I once had an English teacher who asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated. “I’m not really sure,” I told her, “But whatever it is, I believe I’d rather write about it than to actually do it….”
Social injustices really get under my skin. I want to write about them. I write scripts that cleverly disguise the issue by using obvious (as well as not so obvious) metaphors to drive the point home. I write short stories, children’s stories, netherworld dramas, historical and futuristic adventures, trying to stear clear of the typical ‘Hollywood Formula,’ but inevitably, they all seem to have a happy ending anyway (Or at least attempt to leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction, even if it is accomplished through a not so advisible means).
I have never had what I would call ‘Writer’s block.’ One idea always leads to another and before I know it, I’m looking for another ink pen because this one just ran out (Thank G-d for PC, Notepad and Word Perfect).
I’ve heard journalists complain that making the transition from journalism to creative writing is difficult because of the differences in the two styles. I suppose I can relate to that in the reverse. I catch myself trying to embellish a news story occasionally, and then, I end up over-compensating by scratching the savory adjectives. Inevitably, the story turns out too dull or dry. So in turn, it inspires me to write about writing….
I like to laugh and I enjoy it when others laugh with me. I love the obsurdities that life throws our way, and there are plenty of them, on a daily basis, if we simply pay attention without taking them too seriously. Simply put, most things in life are down-right hilarious. I want to write about those things too.
I love to learn new things, whether it is about carrots, Capy Baras, nuclear physics or antiquities, I find this universe insatiably intriguing and want to learn everything about everything. Then, I want to write about it.
I like to think. I think about everything from the mundane to the outright weird. When I’m finished thinking about it, I review what I’ve thought about to make sure I didn’t miss anything and think about it some more. Much like Archimedes was when he had a great algebraic equation on his mind, I drive my friends nuts with all the thinking that I do. I tend to think so much that if I had a nickel for every time a friend has accused me of “Over-analyzing,” a topic, I’d be a millionaire. There are worse pursuits to follow than thinking, I’m sure, and besides, when I’m finished re-thinking it, I want to write about it….
I also like to debate a good topic; as one friend put it, “You will argue with a sign post, then dig it up and argue with the hole.” I don’t argue, I debate. Arguing would indicate that we are verbally fighting. I’m not fighting. I’m debating. If we were fighting, I would not be learning anything from the experience. Since I’m listening intermittantly in the exchange of perspectives, for the purpose of learning, we are not fighting, therefore, I am not arguing. We are simply debating. Then, I want to write about that too.
What does this have to do with the television show COPs? I’m getting there….
When my academic advisors asked me to declare a major, the natural choice was Mass Com; but I also figured that since I already had so much experience argu…errr, debating, there might be a future in the legal field for me as well. So, I declared a double major, Mass Com and Criminal Justice/ Pre-law.
Come to find out, there is a perfect field for people like me. It’s called ‘Legal Analyst,’ a field in which you are expected to know the law, to analyze the heck out if, and then…To write about it….
I began taking my Criminal Justice classes and they turned out to be even more fun than an ice-cream party on a Sunday afternoon. So now, I want to write about it….
As luck would have it, I was walking to the store the other evening and there was a guy passed out on the pavement right smack in the middle of a parking spot, in front of the store. When the Sheriff arrived, the camera crew from Cops was with him. The details of the story are a bit gross, too graphic and irrelevant to the subject to list here; suffice it to say that what followed was simply apalling–not on the part of the suspect, but on the part of the ‘Good Guys.’.
It wasn’t the deputy who (I thought) was out-of-line though. It was the camera-man. He was mocking the guy right to his face, almost as if he was trying to instigate him to do something high adrenaline so that they could use the footage for the show.
Eventually, an ambulance arrived and took the man to the hospital, rescuing him from any further humiliation, and I wanted to write about what I’d seen.
Then I wondered…Does it ever happen that these reality shows actually escalate the situation? Do real cops ever show-boat for the publicity on the show? Does the camera crew always feel free to interfere with the investigation? Or was this just one guy, acting on his own behalf, taking advantage of a helpless man in handcuffs to feed his own ego?
