Law enforcement. Police. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now how I feel about these folks. My relationship with the police goes back to my mid teens. Arguably, it could reach further in that my dad was briefly in law enforcement, and my uncle made his career in the RCMP. My uncle lived halfway across the country, and my dad’s stint as town police came and went before I was even born, so I never felt any real connection to the occupation. It’s fair to say though, that I was raised in a general “pro LEO” environment. I was unbiased, more or less
I lived in a very small town, population of about 1,500. It happened to be the regional headquarters for the RCMP, so there was in inordinate number of police present in such a small town. My first interactions with police were mostly as a paperboy. I delivered the morning newspaper, 6 days a week to mush of town. I recall that I had nearly 100 customers on 2 separate routes that I did on my bicycle for years. That’s another story, getting up at 430-500 to deliver papers before going to school. It sounds inhumane, but at the time I mostly enjoyed it. It was the only income in the household outside of social assistance.
I got to know a few of the officers in town, at one point I delivered papers to 5 of them. In retrospect, it probably bought me a lot of favour; but it was used up quickly. My first interaction with police, complete with lights, but no sirens, was when I was probably 13. My hobby at the time was radio controlled cars. I would drive them on the road in front of my house, fairly rural but within town limits.
There was a sightline of about 1/3 mile in one direction, and almost a mile in the other direction, so it would have been an iffy spot for road hockey, but plenty of time to clear the road on sight of a car. According to the police, I was in violation of the law, and a danger to the driving public. I’d been warned. I was a bit shaken by the encounter, but I took it at face value and was hyper-vigilant while I continued to drive my radio controlled cars on the road as a scofflaw.
At this point, I had no real reason to harbour ill will towards law enforcement. The hassled me over something trivial, but I was in the wrong. I still believed that cops were the good guys, and I could trust them if ever the occasion arose. A couple of years passed, and something happened that turned my thoughts to the police, and how they could help me catch a criminal!
I have to back up a bit and give you some background info first. As I mentioned, I delivered newspapers on my bicycle. Over the years, my routes expanded, and I was putting a lot miles on my bike. The hand-me-downs and canadian tire bikes were falling apart and unreliable, so I bought a used Specialized Rockhopper through a small bike shop in the “big city” 20 miles away (it had a mall, a mcdonalds and a movie theatre, population less than 10,000). This was the place you had to go if you needed anything. The bike was $500, sold by a hardcore mountain biker who bought something newer. The rockhopper was used, but well maintained and had some upgrades. I loved it, and rode it year round delivering papers and exploring trails.
I forged a relationship with the bike shop owner, taking it in for occasional maintenance; mostly chains. I broke 7 chains; about 2/year. The bike shop insisted I was misusing it somehow, but we eventually agreed it was the shimano deraileur that “wasn’t designed to be shifted under load”. It’s a mystery to me, but I did end up buying a chainbreaker tool so I could replace my own chains.
Being the only bike shop within a hundred miles, anyone who was a serious biker went there for something. As it turned out, there was a very enthusiastic cyclist in my town that went there for service. I would see him often around town on his road bike, in all weather, decked out in the appropriate cycling livery, like a one man peloton.
A middle aged guy dressed up as Lance Armstrong stands out in a small rural town, and so did his bike. His bike stood out to me, at least. It was high end, and customized to suit his requirements. There was no other bike like it
I know this is getting a long way off topic, but I’ll bring it back. I have to stop here, so I’m just going to post this up now, so I’m committed to finishing the story. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve abandoned because I couldn’t finish them in one sitting. Just remember, this leads into how law enforcement can be the worst kind of evil. Stay tuned…