On Being a PPB (Police Punching Bag)

While enjoying a Mother’s Day brunch at my sister’s house, I learned that my older niece’s boyfriend has an interesting part-time job.  He has a theater background, and role-plays for training seminars to help police deal with unstable individuals and hostage situations.  He’s played drunks, people high on drugs, people having a psychotic episode, and people who for the moment are just very, very pissed off.

One of his recent gigs involved playing someone from the last category: a distraught father who’s holed himself up in a house with his kids and threatening to kill them.  While I didn’t learn a lot of details, he apparently played his role so well that a frustrated cop ended up giving him a black eye.

I was struck by the irony of someone who volunteers to put himself in harm’s way by our Protectors and Servants (granted, he’s paid for it), when they will freely dish out the same punishment to any slob on the street unfortunate enough to find themselves in a cop’s crosshairs.  It also disturbs me that whatever training the police take to deal with unstable individuals, it doesn’t seem to be working very well.

I mean, if an actor can get clocked by the police during a simulated exercise, what does that bode for genuinely troubled people when the cops have access to their Tasers and sidearms?  Unfortunately to ask is to answer.

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