This is my current favorite coffee.
I used to not be able to drink coffee because of the horrible things it did to my stomach, but I have a tremendous gastroenterologist who almost makes having Crohn’s worth it. One time when she had her camera down my throat she discovered striations on my esophagus and told me I had to take down the sign in front of my house that claimed “15,500 Days Without Eosinophilic Esophagitis.” She’d discovered why I sometimes had esophageal spasms and would have to either puke in the trash can in my office on particularly stressful days in a shitty job at a fraudulent startup or lie on the floor at home, presenting symptoms of a myocardial infarction while trying to wave my wife off from calling an ambulance without being able to use my words.
My GI (we have that kind of relationship where I feel like I can call her “my GI”) put me on omeprazole and I’ve only had two spasms since. An unexpected boon from adding omeprazole to my daily diet has been the ability to drink coffee like a normal grown-ass man while I think grown-ass man thoughts on a Saturday morning as the world goes to hell.
Thursday on my way home from work, I saw a sheriff’s SUV with its lights on coming up behind me, fast. It passed me and a mile down the road, on the other side of the interstate, a white pickup was pulled over by at least four cop cars.
I didn’t see clearly the driver of the truck. I couldn’t tell you his race, but I’m pretty sure it was a man I saw. The SUV that had passed me was crossing over the median to join the fray, and I counted at least three more vehicles of various law enforcement agencies heading that way and traffic was backed up behind the madness.
What did register to me was how the arriving officers were approaching the white truck. There was urgency and one of them I saw was walking kind of crouched and had his gun drawn.
Of course there was nothing in the paper about it the next day. It seems like an event requiring the attention of L.E.O.s driving no fewer than seven cop cars fast with their lights on, weaving through and endangering the people in other cars, further aggravating rush-hour traffic, bearing firearms and training them on a human being… it seems like if all of this was funded by the public… just seems like there might be a story somewhere.
We can’t count on the police to be accountable to themselves for accountability’s sake. I’ve felt this way – suspicious of police and wary of them in general – for a long time. My own psychological peccadillos (guilty conscience from who-knows-where) is one thing, but just knowing first-hand the kind of people drawn to the profession is another.
Becoming a cop does not require a hell of a lot of school or training. I don’t refute that the job is hard. But I would counter that the job would be a lot easier if they were given more than a gun, a badge, and an inflated sense of bravado. Maybe if there were more emphasis on de-escalation. Maybe if there were more training in triaging situations brought on by mental illness. Maybe if we figured out how to make the job not so appealing to those very people – bullies – for whom the job is a horrible fit.
(Ok, ok, not all cops are bad. But as long as there’s a system that allows the bad cops to not only hide but flourish, I’m not having that discussion.)
So the driver of that pickup. I don’t know anything else about their story. I don’t know what else happened that day. Maybe they did something bad. Maybe they’ll be treated justly. For all of our sakes, I hope so. After all, he is innocent until proven guilty, right?
As we’ve seen more and more with the advent of ubiquitous cameras, “innocent until proven guilty” only applies to those who survive long enough to get their day in court. After that it only applies to those who aren’t bullied into plea deals, talked into “being sensible” and not sitting in jail till an overworked and underpaid public defender gets around to doing the bare minimum to defend them in their “speedy” but maybe not “fair” voyage through the criminal justice system. So maybe they don’t rot in jail, but now they’ve agreed to accept a felony conviction without ever having the opportunity to plead their case. They trade forever having the label “convicted felon” for the ability to get back to taking care of business so their kids can eat and not be evicted and put on the streets or put in a system of foster care that’s a whole other story.
So many stories.