From Ben Boulden of Gravetapping
Interesting post on your blog today. I work in downtown Salt Lake City. It is also on the small the side; 200,000 in the city proper, with another million or so in the surrounding suburbs. A place that is relatively safe, but a place that has its problems. I park four large blocks from my office. My parking space is in the paupers section of town where the homeless population is left relatively alone. There is a genuine "Jesus Saves" church / shelter trading meals for sermons, and a handful of secular men's shelters.
The shelters huddle in a two block radius, and push the homeless men out their doors at 6 AM. On the edge is a park. The city lines the Southeast corner with two or three dozen portable toilets, and during the day it becomes something of a shanty town. In the summer it smells of shit and urine. It is where the Mexican drug gangs peddle their products. They dress as the homeless and offer (I'm told) anything anyone would want. I have stepped over a young woman with a needle in her arm. I have seen a man and woman copulating. And I have seen more than a few upscale looking men and women furtively wander the park; purchasing drugs I imagine.
I have never felt threatened--panhandled, and at times (and rare at that) prodded and yelled at in that crazy sunovabitch way only mental illness can generate--as I make my daily journey around the edges of the park, but, and this is a straight up middle-class white male reaction, the best sight I see is a couple of SLCPD officers walking, or riding their bikes around the park. A reaction I wish I didn't have, and wish I didn't need to have.
I'm with you. I don't love police, and I don't hate police, but their necessity is absolute. I wish, and this is a tall order in our crazy times, we could be reasonable and expect the police to behave and act within the law, rather than outside it (and I think most do). The protectors, or the legal enforcers, should be as legally accountable as everyone else.
Great post, and thought provoking, too.