A Little Horse Play
When I read the good old News and Record story this morning about the Greensboro Police department considering adding mounted patrols to its crime-fighting arsenal, the first thing that came to my mind was the opening scenes of Doctor Zhivago.
For you youngsters who have never seen Doctor Zhivago, let me quickly recap.
It's a cold snowy night in Czarist Moscow (or it might have been St. Petersburg - I'm doing this from memory) and a large group of ragtag protestors are wending their way through the streets toward the Imperial Palace. It's a merry little protest - something about bread and equality - with women and children trudging along together with their menfolk and led by some leftist firebrand. Cut to a scene in front of the Imperial Palace where a group of Cossacks are forming up - their chargers blowing clouds of steam in the cold night air. Eventually, the protestors turn the corner and in the distance we see the Cossacks in a neat line, their sabres drawn. The protestors go suddenly silent. The camera switches back and forth from the protestors to the Cossacks. Silence. The leftist firebrand tries to rally the group to go on but there is menace in the air. Silence. Focus on the Cossack officer who gives the order to charge. At first, in slow motion and then speeding up as the chargers gather momentum the Cossacks hurl themselves toward the (now) fleeing protestors. The carnage that results is swift and bloody and the leftist firebrand receives a nasty sabre cut across his face.
Now, I'm not suggesting this could ever happen in front of the Phill G. McDonald Plaza in Greensboro but it's harder to imagine this happening at all if the Greensboro Police Department decided to invest its resources in more bicycle patrols rather than loud, pooping, intimidating horse patrols. Personally, I kind of dig horses. When they're not being used to run down protestors they're kind of a neat public relations gimmick - especially with women and children.