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by Peter Moskos

May 26, 2014

"Anybody want to try the spread?..."

"...The spaghetti with brains is mind blowing."

Sure, it's not the funniest quip ever, but I said something like that while guarding the crime scene of a 12-person shooting back in 2001. What else are you going to do? Have a moment of silence?

I miss the laughs from the job. Non-cops may not understand cop humor, which is often a desperate attempt to make people laugh at precisely the most inopportune time. Granted it may not look good to be laughing over a dead body (especially if the victim's relatives are nearby...) but hey, you gotta have fun.

Well, now it's official. Or at least peer-reviewed ("Is humor the best medicine? The buffering effect of coping humor on traumatic stressors in firefighters." Sliter, Michael; Kale, Aron; Yuan, Zhenyu. Journal of Organizational Behavior vol. 35 issue 2 February 2014. p. 257-272).

Cops don't crack such jokes because they're evil people. Quite the contrary! Cops (or at least firefighters) laugh at the misfortune of others because it keeps them sane. Humor, shocker of shockers, is good for you.

That shooting on E. North Avenue was at an "RIP party" for a guy who went by the name of "Bone." ("RIP party?" I remember one of my partners saying with disgust, "We already have a word for that. It's called a wake.")

Just now I discovered that one of the "Hot Boys" shooters, stuck with the unfortunate nom de guerre "stink," did 10 years. "Stink" was undoubtedly minding his own business just a few months ago, last December, when he was shot and killed. Oh well. I wonder what they're serving at the wake?

Also, I like how the Baltimore Sun says, "The block party shooting was one of the highest profile crimes at the time." And yet at the time, the Sun didn't even put the mass shooting on the front page.


Gotti Rules said...

Hey Pete,
I obviously still have my cop humor, but it gets me into trouble every time. I noticed that the bleeding liberal tree huggers with whom I work have come to despise me over my cop humor. It is nice to know that some people out there understand what we say and why we say the things that we do. Miss you Buddy. We need to work on a date to go to JW's house.

Len Neal said...

The scene in MAD DOG AND GLORY, where Robert DeNiro sings 'Just a Gigolo' at a Mob crime scene, is still the gold standard for real cop humor.