Jackboots Are In This Season
Posted by PintofStout on May 13, 2008
Everyday one can find a news story about police brutality, police corruption, or a violent drug raid gone wrong. Of course, one can find stories of other horrific crimes perpetuated by non-police officers – sometimes against police officers – as well, but the storyline of needing protection from the protectors is particularly disturbing. The increase in these sad and enraging stories follows closely the increased militarization of mentality, equipment, weapons, and personnel of the occupying police forces in America. Are stories of police violence the new shark attacks that sell ads for news agencies or is there a serious problem?
Today, the militarization is complete to such a degree that the police and the various police organizations of government would easily qualify as a standing army, which was outlawed by the Constitution they are “protecting and upholding” even as they trample it (never mind the standing army without charade that is your military). Peace officers, the old (perhaps fictional) neighborhood cops with their own moral compass outside of the letter of the law and budgetary incentive, are a dying breed being replaced by money-and-power-hungry bureaucrats and violent control freaks who often go through training such as this: New Orleans Police Find Eager Recruits. After listening to the background audio of the New Orleans Police Academy, I’m reminded more of Full Metal Jacket than the Police Academy series, where two guys mistaking the police for the army are the butt of several jokes. Exposed to the ultra-authoritarian and violent compliance of their instructors, it is no wonder policemen reciprocate this behavior on the peons who are the lowly public.
I can’t in good conscience lay the entire blame on the individual policemen (the few bad apples lie) and/or even the volumes of ridiculously bad law. I’m certainly not exonerating them, but most of these problems boil down to the environment they work in (and we live in) and the attitudes the environment is created from and perpetuates. The attitude and mindset of blindly accepting authority of someone claiming dominion leads to the numb mentality of “just following orders”, “I have to enforce the law, even if it is bad law”, or “I have to follow these rules and do whatever this enforcer with authority tells me to.” The first two mentalities listed may not even exist anymore as the last attitude has reinforced their fabricated authority and allowed it to morph into the enforcers writing their own impromptu law and living above the rules of normal civilized society.
When the structures and people who were supposed to serve and protect the public are blatantly terrorizing the public and the system in which they work turns a blind eye, what are the terrorized to do? We could choose to not blindly obey out of some misplaced fealty to the law. The law itself, which was written by corrupt thieves, deserves no such fealty. The police were never intended to protect anything but the grip this system and its operators had on its subjects. Should we be concerned for the safety of a mugger or highwayman shaking us down on the side of a highway? Should we have reverence for the job done by those so wrongly labeled as “heros” who gladly place their jackboots on our throats to reach for higher personal treasures? Police and their masters distributing the treasure are hedging their authority with military weapons and tactics while simultaneously and nervously disarming the increasingly abused subjects. Why take away our weapons? They should have nothing to worry about if they did nothing wrong, right?
Physically defending oneself against the aggression of the state just feeds the defender into the same corrupt system with no hope of justice. A better start would be to change the meme of default authority of police officers. When we no longer speak of them as selfless guardians and shower them with our reverence, then the blinders can come down and expose the bad apples as the rule and not the exception. Justice must then be taken outside of the corrupt system. When the local police let their authoritarian flags fly – even in the “lawful” enforcement of victimless crimes – the community would have no choice but to completely reject them; refuse to associate with them and refuse to do business with them and anybody who associates with them. Much of this starts with the concerned citizens who become police officers themselves and are smeared by the name and reputation of modern police work and the laws they enforce. When the slimy, power-hungry, authoritarian thugs are sheltered by their fellow policemen, the previously peaceful and clean public servants are besmirched with the stain of corruption.
Something needs to change and fast. If this trend isn’t thwarted and reversed the thin blue line will become a battle line, the police viewed as occupiers, and the violent backlash of those caught under the treads of various “wars” on victimless crimes will only tear further into the social fabric. We can start by dropping the word hero from our vocabulary and start asking questions.