A Coming Change

It’s taken me nearly two months – maybe longer – to get to this point and now that I am here, I still feel as if I have farther to go. Not that I expect anyone other than myself to really care – after all, everyone is perpetually struggling with their own issues and demons, why should mine be of any consequence? No, I only make mention of how I am feeling to explain where I am with the express purpose of being able to explain where I – and the website that has consumed me for nearly six years – is going.

See, I thought what SomethingCool News needed was a format change, a new way of categorizing the information I still felt was pertinent to print. It turns out that premise was incorrect and in fact, there was nothing wrong with SCN at all. The problem with the website wasn’t with its  content or format, but with the site’s owner – namely, me. My mistake was thinking that the problem could be solved simply by changing the format of SCN just three issues shy of Issue #300. My reasoning was that if I decreased my workload and the weekly deadline I had imposed upon myself, I would have more time and interest in churning out the type of content that I used to be proud of. It was a good theory, but was fundamentally flawed. Sure, giving myself more time to write, research and interview increased the chances of putting out higher-quality work, but it did nothing to improve the state of the writer, researcher and interviewer himself. Put another way, giving someone more time to do a job doesn’t mean the job is going to get done if the person still doesn’t want to do it.

The truth of it all is that I simply lost my passion, my interest in SCN. There a host of reasons for this; I have since deduced that there is no one single cause for why this happened. But it’s clear that this crisis of conscience was coming for some time. Loyal readers of SCN no doubt noticed a trickle of laziness that crept into subsequent issues, a trickle that would later become a complete downpour. I don’ t think I put out a high-quality issue of SCN for two months or more, as each week a little bit of my journalistic soul was eaten away, finally culminating in a half-hearted format change and then the decision not to update any content at all. SCN, I had decided, had run its course.

This coincided with a profound shift in my personal priorities. I wrote of a sense of foreboding of the coming new year, and it only took a week or so for that foreboding to come to fruition, although not in the way I had surmised it would. For a time, nothing seemed to matter – not my job, not my family, not my friends. As I said, there are a host of reasons why this occurred the way it did and I won’t bore you with the details, suffice it to say that I was prepared to let SCN fade away into nothingness with not so much as a farewell to loyal readers.

But then something started to change. I found myself with an abundance of time on my hands, and discovered even though my soul was empty, my brain still yearned to be full. So I started listening to CBC Radio, began reading old magazine articles and started downloading various podcasts. I began to ponder questions of philosophy and art, becoming more interested in, say, why a book had been written rather than what it had been about. I thought it would be fascinating to talk to writers and musicians about their work and how it had come to be just to hear what they had to say. As a result, I downloaded podcasts and listened to interviews with such people as a way of feeding this particular appetite.

Yet, even as I did so, the interviews that I heard and the people that I listened to seemed far off, miles away, out of my own realm of relevance. A conversation between Alice Munro and a radio broadcaster was interesting, but it lacked personance, to create an entirely new word. I will never meet Alice Munro which is okay, since she has been interviewed already hundreds of times and her work is well-known and well-read. I felt no personal responsibility to learn from her, even as I did. As always, I felt more responsibility to talk to the lesser-known writers, the lesser-known musicians, the obscure artists for whom the bright shine of a spotlight may never come. That’s when I realised what I was feeling was what I have always felt – a kinship for the underdog, an interest in the obscure and an inherent pull to work against a social grain. I felt like I had felt in those intense days before I started SCN.

For that’s what SCN was…is. A  forum for the overlooked people and stories that proliferate our existences. SCN’s mandate was, after all, to cover the stories the mainstream press would either overlook, ignore or simply wouldn’t publish. For five years, I worked under that mandate and succeeded, in my view, spectacularly at achieving that goal.  But then, as time passed, the sheer weight and magnitude of what I was doing became too much for one person, and because it was the work of one person, the creativity began to lag and what once seemed like so much fun simply became work. Throw in a personal issue or two along the way and you have the ingredients for the death of passion which, as it turns out, is exactly what happened.

