There are over 50 unsolved murders in our city, it is one of the most crime ridden in Canada (arguably) and the number of assualts against women is shameful. Urban golfers were our numbered by cops last night.
First, I want to remind everyone that our lesser golf is based off of respect. That is our rule, and it is as heavily enforced as celibacy at a nun’s Christmas party. It’s the rule, it’s the law and grounds for legitimacy and legality to use this game for moving things forward.
However let’s keep in mind that respect is earned and not endowed.
So last night we hit a links with mix of good people: a former Provincial Minister (who will remain anonymous at their request), a 4-time Provincial Golf team member (not Nova Scotia’s team, FYI), a reporter, two professionals and emo student: non of which are threats to society (the emo cat isn’t the “cutting” type so he isn’t even a threat to himself; he is, however, the slicing types when it comes to drives…oh snap…). We started hitnround about 8pm in back alley off Spring Garden (Halifax’s boutique street) keeping six for cars, scoping for the opposites, maintaining the three club length guideline around private property and generally keeping it real.
ZED's (ball's) DEAD
It was hella warm out last night in Halifax (eerily so, actually) so the holes were fast (read: the snow banks had melted) we managed to bang off a couple of holes through the core before moving to empty parking lots.
Deciding to not cut past the urban equestrian club we instead moved to the long parking lot in front of our new mega high school. It was wide open and being newly paved had great potential for us to pick up some shots.
About 50 yards in we noticed police cars slowly creeping along the street beside us (Why creep? People are acutely aware of cars with stripes and lights…nice try though). Finally, I guess once they had time to call for back up, two SUVs, a cruiser and a patty wagon flew at us… this exchange followed:
Police Officer (PO) – Hey guys… What are you up to? Looks like you are golfing.
Paul – Actually we playing road hockey with golf clubs and no net.
PO – Really?
Paul – Yeah, it’s all the rage. We are using tennis balls so no harm: no foul.
PO – Oh, well alright. Let me just see who called this in. (Calls HQ while 5.0 in SUVs discuss the conflict theories of realism vs. just ad bellum [I assume])… alright FRIENDS I see no problem here but it is staff and they thought you were playing with golf balls. You’d be doing us a favour if you went and played somewhere else.
Paul – No worries. We’re going to hit the streets again. Is that cool? Thanks Officer.
PO – Yeah sure. Have a good night. Play safe.
Paul – You too…
(disclosure my first name is not actually Paul)
So following the instructions of the police officer we respectfully moved off of school property. We like to take the high road on these matters and we really had no recourse except to listen.
A special cameo appearance by BF
Then good things happened. We all drove off very well down Maynard while the police officers watched us from the parking lot of Centennial Pool. Then we were lucky to be joined by the one and only B. Fong for a drive off (down Maynard) and discuss a little bit of Biscuit’s recent staff photo shoot, the photos of which I had seen that day (if you are in Halifax and want to buy to quality new clothes from good people Biscuit on Argyle is the place to be). He showed that he had serious skills with a 3 wood driving straight and true down the street, before disappearing back into the night. We look forward to hitnround with him in the future.
EMO cuts hard to the whole...
Here is where you can learn from my years who dealt with cops more than I care to mention but got good at dealing with them that avoided problems for both sides. The mindset when dealing with police officers should be one of restraint and respect, but also always know your rights and responsibilities to larger society. So with regard to police officers 1) realize they are people just doing their job; 2) they are almost never looking for trouble; 3) they enforce the law they don’t interpret it (that is the job of judges); 4) you can catch them on bad days and 5) a rare few do let a badge go to their head and think that it means they can get away with shit. As a rule the police in Halifax are good people and deserve the benefit of the doubt.
I find Maynard a lovely street to play on: not many cars, lots of good people, soft lighting and colourful houses.
When dealing with cops the best thing to do is 1) be respectful; 2) to keep your head; 3) listen to what they say; 4) talk in short sentences and never admit to anything (everything you say to them can be used against you) even if they say they saw you. If they have something on you they won’t need to get you to talk about it or confess.
Really? I mean seriously...actually the guy checking the facts was a good guy who did his job right and is a credit to the force.
If they accuse you of something don’t say anything or ask them to substantiate it in front of witnesses. Ask questions and get badge numbers and cards. Get them to quote the law that you are allegedly breaking. If you have beef with the way they are treating you don’t take it up with them (don’t give them any reasons to go Rodney King on you), instead take it up with their Community Relations Officer/department and either you MLA or city Councillor. But choose your battles (the legal system is tied up enough; if you are crying about a bruised ego ring up your mom don’t waste society’s resources) and be realistic, clear headed, non-combative and polite. We are trying to have a civilization here. You are a part of it and should always lead by example and through your actions.
In the end we’ll all be better off.
Visible representation of one bystander's interpretation of Officer G's posturing towards our crew...
However, not to be a dick, I will be talking to the Police’s Community Relations and our Councillor who has her head on straight. The amount people are playing now kinda requires that we let the cops know what is up. If channels allow it I may file a complaint but it seems like a bit much, really. Maybe he was having a bad day. My beef is with his lack of respect, his patronizing attitude and general power-trippiness it takes no effort to be at least polite.
She never once shot anywhere but down the centre of the fairway.
But the fact remains: the streets belong to the people of the city and there are times when in order to move the community forward certain power relations have to be shifted. I am sad to say that all such relational realignments (they range from these tweaks to wholesale gestalt shifts) are always political in nature, and conflict is the very essence of politics. This will be causing a minor conflict.
Now conflict itself has been framed as supremely negative, when in fact it is neutral. Conflict is the actioned competition between ideas to see which better suits the socio-political context that surounds it, and can at time lead to switches in said context. Thus conflict is, and must remain, at the heart of any sort of progress. These ideals of “just conflict” are at the heart democratic systems and (including free speech where everybody has the right to express any view so it enters the societal megalogue to be debated over and judged against the accepted public standard).
The fact that the Officer would not enter into debate even at the lowest level of information exchange, could not state his legal foundation for objection and instead decided to flex (turning very quickly to a groundless and somewhat laughable attempt at intimidation) is a sad indication of his understanding of his role in society, an anti-social mindset and a poor reflection of a police force which by and large should be (and has been) something to be proud of. It undermined his legitimacy and was sad to watch in a way.
Shame, Officer, shame. Of all the other things you could have been doing. Don’t be a control freak, have respect, you suck… all rules of our game that seem to have particular relevance to the situation.
A vibrant and just society is based on checks on balances; it requires that the watched are also the watching.
Sadly, I am pretty sure we (myself and the Officer) will be discussing this incident directly soon since he didn’t have the professionalism to do so at the point of first contact. Respect goes both ways, friend. I really can’t believe I have to go do this just to play a game that I started playing because I wanted to enjoy and explore my city at night in peace and quiet.
Anyway, after that we golfed our way across the Commons. But not until after the police officer sat for 10 minutes and watched us laugh it up. He drove off and then circled back once a like a minute later, I guess to catch us in the act of disobedience of a law he which he wasn’t quite sure of…oh truthiness. Instead, he caught us in the act of saying how improved CBC radio had been in recent years. All in all it was a great night and one I won’t soon forget.
I love you (people of) Halifax. Don’t ever change. But please come out and play, though: we need more eyes on the street to ensure that community remains safe from those who act against her well-being.
(All photos by Dan “The Risk”)