Every day a crime is committed, and our instinct is to ask, "What did they do?"
But many times it is not "they," it is "we."
The Laguna Beach police log is filled with our stories: domestic squabbles, DUIs, petty thefts, fights, fraud and general drunkenness. But what's interesting is when we point a finger at the wrong person.
Take, for example, my favorite story, one that I have taped to my refrigerator because it strikes me as both ridiculous and sad.
Four years ago early on a Sunday morning right before Thanksgiving, a singer at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic church was preparing for the service.
According to the log, "Police received a call from a neighbor who said a woman singing on a church PA system was 'hitting high notes … making too much noise.'"
OK, it's a little bit funny, but when you think about it you have to wonder. Here is a neighbor of a church. When that person moved next to the church, he or she had to understand that churches have services on Sunday. Nowadays, that includes singing.
Was it too loud? Maybe. But it's a Catholic church; how loud could it be?
More to the point, does it require a call to the police?
What heart of darkness would live next to a church and then complain? Does this person regret every Sunday, harboring built-up resentment and cursing silently each parishioner who walks by?
Just last week on Temple Hills Drive, someone complained about a homeless woman living in her car.
"The person reported that she was brushing her teeth at that moment," the report said.
Somehow, brushing her teeth was unacceptable.
It was a homeless woman obviously in dire circumstances trying to tend to her hygiene.
One wonders if this simple act of teeth brushing was what pushed the caller over the edge. Was it too personal? Too inappropriate for children?
If this homeless woman were parked in the corner of some darkened parking lot or back alley, would that make it OK?
Two weeks ago on Keller Way, "A person reported that a male and female were fighting in the street…. The dispute was reportedly over garbage cans and dog feces."
Happens every day. Dogs and excrement. Some owners dutifully pick up after their dogs and throw the blue bags in the nearest can. Apparently, it's not enough for the trash can owners. Maybe the bags split open and foul up the can.
Maybe they just don't like the idea of it.
Again, two weeks ago, this time on Bolsana Drive, "A person reported that a group of three Realtors were having a verbal altercation …. There were two males and one female reported, and the person said the female was taking down the other Realtors' signs."
Fighting over signs. And it's not even political season yet.
We fight each other then call the police hoping to blame someone.
We get so wrapped up in the business of others because it's easier than dealing with our own lives.
What's the expression? We point a finger and three are pointing back at us.
About a month ago on Park Avenue downtown, "A male subject was reportedly standing in a planter, waving a flag and claiming to be the new greeter."
So what? So what if he claimed to be Jesus Christ? What if he claimed to be your long lost brother?
The last I heard, this was a free country. We are free to wave flags, sing, brush our teeth, walk our dogs and hang our shingles.
We are free to be ourselves.
But will the stones ever stop? Will I ever open the paper and not see inane police log entries from people who need to get a life?
I doubt it, unfortunately.
We will continue to point fingers at the wrong person, trying to feel better about ourselves.
DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Inane Police Reports
Aug. 19, 2010
North Coast Highway: A man was asked to remove his pet cat from the 100 block of Main Beach at 3:05 p.m. Monday.
March 19, 2011
Oro Street: Neighbors complained that a five-foot-wide shamrock on a nine-foot pole blocked their view. A report was taken for code enforcement officers.
June 30, 2011
Nido Way: A person reported that a large, mean cat, which belonged to a neighbor, was refusing to the leave their house in the 2600 block at 9:23 a.m. Sunday.
July 7, 2011
South Coast Highway: A person reported that a homeless man was playing in the playground with children in the 100 block at 10:52 a.m. Wednesday. The reporting person found it "creepy."