Hey Baltimore: Andy Griffith is the Cop We Deserve; But Batman is the Cop We Need

Baltimore Shooting Deaths

So, people in Baltimore seem to be killing each other like it is the season premiere of HBO’s the Wire lately.  One really can’t read this without understanding the context of the Baltimore Riots, Ferguson Missouri, or in fact, the Andy Griffith Show.  But let me be clear, that if you read any of my previous writings about the infamous police shootings of African American men this year, you will notice I don’t mention race one bit.  It is not that I am ignorant to the racial context, but I find it less than helpful and the discussion rarely stays on target.  Liberals and Conservatives alike have reason to call for the responsible check on police power as do all races.  It is a fair conversation even for someone as pro Law Enforcement as I am. So whether you believe all police are out to kill minorities or are out to confiscate weapons from patriots to enforce a police state, let’s stay on planet Earth and talk about a few realities here.

Mayberry

Now, you might know Andy Griffith as the lovable Sheriff of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show.  Set in a small southern town in North Carolina, Sheriff Andy had to deal with the serious Law Enforcement matters such as a whiney kid named Opie and a drunk named Otis who would willingly walk into the drunk tank at night.  Serious stuff, right?

Yet, for better or worse, this seems to be the caricature that many have created for their ideal law enforcement officer.  This sweet friendly good cop who likes pie and butterflies.  Well, America deserves such a cop.  I think it would be fantastic if every single cop could manage the demeanor and track record of Sheriff Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith show.  That is, as long as every city in America mimics the crime rate of Mayberry, North Carolina.  But it doesn’t.

Crime in Baltimore

We live in the United States of America and in America, drunk Otis isn’t walking into the drunk tank at night willingly.  No, American Otis is beating his wife and kids, swinging a hammer at the cops who come to intervene, and is probably butt naked and high on meth the entire time.  God Bless America, land of the sweaty naked violent meth head.

Reality

So let’s stay on planet Earth shall we. First of all, I hate to break your image of Sheriff Andy, but Andy Griffith was a small town sheriff in the 1960’s Deep South. Now, it is possible Sheriff Andy was a progressive individual ahead of his time.  But given the timeframe, it is entirely possible good ole Andy left Opie at home at Saturday Night with Aunt Bee and attended some “meetings” if you catch my drift.

Now that might sound messed up, but the 1960’s hardly seemed like the best season in American History. The point is, reality is often quite messier. I am not saying we can’t have nice cops.  I am just saying, if your home is being invaded by criminals and 911 gives you the option between Andy Griffith and Batman, you pick Batman don’t you?  Every time, all the time, regardless of your political affiliation or race, you choose freaking Batman.  If you have never tried to wrestle an angry criminal, then I suggest you try it as a field study and then come back to comment on the reality cops deal with every day.

Superman

There is one more hero I would like to bring into this discussion.  That is drunk Superman from Superman III.  Going back and watching the movie will remind you just how absurd it is, but for those that don’t remember, in Superman III, he turned bad, got drunk, abused his power, and I’m pretty sure he rescued a woman from the top of the Statue of Liberty so he could get it on with her.  Seriously, go back and watch it.

Crime in Baltimore since riots

But I bring him up because I don’t want anyone to think I am excusing abusive actions from cops because modern crime requires a Dark Knight more than Andy and Deputy Barney Fife.  The civilian population is at the mercy of a bad cop just like we all would be against drunk Superman.  The authority and power that a bad cop possesses could easily put the innocent on the wrong side of the law.  So yes, all of America benefits when police are held accountable and monitored for their actions.

From Ferguson to Baltimore, anytime an entity of the State or Law Enforcements kills someone, it should indeed be investigated.  But accusing every cop of being a drunk Superman will get you killed.  Not by the cop, but by the crazies that used to get locked up by Batman.

Batman

We need Batman people, now more than ever.  Most anyone would take on a criminal if they saw them hurting a kid or old lady.  However, it takes a certain kind of brave soul to risk life and kick in a door to protect a person that doesn’t like them, wants to kill them, and would dance on their grave if they died protecting them.  That’s a Batman move people.  Batman and cops pursue justice when it is least desirable and you only don’t recognize it daily because you reside under the very protective bubble they have created for you.

Crime in Baltimore riots

So here is the reality that Baltimore is finding out in the worst way possible.  If you surround police when they come to save the day with protests and cell phone cameras waiting for them to mess up, you will get the cop you deserve, Andy Griffith.  But the cop you need, Batman, will say screw this crap, I’m living long enough to make it to the Bat Cave, have a Bat drink, and maybe some private alone time with Batwoman.  If this goes on long enough, pretty soon the entire Law Enforcement community in the neighborhoods that need it most will be left with only Andy Griffiths or drunk Supermen.

Then when Andy is getting is butt kicked by a group of teens with his own nightstick and drunk Superman is feeling up your woman at a traffic stop, you will scream for Batman. But alas, no you ran him off because you wanted him to act like Andy when you spit in his face and accused him of being killer when he was just trying to do his job.  The Bat signal in American Law Enforcement is fading quickly where it is needed most.  Pull your heads out of your butts Baltimore, Batman is the hero you need.

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Jeff Edwards