Helmet, body armor, shield, baton: All elements of a police officer’s tactical uniform designed to intimidate and strike fear into the heart of anything standing in our way, be it a family dog during a no-knock warrant, or a “peaceful” protester with an itchy water bottle-throwing hand. But what about me as a person? Aren’t I fucking scary?
Don’t they know that there’s more to me than my badge number, which I’ve conveniently taped over to avoid accountability for my crimes? Sometimes when a citizen blindly begs me not to be pepper-sprayed, I just want to take off my helmet and show them that behind all this militaristic riot gear, there’s a deeply unstable individual inside.
Why can’t people fear me for me?
Any one of my acquaintances and ex-wives can attest that if I’m on your team in Apples to Apples, I’ll be the first to fly off the handle in a competitive rage. I have never hugged a man. If you have ever cut me off in traffic I have your plate number, and I have every intention of one day hurting you or the weakest member of your family. But all you see when you look at me is just another asshole cop.
I just wish people could look past my job and appreciate how truly terrifying I am as a “human being.” I’m a racist amphetamine addict who once traveled from New York to Texas just to attend an execution, my ninth. You won’t get that from my badge number or disabled body cam. You get it from my thousand-mile stare, from my pulsing neck veins, from hearing me grind my teeth from 20 feet away. You get it from knowing me.
So next time you’re standing in front of a wall of riot cops decked out with more packets than a Rob Liefeld character, just know that behind each face shield and below the helmet, and then above the gas mask, there’s a pair of eyes shielding a hellscape the likes of which you’ve never known.