May 14th, 2005 02:25 AM
As a younger man, I rode motorcycles with cops. I now sell equipment to law enforcement. As a civilian, I was/am lucky enough to see other aspects of complicated issues.
(For example, I now work with a retired motor patrolman. We laugh about the old days; he was a motorcycle cop, and I was a cycle club member. I tease him about never being able to catch me. We'd drag race down East Washington Avenue in the 1960's and 70's, he'd give chase, we'd lose him. He admitted to me once, "Chico, you lived in the same apartment for 14 years, we knew where you were. Did we ever come for you the next day? We just wanted you boys off the main street. You weren't 'paper worthy' or we'd have had you.")
It's hard for one man to give up action to another man. But the fact is that I am not a sworn officer. There's more to this issue than just pulling a trigger.
I've told younger guys that if I ever had to shoot, I would call 911 (and give my name and a description of myself) and wait for the cops with my pistol locked open at my feet, and I would be 'assuming the position' against a wall when they arrived. I would expect to be handcuffed until they got things straightened out. I would ask to speak to my attorney, and then shut my mouth.
Some younger guys have just burned red demanding how could I stand there, mute, handcuffed as an innocent man. I've responded that I'm married, I have much to lose and LEO's must do their job. I have already been arrested in the past. It's better to just be polite and sit in the squad car for an hour and then wind up going home.
Over the years this has come to pay dividends to my character, to my freedom and to my association with local enforcement. I can walk down our main street, and be stopped by a police car. "Hey, you get any new toys?" I snap a switchblade, and hand it through the window. The cop usually says something like, "I have a clothing allowance coming--hold one of these for me."
And then, on the main street of my town the police officer smiles, hands me back the switchblade, and drives away. All of this time waving to a former cycle club member. Then he later gives me money.
Has this ever happened to you? Flag down a squad car and hand them your automatic knife and tell me how it went.
Trust me, be a nice guy, shut yer' yap and only open it to say "yes sir, no sir." It pays down the road.
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