Sunday, November 26, 2006

Police are trained to kill, not protect.

A year ago I was sitting outside a McDonald's and having a quick lunch. There are a lot of office buildings nearby and only one fast food restaurant (this McDonald's) in the nearby area. There is a lot of traffic - the restaurant does a brisk business. And in order to make things more manageable, they hire off-duty police officers to direct the traffic.

So while I was trying to enjoy my burger, I was also watching how the police officer was directing the cars. I have to admit, he was doing a better job than the Armenian cops in Yerevan who sit in their car and yell orders at the drivers making things worse.

Those who haven't been in the US may not know that the American drivers are not used to having cops direct traffic. I don't think learning standard gestures is part of the driver's education. So I think the cops improvise.

At one point there was a driver in a Civic that did not understand the directions and continued to drive after the cop gestured for the cars to stop. Immediately, the cop drew his gun. I was in shock - drawing a gun while directing traffic is not supposed to be your instinctive reaction.

Well, last night there was a shooting in New York where the police fired 50 rounds into a car full of unarmed people killing a guy and injuring 2 passengers outside a strip club after the dead guy's bachelor's party. The police were dressed as civilians. One of the cops emptied two magazines firing 31 times. Obviously, he was having fun.

A few days ago there was another shooting when three policemen dressed in civilian clothing burst into a 92 year old woman's house looking for drugs. The old lady greeted them with gun fire and the three shot her dead.

So what does this have to do with what I saw in McDonald's? To me, the morale of the story is that try not to cross paths with the police especially if you are black (both the dead groom and the 92 year old lady were black). Things become tricky when you encounter cops in civilian clothing because usually they are not much different than common redneck or ghetto thugs except that they are always armed and can kill you and the state, and the majority of people, will justify the kiling.

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