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October 28, 2011

Cops
Posted by Patrick at 08:50 PM * 102 comments

I don’t reflexively think ill of all cops, and in my 27 years in New York City I’ve had some interactions with local cops who seemed impressively decent, grounded, and on-the-ball.

But I would really like someone to convince me that this demonstrates anything other than widespread and deeply-felt contempt, by the NYPD, for the law and for the everyday citizens of this city.

It’s not the fact that 16 police officers were indicted in the Bronx for ticket-fixing and other chicanery, it’s the fact that their arraignment was greeted by over 100 off-duty officers swarming the courthouse and physically blocking reporters from covering the event:

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.
This is far worse than anything any of the Occupy groups have done. Where are the helicopters, the tear gas, the tasers, the rubber bullets being deployed to pacify this threat to public safety? Oh yeah. They’re in the hands of these guys.

It’s almost like they’re incapable of self-governance and unable to maintain the place in a safe condition.

Comments on Cops:
#1 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Having lived here my whole life, I thought I had seen just about everything . . . when I saw this on the news, I was just stunned. There's something definitely wrong here.

#2 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 09:50 PM:

What's particularly difficult to me: according to the news report, the response was coordinated by the police officers' union. While I appreciate their desire to show solidarity, I wonder about their desire to actually do the job they're hired for.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 09:57 PM:

2
That's what a lot of police unions do; protect the bad police officers from the consequences of their actions.
In Los Angeles, the police union has protested the firing of officers who were caught in the act of burgling businesses. In fact, one sergeant was arrested just a week or so back, for breaking and entering etc: the homeowner found him in the house, pepper-sprayed him - with bear-deterrent spray, the location being up in the San Bernardino Mountains - and he crashed his car while fleeing the site.

#4 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 10:38 PM:

P J Evans, #3: And unfortunately, that kind of behavior provides fodder for the union-busters. These people should aspire to a higher standard than that set by the Catholic Church.

#5 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Too many cops think it's all about being the blue team or the not-blue team, rather than about the law. If you're a cop you should be able to do anything you want, and if you're not, cops should be able to do anything to you.

Cops who think that way are scum, of course. But rooting them out will not be easy or quick.

Especially since they're apparently the majority.

#6 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 11:37 PM:

My mind drifted to this incident from a couple decades ago involving not-yet-Mayor Giuliani and some cops objecting to outside supervision. These problems (and the connivance of powerful people) go back a ways. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, indeed.

#7 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 05:22 AM:

All Cops Are Bastards.

Just don't put that on a t-shirt in the Netherlands or you will be prosecuted -- even if you try to get cute and shorten it to ACAB or put it in code like 1312. The poor old police will still have their feelings hurt...

#8 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:26 AM:

"Just following orders" is... an interestingly resonant... slogan to choose.

#9 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:32 AM:

The problem of police seeing themselves as the law rather than its agents has gotten much worse in the past 30 years has been the militarization of the police. It was exacerbated under Bush II. Under Bush II the top Federal justice officials are corrupt. This encouraged corruption throughout US law-enforcement, even in departments not directly under Federal authority. By "looking forward, not back"--by not prosecuting any of the Bush II administration offenders--the Obama administration made the corruption routine.

This is the authoritarian interregnum.

#10 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:34 AM:

Whoops! Proof that one ought not edit on too little sleep.

#11 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 09:23 AM:

I find myself leaning towards the "support the troops (emphatically including those who shoot their superiors)" position for a few reasons.

1. Give people uniforms and authority, this tends to happen (see Stanford Prison Experiment etc.) - us vs. them is baked into the _roles_. Talk to a cop sometime.

2. Big-picture, I don't think ticket-fixing is that big a deal. Like stealing office supplies, or using your connections to get a cousin an interview, it's an unofficial perk: "wrong", sure, but

3. letting ourselves get distracted into condemnation of players instead of game just exacerbates the mammalian tribal shitflingery that got us here to begin with.

Cops are part of the 99%. Tea partiers and "rednecks" too.

Is what they did wrong? Absolutely.
But having the next move be "Let's fling shit! Down with Bad Tribe!"? Well, it sure plays into _someone_s hands... I just don't think it's the 99%.

#12 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 09:59 AM:

Cliff@11 tickets are a big deal since they are a huge source of money. Not only that but this affects some 15000 cases that will need to be reviewed. This is not just about tickets though. The indictments include drug related offenses, theft, helping a man avoid assault charges. All sorts of bs.

The off duty officers response is troubling to say the least. When dealing with law enforcement the bar is set much higher because these are the watchers. They have be held to a higher standard to ensure the integrity and the trust of the position.

#13 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Somewhat off-topic:

Raven, #9: Lately I've started to think that the most thoroughly corrupting event in US history was Prohibition.

If you look at its history, things don't add up. There are traces of conspiracy, but why would e.g. a Rockefeller conspire for grubby _money_?

What if the wholesale corruption of the system - from the highest DC circles to the cop on the corner, _everyone_ got dirty - wasn't just a side effect...

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:11 AM:

I think it's possible to lose focus, to spend so much energy criticizing the police that one forgets to criticize the system that rewards isolation and thugishness on their part (just in case it comes in handy later). It's also possible, on the other hand, to excuse the inexcusable because they're part of the 99%, or because it's a union that's the axis of a particular example of corruption.

One of the more cogent criticisms of Republicans and conservatives these days is that they don't allow internal dissent. This means all kinds of batshit insanity (and other forms of malfeasance) become common coin. I'd rather the 99% movement didn't go in that direction; I think a message that stresses accountability is one that should stress it on all levels.

