Osmosis and the U.S. Constitution

I have done a number of book interviews and martial interviews and while asked a variety of questions, they are often very much the same. And after being an obsessed writer, and writing for decades, I can usually drudge up a snappy answer that has been somewhat constructed in the past. This is not at all unusual for guests. This last election I listened to wanton politicians on radio and television, and one host asked every candidate, ”What is your favorite part of the Constitution.”
This enquiry set me back more than usual. What if I was ever asked THAT question? Would I have a snappy answer? No, I wouldn’t. Thinking about it, what would I say?
So…fragmental segments popped into my mind. Parallels like baseball? Yes, baseball. What if someone asked me, “What is your favorite rule in baseball?” What would you or I say? The infield fly rule? What constitutes a the “balk” of a pitcher? No, baseball is…big. The game is the game with all the trappings. And you sort of learn the rules, by an osmosis. You play. You learn.
I have graduated two police academies a military one and a Texas one, and there were classes, tests and final exams covering the Constitution. I even passed the Texas state private investigator’s test and that test had questions about the Constitution. So, all that text was run past my brain again and again. The law is very political, historic and complicated thing as it dissects logic and while police cannot argue before the Supreme Courts, we have a working knowledge of what we can and cannot do. At least we are supposed to if we have half a brain. To be hired, you should have this capability, a “constitutional IQ.” And this is not always the case, as I have worked beside buffoons and under buffoons. Statistical buffoonery is the bane of all humanity and all organizations.
There is a federal constitution and there are state constitutions. They are not supposed to contradict each other. To me, its a framework for fairness and solutions.
Once you start playing baseball…start working the streets in patrol and investigations, you glean this realistic, human connection to the Constitution. It’s a “gut-level” thing. As a detective in the Army and certainly in Texas the nuances become even more clear. In fact I learned more about the law by hanging out with, submitting cases to county, state and federal prosecutors and appearing in court, once again by a working osmosis. Again that working osmosis, like playing baseball to learn baseball. What works, what doesn’t, what’s acceptable and not. And the showmanship of courts – it’s a play, a cast of characters with a surprise ending. I quickly came to believe that:
  • The best patrol officer is a former detective.
  • The best detective is a former prosecutor.
  • And even good prosecutors want and should ride-along with patrol officers.
  • The best prosecutors are former defense lawyers.
  • The best defense lawyers are former prosecutors.
It’s a enforcement cycle that isn’t exercised enough, if at all possible? But…there you go.
Still if asked after this consideration, “What is my favorite part of the Constitution,” I would still be a bit stymied and would babble. Where to start? It’s all so interconnected. I know some of you will jump right in and say,
  • “the right to bear arms because…” and
  • “freedom of speech because…”
  • Etc….
I can’t answer most things in “chapter and verse.” I guess my favorite part of the Constitution is the Constitution. And I sure did like playing baseball too.
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com