But, slowly, the passion began to return. I began to consider other possibilties for the website. What if SCN was more than just sobering and obscure news stories? What if, instead of writing about issues like homelessness and politics, I wrote about local artists, local philosophers and actually threw in some good news from time to time? What if we broadened the horizon and began to include things like fiction and cartoons to go along with interesting live interviews with intriguing people? What if SCN grew from its roots as an anti-mainstream media publication to become a one-stop shop for the quenching of intellectual and artistic thirst? What if SomethingCool News simply became…..Something Cool?

Once, I had been consumed with the idea of taking on local community newspapers, beating them at their own game and taking their readers. It mattered to me at one point how many people viewed SCN. When I reached the 11,000 mark I was elated, even if a good number of those people were only visiting the site for 30 seconds. Now, I realise what an empty goal that was and how meaningless my desire to be well-read was. If I wanted to be popular, I realised, I would have done things differently from the very outset. I now understand that I don’t care how many readers I get, how many people share my views on things and how popular my writing is. I just want to write about things I find interesting. Writing is one of the very few things I am sort of good at and if I can share my passion with people, regardless of how many those are, then that is what I want to do. That, in the end, will be my final legacy to this dark and chaotic world: a small beacon of brightness that may briefly enlighten the lives of one or two people.  Or none at all. But at least I will be able to say I did my best and that I tried, and that I had a hell of a time doing it.

So yes, change is coming. I am already working on some content for the relaunch of SCN, set to go down February 9th. Sure, there will be a new look, but it’s the content that I am most excited about. I experienced first-hand the difficulty of keeping personal levels of passion and morale high as a journalist/writer, so how do other bloggers and writers do it? I’m going to ask some. Speaking of writing, I recently met a Grade 12 student who couldn’t spell the word “seasonal” – how did this happen? I’m going to write about several kids I have met – a 16-year old who refuses to go to school, a 17-year old who is too smart for the school he’s in, and the personal trials of another young man who, despite starting off on the wrong foot, plans to finish off his education the proper way.

And, speaking of school, each year, many schools put out some high-quality plays, but mostly it’s the students of the school who come out to see them. I’ll ask a local play director why everyone in the community should go and check these plays out. I’ll ask a philosopher who shares his views online if being able to talk to the world in this new media age has actually improved the quality of all the philosophizing. I’m also going to track down a young political cartoonist to join the ranks of SCN and will share the writings of another young and local talent.

I’m also going to work on hard news features too, working on both a Good News Story of the Week and, just to be fair, a Bad News one as well. I’ll explain to you how kids as young as 14 are getting their hands on marijuana and, in a subsequent story, will tell you about the miracle of a near-fatal accident. And don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of commentary and opinion too, although I hope the majority of it is yours. But I will continue to bring you some of the opinions from people you have come to know well: Chris Alexander, James Breckenridge and Leo Knight to name just a few. Plus, I’ll opine a time or two and might even share some of my own artistic creations with you as well.

And that’s just a sampling of what’s coming. SCN will be interesting again, even if we have lost a few readers along the way. I have come to terms with that, and am okay with it. After all, this was never about making money or making friends – it was about engaging minds, perhaps even changing them with insights and perspectives not typically accessed. There’s no room for ego or vanity with that kind of purpose, and just as well – as I have recently learned, those are the things that will destroy a person’s passion, even as they work to keep an empty and starving soul alive.

See you on the 9th.

Fred.
Editor, Something Cool (News)

Advertisements

Late at Night, Women Only Have One Identity in Vegas

LAS VEGAS – An extremely unscientific experiment that I personally conducted seems to suggest that women have only one identity after midnight in Vegas. And it starts with a B.

