PAGE NINE

by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

 

 


This is a first. A highly regarded and widely published writer, Charlie Cutshaw, has taken issue with some of the Page Nine comments from Craig Cantoni. Craig's remarks appear in Page Nine No. 18. Charlie's response appears below.

 

From Charlie Cutshaw, 10/29/06
Small arms editor, Jane's International Defence Review
Contributing editor, American Rifleman Magazine
Contributing editor, Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine
Technical editor, Tactical Response Magazine
Contributing editor, Gun List Magazine
Contributing editor, Small Arms Review Magazine
PO Box 297
Florence, AL 35631-0297
www.charlescutshaw.com

Hi Alan,

I have a perspective that Mr. Cantoni perhaps doesn't because I am a reserve police officer here in Alabama. Incidentally, I don't know any "macho jerks" in the departments with which I directly interface. (My own and three others.) That isn't to say there aren't any -- only that I haven't met them. The vast majority of cops I know are just like me, dedicated to helping others because we have special skills and training. We also know that every time we put on a uniform and step into that cruiser that some REAL jerk may just want to take a shot at us simply to prove what a macho guy he is. It happened twice here in Alabama within the last two weeks.

Both incidents were "routine" stops of vehicles that looked suspicious. One had no license plate and the other fit the description of a vehicle whose occupant had just tried to rob a woman at gunpoint in a supermarket parking lot. When the officer stopped the latter vehicle, the occupant got out shooting. He hit the officer twice, but neither wound was ultimately life threatening. The officer hit the bad guy three times, which was enough to end the violence but regrettably this guy will also recover. The bad guy was a convicted felon with a murder conviction in Missouri and a couple of other violent crime convictions under his belt, along with years of prison time. Thankfully, he will never again get out on the street to threaten the lives of others because when he finishes his mandatory ten year federal sentence without parole for possessing a firearm, he will get life without parole here in Alabama, the mandatory sentence for deadly assault on a police officer.

The other incident didn't end so happily. In Fairfield, a Birmingham suburb, a 20 year veteran was shot and killed when she stopped a car with no license plate. She had retired from the Birmingham PD and started with Fairfield only a few weeks earlier. Her partner was wounded, but will recover. The perp was later arrested without incident. He will probably get the death penalty, but will sit on death row for a decade while he goes through the appeal process, a burden to Alabama taxpayers.

The fact that every shift may result in an assault by a violent felon is what sets police officers apart from all the others Mr. Cantoni attempts to equate with law enforcement personnel. Most of the time we spend helping others, investigating accidents, directing traffic, stopping speeders or drunks and all the other things that make up "routine" police work, except that there really isn't such a thing. Every time I walk up to a car we have stopped for whatever reason, I am alert for signs that the occupants may intend to get violent with us. Every time we get a 911 hangup or respond to a silent burglar alarm, it may end in violence. When we get called to a domestic disturbance, we know that it is just as likely that both parties will turn on us and become violent.

Mr. Cantoni's attempt to equate other "dangerous" professions with police work fails the logic test for one simple reason -- the injuries and deaths of loggers, fishers and all the others are for the most part acts of God, whereas the vast majority of police injuries are the result of malicious assault by violent individuals who have no regard or respect for our nation's laws or the rights of others.

That said, to lionize an off duty cop who died through his own neglect and malfeasance as if he had been killed in the line of duty cheapens the sacrifices of all of those on the "thin blue line" who have been injured or have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities. The officer who laid down her life last week in Fairfield didn't get the kind of media coverage Mr. Cantoni describes. Perhaps she should have, though....

Keep up the good work,

Charlie
<><

-------------------

Craig replied:

In a message dated 10/29/2006 5:24:54 PM US Mountain Standard Time, alan@gunlaws.com writes (I forwarded Charlie's remarks):

Mr. Cantoni's attempt to equate other "dangerous" professions with police work fails the logic test for one simple reason -- the injuries and deaths of loggers, fishers and all the others are for the most part acts of God, whereas the vast majority of police injuries are the result of malicious assault by violent individuals who have no regard or respect for our nation's laws or the rights of others.

