Remember that law class story? Remember the discussion about the point of laws? I had a run in with the law today and I’m still…angry.
We feel VERY COVID safe here. There are rules and they are largely followed. We mask indoors. We show proof of vaccination to eat or drink indoors. We keep distance in lines. We wash our hands frequently. Nothing difficult. Just common sense. Just common courtesy and respect.
We travel on the subway daily, sometimes multiple times in a day. 98+% of the riders wear masks. True, the quarters are close and some trains are crowded, but people are careful and respectful of others.
Everyone except one group. The NYPD. I can’t tell you how many officers don’t wear a mask in the subway system. The percentage is high. Every time I have walked past an officer without a mask I have held my tongue. Why? Power? Fear? MYOB? Not wanting to be a “Karen”? It is so annoying and UNJUST.
Cue up my last post – the law class where the professor tossed out a student no one said anything. He then asked the students if he had committed an injustice. And – What do laws mean if we don’t practice them? Why had the students remained silent when they saw injustice?
As I was seated waiting for my train today, I watched two cops standing on the platform. One on his phone, the other just standing. Neither had a mask. I struck up a conversation with the older Black woman who was seated next to me. She had noticed it, too. We questioned whether we misunderstood the laws/rules about mask-wearing. I googled it. Nope. Masks are required. There are signs all over the subway system reminding everyone to wear a mask. The loudspeaker announcement came on reminding everyone to wear their mask. I told my seatmate that I was thinking of going over to them to ask about their masks. She said she was thinking the same thing. I said probably better me than her. She said, yes, sadly, yes. I couldn’t be silent. I went to the officers and asked why they weren’t wearing masks. One said he was on his phone. The other said he was drinking coffee. I asked if they’d heard the loudspeaker. Yes. I asked again. Why aren’t you wearing masks? The phone cop said he’d put his on. The coffee drinker just looked at me. I asked if he would put his mask on when he was done. He just looked at me. I noticed a family with small children on the other side of the cops. I told them that they were endangering those children. They just looked at me. I was angry and didn’t trust my next words. I wanted to take their picture with their badge numbers so I could report them. I walked away. My seatmate thanked me. She reminded me that the cops could write a $50 ticket for any passenger not wearing a mask. I didn’t know that. The train came, we said good-bye and boarded. 100% of the passengers had masks on.
Indeed, what is a law if it is not practiced – especially by those who are supposed to enforce it?
I’m hoping that speaking up when I see injustice is like a muscle memory. It will get easier and more automatic.
Today I spoke up. But I wasn’t brave enough to take their picture. Progress.