FRED REED: Thoughts on the Cop’s Trade, by an Old Police Reporter

Crime, FRED REED, Law, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Race, Racism

Police deliberately are not warm and fuzzy … [a cop] becomes granite-faced, with a controlled courtesy with a promise of consequences if disobeyed. He does this because if he treats members of the public as friends, he will lose all authority

By Fred Reed

Much twaddle about the police emanates from adults who sound like adolescents recently acquainted with their hormones and eager to irritate ambient grownups.  Think mentally deficient Red Guards. Anyway, they have annoyed me to the point that I am either going to strangle something, preferably a network anchorman, or point out some things. No anchorman was handy, so thus the following.

From a fascinating survey, “Most Americans are convinced there is an ‘epidemic’ of police shooting unarmed black males in America. This widespread misperception is reinforced with misreportage, sensationalized reportage, missing context, and the lack of reporting on analogous cases.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

Briefly (the link is worth following) the piece describes a survey in which respondents were asked to self-describe as very liberal, very conservative, and points between. Then they were asked how many unarmed blacks they thought were shot to death by police every year.

Results: “Very Liberal respondents were the furthest from reality: 14.29% said ‘about 10,000’ unarmed black males were killed by police, while 31.43% said ‘about 1,000.’”

The actual number, says Mapping Police Violence, is twenty-seven. The Washington Post, as politically correct as you can get without actually being on Thorazine, said that 23 “unarmed” black suspects were fatally shot by the police in 2018, and 12 in 2019.

This says, does it not, that forty-five percent of liberals are too stupid to be allowed outside when not on a leash. (Conservatives some better, see link). People can believe this stuff only because the media are either actually lying or so wildly partisan that there is no discernible difference.

It matters.  Ferguson burned because the media ran with the story that Michael Brown was shot with his hands up and saying, “Don’t shoot!” Telling blacks, already deeply hostile to and mistrustful of whites, over and over and over, that the police, by implication white, are killing unarmed blacks in hundreds or thousands, makes worse our already terrible race relations. It likely encourages an excitable and often unintelligent white population to defund police departments. This leads to higher crime, worse race relations, and the decamping of urban tax bases for friendlier climes. Brilliant.

A few general points:

Cops don’t make laws. They enforce them.  This should be obvious. Yet many people bridle when the police enforce what they regard as a stupid or petty law. The cop also may think it is petty or stupid, but he has no choice. “Why are you giving me a ticket? I was only double-parked for a few minutes.” “Sign here, lady.”

Some cities have a “stop and frisk” policy. This means leaning young men against a wall and patting them down for guns though they have done nothing illegal and have no visible guns. This is typically done to black men in black neighborhoods because that is where people are shot to death. It is humiliating, infuriating, perhaps unconstitutional, and, when done by white policemen, arouses intense racial hostility. Arguably, and arguedly, it is extremely stupid. Why do cops do it? Because they dislike blacks?

No. They do it because the chief ordered them to, and he orders them to because the mayor or city council, who often are black, ordered them to, and the mayor ordered them to because stop-and-frisk keeps the homicide rate way down. That is, it saves black lives.

But laws involve tradeoffs.  In this case between (a) no stop-and-frisk, more dead black men, but less racial anger, and (b) stop-and-frisk, fewer dead black men, and intense racial anger. Take your choice, but expect the inevitable consequences of each.

Beware the much-sought-after assertion of racial disproportionality. If blacks get disproportionately ticketed for traffic violations, are the cops picking on blacks or are blacks committing more violations? What would you propose to do about disproportionality? Order cops to stop ticketing blacks? PR problems solved, which is the important thing, though deaths in accidents would go up. Or order white cops not to ticket blacks, which would also be good PR. Or stop enforcing traffic laws altogether? Take your pick.

