Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kung fu Birthday (On Being A Cop's Kid)

Why wouldn't a cop kid birthday party involve a pinata, a police baton, a kid delivering strikes to the fallen candy vessel and cop parents yelling "Stop resisting, stop resisting!"

Okay, I'm going to profess, admit and otherwise accept that police officers find humor in things others do not. The above scene - a real situation - probably caused at least a few readers to recoil in horror. "What are they teaching those poor children?"


Cop kids are different. Mom (or Dad, or both) work crazy hours, wear uniforms and generally view the whole world through wary eyes. The child of a police officer has seen their parent(s) stiffen at the sight of something too subtle for most citizens to notice. Dad (or Mom, or both) stand a certain way, choose a certain booth at a restaurant and watch, watch watch. At birthday parties they find each other through pure body language, congregate somewhere private and start talking. And laughing. There is always laughing.

Law enforcement on the ground is about the stories, and the gruesome humor involved. A local psychologist whose practice includes treating officer trauma, tells this story:

Officers responded to a traffic accident that involved a horrible injury - one of the driver's eyes has popped out. In spite of (or, perhaps, because of it) he fights with the officers. One of them turns the eyeball toward the guy and says "Look at yourself. Stop resisting."

That's not the funny part. As the laughter in the room full of cops died down he said "I told that to a group of psychologists and they didn't think it was funny. They stared at me, speechless."

My daughter related the pinata story and we both laughed ourselves sick. She was introduced to several off-duty officers (one of whom is called "Potato" because that's what his name sounds like on the police radio). They acknowledged her guardedly until they were told her father and brother are both cops. Only a cop kid would note the change in body language. "Oh," the officers behavior as much as said. "You're okay. I can let down my guard around you."

So... Stop resisting? We are all taught to keep up that patter when a person is violent with us. Hit them a couple of times, put on a twist lock - if the person gives up then the fight is over. Until that moment, keep telling them what you want them to do. "Stop resisting!" Years ago, a friend confronted a suicidal man with a knife. He'd carved himself up pretty thoroughly, and was threatening anyone who approached. So, she dropped him with the taser. As he convulsed on the ground, "locked up" as the saying goes, she yelled "Stop resisting!" 

You don't think any of this is funny?

Over this weekend at least four American police officers have been shot. Two have died. Even in the face of it, cop's kids say good bye to Mom (or Dad, or both) as they leave the house to get once more back into the fray. They, of all people, understand why. Cops (and their families) are special people who do the necessary work of protecting honest citizens from the predators who would victimize them. And, along the way, find a little bit of humor where they can.

Still not amused? Stop resisting. It''l come. 

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