Category: Law Enforcement

Weekend Links

It’s amazing how much better I have felt this week after the US inauguration. I didn’t realize until it was over how frightened I was for something ugly and dramatic to happen and disrupt or derail the day.

Now, the background buzzing dread of a pandemic badly handled in both my native and adopted countries, heightened political tensions, and general instability is still humming away. Don’t get me wrong, things are still bad, but I am enjoying the sensation that the institutions that govern a large portion of my and my loved ones lives aren’t actively making things worse on purpose.

In other words, I’m excited to return to a world of unintentional mistakes instead of willful ignorance or malicious intent. Humble goals, fam.

This week I’ve found plenty of fun things to read, but I’m clearly still concerned about the next phases of extremism and alternative realities which have taken over too many people’s lives. It’s a mistake to think that these worldviews or behaviors are going away.

Well, yo ho ho.

This article is a profile of a single person, but is an excellent perspective into the wider movement. “For her, QAnon was always less about Q and more about the crowdsourced search for truth. She loves assembling her own reality in real time, patching together shards of information and connecting them to the core narrative.”

I’ve shared this before but it’s worth reupping right now. Particularly the aspect of “forcing the end” in extremist movements, and in the wake of the Capitol storming. Yes, it’s the length of a film. Get some popcorn and watch it anyway.

So, what is going on with QAnon you ask? Well, predictably, some people are going through a faith and grief crisis…and already others are doubling down again. And they are already being targeted by other extremists groups for recruitment. Again.

A really interesting interview on why too many people (guilty!) are looking to European fascism in the 20th century to explain radicalism in the US and we need to look closer to home in our own Civil War and Reconstruction.

How to create a healthier media environment for yourself in 2021.

Honestly, just grim. Necessary (for both military and law enforcement more generally), but grim:

Oh look, that thing I’ve been worrying about for a long time now and fully anticipate we’ll have to deal with next.

WE’VE BEEN SCAMMED INTO BELIEVING Q!!!” a Telegram user declared. “WHAT NOW?!?!?! Indeed, random QAnon Avatar.

Palate cleanser of pure delight.

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more VP coverage in general, as (not entirely unlike the role of First Lady), it’s a job that seems to get a lot of ceremonial attention but less practical. And in the last administration the coverage was frankly tabloidesque – understandably. That being said, I ate up this insight into the temporary VP residence with a spoon. I need that 18th century teal wallpaper.

And in a typical display of howling hypocrisy from me, loved this insight into inaugural fashion for Dr. Biden.

I’m still awash in delight at the Moment that Bridgerton has produced in the cultural zeitgeist. More fantasy! More women’s POV! More sex positivity! More over the top fluff just because it feels good and is fun to enjoy! At some point I’m going to have to do a full post on it. In the meantime, if over embellished tops and embroidery on the Zoom calls, tea sets, and thirsting over male forearms is the new normal, I’ll take it.

POW. Right in the feels

Weekend Links

How do we reattach people to reality and facts? This is the big philosophical thinking I’ve been debating in my own brain this past week and have no earthly idea what the answer is. Whether the need to behave in specific ways and take certain actions to control the spread of the pandemic, or the political unrest founded on outright conspiracy theories…how do you reach a consensus on truth when it’s the very thing that’s being “debated?” My brain hurts.

As you may have surmised, this week’s batch of links is a mix of grim current affairs and abject silliness wherever I found it. It will not solve any of your philosophical conundrums, but it will clear your skin and help you lose five pounds.

Who knows, it might. Truth is relative, after all.


Yes, let’s talk about police response to broadly leftist and rightist protest activity in the US:

“Their hearts, minds and wallets were taken advantage of,” Ms. Mace said, her voice rising in fury. “Millions of people across the country who were lied to. These individuals, these hardworking Americans truly believe that the Congress can overturn the Electoral College.”

Take a moment to educate yourself about the memes and iconography that identify specific ideologies and groups.

Patriarchy is a big part of the problem, but it requires women’s involvement to work. See also, Trumpism.

He resigned before making these statements. (And reminder, they are not actually pro-police so much as they think the police are “against” they same groups they are, and the moment this is questioned, they turn. If you’re not with them, you’re against them. Because they’re fascists. Obligatory trigger warning.)

