You’d think — you really would — that if you were in a place where a man had just shot a cop and the cops were setting up a siege (which would ultimately end with more shooting and a house going up in flames), you’d see immediately that something dangerous was going on. And you might logically take action to avoid the area.
But nope. Happens that a friend and I were driving down a street yesterday where a cop had just been shot. Squad cars were zooming in. Lights were flashing. Yada yada.
When my friend remarked, “Something big must be happening,” I shrugged, “Or they’re just busting another tweaker.” Because I’ve seen the surround-house-with-screaming-squad-cars routine repeatedly in my neighborhood. And that’s always what it is.
The last one I watched (before yesterday) was just across the street from my house. And (typically) the guy who got all that coply attention was a harmless neighbor who was back home the next day. He had just happened to fall victim to the latest spend-a-week-rounding-up-the-dopers-to-make-news-and-get-funding spree.
So my friend and I continued going about our business within sight of the siege and, frankly, I didn’t even pay attention to it when we came out of the store we were in, even though it was undoubtedly heating up at that moment.
Of course we and the other shoppers weren’t likely to have been in any danger (though the way some cops shoot, you never know). That’s not my point.
What struck me when I read the news this morning was how inured we we become to overkill. When we see masses of cops descending on a house, people getting thrown to the ground in a parking lot, or little girls getting their pubes poked at the airport we just think that’s the way it is. Ho hum. Life in the Land of the Free.
So not only do we become numbly accepting of what ought to be unacceptable, but when genuinely deadly danger is right in front of us, we might not recognize it because it looks so much like everyday overkill.