But then women are already looked at a bit differently in Sin City as it is. From the smut peddlers who advertise the “hottest women in town”, to the trucks that troll the streets with signs reading, “We Bring the Girls to You” to the glossy paper magazines featuring photos of women that leave little to the imagination – women in Vegas “enjoy” a different status than the men. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is here.

My first experience with a woman in Vegas occured outside the Flamingo casino. A young woman approached me and asked, “Where you going sexy?” I said nothing but she persisted. “Yeah, I’m talking to you, sexy baby.” Since she had chosen to use the word ‘sexy’, I concluded she could not be speaking to me and kept walking.

That is when I ran into a pair of young women, slightly drunk, who were walking back to their hotel at 3 a.m. I followed them for three blocks and observed people’s reactions to the two women. (This is why my study was properly labeled ‘unscientific’.) Nearly every single male that came in contact with them said something deragotary or just entirely stupid.

“Hey baby, I got $17 with your name on it,” said one. Hearing this, another man agreed to up it to $30. Three black men offered to have their picture taken with the two women and asked them what they were doing. Another man offered them $75 and when they told him to beat it, he called them “bitches”.

One of the women got very irate about this. “That pisses me off,” she complained, “I’m a married woman, they shouldn’t talk that way to me. It makes me very angry.”

It went like this for three long Vegas blocks. The men, often accompanied by a woman of their own, could not resist making comments to the two girls. Many offered cash and some used the dreaded B-word.

“That’s such shit,” the complaining woman hissed to her friend. “I have a name, you know.”

My reaction? Not in Vegas, you don’t.

SomethingCool News Returns to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – SomethingCool News is returning to Las Vegas after a year and a half absence.

For the next five days, SCN editor Fred Johns will be traveling to Sin City to cover the Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion for SLAM! Wrestling, a sports website Fred occasionally writes articles for.

While there covering the reunion, Fred will be filing daily updates on his experiences. The last time he was there, Fred interviewed several homeless people, a taxicab driver and documented one crazy night walking down The Strip. This time, Fred will be busy covering the reunion, but also has plans to get around the city and uncover some interesting stories.

Because Fred is leaving late Sunday night, the new edition of SCN will be uploaded one day early, appearing online Sunday afternoon. This also means there will be no new edition of The Fred Factor, Fred’s popular Sunday night talk show. “I had hummed and hawed about doing a Vegas edition of the Factor,” Fred said, “but that would mean doing it live from my hotel room at one in the morning and I don’t think that would quite work.”

Each day, Fred will be filing his daily dispatches using his WordPress blog that he created some time ago. “I used the same technique when I was in Merritt and Westside earlier this year,” he said. This way, readers can check up each day to see what Fred is up to. Fred hopes to file his first piece early Monday morning before he goes to bed. “But no promises,” he said, adding that there will be something new to read Monday night for sure.

Fred will also be filing daily reports for SLAM! that will be available on the SLAM! website. The CAC Reunion is an annual event where many old-time wrestlers get together to reminisce and catch up with one another. There is also a banquet held on the last day of the event where some awards are given. This year’s reunion will be especially interesting. In attendance will be Bret Hart and Steve Austin, two of Fred’s personal heroes.

“You have no idea how excited I am,” Fred said. “Usually just going to Vegas is reason enough to be excited, but meeting two of your heroes – that’s just sick, dude.”

Fred will also be in town as the World Series of Poker is being played. Although the Main Event will not be played during Fred’s brief stay, Fred does plan to check out the action and file a report on what he sees.

“I plan to be quite busy,” he said before leaving. “I don’t know how much sleep I’ll be getting, but then I’m in the city that never sleeps. So wish me luck.”

Um….good luck?

A Response from Merritt’s Media

MERRITT – Wednesday, citizens in Merritt complained that the local news media routinely overlooks and underreports some news stories and have subsequently now lost some credibility among their readers. Thursday, two local media outlets were asked to respond.

The first newspaper asked for a response was The Merritt News, a weekly publication with a circulation of 5,100. Steve Thornton, the editor for the News, admitted he had only been on the job for a few weeks and was still trying to play catch-up with both his job and news events in the community.

