Jay Orff
Law Enforcement
New Poems From the USA
 
 

It's important to know that local police, although often very attentive,
most likely do not share your philosophy of justice. They may at first
appear to understand the nature of your complaint, that someone has stolen
your camera or your wallet is missing, but soon it will become clear that
somehow they have misunderstood, or partially understood, or rearranged your
complaint into something else, that the man on that bike has threatened to
cut out your liver and sell it to a restaurant that offers such things on a
menu from a secret back dining room. The language barrier explains some of
the confusion, but there is a larger difference at work as well. You can
try and explain again and again if you like, but it will only make the
officer hit the prisoner harder with his rubber hose, particularly if you
are telling the officer that he misunderstands, that you're not sure this is
the person, or perhaps you simply misplaced your camera, that in fact no
crime has been committed. Any such prodding or empathetic pleading will
only bring a more furious beating. The prisoner won't fight back, which
will irritate you all the more, since it is quite possible he is wrongly
accused and should be proclaiming his innocence. If it's any consolation,
tomorrow their positions will be reversed, the prisoner will be the guard
and the guard will be the one being beaten as an example of swift local
justice.