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August 18, 2015

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Harry M. Covert

There was a time, believe it or not, when the political correctness fad didn’t exist. People of all ages didn’t run around being offended by this and that, and elected officials were never called stupid, even though it was often talked about in closed door meetings.

In the journalistic battleground, reporters always knew off-the-wall combatants and refrained from printing stories without attribution.

Once, in my early days on the police beat looking for a weekend feature, I thought it’d be fun to entertain readers with a story on citizen arrests. A police chief almost had a stroke at the suggestion: “Please don’t do that. Every nut in the city will be banging on my door.” I took the late Chief L. H Nicholson’s plea to heart. To this day, 43 years later, I am a proud holder of an official “police reporter” badge with city and state seal.

Then I visited the city jail looking for a story that would tickle readers. The sheriff was always a pleasant news source and welcomed certain members of the Fourth Estate for Wednesday lunches. Inmate cooks were fantastic, home cooking of all sorts, fresh rolls; warm memories.

On the hunt for another screed, I suggested a story on “jail house religious conversions. A. A. Anderson, the good Methodist city sergeant, thought I’d lost my youthful mind. Upon hearing the story request a visiting chaplain gave me a lecture on the ill effects of such a story. The sheriff pointed out church services and bible studies kept inmate conduct on an even keel and prevented lots of fighting.

At this point we well know it’s too bad youth is wasted on the young.

Reporters enjoy going on raids of all sorts with law enforcement. Usually grand stories result, especially when the bigtime gamblers, bootleggers and, today of course, successful drug raids.

Let’s get back to the word “stupid,” which is gaining popularity on the national scale. Broadcast journalists love the clips when big name candidates spout off. The modern reporters truly don’t know how to handle such comments. In public, lots of people act offended but, in reality, agree and pollsters don’t know how to handle it. Who said “stupid is as stupid does?”

It was astonishing to see reports of the Birmingham police detective who was pistol-whipped and seriously hurt by a truck driver. Well, now, that certainly sent alarms throughout law enforcement. No talks of stupid, but they are thinking it’s stupid and dangerous.

Today all the talking heads sort of ignore the incident. It’s a good thing such conduct didn’t happen some years ago. The attacker would have been on the ground, bleeding and probably out cold.

This is not being insensitive. I don’t think deputies and police officers will be afraid of doing their jobs any more.

It is nice to have National Night Out, visiting communities and seeing deputies and police officers delivering school supplies for the less fortunate. The latter is out of the goodness of the hearts of the uniformed. Not part of official police duty.

The obligation of sworn officers is to keep the peace and not running around as social workers.

It’s time to stop all of the foo-foo. Yes, local and state agencies on all levels must get back to policing properly. It’s also time for citizens, no matter what strata, to get back to obeying the laws.

Unruly citizens, who like to sneak up and snatch pocketbooks, kidnap and grab ATM users, must learn some manners quickly to put it mildly.

All of the political leaders, who want to water down the work of law enforcement, need to visit local jails and state and federal prisons. All of the do-gooders, who think all of the inmates are misunderstood, need a lesson in uncontrolled human nature.

Why are so many, who describe themselves as progressives, willing to chance a lack of peace and tranquility?

Helping unfortunates at home and around the world is important for givers and receivers. Every now and then a smack in the nose and telling the facts is more than appropriate. Robbing, and looting, and shootings, and murders must not be the politically correct things of the day. And, ignored.

Following a bootlegging raid, police seized several cases of unlicensed white lightning. I reported the “police were working on the case.” A week later on a major thoroughfare a state trooper pulled over this driver. He smiled at the police reporter badge and did his duty, issued a speeding ticket. I paid the fine.

I was not offended. The trooper was not stupid.


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