I’ve had a little time off this summer, meaning I’ve had more evenings at home with my wife. I’m not much of a TV watcher, but she and I have been tuning into a show featuring live police patrols from around the nation. Viewers get to “ride along” and watch officers from several states as they deal with what to me is some pretty strange human behavior — but to the law enforcement officers is nothing more than a usual day at work.
Truthfully, I don’t even have to watch a show taking place somewhere else to see the crazy. I can open my hometown newspaper or watch the news and get a full-on dose of weird.
I tell ya, seeing the way some folks act sure makes me feel better about my own life.
Witnessing the stuff also has me dumbfounded at times. Nobody’s actually inventing any new crimes. It’s almost always the same stuff, leaving me wondering: Did those people grow up not knowing any better? I learned the basics of law abiding as a kid with siblings: Don’t steal, don’t hit and don’t break stuff.
In my quest to be a helpful citizen, I thought I’d provide a short — and hopefully, helpful — primer on what we’re not allowed to do.
First — do I really have to explain this? — don’t lick the ice cream and put it back. I wouldn’t do that in my own house with my own family, but someone thought it would be OK to do it in public. Nasty freaks.
If it’s not yours, don’t take it. I don’t care if the car or house doors weren’t locked. If you didn’t buy it, leave it alone. In the past six months, Angelina County has seen 224 cases of theft and 85 cases of burglary. I’ve heard the saying that the Almighty helps those who help themselves, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what it means.
Don’t trash someone else’s property. Vandalism is for people too lazy to steal anything and who just want to wreck something for no good reason.
Keep your hands to yourself. Unless you’re defending yourself, there’s no excuse for hitting someone no matter how much you think he or she deserves it. There were 142 people in this county over the past six months who didn’t get that memo, according to the crime report showing the number of arrests for assault.
Oh, and just because the target is related doesn’t excuse knocking them around. I can’t go a single day of the week without reading of yet another domestic violence case. They’re mostly some guy attacking a woman, but not all of them.
Keep your hands to yourself. And stop licking the ice cream.
Leave the kids alone. They’re not punching bags, and they’re not sexual objects. Seeing them as either is just plain sick.
You have to have a license to drive. You have to have registration to show you’re the owner of the vehicle. You have to have insurance to protect yourself and other drivers.
So how come I keep seeing stories of people driving without any of those? Driving’s a privilege and not a right. If you’ve gotten your license suspended, you’ve lost your privilege. Pretty basic info right there, but some folks just don’t get it.
It’s called a speed “limit” for a reason. You’re not supposed to exceed it. If the limit is 55, then 56 is speeding. Don’t holler at the cop for issuing a ticket for just a few miles over. What was that last word there? “Over”? Yeah. As in, past the limit. (FYI, I’ve been guilty of griping about getting a ticket for three miles over the limit. I was “over.” I’m an idiot.)
Right now, marijuana isn’t legal for recreational use in our state. So if you decided to smoke it anyway, how about not driving while (or after) doing it? And if you’re going to drive, why in the world would you have anything illegal in the car with you? You’re gonna feel pretty dumb getting pulled over for a busted tail light and having that drug charge tacked onto it. I knew a few dealers in my high school days. They left all the delivery duties to the local pizza chains.
In 2018, there were more than 1,600 arrests reported in our county. Nearly 200 of those were narcotics-related. How’d they get caught? Most of them were carrying their stuff around with them.
Don’t drive after drinking. Nearly 1,500 Texans die every year in alcohol-related accidents — and too many of those victims weren’t the ones drinking. It’s bad enough to wreck your own family’s life because you die from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. It’s even worse to take an innocent life instead. If you drink, stay where you are. Back porches were made for such parties.
“No” means “no,” no matter what she’s wearing or how much you think “she asked for it.” Once again, keep your hands to yourself.
Running from the cops is another one I don’t get. Maybe you had a little weed on you, which in itself can lead to some stiff penalties. Now you’re gonna compound the problem by running or trying to drive away? Do you hate your job or sleeping in your own bed that much that you’d throw ’em away by running away? Jail cells aren’t exactly known for their comfort. That’s probably why you won’t see them advertised on Airbnb.
While you’re running, keep your tongue out of the ice cream.
Getting belligerent with law enforcement has become a trend of late. Someone gets pulled over for a minor violation and immediately starts cussing the cop. Why would you do that? You’re the one who’s done something wrong. The LEOs are doing their jobs trying to keep you and the rest of us safe from whatever you were doing. A lack of cooperation reeks of suspicion, and more times than not, the ensuing confrontation leads to a little deeper digging on the cop’s part — when all he or she was doing in the first place was trying to let you know about that busted tail light.
None of us needs a law degree to understand any of this. These are basic rules for living in a community. There are plenty of wide-open places around the world in which you can live alone without worrying about anyone around you. Go there and make your own rules if ours don’t sit well with you.
Otherwise, keep your hands to yourself, leave stuff alone that isn’t yours and have a little respect for those doing a job the rest of us wouldn’t want.
And in the name of all that’s holy and Texas, please stop licking the frigging ice cream.