So by now I’m sure you’ve all seen this on Digg or through a viral email or something, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a pleasant beginning to your morning:
Well, well, well.
I’m going to go on record right now saying I have nothing against the police as a whole. Unfortunately they’re a necessary service in our culture, but the vast majority of them do their often-difficult jobs well. I even have some cops in my family, and they’re all pretty cool guys, so I don’t want to give the impression that I’m ragging on police specifically here.
The problem I’ve got with this issue is farther-reaching than that.
I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my relatively short life. As of this writing I’m twenty-five years old, and I’ve been working in one capacity or another since I was 11. I’ve worked at book stores, restaurants (real ones, not fast food – thank God), retail outlets of all sorts, colleges, car dealerships, as an ad-hoc roadie, as a musician, as a writer in several capacities – I’ve even tutored and volunteered for charities (yes, you heard me right – I volunteered). For fourteen years of work, that’s pretty significant.
My point is not to make me out to be a workaholic, though I am. The point is, in not one of those jobs would the kind of faffing-off displayed in that video been remotely acceptable. I’m sure you’re feeling something similar: imagine if your boss actually caught you pissing about playing Solitaire or, heaven forbid, reading some stupid blog when you’re supposed to be filing reports or answering the phone. What do you think would happen if you were a lifeguard and decided to play your PSP instead of watching the pool? How do you figure your employer would take it if you spent nine hours of your work day sitting around on a couch playing Guitar Hero?
And those are jobs that (with maybe the exception of the lifeguard thing) aren’t all that important, and probably aren’t costing taxpayers thousands of dollars to implement.
Like I said, I typically like cops. But when shit like this goes down, I have to admit to being disproportionately angry. It’s one thing for some receptionist to dick off for a few hours when the desk is slow. It’s very different for a bunch of police officers – public servants – to enter someone’s home with a search warrant, looking for illegal drugs (you know, their jobs) and instead of taking advantage of every moment they’re allowed to be there – instead of ensuring that a nasty fucker guilty of selling narcotics gets put behind bars – they take advantage of every moment they’re allowed to be there in order to play-test the latest bullshit Wii game from Nintendo. Hasn’t anybody told them the Wii is a shitty system? At least if they’d been playing 360 or something I might have been able to give them some credit. But noooo.
I might have been able to get over this a little easier if these guys and girls had immediately been reprimanded and faced some kind of punishment – be it suspensions, firings, whatever. But according to the video, they’re still hemming and hawing about whether or not these officers will face any official penalty whatsoever.
Are you serious?
Like I said, I know these people provide a valuable service, but they literally fucked off for nine hours’ worth of taxpayer time and money to play a bad videogame. A Nintendo videogame no less.
As far as I’m concerned, if these were Toronto police and it was my money being wasted so they could pretend to bowl (why not actually go bowling, anyway, while you’re at it?) I would be calling for some serious blood, or at least some money back on what I pay the government to provide services to me.
Am I out of line here? I don’t think it’s too much to ask for people employed essentially by me to do their jobs. I can’t imagine anyone willing to hire people with such a clear track record of ignoring their job responsibilities. It’s a stain on their individual reputations, the reputation of their department (the department people are trusting to keep drugs away from their kids) and on policing in general.
And for the record – if those guys do wind up getting fired and they come knocking on my door looking for work, best believe I’ll be hiding all the controllers to my Playstation. Just to be safe.