Cops and Chemistry: Peer pressure on a global scale

This is my take on Saturday's shooting.  Stay with me here:

When I was a kid, we had this awful chemistry teacher.  He was a real jerk.  He made us write out the questions in our textbook in red ink.  And the answers in black ink.  Every day.  For our homework.  He gave us a quiz every day.  Every day.  Now, he may think that what he did was to help us learn.  But I know nothing about chemistry.  He made me hate it.  I didn't retain any knowledge because his methods were pure torture.  Bottom line: he was being a jerk just to be a jerk. 

All the kids hated him.  But they were also scared of him.  They wanted someone, anyone to stand up to him.  So in the school play I made fun of him.  Bad.  But that wasn't enough.  So I got a huge sign that said "Chemistry Sucks," and I brought it into the last class of the semester and put it under my desk.  He was livid.  There were kids crowded around the window watching this.  But I took my test.  And I got him.

Now, truth be told, if no one thought this guy was a jerk besides me, none of that would have happened.  But since we all hated him, I felt immense peer pressure to do something.  Anything.  I did this to humiliate him.  I did this to hurt him.  And I didn't do it just for me; I did it for all the kids.  I stood up and did this to him because I took the temperature in a room and said, "You know what?  I'm showing this guy who is boss."   

Now for the last month I've seen Facebook and Twitter friends really trash cops.  I've seen a ton of people joke about murdering cops.  People don't like cops, man.  They want to do something about it.  And yeah, the rallies were peaceful, but some people attacked cops; some people chanted for "dead cops."  There is and was peer pressure to do something to a cop.  So Saturday a man took the temperature like I did in 1998 and decided that his peers wanted two dead cops.  Was he unhinged?  Was he crazy?  Yes.  But the vibes you put out there, people pick up on. 

You put out vibes that a chemistry teacher sucks; someone will humiliate him.

You put vibes that cops suck and should get shot, then yeah, someone is grabbing a gun.  

"Well, this was just the work of a crazy person."  There were no rallies Saturday night.  No riots.  No headlines from Gawker filled with profanity and outrage over this tragedy.  Facebook was quiet.  No one was holding up a sign anywhere.  Many people on Twitter were happy.  Al Sharpton was tucked away warm in his bed.  Two men were shot.  Two families go without fathers.  But our lives go on.  And our outrage is little.

Seems to me the shooter got exactly what he wanted.

Because, just like me in that chemistry class in 1998, he knew his audience. 

Ray Gootz is a stand-up comic from New York City.  You can follow him on Twitter @raygootz and his YouTube channel youtube.com/raygootz.

This is my take on Saturday's shooting.  Stay with me here:

When I was a kid, we had this awful chemistry teacher.  He was a real jerk.  He made us write out the questions in our textbook in red ink.  And the answers in black ink.  Every day.  For our homework.  He gave us a quiz every day.  Every day.  Now, he may think that what he did was to help us learn.  But I know nothing about chemistry.  He made me hate it.  I didn't retain any knowledge because his methods were pure torture.  Bottom line: he was being a jerk just to be a jerk. 

All the kids hated him.  But they were also scared of him.  They wanted someone, anyone to stand up to him.  So in the school play I made fun of him.  Bad.  But that wasn't enough.  So I got a huge sign that said "Chemistry Sucks," and I brought it into the last class of the semester and put it under my desk.  He was livid.  There were kids crowded around the window watching this.  But I took my test.  And I got him.

Now, truth be told, if no one thought this guy was a jerk besides me, none of that would have happened.  But since we all hated him, I felt immense peer pressure to do something.  Anything.  I did this to humiliate him.  I did this to hurt him.  And I didn't do it just for me; I did it for all the kids.  I stood up and did this to him because I took the temperature in a room and said, "You know what?  I'm showing this guy who is boss."   

Now for the last month I've seen Facebook and Twitter friends really trash cops.  I've seen a ton of people joke about murdering cops.  People don't like cops, man.  They want to do something about it.  And yeah, the rallies were peaceful, but some people attacked cops; some people chanted for "dead cops."  There is and was peer pressure to do something to a cop.  So Saturday a man took the temperature like I did in 1998 and decided that his peers wanted two dead cops.  Was he unhinged?  Was he crazy?  Yes.  But the vibes you put out there, people pick up on. 

You put out vibes that a chemistry teacher sucks; someone will humiliate him.

You put vibes that cops suck and should get shot, then yeah, someone is grabbing a gun.  

"Well, this was just the work of a crazy person."  There were no rallies Saturday night.  No riots.  No headlines from Gawker filled with profanity and outrage over this tragedy.  Facebook was quiet.  No one was holding up a sign anywhere.  Many people on Twitter were happy.  Al Sharpton was tucked away warm in his bed.  Two men were shot.  Two families go without fathers.  But our lives go on.  And our outrage is little.

Seems to me the shooter got exactly what he wanted.

Because, just like me in that chemistry class in 1998, he knew his audience. 

Ray Gootz is a stand-up comic from New York City.  You can follow him on Twitter @raygootz and his YouTube channel youtube.com/raygootz.