Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sometimes Cops Are Just Darwin's Messengers

I've been asked on Twitter to tell this story, but it's far too long a story for Twitter.

Years ago, when I was single and underemployed and living in my mother's mobile home in south Sacramento, the neighborhood surrounding the MH park was on a long downhill trajectory and, as a result, so was the park itself.

This place was not a stereotypical white-trash, tornado-magnet "trailer park" -- at least, as intended when designed and opened in perhaps the 1970s. It was supposed to be a safe, quiet country community for retirees and decent working-class people whose only shot at home ownership in those days might be one with axles under the floor. Residents might have a house note far briefer than the typical 30-year mortgage, plus a monthly rent bill and utilities. The park had its own well and water system so that was included in the rent.

Park management had a pretty high rate of turnover and some managers were more conscientious than others. No sooner did one with good ideas for cultivating a sense of community get burned out and leave than her successor started letting in all manner of riff-raff including people who got busted for drug-dealing and prostitution.

The incident I'm going to relate, though, involved the son or nephew of someone who had already lived there when Mom moved in and a family that had moved in after, but some years before things really went bad. At some point the former son or nephew, with some friends, got into a feud with the eldest son of the latter family, and one night a brawl broke out that resulted in several sheriff's cars and a sheriff's helicopter responding to restore peace.

Later as I was talking to members of the latter family someone threw a juice bottle full of -- it turned out -- water against their house. The eldest son, Jason, got a baseball bat and I got a smaller, lighter club of my own making and we walked over to the other side's house to see if there was anyone around to ... ask about the juice bottle.

We stood outside the darkened mobile home and spoke amongst ourselves loudly enough to be heard if anyone was hiding inside or nearby, to remind them that they didn't have as many friends there as Jason's family had.

Soon a sheriff's car came around the corner in our direction, headlights off. I called to Jason and we walked toward the car -- with our respective clubs in our hands.

The car braked and the driver threw open his door and crouched behind it with his gun pointed at us, ordering us to drop our weapons, which of course we promptly did. We got patted down, and before this deputy was finished with us another arrived and said we weren't the ones they'd been called in about. Deputy Gun agreed, but finished the procedure and put our clubs in the trunk of his car before letting us walk back to Jason's house with the other deputy.

After some conversation with Jason's parents about what had happened and what Jason and I had been up to, Deputy Gun gave us back our items, and advised me that mine especially, being smaller and lighter, would be most effective against an enemy's knees.

Later when we told the story to some of our other neighbors, one of them -- a redneck from somewhere in Texas that probably went on to favor Trump over Ted Cruz in that state's 2016 GOP primary -- bluntly informed us that if he'd been with us he would have told the deputy to go stuff himself, and maybe even taken his gun away from him.

It might have been doing the gene pool a favor if he'd tried.

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