On the television and in movies, the police are not always shown to be the most competent people around. They pine for donuts and can easily be confused when they confront criminals, leading to said criminals getting away. After watching the Police Academy movie series, in which the police were depicted to be nearly entirely incompetent (and yet surprisingly successful when there was a need) I reached the conclusion that the police should not be taken seriously. Fortunately, I have had a good life of positive and less than positive experiences with the real police to know exactly how serious they are.

I suppose it would have been quite helpful if someone had told this to Joseph Rainier, who was pulled over and decided that he was going to take a page out of the playbook from movie and television villains and started arguing back to the police hoping that he could fool them. Instead of fooling them into thinking that he was a police officer and that they would somehow get into trouble for pulling him over, however, he was taken down to the station where charges were pressed against him for (poorly) attempting to impersonate a police officer.

I can’t help but wonder how he really thought that the scenario would work itself out. He probably thought that all he would have to do is to flash something that looked like a police badge, speak in an authoritarian tone, and that the police officer would have just let him go like that. Perhaps it would have been just as useful to thrust a big box of donuts at the police officer and to hope for the best. Or maybe he could have burst into song and serenaded him with a few bars from “Officer Krupke” and hope that the officer was a fan of Leonard Bernstein.

How far we seem to have come as far as a society that has respect for the uniformed officers that protect us from crime. In Judaism we are taught to pray for the welfare of the government, for it not for its existence, “each man would eat his neighbor alive!” In a world in which police officers are stabbed in the head, how are we to proceed? With nothing but the greatest respect for the police, whether it means calling them by respectful titles or wishing them a good day. Just a thought.


  1. Frightened people do really stupid things! Once you tell the lie, you better fess up immediately or you have to play it out to the end.

  2. “Pray for the welfare of your captors, for them does your well-being rely” or something to that effect. I do it daily.
    And there’s wisdom to that. If the ‘government’ fails, we do too. Simply by association. Oy Vey!

    1. Rebbe Hanina said, and it was recorded in tractate Avodah Zarah of the talmud, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear thereof, men would swallow each other alive.”

      1. I’ve been studying Pirkei Avot.
        “Get yourself a teacher” was the first thing that stuck in my mind.
        But the section as a whole is a WEALTH of wisdom and just plain common sense, from a perspective that one can actually benefit from. RaMBaM (I can’t spell his name) has been my ‘teacher’ of late.
        I love reading those writings. 🙂

Comments are closed.