It’s just a gun. And some boobs.
Okay, it’s an assault rifle. And the magazine’s in it so it might be loaded.
And the boobs? Yeah, they belong to a civilian.
Ah, I love it when my little ol’ hometown, Midland, Texas, makes the news. This time it’s because five Midland County Sheriff’s Deputies got stupid over tits and guns.
The five deputies were attending advanced training Austin and afterward, when they were off-duty, they went for dinner. They went in Midland County Sheriff’s Office cruisers because that’s what they’d driven to Austin (usual policy is take an agency squad if you’re going for agency training). Okay, so far, so good.
Here’s where it gets stupid. (And the best quote in this whole mess came from Sheriff Gary Painter himself, “But in this particular instance, people got stupid real quick … It went from not very smart to very stupid in about 30 seconds.”)
These guys, all in their 30s and one in his 40s (in other words, not 22-year old cops…these guys should have known better), go to dinner at a place called Twin Peaks, which is Hooters-esque. Lots of boobs and buns and shapely young girls. There might be a menu but really, when surrounded by that kind of grade A Top Notch American Silicon, who cares.
These guys knew they were going to get stupid, at least according to what they told the responding Round Rock officers, because they decided two of them would be the designated drivers.
Feel that? That’s pre-planned stupidity beginning to fill the air.
The deputies got to talking with Miss Perky and decided amongst themselves, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have this nubile young thing sit on the back of our county-issued squad cars and hold our county-issued semi-automatic assault rifle?”
“Oh, and hey, let’s take the picture with our county-issued digital camera.”
Wow, the stupidity filling the air is as thick as humidity in New Orleans.
I’ve been to agency training in an agency car. You have to eat. That in and of itself isn’t the problem, though a better choice for eatery might have been someplace whose motto wasn’t ‘Twice the fun.’ One fun for each peak, I guess. I do have a problem with them drinking because while they weren’t in uniform, they were in marked squad cars.
What kind of picture does that take for a civilian? They see an officer, off-duty or not, in a tax-payer funded car and drinking. A majority of people who see that will automatically assume the officer is going to drive drunk. It’d be nice if they’d assume the best, but they won’t because chances are that at some point in their life, they’ve gotten a ticket for something they didn’t think they did. They will assume the worst.
But the larger problem is the gun. Yeah, I know it’s Texas and things are different in Texas and that is, believe it or not, part of what draws me spiritually back to my homeland in spite of the fact that I’m waaaaaaayyyyyy tooooooo liberal to be allowed back inside her borders.
Guns are a part of life and that’s fine. But for an officer who was admittedly buzzed (3 – 5 beers each, the Midland County boys told the Round Rock boys) to willingly hand over his weapon is a nightmare. First of all, we’re trained to…uh…NOT give over our weapon. That weapon stays in our control at all times. If we’ve lost control of it, then there are larger problems on the horizon, Indy.
Let’s look at this through an absurdist lens for just a second. Let’s say this waitress has mental issues. Let’s say she’s bi-polar and hasn’t been taking her meds. What if, at that moment, she becomes a problem? Don’t tell me it couldn’t happen, I’ve dealt with people who’ve become a problem in less time than it takes to sneeze. Or let’s say her crazy ex-boyfriend, the one she just got a restraining order against, suddenly shows up at her workplace, bent on beating her ass (Trey, come on, that never happens…ex-boyfriends never show up at work to hurt people…never never never). Does she decide to spray his ass with bullets now that she’s armed? Or maybe she accidently gets her finger in the trigger guard and spews out two or three three-round bursts before she can get disentangled.
Or maybe none of that happens. Maybe what happens is someone sees a girl wearing almost no clothes toting around an assault rifle in a parking lot and gets scared. It could happen. They would have no idea what was going on. They’d think, “Hey, we’ve been told to watch for anything out of the ordinary ‘cause there are terrorists hell-bent on destroying us so maybe this is something…after all, those damned towel-heads are using female suicide bombers anymore…course those women have on a bit more clothing…but still.”
It could happen that way. In fact, it did happen that way. The caller was an off-duty officer who wasn’t sure why a woman was wandering around a parking lot with an assault rifle.
Cops need to be held to a higher standard. For me, that includes not getting drunk and handing my assault rifle to whatever hot badge bunny comes around shoving her tits in my face (and no, I’m not saying it was her fault…the fault lies entirely with the officers).
Cops should be held to a higher behavioral standard simply because of our job. We hold ourselves out as the wall against chaos and ask people to respect us when we tell them what to do. To have any sort of moral authority to do that, we need to act responsibly. That doesn’t mean officers can’t have fun and cut loose, but why do it while at training classes? Why do it with a marked squad car? Why do it with a county-issued firearm?
But here’s the largest reason of all, and one I constantly tell other officers: hold me to a higher standard because, after all, society has given me legal authority to kill people.
Not only have you given me the authority to kill people, you expect me to in certain situations.
So by all means, let’s get drunk in public, while driving our squad cars, and hand the tools of our trade to a young girl.
The officer who handed her the gun got fired. Three others who went outside got a three-day vacation. The one who was smart enough to stay inside and munch on his extra-hot wings got a letter of reprimand. I don’t always agree with Sheriff Gary Painter (and I’m really not certain anyone should be sheriff of anywhere for 24 years and counting), but in this case, I think he did absolutely the right thing.