The Older I Get...

It used to be said that it was the young who distrusted police and authority, while as people aged they became more conservative and comfortable with authority and the police, ostensibly because they had more wealth and position to protect.  Al Franken had a sketch on SNL where he explicitly poked fun at this, saying something like "when I was young, I opposed the draft, but now that I am over draft age, I support the draft to protect me, Al Franken... etc. etc."

Oddly enough, I have had exactly the opposite progression.  In high school I was a police-loving, authority trusting, border-closing little conservative, cheering on Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson in 1970's movies where loan heroes fight against the degradation of police departments by civil libertarian pinko bleeding hearts.

The older I get, and the more experience I gain, the less I trust any authority and in particular the less I trust police officers who are given the power to use force and the authority to cover up its misuse.  Yet another good example.  So Dirty Harry and Death Wish have been replaced in my favorites list by the Wire.

  • ElamBend

    I still like the Dirty Harry movies (not as much the Death wish ones), but I've gone through a similar progression.

    What surprises me is how many people I know, most of whom I would consider not very radical by any means, have the same attitude.

    I'm still sympathetic to individual police officers, but I'm a strong cynic.

  • Michael

    This has to be one to add to the dumb cop file. You smoke crack cocaine. I googled eating crack cocaine. There was a question in a forum, 'why don't people eat their rocks?' The answer is simple. It kills you.

    Oh, and when did crack dealers start adding the minty fresh smell?

  • Michael

    I'm 3 to 4 years younger than you. Back in the 70's and 80's the street cop was likely carrying a 6 shot revolver. The war on drugs has brought the militarization of police. It's not unusual to see police with assault rifles and machine pistols in military grade body armour today. That and all the stories of ticket and tase leads me to a less friendly view of police.

    Also, as an adult taxpayer, the police look more like greedy unions. Cincinnati police have a blue flu going on while suing the city over police staff cuts because the city hasn't proved there is a recession. At the county level, the sheriff kept his administrators and cut front line personnel. He even pulled the officers protecting the court house.

    Cops that endanger the public for an even more cushy living just don't tug at my heart strings.

  • Link

    "The war on drugs has brought the militarization of police."

    I agree. The War on Drugs has only served to drive up price -- which creates the profit incentive that makes drug smuggling so lucrative and dangerous. A second order effect is the clever simple chemistry which has brought us crack cocaine and meth labs.

    The War on Drugs has also eroded our civil rights in lots of ways, even more so if you're black. It's created an huge state-run penitentiary industry.

    Even the MADD campaign to raise the drinking age to 21 had pernicious second order effects -- it taught Congress how they could override state government by threathening to withold federal funding. States are now choking on the unfunded part of federal mandates. States go along with Stimulus, because it's use it or lose it.

  • Dr. T

    I was born in 1955. I never trusted or liked big government. But, when I was younger, I trusted the police. That's because they usually merited trust. I met numerous policemen when I was in medical school in Brooklyn. They were good police officers and men of good character who put their lives on the line every day. The good cop to bad cop ratio was high.

    In most cities, that's no longer true. Good cops are rare, indifferent and incompetent cops are the norm, and bad cops are common. I live just outside of Memphis, and its cops definitely cannot be relied upon or trusted. Fortunately for me and my family, our county sheriff and deputies are better.

    I attribute the decline in police worthiness to the drug war (and the huge amounts of money that can "rub off" on the cops), police militarization (as mentioned above), and the substitution of vehicle patrols for foot patrols. Police have become more removed from the populace they're protecting, and they have adopted us (cops) vs. them (everyone else) attitudes. The other problem is a lowering of standards for getting into police academies and for keeping ones job. Blame this on the politics of diversity (racial and gender) and the power of the police unions (fat slugs who can barely walk still keep jobs as "beat" cops).

  • Jerry

    I'm in the same boat as most above, I grew up in the 70's with a father who was a cop and thought cops could do no wrong and was all for the law and order of the land (To Protect and Serve - whatever happened to this mantra, this is always what I thought the Police represented). Now in my 40's, I distrust pretty much all authority, once you see the abuses of power the police (or Congresscritters) have done in the name of drugs and drinking, it has pretty much been a soul changing moment for me. And now I have no use for most of the idiots who work in government position of authority.

    I hate to paint a broad brush, but there are so many abuses by the police, where the good cops look the other way or hide their problems, that it is guilt by association.

  • Ian Random

    First remember that the cops are unionized and as such they can't get rid of the bad ones. It is so bad, there was a PBS documentary about a cop that was not allowed to police alone. When he did, guess what happened? He killed someone. Even when they get rid of someone, they can always appeal. For some reason this process is secretive and the people that helped initially never get invited to the appeal. So the bad cop gets rehired and the circle is complete. I for one think we need to respect the uniform, even if the flesh inside doesn't deserve it. I even thank the cops ticketing the illegally parked drunk littering softball bastards outfront. You maybe really complaining about their attitude which is the culmination of years dealing with worthless drunk and doped people every day for years.

    The arrested will say anything even if it is untrue and the MSM will amplify it endlessly. Then you read a blurb several months later about how it was all untrue. There was some prime time crime show awhile back that was investing a decades old case, the convicted criminal kept saying he wasn't there at the time. So California finally tested the DNA and bingo, it was him. If you are locked-up, even a remote chance they flub a DNA test and clear you is something.

  • Ed Fargler

    Usually I like what coyote has to say, but the cop bashing gets pretty stale. Yes there are bad cops, just as there are probably some horrible examples of libertarians that have no problem suckling from the government teat whilst decrying it's actions.

    Seriously now, I figure unless we go back to wild west days, with everyone going around open carry, I think it is a wiser decision to support your local police. Or do you think that we should have a free market in "protection" as well? Warlord much?

  • Paul

    It would go a long way towards helping this problem if cops were held accountable to the same degree normal citizens are. I respect good cops, I know the job isn't easy and I appreciate what they do.