driver’s ed that cops are evil, vicious brutes who will beat, shoot, maim or falsely arrest a person for being black, or white and insufficiently compliant. The lessons will be simpler.

Hampton High School sophomore Xaiver Williams, 16, said he passed the class last December and may have gotten some common-sense warnings about staying calm, but there was nothing specific.

But his father, a firefighter, passed along some tips from his buddies on the force: “Remain calm. Wait for them to come to the door. Let them know you’re going to grab the registration from the glove box. Say ‘yes, Ma’am’ or ‘yes, Sir,’ ” Williams said.

Essentially, it’s “respect their authoritah,” or acquiesce in the police rationalization that it’s all about making the cop feel unthreatened because they’re very sensitive, very delicate, and likely to react badly to the otherwise usual reactions of a person, especially a young person, to being stopped and expected to behave in a way that’s unnatural to people on the Good Guy Curve. After all, the ideas that pop into Officer Snowflake’s head aren’t necessarily the same as what any normal driver might think.

But we’re teaching young people to fear cops? Well, not so much fear, as understand that cops aren’t quite smart enough, brave enough, competent enough, to be entrusted with normal human actions and reactions. Sorry, coppers, but your litany of excuses for why you need to harm people is all about your feelz, not about others.

For any young person, this is a necessary lesson if you want to make it past a traffic stop and get home for dinner. But for young black drivers, it’s critical.

For generations, African-American parents have borne a special burden in mentoring their teenage children as they begin driving, having to say, be calm and extra polite when stopped by the police, and do nothing unexpected that could get you killed.

It’s horrifying that any parent has to have that conversation. But racial profiling by the police is a reality, and in these days of repeated and sometimes fatal highway confrontations, captured by cellphone videos, such warnings can be a matter of life and death.

No matter how unpleasant the interaction might be for young white drivers, it can be a life or death experience for young black drivers. There are too many videos to ever go back to the old days when you could deny you don’t treat Driving While Black as a crime in itself.

Sure, instead of teaching young black kids how to forfeit their rights as Americans to speak to you any damn way you please, we could teach you cops to treat blacks, and whites, with the respect they deserve as people, to stop viewing every black kid as a likely gang banger with a gun. We could tell you to think of them as your own child, whom you want to make it home for dinner just like the First Rule of Policing tells you.

But then, your kid has your union card in his pocket, to hand to the stopping cop as a matter of courtesy. You won’t write their kids, and they won’t write yours. So you don’t share that concern, expecting some other cop to show your beloved baby the favoritism that comes with the job. And if some black kid doesn’t have his daddy’s card, well, that’s not your fault.

So there is no choice left but to have The Talk. And now, The Talk is a matter of law to be given to every kid in driver’s ed. If you don’t like that young people are taught that you’re fragile wimps who will kill them if they don’t put their hands exactly where it makes you feel special, too bad. We all want our kids to make it home safe. We fear car crashes. We fear brake failures. We fear you. We wish we didn’t too, but you leave us no choice.

30 thoughts on “The Talk, Codified

  1. Keith

    I’m old enough to remember when the refrain was to blast anyone telling women to modify their conduct and the only acceptable response was to tell men: don’t rape!

    VA should elect a democrat as governor so they have an ally.

    1. Patrick Maupin

      I think you meant “before”, not “when.” The “when” has not abated by any means.

      In theory, theory and practice are the same. Except when it comes to being a good dad. You can be a good dad in (SJW) theory and explain that your kids can do whatever the fuck they want and nothing bad should happen to them, or you can be a good dad in practice and tell them to be cautious.

      In the vernacular, anything you say to try to keep someone from being a victim is blaming all those who have already been victimized, and you just need to shut your trap.

  2. John Barleycorn

    Don’t worry esteemed one Jeff Sessions is on a lot more dinner invation lists now than he has ever been in the past.

    He’s gone nation wide, don’t ya know…

    Anyway, he will certainly straighten this all out.

    He’s a grandpa, he gets it and if not, rumors have it he is a great delegator.

    P.S. Too bad Jeff was never a Dylan guy, but let’s face it, he would look cool with a beard if he could grow into one.

    He might always be a srardey-cat but if he ever did grow a proper beard and put together a DMV traffic stop video for the children, you know it would become legend!

    Someone should help him out with that.

  3. Patrick Maupin

    All cops should hate this. The good ones should hate that the bad ones make this necessary, and the bad ones should hate that parents are leaving this education about proper deference up to the schools.

