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Note: Yes, you're right. There should be a new Raging Pencils 'toon today. (It's April 15th, hint-hint.) And there will be... soon.... I promise.

The Mismanagement


College Test.

authorityWhen I was in college I needed to make some extra pocket money so I applied to become a resident assistant of my dorm. An RA, in case you don't know, is the person who keeps an eye on his fellow students, offering aid and counseling when needed or applying a little muscle when good sense is in blatant disregard. No one likes the RA but someone's gotta do it.

I thought I had the job in the bag when, during the interview with the then-current RAs, I was asked how I would handle students who were antisocial or spent too much time alone in their rooms. My solution was to require them to engage in team sports with other members of the dorms. Who, after, wouldn't like to play a little touch football or chase a softball across a grassy field on a lovely spring day?

The RAs solemnly eyed one another, nodded in agreement, and I was dismissed. As it turns out it was a trick question, designed to fathom the depth of my fascistic tendencies, and my solution to keeping the metaphoric trains running on time was found to run counter to the ideals of academic and personal freedoms. This was the first time I ever tried to assume a position of authority and I failed. In retrospect, I see their point.

It's sad, then, to consider that mere college students had a seemingly better grasp of the human potential for excess then your average police department. I understand that most police departments employ at least a modicum of psychological testing for new recruits but we still get the occasional Michael Slager. But what should we expect when we give the police unquestioned latitude when it comes to meting out summary justice? How many times can they put on the ring of power before they lose all empathy and shoot first, last, and always?


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