An ugly job, but it’s a living

Santa’s Back and He’s Pissed

According to the calendar it is damn near Christmas and I think now is a good time for me to slow the pace of the writing typing and spend some time with the kids and the Blond Woman who birthed them. Be peaceful, and kind to others, and if you have some good cheer to spare – spread it around. This is the one time of the year in which you can show genuine affection for your fellow man and woman without them questioning your sanity.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope that the new year brings you good health and plenty of memorable moments of happiness.

Speaking of sanity – or the lack of it – how do you know when the criminals run your country?

When there are vast regions of the second biggest city in the nation are places no-go zones for cops unless they go in like the freaking army.

Most of Rio De Janeiro’s 700-plus slums are controlled by drug traffickers and are not regularly patrolled by police, who instead go into the slums in military-style raids, often using helicopters and armored vehicles.

One night I was working in New York with an NYPD detective looking at some locations when he started pointing out the various characters in the street drug trade. At one point he did some curious maneuver to go around the block that involved us going far out of the way. When I asked why we did that, he said “We don’t go down that block without two or three units if we can help it.” Apparently there were some place in New York where you only go in force.

Policing in Some City is different in a number of aspects from what it is in New York. We don’t have the density of population that they have, nor do we have compact neighborhoods with thousands of hiding places and escape routes for bad guys. Still, we have experienced neighborhoods here that occasionally become the home for concentrations of criminals, gangs and all sorts of ne’er do wells. Such things have a way of snowballing and getting out of control and that’s when we go in an do something about it. As a former boss used to say, “every now and then the patients have to be reminded that they don’t run the damn asylum.”

Back to Rio. Last Sunday a helicopter and pilot were hired to take an actor, dressed as Santa Claus, to the Nova Mare slum where he would pass out toys to children. As it flew toward Nova Mare, it passed over the neighboring “shantytown” of Vila Joao. The bad guys of Vila Joao heard the helo and thought they were being raided by the police. They opened fire on Santa and his flying machine.

“They thought it was a police operation and started shooting. Luckily, nobody was hurt,” a police official said. The helicopter had to return to its base after the attack. Two bullet holes were found in its fuselage.Santa later returned to Nova Mare by car to distribute Christmas presents.

700 slums, the police can’t go in except in force, and the bad guys shoot at helicopters? The Rio Police need to wave a white flag and call it a day because I don’t think they have what it takes to fix something that is so far out of control. The military might, but the cops don’t.

Anyway, too many years of thinking about how to fix problems like this, coupled with my offbeat sense of humor, gave me an idea how I would handle it:

Hello Boys! I’m baaaaccckk!

Santa’s New Sleigh

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