I began researching my premise. I came across an incident of a teenage boy who’d been coerced (By the producers of the show) into signing a waiver without his mother’s knowlegde or permission. In a 10 Connects article, the show didn’t deny the allegations, but said, “We aren’t going to use that footage anyway because it doesn’t fit what we’re looking for.” (It wasn’t high adrenaline enough).
There was another account on Huffington Post where a 7 year old girl, Aiyana Jones, had been shot by a S.W.A.T. team while sleeping on her grandmother’s couch while filming for the reality show, “48 Hours.” This tragedy happened when the cops threw flash grenades through the window, busted down the door and entered the wrong address….
Other than that, a few departments nation-wide have banned the show from filming their officers because it makes them ‘Look bad,’ by leading to public specualtion–but that’s about it.
What I did find was even better than the original story I was researching–dealing mostly with your 4th amendment rights about ‘Search and Seizure’:
There are only 3 ways possible for officers and citizens to interact: Voluntary Contact, Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause. What the police are allowed to do in each of these situations is spelled out in the 4th amendment.
Whenever a citizen approaches an officer or an officer approaches a citizen per-happenstance on the streets, it’s called ‘Voluntary Contact.” The officer may have what is called ‘Mere Suspicion,’ and want to question someone, so he walks up to them and starts asking questions.
He doesn’t have the right to search or even frisk the person in any manner for any reason and the person is free to walk away at any time (The person is never allowed to run from the police for any reason). You are never required to answer any questions under any circumstances, but that’s 5th Amendment, not the 4th. This video is a perfect example of “Voluntary contact” :(Warning: Language alert)
When a cop sees something legitimately out of the ordinary, such as someone hiding in the bushes or something, that gives him what is called ‘Reasonable Suspicion’ to stop and detain the person.
Simply seeing a ‘Homeless’ person in a rich neighborhood is not ‘Reasonable Suspicion.’ Seeing a ‘Homeless’ person hiding in the bushes in a rich neighborhood is ‘Reasonable Suspicion,’ and the cop can detain him and frisk him for weapons.
The cop is still not allowed to pull anything out of the suspect’s pockets or clothing though, unless he has valid reason to believe that it is a weapon or some type of illegal drug that he can tell simply by feeling it what it is….
This video is a perfect example of a ‘Reasonable Suspicion,’ frisk. (Warning, no nudity or violence, but may not be suitable for sensitive viewers):
Then there is what is called, ‘Probable Cause.’ When the cop knows that a crime has been committed and has a valid reason to believe that you are the perpetraitor, he has a right to chase you, to send his dog after you, to do a complete search on you and to arrest you (Or to ‘Sieze your body’ into custody).
An officer and his dog are a team. As an effective team, each should know how the other works and interact accordingly. ‘Officer Friendly’ usually isn’t paired up with an extremely aggressive dog, and an aggressive officer isn’t usually paired up with a ‘Friendly’ dog.
One thing that all K-9 cops have in common is that the handler is always concerned with the dog’s safety.
This video is a perfect example of how a well matched dog/cop team should pursue a suspect on ‘Probable Cause,’ without getting hurt in the process:
Without ‘Mere Suspicion,’ ‘Reasonable Suspicion,’ or ‘Probable cause,’ the police are not likely to bother you at all, so it definitely pays to wait and see what they are doing before you decide to do anything at all:
But if you suspect that you are in an emergency situation, you should always dial 911, just in case:
(***Always cooperate with police, even if they are violating your rights. Your failure to cooperate can end in a ‘Resisting Without Violence’ charge, and any evidence wrongly procured could possibly be admissible because the act of resisting gives police the probable cause that they need. It’s best to cooperate now and get it thrown out later so that you don’t wreck a potentially good case that you might otherwise have).
Your 4th Amendment rights are very important. You should know what they are so that you can protect yourself from police injustice, so I figured I’d write about them….