Will Grigg on the tragic misconception that cops, and cops alone, have the constitutional authority to take a life:
Sometimes the truth is best told through fictional allegory, especially when a dash of comedy is used to make the parables more palatable. Witness, for example, the variation on the familiar "I'll need your badge and gun" scene from the action farce The Naked Gun.
Countless police films present exactly the same scene, in which the forlorn hero, after being led by his zeal to commit some grave breach of protocol or some (apparent) lapse of judgment, is put on administrative leave and forced to surrender his insignia of office and his government-issued firearm.
The conventions of movie melodrama dictate that as he turns over his shield the disgraced police officer take generous pause to look pensively at the token of official authority, wordlessly conveying a deep sense of inconsolable loss. And the balance of the story consists of the cashiered officer working through back-channels and other unsanctioned avenues to vindicate himself and take down whatever criminal mastermind was responsible for his humiliation.
As I said, we've witnessed that scene in scores, perhaps hundreds, of cinematic and television variations. However, to my knowledge, only Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) of The Naked Gun has actually allocuted the otherwise unspoken thoughts of the police officer forced to turn in his gun and badge.
"Just think," a dejected Drebin comments to his anguished partner, "the next time I shoot someone, I could go to jail."
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