Thanks, guys, for all your input on the two posts below. On reflection, the pepper spray story was about cruelty, and the cops actions were inappropriate, and probably illegal.
It is a cold cruel world out there.
A lot of writing is about getting a response from the reader. If I can't get a response, then the writing isn't up to par. In standard print media, we get a response through sales of magazines, books, or newspapers. In this media we get a response through comments.
Some have asked why I blog, and writing is part of it. This is a medium that is fairly new in our history and a lot of us are still trying to figure out how to use it. I blog for a variety of reasons. One of them is to get some of these stories down on paper. Published writers have said that I should write a book about police work over the past thirty years, incorporating these stories and others. I don't know if I'll ever do that, or if I'll incorporate those stories in some other media form. The important thing is to get them down on paper.
Police work, like most other trades, has changed dramatically over the past thirty years. Some for the better, some for the worst, history will decide what we've done right and what we've done wrong. Fortunately, we're still fine-tuning our craft and I hope we reflect what American society is.
One thing that I tell students is that whatever laws we enforce, we don't get to make the laws. Cops don't write the rules. The rules are made in the legislatures and the city councils. We try to apply them to a real-world scenario. If you don't like the rules, don't blame it on the cops. Get involved, hammer your city councilman. Write letters to your Congressman. Go to the local office of your guy or gal in the statehouse and let them know, in no uncertain terms what you are thinking.
If you don't like a law, work to change it. Don't expect us to ignore it just because it is unfair, or it is poorly written, or you really don't see any harm.
That's what being a citizen is all about.