- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Cops’ favorite

“My blue-suited colleagues like to say that the only television show that came close to portraying what it’s really like on the force was ‘Barney Miller.’ … Unlike in most cop shows … a cop’s life is thankfully characterized by far fewer shootouts and far more wisecracks. … But for the past couple of years, cops I know have been getting excited about another cop show — ‘The Shield.’ …

“[W]hat makes the show so good is that it depicts certain elements of the experience of being a cop that have never been captured, or at least captured so well. … What makes ‘The Shield’ so realistic is its complex and nuanced characters: All of the cops on the show … continually grapple with what it means to be a cop. …

“I’ve certainly met a few cops in my time who don’t feel any uncertainty about their mission. But for most of the men and women in law enforcement whom I have come to know well, there is a self-consciousness about roles, a sense that we are, at least some of the time, acting — and the occasional doubts whether we have picked the right part to play. …

“That cops do some acting is not surprising, but ‘The Shield’ accurately reveals that a lot of that acting is as much for each other as for the public.”

New York Police Detective Lucas Miller, writing on “Cops & Robbers,” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Baby bust

“In his new book, ‘The Empty Cradle,’ Phillip Longman argues that shrinking birthrates will affect both domestic politics and U.S. power and influence in the world. …

“United Nations forecasts show that by 2070 world population growth is likely to peak. And then, demographers believe, there will be a decline, perhaps even a rapid one. …

“According to Longman, some biologists now speculate that human beings have engineered a self-destructive environment in which the ‘fittest’ members of the species have an incentive to produce few or no children. He notes one primary exception to this rule — studies have found that there is a strong correlation between religious conviction and fertility. In the United States, 47 percent of people who consider themselves religious say that the ideal family size is three or more children, as compared to only 27 percent of those who are not religious.”

Marina Malenic, writing on “Decline and Fall,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘Simplistic’

“I came to the United States in 1980, a few months before Reagan was elected president, as an emigre from the Soviet Union. …

“In March 1983, when I was a student at a community college in New Jersey, Reagan gave a now-famous speech in which he referred to the Soviet Union as ‘an evil empire.’ One of my classmates, an older woman active in various left-of-center causes, clucked in disapproval and said to me sympathetically, ‘You must have been so offended — after all, he was talking about your native country!’ … My classmate was shocked to learn that my own reaction to the speech was, ‘Finally, someone gets it!’

“At the time, Reagan’s ‘red-baiting” and ‘bellicose’ rhetoric … elicited widespread disapproval from the pundits. … ‘Primitive: that is the only word for it,’ sniffed New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis. ‘What is the world to think when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology?’”

Cathy Young, writing on “The Closer,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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