Does this mean we should all form up for the circular firing squad? Of course not. What we need to rediscover is a way to criticize coherently without rejecting entirely.

In other words, we need nuance back. I think what I like most about the 99% movement is that it seems to get that.

#15 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:31 AM:

Larry, I don't disagree re setting higher standards for cops or any of it. As I said, is what they did wrong? absolutely.

Where my self-questioning started: what if I was a cop? Can I walk those shoes?...

If the bigger crime is cops covering up other cops crimes...isn't the bigger crime yet, the division of us all into these roles?

In a similar way, blaming rightwingers for where we are is, in my recently acquired perspective, not quite the solution it once seemed (the late "leftneck" Joe Bageant has some good writing on this).

"Hate the game, not the player" might seem trite and simplistic, and does not in itself offer constructive advice. Like "we are the 99%" it's an idea to just sit with for a while, unrushed for conclusions.

#16 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:39 AM:

cliff, be very, very careful in this conversation. You are edging toward another mystery-religion approach to the discussion, and I will not permit it on this thread, any more than I will permit another comprehensive conspiracy theory sidetrack.

This is a moderatorial comment, not open to argument.

#17 ::: LongStrider ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:45 AM:

I am not a cop, but I am a municipal union member. I feel the need to remind some of the above commentors that it is the union's job to defend any member accused of wrong doing. They, the stewards in particular, are like defense attorneys. They must defend everyone no matter how blatantly guilty they are, because everyone is entitled to due process.

Note that I am not excusing the measures taken outside of due process. The described behavior outside the court room is inexcusable and should in no way have been encourage by the union. Some of those officers, from the info in the article should be fired and probably do jail time (particularly Ramos), but they absolutely have the right to have someone defending them all the way through the process both in court and in internal disciplinary hearings.

#18 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:49 AM:

abi, #13: this, exactly.

abi, #14: ...ehm? OK then...language barrier?

#19 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:53 AM:

It seems to me like two issues are getting mixed together, and, as in many cases where news reporting does that, it is making things look rather worse than they are.

A few officers (somewhere between 2 and 5) are accused of major crimes--arresting people on false pretenses, planting drugs on suspects, insurance fraud, drug dealing, etc...

A whole bunch of officers are accused of ticket-fixing, which was already well-established when my grandfather started working in NYC in the late 50's, and which has been very much expected and accepted for generations. I'm someone sympathetic to those officers; it feels rather like the occasional crack-downs on taking excessive breaks at workplaces that find firing people for getting back from lunch 5 minutes late cheaper than laying them off.

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:33 AM:

cliff,

Volgens mij, "Hate the game, not the player" might seem trite and simplistic, and does not in itself offer constructive advice. Like "we are the 99%" it's an idea to just sit with for a while, unrushed for conclusions. ziet er uit als I offer no solutions. Just: first, see.

Je móét aannemen dat de andere mensen in dit gesprek hebben over deze onderwerpen héél lang gedacht en betoogd. Iedereen in dit gemeenschap is een slimme volwassen (of, als niet, ziet er uit als een slimme volwassen op het internet). De kans dat je een onzichtbaar geheim, een bijzondere sleutel over die alle mensen moeten lang bemiddelen hebt aangetoond is...heel klein.

Te spreken in een conversatie alsof je kan zo'n geheim overbrengen is verstorend. Misschien is één keer een ongeval, maar twee of meer is asociaal. De enige reden om het telkens weer te doen, na mijn waarchuwingen, is om een soort kracht over de andere mensen te verklaren met je "wijsheid". Doe dat niet. Bij Making Light is de discussie geen wedstrijd; probeer niet meer om het te winnen.

Als je kan niet wat je wil direct en duidelijk zeggen, dan zeg niks. Één keer meer en ik zal alle je comments houden tot ik kan hun lezen en beslissen of ze te mysterieus of krachtzoekend zijn. En ik heb het vaak druk; misschien doe ik dat na verloop van veel uren of dagen.

(OK? Nog geen taalbarrière? Dan gaan wij verder in 't Engels.)

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:16 PM:

16
What was happening in L.A.: the officers were caught in the act, fired after internal investigation, and then the union started defending them.

Defending them by refusing to admit that any police officers can be in the wrong and have been in the wrong in the past (with consequences: see R King) is a whole 'nother order of wrong. (Defending them when they've been caught red-handed is something that should be reconsidered.)

I have also read accounts, by people who know police officers, that make it clear that us-vs-them is an occupational hazard for all police.

#22 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:23 PM:

It's interesting to me that the prosecutors are calling ticket-fixing corruption, the union is saying that it's their culture...and yet no one has raised the phrase 'a Culture of Corruption'.

Seems obvious to me.

#23 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:26 PM:

"Just because you're on their side doesn't mean they're on your side." -- someone really smart who owns this site

Police-as-union-workers stand to benefit in the long term from OWS, as part of the 99%, for sure. Police-as-police, though, stand to benefit hugely and individually in the short term by doing what they are told by their bosses.

If they are pointing weapons at you, they are not on your side.

#24 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:07 PM:

@19 Abi, I think I love you. In a purely linguistic sense, naturally.

#25 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:20 PM:

Xopher @ 21

Yes, exactly. I find myself thinking things like "tone at the top" and "Where are their controls?" and "Who audits these guys?!"

In my opinion, a culture where routine external auditing is an accepted norm would do a lot to prevent casual corruption such as ticket fixes. (Actually, I'd like to see things like ticket enforcement modeled after health care in the age of HIPAA; violate this expectation and you will be fired, no matter who you are.)

