It’s been a fun couple of weeks since we last spoke. I got back from Hawaii and, despite the rumors, I was not kicked out of Maui. A few days after my return, I was getting my butt handed to me by a bunch of bad-ass Call of Duty players at Santa Catalina. Then Halloween hit and I had a great time in Isla Vista. Saw some great costumes, wore a great costume and even chased a great costume. It seemed like most of the people had a good time. Hopefully you all made it through unscathed — and by “unscathed” I mean you weren’t the one passed out on the floor of Domino’s at 3 a.m. At least someone was nice enough to scotch tape his head to the wall. People can be so friendly …
Is it legal to flip off the cops?
Ah, the old flying-the-bird, single-finger salute, New York hello, flipping off or a host of other descriptive names; I know it well. Although I would like to think it means, “Hello Officer! How are you today? I hope all is well with you and I hope you have a great day. Would you like a hug?” I realize that’s probably not the intended interpretation. So, can you non-verbally tell me to cluck off? Yes. It’s freedom of speech! It’s a great and wonderful thing. As long as the finger is at a reasonable distance and not in my left nostril, you have the right to flip me off at will.
But should you? I am not advocating the limitation of free speech. However, I do advocate the use of common sense. I try to tell people that sometimes getting noticed by the cops may not be the wisest thing, especially if you’ve been drinking or are under 21 with a pony keg under your shirt. Under those circumstances, waving the middle finger at a cop is probably going to get you noticed. Most of the time we’ll just wave back and wish you well, but we may also notice that you’re intoxicated or have an unusual, barrel-shaped bulge. Then, all of a sudden, someone is getting a ticket.
You are also the 99 percent, so why don’t you join us?
Last Saturday I was at Embarcadero Hall and had the opportunity to speak with several folks at the Occupy I.V. protest. One of the common questions in several conversations was “Do you use mousse or gel?” but that has nothing to do with this topic. A few people said I should join them or told me how I was also part of the 99 percent and should support the protests. Those folks were very nice and I do support their right to protest 110 percent. However, it is very wrong for me to ever consider supporting any political cause or protest while I am in uniform. My role is to protect the rights of ALL people. Joining or supporting any cause and standing with them during a protest would send a message to other groups that the police are not impartial; are an armed force that supports a political group. That veers dangerously away from freedom. So, I appreciate your friendliness and I wish you all well, but forgive me if I won’t discuss politics or beliefs. Besides, would you really want to know that I’m a member of the TurtleHead Cult and walk around with a tortoise taped on my head for good luck? Good, because that’s just between me and my best buddy, Tippy Turtle.
I hope everyone had a safe Halloween weekend and made it through with only some good stories. But if you did have a problem or two, don’t panic. Take a moment and Question Authority. I am happy to answer any of your questions and hopefully help point you in the right direction to take care of that pesky problem. But for now, take care and stay warm!
Sgt. Mark Signa is an officer of the UCSB Police Dept.
Got caught by a cop? Your party popped by the Po-Po? Ticked by a ticket? If you have questions, don’t let it eat away at you, Question Authority! E-mail me anytime at: QA@police.ucsb.edu or call the UCSB Police Dept. at 893-3446.