Monday, September 9, 2013

Yet another swearing post...

So earlier today, I posted about swearing and how some people take it too seriously for my tastes.  Then today, a friend of mine alerted me to this video...

A 17 year old girl called 911 because her dad had an accident and needed medical attention.  Unfortunately, the young lady was very stressed out and frazzled and she ended up swearing.  The 911 operator, a police officer, then instead of helping the scared caller, berates her for swearing and hangs up on her.  She calls him back and he continues to berate her.  She later ends up in handcuffs, charged with disorderly conduct!

It was a ridiculous scenario and the cop definitely screwed up.  Although I can't say I've ever had a similar situation with a 911 operator, I can say that Bill and I had dealings with a similarly uncooperative local government official.

On November 16, 2002, we got married at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.  I have had many relatives attend VMI or work there.  I have many relatives who live or have lived in the area. It's always been "home" to me, though it's never been officially home.  We decided to get married there because it was a neutral place and I have many fond memories of the area.

Well, as it turns out, after our ceremony, our officiant mailed the marriage license to the local court clerk's office.  In Virginia, you have five days to get your license to the county clerk's office, or it doesn't count... or something like that (it's been almost 11 years and by now, the law might have changed).  We waited a few days to get the official license in the mail and it never came.  So Bill called the court clerk and they said they didn't have our marriage license.  Aware of the law and realizing that we couldn't get a  military ID for me until we had the official document, Bill called the clerk back.  He got the same story.

When he asked what we were supposed to do, the clerk became belligerent and said he didn't control the mail.  He added that even if our license arrived the next day, he wouldn't honor it because the deadline had passed.  And he also said he didn't want to hear from Bill again.

We went to our local clerk, wondering if we could just redo the ceremony in Fredericksburg, which was where we were living at the time, and get our license that way. Our local official said no, because we were already married (?)... although technically, our marriage wasn't valid, because we had no official license.  So we were too married to be re-married, but not married enough to get a military ID for me.  WTF?

Bill called the officiant who had married us, who said he'd fax the paperwork to the county clerk.  But by this point, Bill was not confident the county clerk in Lexington was going to help us.  The clerk's attitude had revealed that he was a very uncooperative and, perhaps, burned out soul.  Moreover, the holidays were coming and Bill wanted the matter resolved before people started taking time off for Thanksgiving.  At that time, Bill did a lot of work with government officials, so he found out who the clerk's boss was and contacted him...  He laid it on thick, explaining that he was in the Army and a 9/11 survivor (both true) and that he could be deployed at any time.

Next thing we knew, we had our license.  The guy had also written a nasty letter about how Bill (sweet, lovable, polite Bill) had harassed him and how, at that point, he had lost all interest in helping us.  It seemed lost on this man that it was his job to help us.  But he wanted to tell us and his boss and our local representative about his principles.  All he had to do was help us fix our marriage license issue and then we would have quit calling him-- forever and ever, amen!  Instead, he decided to be a jerk and forced Bill to call the next guy up.  I don't know what else he expected us to do.  I mean, we had to get the issue straightened out somehow.

Fortunately for him, the clerk didn't speak to me on the phone.  At that point, he might have understood what "abusive" really sounds like.  I know government work must suck, but it's your job to help people... and if someone is all stressed out calling 911, helping them should be your first priority, not lecturing them on their use of the f bomb.  It sounds like the cop in that above news story needs a permanent vacation.  And the guy who was supposed to help us probably needed to find work in the private sector.


  1. Wow! I can understand people being overworked and burnt out, but for a 911 operator to hang up on someone calling for help just because she used curse words... Firing is too lenient a thing for the guy. He delayed the girl's dad's medical attention and really could have killed the guy. :oP

    And for the cops to then charged the kid with disorderly conduct. :o( I get on well with most cops, but this tendency for cops to close rank on each other even when they do really sh*tty bad stuff really needs to stop... somehow. :o(

    1. I totally agree with everything you've said, Smorg.

    2. Yeah, I agree. What that cop did was way over the top. Makes me wonder what happened to get him to that point.

  2. There are some institutions for which, once one becomes employed, it is next to impossible to fire, demote, or otherwise alter their employment. Countytype positions falll into that category. The DMV and postal employees probably have among the greatest job security in the world.

    Police officers and dispatchers don't have quite the job security as some of the others, so that huy was taking his chances.

    I don't know what would possess the idiot clerk with whom Bill dealt to think that anything Bill said to him (while I'm sure it wasn't that bad, anyway) would negate his obligation to do his job. His job was obviously a bit too secure if he felt free to behave in the manner in which he did.

    my pseudoaunt says many county courthouse employees would have to (God forbid) sexually molest the child of a sitting president before their employmnet would even be reviewed ,much less terminated.

    1. The clerk of court was in an elected position. Makes me wonder if no one ran against him. He was very unhelpful.


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