Cigars Or Safety
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Politics and Activism

Cigars Or Safety

My view on the NYPD at Pride

Cigars Or Safety
whitney waxler

To say that our country has suffered a lot lately is an understatement. The insurmountable pain that Orlando has faced breaks my heart and has proven to me that we need to support each other as much as we can. Living in New York this past couple of months I have realized how close of a community Manhattan is. At the end of a hard day at work I feed off the energy of the people I surround myself with. Whether it is the old couple I see eating pizza, on the street corner or the young just-out-of-college frat stars at a bar.

This past weekend I went to the Pride Parade in West Village. In light of what happened in Florida this past month, I knew this would be an exceptionally unique year to go. Let me tell you, this was probably one of my favorite New York experiences ever. The sheer acceptance and happiness that was present was inconceivable. We were not just celebrating a certain person, or group of people. We were celebrating love and happiness. Believe me, I know how much of a hippie I sound right now, but in the midst of the sadness the pride parade was a step in the right direction.

Because of what had happened in Orlando, I was warned by multiple different people to keep my eyes open and be safe. I took heed in their caution and was very aware of my surroundings and aware that there are people who don’t believe in the same things that I do and find violence as a solution… That being said...

To say that I have respect for men and women in uniform is a complete understatement. I have spent my entire life looking up to them as if they were super heroes, because in my eyes they were. Every time I go to an airport I have handwritten letters thanking them for their service in the hopes of seeing a solider traveling home. During the past year and the unfortunate negative reputation that the police force has earned I have always believed it was just bad publicity.

However, as I approached MacDougal street after prancing around with my friends at Pride I noticed an NYPD police van. I was happy to see that the parade meant more visible security around the city. After getting closer to the van I noticed a police officer leaning back in his chair smoking a cigar watching the parade as if it was a day off.

I completely appreciate that the officer was enjoying the parade and this celebration of love, however, in light of the history in Orlando and the negative view on police force I was instantly upset. I felt as though Orlando was completely disrespected and they were not taking it as seriously as they could be. Not even a month ago had the worst shooting in US history occurred. And it had occurred in a similar setting. The police officer was completely unaware of how powerful his presence was in such a public situation and how people, such as myself, rely on the police force for safety.

After holding back the anger, my sister and I approached the officer and questioned his decision to light a cigar and sit in his car relaxing in light of the current situation. He replied saying, “I understand your opinion, however I am going to sit here and enjoy my cigar for another hour”. This made us upset beyond belief. The pedestal that I had metaphorically put NYPD on had completely shattered in a matter of seconds. I understand that one officer does not make up the entire police force of New York City, but in my mind he changed my view.

When I think of police I think they should lead by example. When you see a two girls in their twenties telling you that they are uncomfortable with your lack of commitment to the parade in light of the current situation, do something. Do not just sit in your car and support the negative reflections that have engulfed the police force.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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