In a recent diary about a police shooting and possible coverup, I commented from a police officer's perspective. Some of the comments were supportive, some were not (which is fine), but others were downright rude, denigrating, and hateful. One comment actually ended by calling me a Nazi.
I've been an avid reader and sometimes-contributor here for years. I love the 'Kos and spend time on here every day. I agree with 99% of the politics here, etc., but the extreme nature of the comments sections at times can be overwhelming to me. I usually ignore stuff that I see as out of control, but it's getting harder to do that.
For the first time since I've been here, someone actually called me a Nazi after offering a difference of perspective (This is a Bill O'Reilly/Glenn Beck tactic that I thought we were beyond at Kos). I also had a commenter just above me make a case for brandishing firearms at police officers. To me that type of behavior is completely unacceptable here.
Let me preface this (to head off additional insults) by saying that police abuse is very real. There are bad apples who get hired (either by lazy screening, bad psychological exams, or possibly the nature of the job itself) who make all cops look bad. There are people who have killed, covered up, stolen, beaten, etc., who are cops. There have been Grandmothers tasered and innocent people arrested for doing nothing wrong at all. There are cops who have raped women while on duty. But they are a vast minority. Police, like all professions, are a slice of society, and like society, they come with all the social ills that any other profession brings with it. The reason why it is such a big deal, is because they are acting as government agents in positions of authority. Something needs to be done to reign in these bad cops and eliminate them from holding a badge. I agree with that completely. There is some really horrible shit out there in the world and I don't dispute that. What I dispute is that all police officers should be grouped in with these miscreants. I say with authority that most cops are good people. 9.9 out of 10, even. Family men and women. Blue collar union workers. People trying to do a tough job and go home at the end of the day safe.
Whenever there is a thread about police abuse on the Rec List, I actually fear reading it. Even if the Diary itself is fair (sometimes anger and incensed rage is fair in these cases), the comments will inevitably be full of severe anti-police sentiment and generalization. I shudder to think of what kind of vile stereotypical nonsense I'll have to read about how "ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), cops are lazy, cops are crybabies, cops are fat doughnut eaters, cops are scum, anyone who would be a cop is a powerhungry piece of shit, cops are racist (this drives me fucking crazy), police need to be met with firearms by the public [seriously, this was a real response here], etc.).
I try to remain respectful, and I'll sometimes offer some new perspective. Sometimes I get supportive comments, which I genuinely appreciate. But even more often, I'm met with diatribes being hurled at "all cops". My skin is pretty thick (it needs to be -- I get called a lot of horrible names on the street), but I feel like I shouldn't have to worry about this type of treatment in a place I consider a "safe zone" of sorts, among people with whose politics and personal outlooks I generally identify.
Being called a Nazi at DailyKos, by someone who's never met me, is beyond the pale. "A good German." Yeah, ok.
"All cops are racist".
This kills me. The officers in my small 12-person department are rather liberal and extremely diverse. Among these 12 are white, black, asian, latino, female, male, gay, and straight officers. I'm with these people every single day and I depend on them to go home safe every night, and they depend on me. Race is not a factor, ethnicity is not a factor, sexual orientation is not a factor (some of us marched on Trenton for marriage equality). We are not racist! We are proud of our diversity!
"Cops are lazy". "There's a blue wall of silence."
This job is really tough. Somestimes I'm on my feet for 12 hours at a time. My lower back can attest to this. I'm outside in all types of inclement weather (hot/cold/rain/sun/etc) either directing traffic, or handling a situation. We have to make split second decisions that can have real-world consequences for everyone involved. It's not easy. We do our best to do our job right, and people who have abused their power have been and will be fired. (Blue wall of silence MY ASS). I have personally put together an investigation into my own Captain's on-the-job abuses and had him terminated -- at great risk to myself, with the help of other coworkers. So I don't want to hear this Blue Wall Of Silence shit thrown at all cops either. In most places, it doesn't exist. It's a pure myth.
"Cops are scum"
On the job, besides the usual stuff, I'm also a police-EMT, a Field Training Officer (patrol specialist) tasked with training all new recruits to be good cops, a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) instructor for women, a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) instructor, a Defensive Driving instructor., etc. I love teaching classes because I know members of the community are getting something positive out of the experience. I hate being an EMT (if truth be told -- it's not my thing), but I love knowing I've been able to help people who were accident victims, victims of attempted suicide, assault victims, etc. I'm often the first person on a crime scene and this kind of stuff makes a difference.
"Cops are crybabies"
You're right. I've cried. I'm not ashamed to admit it either. I see a lot of things I wish I could un-see. Like the death notification I gave recently to a sobbing family member of a suicide victim. Yeah, that's gonna stay with me. Or the 50 year old man that died of a heart attack a couple days ago in front of us. The man who fell off scaffolding and tore his chest open. The girl who took a bottle of pills and punched me in the face when I tried to keep her from hurting herself before the ambulance showed up. Yeah, that stuff sucks. It really really sucks. But it's part of the job and deep down, I feel good knowing I was able to do something for people in need, even at risk to my own mental well-being (or my cheek, haha).
"Cops are fat doughnut eaters"
Honestly, I could lose a couple pounds. But I don't like doughnuts much. :)
"Cops are powerhungry"
I don't get off on ruining lives, locking people up, getting into physical confrontations with ANYONE. I don't agree with every law enforcement agency or decision, nor with every law I enforce (I am for marijuana legalization, for example). But until the legislature changes the law, I'm going to enforce it -- we are a country bound by the rule of law, whether you like it or not. I don't think the 17 year old with a joint that I let go is a huge menace to society, and I don't feel bad about guy I arrested with the brick of weed in his back seat either.
I've never killed a man. I never want to kill a man. I never intend to kill a man.
I want to help people. I want to uphold the constitution and the rule of law. I want put bad people away. I want to be fair and just when I can be, and kind and considerate too. I like being strong for people when they need me. You don't like the ticket you got? Sorry, but maybe I saved someone's life by stopping you and writing you. You don't like getting arrested for beating your wife? Then don't fucking hit her. You don't like me asking to see your ID because you were lurking around the bushes near an apartment building at night? Take it up with the people who have had their apartment broken into.
Do any of these things make me a Nazi? FUCK NO!
Edit: I just want to say that this diary was not supposed to be self-congratulatory in any way and I'm sorry if it comes off that way. I don't think I'm better than anyone here and I hope nobody takes that from this diary. Thank you.