I was reading an article the other day, about a woman who had a seizure while her helper-dog was distracted by a stranger petting him. It occurred to me, reading this, that there were lessons we learned, growing up, that don’t appear to be taught anymore. Everybody my age or older knows not to pet working aid-dogs, but apparently, this lesson isn’t taught by parents anymore.
We were taught the proper protocol for petting any strange dog. First, you ask the master if it’s OK. Then you allow the dog to sniff your backhand, and when his tail wags, it’s safe to pet. Kids come running up on Jack, all the time – and I am in constant fear for the day he takes a chunk out of one.
Another lesson we learned, growing up, was how to deal with cops. I see the cell-phone videos of police shootings or beatings, and although the victim may in fact be in the right, he almost always handles the situation wrong.
Here’s the thing. What cops can legally do, and what they do, are two different things. If you’re in a car – at a traffic stop – follow this protocol.
- Turn off all radios, cell-phones, teevees or other electronic gadgets. Give the cop your full attention. Turn the car off. Also, you need to pull over as quickly as possible, upon him turning on the blues. Cops have told me they actually count the seconds you keep driving with them behind you. Every second counts against you.
- It used to be, have your license and registration ready when he gets to your window. Nowadays, you wait until he comes to the window, and you ask him, “Sir, may I remove my seatbelt to get my license and registration from my wallet?”
- Be respectful. Even if you don’t mean it. At the very minimum, nobody can ruin your day better than a cop. At the worst, you’ll be a YouTube video, and that will be the story of you.
- You have the Constitutional right to shut the fuck up. Use it. (See rule 3). Answer all questions directly and honestly, and if he doesn’t ask you anything – don’t say anything. The fact is, no matter what you’ve been told, from the minute he stops your car – he’s the boss. He was raised in the military and he hates his job. He has no friends that aren’t cops, and he doesn’t want you for one. Every word out of your mouth is another shovelful on your grave.
- Number 4 is your only Constitutional right. If you have a problem with how it all went down, hire a lawyer after the fact. During the interaction – just do what he says, no matter what that is.
- Under no circumstances should you get out of the car. They see that as a threat. I know, back in the day the Abbie Hoffman types used to tell us that if you’re out of the car, they can’t search it. That’s bull. They can – and will – do whatever they want. Stay in the car, and stay alive.
The important thing is to keep the situation from escalating. A pot bust beats a face full of pepper spray – and a pot bust. Most cops will be alright to you, if they think you’re alright to them. Start mouthing off about the Constitution, or how your uncle is a Lieutenant in the detectives, and we’ll be reading about you on Twitter.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.