Friday, October 24th, 2008 | Author:

In case you’ve been wondering, I’m 54 years old. I don’t think that’s exceptionally old, although I’m sure that depends on your perspective, but it’s old enough – old enough to remember …

  • JFK’s assassination, along with Martin Luther King’s and Bobby Kennedy’s;
  • the Great Blackout of ’65 when the neighbors all congregated at our house because we had a generator, and my grandfather repeatedly proclaimed, “The Russians are coming!”;
  • Vietnam protests, Woodstock, and love beads;
  • and Officer Miller.

You might not remember Officer Miller, but he’s an indelible part of my childhood. Every Friday for years and years, my mother would pick me up at school and transport me to Amsterdam for an organ lesson at Morrison & Putman’s Music studio. In those days, Bridge St. actually led to the bridge, and there wasn’t a mall in the middle of downtown. The intersection of Market and Main was “the four corners” … and belonged to Officer Miller.

He stood in the middle of that intersection, hour after hour, summer and winter, directing traffic so that pedestrians could safely cross the street. He wore white gloves that were never less than dazzling, and visible for blocks. When it was our turn to cross, he would wave us across, and nod politely as we passed him.

I don’t remember which upheaval of downtown took his job away, but I still think of Officer Miller, and I wonder. I wonder what he would think of being a police officer in Amsterdam today. I wonder what he would think about paramilitary units raiding homes all across America. I want to tell him that:

  • The police department in Cobb County, Georgia, has some new equipment for their SWAT team: a tank. (see photos)
  • Police invaded the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, MD, shot his two dogs, and hand-cuffed his mother-in-law – for no good reason.
  • Tennessee state troopers shot a family dog, after they were pulled over because their car matched the description of a robbery suspect. (see video, if you can stand it)
  • Police in Troy, NY, shot the locks off the door, threw a flash-bang grenade in, and then handcuffed a woman in her apartment at 6 am – and found nothing illegal. They were acting on information from a “confidential informer.”
  • The Cato Institute has released an interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids – 333 of them, including the deaths of 43 innocent people.

What do you think, Officer Miller? Please tell me what you think.

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2 Responses
  1. Framing Images and Memories says:

    Funny how we remember childhood events like Officer Miller. I’m 40 and was raised in Fonda. We had Bert, the crossing guard. He had his hat and orange flag and he was the only crossing guard I remember having from k-12. My sisters and I think of as a part of our childhood too! Nice story, thanks for sharing your officer memory.

  2. akaGaGa says:

    I went to Fonda, too, but I rode the bus from Glen. I think I remember Bert, but I was driving then. I have stopped countless times at Main & Center, waiting for the kids to get across.

    Thanks for commenting!