Friday, May 6, 2011

Police Brutality...or Parents Asleep at The Wheel?

If you've found your way here today, and saw the FB post earlier, you know what this is about.  Phoenix, AZ two months ago.  A fifteen-year old female, already in a school for 'wayward' youths, was assaulting her mother in the parking lot of a strip mall.  The video clearly shows mom on her knees while grabbing the daughter, somewhat, around her the teen manages to punch her in the face.  Again, let me reiterate - kid hitting mom in the face with her fists.  Apparently, mom didn't fold the laundry 'just right' and she was irate.  Okay, I made that part up.  Here's the real story: the girl was at school, drunk and belligerent, was giving alcohol to her classmates (I mentioned it was a school for kids with issues, right?), and had assaulted a teacher.  Fifteen-years old.  I know, I am repeating myself.....but that's because my daughter is the same age.  So she has all these things going for her and mom comes to school, I'm assuming, to pick her up.  Mom, however, has already called the police.  The police arrive and find her slapping, nay punching, mom in the face in the parking lot.  The video is available on YouTube.  The girl then starts to walk away as if nothing has happened when, from about ten yards away, the officer breaks into a sprint to get to her.  As he approaches, the girl (sensing her pending 'Uh-oh' moment), turns just in time for the linebacker, er, I mean officer, to shove her...into a wall.  Her body careens into the wall and she crumples to the ground like a lifeless doll.  Police officer cuffs her and walks her to the patrol car.  There's the story...that ends with the officer being put on administrative leave without pay pending criminal and internal investigations.  It is also important to note that neither the girl or her mother has filed any criminal charges.  Bold print, folks - important stuff!  Now, let's delve into the "Who should be getting punished and why did this happen," portion of our program, shall we?

I've searched several pages about this particular situation and the first word in some of the identifying captions was, "BRUTAL!"  I have to admit, when first viewed on TV, this could have been seen as extreme but I'm not sure 'brutal' was the best word to use.  Could the officer have used less force?  Most likely.  Could he have accomplished the same thing without slamming her into the wall or 'body-checking' her?  I think so.  Note that, with both of these questions, I did not say definitively "Yes".  I can't...and neither can anyone else.  Believe me, I am not defending the officer's actions.  I have friends that are in law enforcement and have had my own personal interaction with '5-0', so I can see this from both sides.  I will say, too, that many of us have had experiences with inebriated individuals.  They aren't the easiest people in the world to deal with when they've been drinking, either mentally or physically.  I can suggest what the officer should have done but I'm not a policeman and I wasn't there.  Videos, for the most part, are only part of the picture.  Too often, the police officers are charged with maintaining order and have to deal with these types of situations, yet when they use even reasonable force they are criticized.  Maybe we all need to remember the 'Until you walk a mile in my shoes' adage.  Now, for the 'counter-point' part of the discussion....

This girl, I've said it enough.  You know how old she is.....or, rather, how young.  Drunk at school and providing alcohol for classmates AND assaulted a teacher.  Are you kidding me?  I'm sorry, but it's hard enough for us to find quality teachers in this day and age.  They have been, as I mentioned previously, put in a horrendous situation because they are no longer allowed to discipline students.  Someone, though I am not sure whom or when, decided it was a bad thing for teachers to do this.  Most likely, a teacher went too far at one point and caused bodily injury so instead of punishing that one individual, we made it illegal for them to do it at all.  Now, we have teachers fearing for their lives in certain situations and unable to do what they are trained to do - teach.  Sadly, the parents, too, have made matters worse.  In our day (ooh, dreaded term), if our posterior ends met with the wooden paddles (nicest way I could say it) in school, you could count on getting the same treatment at home, if not worse.  It was standard practice and it was deserved.  Now, however, teachers may not discipline the students and parents have decided they won't either.  That last statement is not entirely true.  I should say that parents, too, are unable to discipline their kids because they are afraid they will be jailed for abuse.  I have friends who've told me their kids were told in school, "All you have to do if your parents hit you is call 911."  They never said, "If your parents abuse you, call 911," nor did they say, "If your parents discipline you."  Can you tell this is a big issue with me?  I hate it.  Kids need to respect their parents AND authority.  This girl, obviously, has problems and no one seems to be able to handle her.  Now, finally, they will be handled by the Juvenile Justice System.  Later, I'm fairly certain, they'll be handled by the State Correctional System.  Yes, all this stems from someone (wish I could get my hands on them) deciding that spankings are bad.  Which one of those freak doctors that wrote books in the 70's was the genius that came up with this plan?  Who decided 'time-outs' were good ideas?  I fear, in the coming years, we will see a second study that says, "Oops, we made a mistake.  We might have been wrong."  I'm okay with that if we're talking about two glasses of red wine being good for your health when consumed daily.  If they come back years later to dispute that finding, well.....then I'm just out a lot of bucks and have fond memories.  With this situation, though, we're allowing respect, overall, to deteriorate.  Personal opinion, I know, and please don't think I am advocating beating your kids (not always, anyway).  That was a joke....relax.  These situations need to stop....for ALL concerned.

