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burning-deuceIn the police world, human calamity is our bread and butter.  Someone figured out that the average cop sees about twenty times the pain and suffering an ordinary person sees in life.   Decades of rolling up on various calls with people in a figurative or literal pool of their own blood have taught me some things about how humans fail.  I thought I would sit down and try to figure out, from my education and experience, ten key ways it happens, and pass that on to people.   Someone needs to learn from this other than we cops.  Maybe a young person needs this list.  Maybe you need it.  As with a beer, take what you need out of it.


Have anger issues

Behind arrests, broken relationships, divorces, or lost jobs is often someone losing their temper.  One of the first and most important lessons a child learns, sometimes adversely, from Mom, Dad, or a teacher is that you don’t get to say or do whatever you want, whenever you want.  At least it used to be.  Nowadays, many a police call starts off when someone’s food order, drink, purchase, or other isn’t as requested and people get unhinged.  Instead of calming down and delivering almost the same critique in a calm voice, they choose to scream and inject tons of “F Words.”  Communication ceases, hands may get thrown, cops get called, people get hurt or sued, and we’re off to the races.  I know I have complained about the cops having their hands tied, so perhaps if jail doesn’t scare you, the prospect of someone harming you, or those with you, should.


Marry or have a relationship with the wrong person

Yes, he or she is hot!  Especially when you’re two down.  But people get in relationships for emotional reasons, and they mortgage their life and finances in a way they would never do buying a house or car.  First—when you marry them, you marry the family and friends.  Do they have crazy parents, brothers or sisters, aunts and uncles that are a bit off, and that you now have to deal with?  Grown children or teenagers that don’t necessarily like you?  Maybe they are a bit controlling or abusive?  It’s going to be OK, you say.  Perhaps they have an entourage of friends you can’t stand. Who do you think they will go to with problems, or bring over for dinner or a party?  Or maybe you didn’t think their drinking problem or their bipolar condition was that big a deal—after all, people have fantasized about fixing their significant other since the dawn of time.

Your finances and theirs are also now intertwined—let the fun begin when you get divorced and they sort out how much of your hard-earned money and stuff is no longer yours.  We could discuss child custody issues by saying:  Prepare for lots of stress, false accusations of abuse, cops getting to know you both, and time spent with lawyers that may or may not fix it.  Also, many state laws treat problems between people who are dating the same as they do between people who are married.  That fight with the boyfriend or girlfriend where the cops show up could cost you your Second Amendment rights.  Congratulations on that boat you just bought your lawyer, too.  Our society is obsessed with sex, but ask someone who’s been through this whether “it” was worth it.  You will almost always hear “NO!!”


Have an addiction

There is a reason public drunkenness has been illegal since the Code of Hammurabi.  If you aren’t sober, you aren’t in control of yourself or anything around you.  Alcohol and drugs destroy you mentally and physically, gambling destroys you financially.  It’s not like we lack proof.  Everyone knows this, right?  That must be why everyone keeps getting into this.  Is there something else you are doing that is wasting your time or resources or harming you?  Figure it out.


Refuse to discipline your kids

Your sullen five-year-old refuses to do what you tell them, has a fresh mouth, has “issues” your teacher at school keeps mentioning, and speaks to you in a way that would have gotten your ass busted when you were their age.  But you, for some reason, think they will grow out of it, or perhaps you have heard the myth that it’s illegal to spank your kids.  Boundaries might cramp their development—or worse, you have an aspiring Dr. Spock amateur psychologist spouse or family member who thwarts you when you try to impose discipline on the little tyke.  Well, buckle your seat belt, because that boy will be a fifteen-year-old “kid” who is your size and stronger and now adds physical danger to the emotional kind really quick.  You will be calling the cops.  You had a chance to set them right, but you missed it—and now they’re your size.   The little girl whose sass and acting out was so cute when she was little will be a fully developed—so to speak– and sexually experienced floozie in record time that will guarantee plenty of strife in your household when her entitlement, lack of self-control, and lack of boundaries has her in therapy, assaulting you and others, making suicide attempts, and bringing home drugs and the most interesting of boyfriends or girlfriends for you to deal with.


Spend too much

Buying that $50,000 truck you can’t afford (to go with the $400,000 house you are trying to pay on) while coping with health expenses, parental expenses, the alimony or child-support payment (miss that one and see the fun you have with the judge.  Even the “conservatives” will throw you in jail with enthusiasm)… not to mention the credit card, and you will be dead and buried—financially, and perhaps literally, from the adversity, poor credit issues, collection agencies, and legal papers in your life.  Then, when a health emergency comes calling, you won’t be able to cope.   Appreciate what you have and take care of it rather than buy more.


Have the wrong friends and associates

From being in the car of that “friend” who is riding dirty when you get pulled over and he says the drugs aren’t his, or getting to deal with the other half when he gets loud and drunk at the sports bar, you will understand the full meaning of “guilty by association.”  Does he steal?  Does she like drama?  Are they always needing you to bail them out of something—financial or otherwise?  Notice that highly effective and successful people have highly effective and successful friends.  They don’t hang out with losers.


Don’t better yourself

Keep working at the low-end job with the weird guy who used to be a CIA asset, the manager who thinks screaming is leadership, the co-workers who hardly work, and the company that considers you quite expendable because people at your rate of pay are a dime a dozen.  If you have value, you will be treated with value.  If you are just there, no one will care.  Doing the same thing over and over gets you the same results.  Another way to stay stuck on stupid is if you are too proud or stubborn to ask for help, or learn from others.


Be in the wrong place at the wrong time

Feel those bad vibes?  Club La-Boom on a Friday, the contentious political rally or football game between two notorious rivals, the noisy bar with youngsters that give you that stare… all of these are great places to get caught up in something that will have lingering legal or physical consequences.  How about the neighborhood park where the gang members beef?  The concert where disorderly conduct is expected?  Or how about watching those street racers?  You could stay home or go somewhere quiet if you were a boring person, on the other hand.


Start going to jail

Anything will work—start getting in fights on the weekends, getting traffic tickets and not paying them, or getting your license suspended, drink too much, use drugs, start stealing, or anything to guarantee you being a regular down at Booking.  You will be unable to hold a job or hang onto enough of your money for a stable life.  Sensible people will distance themselves from you, and you will start to assimilate with and get to know the “lifers” in the place and their ways and attitudes.  At some point the lure of easy money doing something illegal, and worse than what you are doing now, will beckon to you—especially as it’s so hard for you to hold a regular job with regular pay and regular people now.


Don’t allow your fun to be ruined by self-discipline

Have you ever heard of the big self-help book with three words— “It’s Your Fault”?  The author was right.  If you don’t like your life, look in the mirror—you made it and you need to fix it.  The habits you develop carry over throughout your life; if you don’t eat right and exercise you will be mentally poorer and physically sicker, and have less value.  If you don’t manage your money, you will have none.  If you don’t control your circumstances, someone or something else will.  The most successful people are doing things the hard way, not the easy way. Develop yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Make daily to-do lists and accomplish what you write down.  Clean the junk out of your house—and life.  Ask how you can save money.

There are probably many more, or many more variants, of these that someone could add.  That’s fine, so long as you remember to do better.


Mark Deuce has had a life-long career in community law enforcement. He is the author of Deuces Wild for TTP.