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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

A Halloween Story

 I have a Halloween story to tell. It certainly wasn't pretty or enjoyable. But to tell this story, I must reveal an embarrassing moment of my own past. 

Halloween night, 1971 or 1972, I was about half a mile from home and trick or treating. I was 11 or so and every bit a juvenile delinquent on the fast track.

After trick or treating at a house and turning around, I decided to grab a little girl's trick or treat bag. I ran off with it. About an hour later, I returned home. My father was on fire. The little girl and her father had seen me. They had gone to my house and told my father. My father kicked my ass, made me go to the young girl's house and apologize, and then I was instructed to give her all of my candy. That was the last time I went trick or treating. 

It was one of a few humiliating mistakes I would make in the next four or five years. I wish I could tell you that I was this great kid. I wished I could blame something other than myself, but the truth is- I was a juvenile delinquent that knew the difference between right and wrong. My story is one of hard learning and ultimately, redemption.

Last night, Halloween night, we were taking all of our nephews to a different subdivision to go trick or treating. My wife an eternal optimist, left a bowl of candy out with a note which asked kids to take one or two pieces. I told her the contents of the bowl would get wiped out and taken by some kid. She said she didn't think so. We set out the bowl, placed a camera on the porch, and left the subdivision. About half an hour later, some kid maybe 14 or so, sees the unattended candy bowl. He looks around for cameras, fails to see our camera which was mounted low, and then takes most of the contents of the bowl. He left 11 pieces behind.

My wife posted the video of this kid on our town's website. What happened next took me back 15 years.

We received about 40 comments. A few of the comments supported our position and chastised this kid a bit. But the majority of the comments were in support of this poor kid. He was only doing what kids do. Another third of the comments were hateful commentary directed at us for posting the video and shaming this kid. You see...

It was our fault for leaving this bowl of unattended candy out. And some people even called us assholes for shaming this kid for posting video of his conduct.

Eventually we took the whole thread down. Not because we couldn't handle our own with these people, mostly libs, but because one person actually directed hateful, personal, content at this kid. 

What happened as I read those mocking comments- reminded me of why I grew to hate policing. 

My first patrol year, I had caught a kid burglarizing a house down the street. I was looking for 3 items in particular and I felt pretty sure that this kid was responsible and had the items. I sat down with his parents. These people had money. They were from California. The kid lived in his own house on the property, and I explained to his parents that with their permission- I'd like to have a look around their son's house. 

They refused. In fact, they said that their son had exactly the three items I was looking for but that they had been legally purchased. I am staring at them in disbelief. I told them I had serial numbers on two of the items. Then they added this. Our son likes to smoke a little pot, and he grows pot in that house and that they certainly weren't going to allow me to look into his house. It was 1984. I was incredulous. 

There was no way I could lock this house up and get a search warrant. Just not enough cops working that day. I knew I was screwed and that this kid was going to get away with this.

I became jaded in one day on the job.

There wasn't going to be any dad kicking his son's ass, there wasn't going to be return of the stolen property, no apologies. That's when I realized just how fucked up this job was going to be. 

It didn't get any better over the years. In fact, it got a lot worse. The liberal mindset was winning.

So, if you just stay focused on the job and don't care about outcomes- I think you'll be fine. I know cops like this. They don't see the ethical and moral decay around them, and they don't really care. They know how to protect their check. So, when some rich guy's lawyer pulls rank on a local prosecutor and they reduce or dismiss a solid case, they don't care. They just shrug their shoulders. 

It all pays the same. Famous words from one of my early bosses.

I wasn't like that. But if you are going to engage in the ethical philosophy of calling prosecutors on their shit for protecting their own careers- they are going to heap some pain on you. Those fragile little egos aren't used to taking shit from some crazy cop willing to pull out the stops. This led to a lot of fuck you matches over the years. I survived I think- because ultimately, they knew I was right and my heart was in the right place. They still didn't like it much. Each confrontation added a few logs to a fire that one day will consume you.

Over the years I came to believe that entitled rich kids and liberals were simply snobs that think they can impose their opinions on you like they are a matter of fact that only they are aware of. Some will even try to get you canned because you have the gall to tell them that their opinions are ill conceived or wrong. Those little entitled egos don't take kindly to that. Your opinion is always the wrong one.

