Grant mentioned recently that he would like to see some of my police experiences written about in this space.
So much is remembered and could be discussed. Most of it is interesting to me, but also often scary or even grim for the casual reader.
In order to make such a recounting meaningful it is helpful (I think) to draw a parallel between a story and a cultural or social situation. In that way maybe the story has some thought value beyond “hey, here is a police story.”
The story below will attempt to draw a line between the story and the current illegal immigrant discussion, though the line may wave and weave along the way. In fact it may actually disappear, though I will focus on keeping it visible.
I was on patrol when the dispatcher radioed to me that she needed help back at the station. Her explanation was that an inmate in our municipal jail was trying to kill himself. Her job duty meant never going outside her control room and certainly never entering the jail block under any circumstance. However, one of our incarcerated was banging on his cell door and yelling at her to have someone stop this suicide attempt.
I drew the black bean on this one simply because I happened to be the senior statesman out on the streets at that moment.
I tried to calm her down and told her I would be back there to the jail in a jiffy. When I arrived she explained the situation and buzzed the cell block door open for me. Going into a cell block, particularly alone, can be dangerous and all weapons are removed and secured before entering. This is done so that any fighting or struggling does not result in having your weapon used against you. So, you go in with the playing field leveled between you and prisoner.
When I came to the cell in question I had dispatch buzz the door open. The doors were solid steel doors with a small window at around five foot high. I went inside.
The man in front of me was wearing a noose around his neck and had tears in his eyes. Contrary to what this image might present to you I honestly had to suppress a feeling to laugh. The prisoner had removed the plastic mattress edging in long strands. Imagine a bare mattress and the nylon chord that goes around the edges, holding the mattress covers together. That material was his hanging weapon.
He had tied this nylon chord around his neck and was jumping from the top of a double bunk attempting to end his life. On each attempt the chord would break under the load of his body. He would remove more chord and try again. He eventually ran out of ‘hanging material.’ The sight in front of me consisted of a man wearing a handmade noose of nylon chord insufficient to do the job. The chord extending from the noose portion stuck up above his head in a rigid vertical line, its failure clearly evident. In the odd way that things can strike us it was actually a little funny to me. Funny, I guess, because of the complete irrationality of the entire situation.
This man was in our jail waiting transfer to the county jail system because we had arrested him for passing bad checks at grocery stores. He would write rubber checks and get cash for them. He had been ‘handled’ many times before and this was a repeat felony, now of sufficient quantity to land him in the
I could tell you the whole story of my conversation with him. I will not do that for fear of an extraordinarily long post. I worked my way toward understanding his desire for leaving earth.
What he told me was unsettling in its blindness and in its confusion. He told me that yes indeed he does write phony ID checks. He said the problem in his life was that the police continued to arrest him for doing this.
He told me I was responsible for his wanting to kill himself. He said he had a wife and four children and needed to feed them. He told me if we would just stop arresting him he could get ahead and would no longer need to break the law. If he passed enough bad checks and we just left him alone, then soon he would be able to get a regular job and become a good citizen. But, now we had arrested him enough times that he would not be able to take care of his family at all. Why, he asked, didn’t we understand this?
I tried to help him understand that writing bad checks was the same as stealing because when all was accounted for he had in fact actually stolen the money from another human. He reasoned that he was stealing the money from a grocery store not a human. For him this reasoning led to the belief that he had not harmed anyone at all.
His working philosophy appeared to be “Let me break the law so that I can become solvent enough to not need to break the law. I’m not really hurting anyone.”
This sounds familiar maybe? Waves of immigrants that are telling us ‘let me break the law until I become solvent enough to not break the law. And just as in the prisoner’s situation it is reckoned that there are no victims of the action. They believe it is the
Now I think there are multiple ways to run with this discussion and each of us can choose which way we want to go.
These are authentic human compassion issues to wrestle with; illegals hurting to provide for their families. There are U.S. citizen victims of this crime.
For the record my position is that the problem is not a
Perhaps this protest energy might be better applied a little farther south? Yes, I know citizens of