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Andy Griffith died a a couple of months ago on July 3, 2012, at 86 years old. I did like his show when I was a youngster. I was just about Opie’s age when I watched it, maybe a year or two older. I liked Aunt Bea and Barney and of course Andy. It might even have been my favorite show at the time. That and Dick van Dyke.

Andy’s show came to mind as I thought about the way police present themselves fifty years later. What a change – we’ve come a long way from Mayberry. Here’s a picture of Andy’s car in the show:

Andy Griffith’s Squad Car

That’s a Ford Galaxie, by the way: one of America’s favorite family cars at the time.

Now have a look at a Chevy Camaro, one of America’s favorite muscle cars fitted out for police work:

Muscle Police Car Fifty Years Later

Let me show you photographs of the people who drive those cars, officers who serve to protect and defend us:

Sheriff on Duty in Mayberry

Here are police officers on duty today:

Police in Riot Gear

Ask yourself who these people might be defending.

You would not go to these people for help if you lived in hell. These pictures of cars and uniforms tell the whole story.

Goodbye, Mayberry. Goodbye, Andy. Meet your current masters.

Here’s an important footnote. Not all police officers in the 1960s looked like Andy Griffith: remember the Chicago police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Not all police officers today look like Darth Vader and his storm troopers. Many of us have had help from a friendly local officer when our car broke down or we had a wallet stolen. What’s important are the mental images of police that we carry with us. We still regard Andy and his like as friends. We regard police officers who pepper spray and beat protesters as people to be feared. Clearly, from the way they dress and the cars they drive, that’s what they want.