Cliff @ 14

Speaking as a professional compliance officer, that sort of permissive thinking is a foundational part of the problem. If you have a workplace culture where ethics are consistently enforced and reinforced, you see a lot less ethical corner-cutting.

Yes, police-work is a hard job, no two ways. But from a compliance perspective, there are very clear guidelines about how to address situations in which corruption and malfeasance are temptations built-in to the job.

In a similar situation, I would expect an organization interested in minimizing corruption to:
1) establish clear ethical guidelines,
2) take consistent action against people who violate the ethical guidelines,
3) reward people for ethical risk-taking, such as reporting malfeasance or doing the right thing,
4) establish structures for preventing, identifying, and investigating malfeasance, so appropriate actions can be taken.

That's the simple version -- there are lots of tactics and approaches and philosophies I'm not getting into, based on specific situations, existing culture, the level of real support at all levels of the organization... It's an entire professional field, it's complicated.

What isn't complicated is that:
- No, corruption is never okay.

- Yes, I am extremely confident I could resist similar temptation, given a parallel situation. In a bad enough situation, I might have to leave the corrupt organization to maintain my own etical standards, but I am very confident I would not give in to corrupt standards of behavior.

- Yes, there are known frameworks, and structures, and tactics that can be implemented to support people in doing the right thing.

- Yes, it is possible (but difficult, and time- and labor-intensive) to reform existing cultures of corruption.

- But no, anti-corruption efforts will not be successful if we give people a pass on bad behavior.

#26 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:27 PM:

@20: Interestingly enough, I find that I fall afoul of the "Team Cop!" mentality far more than my dad, the actual cop, does. I suspect being a firefighter's or serviceperson's kid is similar; you're part of a small group of people whose lives are more deeply affected by your parent's job than is normal, and whose pride in their job tends to run deeper than is normal as well.

#27 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Wonderbaar dat je een nederlander in z'n eigen taal vertellen dat die of zich direct moet uitleggen of gewoon zwijgen.

Vooral 't vertellen aan een nederlander dat die direct met zijn uitspraak moet zijn.

Priceless.

Crazy(en terug aan de regularly scheduled program)Soph

#28 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Xopher, #21: "no one has raised the phrase 'a Culture of Corruption.'"

Not the exact phrase, but I hit the concept in my poorly edited #9. I'm going to offer a corrected version here.

The problem of police seeing themselves as the law rather than its agents has gotten much worse in the past 30 years. It was exacerbated under Bush II. Under Bush II the top Federal justice officials were corrupt. This encouraged corruption throughout US law-enforcement, even in departments not directly under Federal authority. By "looking forward, not back"--by not prosecuting any of the Bush II administration offenders--the Obama administration made the corruption routine.

Isn't this exactly why Occupy is in the streets?

#29 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Oh, no, Raven, I didn't mean here. People here get that the problem is a culture of corruption! I meant in the press (or MSM, I think I'm supposed to call them now).

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:13 PM:

crazysoph @26:

Raar maar waar!

#31 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Raven @ 27

I was thinking much the same thing. That this is just another example of how the wealthy, powerful, and well-connected are held to a separate standard of justice these days...

#32 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:25 PM:

abi 29: Raar maar waar!

I have a soft-toy velociraptor who says that. I always thought he was a Montana velociraptor, because of his red bandanna, but he must be Dutch. Hoodah Thunkit?!

#33 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Xopher, #27: Sorry. I see now.

Not talking about the near-universal corruption seems to be one of he unwritten rules of journalism these days. I wonder how that happened?

KayTei, #30: Henry over at Crooked Timber linked this post and there is some discussion there as well. Over there I wrote:

Respect for the law has to start with the people at the top, or there will be no respect for the law. It has to start with the people who enforce the law. So law has to be well-made, and it has to apply to the great as well as the small.

And it is not and does not.

#34 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Raven @ 32

Well put.

#35 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 03:06 PM:

I've been listening to (as opposed to re-reading) Tuchman's A Distant Mirror. One of the great social traumas of the 14th century on top of the plague, is corruption, top to bottom, in the religious systems and the secular systems alike. In both cases, those whose charge is to protect and serve, whether a priest or pope, a knight or a Duke, had come to the conviction that they were entitled to exploit in every way they could think of, for their own material and political gain, every institution and every individual, particularly the powerless, who they were explicitly charged to protect.

Love, C.

#36 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Xopher @31:

I really can't think of anything more beautifully self-referential than a cuddly velociraptor in a red bandanna saying "Strange but true" in Dutch.

#37 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Like this?

#38 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Raven, I think the Obama administration looked at the corruption and said to itself, if we even try to tackle this, we will be doing nothing else but fighting this battle, alone, with no help from the mainstream press (because the press is also corrupt) for 8 years, and we might not win; whereas, maybe we can get something else done despite the corruption.

I am not saying they were correct in their judgment or their choice of action, but I think it likely that they thought this.

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 06:18 PM:

abi @ 19:

Thanks for the chance to test Google Translate. It fails the colloquial test.

#40 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 06:20 PM:

Abi... Xopher... How about this velociraptor? Yes, that is a beer cooler on his back.

#41 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 06:30 PM:

My sense of the problem from watching the police here in Portland for the last 33 years, and from experience with the "Civil Disobedience Squad" in Philadelpha and its equivalent in New York in the 1960s, is that much of the problem is command-and-control. The "leadership" of the average police department in the US, and especially the problem cities like New York, Chicago, and LA, are not prepared to take any action to change a long standing corrupt culture. In part they owe their own positions to that corruption, or at least to willful ignorance of it, in part they would lose respect in the eyes of their officers if they tried to dismantle it. So they maintain an atmosphere of official blindness, and a policy of supporting the actions of any officer, no matter how blatantly corrupt or unprofessional.

