I’ve been meaning to write a rant on something for a long time, and it just took a television ad to get the juices flowing. In the commercial, a man is driving down the street in a car that is decorated in a similar fashion to one occupied by newlyweds.
The man is smiling. He looks over and sees two police officers in a squad car and continues to grin. They glare at him. The smile disappears from the man’s face.
It is not big news today that many cops are over-reaching. One infamous case was one in which police officers shot a California man’s dog while he was filming them.
Another more recent situation involved a woman who was arrested for jaywalking in Austin, Texas. As Jonathan Turley points out, four police officers were involved in “apprehending” Amanda Jo Stephen , who had ear buds on and claimed to have not heard the police yell at her in the street.
A video of Stephen sitting on the ground and crying went viral. Turley dismisses a pitiful and off-the-mark apology from the Austin police chief, one in which the chief indicates that “it could have been worse” and that police in other jurisdictions were committing sexual assaults. The chief called his reference to other police departments a ”poor analogy.”
Turley writes,” The problem with the apology is that it still misses part of the problem. Putting aside the basis for this arrest, everyday and casual abuses are a major problem of police misconduct. This woman was left cuffed and sitting on the ground in public and then arrested and charged.
Four officers participated in the arrest. Arbitrary and over-the-top police enforcement that creates fear of police and a sense of impunity for officers. Then when a chief of police shrugs it off as still better than a rape, it sends a chilling message to citizens and the wrong signal to officers. It is much much worse than a ’poor analogy’ in my view.”
While I have not experienced police misbehavior of late, I HAVE began to note a disturbing similar trend with transportation workers. I have had the occasion to fly several times in the last couple of years and I have found that flight attendants are overbearing and will take no guff from anyone.
The commercial produced by an insurance company which features a pig on an airplane being berated by two flight attendants is not too far fetched these days. The ad is supposed to be funny, and as with all humor, there is some truth in the situation portrayed in the ad.
The behavior of TSA employees at airports has been well publicized, also. I admit in my experience that my encounters with them have improved. One fellow at LAX greeted me in very friendly fashion at 6am. However, I did have another occasion in Denver during which a TSA worker made s nasty remark to me which I believe was unwarranted, especially since I was a paying customer.
Locally, I have had a couple of run ins with the bus company. When I called one night to complain about the lateness of a bus I was waiting for out in the freezing cold, my line went dead. I called back and told the woman that we had been cut off.
“We weren’t cut off,” she said.”I hung up on you because you were arguing with me.”
As a former customer service trainer, I was appalled. “When did arguing become justification for a customer service rep to hang up on someone?”, I wondered at the time.
Last week I got on a bus while the bus driver was doing her security check. As she walked back, I flashed my ID. She tried to squeeze in between me and her seat, and then when I apologized for being in her way, she glared at me. This woman is grossly overweight and takes up the entire aisle. I had nowhere to go.
It wasn’t the first time this driver had been out of bounds. I went by her one morning, flashing my ID. About a minute later she questioned me about my status on the bus. She clearly was not even looking when I went by. This driver is routinely late on her route as well. Yet, she seems to feel entitled to be arrogant.
The conduct, or should I say misconduct, of the police and transportation worker today is a sign of the times. Government in general seems to have run amok and begun to trample on the rights of American citizens.
I trace this kind of comportment by agents of federal, state and local government officials and their contractors back to the events of September 11, 2001. In this respect, Osama Bin Laden has won a great victory.