I’ve never seen a single episode of CSI: Miami where Caine does not at least draw his weapon, and he fires it almost as often. CSI: Miami is currently running its 7th season. As of January 19/09 they will have produced 155 episodes. If we figure Caine’s weapon-drawing ratio at once every second show (a wildly conservative estimate), then he has drawn his sidearm at least 72 times in 7 years. That’s more than 10 times per year. I’ll be even more conservative with my estimate of the number of times that Caine has discharged his firearm. Let’s say he shoots at someone only once every four episodes. That means that he has, in seven years, fired his sidearm roughly 38 times. Though he does not always hit what he shoots at, I’m sure that he has shot at least one person per season (again, a wildly conservative estimate). So let’s summarize our estimates of the good detective’s stats. In seven years Caine has drawn his sidearm 72 times, discharged it 38 times, and killed or injured more than 7 people.
I personally know three police officers. To the best of my knowledge between the three of them, only one (a now-retired city cop) fired his sidearm in the line of duty, and that only one time in his entire
career. Granted none of them worked in Miami-Dade county, which does have a reputation for crime, but I still think the comparison is meaningful.
If Caine were a real cop can you even imagine the number of times that he would have been investigated by IA? Is there any chance at he would still be a lieutenant? Is there any chance he would still have a job at all?
The point that I’m trying to make here is that good cops don’t pull their guns every second day. Good cops don’t fire their weapons in the line of duty on a regular basis. Good cops don’t shoot lots and lots
of people. In fact, good cops seem to do the opposite of those things. Someone might object that Caine is just a television character and that I’m taking him too seriously. He may be fictional, but the
place he holds in American life is as an icon of justice and that troubles me. It tells me that justice in the minds of many Americans can be achieved through rampant violence. That strikes me as a very bad thing. It reminds me of an episode of the West Wing where Toby is arguing with somebody about gun control and he asks the rhetorical question “What? Are Americans just more homicidal by nature?”
If Horatio Caine is an American hero, then Toby’s question is worth exploring.