  4. Frank Miceli

    For another angle on the story, CBS News reports that 2016 saw a 56% increase over 2015 of police killed by gunfire (total killed 64). And WaPo tells us that blacks shot dead by police in 2016 declined by 10% from 2015 (total killed 232). You’ve seen what Heather McDonald has to say concerning the progressive view of police violence and minorities. I think it’s relevant.

    1. SHG Post author

      Whenever confronted with the problem, cops go to the relevance fallacy to try to shift blame away from them. “So what if we killed you. You killed us!!!” Tit for tat is a game played by children for children.

      Pull out Dallas and LA, the killings of cops by psychos in retaliation for cops killing blacks, and it’s not even a problem with the law of small numbers (56% is 23 additional killings). But it’s entirely irrelevant, and every time a cop tries to respond with an irrelevance to somehow defend killing unarmed, innocent people, it reminds us of how unworthy they are of any respect. This may fly with the clueless and insane, but it doesn’t play here.

      Cops choose the job. The rest of us don’t choose to die because some cops are ignorant, arrogant cowards.

  5. Frank Miceli

    Loathing cops seems common among defense attorneys, no doubt bolstered by their singular encounters with those they view as “ignorant, arrogant cowards” among the men and women in blue. Killing unarmed, innocent people is always wrong. But there’s another side to the story and it is unquestionably relevant.

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics blacks were charged in 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties. This implies that police will be disproportionately confronting resisting and often armed suspects there.

    Yes, there are unarmed victims of cops but, often enough, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. Anecdotal evidence to be sure but there are plenty of instances where officers were killed with their own guns wrestled away from them.

    According to FBI statistics, 40 percent of cop killers are black.

    You know about the Ferguson effect, where biased media narratives against the police, fomented by such as Black Lives Matter, have led to increased murder rates in major U. S. cities (and violence against cops) as a consequence of police pulling back from doing their jobs. Whatever his malfeasances, former FBI Director James Comey, an honorable man, and certainly not “clueless or insane,” spoke out very clearly against this problem much to the consternation of Holder, Obama and their progressive enthusiasts who labored, unsuccessfully, to explain it away.

    1. SHG Post author

      Defense lawyers don’t loathe cops. We loathe bullshit. The rest of your comment has been addressed too many times for me to do so again. I can only go down this road so many times.

      1. Frank Miceli

        “Defense lawyers don’t loath cops.”

        I scanned your archives for all posts on “cops” going back to Feb. 1, 2011, generally reading only the precis for each post. Rather fascinating–I’m sorry I didn’t discover your blog earlier. And as you say, you have indeed addressed earlier much of what I have to say now. But if there was even one entry that did not damn the police, I missed it.

        So I repeat: loathing cops seems to go with the territory of serving as a defense attorney.

        1. SHG Post author

          There are posts that don’t damn cops, but you still fail to see a huge gap. That I don’t write love notes or apologies for cops doesn’t mean I loathe them. I’m not your union president. I have no reason to write about how wonderful it is when cops do the job for which they’re paid, or how innocent unarmed people should be willing to take a bullet because a cop is scared.

          On the other hand, there are cops and ex-cops (and prosecutors) who come here and have their say. Many end up seeing that the world doesn’t revolve around their feelz. It never occurred to them that their survival wasn’t more important than anyone else’s.

        2. Billy Bob

          “Loath” is an adjective, meaning “unwilling, reluctant, disinclined, averse.”
          “loathe” is a verb, meaning “to feel disgust or intense aversion; abhor.” Dis you get that?

          While we’re at it, defense lawyers may not loathe all cops, although some may. Others may loathe some cops, and not others. Here in the House of BB, we’re of the opinion that while it’s permissible to adore cops as a class of public servants, it’s also permissible to despise (loathe) them as an alternative. There are no “laws” which say that we civilians have to be one way or the other. Sorry Trump, there are no loyalty oaths, not since McCarthy. It’s a matter of preference and choice. Like the Host’s analogy to flavors of ice cream: vanilla or chocolate, whatever floats your boat.

          Personally, we’ve experienced policing that was perfectly professional, competent and respectful. That would be roughly half the time. The other half, we’ve experienced (and witnessed) policing that was totally incompetent, unnecessary, excessive and disrespectful of personal and Constituitional rights. We second the motion that public servants who perform their duties diligently and professionally need not be praised,…
          except when marching in parades.

          Those who are rude, excessive, incompetent, stewpid, crooked, devious testiliars, or whatever deserve to be reviled, and yes “loathed”. In no other profession that we can think of are the bad apples and boobs protected as much by a circling of the wagons and the ignorant apologias from the dyslexic PBA spokesmen of the land.

