Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thereby Hangs a Tail

In Emily Pecora's recent profile in Polite magazine of two Pennsylvania philanthropists -- two brothers -- I found a story so ripe with implication that I had to share it:

In October of 2004, a federal grand jury indicted Jeremy Sommers, Lansford’s K-9 officer, for planting narcotics during searches utilizing the drug-sniffing dog the brothers had donated. The Lansford city council, which had never been sure the town needed a drug-sniffing dog in the first place, [my emphasis] placed an ad in the classified section of the Times News announcing the dog’s sale.

... Jeremy Sommers was sentenced to twenty-three months in prison and a $4,000 fine and my hometown of Hazleton put in a bid to buy the dog.
Now, this is purely a flight of fancy, but what if Jeremy Sommers took a real shine to the unnamed K-9? Perhaps the dog was good and true and loyal, at a time when Mr. Sommers' personal life (I'm making all this up) was a shambles? Let's say his mother, his sole surviving parent, had advanced Alzheimer's and his girlfriend had betrayed him, and his buddies down at the bar had been giving him the cold shoulder ever since he became a cop ...

And now he's assigned to the dog, who turns out to be smart enough to star in the movies, a helluva partner. They're a great team -- except, see, there's no drugs for the pooch to find! What then?

The Chief starts breathing down the cop's neck because the City Council wants stats on the dog's success rate, and the mayor needs to send a report to the brothers who put up the money for the dog in the first place, so they feel like they did the Right Thing, that the money was well-spent, and now everybody's coming down like a ton of bricks on this poor cop, who only wants to hang on to the dog, that good dog that's been doing its job well but with absolutely no drug busts to show for it ... What then? He plants the drugs, so he can keep the dog ...

All fancy, I'm sorry to say, based on the fragments of news accounts I can find online, but I like my version better. It's heartwarming -- that is, if you're not the poor sap who got framed. But notice how, with only a few details, I automatically created an explanatory narrative? We human beings do love our stories.

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