Thursday, May 6, 2010

Attacking Lynn Henning Attacking Philly Cops

Rough week. But, we move forward.

The other day, some stupid kid ran onto the field at a Phillies game and ended up getting tased by a cop. Everyone I have spoken to about it agrees that the cop made the right move.

Lynn Henning disagrees. And here we go.

A guy gets a snoot full of beer at a ballgame.


/goes to

1. Slang, the nose.
2. Informal, a snob.

/scratches head

Um, okay. Sorry…I’m not 65 years old. I don’t get your “old white man” lingo.

His blood-alcohol level quickly exceeds the line at which basic judgment is made.

Trust me, it’s going to take more than a “snoot” full of beer to get the old BAC past the basic judgement line. Perhaps a “sneet”?

He runs onto a ballfield.

Shoot him in the face. I’m pretty sure that anyone in recorded history that has run onto a professional ball field will never grow up to be president. We have too many idiots in our society the way it is.

In Taiwan, they would cut his balls off, if my Taiwanese law knowledge is correct.

And he gets tackled -- or Tasered, as happened Monday night at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Except this wasn't some 25-year-old loaded with Miller Lite.

/CEO of Miller files a lawsuit

It was a 17-year-old.

Yup. But did he have a t-shirt on that said “I’m 17” at the time like all 17 year old juvenile delinquents do? Oh, that’s right. That doesn’t happen. Guess the cops should have known that it was a kid by counting the rings on his forehead. Sigh.

And, from at least initial evidence, this wasn't alcohol talking. It was all a product of a kid's stupid act.

If only there was a way that this kid would have learned a lesson for his stupidity. I know, they should have tased him. Wait…they did. Good job, Philly PD!

First reaction: You don't need Tasers (electroshock weapons) to subdue a person running onto a ballfield.

Not all the time. But did you watch the video, Lynn? The security was chasing the prick around for a while. He clearly wasn’t planning on stopping for anyone. So, the cop did what he thought was necessary to end the nonsense. He tased the kid.

They should have kicked him in the neck when he was on the ground, too.

You need good security, and a prudent judge who later on will make sure the offender pays the price and never again contemplates doing something so juvenile, or something so potentially dangerous to players on the field.

And if we all lived in the land of peppermints, lollipops, and chocolate bunnies, we would be a much happier race of citizens. But that isn’t going to happen, either.

How much security do you want at the park, man? Cops every five feet? Secret service? A better idea would be big signs at the ballpark saying:


That would scare me a bit more than being tackled by an out-of-shape 50 year old security guard and a night in the drunk tank.

That seems to be the formula for success elsewhere.

Yeah. Ask Monica Seles. Or Steffi Graf. Or poor Tom Gamboa.

These stunts happen a couple of times a year at most ballparks.

Exactly. Because no one is scared of the consequences of the action. Well, normal people are. But starved for attention morons trying to impress their buddies may think it’s worth a night in the slammer for a good laugh.

I’m willing to bet that this kid’s schoolmates won’t be imitating his actions anytime soon. Again, I say bravo, Philly PD.

Rarely, very rarely, do they lead to anything other than a drunk yahoo being tackled and escorted to the clink. And even in the case of the more serious incidents (Tom Gamboa, the former Kansas City Royals first base coach, got attacked by a lovely father-son tag team in 2002), it's not clear that Tasering accomplishes anything that a security person or two can't just as easily handle with their arms.

If the two idiots that attacked Mr. Gamboa would have been tasered, old Tom probably wouldn’t have been beaten the way he was. After the attack, a pocket knife from one of them was found on the field, too. Those two should have been sterilized after they were caught.

East Coast clubs tend to act more aggressively, as the enforcers proved Monday night at Philly. Yankee Stadium, likewise, shows no mercy, although the rough stuff there is more on the scale of a pro wrestling match. Fenway Park has a more genteel throng and isn't often invaded by crazies.

Really? You’re actually generalizing the ways that the security in each city act when they run onto the field? Are you serious?

“Dodger Stadium security prefers the patty-cake, patty-cake, baker’s man method of catching folks running on the field.”

