We are our own worst enemies when it comes to matters of unfortunate circumstances. "It sounded good at the time." I'm sure that is what the cops who were fired over taking selfies on a suspect's phone thought. I'm sure that is what the cops making funny vines thought before they got suspended. I can't put Captain Clay Higgins in the same boat because his ship is a different beast and I believe he will rise above this and be greater than who he was.
Before you do something as a cop, you have to think about one of these hateful eight things:
1. Is it legal?
2. Can it be duplicated or erased?
3. Is it really as funny as I think it is?
4. Does it pass the dumb ass test?
5. Will it make my supervisor frown?
6. Will it get me fired?
7. Will I go home with pride?
8. Does it reach the reasonable cop standard?
More than likely these safety tests will reveal that you should not go forward with your idea if one question is answered against normal thinking. Sure, people will laugh and you might be the biggest class clown or tout the world's biggest meanie from the highest trees, but what did that accomplish?
Social media and the Internet gives everyone balls including myself. Perhaps half of what we write or comment on we would never say to a person's face. I don't know. I think the chances of that fact being true is high.
Take for instance, the latest termination of a cop who posted derogatory comments on Facebook about a Black Lives Matter activist taking his own life. Was it worth it? Even the blue line comments on social media threads are not favorable toward the cop's side and voiced he went too far. If you make the national news with negative coverage, your career is surely doomed. No department is going to save you from the masses of shame because it puts a bad light on their agency.
Some of us would call this natural selection in the cases where officers are putting themselves out in a bad light. And cops will eat their own. We really never had to worry about these issues until social media came about. Before that, it was whatever comes out of your mouth, you own. It is similar now to your fingers. I understand why many cops don't have Facebook or tread lightly when they do.
Cops are one of those who do not have the same equal opportunities as John Q citizen. They have to be careful in their choices. Why? They are held to a higher standard, albeit not fair, but it is the way it is. They are expected to display high morals and uphold laws, exhibiting objectiveness. They are also the first to get persecuted by the public and any opportunity to do so will be taken by society. It's nothing new. It's just easier with Internet fingerprints.
What about the police officers who were doing vines and maybe started out with clean funny and got a little inappropriate? Did we enjoy their humor? Sure. But did it put a negative light on the department? Possibly. In order to squelch the publicity from getting worse, their respective departments took action. Social media policies have been issued across the nation in most departments. Some are strict and some are lenient. I suppose it always takes one to test the policy's threshold.
So what kind of cops are these who make vile comments about a death? What about the ones who were just trying to be funny? I can't judge their production, but I would lose respect for those who disgrace a death of a simple man on a social media page (unless it was a terrorist) and probably giggle at the vines of the two who got suspended.
The changing ways of society are becoming quite alarming when we aren't allowed to disagree nor have an opinion without consequences. I don't think we all need to sing Kumbayah, nor do I like the word tolerance, but I think we all need to lighten up a little. There is the old saying to "turn the other cheek" or just walk away. Not every action deserves an equal or greater reaction. I also think we need to find our respect for each other even just as human beings. You can still be a tough cop and not wear your asshole on your head.