Let’s Play Pit!

By: Patti Bankson

When our family was on the road singing, the kids and I often whiled away the time and the miles playing “Pit”, a card game about commodities trading. It was wild, raucous and a lot of fun … for us. For some reason, from where our driver/husband/dad sat, it wasn’t fun … it was just very, very loud!

Many in our society play a “game” that could also be called “Pit”. But their version gets its title from various groups being pitted against one another, not from the trading floor. Come on … You’ll see what I mean when we watch them “play” the new “Pit”!

One example of this dangerous and destructive “game” pits the citizens against the police. Usually the bad guys are the lawbreaking citizens. But sometimes, it’s the other way around, as seems to be the case in a deadly incident last November in Queens, NY.

Sean Bell and two friends were leaving his bachelor party at a strip club where police had been conducting an undercover operation. The wedding was to be later that day. But before he would face his bride-to-be, he would face undercover police who thought one of his friends had a gun. When the three young men were leaving in Bell’s car, Bell clipped an undercover officer who fired at them; he said he identified himself as a police officer before he fired. Bell’s car then struck an unmarked minivan with more undercover officers inside, some of whom also fired shots. 5 officers. 50 shots. Sean Bell dead; his two friends injured, one shot 19 times. No gun was found, although allegedly, a third friend left the scene with a gun. He’s not been found, either.

A grand jury indictment, unsealed Monday, charged Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora, who fired 31 times and 11 times respectively, with felony manslaughter and assault. A third Detective, Marc Cooper, who fired 4 shots, was charged with misdemeanor endangerment.

The head of the NYC detectives’ union wasn’t happy about the indictments, saying, “The message being sent by the indictments will have a chilling effect; not only on NYC detectives and NYC police, but law enforcement through-out the country.” Although I believe police have a scary, dangerous job in which they have to make life-and-death decisions based on unknowns, in the time it takes to inhale, from what I know of this case, I disagree. At the same time, I don’t do their job every day, so I can’t really know what it’s like to walk in their shoes.

The one thing I can know is what it’s like to walk in my own shoes. If I drank (which I don’t, but used to), and I were leaving a bar in the wee hours, I remember those days well enough to know that the chances would be good – unfortunately – that I wouldn’t be sober enough to not hit someone or something. But whether I drink or not, the world being what it is today, I’d think at least twice before I’d stop my car for a stranger who says he’s a police officer. He’s undercover … dressed like everyone else… doesn’t look like a cop. Unmarked car … could be anybody’s … doesn’t look like a police cruiser.

I’d say I could be in serious trouble. Could have 19 bullet holes in me. Could be dead.

Patti Bankson invites your comments at pbankson@cfl.rr.com
&copy 2007 Patti Bankson

About The Author Patti Bankson:
Send comments to pbankson@cfl.rr.com © 2011 Patti Bankson The Way I See It / The Apopka Chief / www.thelandofthefree.net

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