Reflect that cops can’t win. Nobody is going to like them. Why? Because nobody likes being told what to do, and some like it less than others. When the bank president or three-star general gets pulled over for driving erratically, a twenty-three-year-old high-school graduate is going to tell him to step out of the car, sir, and take the inebriety test or, nowadays, blow into the breathalyzer. The general thinks he is too important to be ordered around by a mere kid. The cop doesn’t think so, and he has the authority. If the bank president blows high, the kid will arrest him. It’s his job, it’s the law, but is not optimal in interpersonal relations.

Police deliberately are not warm and fuzzy. They need to maintain command on the street. Talking to a reporter doing a ride-along, a cop will laugh and tell war stories about shared time in Bangkok. “Murphy and I were in Linda’s Surprise Bar and this great tall gal says….” Stopping to break up a fracas on the sidewalk, he becomes granite-faced, with a controlled courtesy with a promise of consequences if disobeyed. He does this because if he treats members of the public as friends, he will lose all authority.

Be wary of media accounts of police behavior, especially regarding shootings. The phrase “unarmed black man” is a journalist’s term of art, deliberately employed to imply that the cop from sheer viciousness or, better, racism, shot an innocent black man.

If this actually happens, it is called “murder,” and should be treated as such. But was the unarmed black man sitting on a park bench, eating an ice cream cone and reading War and Peace, or was he beating the cops head against a brick wall? These stories are made juicer by adding, “during a traffic stop,” the impression given being that the cop pulled the man over for a broken tail light and insouciantly killed him for no reason. Usually, but not always, a little research online will reveal that the man shot was resisting arrest or attacking the officer. Find out for yourself what happened. It is usually possible. But don’t trust NPR or CNN. They really, truly, are not honest.

Note that there is no pretty way to arrest someone who does not want to be arrested. I recently saw the body-cam footage of a couple of cops arresting a shoplifter in the parking lot of a commercial center. She was tall, perhaps 150, strongly built, and black. In today’s climate, “black” automatically makes it a racial incident, though shoplifting is illegal for white women too.

She chose to resist. There followed unprepossessing minutes of two white cops struggling with a screaming, furious black woman swinging and kicking, the officers getting her on the ground and trying to force her hands behind her. She was not hurt as they were careful to avoid it, but the average onlooker would not have known this.

The choice: arrest shoplifters, or don’t. The cops will do either, as they are ordered.

Finally, if you want a good force, recruit carefully, train them well, pay them well, and watch them like a hawk. Works like a charm.

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

Black-And-Yellow Lives Matter: On Driving Your Local Liberal More Loco

Comedy & Humor, Conflict, Culture, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim

Context: Our mountain neighborhood is blessed with a unique layout. The lower-neighborhood stretch faces green embankments, angled at approximately 60 degrees. This lovely midsection is abutted each side by the road.

I like my incline to be natural, which means that now, the embankment is supposed to be blanketed with wild flowers. But not if the local, progressive, statist tyrant has his way, and he always does.

It has been decreed that a close shave of the neighborhood embankments be the rule, for fear of … as Basil Fawlty would screech, “Fa-Fa-Fa-fire.” That is ridiculous, because the grass is predominantly green, and, you know, … the asphalt. It acts as a firebreak.

But progressive statists are not good at loving a neighbor as thyself (one of the Ten Commandments), which means practicing the live-and-let-live motto. Neither are progressives environmentalists. When it comes down to brass tacks, they don’t much like the natural world.

But I do.

So mow we do. But we leave the lovely embankment dotted with little alien-like crop-circles of wild flowers and grasses. And, I had a signpost made to place alongside my wild flower crop-circles. It reads:

“HELP THE BEES POLLINATE
BLACK-AND-YELLOW LIVES MATTER”

In one fell-swoop, the local progressive vigilante is being taunted for his lack of brotherly bee love. Mocking the Black Lives Matter catechism is a heresy that drives this progressive prototype more loco than he already is.

