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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Do I need to Call Mr. Johnson?


Do I need to Call Mr. Johnson?


The current cry to defund the police has got me to thinking.  The idea I have heard is to replace police with less violent, psychology trained counselors to reason with offenders of various laws and general rules of polite public conduct.

Many police officers, it seems are too quick to stop criminal behavior with their guns drawn.  When the police overact bad things happen.  People revolt, stores are burned down and neighborhoods are closed.  Not good.

But will psychology trained counselors be able to do the job without violence?  I doubt it. 

I have a solution from my grade school experience 65 years ago.

Now I did not go to school in a particularly tough neighborhood.  We had our lunch money bandits, our class skipping delinquents and a few nose-bloodying bullies, but it was no Compton.  Still there were troublemakers.

There were no police in our schools, no strong-armed teachers, no special disciplinary personnel, there was Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson, an ex-marine, was our custodian.  He was not highly trained, he was not highly skilled, but he was well liked by everyone and when need be, he was feared.

When a student was acting up the teacher in charge would ask, “Do I need to call Mr. Johnson?”  

End of acting up.

When there was a fight, Mr. Johnson was there to break it up.  Two students held off the ground by their collars by Mr. Johnson quickly decided to shake hands and be friends.

The threat of Mr. Johnson dragging your butt to the principal’s office was enough to make most students think twice about their behavior.

I have since learned that ours was not the only school with a Mr. Johnson.  Most schools in the 60’s had a Mr. Johnson.

Under paid, and overworked, the Mr. Johnsons of the 60’s did not put up with annoying students who did not know how to behave.  The Mr. Johnsons did not have the time or patience.  They did have the street smarts and military discipline to stop punk kids quickly and without violence.

Mr. Johnson was well liked and yet at the same time feared by all.  Maybe if we defund the police, they should be replaced by old school custodians.  Men who would literally keep the streets and troublemakers clean.

These days criminals do not fear the police.  The police are afraid of a Police Brutality accusation.  The police don’t want to lose their job. The police often find their hands tied dealing with crime, every arrest is subject to an investigation. 

A Mr. Johnson doesn’t worry as much about his job or pension, it’s not that great, and there is no such thing as a “Custodian Brutality” charge. 

Young punks are hero’s when they stand up to the police, but they are assholes if they mess with a Mr. Johnson.

Break into a house, rob a store, hijack a car…

“Do I have to call Mr. Johnson?”


  1. I think this is a great idea. Mr. Johnson probably did not chat the young troublemakers into being peaceful, he likely had the attitude, don't mess with me.

  2. We need an army of Mr. Johnsons, maybe they could also be father figures to the young men and make sure they don't start down the wrong path to begin.

  3. You're right. We had Mr Bonzo as our "Mr Johnson". A stalky bald man we lovingly referred to as Bonzo Beans or BB when we were being stealth.

  4. We didn't have a Mr Johnson, but we had "Secretary Judy." She didn't actively break up fights, but nobody wanted to be sent to the office because Secretary Judy would know they'd been bad. She was probably late 30s, with silver hair styled at the beauty shop. She had glasses on a chain, and wore makeup, and read paperback novels at her desk while waiting for more work. She was a junior high celebrity! Secretary Judy had no sympathy for any student sent to the office, but was a mother hen to those who ended up there needing something else.

  5. unlike you we had "head girls" they would belong to senior most class in the school and keep eye on students specially during recess .there were two maids either who will allow to shout loudly on kids from primary classes like three ,four ,five and they had extraordinary voices that were enough mostly to stop kids from misbehaving .
    police is force in power and with allowance to use arms ,this is dangerous for common people in all over the world .the institution made to protect people is being used only to keep criminals safe and fear poor unfortunately

  6. I love the thought of an army of Mr Johnsons patrolling the streets! Our "Mr Johnson" was a formidable deputy headmistress! We don't have a strong "defund the police" movement in the UK, possibly because our police don't carry guns so deaths during arrests are practically unheard of - not that our system is perfect, far from it. However, the vast majority of people think defunding the police would be madness!
    Around My Kitchen Table

  7. The Times They Are a-Changin' as Bob Dylan sang back in the sixties.

    God bless.

  8. Genius! We didn’t have such a person at our school. We always had male principals that kids were afraid of. Our elementary principal had gray hair and a crew cut. He looked like a Marine to me.

  9. Since part of Mr. Johnson's success was that he was much bigger than the kids. On the street, it would take a really impressive fellow to put fear in a criminal. Oh that's right, Shaq O'Neal is now a cop in Florida. Maybe we are all ready going in that direction. Just need some more former basketball players and linebackers. Just might work joeh.

  10. I don't think defunding the Police is the answer, I think a lot of retraining is in order, so they don't react too quickly with drawn guns. Perhaps the retraining could be carried out by the Mr Johnsons in all counties.