I was sent a video, kind of a “rapper’s view” of Atlanta, more specifically denoting the zones APD was divided into, which were quickly identified as their neighborhood of pride.
While some socioeconomic groups identified their neighborhoods as Cabbagetown or Buckhead, others were quick to say they lived in Zone 3 or The Bluff.
Public housing was also a geographic marker in the video. The amazing thing I was reminded of was Techwood Homes was the first public housing project completed in 1936, replacing a shanty town known as Tanyard Bottom or Tech Flats.
It was all a part of FDR’s New Deal of helping the poor by turning slums into modern apartments, but they too became slums of their own over time.
An email I received this week made the observation that police officers were called on to answer some of society’s most pressing problems and that I might have a perspective on ideas that arise out of my experiences on the job.
Being raised in a middle-class family myself, in a small 1,200-square-foot cinder block house in a tightly designed neighborhood in Miami, I, like many, believed everyone lived the same way growing up. Our streets were straight and numbered, not named. If you could count, you could find your way around town. We seldom saw the police, because crime was a rarity and family matters were always handled by Dad, because I always thought everyone had a Dad.
Taking on the job of a police officer in the tough streets of Atlanta was more than a culture shock. Welfare payments in poor areas demanded the father to physically not be a part of the family unit. A pronounced matriarchal society where women ruled the house was a surprise to me. The police were commonly called to these poorer neighborhoods to make decisions that normally would have been handled by a father figure.
I have received emergency 911 calls to residences because brothers were fighting over a remote control, someone was eating the cheese out of the refrigerator that another person bought, and a disagreement broke out between seven adults resulting in everyone grabbing themselves a Ginsu steak knife and cutting each other while moving in a slow circle.
Within two days of each other, I received two 911 calls “from kids inside the house” because their mother had spanked them. Upon arrival, each mother told me the children would not get dressed for school and the single moms were going to be late for work so they spanked their kids accordingly. Apparently that week at school there was a discussion on how to call 911.
After assuring the mothers that I was there to support their right to reasonably discipline their kids, I told each mother to go ahead, while I stood there, and spank their kids again for calling 911. Both mothers smiled, whooped them youngins again, and my parting words for those rug rats were to obey their parent … so saith the Lord, or something like that.
Parents these days have been indoctrinated to encourage the use of “time out.” I can tell you the only time I heard the words, “time out” while growing up in my house was when my Dad was tearing my hind-end up with his belt as I repeatedly shouted, “time-out, time-out.”
As a retired police officer, I do have a real-world perspective on life. We must strive to preserve the nuclear family, raise our children up in the admonition of the Lord, and Daddy’s belt has more uses than holding up his pants.
W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident and retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: firstname.lastname@example.org .