 

 

Mental Maladies: Tucker And Mainstream Discover What Thomas Szasz Explained In 1960

Argument, Logic, Propaganda, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry, Psychology & Pop-Psychology, Science, The Therapuetic State

About the lack of empirical evidence for so-called organic nature of “mental disease,” Tucker Carlson said TODAY, , (well, almost) what this column wrote first in 2002 and countless times since, in titles archived under Psychiatry and The Therapeutic State category:

Cruise And The Psychiatric Shamans,” (2005) “EVIL, NOT ILL” (4/2007), “Conservatives For Abolishing The Fact Of Evil (2015),” “School Shootings: A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem” (2018).

Tucker discovers what we wrote in “Broken Brains?” (January 16, 2002):

“… Consider also that there is no credible, scientific, peer-reviewed evidence for the organic basis of aberrant behavior, and you grasp the chicanery that surrounds the claim that strange or bad conduct is caused by ‘chemical imbalances’ in the brain. …”

The more rigorous and honest clinicians will concede that drawing causal relationships between “mental illness” and “chemical imbalances” is impossible. That prescription medication often helps misbehaved or unhappy individuals is no proof that strange behavior is an organic disease. One can chemically castrate a pedophile. But does this demonstrate that molesting kids is an organic disease? Never. It proves only that chemical castration can at times reduce recidivism in people who have chosen to victimize children.

Clear analytical thinking is at the root of solid science, it precedes empiricism.

Roughly 75 percent of the value of “antidepressant” drugs is due to the placebo effect. And talk therapies—cognitive-behavioral therapy in particular—can have equal or better results. Veracity permits only that we limit our causal conclusions to saying that assorted treatment modalities sometimes help people with behavioral problems, nothing more.

MORE.

My mentor, the great Dr. Thomas Szasz, wrote and proved all this analytically in the Myth of Mental illness, 1961. His books I studied at university, back when thought was taught. Both Tom Szasz and I lauded Tom Cruise when the actor attacked psychiatry so very cogently.

See “Cruise And The Psychiatric Shamans” (2005):

The psychiatric peanut gallery has blasted actor Tom Cruise for insisting correctly that there’s more voodoo to the profession than veracity. Cruise’s instincts are good: “Psychiatrists don’t have a test that can prove that a so-called mental illness is actually organic in origin, I wrote. Rigorous clinician —members of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology come to mind —concede that drawing causal connections between “mental illness” and “chemical imbalances” is impossible. That prescription medication often helps misbehaved or unhappy individuals is no proof that strange behavior is an organic disease —placebos or cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, are as effective.

Tucker Carlson had summoned some limey, a quick-fix popularizer, to speak to these issues.

FRED REED: Manners. Aplomb. Deboneurtude.

America, Culture, FRED REED, Gender, Journalism, Music

FRED REED on journalism when it was a trade dominated by tough, rough men, who hung out with bikers and bar-fighting Brunhildes

Let me tell you about aplomb. I don’t mean watery New-Age aplomb, suitable for a fern bar. I mean the real article, forty-weight, that you could lube a diesel with.

This was in the early eighties. I was still a staff writer on Soldier of Fortune magazine. This was years before Craig, the staff artist, killed himself riding drunk on his motorcycle somewhere outside Boulder. (He died, everyone said, as he would have wanted. Horribly.)

In those days Craig and I hung out for a while in the Berkeley Bar in a bad section of Denver. Craig was a big, baby-faced street fighter out of Chicago with a Special Forces past and a mean streak. He mostly drew skulls. He also like the Brandenburg concertos, and used to listen to them at his easel with headphones built into a World War II leather flying helmet.

The Berk was the home pit for the Sons of Silence, a bad biker club. If you haven’t been in dives like this, don’t start now. They swarm with huge bearded bozos with tattooed eyeballs and missing teeth and slow ominous grins and the IQ of a camshaft. You get the impression that they are evolving, but just not as fast as the rest of us. They’ll hurt you. Either they like you or you’re jelly. They don’t worry about consequences. They can’t remember them.

