Every once in a while, when I’m bored, I tune in to “The First 48”. The show follows a homicide investigation from the initial call out through the first 48 hours of the investigation. The premise is that if the police don’t get a lead during that time frame, the chances of solving the murder decline significantly.
The show I saw followed New Orleans homicide cops. It started with a body dump of a black female. She had been stabbed multiple times. The victim had a history of drugs and assaults. In fact, she was due in court the morning her body was found. She took a hammer to her common law husband.
The cops interviewed the daughter. Daughter allowed that she was a drug addict with multiple arrests. She was a brawler and wouldn’t take “shit” from anybody. She routinely carried a razor for self defense. But she was a good mother. What followed was tears of woe. As the cops were getting ready to leave, daughter asked if they had a photo of the dearly departed. They gave her a booking photo.
The cops went on to capture the bad guy, the common law husband. The cops returned to the daughter to give her the good news. As they were leaving, she pulled out the booking photo. It had been trimmed and now was a memorial to her late mother. How sad is that?
It got me to thinking. I don’t have many pictures of me. I don’t even have a booking photo. I guess this will work.
This dredged up an incident from my past. During a “buy bust” a crook bumped his head on the pavement. No loss of consciousness, no goose egg just a little pavement rash. Once at the jail he asked for an aspirin. The jail nurse asked if he was injured. He replied that he had a headache and just needed an aspirin. That’s all it took. It’s called last tag.
He had not been booked. Therefore he didn’t belong to the Sheriff. It was up to the arresting officer to get him medical attention. Doc in the box wouldn’t cut it. The Medical Center, a Level One Trauma Center, was the only acceptable treatment facility. This meant a process that would normally take six hours and could be as long as eighteen hours.
I had to take an idiot to Medical Center. Four hours later we were in line at x-ray so that they could take x-rays of his head.
During this entire process the crook kept saying, “What am I doing here? I just wanted an aspirin.”
I told him he was going to get x-rays. I could tell that the concept did not compute. He had no idea what an x-ray was. Waste four hours of my time. I’ll show them.
I asked him if he ever got his picture took in elementary school? Remember afterwards they gave him photos to take home to his mama? Some were big pictures and others were little ones that she could put in her wallet.
Yeah, he could remember that happening.
“Well,” I explained, “this was the same thing. They were going to take his picture. Big ones and little ones. It would be just like at school. He needed to be sure to ask for his copies of the pictures when they were done. Don’t take no for answer just keep asking, they’re your pictures.”
He took me at my word. He asked the x-ray tech, the nurse and the doctor. He became insistent. He wanted his pictures. Not for him, but for his mama.
They blew him off. I professed that I was just as clueless as they were. I didn’t know what he was talking about. We got out of there in less than six hours, a new record.
In order for an individual or group to integrate into society, they have to want to. How does one go about including people who don’t want to be included?