Thanks for your intelligent remarks, but I also mentioned convenience store clerks and taxi drivers, who die quite often from malicious assaults by violent individuals. As a former artillery officer who volunteered for one of the most dangerous occupations on the battlefield, forward observer, I wouldn't have expeced or wanted hoopla over my death if my head had been shot off, but especially if I had died driving home. I've met a lot of macho cops. My ex-brother-in-law was one. So was the cowboy-booted cop in San Antonio who threw me on the hood of my car for no reason.  And so was the Scottsdale  cop who was shining his spotlight on my house when my family and I came home one night.  After pulling the car in the garage, I walked over to the crew-cutted officer and asked politely, "Is there something wrong?" He gave me a look of disdain and perturbation, and said with ice in his voice, "I'm looking for a house on Mission St.." I responded, "Oh, the street changes names in mid-block, so that white house is where..." Cutting me off, he responded, "I can find it myself." If he had not been a cop, I would have responded, "Fuck you, you arrogant prick."

Regards,
Craig J. Cantoni
www.HAALT.org
www.CraigCantoni.com

 

To which Charlie replied:

Craig,

You are correct in your comments regarding convenience store clerks and taxi drivers, but recall that that that they do not start their day with the expectation that they may very likely be attacked.

My experiences with law enforcement and yours are obviously quite different. As a reserve officer, I come in contact with a LOT of officers, troopers and sheriff's deputies in my rounds. I have yet to meet one of the arrogant macho a--holes you seem to have come across at every encounter with law enfacement. I find it surprising that every cop you have encountered was apparently an arrogant jerk.

FYI, I have never seen a cop in NW Alabama wearing cowboy boots. I am incredulous that any cop would ever wear cowboy boots outside of some Hollywood "cop flick" because they are just too uncomfortable and when we have to run, which happens fairly frequently, cowboy boots would make that impossible. Every cop I know wears the LE equivalent of sneakers, usually a lace up boot with arch support and a soft sole similar to jungle boots so we don't slip while running. The lace up top is for ankle support. No macho -- just common sense and comfort. I have worn cowboy boots and can't imagine any cop in his right mind wearing them on duty.

I also am also totally incredulous that a cop threw you on the hood of your car for no reason.  Cops don't just walk up and throw someone down without cause. I have been working in law enforcement on a volunteer basis for nearly five years and have never seen anyone put on the hood of their car or on the ground for no reason. If you got out of your car and into a cop's face, you were asking for it.  Belligerence is threatening behavior and we won't tolerate it.

I note that you are apparently a former Artillery Officer.  I am a former Infantry Officer (Benning School for Boys, 1964) and Vietnam Veteran (1969-1970). I don't wish to be contentious, but I don't think artillery FO status is quite the same being a 1542 Infantry platoon leader. (4th ID). In that way, I suppose grunts are somewhat like cops. When I was a grunt, we considered there to be us and everyone else because we were the reason for their existence. Attitude? I guess so, but that's the way it was.

At any rate, my experiences with law enforcement are at completely at odds with yours, so I suppose that we will have just have to agree to disagree. I regret that your experience has apparently caused you to have such disdain for police officers, but I am glad that most citizens do not share your opinion.

In closing, may I make a suggestion? Why not take some of your spare time to go out and do a "ride along" with your local cops? Most departments welcome citizen ride alongs, and you might just get some insights about what cops are all about.

Best regards,

Charlie Cutshaw
<><

 

To which Craig replied:

In a message dated 10/30/2006 7:09:44 AM US Mountain Standard Time, CQCutshaw writes:

In closing, may I make a suggestion? Why not take some of your spare time to go out and do a "ride along" with your local cops? Most departments welcome citizen ride alongs, and you might just get some insights about what cops are all about.

I'd like to see cops ride with one of the many taxpayers who don't have a retirement plan, medical benefits and a powerful lobby in city and state government.

Regards,
Craig J. Cantoni
www.HAALT.org
www.CraigCantoni.com

 

At this point, the dialog broke down.
They both make points, and I'll just let it hang here.


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