Monday, April 19, 2010
R is for Ridiculous
Ridiculous is a word that we use a lot here at Big Dave and Company, and a word that took me a long, long time to learn how to spell correctly. But the problem is that it is a word that seems to apply, at least in my mind, to a lot of the things that happen in this world. Keep in mind that a synonym for ridiclous is laughable, because something laughable happened in Kansas recently.
When I went to Kansas City for a visit, everyone I knew that was from there or had been there before always said "Follow the speed limit once you get to Kansas. If you are on the Missouri side of town you can go x - but once you go into Kansas slow down." You always get that kind of advice from people, and I always sort of take it with a grain of salt, because everyone has different experiences. But I heard this same advice from across the board, so I gave it a little more creedence, and then when I actually finally drove into Kansas, all the traffic did slow down to the speed limit, so all those people were right.
The reason that I relate this story is that the most recent ridiculous story that we need to touch on comes out of Kansas, from the KC metro area no less, and involves a police officer. WHAT ARE THE ODDS! In this case, as in so many, we only come up on this story after it has happened, but it is significant because it sets a very dangerous and very scary precedent. The City of Olathe in Kansas recently settles a civil rights complaint filed, with the help of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), by a man from nearby Overland Park. When Scott Schaper was stopped for running a stop sign and given a ticket, he was not happy, so he flipped the officer the bird. Not even like he put up three fingers and said "Read between the lines" or anything cool like that, he flat out just did it. So the officer did something as well. He gave him a disorderly conduct ticket.
This, to me, seems appropriate. Granted, we have seen police officers deal with a whole lot more from people without making them pay - like the classic video of the guy who wigs out when he sees how much his speeding ticket costs and then launches a verbal tirade and rips up his ticket and throws it on the ground, to which the police officer responds "Sir, if you don't pick that up I am going to ticket you for littering as well" CLASSIC! - but we have also seen a lot worse, like Rodney King, and we all saw where that got us in the early 90s.
So I didn't think that this was such a big deal, and if I had been in Jackass Scott Schaper's shoes I would have been pissed too, but once I got home and cooled off and realized that, okay, I probably deserved what I got. Actually, I would be happy that I wasn't hauled off to jail for being a jackass, which Scott Schaper is. Scott, who by the way is a jackass, doesn't agree with me. He went crying to the ACLU - who I always admire but sometimes despise - and now he is getting $4000 from the city, and the ACLU is getting $1000. All because he claims that the officer made his children cry, and that's why he flipped him off.
Disclaimer time! First of all, it is true that we don't have all the details here, or at least I don't because once again my crack team of Unpaid Interns has failed to provide me with all the materials I require, so we don't know what really happened here. First of all, Jackass Scott Schaper could be absolutely telling the truth here. The police officer could have been rude and overly agressive and said something to make the kids cry. That is a totally possible and totally plausable scenario - it's happened before. But I am not buying it, because I have come to the conclusion that Scott Schaper is a jackass, and let me tell you why.
First of all, he had his kids in the car, which in and of itself does not make him a jackass. It's good because he is taking care of his kids in some way, shape, or form. But he ran a stop sign with his kids in the car, which is not cool. I am not saying that I haven't blatently run a stop sign, or inadvertently rolled through about eleventy billion of them in my lifetime. But I also didn't have two of my kids in the back seat. There may not have been any other traffic within miles of that stop sign aside from the Olathe cop, but that stop sign is there for a reason and you - for whatever reason - chose not to obey it. But it was still there, which means that for a safety reason someone felt that you should be stopping your vehicle, which means that by blowing through it you put your two children in danger. Jackass.
Reason number two that you are a jackass is because you flipped off a police officer. That's not cool. Even if he did make your children cry (which I still don't buy) there are about - oh...151 better ways to handle it than doing that. Maybe a polite "Officer, please, you are upsetting my children" would have worked better if he had been inappropriate, then at least you'd have a sort of valid leg to stand upon. But no, you chose to, right in front of your impressionable children - who were probably crying more because daddy was getting all upset - give one of the most socially disrespectful gestures to a police officer who is really just trying to protect everyone by making us all play by the same rules.
Geat example you've set for everyone, there Jackass Scott Schaper. You've taught your children that it's okay to flip people the bird. And you've taught everyone in America that you now don't have to show respect to police officers. Thanks jackass. Thanks ACLU. No. Olathe police officers now have to go to training to learn how to take verbal abuse. NO. That is not right. Read that sentence again. That does not make sense. Police officers should not have to take any verbal abuse, for a lot of reasons. First of all, they are police officers and even if they are in relatively safe Olathe, Kansas they are still putting their lives at risk every day for not really that much pay. Second of all, they have to play by a very specific and special set of rules, and those rules sort of say that they can't verbally abuse you or abuse the powers granted them. If the roles were reversed here, and the police officer flipped off Jackass Scott Schaper, he'd be out of a job right now, or at the very least on some sort of unpaid suspension. The bottom line is this: You can't make police officers play by special rules, and then not make people play by the same rules with them. The ACLU and Jackass Scott Schaper have essentially laid down the precedent that it is okay to abuse police officers; they might as well have gotten a law enacted that says they have to wear their own handcuffs around. Thanks Jackass Scott Schaper, you have made America a worse place to live. And you sold out peace and stability for $4000. I am flipping you the bird with both hands right now and typing the words "Go fuck yourself" with a pencil held between my teeth while I do it. And you'd better not get upset or I will get the ACLU on your ass faster than you can make your children cry. Jackass.