The Corner

Two Perspectives On The Cop Incident

Reader A: Well, see, in most states in the Union, the presence of a police

officer in an intersection trumps a traffic signal. This has been on the

driver’s licence test in every state I’ve ever lived in, and the D. of C.,

too. (Unfortunately, the one about how a dysfunctional traffic signal works

as a four-way stop wasn’t.) One is supposed to wait for a wave-on from the

officer before proceeding, light or no light. So the cop probably just

figured that everybody knows that.

Reader B: [After telling me a ghastly personal story about the arrogance

and irresponsibility of Long Island police.] That tiny proportion of

applicants who make it through the arcane testing and training system to

become LI police officers are made for life and accountable to no one, and

they know it. And it shows.

On A: Fair enough–but why did he have to be SO UNSPEAKABLY RUDE? On B:

I’ve known a more than average number of cops in my time, though more city

than suburban. Most were decent sorts. Still, power corrupts–and power

plus a job for life with a 6-figure salary after (I think) 5 years,

retirement at 40-something on some huge, inflation-indexed proportion of

your final salary, corrupts a lot. There are some people who should not be

given a uniform and a gun, and I feel pretty sure I just met one of those

people.