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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Do Not Think

...sometimes. Well, all too often. And then I speak. Hard to do when one's foot is planted in one's mouth but I manage. And, all too often, when I write I also have a metaphorical foot in my metaphorical mouth.

But this is not about that, it's about an encounter with the police in a place called Long Beach in California shortly after I got out of the Navy. My motorcycle had blown a rod down near Newport beach not long before and I traded it in (after I got it repaired) for a Dodge van, circa 1965, from a dealership just across the road from where I had been working. It was a nice van but it had no radio and no heater.

The next evening, I had a visit from a friend and we went to visit some other friends who gave us wine and marijuana. Then we drove back to my place. Along the way, about a block from my place, we were pulled over by a pair of cops in a police car. Long Beach cops were not known for their courtesy at the time. The cop who came to my window seemed polite, though, as he suggested I get out of my van so he could show me why he pulled me over. It turned out that my license plate light was not working. I thanked him and told him I would get it fixed the next day but that I had just purchased the van and didn't know it was not working.

He had asked me for my license and the registration for the vehicle when he came up to my window and I had shown him my license and pointed to the right hand side of the windshield where the temporary registration had been taped. I guess he forgot that I had also told him at that time that I had just purchased the van (to explain why the registration was on the windshield) because he seemed inclined not to believe me.

As we stood at the rear of the van, he asked me when I had bought it and then asked me if I had been drinking.

I had a glass of wine at a friend's, I said.

Anything else? he asked

Not that I recall, said I.(or was dumb enough to admit)

The conversation went on for a bit and then he asked me what I had in my pockets. Thinking he was talking about my jacket pockets, I told him I had a pair of gloves. He asked me to hold my arms out to my side and then asked if he could check. I allowed that. He then asked where I lived and I reminded him that I had told him earlier that I lived on the next block. He checked my pockets and pulled my gloves from them. He then asked me what I had in the car. I told him there was nothing. He then asked what was in the glove compartment or under the seats. Again, I said "Nothing."

Apparently, he was unsatisfied with that answer because he asked it again and again in the next few minutes. I think he wanted me to invite him to search the van but I wasn't about to.

Meanwhile, his partner had induced my friend to get out of the van (which he did not need to do) and had also asked him for ID. Eventually, they let us go because our "stories" were the same and, after all, I did live just a block away (as my license said).

An incident without much meaning, to be sure. But I wondered... what if I had been black? Or Mexican? Or what if I had been less than polite and cooperative? But I hadn't been any of those things and I had thought carefully before I spoke each time.


Tom Sightings said...

It helps to be white. And it also helps to be polite.

Douglas said...

Having once been a teenager, I learned that "polite" helps but, having never been anything but white, I don't know for sure it would help people of color... but I am pretty sure it couldn't hurt.