Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I've always felt uneasy around law enforcement. A lot of it stems from engaging in illegal activities in my youth. Another part comes from seeing them engage in transactions with the leopard print ladies of the night outside McDonalds. A wee bit comes from this one cop who would say inappropriate things to me when I was 15 even though he already had a teenage wife.
This summer, my town seems to be full of cops. Their cars remind me of sharks, the lights at the top being like fins. They've been called to my neighborhood for domestic disputes, for arresting wild teens, and patrolling the neighborhood next to mine that we lovingly call Vice City. Basically it's a series of town homes and crack dealers. I grew up next to a similar place in Georgia, so it feels like home to me.
Once I hit college, I became a model citizen. I don't speed. I don't jaywalk. I don't even drink! I still feel sheer terror when a cop is driving behind me like they can sniff out my illicit past and arrest me on the spot. Does their speed radar detect all the vandalism, the theft of Hostess Snowballs, and the breaking into trailers? I am a respectable matron now, right?
When I see them arresting kids in the street, I feel rage. I want to flip them off, but wonder if that will get me arrested. I've googled that, but have found no true answers. There is a teeny part of me that still remembers wearing gang colors, trying to project a toughness I didn't possess. I feel like pulling over my car and cracking skulls. I'm sure those kids must have done something seriously wrong, but I understand how they got in those situations. I still harbor a teen in me that abhors authority and lives for recklessness. I can feel the distrust, confusion, and rebellion in those kids, much like my own at that age.
I know that the majority of police officers truly try to protect and serve the people, but some biases are too deep to remove. I don't think I will ever rid myself of the discomfort I feel when a police car is around and seeing so many of them lately does not help matters. It's a strange summer of sharks.
Posted by Jessica at 6:00 AM