Dear Mr. Editor,
Do you remember the stars and stripes shorts Sylvester Stallone wore in Rocky IV to defeat the Russian? I guarantee if we checked Dan Tepfer’s underwear drawer, we wouldn’t find them.
I’m not exactly sure why some writer’s go out of their way to disparage the people they are writing about, but frankly that way of writing seems to be epidemic lately over at the Post.
In an article written by Mr. Tepfer this week, he refers to the Bridgeport Police Emergency Services Unit (ESU) as the “so-called” SWAT team, with no other apparent purpose other than to create controversy where one doesn’t exist. In every dictionary I checked online, the term “so-called” had a negative connotation. The inference is that it doesn’t really exist in the context being proposed. The truth is, not only does the team exist and excel, most would argue it’s the most elite unit in the department.
First and foremost, that type of writing has no place in a factual article. If commentary needs to be made, save it for the editorial section. (Writing for newspapers 101) In addition, Mr. Tepfer could’ve taken the high road as done by fellow CT Post writers Noelle Frampton and John Burgeson. When trying to clarify that difference between an ESU and a SWAT team in prior articles that appeared in the Post, these writers used words like “version” or “special operations unit”. I’m guessing that if you are comfortable enough with the subject you are writing about, accurate and appropriate representation comes a bit more naturally.
What worries me about this type of writing is what is the point being served? Could any red blooded American actually feel that creating a negative public opinion against those who CHOOSE to serve and protect is a good idea? Isn’t it exactly that thankless, hollow attitude that alienates our Veteran’s while collapsing their healthy reintegration into the community. As a Country and a community we ask people to volunteer their service, defend our rights, enable our freedoms, protect our liberties. We ask families to sacrifice their loved ones to war zones across the sea and war zones across the street. We ask young men and women every day to go head to toe in bullet proof vests and emotional kevlar so that they can survive the damage of the role they play in society. And then for no apparent reason other than blood sport, we disrespect the same men and women we would have nothing without. So stupid.
Here’s the thing. The article Mr. Tepfer was writing was bad anyway, even without the dramatic flair. When I read that four of our Police Officers are struggling, I felt awful about it. It wasn’t scandal, it was just sad. The disease of drug and alcohol abuse affects every family, every profession with the five highest being food preparation (17.4%), construction (15.1%), art, design, entertainment, sports, and media (12.4%), sales (9.6%), and installation, maintenance, and repair (9.5%). The fact that less than one percent of our Police are battling this illness as opposed to the national average for protective services of 3.4% is actually a testament to the level of professionalism and support being executed in our department. I wonder how The Post would fair if we started pee testing over there. Hmmmm.
With that being said I would really love the see the Post offer an apology or a retraction to the Bridgeport Police Department Emergency Services Unit. The pen is mightier than the sword BUT only when you can trust it.
Jennifer Lynne, DC, FIAMA