“In the frenzy of having a new editor, a new reporter and the biggest news story to hit this city in a long time – yes, perhaps some facts got dropped,” Thornton confessed. Thornton has over 20 years of journalism and writing experience and only very recently accepted the job as the editor of the Merritt News.

Thornton was responding to the specific comments made by a local citizen Wednesday that a series of gas station robberies had occurred in recent days that had not been reported in any of the local papers. This same citizen also claimed this was “business as usual” for the Merritt newspapers, charging that they had also overlooked other big stories that go on at the annual music festival in town.

Thornton said he was genuinely happy to hear such criticism. “I am glad to hear that feedback, I sincerely am,” he said during an interview Thursday. “I have no reason not to cover stories and not to try my hardest to cover them.” Thornton explained that one of the challenges the News faces is the fact they are essentially a staff of five – a publisher, an administrator, a designer, an editor and one reporter.

“So, yeah, it’s hard to cover stories sometimes, but it’s not impossible,” Thornton continued. “Our reporter, Phillip, is not even thirty years old and still has the energy to run after stories all day long if he can find them. The problem is he’s new too and it’s a problem of not knowing enough about what’s going on around town.”

Merritt’s other local newspaper, The Merritt Herald, has been around a lot longer than the News and publishes twice a week. And unlike the News, the Herald is not a free paper, it costs $1.05 to purchase. The editor of the Herald, Heather Thomson, refused to go on the record for this article saying, “We can’t be quoted by other media outlets.”

But in a brief conversation, she stated that she understood not everyone was happy with the local media coverage, and she was aware of some of the complaints. And in response to the citizen’s complaint that an incident involving a truck running over a tent at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, Thomson claimed that the Herald had in fact reported on that story.

She also said it was hard for the paper to write about stories they did not know about. Like the News, she has a small staff that consists of only one reporter but said that had always been enough to put out the paper twice a week and keep the paper’s website updated. Thomson also said the staff actively listen to police scanners and feel they are generally aware of things that go on in the community.

The publisher of the Merritt News, John Morash, said that local media tries to do their best, but in a town of only 7,000 people, the job can be kind of complicated. “We’re not turning a blind eye to things,” Morash said, “but we’re also not chasing ambulances and covering car crashes either. We have to be sensitive to the people that live here. And you know, some people must have found value in our stories, because a lot of the bigger newspapers picked up our stories and many people told us they thought we had done a great job covering the recent tragedy.”

There is an added challenge in that it has been an unusually busy time for Merritt media. With a recent triple homicide, an arson and a controversy surrounding the Mayor, local journalists have worked long days to keep the people of the city informed. But, for the small town of Merritt, this is an exception rather than the rule.

“Frankly,” Morash said, “normally I find it amazing we have enough news stories to fill a newspaper with.”

In Issue #257 of SCN: An in-depth look at The Merritt News

Is Merritt’s Media Doing Its Job?

MERRITT – On the same day it was announced that Allan Schoenborn, the man accused of fatally stabbing his three children, had been officially charged with three counts of first-degree murder, several citizens in Merritt expressed concern that the local media had overlooked other, significant stories.

It’s no secret that many of Merritt’s 7,000 people felt the wall-to-wall coverage of the Schoenborn murder went too far. Media outlets across the country reported that many felt the press had “invaded” their small town and sensationalized the story.

“For four days the story seemed to be on every channel,” Patrick, a gas station attendant complained. “You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the man’s name on the radio or the t.v. or seeing it in a newspaper. It’s like the entire city was populated by just one man.”

But others said the coverage was fairly typical of Merritt’s media. “The local newspapers never tell you what’s really going on,” a waitress named Alicia said. “There’s a lot of stuff in this town that they just don’t want you to know about.”

