Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.
Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626), English philosopher
The Mayor of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico came up with a good idea that maybe the Los Angeles Chief of Police could institute, which is mandating literature for the officers. The reading list ranges from Don Quixote to the latest crime novels. Maybe if our police officers were a bit more literate they might be a bit slower to club or shoot someone. Heck, they might even care enough to show up in a timely manner.
I don’t pretend that teaching our police officers to read anything beyond the latest NRA magazine will make them less obnoxious, but it could help. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Nezahualcoyotl Mayor Luis Sanchez says, “Reading makes us better people, more sensitive, more able to express ourselves.” I believe the mayor is on to something.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has a reading group, but it is more for blueblood networking, certainly not for the men in blue. But, they should have a reading group. I recall an officer that came to our house to take the report on my missing grandfather, I mentioned some young people who had befriended my grandfather. The officer had assumed befriended meant become one’s enemy.
Expanding and opening the minds of those who have chosen to protect and to serve seems like a great idea to me. “There is no doubt that if you open people’s minds to the world of literature, that you also open up a world of sensitivity and of civilization, as any of us who read already know. That seems a worthwhile effort,” said Paco Ignacio Taibo II, one of Mexico’s best-selling crime novelists.
My recommendation is for the police reading list is The Grapes of Wrath. Do you have any suggestions?
Reading—I discovered—comes before writing. A society can exist—many do exist—without writing, but no society can exist without reading.
Alberto Manguel, writer