Bad Cops

When I first heard about these arrests on Channel 8, here in Dallas, and saw the police video, I was so angry I could hardly see straight. It’s precisely this sort of police activity that gives cops a bad name. The fact that these cops can be clearly heard saying that they are looking for a “pretext stop”, i.e., stopping people for minor traffic infractions that cops only enforce when they want to pull someone over, is utterly disgusting. Watch the video that shows one of the female cops grinning and laughing about the situation, like it’s just a big game to them. That can only be described as the arrogance of power.
I suggest that the legislature act immediately on this problem, and prohibit the police from arresting anyone for a violation that could not carry jail time as a penalty. (In essence, this means prohibiting police arrest for any violation of law, other than a Class B misdemeanor or higher.) I also suggest that the legislature make it illegal for police to engage in so-called “pretext stops”, where the intent of the officer is to use a minor traffic violation as justification for a traffic stop, so that he can fish for more serious crimes (usually some sort of drug possession).

The New Psychology of Time

This was an interview of Stanford Professor Philip Zimbardoon on NPR’s “Think”, which is broadcast in the Dallas area. (The podcast is available at

This professor seems to be studying an interesting and important aspect of the human mind, which is the capability for long-range planning and thinking. He seems to take the position that this is a skill that must be developed rather than an automatic function, which I agree with. He noted his work with inner-city youths to teach them how to think long-range, which illustrates that it is a skill that must be learned. Another interesting statement by this professor was when he noted that school students need to be taught how to engage in long-range planning, and that this skill is one of the things that distinguishes (most) adults from children –as well as what distinguishes (most) modern men from primitive man. I also agree with this. He said something to the effect of: schools should teach children how to meditate on taking long-range action, which I took to mean: visualize a goal, then think about what they need to do to achieve that goal, and (presumably) take action to achieve that goal. If only Texas schools spent time teaching children this skill, instead of wasting time on that meaningless minute I’ve spoken of before.