Oh, and theocratic nationalists…those too. Ultimately, the point it to have enough power to exert your power, regardless of being a minority, because you feel you are morally right to do so and that there is a genuinely a risk to society if you aren’t able to enact your agenda.

Brief palate cleanser time, let’s learn about peanut butter!

Meanwhile, in Britain, an optimistic timeline means Jeff and I will be vaccinated by…September. Woof.

National mythology is powerful and the stories we tell ourselves ABOUT ourselves are important. We need to rethink the framing of those stories. Desperately.

Damn, I might have to use Signal instead. And still I somehow justify using Instagram. I am hypocritical trash…

Shock. Surprise. Whomst could have guessed, etc. etc.


Something something, “a few bad apples,” something.

Jesus. The long term effects of COVID on mental health are just starting to be understood but I feel that the final toll is going to be grim.

Influencers will be the end of us.

So…this is just going to get worse, huh?

If you have been feeling physically done in recently, you are not alone; and yes, Ms Rona is doing this to us.

Weekend Links

Guys, I just

I mean…

The thing is…

I can’t. Have some links. Let’s catch up in the comments.

See, the American right needs its viewers and product consumers absolutely livid with rage and grievance…but not enough to actual riot over it. That’s a tricky balance, and I’m not surprised they lost control over it. That’s always the end result of rabble-rousing. I wrote about this back in 2016 and the last four years have only reinforced my thinking on the matter.

Hells yeah, and I’m one of ’em. Shout out to my doctor who explicitly said she didn’t want to take me off my meds in winter in a normal year and she definitely wasn’t going to do it in 2020. Bless her.

A story about emeralds, the best gem:

Indeed, there are things from 2020 we need to retain, and righteous anger is one of them. And activism, which is not at all what the storming of the Capitol was.

This story is bizarrely engrossing.

America under Trump became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader. It also became more delusional.” Yeah…but he owned the libs, so…

I know we shouldn’t be surprised by anything this may does anymore, but still – HOLY SHIT.

A grim assessment.

Locking the barn doors after the horses have stormed the Capitol….

Who cleans up after the coup?

When you feel betrayed by your messiah figure, what happens to belief? Well, you despair, you hold out hope, or you wait for a sign. MAGAland is bang on target. But I feel obliged to repeat, this is also bang on target for fascist movements which will stay enraged and look to the next guy to lead them to victory. Apart from his personal failings, which are legion, the long term risk of Trump was that he would pave the way for someone much better at the authoritarian dictator gig than he was.

Starting to think misinformation is bad and dangerous, fam…

Understanding the new mutations of the coronavirus.

Weekend Links – Juneteenth

It took me into my 20s to learn what Juneteenth was. It needs to be an American holiday – along with election day, December 6th (13th Amendment), July 2nd (Civil Right Act of 1968) and August 18th (which I humbly suggest should be Suffragette Day). Every time the vote – and therefore the privileges of democracy and citizenship – were expanded deserves commemoration, as do the days associated with the end of slavery. It’s our Original Sin as a nation.

Good. Document the hell out of this moment.

Whiteness can’t save us.”

Protests work.

Less than two weeks.

Stay in the streets.

Finally some good news!

Less good news!

The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation is legally over, but it never ended. The police are, in some respects, a border patrol, and they patrol the border between the two Americas.”

I am going to re-up this as often as needed: Antifa is not a group, an organization, or a confederacy (pun VERY much intended). It’s at best a very loose philosophy. More importantly, it’s a right-wing propaganda point and often outright conspiracy theory to create a sense of false equivalence which is not born out by the facts. The extremist violence we are seeing is almost exclusively coming from far right groups – whether throwing up Nazi salutes in London to – checks notes – defend Churchill, or using the cover of protests in the States to carry out violence aimed to incite an actual race/civil war. False equivalence and whataboutism are dangerous. If you feel able, challenge it when you see or hear it.

Gonna go out on a limb and say stuff like this doesn’t make it easy for various communities to trust cops. Also a good media and propaganda lesson for everyone about how bad information spreads – bad actors and genuine sympathizers.

