Don't shoot, officer, it's just a blog!

One of the last jobs I held in Arizona before becoming unemployable was "security consultant". In reality, all I did was sell home security systems door-to-door, but ADT wanted the job to sound important. Most of the days working door-to-door are interchangable in my memory, but I still remember one night in the West Valley: I was standing in front of some guy's house, after dark, trying to convince him that it was dangerous and scary world that required him to protect his family, but he wasn't buying. After my third sales pitch, a police helicopter looking for a fugitive flew over the street, hovered above the yard, and pointed a spotlight directly as us. What did the guy say to me while bathed in the cold glow of a police spotlight? "I don't need a security system. This is a safe neighborhood."

Yeah, I didn't make a lot of money at that job.

Sadder still is the fact that, since it was a fugitive search in the West Valley, that the fugitive probably got away. If it had been farther east, on the other hand, the cops probably would have shot the guy in the back of the head as soon as they spotted them. Suspects in the Phoenix area seem to get shot for the flimiest of reasons, like holding a knife. Or a beer bottle. Or a cell phone. (I once worked with a guy whose friend was shot to death for waving a butter knife at Mesa police officers. Note to self: Don't fuck with the Mesa Police Department.)

So I'm a little suprised to read in the Phoenix New Times that Phoenix Police got through 2003 without shooting anyone armed with a knife. Apparently, the entire department is Taser-equipped and trained in the art of non-lethal capture, so shootings are down 54% compared to 2002. I'm stunned. For once, I have to say something nice about an police department in Arizona. Good job, guys!

Now do something about those damn exploding cars, would you? You wouldn't have so many people resisting arrest is they weren't afraid of getting blown up during the ride to jail.

Posted at 03:33:02 AM EST on 17 February 2004 from Trenton, MI