Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Threat of Federal Budget Cuts to COPS Brought Home Last Night

So, last night I was writing a reply to a commenter who claimed that I knew very little about federal deficits in my post on Bush’s cuts to COPS. My wife came in and told me that there was a strange SUV lurking about the alley in back of the house.

Looking out the window, I noticed sure enough an unfamiliar older model Chevy Blazer or Ford Bronco pulling into a neighbor’s driveway across the alley. What caused me concern was that, instead of pulling up to the neighbor’s house or pulling back out to turn around, the SUV stopped at the end of the sixty-foot driveway behind a huge brush pile another neighbor had stacked for the chipper service.

My inner-city instincts piqued as I saw no motion resembling people getting out of a vehicle. They just sat there. So I went out in the backyard to a point about thirty feet way, pulled myself up our fence so that I could see what was going on. But they only continued their off-a-dark-alley quiet activity.

Growing more suspicious, I went inside, called the police, and asked them to send a cruiser down the alley just to be safe. If there happened to be nothing bad happening when I was watching, nothing bad would happen when the cop drove by.

The phone call ended and I returned to stand on the back deck, which allowed a pretty good view of the SUV. Two minutes passed. Then three. I began to wish that I had called the police earlier to give them a chance to confront before the SUV left.

Suddenly, the SUV turned on it’s lights, backed out of the driveway, and exited the alley by turning onto a cross street and driving off. I resigned myself to the belief that I had not given the cops enough time and I turned to go back in the house.

Just as suddenly as the SUV departed, the sounds of high torque and of skittering gravel shrapnel spilled out of the alley and into my backyard. A cruiser dashed down the alley from the opposite direction. I figured that the cop had probably seen the SUV pulling onto the cross street as he was pulling into the alley, because he was hauling ass.

Now, I do not know for sure whether the cops had seen the SUV. And I do not know for sure that the occupants of the SUV were up to some shady dealings. I am only guessing.

But there is one thing I do know: as I watched that blue-striped Impala turn the same direction of the older model SUV and push pedal to metal, and as I pumped my fist in the air as a salutatory “Get the SOB,” I understood there is no monetary price too high to pay to get such an immediate response when a family senses that its security is threatened.

I may or may not know much about deficits, but I am able to sense when something threatens the security of my family. Those who lurk in dark alleys threaten our security. President Bush’s cuts to programs like COPS, which support community policing, also threaten my family’s security. Last night brought those facts home to me.

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