02 July 2011

The rank is but the guinea's stamp / The Man's the gowd for a' that.

Hometown Annapolis | Elisha Sauers | Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor comes to Annapolis

Some tourists don't have any trouble finding parking downtown when they come to visit Annapolis.

Two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's term ended, Justice Sonia Sotomayor's motorcade of five hulking black vehicles pulled into prime spots on Market Space, right in front of the Hard Bean Cafe, around noon yesterday.

The availability of the spaces wasn't a fluke. Each meter had had a paper sign taped to it since early in the morning stating that it was reserved for the Supreme Court. [...]

Sotomayor's staff had contacted the state Department of General Services, requesting that spaces near Buddy's Crabs and Ribs be reserved for the entourage. Paper signs were posted. But the obstructed parking meters probably made the visit a little more conspicuous than the judge's security detail had hoped.
Via Radley Balko, who comments, "there’s the political class, and then there’s everybody else."

This kind of story makes me angry way out of proportion to the actual harm. I know, I know, I should reserve the real righteous anger for things like undeclared wars, or at least on a smaller scale violent bullshit like this:
Coyote Blog | Warren Meyer | Contempt of Cop

The point of this story seems to be to criticize cops for tasering, beating, pepper-spraying, and incarcerating a handicapped boy who apparently did nothing wrong.
Dayton police “mistook” a mentally handicapped teenager’s speech impediment for “disrespect,” so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from “upward of 20 police officers” after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy’s mom says.
But the larger issue is the culture that seems to exist among many police that disrespecting them is somehow a crime. Sorry, but it is not, anywhere in this country, a crime to disrespect a cop.
I see these stories as related though.

This is by the grace of God a republic. There is no ruling class, and citizens don't owe anyone any damn respect because of their badge or their robes or their titles. You want to take the office out to lunch then you look for a parking space like everyone else.  You want people to respect you, you need to act in a respectable way.  People don't have to bow and scrape and defer and give you their damn parking spaces just because you have some legally-sanctioned power.

I know I come back to this point again and again, but for me it's that important: Do we expect the people we vest with authority to behaive better than the rest of us, or worse? What standards do we want to hold our leaders to?

~ ~ ~

PS Meyer commented further on the second story:
As an aside, the three words that are always a big flashing warming light for me are “he disrespected me.” I am amazed when I hear this on the news all the time as if it justified whatever bad behavior that was to follow. In investigating customer service problems in our company, any employee of mine whose explanation of an incident with a customer that includes the line “he disrespected me” is not going to be an employee very long. Nothing gets in the way of good customer service faster than an employee trying to save face or protect his or her ego.
"He disrespected me" are a warning sign for me too. I went to middle school in some unsavory parts of the county, and every little wannabe thug was always going on about being "dissed." It wasn't an excuse for them to start a fight, and it's not an excuse for a cop either. I wonder if cops know how similarly they're acting to the shitbirds they despise when they proffer this lame excuse.

1 comment:

  1. There used to be - probably still is - a small parking lot at National Airport (sorry Reagan whatever Airport) right next to the terminal: Reserved for Supreme Court.

    Almost never had a car in it.

    Never failed to irritate me.