When I was a child, my mother taught and said many things. I do not know if my mother and grandmother knew that their words were lessons to be able to deal with life when I go out on my own. They taught a lot through metaphors and one of them was ‘one rotten apple spoils the barrel’. I didn’t know what that meant then, but I well know now and they were right.
For my non-American readers, and others, I will give a short background to where that saying come from. Back in the day, most items were stored in barrels and transported in barrels. It was common to pick out the rotten or getting close to be rotten fruit out of the barrel because it would cause the entire barrel to rot.
Another headline was in the news, seven people (law enforcement) had a shackled and handcuffed man face down on the floor and they were on his back. He died and they are in deep trouble as they await, in orange jumpsuits, the outcome of the justice system. It has happened so many times that it is almost a back page article, not a headline.
The same analogy can be said about almost anything, especially politics. It only takes on rotten congressman to taint the congressional body. There have been many rotten apples in congress for a long time. However, I think there are more today than usual. I could name people but I am sure I will miss many people that should be named along with the others. There are undercover apples that are rotten from their core outward.
Getting back to law enforcement, the majority of officers attempt to do their job correctly and with integrity. It is a shame that a few taint the wellbeing and good deeds of the majority. When I was among them, I knew a few and have seen their conduct, however, there truly is a ‘blue wall of silence’. Why is it hush-hush when the right thing to do is report it? 1) you do not know how high the rot have spread and you could be speaking with an accomplice. 2) you will find yourself, most times, alone in everything you do. There will not be any association with you in any manner. 3) you could accidentally die. This has happened in the past and will happen again. 4) the command tier don’t want transparency, they want to deal with it themselves to keep their names clean.
Keep in mind, rotten apples are everywhere, in every thing we do and see. The problem is recognizing the rot before you are caught-up in it and become tainted also. Remember not to be naive because you will never know how high the rot goes or who is becoming tainted. We had a President that tainted everything he touched. In this case, the rot trickled downward, not upward.
There is another problem. If you were able to pick out all the rot in whatever agency, where would you get replacements that do not have a rotten spot? Look out for the rot.