The double shift. Every Saturday night. Come in at 3 pm Saturday, leave 7 am Sunday. Sixteen straight hours of After COPS. You watch COPS, and at the end of every segment you see the officers driving off in the squad car, with the reprobate in the back seat. Where do they go after the camera is switched off? County jail. And that’s me. Baby-sitting the unkempt and the unwashed through the long Saturday night and Sunday morning.
I’ve worked all days and all shifts at the jail for a year, now. The Saturday double is the gauntlet. Hour after hour assaulted by the liquor fumes, body odor and sewer stinking feet of the newly arrested wretches. Ear-aching hour after ear-aching hour of listening to their retarded self-justifications and dumb protests of innocence, their insane babble, their wearying pleas and juvenile schemes for extra phone calls, sack lunches or jail jackets, all accompanied by the blare of the televisions.
I call the Saturday double *Family Night.* A slow trickle starts at 5 pm, and the floodgates open at 8 pm. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence, one rolling in every twenty minutes until the early hours of Sunday morning.
*Families* spending time together on Saturday. . .
By dinner they’re at each other’s throat.
Central announces each arrival:
“Ann Arbor in the sally port, one new male arrest.”
“Ypsilanti in the sally port, one new male arrest.”
“County in the sally port, one new male arrest.”
“Pittsfield in the sally port, one new female arrest.”
“Northfield in the sally port, one new hillbilly arrest.”
Then, just to break the monotony:
“Ypsilanti in the sally port, three new male arrests.”
Home Invasion by three juvenile delinquents dumber than Home Alone’s Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci.
And sprinkle in a few OWIs, a couple traffic bench warrants, a possession of dangerous drugs, maybe a felonious assault, a criminal sexual conduct, and every now and then, a murder. That’s Saturday night.
But Domestic Violence is definitely the Saturday house specialty. . .even more so now the hot weather is here. And particularly for the POOR and the DIRTY. And the FAT. Pricking at each other all day, husband against wife, wife against husband, parents against children, children against parents. . .even the grandparents get into it. Snarling at each other all day long, baiting each other all day long. . .mixed with alcohol, of course, until one or more of them invariably loses control and then the brawl begins.
The blazing sun is the enemy of domestic harmony. The burning rays fry the nerves of the poor, the dirty and the fat. Their brains cooked until derangement sets in. The cops go in and pick these human weeds. The tares arrive at the jail in various states of undress. Stinking, sweating, sunburned, rolls of fat spilling from their soiled, stained, ill-fitting rags.
Stumbling, slurring litter.
All ages. From the seventeen year old boy who threw a bowl of chocolate pudding at his mother, then taunted her by holding a mirror in front of her, telling her how stupid she looked, and then breaking the mirror over her head, to the seventy-four year old geezer who battered his seventy-two year old wife with her walker.
All day Saturday, families warring.
Maybe families with money tear themselves apart, too. Maybe they just have enough wealth to live far enough away from their neighbors. Out of earshot. The poor live stacked on top of each other, and the neighbors report the mayhem. Or maybe the poor are just conditioned to have the police referee their dysfunctional lives. . .whatever the reason, it’s always the POOR, dirty and fat, who are brought in on domestic violence.
The high*light* last Saturday was Brianna--five foot, four inches and three hundred and sixty pounds. At least, three sixty is what she was willing to admit to. Stringy, greasy, shit-colored hair hanging to her shoulders, sweating buckets in worn pink Wal-Mart stretch pants and a stained, soiled tent-sized originally white, now gray t-shirt. She got into a scrap with her daughter, and according to the county deputy who brought her in, ending up biting her on the right breast.
That’s all it’s ever been since Cain and Abel.
It’s in our blood.
I look at these people. Us. I watch them every Saturday night. I listen to them. The truth eventually slips out. One of the questions I have to ask is:
Have there currently been a few weeks when you felt useless or sinful?
The NEVER feel sinful. That concept has been lost. They laugh at the idea of sin.
But it is amazing how many of them admit to feeling useless.
Broken people, not at peace with themselves, and, therefore, unable to be at peace with others.
It could be said:
These are the people Jesus loves.
In His incarnation, Jesus never laid eyes on a three hundred and sixty pounder. He would have been disgusted by the sloth, the gluttony, the degeneracy of appearance and conduct.
But Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor and the broken in spirit.
But these people are poor only by AmerICKan standards. Compared to most, they are well-off.
And are they broken in spirit? They have the gospel all around them. AmerICKa is choked with churches and so-called *Christian* Media. The gospel lays all around them like junk mail on the kitchen table or the coupon flyers in the Sunday paper--ignored. This human corruption takes no notice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For fifteen hours and fifty minutes every Saturday night I say:
Burn this garbage in Hell.
But in the last ten minutes, as I’m about to be free of them, I have a deathbed conversion. They are, after all, only a mirror. So I say to myself, judge them according to your measure. No match for the world, the flesh and the Devil. We get our ass kicked all day long. This stumbling, slurring litter is my blood.
7 am every Sunday morning I find comfort in Psalms 103:
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. . .Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
This is my comfort. The comfort of those that fear the Lord. As for the others, those who feel useless, I leave them sitting in darkness, waiting:
Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon Him: and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
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