New York City’s police and their hurt feelings

The big complaint of New York City’s police seems to be that they don’t get enough respect.

They feel they can’t win.  They’re damned if they do enforce the law strictly, and damned if they don’t.

I completely understand that feeling.  It’s how I often felt during my 40 years working for newspapers – 36 as a reporter and four as a copy editor.

New York City PoliceI was often told that my writing was distorted by my left-wing bias, and just as often, sometimes in the same day, that I was a tool of my city’s wealthy business establishment.

Sometimes I was introduced to someone who thought it normal behavior to tell me to my face that they thought all journalists were liars and fools, and my newspaper was a piece of trash whose only usefulness was in the bathroom.

This of course hurt my feelings.  I would have wanted to be liked and respected by everybody at all times.

But it never occurred to me, or to any other newspaper person I knew, to intentionally do a bad job because there were people who didn’t appreciate us.  Nor did I or anybody I knew rally behind someone who was caught faking facts or plagiarizing others’ work.

School teaching is another maligned profession.  School teachers are scapegoated for all of America’s ills.  Yet all the teachers I know show up for class every day, and do the best job they can.

There have been teacher strikes, just as there have been newspaper strikes, but refusing to work is a different thing from intentionally doing bad work.

I learned from my father that respect is never given automatically, but must be earned.  If I wanted to be respected, he said, I should live and work in a way worthy of being respected.  And the starting point for being respected was to live and work in a way worthy of my own self-respect.

There is an alternative philosophy, which is that respect is earned by the power to punish disrespect.   This was the code of pre-19th century European aristocrats and of 20th century American street gangs.  And it is the code of those police officers who regard “contempt of cop” an a punishable offense.

What will be the code of 21st century American police?  A code of earned respect or a code of enforced respect?

∞∞∞

Police Now Citing ‘Feelings’ as Reason for Slowdown by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

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2 Responses to “New York City’s police and their hurt feelings”

  1. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

    Like

  2. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Bullies are always thin skinned – or pretend to be.

    Like

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