This is a tricky issue for me, because my boyfriend works for the police department and is a standup guy.
I went to Ocean City, MD for my senior trip. Along the way was birthed many a happy memory and two busted vehicles (I slammed into our cotravelers on an on-ramp after a fast food stop). We drank and talked and had more fun than our parents would have liked, but we were good kids, so we kept it relatively clean.
There was a boardwalk there that was cool probably only because we were from Pittsburgh. To ocean folk it’s a glorified sidewalk. I know that now, having waged a seven-year turf war with St. Pete transients and snow birds.
Ocean City was a sleepy town for we without fake IDs, so by sunset we joined the underaged boardwalkers in a general ‘hi how are ya’ meet and greet. Hailing from a town in which it was commonplace to sunbathe next to a pile of melting snow, this was paradise. It was to my deep dismay (and to my future scared-of-bully self’s knowing nod) that the following trauma to my relative innocence took place.
A police car lumbered onto the boardwalk at a crawl, it’s driver surveying the walkers with what I thought was a kind smile. It accompanied the atmosphere nicely, and had he toted a thought bubble it may have read, ‘kids these days.’
He pulled up next to me, as I’d drifted behind my crew and was enjoying the haziness of the horizon. He took me by surprise with a nice enough, ‘hello. having fun?’ I smiled and nodded.
After a minute another police car came along, sandwiching me in. I extended my smile to it’s driver, a little less comfortable because now it looked like I was being escorted. The two were starting to trade a glint that didn’t go over my head. I lost my smile and felt my guard go up.
In the distance two guys catcalled some bikini-clad girls on the beach. The policemen laughed. And then the first said, ‘Do you have guys at home like that? I bet you love when they yell at you. Does it get you excited? Does it make you wet?’
I was so shocked. I was still so young and had faith in law enforcement. Sure, cops were ‘pigs’ out to set speed traps and catch my friends and me smoking a joint in the woods, but generally I thought they were decent people.
So this story doesn’t surprise me. I know that there are really good cops out there, and not just those you see in the news for saving a truckload of babies in a terrorist attack. Cops that let the kid keep his joint, take domestic violence calls seriously and don’t use their badges to get laid (though that’s a thin line. I know good cops do that, too). But you really have to be careful. A lot are what we all said they were–high school bully bait with a chip on their shoulders. Be careful, ladies.
You know, I was going to write about Ethan Couch and Affluenza. But in researching I kept finding links to bad parenting picture slideshows. Mother/son incest, mother/daughter heroin pact, bound and gagged teens, caged toddlers…it’s a fucked up world, without the asterisk. So I couldn’t write about it without tripping on the images.
I’m sorry to the four families forever changed by this tragedy, I’m sorry for not knowing if ruining another life is the right answer, and I’m sorry about negligent parents who don’t take responsibility by it’s balls and dedicate every second to helping their child learn to treat the universe correctly.