Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Never argue with a cop

Or perhaps "Never argue with a cop unless a judge and a lawyer are watching" is my rule. Its hard to tell from just one perspective on the incident whether this cyclist was reasonably viewed as resisting by the cop or whether the cop is just a sadistic SOB with a badge. Might be a bit of both. Whether you are having a bad day or making a bad day is pretty much in the eye of the beholder. That the cops have been back filling evidence is a matter of record.

The outcome of the case will be followed with some interest by cyclists. But there is already a moral to this story as far as I am concerned...

In Massachusetts, acting governor Kerry Healey, the very lame duck Lieutenant Gov. filling in for Mitt, ( since Romney was hardly to be seen in the commonwealth once Healey's defeat was certain last fall), vetoed legislation that would have funded the education of police on the rights of cyclists in the commonwealth. We need it. I have had cops yell at me to get out of the road when I was cycling exactly according to the law. That legislation was part of a package Mass. cyclists worked hard to get passed to make biking safer. Healey scribbled the veto in the closing hours of Republican administration when no chance of override, nor even much notice, was likely. Her excuse was she was saving the commonwealth some money. Yeah, right. "Saving money" must be why a string of Republican governors in Mass presided over a no-bikes-allowed highway and tunnel project that over ran estimates by billions of dollars.

For me, the sorry thing about this alleged incident of police brutality is the way it underscores the difference between practical advice or behavior and moral advice or behavior. I just don't argue with cops...but that doesn't mean they are right, decent or even properly informed about the laws they enforce. I have a hunch a lot of conservatives just blur that difference: whatever the cop, or the soldier or the president is doing or saying IS the law, is the working definition of right behavior. Schooling members of the executive branch of government in exactly what the law allows would be a logical emphasis if one is of the attitude that executive actions are de facto law. Logical emphasis is not conservative emphasis. "Law and order" is too often a cover phrase for "fear and repression".

No comments: