–“Melungeon Mixer.”  Never let it be said that Appalachian folks don’t have a wicked sense of humor.

–Mack, Sarcastro, you think on this, give us some options, and get back to us.  If the rule is that it has to contain Jack or George, I’d like it to be something like this–One drop of Tennessee Whiskey, a heap of Tennessee Moonshine, rounded off with Sun Drop cola.  If that doesn’t scream Tennessee, I don’t know what does.

–Did y’all hear the police bitching about Heller on NPR this morning?  Good lord.  The problem is two-fold as I see it.

One, as the police move away from being community peace-keepers, walking a beat, or driving around, two to a car, getting to know whole neighborhoods, not just trouble makers, towards being militarized rapid responders, they are less able to identify problems long before they reach the point where people are shooting at each other.  So, I have to say, in that regard, I have little sympathy for the police’s argument.  Would it make your jobs easier if only the bad guys had guns, so that you could be certain, when you swooped in in your SWAT gear and your no-knock warrants that anyone who was firing at you deserved to be fired upon?  Sure.  But tough shit.  Get to know your communities, your whole communities, and what’s going on in them.

But SWAT teams are easier, flashier, and seem to cost less money than putting more police on the ground, every day out in communities.

Two, for seventy years we’ve had nothing but increasing gun laws and we have had ever increasing gun violence.

I am, and I have said it before and I will say it again, uncomfortable around guns.  They scare me and I don’t like them.  But more gun laws and a more militarized police force in response to folks breaking those laws has not, by any stretch of the imagination, helped keep people safe from guns.

For seventy years we’ve seen this approach fail and fail miserably.  It’s time to try something else.

16 thoughts on “Quickies

  1. This is why I believe public servants ought to live in the areas they serve.

    It should be a condition of employment for Nashville cops to live in Nashville. Then, they have a stake in the job performed, beyond the next paycheck.

  2. This is why I believe public servants ought to live in the areas they serve.

    How many public servants can afford to live in Belle Meade?

    How many public servants really want to raise their kids in the projects?

    While a nice idea, it simply isn’t feasible across the board.

  3. Eliyahu, you should definitely head over to Jim’s and come up with a Nashville drink which you could then mix for everyone and get them drunk. If you were more outgoing, you might have a career as a bartender.

    Not having read the opinion, I can only say that, I presume that I only agree with Scalia in the broadest of strokes. I doubt, were I to read what he wrote, I’d find much I could stomach.

  4. Coble, I don’t think police have to necessarily live right in the communities they serve, but a Belle Meade police officer ought to be making enough to live in the 37205 zip. Shoot, that’s my zip and I’m not in Belle Meade. I’m off track. My point is that being a police officer should be a vocation like being a preacher. You’re called on to serve the community and, as such, should be a part of the life of the community. You might not live in the projects, but you should be a presence in the lives of the people who do live there, if they’re in your district.

  5. While a nice idea, it simply isn’t feasible across the board.

    Given how high the property taxes are in municipalities, it’s understandable that people would want to live elsewhere. Merely stepping over the county line (as long as you exclude Williamson County) results in a substantial drop in housing costs and property tax costs.

  6. This is why I believe public servants ought to live in the areas they serve.

    Sounds nice, but I don’t think it’s a fair demand. A friend of mine who is a cop lives a good 30 minutes outside the city he serves in. The reason? He doesn’t want to be out with his wife and their baby when he has a chance encounter with some violent grudge-carrying criminal he just busted last week.

  7. There’s a Belle Meade cop that lives in Antioch. That’s where he can afford.

    I’m partial to a mixture of Jack, sweet tea and lemonade. It isn’t an Arnold Palmer. More like a Ted Rhodes.

    I heard Chief Bratton of Los Angeles spout off enough bogus statistics and faulty logic yesterday on NPR regarding the Heller decision that I mistook him for a commenter at NiT or the Tennessean.

  8. You’re called on to serve the community and, as such, should be a part of the life of the community. You might not live in the projects, but you should be a presence in the lives of the people who do live there, if they’re in your district.

    Well, that I agree with. But, as you pointed out, it involves a different kind of policing than the go-go-gadget copwork that has been promoted over the last forty years.

    It involves things like getting out of the car occasionally. Or maybe even showing up to one of the neighbourhood watch meetings. (We can’t get any of our police to come to ours–even though we’re three miles from the precinct and at least 8 cops actually DO live in our neighbourhood.)

  9. I understand the arguments for altering police approach to law enforcement, but I’d like to glance at the larger picture for a moment. There are two major, interrelated reasons why police forces have become more like occupying armies and less like community servants.

    One is the war on drugs. When you declare war on a social behavior, you are declaring war on the people who engage in it. And focusing on draconian, supply-side interdiction measures ups the ante of violence and fear. Blah, blah, blah. We know all of this. We know how Prohibition did nothing good for anyone, unless one was on an organized crime outfit’s payroll. Yet here we are, doing it again but worse.

    The second reason is institutional adjustments that were made in the wake of the Civil Rights Era, the turbulent ’60s, and the Right Wing Backlash revolution. There was an increased focus on beating down crime (and militant dissent) instead of mitigating the causes of crime (and militant dissent). Much of the voting public (primarily middle-class whites) became convinced (not accidentally) that the upheavals they were witnessing were caused by subhuman nigger ingrates and drug-addled, hedonistic white hippies. So we got draconian, counterproductive drug laws and a developing bunker mentality among big-city police forces.

    My point is that we shouldn’t put all the blame on the police, as egregious as their behavior might be at times. ‘We the people’ have allowed our representatives to hold over-hyped fears over our heads while they continue to legislate and maintain destructive fictions of law and order. In short, if you want law enforcement to change their behavior, you have to start by getting the laws changed.

  10. Christ, I heard that NPR story too. I came in after the beginning and I kept waiting for them to tell me who this idiot jackass was that they were interviewing.

    The flip side of dolphin’s point, which I agree with, is that being a part of the community also takes away the subjectiveness. Knowing the neighborhood also means letting things slide for the folks you like, and becoming corrupted more easily.

  11. As a local, the official drink of Tennessee is some shine mixed with Sundrop in a Sonic styrofoam cup or something glass (do not use a standard fast food waxed paper cup, the shine melts the wax off and it leaks). All the folks out there nodding, know what I mean. If Jack is to be involved, you need to keep it straight and neat. No mixing.

    My grandmother used to talk about Melungeons all the time, she always referred to them having dark brown, chink-a-pin eyes. I learned later that chinquapin was a reference to dark brown native chestnuts. Rachel_w ought to know about them from her neck of the woods.

  12. P.O.S.T. used to mean something. Many PDs started requiring two and four year degrees before hiring. Problem is, guys and girls with degrees don’t want to patrol long…they are looking to move up or out quickly.

    What CS said about the war on drugs.

    Lastly, this ridiculous notion that has become mantra for all police is that the worst thing tht can happen is a cop gets hurt. That is NOT the worst thing. You cannot make police work totally safe, yet we try. Got a feeling about the car you just lit up? Fine, call back up and wait for help. Making it mandatory is ridiculous.

    I lied…this is the last thing: The automatic weapons changed everything.

  13. B, all you really have to read is the synopsis on the cover page of the opinion. most of the rest is quasi-historical hairsplitting about what the founding fathers might have meant, and some linguistic hairsplitting about what parts of a sentence can have what manner of impact on the other parts of the same sentence.

    and Scalia, bad as he is (one of the most poisonously reactionary arch-conservative motherfuckers to ever defile a set of judicial robes, in the majority of his opinions) must have been under heavy pressure to keep a majority of the justices on his side for this one; even i can agree with most of it.

    well, with most of what makes sense of it. the historical hairsplitting, i can’t be bothered to care much about.

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