          Look, we were not born with these antipathies, nor were we taught to despise the police. These loathsome attitudes were nurtured thru years of disrespectful, incompetent policing that we have experienced in real time. Furthermore, there may be competent prosecutors and judges out there, but we have not met too many. Exactly the opposite! We color them loathsome as well, as a class. We don’t like em; we don’t trust em one scintilla of an iota. Period, end of story.

          There are the good, the bad, and the ugly. A good man is hard to find these days of turmoil and confusion. Thanx for tunin’ in. You’ll get the hang it it, Frank, you try hard and long enough?!?

    2. Keith

      Killing unarmed, innocent people is always wrong. But…

      If you ever wonder when you lost all credibility and respect, it was right here.

    3. Nemo

      This data was sourced from the Officer Down memorial page.

      So far in ’17, there have been 17 gunfire deaths among police. Call the rate roughly 4 per month, then. That rate would project out to 48 total for the year, a return to the ’14 total. Of course, statistics don’t predict the future, the way that many believe, so I don’t put much stock in predictions like that. That source puts totals of gunfire deaths out that vary considerably, year by year.

      Also, you mentioned the “Ferguson Effect”, as well as isolated statistics on Black crime. Have you considered the possibility that crime rates are actually fairly comparable, and the arrest rate is higher for Blacks, because that is where the police are paying the most attention? It seems to be the case with pot, at least. Use overall is roughly equal, but the arrest rate is skewed.

      My point is that, the usual post hoc stuff aside, we have no idea of the circumstances regarding the gunfire deaths of last year. For instance, how many of those deaths came due to the police opening fire, and one or more officers dying due to return fire? Call me funny, but I’m of the notion that when some people get shot at, they shoot back.

      Context means things. Another example is interesting. Without context, an officer shot a man during a stand-off with a mentally unstable man. No biggie, put that way. With context, though, we discover that the “threat” was a mentally ill patient playing with a toy truck, and the man who was shot was his caregiver, and on top of that, the caregiver clearly and loudly informed the police that the subject wasn’t armed, and the object in his lap was a toy truck. See the difference?

      I believe there’s a term for taking a narrative, and then using facts and numbers to support it. I can’t recall it, but it isn’t “logic” or “rational thinking”.

      1. Frank Miceli

        I’m sorry but when you suggest that black and white crime rates are comparable my brain explodes.

        1. Billy Bob

          According to the OED, heads can explode, not brains. Brains can only “drain”, as in “brain-drain” where geniuses leave one [repressive] country and immigrate to another where their expansive brains are more appreciated. It’s a distinction with a difference!

          As far as black and white crime go, you’re comparing apples with oranges. That is a non sequitur in these hear parts. For the record, most black crime is committed upon or against other blacks, contrary to popular opinion. Did you know that? Do you care? References to these stats can be discovered thru diligent search efforts. Similarly, white crime is committed against other whites, and not blacks, except in the deep South where situations may be variable due to poor reporting and improper classification. Not to mention overt and/covert biases and prejudices.

          The good news is, we’re making progress. Progress is not linear. It’s like a helix with an upward slope toward progressivism. It’s an up and down process with periodic reversions to the mean, if you catch our drift? General Electric: ” Progress is our most important product.” What is this obsession with black and white? Real crime is color-blind, just like real justice.

          1. Frank Miceli

            You have a tendency to bloviate, Billy, albeit with cute turns of phrase–especially when you’re working out of a high dudgeon. But that’s OK. I’m sure you’re still loved in “these hear parts.”

  6. Frank Miceli

    Hi, Billy Bob, and thanks for your English lesson. Although it’s not a persuasive strategy, it does feel good to begin one’s argument with a put down.

    Nevermind that an alert reading would have revealed that I used the correct sense of loathe twice in close proximity to your post, although you have my sincere mea culpa for my misspelling of SHG’s use of the word.

    If I understand you correctly, your longish post can be summarized by saying defense lawyers may not loathe all cops all the time but many may. Does that capture your thought?

    It doesn’t take a Hashiell Dammitt to detect an overwhelming antipathy (viz, loathing) to cops–and judges and prosecutors–within most of the defense lawyer profession, unleavened by even a modicum of respect. As one who does respect cops as well as your profession, despite its having some loathsome members, who has employed your fellows and who enjoys your posts, I can tell you what you already know but would rather not acknowledge–that for those not part of your guild, your one-sided view does not reflect reality.

