In these troubled times, The Thurber Brigade wishes to do its part to help people and to foster amity with those who travel to our shores. So we offer these Tips For Tourists. In this particular case we want to give our European friends who have crossed the ocean a guide to better understand what to expect if they encounter the police here in the United States.
First off, keep in mind that our police are nothing like what you experience in your home country. While it may take two to three years of training to become a "cop" back home, here in the US it can take as little as 15 weeks to earn the gun and badge (even hairdressers require more training).
Also, although your police may use Sherlock Holmes as a role model for reasoned policing, here in The States they prefer the "Dirty Harry" style of enforcing the law.
In that vein, while your lawmen prefer to de-escalate a tense situation, ours prefer to shoot first and sort it out, well, they typically don't need to sort anything out because they can do no wrong in the American Justice system's eyes. In other words, if they do something violent to you there is a 90% chance that nothing will happen to them save a few days of paid vacation.
With all of the above in mind, here are a few tips to avoid being shot/killed/or beat up by American law officers:
☠ Do not run from the police. It doesn't matter that you may have not done anything and fear for your life (because they are shouting at you and have their hands on their guns), stand perfectly still. Keep in mind, that even subservience doesn't guarantee that you will not be shot or beaten. But if someone is filming the exchange, there is at least a 10% chance the officer will get a verbal reprimand.
☠ Do not ask them for assistance. They may take it as a sign that you are about to attack them and will “Pre-retaliate” to stop you.
☠ If you are driving, do not flash your headlights at them even if they are running theirs on highbeam. They might see you as a possible terrorist and think you are signaling a fellow traveler and so will again Pre-retaliate before you have a chance to do anything.
☠ If you do as they ask, the police may shoot you. Again, it boils down to them believing you are about to do them harm, and so want to take action before you do.
☠ They may also shoot you if you don't do what they ask. For example, if they ask you for something you don’t have in your possession and so don’t give it to them (even though you don’t have it), then they might fear you are about to do something violent to them and so will attack you before you get a chance.
☠ If they come to your hotel room/home and want to search it, if you refuse they may shoot you. It doesn’t matter if you ask them for a warrant. If you refuse they’ll assume you are an international terrorist and will fear you are about to do them harm and so will again, Pre-retaliate.
☠ Do not take pictures while you are here on vacation or you might become horribly maimed by police.
In case you got your dog through quarantine keep in mind that our police fear dogs with a passion and may shoot your pet if he:
As you can see from these tips, the police here in the US are nothing like your police who typically respond with patience and calm. Our police are a fearful lot who fear so much for their lives, we're often surprised they even step outside their station.
You may have also noticed that they really like to use their guns too. This is because in their training (remember, usually only about 15 weeks) they are taught how to use their weapon, but not about how to avoid having to use it like police are taught in Europe. So their first impulse for anything that doesn't go their way is to shoot. Yes, you might have just been stopped for something that just warrants a ticket, but hey, they have this gun they might as well use it, right?
We at the Thurber Brigade hope these tips will help you to enjoy your time here as well as maybe return you to your country safely and with little physical and psychological damage from our "peace officers." Enjoy your trip and for god's sake if you see a policeman coming for you keep your head down!
The Thurber Brigade apologizes for taking a sidestep yet again. We know it seems to be a habit, but we thought that since the number of deaths at the hands of police has now gone over 1,000 for this year (meanwhile, in 24 years police in Wales and England only killed 55 civilians), well, it might be good to give people new to the US a little warning. The Brigade plans to get back to the business of The War Between Men and Women real soon. Really.
James Thurber supports sidesteps. Trust me.
(Some Images courtesy http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)