In times of sickness and trauma, my first instinct is always to watch cop/detective shows. I don’t know when this urge started, but there was this sense that no matter what evil or illness existed in the world, Jerry Orbach or Shane Vendrell or Elliot Stabler or Michael Westen would fix it. Especially if I was home sick — if someone was robbed in the first few minutes of Law and Order, I knew that, even if I fell asleep, when I woke up, Sam Waterston would make it all okay. After I broke up with Aaron, my boyfriend of six years, I watched SVU in my friend Jim & Ian’s room because Det. Benson was a comforting presence. And three nights before my wedding, I was up at 2 a.m. watching The Shield because I was nervous and Dutch Wagenbach always makes me feel safe when things were stressful and scary.
But today’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, and last week’s at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, not to mention the near-constant stream of fatal shootings by police, generally against black men, it’s hard to watch cop shows — especially The Shield (sorry Shane, Dutch, Lem and Ronnie*) — and root for the Men With The Guns.