As an example, she related a series of gas station robberies that have been going on recently. Two gas stations had been robbed in recent days and a third in Kamloops. “But there was nothing in the local papers about the robberies,” Alicia claimed. “The only reason I found about them is because the stepson of one of my co-workers works at one of the stations that was robbed.”

And it’s just not just recently she felt the Merritt media has been negligent. She said there is a lot of stuff that goes on during the Merritt Mountain Music Festival that is never reported. Just last year, she recalled, a person at the festival left their truck parked in neutral and it ended up running over someone that was in their tent.

“The papers didn’t say anything about that,”  Alicia said. “Again, the only reason I even heard about it is because one of the customers here is one of the people that worked on the Jaws of Life.” Asked why she believed this event was underreported she replied, “Because the papers don’t want the locals here to know what goes on there because if they did, then they wouldn’t want the festival here. And we all know how important the festival is to the businesses here.” She also alluded to some rapes that have taken place at the festival “that of course never made the paper.”

Alicia admitted she was “a little grateful” the big media outlets came to town. “For once, we actually knew what was going on in town.” She thought the coverage was a little “overboard”, but at least it was up-to-date information, something of a rarity, she said, where the Merritt media is concerned.

But, like many of Merritt’s residents, Alicia was annoyed that the big media outlets tried to make it sound as if the City of Merritt had been forever transformed by the recent murder of the three children. Back in 2003, she explained, a student at Alicia’s highschool had been abducted and tortured.

“Everyone seems to forget about that,” Alicia suggested. “We have the same problems that every city has,” she said flatly. “It’s just that you never hear about them.”

 

Tim Felger vs. Danny Plecas

ABBOTSFORD – Tim Felger and the son of one of his “intellectual adversaries” were involved in a physical confrontation Tuesday outside of a high school in Abbotsford that sprawled onto the street and eventually received the attention of local police.

Danny Plecas, 17, and Felger, 52, squared off in the parking lot next to Yale Secondary School. Plecas spotted Felger handing out flyers to kids on their way home from school and walked over to confront Felger, who has had some outstanding issues with his father, Daryl Plecas.

According to Felger, Plecas and a few other kids approached Tim and asked him what he was doing and what he thought about Daryl Plecas, a Criminology professor at the local University College of the Fraser Valley. Felger, involved in a controversy with Dr. Plecas last fall about Plecas’ decision not to attend a debate he promised he would attend, did not mince his words when asked for an opinion on Dr. Plecas.

“To tell you the truth, I think he’s a propaganda whore whose beliefs harm the community,” Felger answered the 17-year old’s question. The young man did not react well and stepped very close to Felger and demanded he take the statement back and show some respect to the boy’s father. Felger warned the young man to step back. Instead, the boy stepped closer. Felger warned him again and says he was ignored. There was no warning the third time – Felger admits he hit the boy on the side of the head.

“It’s not always who hits first that starts the fight,” Felger explained later. “When you get into someone’s personal space, like within 3 feet, you’re actually threatening them. When you get within 18 inches, you’re being provocative. And when you get within six inches, that’s right in their personal, intimate space. When you get into this space, you’re provoking a fight.”

Felger believes that’s what young Danny wanted all along, and was “building up the nerve” to punch Felger, except that Felger acted first. According to Felger, Plecas again advanced on him, so he hit the boy again. Then the other kids got involved and a mini-brawl ensued.

Felger estimated there were between 6-8 of them in total. Punches were thrown from both sides and the fight moved onto the street in front of the school. Despite being outnumbered, Felger said he was able to minimize his injuries with some strategic maneuvers.

“The only reason I didn’t get hurt was because it was just a bunch of dumb kids who didn’t understand what they were doing,” Felger said. “They’ll all have black eyes tomorrow and I’m just lucky I didn’t get beat down.”

The police were called but did not charge anyone. Felger was asked to sign a “no-go order”, banning him from being on school property. Felger complied and signed the order but expressed disappointment that the police did not charge Plecas for inciting the fight.

