1244 Frankie and Johnnie
These guys aren’t exactly household names, though you’re more likely to know about John.
For Frank, you have to have a long memory and some mileage on your personal odometer.
Frank was Frank Wills the rent-a-cop who discovered the Watergate break-in that brought down President Nixon and brought a lifetime of fame or infamy to countless “personalities” of the era.
What happened to Wills thereafter was less American Dream than American nightmare.
Wills died in 2009 with barely a nickel to his name. No job. No nuthin’. He died as he was born, poor and wanting. A shame, really.
Now there’s John Pike. John was the rent-a-cop who pepper sprayed a bunch of sitting students during an “occupy” demonstration at the University of California-Davis in 2011.
And Pike is no Frank. After video of his behavior went viral, he was fired. And now, he’s been awarded $38,000 for his trouble, the kind of thing that would land a civilian in jail -- and rightfully so.
The victims of his shower of blindness each got about 30-grand. That’s part of a big suit and settlement that pitted UC against a bunch of kids with the sight of sore eyes.
Why not give John the Frank-treatment? Well, gentle readers, it’s because he’s depressed. Awww. Who isn’t these days?
No, really. He got death threats. He felt terribly guilty, or so his lawyers intimate. He’s just a big bowl of the shakes.
This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you put untrained and inexperienced people in jobs that demand restraint. Not to say that experienced and trained people in New York’s Occupy behaved any better. But none that we know of got a decent payday for pushing, shoving, clubbing, intimidating or otherwise making life miserable for a bunch of idealistic if not misguided and confused kids in lower Manhattan.
Occupy was a movement without a cause. Or at least it was a movement with only a vague sense of a cause and of the way causes are fought for. They had some good points when you could squeeze a straight answer out of them. But that’s not what this is about.
If John were a civilian, it would have been illegal for him to have pepper spray -- at least in most places. It would have been illegal-er for him to use it. Not a huge crime. But a crime nonetheless.
But the uniform? It changes things. That blue suit means something. What it means is defend when attacked, not attack at random.
So life ended badly for Frank Wills. And we don’t yet know how things will work out for John Pike.
That 38-thousand dollar check won’t go very far after taxes. He’s not going to get endorsements from weapons makers. The NRA won’t make him a hero because pepper spray is not lethal.
His next act may have to be an endorsement contract with some maker of antidepressants.
--Time Magazine (yes, it’s still around, believe it or not) has started on the kind of campaign that founder Henry Luce would use to boost his friends and slay his enemies. It has started making Prince Charles of England into a world leader, since he is first in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth, who -- contrary to popular perspective is not immortal. So they’re pointing out his every little good deed in hopes of distracting the world’s attention from a stiff with a wife who is the dream queen of the supermarket tabloid scandal mongers.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013