Police Encounter Survival 101

Aside from silly movies or bad TV shows where corrupt cops go out murdering just for fun, police officers do not want to have to fire their weapons. They do not want to kill anyone, and they sure don’t want to have to deal with all the paperwork required even when they don’t kill someone.

That even goes for “warning shots” fired into the air, because what goes up must come down, and can kill. That’s why firing a gun into the air is illegal pretty much anywhere (and abjectly stupid literally everywhere). Any cop who did it would be cashiered and, in the current climate if anyone got hurt, would likely face a felony charge.

So it doesn’t matter how justified you may think you were before the cop ordered you to drop your weapon: if you don’t comply, you are no longer in the right.

“Whoa-oo-who-o-o-o-oa, Listen to the Science”

Years ago a friend told me that when you’re talking to people in a group, the majority of them may not follow your words, but they will certainly “hear your music.” By this he meant that non-verbal cues would carry even if the substance of your comments doesn’t.

This effect becomes even more pronounced when most of the people you’re talking to don’t even have the basis for following your words even if they're paying rapt attention. Imagine, for example, being an epidemiologist interviewed on network news, encouraged to go into minute detail on how a virus infects a person, or how a vaccine promotes immunity.

People in the health-care sector might hear the substance of the epidemiologist’s words and find them accurate and valid.

You and I, however, would hear a lot of technobabble we can’t follow, and fall back on trusting the speaker's “music,” which may sound anxious because epidemiologists aren’t usually brilliant public speakers — especially if they’ve been selected by the network news to explain a complex medical concept.

And of course, when the science has finished speaking, the media chimes in, in the form of the interviewer, eyes wide and haunted, playing the song of fear — even if what the science just got through saying was that there was absolutely nothing to fear, and the virus/vaccine would only cause lollipops to spontaneously appear out of thin air at the exact moment you want them to.

This affords our media friends a perfect workaround for what Michael Crichton discussed when describing his “Gell-Mann Amnesia” effect, which would otherwise have medical professionals objecting to the lies the media would be putting in science’s mouth (while of course continuing to assume they’re getting everything else right). This way the knowledgeable are appeased while the rest remain subject to media fearmongering.

Maybe critical media-consumer skills should be taught to kindergarteners, and reinforced throughout the grades, and college, and as part of any continuing education that may be required for various occupations. Just to make sure it takes.

Same Old Song

Well, no. I mean, of course they’re not new songs, because I don’t listen to the radio — broadcast or satellite — these days, so I have no way of finding out about new music. Last time I heard a new (by my standards) song in the wild that ended up in my collection, it was an (actually older by her standards) Adele track I heard in the supermarket, back when supermarkets were playing actual songs for customers. Anyway, they’re new to my collection, but what has really changed is how I get reminded of an old favorite that I haven’t previously acquired.

See, it used to be that I’d read about a song or an artist on Dustbury, the much missed blog operated by the late Charles Hill, but when he passed away tragically in 2019 that memory jog ended. For a while after that I didn’t add much to my music collection. Once at a barbecue joint I heard a Brooks & Dunn tune I liked and decided to get, but 2020 happened and getting out to hear random songs, new or otherwise, became a rare thing.

That changed, though, because — well — 2020 happened. I started checking out music-related videos on YouTube, such as those posted by Rick Beato at first, and now also by Adam Reader, and Grady Smith.

Beato specializes in digging into the guts and gristle of great music and showing why it’s great. His lists don’t always match my opinions, but he always has good reasons to support his. Reader, as “Professor of Rock,” is more of a historian of the genre, and between him and Beato I’ve bought quite a lot of rock music (by my standards) in recent months. Grady Smith talks about country music, and actually spurred me to add to my already oversized Alan Jackson collection while also talking about a new strain of neotraditionalism in country music lately. If I can find an Atlanta-area station that plays the tunes he’s referring to, I may turn the radio on again.

However I find new music, or get reminded of old music, that I want to own, it still honors my late friend Charles, who first got me in the habit of raiding the digital music market to add to what I had already ripped from the CDs I bought in the 1990s. Others may be providing the hints now, but the original inspiration was his.