In the scuffle, Felger’s glasses and cell phone were damaged. Afterwards, Felger admitted he was shaken up by the incident. “This was not what I had intended to do,” he said, adding, “All I was doing was handing out flyers.”

Felger admitted they were provocative flyers, asserting on them that Dr. Daryl Plecas was a “propaganda whore”. He was hoping to recruit some of the local kids to his way of thinking and claimed he had no idea that Danny Plecas attended Yale Secondary School and that he was genuinely surprised to meet him.

Due to the late-breaking nature of this story, we were unable to contact Dr. Plecas for his reaction, though it is safe to assume he will not be happy to learn what has happened. It will undoubtedly exacerbate the existing differences between himself and Tim Felger, who insisted he didn’t want to cause any trouble and only reacted because he had to.

“It was determined before I did anything that Danny was going to fight,” Felger said. “And you know, I always try to walk away from trouble when I can. That may not sound like me, but when I was in jail, the first 30 days I had over 70 opportunities to get into a fight and on the 31st day I finally got into one because I couldn’t get away. I’m not afraid to run, but I’m also not afraid to fight. There are no winners in a fight, only two losers.”

Cop Blogger Seeks to Bring an Officer’s Perspective to the Blogosphere

I wrote this article about “The Philosophical Cop” on my website a couple of weeks ago. It’s about an American police officer who has come to WordPress to give the world his perspective on life in general. He’s an interesting man, made more interesting by the fact he hides his real identity from the world to protect both himself and his family. The only question that remains is, now that he has his blog, will anyone care enough about what he has to say?

A Philosophical Cop And His Blog

As it appeared in Issue #253 of SomethingCool News:

There’s this crazy story out of Los Angeles this past week involving the firing of a police officer after he allegedly used “excessive force” on a suspected car thief. The long and the short of it is that the officer was chasing the suspect, who he believed was carrying a gun, tackled him, hit him 11 times before finally restraining him. The incident was caught on tape and, naturally, the actions of the cop were second-guessed by everyone, including the media. Several columnists even called for his head – a wish that was eventually granted. And the suspect? He got three years in jail and a $450,000 settlement from the city.

This is exactly the type of incident that gets The Philosophical Cop all hot and bothered. He doesn’t hand out his real name, but he unapologetically posts his opinions on police matters on a blog, conveniently named The Philosophical Cop. “My mission here is simple: Education and understanding,” reads the very first entry on his blog, dated September, 2007.

“The vast majority of cops do excellent and heroic work in the vast majority of situations. Sometimes we fail. In either case, I think police incidents are often misunderstood, misrepresented, and unfairly characterized. Hopefully we can work on that together. I expect many readers will not agree with many things that I say. I know that not all of my posts will please you. Let’s talk about those. Welcome.”

If you caught the ‘we’ in the above paragraph, it’s not a typo. The Philosphical Cop is a police officer, who works for one of the largest police forces in the United States. He says he has worked as a detective, an officer, a tactical operator and a supervisor and done so in many different neighbourhoods. And like most police officers, has a healthy disdain for the mainstream press.

“My entire career,” he said, “I have been frustrated at the fact that (1) most Americans get their ‘view’ of the police from the mainstream media. And most of the mainstream media is either naïve, or downright hostile, about the way police work is done. And (2) a few activist groups get all the attention as they criticize the police and call them racists. WHERE ON EARTH is the silent majority?”

It is this frustration that led him to start his blog. “My mission has always been to represent the TRUTH about what cops do and what they go through,” he explained. “Their payment, by the way, for all the risks they take is the media selling them short, high blood pressure, family stress (missed weekends and missed kids’ parties), low life expectancy, high cancer rates, etc. Yet they keep on going.”

He knew he wanted to give people an informed voice on police work, but admitted he is far from a computer expert. Fortunately, websites like WordPress.com make blogging easy, so he was able to get up and running in no time. But now that he had the ability to “spread the word”, as he put it, what direction should he take?