Also, at least six black men and boys have been found hanging from trees in the last two weeks. Transparent investigations NOW, with oversight, because the so-called best case scenario is a rash of suicides (horrifying) and the worst is a rash of hate crimes that call back to the worst days of black oppression. And either way, a lot of law enforcement are hella untrustworthy.

Here, a palate cleanser for us after a dose of heavy links!

Also a story for Pride Month.

We need less indigenous “inspired” creative work, and more spotlighting and space for actual indigenous creative work from the artists themselves.

The intersecting worlds of publication, beauty, and fashion have a lot of work to do. Caroline Hirons delves.

Trump never wanted the job in the first place. The real question is, how does a clinical narcissist who refused to acknowledge any kind of wrongdoing, loss, or error either 1) decide not to run, which damages his ego, 2) or risk losing, which damages his ego?

The internet is fantastic.

London Snapshot

“In this world . . .

It’s Heaven when:
The French are chefs
The British are police
The Germans are engineers
The Swiss are bankers
And the Italians are lovers

It’s Hell when:
The English are chefs
The Germans are police
The French are engineers
The Swiss are lovers
And the Italians are bankers.”
― Hidekaz Himaruya

I worked for five years at a police department on a university campus somewhat renowned for the ugliness of most of its architecture. Alternatively, here is the police office of Hyde Park. Brace yourself, Brandie and Sav. You might cry. I nearly did.

 photo Saturday4_zps8678f1d3.jpg

Law Enforcement Warps Your Brain

“I’ve never had a problem with drugs.  I’ve had problems with the police.”
~Keith Richards

Stand down, darling, the kitchen is safe!
Stand down, darling, the kitchen is safe!

Things have gotten uncharacteristically serious lately here at Small Dog Snappy Comebacks and Humorous Life Stories Inc.!  Regular programing will resume immediately.

I came into work this morning to find a fine white powder covering my desk.  Honest to goodness my first thought was, “Great.  I don’t know how to clean up cocaine.  Who spilled this?”  Luckily it turns out repairmen were just crawling around our ceiling space last night and knocking dust loose.

Still a mess, though.

image via

The Telephone Game (or, The Roof The Roof The Roof is on Fire!)

“Fire is the most tolerable third party. ”
~Henry David Thoreau


Yesterday a small museum on campus currently being renovated defied the odds and physics when a supposedly inflammable material caught fire.  No one was hurt and the area in question was basically a construction site so no collections were even in the area to be damaged.  All in all, a hugely surprising but manageable emergency.  What followed, based on communication from concerned citizens:

“The museum is on fire!”
“Thank you, we’ve got first responders on the way.”

“Did you guys know the museum is on fire?!”
“Yes, we’re responding now.”

“My daughter just called me and told me the university was on fire!”
“No, sir, just one building and it’s been contained.”

“OMG I just saw on Twitter that the university has burned down, are classes cancelled?!”
“You’ll need to talk to your professors but I’m going to go out on a limb and say not a chance.”

In Which It’s Late at Night and C. Gets Serious

“Why are sex and violence always linked?  I’m afraid they’ll blur together in people’s minds – sexandviolence – until we can’t tell them apart.  I expect to hear a newscaster say, “The mob became unruly and the police were forced to resort to sex.”
~Dick Cavett

Sexual-assault-is-everyones-problem-442x416Today a man came into the office and told me that he and his wife got into an disagreement about rape in our university town, because she wanted him to escort her even extremely short distances when it was dark, and he saw no need because we live in a “good” place where bad things “don’t happen.”  Couldn’t I back him up since he was clearly right?  I told him in no uncertain terms that he was wrong, that rape and other forms of sexual crime happen in our town just as much as anywhere else.  He tried to argue with me!  I refrained from what I wanted to say, which was, “Of the two of us, only one works in a police department and deals with this regularly.  It isn’t you.”  Instead I gave him facts, statistics, personal anecdotes (cheered on, as it happens by a – male – student waiting behind him with silent grins and thumbs up, which were very much appreciated), most of which he tried to counter.  But what finally seemed to make an impact was when I told him the estimated statistics for sexual crime versus the (much lower) actual reported ones – and told him bluntly that seen through a pair of female eyes, those numbers meant the world was a hostile and frightening place where the chances of us becoming a victim of sexual crime (from mild harassment – still criminal – up through rape) were higher than than our chances of not.  His tone changed after that.

