Saturday, August 21, 2004

European View

Our little town has been hosting a genuine London Bobby, "Mick" Matthews, who's touring the states and spending time with local police departments to learn how they operate (a book is planned). He's a charming fellow who sat down for an interview with one of our reporters this afternoon.

Among other things, he offered an observation of America that jibes with what I've said about how European media give a slanted view of how we live and who we are:

“When I was a kid, I believed America was a war zone where you can’t walk down the street without getting shot or robbed,” he said. “It’s what I saw on TV and in the movies.

"But, in fact, most of the time in America, the towns and cities are perfectly safe. America is just regular people going about regular business.”

Mind you, before he got to us, Matthews was in some of the worst spots on the map. He told us about being pulled from the middle of a gang fight in Los Angeles and going out with patrols in Detroit where the cops told him to ignore the sound of gunshots because "you hear that all the time around here." And still it wasn't as bad as what he expected.