I learned a new word from the TV yesterday. “Perpâ€ – like, “he’s the perp who solved the long lines at the grocery checkout counter by blowing away ten patrons.” “Perpâ€ – a “perpect” word for our non-judgemental society. Not hoodlum, thug, or even criminal. Just Perp. Short for perpetrator – a doer, you might say. A word bereft of ethical connotations.
I learned it on one of those cop shows where you get the vicarious thrill of chasing fugitives from the comfort of your den recliner. You know you can’t shoot â€˜em anymore – I mean the hoodlums, excuse me, perps. They flee with regularity now that they know you can’t shoot â€˜em. Of course, there’s an economic tradeoff here. Shoot the perp and save all those in his path – a weighy score since he’s going 90 miles an hour down a one-way street – the wrong way, of course. What ethical individual would sacrifice a perp and save a road full of innocents. Nope – can’t be done, thanks to Municipal codes. I don’t think the pursuing cop can shoot out his tires or even penetrate the perpetrator’s gas tank. Nope, you might hurt him. And maybe the perp isn’t the real perp. Maybe he’s only an alleged criminal who craves exvitement. Maybe he just finds high speed and dodging traffic relaxing. In some cities the cops can’t pursue at all. That’s dangerous, too. Municipal codes vary. Well, I think it’s permissible at speeds under 30 mph.
We had an analogous situation in our town this week. Our perp-oriented cops corner a guy who in a fit of irritation has made an end to his girlfriend’s life. Well, they don’t want his blood pressure to rise further. So, they’re talking to him. Fifty cops in one room – the shooter in the next, but they’re talking – and for two and a half hours.
The theme in this kind of debate is gentle concern for the perp – so the designated police Spokesman asks what he can do for this hunted and stressed-out bearer of a revolver and lots of ammo. (I’m not making this up.)
The wife shooter says he wants two things – first an A&W root beer and a phone call. I guess the phone call is for a pepperoni, sausage, and onion pizza. So help me. I am not making this up. They finally got him without bloodshed and led him away in chains and I guess, sipping an A and W root beer.
I just wrote the chief of police and suggested that law enforcement would be greatly enhanced if the swat team was augmented with a lunch cart – you never know when some health conscious perp is going to demand a Diet Pepsi. You don’t want to anger a perp, you know