Here’s the truth.

The statistics on sexual crime are appalling, and the majority of  that crime is directed at females.*  From our perspective (when we admit it ourselves or anyone else), the world is a sexually threatening place for us and the possibility of it intruding is very real.

As a kid several of my favorite playmates were boys, and the trend continued into university.  With the exception of The Girls, I’ve mostly hung around with guys – many of them dear friends to this day.  But I remember the specific day that boys took on a more threatening aspect for me.  My first year of high school I was accepted to a magnet school for writing that required being bussed to the next county to attend the class every day.  I was the only girl chosen for that class that year and that meant I spent a couple hours on a bus everyday with at least three boys from my school and a few boys from another school.  There were older girls but they often drove themselves to the program rather than taking the bus.

These boys were the normal sort of teenage males, a bit loutish and inclined to show off for one another, but not malicious I didn’t think.  There were tons of discussions between them that made me uncomfortable (being a nice, boring, bookish sort who mostly read on the bus ride), but nothing negative was directed towards me until I started standing up for myself against mild picking on.  When I voiced opinions counter to the boys, when I told them I didn’t like the conversation topics, when I spoke up.  I don’t remember what the conversation was about but one day (when I was the lone girl on the bus) I said something contrary to the general opinion.  The next thing I knew one of the boys loomed over me and told me to, “shut your mouth and spread your legs.”  I don’t even remember how I reacted (except for the fact that I marched into the classroom when the bus pulled in and told the teacher straight away), but I remember the realization that I was much smaller than even the shortest boy there, that there was nowhere for me to run to, and that the bus driver was awfully far away.  I remember realizing that in that moment that these boys, if they wanted to, if they chose to, could hurt me.  I remember realizing that I was suddenly scared of these boys who I sat in classes with every day.

They didn’t hurt me, he pulled away laughing and they got back to their which-sexual-superpower-would-you-prefer meditations.  To some of the boys’ credit they looked deeply uncomfortable about what had just happened, but none of them had stood up against their friend and none of them apologized until a teacher and another school authority made them.

My fear turned to fury at the fact that they had chosen to try and shut me up via sexual intimidation, which is what motivated me to tell my teacher, but I’d by lying if I said I’ve forgotten how scared I was in that moment before anger propelled me into action.  That experience stayed with me, and if I’m honest it has colored every relationship I’ve ever had with any male.  And to reiterate, most of my friends have been male, so clearly permanent damage wasn’t done.  But that was the moment I realized for the first time that beings who I previously saw as playmates were growing up bigger, stronger, and more able to enforce their will that I was.  On me and on my body if they chose.  Believe me, that is a realization that sticks.

I’m not the same girl now.  I’ve grown up.  Since that day I’ve been catcalled, I’ve been grabbed at by strangers, I’ve had dates get unwantedly frisky, but I’ve handled myself just fine with more confidence than I had at 14 and much more sass.  Cultivated, if I’m honest, for the purpose of being able to stand up for myself against people who would always be bigger and stronger than me.  Frankly, these days and after working where I have for four years gleaning the perspective I have, I’m just glad nothing worse happened on that bus – and I know exactly how statistically lucky I am that nothing much worse has happened since.  Although, to be morbidly honest, I’m barely a third of the way through my life – there is plenty of time for sexual crime to happen to me still.

And I think that there are so many men out there – good and decent men who are, I fervently believe, the vast majority of their gender – who don’t realize that most women live with that thought, whether conscious or not, everyday.  They walk into parking lots with keys held out ready to stab, cancel exercise plans when their partner does so they don’t walk alone at night, refuse calls to avoid people who intend them fear or hurt.  And we don’t do any of this for amusement, we do it because we honestly live with the threat of grievous harm – for no other reason than we are female and we either know from personal or trusted anecdotal experience that there are people out there who think their desire trumps our willingness.  That they have a right to do us harm.  Sexual violence against women is pandemic; yes, even in First World countries in “good” places filled with “good” people.

This man at my counter thought expecting an assault walking to the mailbox and back in the dark was silly.  His wife knows that, while on this particular Monday it’s not exactly likely, it’s more than possible.

Sexual Assault Hotline

*Sexual crime against men and boys happens and it’s just as horrific, but I’m speaking as a female here, so bear with me.