Lastly, we need to thank all those with camera phones and the ACLU.  My advice - get a life and be part of the solution.  Inciting people to rebel against the police is not responsible and leading us down an extremely slippery slope.  We're creating our own 'end' by tearing at the very fabric of what is right and just.  We need to start becoming more respectful and maybe, just maybe, there will be fewer incidents like this.  I know we don't all like the police - I get it.  The problem, as I am beginning to notice, is with the 'Next Generation' - the one right after the 'Baby Boomers'.  We wanted to give them more, be more gentle with them, allow them more freedom...and look what they've done with it.  Time to tighten the reins and bring this situation back to center.  We need that balance and it isn't there.  How do we do it?  One case at a time.  Like I've said on many occasions - spend time with your kids.  Talk to them.  Teach them.  Let them know, from the early days of their lives, that manners and respect are not optional.  We are a great society and a great country BECAUSE of those things, not in spite of them.  Yes, this is one of my 'soapbox' issues and I will continue this journey......hopefully, side by side with many of you.  We can do this.  We owe it to our kids.  Otherwise, they will end up as the girl in this story...and just think how hard it will be to reverse the trend rather than teaching it from the beginning. 

Thanks again for reading - I always appreciate it.  Leave a comment, too.  I'd like to know, seriously, if I'm standing in left field alone.....

Until next time.............

1 comment:

  1. well now, let me first say Dave this is another excellent post. Now, I feel the same as you do. Our American youth are increasingly getting out of hand percentage wise. While we always had cases like this when we were kids, the percentage was low. The percentage is becomming increasingly higher. See the word percentage? Of course the number is higher because we have a higher population, but the percentage. And on top of that the incedents are getting more and more shall we say troubling.

    I truly believe the reason is from a lack of discipline which stems from our government becoming more involved in what you can and can't do. Mostly can't. I know I keep saying when I was a kid, but the percentages were lower than so why not!

    When I was a kid if you got paddled at school you kept your mouth shut in hopes that you parents didnt find out and do it again. Thank you Mr. Padgen, God rest your soul, for keeping certain things between me and you!!

    The problem is that a few people that discipline have gotten out of hand and went to far. Would it be fair to say that maybe we should have dealt with it on a case by case basis, much like our teachers and parents did, and not regulate, see that word regulate (government intervention) what will be tolerable.

    I won't take sides with the mother, the devil child or the officer! As you said I wasn't there. I will take sides against the government for telling us what we can and can not do and then penalize us when things get out of hand. Also see no more prayers in school!!

    The group that gets the most blame, in my opinion, are the lawyers. It is their job to manipulate the truth, twist the facts and deliver doubt to either convict or a acquit which ever side they were on. Yes it always was, but can we say MORALS. Let me use an analogy that was used on me recently. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck well then its a duck. Let's quit trying to convince someone it's a tiger!!

    Sorry for rambling!!