The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Look Suspicious

Much is being made of the "Stop and Frisk" strategy of Mayor Bloomberg in New York City. I may as well join in.

I do not live in NYC, never have. My only visits there were when I was 5 (with my parents), 37 (to attend my grandmother's funeral), and 47 (a fruitless attempt to navigate its streets and get out to Farmingdale on Long Island). But do have some experience with "Stop and Frisk" as practiced by various police agencies in Florida and California.

I have already written about one such stop when I was 17. There were plenty of others that occurred as I went through my teens. People talk about being stopped for "DWB" (Driving While Black) and I understand the angst involved. I can empathize. I was, of course, permitted to outgrow the "red flag" of being a teen. I also eventually cut my hair and got off that motorcycle which drew attention to me so that helped cut down on the number of stops. People cannot change their ethnicity or their skin color which means that being singled out for those reasons continues well past what mine did.

I also managed to witness, while in the Navy and on Shore Patrol duty, the abuse of power by the police in Long Beach, California (and in Olongapo in the Philippines).  But being on Shore Patrol gave me a glimpse of the frustrations and aggravation of being in authority. I believe these experiences give me a balanced perspective.

When I was very young, my parents taught me to respect my elders and especially those in authority. I got the impression that I was pretty much insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But I also learned what cooperation and polite behavior could do to help you navigate the hazards of society.

We do not live (yet) in a police state. However, as a child in school and later as a teenager, I realized there was a dichotomy to our culture. Different rules for different folks, as it were. School was definitely a police state; Teachers were dictators operating under the greater authority of the principal (and dean), you were guilty until proven innocent, and the sins of the older brother were invariably paid for by the younger.

Outside of school, just about any adult had more power than I (or my peers) did. But the police? They had so much more power than any kid.

It was many years before I truly understood that power and the weight it put upon one's shoulders. But my parents gave me a way to deal with it: cooperation and politeness.

People find it difficult to be suspicious of the cooperative and tend to react positively to politeness.

Try it, it's not so hard to do. Just remember the Golden Rule...

Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.


Torggil said...

I suffer from tremors. My hands in particular. I have to plan long trips around being searched and frisked by border security because of it.

Alcohol suppresses the temors, but being drunk on a plane carries its own risks.

Douglas said...

And I dread getting a roadside sobriety check because I suffer from vertigo.