“Why the ‘Cops’ TV program is so popular”

A few days ago, a sheriff’s deputy came to my house here in Pittsburgh with an arrest warrant.

I thought maybe a neighbor had complained about my dogs barking!

I went outside to meet him.  He asked if a woman by the name of…lived here.  I said, “No — she must have been a previous tenant.  Some of her mail still arrives here.”

It seemed she had skipped out on a court hearing.  My across-the-street neighbor who mows my grass and trims the hedges told me when I first moved in that the tenant had stiffed him out of payment for his last work for her.  She also didn’t pay the last cable-TV bill (which is why when I myself wanted a hook-up, I had to go to a different company.  Comcast would not set up a connection at a residence where money was still owed).

So apparently this woman skipped out on debtors and who knows what other trouble.

I was thinking of this woman getting away when I saw the dashcam video tonight of the man in South Carolina who fled from his vehicle after being pulled over for a faulty tail light.  He would be gunned down in the next few minutes.

It all makes clear why a TV program like Cops is so popular.  Nobody gets away!

Suspects are pursued, they are caught, they are stowed in the back seat of a patrol cruiser.  It all happens in minutes.

Quick and tidy.

In much police work, however, a suspect does get away. When one slips away, I wonder how much the emotional trigger of an officer feeling incensed contributes to the reason he fingers the metal trigger of his revolver.

We Americans are notoriously impatient.  We want everything now  — including that which aside from TV programs rarely is wrapped up within the hour:  justice!  The school bully, the debt dodger, the ticket scammer outside of the football stadium…Rarely is somebody caught and made to face justice quickly.  But these are not capital crimes.  None warrant the death penalty.

In cases like a traffic pull-over, how does an unarmed person wind up getting the ultimate?

Why does the person have to be pursued as if Jack the Ripper?  What’s the rush?  Why not wait for  back-up?

It would not be difficult to locate the fleeing suspect.  If you’ve got his car or his driver’s license, you’ve got access to his home address and other personal information.

Why need he be collared right now?

Antagonism over race is the factor that everybody seems to be focusing on.  But I also wonder if there must be an emotional setback for an officer when somebody flees —  a bitterness that an incident in real life didn’t get resolved so quickly and tidily as on TV.


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