I've seen city government fire the police chief and bring in a replacement who wasn't beholden to the existing power structure. The new chief was shut out of all operational decisions, was harrassed and disrespected by both patrol officers and commanders, and was finally forced out of office by being blamed for the lack of action of the rest of the force. It may be that the only real solution is to remove the entire top 4 or 5 tiers of command and replace them from outside; though where you'd get the replacements is an interesting question.

#42 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:08 PM:

From the article...

...said Eugene J. O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “The Police Department is a very angry work force, and that is something that should concern people, because it translates into hostile interactions with people.”
Well, one imagines it would concern most people. I mean, nearly everyone, right? Surely, those people who enjoy IMPUNITY, those people for whom the Rule of Law does not apply, those people can probably decide not to let it bother their beautiful minds. Basically, only the little people, those whom the people actually have the power to favor or push around, as they will, only those people really have any reason to be concerned about levels of morale in the police force.

#43 ::: LongStrider ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:48 PM:

PJ Evans (#20) I can guarantee that the union was defending them every step of the way, not just afterwards. It's their legal obligation to defend them, however much they as individual might find an act a fellow union member perpetrated repugnant the stewards (or whatever the equivalent rank in a police union is) must defend them.

Now after they've been dismissed, after all the internal due process, they *might* be entitled legal representation in court provided by the union or they might not. It would depend on whether firing them after due process terminates their relationship with the union.

After their union membership is terminated, defending them would be murky at best. I've got a complex personal relationship with the police. I depend them for certain protections in my daily job. But on the flip side I get this throb in my head every time I see one run their lights just to coast through an intersection or have the FOP sticker obscuring their licence plate knowing they'll never ever get pulled over for speeding or other minor violations, but I know they'd pull me over if I put an ACLU or similar sticker over part of my licence plate. I have too many family members with peace protesting arrest records to be complacent when I see cops.

I'm not defending cops who do bad things. I am trying to speak out because I see people repeating the meme used by union busters that implies that unions shouldn't defend members who 'we all know' did bad things. Everyone should be entitled to innocent until proven guilty. After that well probably time to stop defending them so voraciously.

#44 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:28 PM:

I think it's one thing to argue that they didn't actually do the thing that they are accused of. It's quite another to say "Yeah, they fixed the tickets. But we're not going to allow them to be disciplined for it."

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:28 PM:

42
I don't have a problem with the 'before' defense - that I understand. It's the 'after' that bothers me, when they're trying to get the guy back on the force, even though they know he's going to cause more problems.

Unions, or at least some unions, don't want to have troublemakers. We have a union local where I work, and there are people they've tried to get rid of. (I work with one of those troublemakers. 'Backstabber' is one word I'd use as a description.)

#46 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:44 PM:

Abi, Xopher, Serge - I realize that a followup on velociraptors may belong more in the writing-techniques thread than here, but I happen to have gone into Terry Karney's old kitchen-supply store for the first time today, and they had a very large rack of cookie-cutters, with three different kinds of dinosaur shapes! Simply amazing.

#47 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:50 PM:

For those think ticket fixing is no biggie. It's been projected to be costing the city 1 -2 million dollars a year. Also union officials were involved.

The whole idea of "they've been doing it for years" is an excuse. A lot of things were done for years that were also wrong. It is a bs argument to try and condone behavior. It is one thing for a union to defend their members. It's another to form a protest and intimidation squad to shutdown discussion and reporting of it.

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 01:15 AM:

Larry, #46: To come at your argument from a different angle... Jim Crow laws were in place for years. Redlining was done for years. Women couldn't be bank tellers (or any of a number of other jobs) for years. "It's always been this way" isn't a legitimate argument*; the future does not have to be the same as the past.


* Not by itself, at any rate. Sometimes there are sound underlying reasons why things should be done a certain way, but the phrase alone is not a substitute for having sound underlying reasons.

#49 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 06:40 AM:

I'm a union member myself. If one of my coworkers was accused of doing something I knew to be wrong, and I believed the accusations, I would expect my union to have their back. I'd do my part to make sure that was the case.

There's a difference between that and what's happening in New York, though. When I say "have their back," I mean that a union exists to level the playing field between worker and boss. I mean union representation, legal counsel, a witness and a voice that can't be silenced. When I say I'd do my part, I mean I'd remind them to request representation, call the union myself, attest to what I've seen.

If the police union is providing a lawyer, that's just as it should be. If the police union is coordinating protests, well, that I'm not so sure about. Others have more eloquently expressed the issue that troubles me: the protesters don't seem to be asserting the innocence (either moral or legal) of the accused, just that cops are special and deserve to keep doing wrong.

Is it up to the union to be aware of that? I don't know. I could see how a responsible, highly ethical union could be surprised by that sort of response. I don't for a moment imagine that this particular union was surprised by this response. I would bet my shirt they knew exactly what they'd get when they called for a protest. They know their boys are guilty, and they know their membership knows that and will defend them anyway.

Add that to the extent of public awareness of the case and to the media intimidation that actually happened, and I have to ask what they thought this protest would accomplish? The case is already high-profile, so it wasn't to gain visibility. Their own membership doesn't seem to think the indicted cops are innocent, so they can't be trying to show the other side of the story or convince the public. I'm left with the troubling suspicion that they called this protest just to intimidate people.

