By Mike Sherman
I usually try to bring forth topics that pertain specifically to RVers that travel the highways of America, discussing topics pertaining to your safety and your security. The readers of RV Travel have been a great asset, adding aspects and comments that I fail to touch on. Space limitations prevent deeper discussions, but today is different.
As a retired cop, I was exposed to the ugly side of humanity too often, and was fortunate to have tools to deal with the emotional impact of dealing with criminals and victims. The victim’s grief was always unsettling. This edition needs to take a turn to the impact of mass murder on a national scale, and the ugly emotions that have gripped a nation due to last week’s horrific killings on a grand scale. My tool box to deal with it is getting empty.
I always got a kick out of preventing crime. Most cops will tell you one of the most effective crime prevention tools is the vehicle code. Government lawyers never miss an opportunity to add new laws to the books, so minuscule is the code that a burned out license plate bulb creates probable cause for an officer to stop you immediately, and check you for drugs, alcohol, burglary tools, stolen property … anything that is a greater violation than what you were stopped for. It’s called “fishing,” and it is a lucrative tool for cops, especially if you work the graveyard shift.
I’m sure you have seen stories of bad guys being busted for very serious crimes, all because they were speeding, or made an unsafe lane change, or failed to signal their intent, or their vehicle suffered from a minor defect that broke the law. You have probably questioned why a suspect would, for example, be transporting thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs across state lines and not make sure their tail lights worked properly and obey the speed limit. Oftentimes the answers were explained in the squad room at shift’s end. “He wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack,” or “The lights were on but nobody was home” or “The elevator didn’t go to the top floor.” Oh, how I miss the simplicity of the good old days of law enforcement.
Those days are gone. It seems to me that Columbine opened an era of mass killings that seem to be increasing. If you go camping, one could easily claim you are much safer than going to a theater, shopping center, medical office, concert or military base (Ft. Hood made me sick), etc. etc. etc.!
I advocate prevention and safety for RVers, but am frustrated by the inability to comprehend how in the world we, as a society, can deal with the trauma of mass killings, and oftentimes not even understanding the “why.” My heart goes out to the medical personnel who respond to such events and the law enforcement personnel that have to deal with the overwhelming aftermath of massive killings – that makes us realize how easily any one of us could become a victim simply by going about our daily routine.
So how do we prevent becoming a victim of a trend that is becoming so pervasive that a motorcycle backfiring in Times Square sends hundreds into a panic run for their lives? Like I said, my tool box is running low on my ability to grasp it all. It’s no fun knocking on someone’s door to make a death notification of a loved one. I can’t imagine having to make multiple notifications during a single shift. I can’t wrap my mind around the possibility. Yet, our first responders do the job. They make me proud.
Regular readers of my column realize that I am obviously pro-Second Amendment. However, I am beginning to question the need for a clip that holds 100 rounds of ammunition.
I would appreciate hearing your ideas on what can be done on the preventive front, to help stop these massive killings. I will put forth my own ideas next week.
Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.
Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at [email protected] if you have questions, or leave a comment below.
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