Sending the Wrong Message

The state is often schizophrenic when it comes to the messages it sends. One hand of the state will tell you to do ‘X’ while the other hand demands that you do ‘Y’ and the joke is that ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are mutually exclusive:

Hidden in weeds in Detroit’s Brightmoor area, Chevilott and his Wayne County crew discovered a loaded, snubnosed revolver as they were mowing the lawn mid-morning on May 3.

“It was damaged, so it could’ve went off. Surprisingly, it didn’t kill the guy on the mower,” Chevilott explained. “It got picked up, so we put [it] in the van, waited [for] police to drive by.”

However, Detroit police never did drive by, so Chevilott finished his work day, drove the gun home and later that same evening turned it into his local police department in Garden City.

He says the cops ran the gun and discovered the weapon had been stolen from St. Clair Shores in 2005.

“They said I did the right thing getting it off the street.”

Obviously Chevilott did a good thing. He found a discarded weapon and turned it over to the police so they could determine if it was stolen and/or used in a crime. Good on Chevilott for performing such a public service. Leaving loaded unsecured weapons lying around is certainly dangerous and we should encourage people to secure them, right? Not according to the Wayne Country Department of Public Services:

However, Chevilott’s superiors at the Department of Public Services had a much different opinion. His foreman, who had knowledge of the situation, was suspended for 30 days, and after 23 years on the job, Chevilott was fired for violating department policies.

According to a Wayne County spokeswoman and the rules, employees aren’t allowed to possess a weapon on work property.

While one hand of the state, the police, encourage people to secure discarded weapons so they will not be a danger the other hand, the Department of Public Services, says doing so will cost you your job. What’s a person to do? We’re often told that we should do the “right thing” but end up being punished for it. Chevilott will probably think twice about securing a discarded weapon since doing so this time cost him his job.

It’s sad that we now live in a society where common sense and decency are discarded for absolute adherence to rules and regulations. You can’t even help a dying man without fear of violating some law and thus facing a lawsuit down the road.