“In Houston, fans running on the field will be brought down by flailing pillows from the local authorities.”

“In San Francisco, the cops will assault you with rolled up issues of the latest Vanity Fair.”

The critical problem with a Taser is that it can kill.

Yes. No one has ever been killed by another person’s hands in the history of the world.


The wrong person has the wrong reaction and it can be fatal, which is perhaps sound frontier justice, but it doesn't seem as if the crime warrants that brand of intervention.

This wasn’t another moron from the crowd that tased this survived abortion. It wasn’t Billy the Kid, either. It was a trained police officer. If Philadelphia cannot trust the judgment of one of their policemen, then they should just close the place down.

Well, hell, it’s only Philly. That might not be a bad idea. Michael Irvin would agree. So would Santa Claus. And Donovan McNabb, probably.

The Tigers prefer the tried-and-true method of cornering a miscreant and hauling him into a holding cell.

/1950’s Irish cop voice

“How many snoots of lager do you think THIS miscreant has had, Officer O’Riley? Heh, heh, you’re going up the river for a LONG time, pally!”

Ron Colangelo, the Tigers' vice president for communications, talked about the club's policy Tuesday.

“If they go after Don Kelly, we say it’s cool with us.”

Oh, nope. That’s just my policy.

"It's against the law to run onto the field at Comerica Park," Colangelo said,

Ya know what SHOULD be against the law at Comerica Park?

Eat ‘em up Tigers, eat ‘em up…

explaining that the holding cell is where "runners," as they're called, are kept until the arrest and paperwork is completed. "The person typically spends a night in jail, faces a court appearance, and is levied a fine."

Exactly. This is the problem. The consequences of disrupting a live sporting event are minimal. And in the world we live in nowadays, who knows what kind of person you are dealing with running around on the field. Again, I go back to the clown that stabbed Monica Seles. Or the psychos that cause riots at soccer matches in other countries. Harsher penalties would make people think twice…at least the ones that are just looking for attention.

A few years ago, I was managing in a bar when some prick started slapping his girlfriend around. He then pushed another patron and I ran after him and ended up tackling him into a pool table. I pulled him up and dragged him outside and told him to stay out or I was calling the cops. This is what Lynn Henning thinks should happen to everyone that runs onto a ball field.

Here’s the problem. What I didn’t know, was that when I tackled him, a gun fell out of his pocket. When I was outside, another worker grabbed the gun and put it behind the bar. The girl that was being hit? She ran behind the bar, took the gun, and left in her own car with the pistol. I hope she shot him.

The point? I didn’t know the dude had a gun. People are crazy. You never know what’s going to happen. The cops didn’t know this kid was 17 years old and they didn’t know that he didn’t have a gun. They tased him when he didn’t cooperate and they brought his ass down.

What if things were different? Imagine this scenario.

A guy gets a snoot full of beer at a ballgame. Or better yet, a 17 year old kid runs onto the field at a ballgame. He runs around for a minute as the security chases him Keystone Cops style and can’t catch him. They have tasers, but don’t use them, despite the kid not listening and them not being able to catch him. While they chase him around, the kid pulls out a gun and fires at an umpire, Ryan Howard, or anyone else on the field. Someone gets shot. What then, Lynn? Would you have criticized the officers for NOT tasing the guy in that situation, no matter how old he was?

Point is, in today’s society, you never know. I think the cop did the right thing.

Anyone who thinks this is kid-glove treatment wasn't on hand for Opening Day 15 years ago at Tiger Stadium when a few well-liquored patrons stormed the field and wound up getting chicken-winged (their arms stretched behind their backs after they were viewed as resisting) by security that had its hands full and chose not to mess around with some clowns who seemed to be egging on others.

Yes. The cops in Philly were all messing around while chasing this kid that wouldn’t stop. It’s all fun and games until someone gets tased.

Or is it Detroit cops > Philly cops? Well, I imagine the Detroit ones get more action…

But the line would appear to be clear. And going over that line is what happens when you Taser a 17-year-old whose crime was being teen-aged stupid.