    1. Billy Bob

      Gee, I am terribly sorry you feeel that way, Frank. Bob Dylan said, “To each his own, his own unknown!” Truer words never spoken. I am entitled to my own “reality”, not to mention my own “alternate facts.” Ha.
      Anyhow, thanx for responding. You gave it your best shot, and that is appreciated.
      Incidentally, I’m not crazy about lawyers either, defense or otherwise, as I have made abundantly clear on this blawgsite. We may have something in common after all. Good luck and have a good day.

      Finally, just because you say my views are one-sided does not mean they’re one-sided. Put that in your
      smoke and pipe it, Mister Law Enforcement.

        1. Billy Bob

          True that, and RGK –Did I get the letter-ordering correct?–is my mentor. I clerked for him (in a previous lifetime, even though we’re peers). Ha.
          P.S., That judge is best who judges least. I might have an “opinion” of Frank, but never “judge” him. That is against my religion. JudgeMental is okay; judge mentally-ill est verboten. Trust it, Sigmund Freud-breath. But how would anyone know? Anyone who would be judge should get thee to a psychiatrist, immediately if not sooner! It’s a serious sickness. It runs in families and throughout the profession. Witness SCOTUS!

      1. Frank Miceli

        You mean tautology, not redundancy but in any case, according to the OED “close proximity” is not a tautology. Proximity admits of degree.

        1. Charles

          No, I mean redundancy. See, e.g., Garner’s Modern English Usage (“[C]lose proximity is a redundancy that sprang to popularity in the late 19th century and has not receded.”) A tautology is “a repetition of something in words that are nearly synonymous and do not add anything.” Id. For example: “The people were close to one another because they were in proximity.”

          And while I agree that proximity admits of degree, you shouldn’t use the word “close” to describe proximity. That would be the equivalent of saying the sky was a bluish blue. Choose a different word if you are intending to convey degrees of proximity (e.g., extreme proximity). Or better yet, just use “proximity”. It’s close enough.

          1. Frank Miceli

            With apologies to all those whose eyes are glazing over: we learn from the Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar that a redundancy, the saying of the same thing over again in different words, can be acceptable usage because, “Language necessarily contains some redundancy and many speakers and writers repeat themselves for emphasis.” In contrast, “Tautology is the saying of the same thing over again in different words when considered a fault in style.” You were pointing to my faulty usage. Hence your criticism grew out of the notion that I was using a tautology.

            Was my usage of “close proximity” a fault in style? “Proximity” carries a sense of figurative nearness, not necessarily spatial. “Close” is more properly a spatial concept. It is in the connotations that “close” suggests a humanly felt nearness, adding a bit of emphasis. In short “close proximity”, an idiom widely used, is not grammatically flawed.

            With that, Charles, I cede the platform to you. Over and out.

            1. SHG Post author

              What sort of Philistine doesn’t even acknowledge Procol Harum? What is wrong with you people?

            2. Charles

              “You were pointing to my faulty usage. Hence your criticism grew out of the notion that I was using a tautology.”

              To be frank, Frank, my original comment merely pointed out the redundancy: “FYI, ‘close proximity’ is redundant. That is all.” Since then, you have turned the discussion into a commentary on your writing style.

              And you replied but didn’t comment about Scott’s choice of song. For my part, I’ll say only that “paler shade of white” might have made more sense—if I even understand the sense—but it would affect the rhyme.

              P.S. I’ll warn you: this is the point where Scott starts ordering hugs all around. So be careful.

            3. Billy Bob

              You both are idiots. Stop wasting my time!?! Who gives a flyin’ f___? It’s the morphological difference between the larynx and the pharynx! If you’re a daahchter, that is. Otherwise, who cares?

              Honey, would you fetch me another beer and join me in close proximity? Ya know, I really luv ya!

            4. Charles

              I’m trying to decide whether I’m happier that Bill is reading my comments again or that I so flustered him he forgot to use the royal “we”.

  7. Frank Miceli

    Damnation! Thanks for the revelation, SHG. Still I wouldn’t mind appearing in Billy Bob’s courtroom. He’s a funny man and quirky enough to accept my plea of insanity, knowing that honesty is not the best policy.

    If truth be known, I’ve always wanted to be a judge myself. But after one year of law school I discovered I didn’t want to be a lawyer in order to get there.

    So judges are OK. I have RGK in mind, who, bucking the tide in your blog, voiced his approval of Sessions’ new/old “charge the highest provable offense” policy. It’s a good way to curb the evil of sentencing disparities.

Comments are closed.