From Al S. in Fayetteville, Ark., on Refund Rip-offs: This time of year is always an endless stream of advertisements from businesses (mostly tote-the-note used car lots) looking to get their hands on the tax refunds of us hard-working taxpayers. It seems to get worse every year. These businesses only see the tax season as a time when they can rip off the average taxpayer of what the taxpayer should never have had to pay in taxes in the first place. We need a society that encourages saving more and budgeting more rather than looking to get every penny (and more) that a person earns. Grrr! to the tax refund thieves!
Andy writes about the Power-Hungry cop from last column: Here's another perspective for you. Perhaps this "power-hungry cop" has to deal with sycophantic imbeciles (I think you call them "obliviots") on a daily basis, and has seen people get violent, or aggressive over something just as minor as driving 10 feet to his driveway. Before you start wielding the "grr-stick," think outside your little box and contemplate what this man has to deal with. His normal routine probably includes people who will scream at him and call him derogatory terms just for doing his job. I agree with you that he should have let you get to your driveway, which by the way he did. Perhaps his reaction was a bit too strong but he was just doing his job.
Dustin W. writes: Love your articles. On the same note as the power hungry cop -- there are teachers who act like that with kids. I am a teacher and I see it all of the time. Teachers who use their authority to humiliate, ridicule and belittle kids just because they can. It makes me sick. I also wonder if they were picked on as kids so now they are the bully.
Jay B. writes: As everyone should know, "cops" come from all walks of life, and as I have told several people throughout my Law Enforcement Career ... there are good cops, and bad cops. There are good doctors and bad doctors. There are good journalists, and bad journalists. The fact everyone wants to blame all cops for the behavior of one bad one just baffles me.
Sergeant Fred writes: As a 10-year officer in a Police Department, I cringed when I read your article about "Power Hungry Cops." It is truly a shame when police officers forget that they are the servants of the public, not its masters. If it means anything, let me apologize on behalf of that part of the law enforcement community that still understands its relationship to the public it serves. May all of your future interactions with my brothers and sisters in law enforcement be a more positive experience than this was.
Sergeant Joshua writes: Here is a story. Today I responded to a call that a man we were looking for was on a ferry to San Francisco. The man was wanted for beating his wife in front of his 10-year-old son. The husband beat her so badly that he thought he had killed her. The ferry building was crowded so I parked in a bike lane so I could stay out of the way of traffic. Not a moment later, a bike rider passed me yelling "Hey, get out of the bike lane." There I was trying to find a guy who thought he beat his wife to death, but someone took the time to yell at the police that they were in a bike lane. Nice. He didn't know ... but you would think, give the cop the benefit of the doubt. Under your circumstances, you're right, he could have handled that better. But, one incident does not make a cop a bad cop. It just seems that people are eager to tell their bad cop story ... I rarely hear a good cop story. Even friends do this ... "Hey, can I ask
you something...?" "This cop stopped me and ..." I'm glad you are a supporter of the police ... you are a rare breed. If you ever out in my neighborhood and want to do a ride-along, it would be my pleasure.
Gerald S. writes: As a retired police officer I agree with your observations -- there are those FEW who give us all a bad name. But isn't that the same in ALL professions? The reporter who sticks a mike in the face of a mother who just found out her child is dead? Or the idiot who pulls a gun on someone because they're not going 80 MPH on the freeway? I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. The world is full of jerks -- we just have to keep things in perspective and think about all the good people out there. That's what kept me going as a cop for 25 years, and still does in my day-to-day life.
Troy in cyberspace writes: Welcome to the world. Happens all the time out here in middle America, but no one does anything about it. We are all supposed to feel compassion for the difficult job and the situation the officer finds himself in during duty. Big whoop! Don't like your job? Quit. I know they have a tough job and I support the need for it, but don't do it if you are not cut out for it.
Luke Z. writes: Power hungry cops were the bullies in high school, not the uncool kids, or kids that didn't get to go to the prom. These bullies entered the real world and soon discovered that bullying got them nothing but fired, and was not tolerated. Their days of power were over. But wait! They could continue their bullying if they became a police officer. So that is what you have now. Jerk cops are ex-bullies. It's the only profession where bullying is tolerated and no one can do anything about it.
Luke in N.C.: I'm a firefighter, not a cop, but if you had to put up with the idiots that we do, you'd be more understanding. Example: motorcycle accident, victim in middle of road severely injured. Lady pulls out from 50 cars back, drives up to the scene in the wrong lane, and demands we move the victim "over a few feet" so she can get by to pick her child up at school. Not excusing his behavior, but if you dealt with the cr-p most cops, firefighters and rescue people deal with on a daily basis, you'd have a hair trigger too. Wait until one of your fellow officers gets hit by someone ignoring the blue lights.
Barry B. writes: You've got it backwards! It's not the geeks who become cops, it's the jocks. At least in a small town that's how it is. They are the all-powerful elite in high school, then go off to college and are nobodies. Drop out after a semester and come back the small pond to be the big city police fish.
Wayne B. writes: I was a cop for a long time in L.A. Yup, there are a few cops like that, but I am happy to say that they are really few and far between … but as with any depressingly stupid situation, the idiotic types get all the attention and the good guys are ignored unless a pointed effort is made to acknowledge them. I think you almost made that point.
Rick W. from Texas writes: Great column!! However, I would like to add to your lexicon the term “Air Americans." This is an American, by birth, who has nothing but air between his/her ears. I’m sure you know the type. This is the person that can name every singer that has released a record in the last six months, but doesn’t know who the vice president of the U.S. is. I recently asked our 24-year-old receptionist which side of the civil war Ulysses S. Grant fought on, and I'm not sure she knew who Grant was, much less which side he was on. I recently heard of a study that found that some 20 percent of the people asked couldn’t identify the United States on a map. These are the people who voted for John Kerry because they like the way he did his hair. The really scary part of this is that these people actually vote! The next leader of the free world might be picked on the basis of his haircut! God help us!
Emily F. writes on Teri Hatcher: I read your article a few days ago, and I totally disagreed with it, but that's not really what I'm writing about. My two sisters and I were molested over a period of about five years by someone close to our family. Not only is it refreshing to hear someone with Teri Hatcher's success share her story, because even though it's been nearly decade I still struggle with my self-worth, and to see that she can overcome it and become successful is really great. But your opinion is yours, and I agree that Hollywood uses sympathy to gain publicity, maybe that was her motivation, but whatever her reasons, even if they were selfish, it's still a good thing. What really bothered me were some of the responses. People who said she was wrong for the sexy pose on the cover. What was the cover supposed to look like? Should she have been dressed in some frumpy old clothes, because a sexual abuse victim dare not be sexy? I'm sorry, but I'm a woman, and it's a horrible thing to say that I'm not allowed to love myself and my body because I was sexually abused. Are (they) insinuating that maybe she's asking for more? That's what's sad, that's what's pathetic, not her trying to share her story, not the picture on the cover, the fact that in this day and time, we still blame the victim. What too many people don't understand is that rape and molestation are about power. The power to control, steal and take, the power to make a woman or a child submit, not about sex appeal.
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