No, this will not be my primary posting about yesterday's rally. That will come when I get the pictures back. And yes, I realize I should get my own digital camera so I can upload pictures immediately.... Anyway, this posting will be about one specific event at the rally.
Let me state at the beginning that when I was displaying my sign, I was not at the "main" part of the rally. The rally was on the South Lawn of the Capitol, whereas I was on the West Lawn. I was definitely on the "outskirts" of the rally, not trying to be an obnoxious invader hogging attention but certainly wanting to get my message across. Hundreds of people passed me on their way to the rally, though, and saw my message. Those who were civil I agreed to talk to, while those who postured or were aggressive I refused to debate.
Not too far away from me was a group of off-duty police officers. They were wearing t-shirts from a law enforcement officer union and no doubt were there, as so many other union people were, because they or their union disagree with the governor. No problem.
One of the group approached me and called me some fairly foul names. He discussed some sexual practices in which he thought I'd be interested in participating, and threatened me physically. His friends stood by and did nothing to rein in this comrade of theirs who was displaying the most serious lack of professionalism I've observed in quite some time. I finally smiled at the guy and thanked him for his offer, but stated I could find more attractive sexual partners than him. I then walked to a shady spot about 20 feet away. He did not follow me.
What is it about cops?
I have a good friend who's a cop. Having gone to West Point I understand what it's like to live in a fishbowl, where everyone scrutinizes your every move. I also understand that police work is very demanding, often bringing you into contact with some of society's not-so-savory people. I even recognize that the authority granted to law enforcement officials by the Legislature is pretty heady stuff, and that it would take Supercop not to let some of that go to your head.
That doesn't explain or excuse using foul language and/or making homophobic comments to me because I carried a sign that said "I'm a teacher and I vote Republican."
It's good that I don't know what jurisdiction that officer works in. I'll just assume the CHP, since their reputation even among other law enforcement officers is pretty bad.
Update, 5/27/05 6:05 pm: Please visit the following blogs that have linked to this story:
Update #2, 5/27/05 10:37 pm: I sent this post to my friend Mike, who currently serves as a city police officer in Texas. He gave me permission to post this comment here:
On behalf of my brother officers, I'm sorry for that idiot. But as I've said to someone about cops around here, "We have 5000 officers. If 1% are bad apples, 50 cops can do a lot of damage."
Hats off to you and those like you, Mike. You truly are the Good Guys.