“I quite simply wanted to show the world how life looks from a cop’s perspective,” he said. “Good, bad, or ugly, I just write the truth as I see it. Being a cop has changed me dramatically; I am more cynical, more short-tempered, and more judgmental in many ways. I am also more compassionate, more likely to help a stranger, and more in love with my family than prior to my service. So positive or negative, I wanted to show what this job does to someone. Cops don’t just go home…they are always cops.”

One of his other objectives was to present his views and perspective on current events in the media as they relate to police work. On the story involving the fired officer in Los Angeles, The Philosophical Cop was actually friendly to a columnist who previously chastised the officer before he had all the facts. “The media just seem to hate cops, and I can’t figure out why,” he wrote. “Outstanding work, then, by Steve Lopez for using his column this week as an apology to the officer who he initially sold down the river in Los Angeles.”

By adding his two cents to the debate, the Philosophical Cop feels he can hopefully give people something to think about in a way they might not have before. “I just want to mention how I see it. Many of the comments on my blog agree, and many do not. I simply wanted to speak my mind with no media editing involved. Isn’t that the power of the blogosphere? Isn’t that wonderful?”

Although the blog has not taken off the way he had hoped (he has only had 5,000 hits since September), he does have at least a few faithful followers. Gathering a solid readership has turned out to be a bigger challenge than he thought. “’Getting the word out’ will require many hundreds of readers. I am trying to learn how to do this, but thus far have not succeeded. I may have to learn more technical tricks.”

But he’ll learn them, if that’s what it takes to change people’s minds. “Sometimes police work is ugly. That is because officers are willing to place themselves in situations that no one else will; street police officers seek out the deranged man with the gun to arrest him, they search for the rapist to stop his crime, and they drive TOWARDS the murderer, while everyone else drives away. For that reason they deserve respect; or at the very least, a fair shake. Instead, they get biased, one-sided criticism from a media system whose bias is so clearly liberal it is sometimes laughable. Interestingly, I am a fairly liberal person (especially among cops) however the large newspapers and the anti-police lobby in the states just railroad the cops at the first smell of blood.”

You might think that writing about media biases and tragic police officer deaths would keep the Philosophical Cop in a perpetual state of depression. Not so much. “I am incredibly optimistic,” he said. “I am upbeat about the police / victim relationship. The men and women I work with go to work each day as victims’ advocates. They arrest criminals to prevent you from becoming a victim, and to provide justice to those who already are victims. It is cops, and cops alone, who stop that man from victimizing someone else. I also believe that 99% of Americans trust and respect police officers. That is precisely why it is so tragic that the mainstream media and a few outspoken critics poison the picture before it is presented.”

The Philosophical Cop is there to present us with the complete picture, or at the very least, as much of it as he can provide. Yes, police officers are imperfect creatures doing impossible work to achieve an impossible objective, but they still do it, and many with integrity and honour. And if they don’t, well you can expect that he will be first one to point it out.

In a post about a crooked New York City Police Officer, the Cop wrote, “I am the first one to stand by the officer who makes an honest mistake. I am also the first one to reign down fury on a crooked cop. This guy actually got caught bragging about a drug theft on his own wiretap. That means he knew the line was being recorded. I am the biggest supporter of cops that ever lived. But drug dealers are drug dealers, uniform or not. Straight to jail with this guy, I say.”

The Philosophical Cop Blog is a one-stop shop for something to think about for those weighty police matters. It’s not for the weak of heart and not for those who have already made up their minds. It’s a place where clear thinkers and people who want to learn something will always find something new. And it’s one more example of the way police officers work tirelessly at their jobs – whether they are on the clock or off.

There’s another good side to the blog as well – at least for its creator. “I confess that at least 50% of my motivation is selfish,” The Philosophical Cop said. “I vent and have therapy on that blog. So it helps me as much as anyone else.”

On the Web: http://philosophicalcop.wordpress.com