Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Making the Men in Blue Read

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

5 comments:

B2 said...

Two L.A. mysteries (to inspire the cops to better cop work): Ray Bradbury's Let's All Kill Constance and Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.

Kabooke Quantum Fighter said...

hullo b2. you came to my site and said you werent scared of the exorcism files?!? did you hear them?! your profile says your wife is a rabbi, which means shes very religious, and im assuming you are too...and you werent scared? are you lying?!? did you visit the site and hear the audio?!?
ps: good post about edumacating the pigs. '1984' would be good reading for the also.

On The Mark said...

"Atonement" by Ian McEwan

Chandira said...

How about Robert Anton WIlson's Cosmic Trigger? There's a passage in there about a green dog that appeared to 2 Boston police, siad a polite 'Good morning' then disappeared in a puff of green smoke.
Or, Watership Down, English classic about a warren of wild rabbits. I don't know a person alive who, on reading that, didn't turn veggie instantly.

Chandira said...

Oops, th smoke was green, not the dog. Now that would just have been weird.