In every generation, a hero will rise. The G.I.s had Audey Murphey. The Boomers had MLK and Ghandi, and Generation X Brad Pitt, a vampire who once saved the world from a Zombie apocalypse. Today, we add to that esteemed list one John Langley, a humble restaurant owner from Portland Washington.
Yesterday, a customer at his corner Bistro, the Red and Black Cafe, went into the bathroom. Some time later, Langley went in to check on him, and found the customer collapsed on the bathroom floor of a clear heroin overdose. He immediately called 9-1-1…but gave an odd proviso to the dispatcher.
“We don’t allow police in here so we can totally accommodate the fire department and other emergency personnel. Not police, though…if the police try and come in here, there’s gonna be another problem.”
The dispatcher told Langley that she had to send everybody, but he remained firm in his stance. As he did in front of the cafe when police arrived. Medical personnel arrived quickly, and began treating the man in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Langley guarded the front door, intent on keeping the jackboots outside.
The police, for their part, maintain they had the right to go inside if they’d wanted to. Bescause, Gestapo. They say it was the paramedics and not Langley who kept them out. But still, Langley stood by his convictions.
He describes himself as a homeless advocate and “anarchist,” and made headlines five years ago when he asked an police officer to leave his restaurant after buying a cup of coffee. As hipsters go, Langley can at least say he was into kicking cops out before kicking cops out was cool. Like the Johnny Depp of police brutality.
Of course, our conservative trolls are going to snicker and say “Yeah, well, wait until that limp-wristed liberal needs the police.” That day may come eventually; and when it does, someone’s going to get murdered. One way or the other.
In Florida, we locals have a longstanding rule: “Don’t call the cops. Never call the cops.” Sure, we shoot each other, and we murder each other. A lot. Floridian citizens are murdered by other citizens in droves, as anyone knows from the news. But you know who we don’t get murdered by?
So…the hero of our generation followed the Florida Rule to some effect. And because he did, a man got the medical help he needed. Nobody got shot for “resisting arrest.” Nobody “went for anyone’s gun.” No innocent bystanders were beaten, no cell phone footage erased, and no lives destroyed. A man got medical treatment, and that was the end of the story.
So, who’s up for The Langley Amendment? The right to refuse police presence when placing an emergency call? Might be worth supporting. After all, the heroes of any generation are usually those who stopped the “heroes” of the last.