Fingerprinting Anthropology

“If you don’t have anything to match it to, you know, they’re just fingerprints.”
– Yvonne Martinez

Because everyone and their cousin have been getting fingerprinted lately, I started taking some unofficial statistics on their answers when inputting their biometric data.  The results have been interesting, you learn a lot about a person.

People who are from a state bordering Mexico and the Gulf, or are south of the Mason-Dixon line are three times more likely (when applicable, of course) to give their race as “White” rather than “Caucasian.”

Men are more than twice as likely than women to give their race (when applicable) as “White” rather than “Caucasian.”

When asked, “What gender do you claim,” there being several legally protected categories, men over 27 are four times more likely to laugh awkwardly or make a derisive sound than younger men before answering, “Male.”  Since I’ve been tracking only one female has expressed surprise at the question.

Asians are three times more likely to answer the question, “What ethnicity do you claim,” with their country of original descent (i.e. Korean, Japanese, Chinese), than those with Latin American ancestry, who are more likely to give their ethnicity as, “Hispanic.”

Individuals under 21 are less likely to have their Social Security number memorized.  International students and visitors under 21 in possession of a SS number are twice as likely than their American counterparts to have them memorized.

Individuals who don’t have their social security memorized are twice as likely to be carrying their SS card on their person.  (Editor’s Law Enforcement Note: Don’t do this!)

Individuals over 25 are more likely to have cash on them when paying for the service.

Individuals getting fingerprinted for Bar exams are most likely to wait until the last day to turn in their applications to get fingerprinted, and thus are more likely to be brusque and hurried through the process.  (Not scientifically verifiable.)

Memory, All Alone In the Moonlight…

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”
~Aldous Huxley

Yesterday was a weird day in the office.  Months will go by without incident and then, suddenly, after a series of unfortunate events, a person runs out the doors screaming and hotly pursued by various officers.  It happens.

After the fireworks show yesterday, everyone who watched it go down was asked to submit a witness statement and as I composed mine, I was a bit disconcerted to realize that piecing together events in their proper order (not an hour after they originally happened) was difficult!  I spent nearly a full minute trying to remember if I called someone on the phone or went back to their office to talk to them in person.  I had a great general view of what had happened and could probably tell several good stories from it, but when it came to putting down just the facts, in strict chronological order, every possible detail that I could remember included – I struggled.

An acquaintance told me a story along the same lines a couple weekends ago, about how one of her cousins bore a hatred for a another cousin from childhood.  Cousin number three flat out refused to have anything to do with cousin number two until confronted about it one day in their late teens or early twenties when an explanation was demanded.  Cousin three said that she hated cousin two because when they were very small, two had locked three in a closet.  After a moment of stunned silence, cousin two exploded, “My sister locked both of us in the closet, you idiot!  I was trapped in there with you!”

A near twenty year hatred based on a false memory.  Three remembered the terror of being locked in the dark, and remembered that two had been there, but time (and possible trauma, I suppose) had warped her from co-victim to perpetrator.

The process of trying to tell a story and struggling so much with it had got me thinking: what exactly is floating around in my head that’s either or gross misrepresentation or a flat out lie?

My family, though close and pretty impressive, have had our share of issues to muddle through, several of which hit their peak during my early childhood.  As a result I carried a lot of bad memories into adolescence (where everything is hormonally magnified anyway), but as an adult and in a healthier place personally, my grip on those bad memories has lessened and my good ones are more evenly mixed in.  I’m not sure if this is the result of reality reasserting itself, or if the hard times don’t define me so much anymore and thus are less critical to my sense of self and so have been shoved onto a back burner somewhere.  Maybe both.

Or maybe I just don’t remember things very well.  I honestly don’t think of my childhood too much, unless someone brings up the topic and even then I find I’m embarrassed at how little I can recall.  I have to concentrate hard to pull up things I haven’t thought of in years, and even favorite memories are surprisingly full of holes.  This bodes not well for my twilight years, darlings…

In any case, I now have a renewed respect for my officer coworkers who have to pour through untold numbers of these usually sloppy, often badly spelled, and (as I can now probably personally vouch) less than reliable witness statements.  People’s memory banks are messy places to work!