So you either sign up for ethical and moral integrity or you saddle up with the little rich kids who can buy influence and save your career. Is it really like that? Absolutely.

By the time my career was coming to an end, I was surrounded by liberal, moral decay. It was everywhere. Then a strange thought struck me. Who were these opinionated cowards? Who were these atheistic, abortion craving snobs? With no real moral directive other than what was good for me, my children, or my friends, did they possess any sense of right or wrong beyond their own self interest?

No. They talk a great game of ethics and honesty until it lands in their own living room.

All they cared about was protecting their image, their ego, their gifted careers, and their superficial standing in the community. Any intrusion by law enforcement was met with active resistance. They would try to defame you, attack your beliefs, or characterize you as an uneducated dolt or redneck. Anything to escape taking responsibility for their poor choices and decisions. 

So it's ok to shame people so long as it furthers your agenda. The entitled rich don't care about any moral or ethical dilemma. That is nonsense. Just so long as they get what they want- they'll find an argument to justify it. We see it daily- all over the media and political commentary. 

And it keeps getting worse. These corrupted people have no idea that they are weaving the fabric of their own self destruction. 

So one day, I asked the question. Are you willing to die for people like this? I could see the lynch mob.

So I packed it up and left. That was 15 years ago. I have seen the enemy of our society, our culture- and they are exactly who I thought they were.

It ain't some kid who steals a few items from a house. It's not a kid who takes an entire bowl of candy and leaves none for anyone else. It's not even an idiot who swipes someone else's candy bag. Those are mistakes, even small mistakes, easily corrected with some intervention. Parenting intervention.

The problem is a culture that sees that type of conduct as acceptable or makes excuses for it. It's a complete failure to parent. To take responsibility and teach your children what is right and wrong. That shaming a child is a lot better than bailing them out of jail a few years later. 

The most important job any of us will ever do is raising morally and ethically correct children. I cannot overstate this. When you fail your children you have failed society and you have failed as a parent. The rest of us will feel that sting. I can think of three cases where a shitty parenting job resulted in the deaths of people. Hopefully one of those shitty parenting jobs doesn't cross the centerline and kill one of your family members one day.

I have often wondered what happened to that dope growing, burglar kid from my rookie year. I wonder what kind of kids he churned out. The good news is that I didn't stick around to find out. Trust me when I say- I bet some other poor cops are sorting that out.

Next year, we're probably not going to set any candy out.



pbird said...

Really appreciate what you say. Sounds like the unvarnished truth.

Lindel Easley said...

Well said MK. The country started downhill when we put God to one side. The downhill slide will continue until we repent (not likely) or until God has had enough of us.

Brian said...

Thanks you guys. Appreciate you stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Amen.....well said! God Bless.

NinaG said...

Back in the day, I was working as a Civilian in the LAPD. Stupidly, I got the itch to apply for the position of Police Officer. It was a mess from the get-go and I eventually pulled out of the application process. Suffice it so say, God was protecting me and keeping me from a job that would have literally detroyed me. Given the problems that I had in the twenty years I stayed on as a Civilian, I’m more than certain my life as a sworn officer would have been far worse. I somehow knew that the constant fight against the evils of this world would wear me down and end me as a human being, so when I gave it up, the huge wave of relief was indescribable.

Brian said...

I think ignoring the study of 25 years of cumulative post traumatic stress on police officers has been overlooked to such a degree that it is unconscionable.

I pray that changes in the years to come.

Irish said...

Brian, thanks for stopping by.. I will be back to read this when I get a moment.

I always appreciate the patronage and your philosophies!! :)

A.M. said...

I remember, as a kid, being perplexed by that pop song, You Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe. I think I was in junior high when it came out. And I always wondered about this and contemplated examples. It is a concept I understand much better as an adult. We also call them hard truths. We haven't let anyone learn hard truths for a very long time now--at least not in a personal friendship or parental context. Maybe people can skate through an entire life without doing so, I don't know; but I do know that I have learned a lot and lived a better life for having worked through all the hard truths. Thanks, Brian.

MMinWA said...

Ahhh a day off and the sun is out here in usually dismal fucking WA. So that's a super twofer on Thanksgiving. I'll take it. And turkey later.

Have a great one yourself dude.

Brian said...

I hope you had a wonderful day MM! Weather was pretty good here-