CHANGING THE POLITICAL, PUBLIC VERNACULAR

Stupid Is as Stupid Does


By Harry M. Covert

 There was a time believe it or not when the political correctness fad didn’t exist. People of all ages didn’t run around being offended by this and that and elected officials were never called stupid, even though it was often talked about in closed door meetings.

Badge          In the journalistic battleground reporters always knew off-the-wall combatants and refrained from printing stories without attribution.

          Once in my early days on the police beat looking for a weekend feature I thought it’d be fun to entertain readers with a story on citizen arrests. A police chief almost had a stroke at the suggestion, “please don’t do that. Every nut in the city will be banging on my door.”

          I took the late Chief L. H Nicholson’s plea to heart. To this day 43 years later I am a proud holder of an official “police reporter” badge with city and state seal.

          Then I visited the city jail looking for a story that would tickle readers. The sheriff, then called City Sergeant, was always a pleasant news source and welcomed certain members of the Fourth Estate for Wednesday lunches. Inmate cooks were fantastic, home cooking of all sorts, fresh rolls; warm memories.

          The three top deputies were named Hunt, Ketcham and Law, no kidding. 

Finding the Good Stories 

          On the hunt for another screed, I suggested a story on “jail house” religious conversions. A. A. Anderson, the good Methodist city sergeant thought I’d lost my youthful mind. Hearing the story request a visiting chaplain gave me a lecture on the ill effects of such a story. The sheriff pointed out church services and bible studies kept inmate conduct on an even keel, prevented lots of fighting and all sorts of other nefarious misconduct.

          At this point we well know it’s too bad youth is wasted on the young.

          Reporters enjoy going on raids of all sorts with law enforcement. Usually grand stories result, especially when the big-time gamblers, bootleggers and, today of course, successful drug raids.

          Let’s get back to the word “stupid” which is gaining popularity on the national scale. Broadcast journalists love the clips when big name candidates spout off. The modern reporters truly don’t know how to handle such comments. In public, lots of people act offended but in reality agree and pollsters don’t know how to handle it. Who said “stupid is as stupid does?” 

You’re Kidding, A Pistol-Whipped Detective? 

          It was astonishing to see reports of the Birmingham police detective who was pistol-whipped and seriously hurt by a felon truck driver. Well now, that certainly sent alarms throughout law enforcement. No talks of stupid but they are thinking it’s stupid and dangerous.

          Today all the talking heads sort of ignore the incident. It’s a good thing such conduct didn’t happen some years ago. The attacker would have been on the ground, bleeding and probably out cold. This is not being insensitive. I don’t think deputies and police officers will be afraid of doing their jobs any more.

          It is nice to have National Nights Out, visiting communities and seeing deputies and police delivering school supplies for the less fortunate. The latter is out of the goodness of the hearts of the uniformed. Not part of official police duty. 

Cops as Social Workers 

          The obligation of sworn officers is to keep the peace and not running around as social workers.

          It’s time to stop all of the foo-foo. Yes local and state agencies on all levels must get back to policing properly. It’s also time for citizens, no matter what strata, to get back to following the laws.

          Unruly citizens who like to sneak up and snatch pocketbooks, kidnap and grab ATM users, must learn some manners – and get to reality – quickly to put it mildly.

          Political leaders who want to water down the work of law enforcement need to visit local jails and state and federal prisons. All of the do-gooders who think all of the inmates are misunderstood and nice need a lesson in uncontrolled human nature.

          And, the institutions are not “Corrections” facilities or hotels either. How often are prisons described as “country club?” Sounds agreeable but check it out with current and former inmates.

          Why are so many, who describe themselves as progressives, willing to chance a lack of peace and tranquility?

          Helping unfortunates at home and around the world is important for givers and receivers. Every now and then a smack in the nose and telling the facts is more than appropriate. Robbing and looting and shootings and murders must not be the politically correct things of the day; nor ignored.

          Following a bootlegging raid police seized several cases of unlicensed white lightning. I reported the “police, under Captain J. Rideout Lewis’ command, were working on the case.”

          A week later on a major thoroughfare a state trooper pulled over this driver. He smiled at the police reporter badge and did his duty, issued a speeding ticket. My traveling companion that day was the off-duty Chief of Detectives, the above mentioned Captain Lewis. He grinned and kept quiet. I paid the fine.

          I was not offended. The trooper was not stupid.◄◄◄◄◄

 



This column has appeared in The Tentacle.