Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Postal workers are human, too

Jerry Stratton, July 14, 1996

It was only a few weeks ago we discovered that traffic laws are merely guidelines, at least when the police are driving. This morning we received another lesson in just how elite the police have become in San Diego’s newspapers.

On Friday, Los Angeles police officer Guillermo de la Cruz went nuts after breaking up with El Cajon officer Patty Garcia. He shot his ex-girlfriend and her friend, El Cajon officer Mark Amato, and then committed suicide.

If the killer had been a postal worker, we know what would’ve been reported. But not in this case. We haven’t heard any wailing about an epidemic of gun violence; there have been no calls to make it harder for police to buy firearms. The gun wasn’t given a life of it’s own and blamed for the tragedy, nor were police officers in general demonized.

No, this killing was merely a reminder that “police officers are human beings like everybody else”.

I don’t know about you, but most of my friends are human beings, all of them have had failed love affairs, and none of them have ever shot or killed anyone.

Can you imagine your local postmaster, after another worker goes postal, saying, “well, postal workers are human beings just like everyone else”, and getting away with it? The press would have his hide, and rightfully so. Going nuts and killing people because your girlfriend dumped you is hardly normal behavior.

The words “crazed” and “gunman” and “assault”, mainstays in similar stories that don’t involve police officers, never appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune article (p. B1). Instead, we find that it was “the frustration and pain of a failed love relationship” that “pushed” officer de la Cruz to shoot his ex and her friend.

I’m a little worried about the state of mind of the Tribune staff writers. Reporter Maria Hunt never questioned whether or not this is in fact normal human behavior. Whoever wrote the headlines put the “Police officers are human beings” quote right into the headline with no apparent sarcasm. Is this the way we can expect Tribune reporters to act in the future?

I think I’d be very careful if I were dating a Union-Tribune employee. I might even want to buy a gun.

  1. <- Nobody in 1996
  2. Hong Kong ->