CNN  —02-03-2023 

“A brutal blast of dangerously cold winds is expected to sweep across the Northeast and New England on Friday, prompting officials to close schools and activate emergency plans as the region braces for record-breaking sub-zero temperatures.” CNN  

I try not to blog about what you can easily read for yourself in the news, whether in print or on the screen. However, occasionally something catches my attention, and my brain segues into something else—not necessarily related.

The weather outside the classroom was frigid. Frostbite warnings were everywhere, and students’ coats, gloves, and scarves littered the floor by their desks. I was teaching either a class in police ethics or corrections—I really don’t remember—but authority often came up in both curriculum. How much authority does a police officer or prison guard have? How much does a professor have?

I instructed my students to remove their shoes and put them in the hall outside the classroom. I watched stone-faced as all of these college students followed my orders and filed out the door and then back to their desks—shoe less.

Scratching my head and grimacing, I asked, “Why, in the name of all that’s warm, did you do that?”

Several answered, “Because you told us to.”

“And if I told you to strip naked? What would you do then? It’s freezing outside, close to zero degrees, with a wind chill making it even colder. What if we had to evacuate the building? Where would you go with no shoes?”

They looked at me like I was a Martian, I had authority, I had power over grades. I was a PhD.

I smiled, and then I explained. I have authority to make assignments if they are relevant to the learning objectives. I have authority to assess their work, and I have authority to give them grades. I do not have authority to make them remove their shoes.

Now think about the Scorpion Unit in Memphis. Did it exercise legitimate authority?

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

2 thoughts on “CNN  —02-03-2023 

  1. In my humble opinion, I think rather than these ‘Gestapo’ type police units, a return to more community policing is a better solution to crime. These days we have little to no familiarity with those who are policing us. Familiarity brings trust. There’s a reason community policing worked in the past.


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