(I'm not totally opposed to any union ever using intimidation. If you're the CNT in 1936 or the United Mine Workers in 1920, you have enemies who quite literally outgun you and there's value in a show of force. It serves that goal of a level playing field. NYPD is not outgunned, nor under any threat of violent reprisal. Instead, they're the ones making that threat.)

More charitably, perhaps the union's intent was just to close ranks, get their people all feeling like they and the union were all together against the world. I can understand why that would be appealing to union leadership, but it's still poisonous. Of course it's fine if you're the United Mine Workers, but for a police union? Loyalty to the law or the public good* must come before loyalty to their own. The fact that it rarely does is one of the worst things about our policing culture.

*I'm not too sure which. There are strong arguments either way. If that dilemma was the most serious question in American policing, well... "One of those good problems," hey?

#50 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 08:51 AM:

As a native Denverite, I was waiting for the violence to erupt here. Took a bit longer than I expected, but the cops waded in last night apparently. Denver PD are not nice or happy people on their good days and they so seldom have good days....

Sigh. New police chief hired just last week, maybe they wanted to get it out of their systems. On the off chance he can rein the Denver cops in.

I'm keeping the Occupy Denver folks in my prayers.

#51 ::: mdh ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 11:44 AM:

It's a brotherhood.

Except they've limited the list of just who their brothers are.

We didn't make the cut.

#52 ::: mdh ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 11:50 AM:

Also, why is it the police are acting like Redcoats?

#53 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 12:13 PM:

(meh...commented over on CT, but my comment's in moderation and the conversation's now moved on. If they unmoderate it I'll just look like a dork. meh.)

#54 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 12:58 PM:

mdh @ 51: Like Redcoats? Or like a proto-Praetorian Guard?

The powers that biz have long found it convenient to ease the police towards paramilitary status. In the shortish term, this can streamline the tedious process of obtaining popular... consent... to Proper Authority, quite drastically.

They may or may not detect in this and other recent shenanigans certain signs of where that particular tactic usually leads by its nature. Eventually, the security community begins to wonder why it should let those nogoodniks push them around, either.

I wonder whether this sort of thing might make Proper Authority start to wonder a bit about whether their own prospects, further down this road, are really very encouraging at all.

And I wonder, I really do, exactly how politicians would set about turning back from a democracy-style security state, with the best will in the world. It might actually be harder than liberalizing some kinds of tyranny. All that I'm really confident of is that the sooner it starts, the easier it's going to be.

#55 ::: Chris Adams ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 01:02 PM:

LongStrider @ 16: I find that attitude dangerously wrong: the union can defend someone's right to a fair trial / inquiry / etc. without defending their acts unconditionally. Provide representation, insist on a full and fair process, push for disclosure of evidence and force officials to defend their assertions - those are all reasonable in a way that the blanket assertion of innocence and official malfeasance are not. I say this as a member of a different bargaining organization: there are so many areas where unions are badly needed but the very concept has been jeopardized by assuming that the unions should blindly attack and defend certain sides rather than work for overall fairness.

We see this down here any time DCPS fires someone: the union response is always that this is political warfare and tyranny even in cases where, say, nobody seems to argue that a teacher was having sex with students or stealing things - this is both annoying and ensures that the union has far less credibility and support when they protest anything legitimate because they've repeatedly show that group loyalty matters more than the actual facts of any particular situation.

#56 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Chris @54: But, as far as I know, there has never been a teachers' union demonstration that said flat out that teachers should be allowed to steal things an have sex with students... or nurses publicly saying that nurses embezzling drugs and supplies (something that unfortunately has been common for a long time, too) is "a courtesy, not a crime." There's a certain level of self-righteous chutzpah that goes way beyond the general circle-the-wagons behavior of organized labor in other fields. They're not taking an adversarial position to their employers, but to the idea that they can be charged with crimes.

#57 ::: Chris Adams ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 04:36 PM:

Hob: completely agree - this is a new low, and a particularly insulting one for any NYPD member who actually does respect the law

#58 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Hob @55

And you know? If there were such a demonstration, nurses or teachers holding the same view still isn't as scary or inappropriate as cops.

#59 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 03:15 AM:

Chris @54: The union has a duty to represent its members, and if it fails to do that (or even if it does) it can expect to be sued for violating its duty of fair representation. I don't see LongStrider as advocating that particular brand of chutzpah that's on show here so much as pointing out that 'why is the union backing these guys?!' is the wrong question to ask. The union has to back these guys. (The fact that it's doing so in the manner it chose, is of course a different issue.)

I used to work in the legal department of a large union (not one that represents cops, to my knowledge), and we saw this scenario with painful regularity:

1) Member does something dumbass, like stealing from work or not showing up or using illegal drugs on the job, which gets him fired.
2) Union files a grievance.
3) Union and management throw paperwork back and forth until it gets to having to go in front of a judge/arbitrator.
4) Union decides the guy is not going to prevail, given that he was (say) caught red-handed shooting heroin in the men's room when he was supposed to be on duty, and drops the grievance.
5) Guy sues the employer, and also files a DFR suit against the union.

Devin @57: And of course if a teachers' or nurses' union did such a thing, the usual suspects would crap flaming bricks about how this proves that unions are evil, evil, evil and teachers/nurses/whomever are spoiled.

#60 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 08:24 AM:

mythago #58: There tends to be selective picking of which union actions are evil. Police unions are never held up as 'evil unions', teachers' and nurses' unions are always presented as monsters of wickedness. Funny that.

#61 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 08:31 AM:

If the bigger crime is cops covering up other cops crimes...isn't the bigger crime yet, the division of us all into these roles?

