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92

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 92, October 2, 2000
Happy 21st, Jon!

Ya Gotta Wonder

by Carl Bussjaeger(*)
drifter@tangent.vader.com

Special to TLE

Sometimes ya gotta wonder....

I had the misfortune to suffer a truck breakdown recently. I was temporarily stranded in an "economically disadvantaged" area while I waited for a friend to arrive with the parts required for the repair.

I had a few encounters while I was there, the first of which occurred when I was newly arrived on the scene at about two o'clock in the morning. While I was on the phone with my friend, three rowdies came up to me yelling, and generally acting in a belligerent manner. My friend could hear them, and asked if I was in trouble. I told him it was possible that I was about to mugged, but that it seemed unlikely they'd succeed, while staring down the rowdies.

At that point, my "accosters" apparently took in my general, non-terrified demeanor, large multi-pocketed vest (which is very nearly the official uniform for concealed carry), and partially concealed hand grasping something under the vest at my hip.

They left abruptly. Maybe I should send Lott another report of a crime prevented without firing a shot. Or maybe not. After all, nothing really happened.

I didn't really have any more trouble for the entire seventeen hours I was there. Quite the contrary. While waiting to use the phone, or otherwise killing time, I was engaged in several friendly conversations with the locals. You know, the sort of thing that isn't supposed to happen to a white guy in the slums, if you believe stereotypes that deny that most people are just ... people.

Around lunch time I walked into a little cafe across the street, where I chatted pleasantly with the folks working there while I ordered and ate a meal. And even though it was set up as more of a fast food joint, the cashier even brought my food to my table, and came back to refill my glass of tea. Nice folks.

Most of the day was like that; generally pretty good, despite a breakdown that cost seventy-five bucks to fix. People walking by, saying hello, smiling, wondering about my trouble.

So what's my point?

Well, I did have another "visitor" while I was stuck there. A cop.

I was over by the payphone about to call my friend for an update, when a patrol car pulled into the parking lot and slowly circled my truck. It stopped, and American Ninja carefully exited his vehicle: BDU pants, black. Shirt, black. Tactical load-bearing vest, black. Black equipment belt with gun, OC spray, asp baton, cuffs, and enough mag pouches to supply the allied forces in Desert Storm. Combat boots, black; at least they weren't jackboots. As he slowly approached my truck, his head maintained a constant scan of his surroundings. His hand was on his gun. Careful is one thing; but this was behavior more suited to a soldier behind enemy lines than a public servant in his own community.

Given his apparent paranoia level, I approached him pretty damned cautiously myself, announcing myself so's not to startle him into anything unpleasantly fatal (to me). He didn't quite draw his sidearm.

We spoke. I explained my difficulty, and that parts were on the way. He barely made eye contact as he continued to visually sweep the area. Then he told me that I should get towed out of the neighborhood, as soon as possible, don't wait for repairs, because "This area is dangerous". Eventually he left, still looking like a soldier listening for the whistle of incoming mortar fire.

Ya gotta wonder....

Aside from the three stooges at the beginning of my odyssey, no one in the area gave me any trouble. To the contrary; people chatted with me, exchanged jokes. I got some of the best cafe service that I've seen in months. I was even offering to share coffee (one of the advantages of keeping all that camping gear in the truck) with folks waiting for the bus.

But the obviously nervous cop told me, "This area is dangerous".

I encountered three clowns with better sense than to mess with me and a whole lot of friendly people.

That cop looked like he was expecting Viet Cong on night patrol.

Ya gotta wonder....

What did that cop see or know that I didn't?

Or, more to the point... Why did he see something different?

Ya gotta wonder....

Did the people react to me in a friendly manner because I came across as an ordinary Joe, no threat? If so, were they simply reacting to the psyched-up, blackshirted stormtrooper... appropriately? Spooner knows, the guy made me nervous; and he was supposedly helping me.

Ya gotta wonder....

I found it inconvenient to be stuck there; but to the municipal soldier it was dangerous.

Ya gotta wonder....

I treated people decently, and was treated the same way in turn. The cop seemed to consider them the enemy... and thinks the area is dangerous.

Ya gotta wonder if black-garbed thugs are really the best way to keep the peace in our communities.

Ya gotta wonder why the cities think they *want* stormtroopers, if peacekeeping is the goal.


(*) Ex-cop, who never ever dressed up like a ninja


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