Write, Right, Rite

Ah, the joys of editing. In a previous life I found myself reviewing police reports and search warrant affidavits. At first, I tried to ensure that the written effort met two standards. The first standard was that it bear some resemblance to the rules of grammar. The second is that the content identified and proved up the “elements of the offense.” I soon realized that I had set an impossible standard. I settled for proving the elements of the offense, form be damned.

Dashiell Hammett, Joseph Wambaugh and Gene Roddenberry* aside, cops are not the most literary group. They may be wordsmiths, just not in any recognized form. e.e. Cummings would be comFortaBle with their output.

I may have mentioned “Blutto” once or twice in my rambling tales. Blutto provides an example of cop writing at its most horrific. Blutto is capable of logical thought. He can string two thoughts together and carry them to a conclusion.

The problem arises in the execution. Six paragraphs, six or sixty pages it doesn’t matter, the result is the same. The offering is in all caps. One sentence, one paragraph, and done. Everything you wanted to know was there. The challenge was finding it.

I sat him down and went over one of his reports. Together we went through the report, line by line. We made it conform to all known grammatical conventions. The content was his. I was responsible for the form.

We ended up going to trial. Blutto had the report to use as a reference. He couldn’t use it. It made no sense in his simian brain. The defense attorney accused him making everything up. I learned my lesson, its his story let him tell it his way.

I can’t say that the following story surprises me. I copied and pasted the whole exchange because to do otherwise would lessen the impact.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 

Brass Pills

Millennial Writer Cries at Work, Puts Mother on Speakerphone after Her Boss Corrects Her Spelling

By John Hawkins

Admittedly, this is an egregious example, but I have heard numerous similar stories about entitled Millenials and Generation Z kids that are hypersensitive to criticism. I suppose that when you’re a snowflake that lives in a bubble for the first 22 years of your life, having to deal with the real world for the first time can be tough. But, this tough? WOW…

I’ve fired people for considerably less than that and would have unhesitatingly fired her as well because having someone with the emotional maturity of a 7 year old around is going to be nothing but a hassle.

This is one of the reasons that colleges’ coddling kids is so bad for them. In the real world, there are no safe spaces and people don’t care about your feelings, they just want to produce. You may think you can fix everything by running to human resources, but that puts the Mark of Cain on you even if things go your way.

Toughen up, buttercup, or life is going to knock you on your ass.

*Gene Roddenberry was a LAPD officer from 1949 to 1956.