That’s fine for you when you’re still living in a world when miscreants have one snoot too many and cause tomfoolery on the ball field. This isn’t 1955.

This is 2010. I’m living in a world where crazy motherf-ckers are running around hopped up on who-knows-what and might have a gun.

One last time, I say thank you, Philadelphia police officer.

And one final thought for anyone reading this. Have you ever met anyone that had been tased that wasn’t up to something stupid at the time? Odds are, they deserved it.

And so did this kid in Philly. Jackass.


Dberg said...


While I understand your line of reasoning, I disagree. Looking at the video of the chase, there is absolutely no indication that the kid was being even remotely aggressive. In each of the violent incidents you cited, there was a clear indication of aggressive and violent intent from the perpetrators. That does not seem to be the case here. If there was a moment where the kid exhibited hostile intent, then yes, he should be tased. But such an intent does not seem to exist. More than likely, he would have run around for a little while longer and then gotten tired. After all, it's not like he would have been able to escape. Where could he have possibly run to?

Which brings me to the part of your argument that bothers me: the notion that he should be tased simply because he MIGHT have a gun, or MIGHT be violent. This line of reasoning appears in almost every tasing defense I've seen so far. However, you cannot use potentially deadly force on a person just because they might be violent. They have to actually show an aggressive action before force can be used against them. There is always uncertainty when dealing with human beings. But just because there is a slight chance that someone might do something does not mean that they should be treated as a violent criminal. The taser company itself states that the stun gun is designed to "incapacitate dangerous, combative, or high-risk subjects who pose a risk to law enforcement/correctional officers, innocent citizens, or themselves." The kid in Philly exhibited none of these characteristics.

However, I do agree with you on one point: Don Kelly should immediately be tased and hauled off the field the moment he enters a game. THAT would be punishment proportional to the crime. Don Kelly being on a major league roster is a far greater offense than a stupid teenager running onto the field. In fact, I would also support tasing Jim Leyland every time he puts Kelly in the game, if I weren't also convinced that his Marlboro-hardened body could withstand all but a nuclear war.

All that said, I think this is one of Henning's more reasonable columns. For an even more reasonable response, you should check out Craig Calcaterra's take on the incident (at NBC's HardballTalk):

In the end, I do think this is something that reasonable people can disagree about, and I'm not sure that Henning deserves to be lampooned for his position on the issue. At least, not when there are so many other things that he SHOULD be lampooned for.

Rogo said...


Thank you for your comment. You make some good points. Obviously, I played up my "tase everyone" argument for the sake of humor, just a bit. And yes, it is highly unlikely by his appearance that this kid was going to do anything.

But, you never know. Every day I turn on the news and see some horrible act committed by someone that doesn't look like they could do it.

Maybe some better security at the gates entering the stadium is the answer. Checking purses might not be enough. I've never been searched and my crazy ass might bring in some bear mace to get Kelly with.

Again, you never know.

But thanks again for the comment. I always welcome reasonable disagreeing opinions. Just not the stupid ones that I usually get. :)

Rob said...

I gotta agree with the author on this one. Fact is, you never can now for sure what someone's intentions are. Like you said, what if he HAD pulled out a gun and killed someone? That's not a risk I'm willing to take, nor should anyone else. It's not like the officer went into the crowd and tased a random patron. The guy was breaking the law by being on the field, and resisting arrest by avoiding their capture. The cop used reasonable force to take him down. I'm just glad we're talking about this and not how sad it is that another professional athlete died because of gun violence. We've had far too much of that lately.

rea said...

Tasers are potentially deadly force--they shouldn't be sued unless the alternative is shooting the suspect with a gun. Would it be okay to pull a gun and shoot someone for running on a ball field? Unless you answwer that, "yes," you ought not to be okay with using a taser on him.

Rob said...

Tackling someone to the ground is a "potentially deadly force". Tasers are a non-lethal way for enforcement agents to gain the compliance of a miscreant such as this. Don't tell me that because some one has died, somewhere, that tasers shouldn't be used. You can get killed by doing just about anything, don't try to compare it to being shot with a gun