From Some People Talk with God:
Dominick found the impulse mystifying. To get up every workday and put on a uniform then go out and enforce. The job had to satisfy some yearning that Dominick lacked—the need to constantly prevail, perhaps, or to have your already poor opinion of your fellow human beings serially seconded by experience. But then he couldn’t understand gamblers either, and for a few that was an addiction. And then there was the attitude, that I’m-right-you’re-wrong assumption behind every interaction, an attitude backed up by the unilateral right to use force to prevail. As an enforcer you relied upon the threat of force, and woe to those who dared raise a hand against you. What was it they were called, back in slavery times? Overseers. Only these overseers were nominally our public servants not our private masters. And with the uniform came a certain arbitrariness in how that threat of force or confinement could be employed. Crooks could make great friends—hell, everybody broke the law—but Dominick had never met a cop he liked. Of course that was unfair, because he had always avoided their company. He could not think of another entire class of people he wanted less to do with.
2 thoughts on “On Cops”
I married into a family of cops. As trite or predictable as that might sound, I think it gives me a perspective others may lack.
I think there are cops who are in love with their power and paint everyone with the same negative hateful brush.
But I also know that there are cops who really care and want to serve the public and are angered by the excesses of the few who go too far.
A world without cops is a scary thought.
Our country is in a terrible place right now. Guns are everywhere and might makes right. We have a racist demagogue running for president who never hesitates to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
I wish I had an answer. I don’t.
Kathy, elsewhere in the novel Dominick’s sister Amanda:
Amanda had always had a soft spot for men in uniform. Not
that uniforms were sexy or anything—they weren’t—but a sort of
sympathy for a man who would put one on and go out into the
public. Uniforms and heroes went together. Without his uniform
that man down there would be no one at all—just a slight, pale,
balding, not quite so young man standing in the hallway. With his
uniform he was the polished focal point of all attention and the
morning light. It took a certain kind of unironic man to dress up
like a hero.