Police Just Might Defund Themselves Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
St. Petersburg, Florida, Police Officer Michael Weiskopf died Friday. It wasn't in the line of duty or because a Black Lives Matter protest fatally demoralized him. No, the 52-year-old cop died from complications related to COVID-19. He was unvaccinated, and that's not complicated. It's playing with COVID.
Weiskopf nonetheless received a full hero's send-off, with a police procession escorting his body to the funeral home.
"If he arrived on a scene you knew it was going to be done correctly," said Chief Anthony Holloway. "Mike wanted to make sure that person, that victim in that accident, got justice."
That lucky citizen might've also gotten exposed to the coronavirus. It's incredibly irresponsible for active-duty police to refuse vaccination. This isn't a personal choice. The public can't choose not to interact with cops, and if you're immunocompromised or otherwise at risk, your penalty for a broken tail light can be death. That seems both cruel and unusual.
Weiskopf reportedly "resisted his wife's urges to get the vaccine until just before he got COVID-19." This classic sitcom conflict reminds me of the series Kevin Can Fuck Himself, except the coronavirus got there first.
"Mike could probably be here today if he was vaccinated," said Holloway. "Wife and I talked about that. But he didn't. All politics aside, get vaccinated. The wife now has to go through this. The police department has to go through this."
Jesus Christ, why are the police so goddamn self-centered? This is about more than Weiskopf or the police department specifically. Yes, the unvaccinated are face-planting into COVID-19, but their willful ignorance is reckless and a threat to public safety. If a doctor regularly wiped his ass with his bare hands and didn't bother washing them before surgery, what's important isn't that he eventually succumbed to dysentery. His patients' lives were in jeopardy.
Although law enforcement was among the first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine, police across the nation are refusing to protect themselves and thus the public they theoretically serve. In New York City, 68 percent of residents are fully vaccinated compared to just 47 percent of NYPD officers.
Cops are disproportionately MAGA, as evidenced by how often they're filmed flamenco dancing on a Black person's spine, so it's not a surprise that they also disproportionately reject vaccines. A Brooklyn traffic cop told Time Magazine: "I just don't feel like I need it yet. I spend most of my time outside and I wear a mask. For me, it's about having the choice to take it — and I just don't want to take it yet."
This big baby is probably afraid of tiny needles, but after his shift, he probably goes indoors where he interacts with people. New York cops also enjoy 27 taxpayer-funded paid vacation days and unlimited paid sick time, so he could probably take a few days to recover from his Fauci ouchie.
The president of New York's Police Benevolent Association, the Dickensian-named Patrick Lynch, announced last week that the union would sue if the city required cops get vaccinated. Lynch ranted, "If the City attempts to impose a vaccine mandate on PBA members, we will take legal action to defend our members' right to make such personal medical decisions."
If chokeholds and nightsticks aren't enough, the cops now want to kill us with COVID-19.
Ken Lomba, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff's Association, claimed its deputies might quit over a possible vaccine mandate. He suggested that cops are abstaining for medical or religious reasons, which almost any reasonable mandate would excuse so he's full of crap.
The union posted on Facebook the charming image of a woman going full Bonnie while leaning out of a Cadillac with an AK-74. The post contained this ransom message: "Public safety of San Francisco has turned into the Wild West and will get worse when officers quit due to the vaccine mandate."
This is gangster rhetoric from people who've confused law enforcement with a protection racket.
It's possible there are other lucrative professions that will let you spread coronavirus in the name of personal freedom, but they probably don't offer almost six full weeks of paid vacation and unlimited sick time, which you'll need when you're attached to a ventilator. Most jobs in the private sector don't even let you shoot people or rough up anyone you think isn't submitting quickly enough to your authority. No, I say we call the cops bluff and impose the bare-ass minimum expectation that public safety officials won't pose an ongoing public health risk.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."