Shorting the Cops and Sledding for $

Clever Wall Street mathematicians are secretly studying what they believe to be a surefire investment strategy. They are back testing a simple plan that promises outsized returns for years to come.

The plan — referred to in whispers as STC, the acronym for Shorting the Cops — is to bet against the success of every decision made by every police department at every opportunity. The payoffs of the secret strategy depend upon these decisions being entirely wrong most, if not all, of the time.

The other day, the United States Department of Justice released a study of policing practices in Ferguson, Missouri. Alert readers looking back through their selection of “scandales du jour” will recall last summer’s rioting following the killing of a black resident by a white police officer.

At the time, there was well-deserved consternation as to whether better training and better policies might have averted the incident.

The city of Ferguson was not smart enough to raise the defense later found by the ever-vigilant Department of Justice.

According to the recent report, the city of Ferguson clearly had no time whatever for the consideration of police practices and training since it was otherwise engaged in running the department as a profit center to support the crumbling municipal budget.

The Ferguson constabulary had discovered that charging the innocent with “failure to comply” or with “resisting arrest” was a reliable moneymaker if the innocent victims were sufficiently unsophisticated. The outsized fines filled large holes in the municipal budget.

When revealed, these practices were not well received. The clever mathematicians believe there might have been at least three separate shorting opportunities in the episode.

Later in the week, the same clever mathematicians were delighted to learn that the US Capitol Police had prohibited neighborhood children from sledding down Capitol Hill after Washington’s recent snowstorm.

It was unclear what threat to public safety was thereby avoided in light of the fact that very little happens on Capitol Hill even when it is not closed down by a few flakes of snow.

Washington’s innocents seem to be more sophisticated than Ferguson’s innocents because they staged a “sled in” to considerable press and public relations acclaim. The shamefaced naysayers of the Capitol Police were forced to retreat.

While the clever mathematicians were hard at work studying their surefire investment strategies, a gel-headed young investment banker assigned to the mergers and acquisitions department of their firm happened upon their deliberations. Unsurprisingly, carefully trained as he was in searching out moneymaking opportunities, the gel-head pitched a merger of the Ferguson extortion techniques with the felonious potential of the snowy sledding hill.

Upscale Washington parents helicoptering around potentially disappointed sledders should prove a reliable source of revenue for yet another hapless police department.

For their splendid work, the clever mathematicians and the gel-head were immediately promoted to managing director. Sales of Ferraris spiked.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats locked horns over which committees would have jurisdiction over the proposed sledding tollbooth, preliminary cost estimates for which exceeded $5 billion.

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