Cop John

If you see fraud, and don’t shout “fraud”, you are a fraud.—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile (2012)

10eowgWhen we lived in Baltimore in our mid-twenties, before the kids and all the rest, Anna-Liisa and I went out dancing every weekend. Our favorite club was this place called “1722” on Charles Street. Everybody’s got a nickname in Charm City, even the house dealer at a nightclub: dude was known as “Cop John”. He sat at the bar and dealt ecstasy and coke openly. We assumed that his nickname was a joke (like calling a big guy “Tiny”) until we saw him in handcuffs on the six-o’clock news. He was actually a cop! And his name was actually John (John Harold Wilson). Officer Wilson had been selling drugs confiscated on the job for years. Had a bunch of his fellow officers in on it too. I couldn’t help but think of Cop John as I watched The Seven Five (2014) last night, a Netflix documentary about the crazy levels of criminality amongst New York City cops in the 1980s and 1990s. There’s a profound philosophical truth communicated by The Seven Five, and it’s something my Police Tech students don’t hear nearly enough: namely, that loyalty, like any virtue, can become a vice when it’s not balanced by the demands of other virtues, such as justice, integrity, honesty. Most cops aren’t like Cop John. But cop culture’s single-minded obsession with loyalty is precisely what allows the Cop Johns of this world to flourish and prosper.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2017)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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