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:
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:
Let me show you photographs of the people who drive those cars, officers who serve to protect and defend us:
Here are police officers on duty today:
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.
Carl M said:
The photos did not show on my iTouch, but memory fills the gaps. Andy was one of the folks, gently modeling others to goodness. The police car of today shows the separation between people and police, and casts police as prison guards and the people as inmates.
It is more than Andy Griffith we have lost.
Steven Greffenius said:
Thanks for your note! No problem with your iTouch: I didn’t have time to upload the pictures when I posted late Friday. I’m doing the pictures now.
I’ve been thinking about squad cars for some time now – we all see them everywhere. The other day I saw a new one in Lexington, Massachusetts: all black and especially evil looking. Lexington is the Mayberry of greater Boston: cradle of all good things, including the Minuteman statue on the village green. To see one of those black squad cars – symbol of government intimidation and state power – in the town that first resisted Britain’s heavy handed use of force against the colonies, that was something to think about.
Thanks again for writing. /Steve
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christian powers said:
Are seriously offended by a cop car being modern so that it is better equipped to stop bad drivers. The modern police forces are not exactly dealing with the Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot. And police where protection like that so they can better protect the people from the rioter’s. So they can go home to there family’s at the end of the day.