No. The only alternatives to dividing people into cops and non-cops are (a) no cops, or (b) everyone is a cop, both of which are obviously impractical.

We need a reasonable and non-corrupt way for cops to relate to non-cops and vice versa because the division itself is unavoidable. This isn't it.

#62 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 09:53 AM:

There is a well-defined model for policing which deals with this: it's the Peelian principles, originating, at least in spirit, with Robert Peel, who invented the police. The dominant idea is that "the police are the public and the public are the police" -- i.e. that they are not a militarized body (Peel put the police in to replace the military), but civilians who are charged with maintaining the peace and preventing crime.

There are many indications in North America that this has broken down, and not only the negative ones (consider the massive military-style funerals for police officers who die in the line of duty, which set out a symbolic barrier between the police and the public). The most serious one, globally, is the effective rejection of civilian oversight by police forces, whether evidenced by this sort of contempt for the judicial process or by a resistance to systematic oversight by and answerability to civilian boards.

How this broad and problematic police culture is to be corrected, I don't know: it would require a massive and sustained effort addressing not just the running of police forces but also the education and formation of police officers.

#63 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:52 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 38. Google translate probably fails because abi's words are Dutch (if peculiar choices at times) while the sentence construction is not. Abi @ 19 gives me a headache, trying to parse the text simultaneously as Dutch and English. It makes me feel sorry for those reading some of my posts.

#64 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:04 PM:

KayTei, #24; Raven, #32; Constance, #34: In a past management-reporting (mostly stats & charts) function, I worked with the assumption I had an imaginary auditor constantly looking over my shoulder, so I'd never be tempted to shade my reports, especially since every source record was permanently saved online and checkable.

Unfortunately, my manager had other priorities; he wanted to keep impressing the clients and suppressing bad news. So every report got "improved".

My stress level's way down since leaving there.

#65 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:49 PM:

A cop's first duty, that is, the duty which takes priority over any other, is to solemnly swear that every other cop is telling the complete and exact truth, always. So there's a limit to how "honest" a person can be and still be permitted to be a cop. It's been documented that at least 5-10% of Chicago cops are outright thugs. (Without looking it up, my recollection is that a recent study found that 5% of the force had had at least two accusations of brutality per year for each of the five preceding years.) The rule of thumb here is that a cop has to cost the city over a million dollars in legal damages to get fired.
A few years ago, there was an incident of a cop who was out night-clubbing with his girlfriend (his wife was at home) was annoyed at a squeegie-man, so he got out of his car, went round and opened the trunk, got out his firearm, shot the bum dead, got back in, and drove off. Iirc, it took less than a year of public outcry for him to be charged with a crime.
More recently, a couple of off-duty cops were out drinking, and one got cut off by the bar maid. So he went round the back of the bar and started beating the crap out of her. His buddy went out front, so when the squad cars arrived answering the 911 call, he could tell them everything was ok, and they could go.

I am not looking forward to the first-ever simultaneous G8 and NATO confabs here next May.


#66 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Pyre @ 63

That's a really good example of what I mean by "tone at the top." If the Guys in Charge are not on-board with improving compliance and ethics, there is generally little that their subordinates can do to change things (short of whistleblowing and hoping the Guys in Charge get replaced with someone more ethical).

So any change typically has to start at the top and work it's way down.

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Joris @62:

Meh. I was actually trying to get the word order right. (Dutch word order is both ferociously rigid and totally inexplicable.)

Google Translate never works well with complex Dutch by native speakers either, though. Again, word order in sentences is too large-scale for its token-parsing to deal with.

I should go back to googoo gaga Dutch. Or give up.

#68 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 03:15 PM:

James @ 61... There is a well-defined model for policing which deals with this: it's the Peelian principles, originating, at least in spirit, with Robert Peel, who invented the police.

Drat. I thought you were referring to Emma Peel.

#69 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 03:37 PM:

abi @ 66

I've for a long time suspected - based partly on my experience of living in Turkey, where I struggle to read a newspaper despite having a reasonably good grasp of both grammar and vocabulary, and partly on memories of schoolboy Latin and Greek - that one of the hardest parts of learning a foreign language is accustoming oneself to recognising and reproducing the alien shape of its sentences.

Also, I have to say that while (or because) I'm a non-Batavophone 'Bij Making Light is de discussie geen wedstrijd; probeer niet meer om het te winnen.'sounds like an excellent summary description, and I'm in the process of committing it to memory.


#70 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Laat je niet ontmoedigen, abi - ook al zou je Nederlands niet perfect zijn, leren gebruiken blijft toch de moeite waard.

Crazy(en zeker tot een bepaalde maat omdat zij ook een volwassen studente van Nederlands is... en ook allang geen perfecte Nederlands kan)Soph

#71 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Fragano @ 59: Police tend to support the more authoritarian, conservative political elements that do the bulk of the union bashing. Funny, that.

#72 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 06:40 PM:

abi, don't stop trying. I even have problems reading professional translations of novels, I keep seeing the original English expressions popping up in the Dutch.

I am always impressed with people learning the language, especially since both pronunciation and grammar are weird. And there is a plethora of rules that native speakers are not even aware of, as a former colleague kept reminding me of.

I can only imagine how difficult trying to practice Dutch can be. I know I always have to make a conscious effort not to switch to English even if I know the person is trying and wants to speak Dutch.

#73 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:36 AM:

The important thing to remember wrt unions is that their job is to represent their members and look out for their members' interests. There isn't some special moral component to that, other than the natural one that says that the world is a better place when everyone has a voice.

