The McKinney pool party incident is one issue that’s generated some strong opinions. We’ve heard that the problems started when a resident verbally abused and attacked the gathering’s organizer, or maybe the cause was the horde of teenagers that were overrunning a private pool where the hostess violated the Homeowners’ Association’s guest rules. We’ve heard arguments that the police officer used excessive force with detaining one of the party goers and when accosted by other guests he inappropriately drew his gun. We’ve also heard the case that when the events were looked at in real time and under the circumstances the officer in question’s actions were justified. I’m not looking to have those arguments here – they’ve already been hashed out on many other forums. What I’m wondering about is a bigger question that seems to have gone unasked – why did the kids stick around long enough for an incident with the police to even happen in the first place?
When I was younger and I was engaged in some dubious activity and the police arrived, the smartest course of action for me was always to leave the scene. And no, that last comment on how I spent my youth is not as interesting as it sounds. When I was in college said activity pretty much involved having a beer before turning 21, and when I was in high school it meant shooting off some summertime fireworks, which are illegal in New Jersey. Regardless of whether or not I saw what I was doing as harmless fun, the men in blue did not share that sentiment. And once they showed up, there was absolutely nothing to be gained in sticking around. If the event was a party with tons of people, once the cops arrived the party would pretty much be over. Even if everyone wasn’t chased away or arrested the chance of the festivities being at the level they were at prior to the police’s arrival was, and still is, zero.
Back to the pool party, we do know that prior to the police arriving there were altercations because the pool security wasn’t admitting some of the would be guests in. This of course, was due to the pool’s policy of not allowing more than two guests per resident, regardless of what the social media invite said.
I’ll admit that like most high schoolers, I didn’t have a ton of common sense when I was 17 or 18. But I like to think that if I showed up for some blowout party and the venue’s security told me I was not allowed in followed by the arrival of the cops to help chase us away I would have figured out that the pool party might not be the best place to stay. As I was writing this I also happened to be going through some back and forth on Facebook when one friend chimed in (emphasis mine):
I’ve been cuffed and stuffed twice in my life, both times I deserved it. You know what never happened? Getting arrested for doing nothing wrong. Was it because I was white? Possibly. Or it could have been that when the cops told me to disperse I dispersed. Even if I was legally allowed to be doing whatever I was doing, I left because a) I respected cops authority, b) knew they were just trying to do their job and c) why take the chance that one of them was going to get his rocks off by hauling me in. These days it seems people want to provoke the cops, as if they’re hoping to be the next person on the next viral video. Whether deserved or not in this case, you gotta admit that there are plenty of people these days who are happy to provoke the police and then complain when bad things happen.
That last sentence really brought home the point I wanted to make. When you could find yourself in a very bad situation with the police what possible incentive would you have for sticking around? Unfortunately we live in an era of social media, cable news networks slobbering for the next sensational story, outside racial agitators who are too eager to descend on any such incident to fan the flames and a presidential administration that is only too eager to act stupidly toward any such incidents.
And I can’t remember the pundit who said this, but it went along the lines of, “I’m against public unions in general, but I am really coming around to police unions, especially given how the government is acting towards them.” And I couldn’t agree more with every part of that statement. It will be interesting to see how police unions align themselves with political candidates. On one side you have an ideology that wants to make them pay for a greater share of unaffordable pension and health care packages. On the other you have the group that is stoking the conditions that instead of officers collecting their generous retirement packages their loved ones are collecting survivor benefits.
Remember kids, if you’re in doubt as what to do when the police arrive, just follow the none too subtle advice offered by Sebastian Back – “No need to whimper, no need to shout, the party’s over, so…”
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog