MAKE ME …

Columbo is my favorite cop show of all time. 

He really proves the need for smart, tenacious law enforcement. Without a guy like that on the force, an awful lot of ingenious criminals would’ve gotten away with some incredibly complicated murders, in L.A., in the early-to-mid 70’s. 

I would imagine there aren’t a lot of minds like his on the force in real life. 

But one of the things that made Columbo so endearing to viewers was the fact that he constantly had traffic tickets on his car and he was constantly letting his license expire and petty things like that. He would occasionally have to face law enforcement himself, and it always gave us (me, anyway) a sense of contrast as to which laws were absolutely necessary (murder) and which laws were just kind of annoying (parking tickets). 

Still, the law is the law and someone has to enforce it. 

So, this genius crime solver; modern day Sherlock Holmes, had his own experiences with the long arm of the law. This guy washout there keeping Dick Van Dyke from killing again. But even he couldn’t evade the grasp of bureaucracy and legal precedents. 

And even when Columbo would finally nab his man (or woman), some extra in a uniform (with no lines and no SAG card) carrying a side arm (Columbo didn’t carry a gun – he had people take his firing range tests for him), would have to put them in the police car…by force.  

Without that person, with the threat of ending their life if they ran, there’s a real chance some of them would’ve made a break for it. I’m certain Johnny Cash or William Shatner would’ve. And Columbo could never have caught them. He couldn’t pass his yearly physical fitness tests. I mean, the man pretty much lived on cigars and diner chili. 

Anyway …

The nation (and the world, really) just breathed a sigh of relief after the Derek Chauvin verdict was handed down. 

We’ve all been through a lot over the last 18 months. None of us were looking forward to more riots and more unrest and more calls for this or that, from bull horns on the streets of every American city. 

I believe justice was served in this case. I’m sorry for George Floyd and his family. And I couldn’t care less if Derek Chauvin lives another day. But let’s all be honest – we selfishly needed this episode to fade into history and we needed it to end as well as possible. 

But this case kicked open the door to beliefs and mantras we couldn’t always quite get our heads around. “De-fund the police” being the main one. 

We’ve seen and heard actual government officials get on this bandwagon of de-funding law enforcement. Even our own current, sitting president said he was open to this idea during his campaign (the single greatest campaign ever run, by the way. Never left his house and got the most votes of anyone in American history. Pretty amazing. But I digress). 

In that same Q&A session, he said he’d also be open to a mask mandate. And that’s when I yelled at the TV – “who’s going to enforce it?!?!” 

See, when you come to the “de-fund the police” conclusion, you’re almost there. Where, you ask? You’re almost a Libertarian, you just don’t know it. You just haven’t thought your way far enough up the food chain yet. 

See, the police are just the extras in uniforms, carrying the sidearms. They don’t make the laws. They just enforce them. 

This whole national conversation about police and minorities and shootings and this and that, is definitely one that should be had. But it is also a distraction from a bigger conversation we should be having: it starts with law makers – not law enforcers.  

Rashida Talib and Maxine Waters and A.O.C and yes, even our own Madam Vice President, can all call, for de-funding police departments (and they all have). They can actually make strong cases and cite all sorts of incidents. 

But right after they get finished doing that, they then go back to work and create…wait for it…more laws. 

It is often said that between all the Federal and state laws on the books, you can find a law being every moment of every day, by any average American. All you have to do is look hard enough. 

We pay politicians salaries that are well above the national average. We turn them into celebrities. We hang on their decisions and put hope in their judgements. And what are their full time jobs? To make more laws. 

Well, guess what? Someone has to go out there and make sure everyone is in compliance with those laws. If you don’t like run-ins with the police, remember that that is an interaction with government. 

The cops are just there to carry out what somebody else told them to. And they’re doing it for half the pay of those who told them what to enforce.

Maybe we should reverse those pay structures for a few years and see what the results might be.

On one side, you have people who favor smaller government; less red tape, fewer regulations. And those people are often vilified by the same people who favor fewer police and less law enforcement. 

The truth is, both people want less government. One just knows where the message starts. The other is just angry at the messenger.  

Madonna recently tweeted that police who shoot suspects shouldn’t even have trials. They should just be sent right to prison. Okay – well despite the abject ignorance of basic human rights and jurisprudence that have been in place since the Magna Carta, the big question still remains: who’s going to take them?    

If you are in favor of de-funding the police, but want this or that new law put on the books, think it all the way through – who’s gonna make people do it? 

And that is when you stop thinking so much about the people in uniforms, and more about the people in hallowed halls, sitting around coming up with new things we all have to comply with. 

And when you realize the person who’s going to make you comply will be someone who earns half of what the law maker earns, but who has a Glock on their hip and has to possibly wade into danger to carry it out, you start changing how you look at all parties involved.

Whenever a new law is proposed we should always ask this simple question: “who’s gonna make us?” 

Then, we should re-think the law itself – not the one out there trying to enforce it. 

De-fund the police? 

How ‘bout we start by de-funding congress?    

It doesn’t take a Columbo to figure it out. 

R

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2 thoughts on “MAKE ME …

  1. I look forward to every one of your posts. You are articulate. You have great insight and you make me view things in ways I hadn’t considered…and I agree with you almost always. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. Thank you. ☀️

    Like

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