Unions whose members are getting screwed over by crooked or shoddy or brutal employers look like the good guys, because in that case, they are. Unions whose members are trying to get away with crooked or shoddy or brutal stuff look like bad guys, because they are.

Like other organizations that become power centers--different levels of government, NGOs, international organizations like the UN, NATO, IMF, WTO, World Bank, etc, labor unions, small and medium-sized and large corporations, churches, newspapers, private clubs, etc--they can be heroic in one situation and monstrous in another, sometimes even at the same time.

Reality is complicated. The same church can be feeding the hungry and schooling poor kids in one place, while keeping pedophiles in position to molest kids somewhere else. The same government that shows up with helicopters and field hospitals after a tsunami and saves thousands of people in one place, can carry out a politically-motivated invasion and trigger a civil war that kills hundreds of thousands of people somewhere else. And the same organization that keeps honest policemen from being forced to work unpaid overtime can also defend crooked policemen, just as the same organization that keeps teachers from being screwed out of their pensions can fight to keep incompetent teachers in their jobs.

#74 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 01:20 PM:

I tend to think of cops as bees - essential, but you don't want to mess with them if you can help it.

I've had my own run-in with the NYPD back in the early '90s. I found myself on the ground, in handcuffs for no real reason. It did cause me to move to a better neighborhood within the month.

FWIW, last week one of my wife's co-workers got to spend the night in the clink for contempt of cop. Released without charges, lots of witnesses, lawyer retained, complaint filed. The Seattle PD is probably just as bad, if not worse than the NYPD in terms of contempt for the general public.

Here are some results from a recent survey as reported by the Seattle PI
The survey also revealed concerns about Seattle police officers. Fifty-eight percent of people said police misconduct is a problem. When it came to specific types of misconduct, two-thirds said excessive force was a problem in Seattle, and 62 percent said racial profiling was a problem.

Bear in mind that Seattle is the whitest major city in the US, and the portion of people who think that the police have a racial profiling problem is huge compared to the actual racial minority population.

(As an FYI, the Larry posting above is a different Larry...)

#75 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 01:40 PM:

albatross @73 -- there is often a difference between representing a group's long term interests and representing a sub-part's short term interest.

#77 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:17 AM:

I'm slowly reading Pratchett's wonderful Snuff, and hit this line last night:

"What was a policeman, if not a civilian with a uniform and a badge? But they tended to use the term these days as a way of describing people who were not policemen. It was a dangerous habit; once policemen stopped being civilians the only other thing they could be was soldiers."

Of course, as any Andrew Vachss reader can tell you, there's another group that generally doesn't think of themselves as civilians: criminals.

#78 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 01:45 AM:

Adam @76 - +1!

Maybe if more cops read Pratchett there would be better policing?

#79 ::: Manny ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Bruce Cohen @75:

There is a robust industry that posts mug shots on the web and then charges a fee to take them down. Mug shots are public record, but it looks like some jurisdictions make it a lot easier for the blackmail companies to operate.

For example: http://phoenixmugs.com/.

#80 ::: ezra abrams ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 07:38 PM:

as someone who grew up in ny, with ny parents, all i have to say is...dog bites man.
anyone who is in anyway surprised by the violent, moblike behaviour of the police , you are living in some , probably white, middle class fantasy world.
I mean, jeez, go read about, say , serpico
or, about a year ago, NPR had a story on how statistics in teh NYC police were fixed, to make crime look better then it is.
their example was a senior detective in a washington heights (still cases of thunderbird on sale near Columbia PnS ? sill west indian resturants with all spanish menus with goat north of PnS ?) precint. And someone asks him about this rape.
and he says, thats really wierd, I never heard about this rape, and I sure shold have.
so the detective investigates, and finds tha the precint is actively discouraging people from reporting rapes.
long story short, he goes to IAB
no living on a farm in upstate, every now and then a group of NYs finest get in a car, drive up their, and pound on his door, yelling for the rat to come out....
I mean, get a life people, haven't you even heard of the blue wall of silence ?

#81 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 07:57 PM:

ezra abrams @79: It is a poor reading of the conversation at hand to believe that the people discussing this here are sheltered, shocked, and unaware of precedent. Especially when precedent has been discussed on this very thread. You're likely to get better conversational results if you try to engage with what people are actually saying, instead of insulting people right off over things they haven't actually said.

And there is a difference between "I never imagined this would happen" and "I am upset that this has happened." I can certainly imagine earthquakes, but that doesn't prevent me from expressing sympathy for the victims when they occur. Nor does expressing that sympathy, and discussing earthquake mitigation methods that should have been implemented, mean that I have somehow ignored all previous earthquakes.

#82 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:37 AM:

ezra abrams @79:

What Fade Manley @80 said, plus a dose of this.

Of course, the sort of commenter who only slows his browser down long enough to toss that kind of reflexive prose into the window rarely cares enough about others' contributions to click on links. So let me excerpt a relevant paragraph from the referenced comment:

If we spend our goddamn lives sneering at one another over whether we were angered or amazed or appalled at exactly the right time or not, we'll have wasted our goddamn lives. So stop it. Do we want to trade knowledge and understanding, or do we prefer to spend our time on this earth looking for chances to lord it over others based on others' moments of naivete or ignorance? I assure you, we're all naive and ignorant about a lot more than our precious self-images, at any given moment on any given day, would like to admit. The chances for one-upmanship are never-ending. But ask yourself: Is that kind of thing what you want out of your one and only life? Is it what you want at the end of all things?

You want to join the conversation? Welcome. Try respecting your fellow commenters; you might learn something from them.

