Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cops at Bars

Those of you who know me (which is, you know, both of you), know that I spent my 20s as bartender. I worked the day shift and was often the only staff member there. My only security were my afternoon regulars: a cabal of flabby, middle-aged functionally alcoholic government employees. I'll wait a minute while you do the calculus necessary to figure out that level of uselessness.

Sigh. That was mean. But I'm short one gallbladder and, as such, have fewer places to store bile. I'm letting it out.

Given my history, you can imagine that this might upset me a bit.

I know that cops do dangerous, unheralded work for not much money and even less thanks. And we owe a debt of gratitude to people who do this work. I get that. I really do.

That said, there's nothing scarier than having that cop who loves being the biggest and the baddest getting hammered at your bar. When that cop gets drunk, he is the scariest motherfucker in town. He's not scary because he's bigger and stronger than you. He's scary because no matter how wasted he is, he's got the power and he's got the control. And he's wasted.

There's an article up at the Chicago Reader about how the kind of probation Abbate got is not unusual for aggravated battery. We all have the capacity to lose ourselves, right? We all have the capacity to let that ugly something inside us rear up and strike out.

The problem is, when a person with a lot of power lets it out, the consequences are a lot more serious. That judge failed.