The Berk had Formica wood tables and smelled like a weight room. Rows of bottles waited patiently, but not for long, behind the counter and corpulent biker babes lolled about like stranded elephant seals. No one else did. When you have a biker clientele, you don’t have any other kind of clientele. Craig and I were guests. I had sold Bob Brown, the editor of Soldier of Fortune, on a story about the warm patriotic urges of the Sons, who didn’t have any. The Sons were charmed. They might get on the cover. They knew they would never get closer to significance.

It was cold enough to freeze the personals off an iron dog and dirty snow gleamed yellow under the streetlights. We showed up in Craig’s pickup truck, wearing our credentials: cammies, antisocial T-shirts (“Happiness Is A Confirmed Kill”) and jump boots. A Tribal Meeting followed, heap big pow wow, talk’em. Craig and I sat in a booth with Torque, the honcho, and a brain-fried guy called Lurch, and Mountain Jerry, who was a pretty Tarzan replica with long golden hair like Rapunzel and gold-flecked eyes that spoke of psychopathy and bone fractures. He sort of looked through you.

“We don’t like the press,” Torque said. So what? Nobody did. I didn’t. Torque had a face like a gorilla’s armpit. “You can do your story. SOF’s a righteous mag. Righteous.” I guess it was a recommendation. Like having Carlo Gambino say that you were a Really Good Person.
“We do what we can,” Craig said.

Lurch just stared at his beer with his mouth hanging open. He didn’t actually drool, probably because he couldn’t remember how. I figured he had smoked too much brass polish or sniffed some bad glue.

During this prayer meeting, Lurch had An Idea. You could tell it was bubbling up inside him. His jaw closed slightly and a crazed focus came into his eyes. He was going to say something, as soon as he figured out what. His head came up. Yes, an idea. He almost had it.  And then it left him. He collapsed with a soughing sound, like a punctured tire. Gone. A Real Idea, probably the unified field theory. And it got away. He stared sorrowfully at his beer. Eeyore of the Bikers.

We went back to the tribal thing.

Manners, though. This is about grace, elegance, and aplomb. Yeah.

Later we were boozing at the bar, doing what women call male bonding. It means talking to each other. I was chatting with Mountain Jerry. Craig was talking to some guy farther down the bar and drinking peppermint schnapps. Which was amazing on two counts. First, that the Berk had such an effeminate candy-ass yuppie-swine liqueur. Second, that Craig would drink it in a biker bar. It was grounds for execution.

Thing was, Craig was scary. He’d cripple you. You sensed he was ready to rock-and-roll, and you really didn’t want to rumble with him. Some guys you leave alone. The Sons could smell it. About then one of the biker babes got into it with the barmaid. I don’t know what the raison de guerre was. The challenger was a gas-station Brunhilde like a sack of potatoes, except potatoes have better skin. Shrieking ensued. Barmaids in motorcycle hangouts do not back down. You could tell this one wasn’t a Latin professor at Bryn Mawr. She screamed obscenities in a florid cloacal gush. The potato sack gave as good as she got.

The bikers ignored them and kept drinking. Jerry and I were discussing social encounters in rural bars in West Virginia, where we both came from. The chief instrument of intercourse in those regions was the pool cue. It was simple and direct and provided the hospitals with a brisk business.

Over Mountain Jerry’s shoulder I saw the challenger’s arm flash forward. She was throwing a bottle at the barmaid. Either her aim was bad or the barmaid ducked. Bottles shattered behind the bar and the mirror pretty much exploded. Slivers rained down on me, but missed my drink.
Mountain Jerry never flickered. He grinned his slow mean golden grin and said, “Git it on.” And kept on talking. He was amused.

The bar top glittered with glass fragments. The barmaid was about to leap over the bar to do battle with Spud Sack. Screaming continued. Nobody paid the slightest attention. Down the bar I saw Craig absently, without looking, pull a sizable sliver of glass from his schnapps without interrupting his sentence. He dipped a finger to see whether more shards awaited. No. All was well. He lifted the glass and drank.

That’s aplomb.

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.