You want to assume everyone here is naive about the ways of New York's Finest, while you, with your one incoherent anecdote, are the soul of wisdom? Drive on by, sunshine, because I'm in a terrible mood and not nearly as averse to pulling you apart, clause by clause and badly-placed comma by badly-placed comma, as the angels of my better nature would like.

#83 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 09:21 AM:

I concur in the approval of Sir PTerry and his writing. In particular, the Watch novels are full of appropriate comments on the issues of Policing, and it is a barely credible coincidence that Snuff is so centred on Policing, and the right thing to do, and the perils of ignoring the Law, when it has become of intensely appropriate to current events.

It is a fantasy, and something unreal, and they're only Goblins.

And Southern trees bear strange fruit.

#84 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 12:10 PM:

I am reading Snuff, but I am reading it oh so slowly, because sometimes the parallels are so very Here And Now that it can be hard to read them.

#85 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 12:50 PM:

Abi, I beg you to forgive me for my inability to cheer on the better angels of your nature, but... I'd *pay* to see what you'd just described.

Perhaps it's just my own struggle to not give in to that same darkness. Maybe I should just get another cup of tea into this sick bod of mine. (Ik voel mij zo zielig....)

Crazy(Still, you won't get too annoyed at me if I started popping some popcorn? Just in case?)Soph

#86 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 01:17 PM:

Abi, if you and/or Teresa would be interested in writing up some general principles about effective verbal thunderbolts, I would be very grateful, and it might take off some of the edge if you're not quite willing to throw them in a particular case.

#87 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 01:59 PM:

Manny #78:

Oddly, the strategy to destroy that business entirely is obvious, but not much comfort to its involuntary customers--post the mugshots on a site and refuse to take them down regardless of payment.

#88 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:24 PM:

I think we're close to Troll Bingo "ezra abrams." I believe that "I mean, get a life people" by itself fills two squares.

This would be annoying if it came from a long-time commenter; as a likely drive-by, it inclines me to shrug and say "who cares what some random internet fucktard thinks?"

That said, if abi gave in to her baser (in her opinion, not mine) nature and proceeded to shred this insect thorax from abdomen, I too would be pleased to watch.

#89 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Xopher:

A diet of grilled troll is like a diet of McDonalds food--it *feels* like you're being nourished, but really it's just empty calories and an unhealthy amount of salt and snark.

#90 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Policing as though people are sane and conscious.

Part of the point is that people (both drug dealers and police) frequently behave badly because they can’t imagine anything better, not because they have a strong desire to behave badly.

#91 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:59 PM:

albatross is correct. It's not good for me to indulge in that kind of anger. In many ways, being devastatingly cutting when I go about it is even worse, because being good at something brings a pleasure that causes one to want to do more of it.

Having said that, my guide for this sort of thing is very, very simple. Indeed, it's much the same as my guide for making any substantive contribution to a conversation, albeit lacking one element:

Be clear, specific, and, if factual, correct. Adopt a consistent tone throughout the entire comment, whether or not it's your standard posting tone. (My pissed-off tone is generally crisper than my usual.) Address what your interlocutor actually said rather than a straw version of it, however much it would be easier to deal with the straw. Be clever and memorable if the Muse is amenable, but if she is not, at least avoid being foolish and clichéd.

The only thing that's missing is the secret to contributing well to a conversation, which is a much more healthy thing to spend one's time doing. It's a twofold mystery, this:

1. Love the people you are talking to.
This is my particular phrasing, and I know it's too oogly for a lot of people. Find another one, then, for the process of finding something about them that you admire, like, or care about, some way that you can enter into their experience of being the hero of their life's narrative.

2. Show it.
Again, this doesn't mean to be all gushy or complimentary, unless that's the established nature of the relationship. So I'll tell Xopher that I love him, but not albatross, because that's just not the way we work. But I trust that my sincere admiration of each of them, and my delight that they're in the conversation, shows in the things I say to them anyway.

#92 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 03:17 PM:

abi @90: In Hakomi there's a concept of loving kindness -- which is paying attention to what, in the person you're interacting with, nourishes you. I find the phrase a bit oogly myself, but the practice is a very useful one for getting to contributing well.

#93 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 03:40 PM:

I like your phrasing but I can see how people who aren't used to that use of the word 'love' would find it disconcerting. How about "engage with their positive traits"?

#94 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 03:43 PM:

"value"?

#95 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 04:57 PM:

"respect," maybe. Not in the sense of bowing before authority, but in the sense of assuming good faith.

#96 ::: Manny ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 05:12 PM:

albatross #86: The official page lets you vote for the most grotesque "Mugshot of the Day"!

http://www.mcso.org/Mugshot/

#97 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Ihr habt gehört, daß gesagt ist: "Du sollst deinen Nächsten lieben und deinen Feind hassen."

Ich aber sage euch: Liebet eure Feinde;


Thank you, abi, and especially for this: "It's not good for me to indulge in that kind of anger. In many ways, being devastatingly cutting when I go about it is even worse, because being good at something brings a pleasure that causes one to want to do more of it."

#98 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @87: if abi gave in to her baser (in her opinion, not mine) nature and proceeded to shred this insect.

"Ladies and gentlmen, set basers to 'rend'."

#99 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:39 AM:

@90-96: So how many places are there on the Internet where a drive-by provokes a serious cataloging of ways to treat people well?

I so heart ML.

#100 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 05:29 PM:

If this were a recipe thread, we could set basters to chasseur.

#101 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:23 PM:

I'd been thinking more of setting basters on "turkey", though some of the sewing people may have had ideas about needles.

#102 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:31 PM:

@100

Now now, there'll be no needling on this thread.

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