The big news story in town over the last two days has been the incident where Kansas City police officers jailed a woman who was pregnant and bleeding, but was driving a car with fake tags. The woman pleaded with officers to check her to see she wasn't lying, but they declined. The result was that the woman gave birth to a three month old baby the next day and the baby proceeded to live for one minute. Not surprisingly, there has been a pretty large public outcry over the issue. The tape shows pretty clearly that no matter the circumstances (the woman did have several outstanding warrants) the officers acted in a manner that was well beneath standards that most would consider decent.
At least that seems to be the consensus everywhere but on the area's favorite right-wing radio station. I like to keep tabs on what is going on in the separate reality that calls AM home. Anyway, the local drive time show was covering this issue at length. The hosts who have taken over for Jerry Agar were taking the side of mainstream America on this one. They were pretty consistent in their comments that the officers were in big trouble and that they should be. It all seemed very reasonable. But as I've learned time and again listening to these shows, underestimate the callers' callousness at your own peril. In the time it took me to drive home I heard 3 callers side with the woman and 3 others side with the officers. Actually, they didn't so much side with the officers as side against the woman.
It's amazing enough that 50% of callers (in an admittedly small sample) saw no problem with what happened. But what really threw things over the top were the arguments each caller made. One man suggested that this was merely another case of a frivolous lawsuit being brought against the police, and if we didn't get such suits under control we wouldn't have a police force anymore. The man did not elaborate on what kind of circumstances it would take for there to be a justifiable lawsuit against the police. Perhaps if they shot an unarmed baby he might concede, although he also might argue that they would have no way of knowing what the bulge in the baby's diaper was actually concealing.
Another man said the story was just to fishy because anyone in their right mind would have called 911 instead of trying to drive to the hospital. The radio hosts suggested that the stress of being pregnant and bleeding might have meant the woman wasn't thinking completely clearly, or she might simply have not had a phone. The caller was having none of this, simply repeating his points and insisting that it just wasn't right.
The showstopper, however, was a woman who called and suggested that the pregnancy issue was a ploy to get out of being arrested. Her argument was that she used to work at some retail establishment and shoplifters would fake seizures to get out of arrests. Her claim was that if you could get yourself taken away from the scene in an ambulance, the police could no longer arrest you. Well that, of course, is completely inaccurate. But the woman argued about it with the hosts for a few good rounds. And when the hosts explained that no matter whether it was illegal or not this woman really did have a problem, she simply responded by declaring that it still didn't mean that she wasn't just trying to get out of being arrested. It was true because she "seen it too many times."
The compassion is rather astounding isn't it?