Scott Greenfield wrote today about a Reddit AMA with Radley Balko  (Ask Me Anything) that I missed. (Bummer.) The focus, though, was on this “question” that got voted down, and so was not answered:  

Nobody wants to see how police work is done, they just want to know that the police work is done. All of you people sleep peacefully in your beds because rough men stand ready to commit violence on your behalf. We do the job you are either too weak, scared or uncomfortable to perform. You’re welcome.

We have a saying where I work in Los Angeles. Every single person, regardless of race or color or economic class unknowingly adheres to it. Goes something like this; “Fuck you fuck you fuck you oh shit PLEASE HELP ME!”

My first thought was, “Who does this guy think he is? Colonel Jessup?” My second thought, given what happened to Colonel Jessup, was “Is this a joke?”

I wasn’t the only one to think of this — and I certainly wasn’t the only one to have my third thought, which was provoked by the title of Scott’s post. 

My third thought was pretty close to what C. N. Nevets wrote in the comments section:

The commenter probably doesn’t want to know how sausage is made either, but he probably wouldn’t take that to mean that sausage-makers can put whatever the heck they want to in there.

My exact thought was that I, like a lot of other people, might not really want to know how sausage is made, but that doesn’t mean I’d be okay with people shittin’ in it before it was shipped off to the grocery whence I purchased it.

I don’t want to repeat Scott’s entire argument, but as he pointed out:

There is much truth in the contention that people don’t want to see police work done, just as they don’t want to know how sausage is made.  People want to sleep well at night, secure in the belief that no one will break into their home and kill them.  While most of us would never do such a thing because it’s wrong, and that’s a good enough reason, there are some who do break into homes at night, and do terrible things once inside.

Sadly, in many neighborhoods — and it’s not just black neighborhoods anymore (not that that would make it okay) — the people breaking into our homes and killing us are the very people we expect to protect us from such a fate. Too many home invasions these days go like this. (It’s not hard to find these (EDIT 12/2015: link broken), but after awhile, it’s depressing.)

I don’t know what’s worse: that most of these people were unarmed and killed anyway? Or that because of the way the police conducted themselves, the people believed they were in danger from an actual non-police-initiated home-invasion robbery, tried to protect themselves, which was then used to “justify” their murder-by-cop.

As Radley Balko writes in the story about the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, who was almost shot by cops invading his home (see? it’s not just black people in poor neighborhoods):

I later asked Calvo what might have happened if he’d had a gun in his home for self-defense. His answer: “I’d be dead.” In another interview, he would add, “The worst thing I could have done was defend my home.”

Yep, the worst thing you can do in America these days is to try to defend yourself against people breaking into your home, because chances are damn good those aren’t people — they’re cops.

And cops will kill you quicker than any home invasion robbers, who are at least after your property. Mistaken or not, the cops have you as their target.

Our Founders would never have stood for this. No amount of arguing by Colonel Jessup or his brethren in your local police force that you can’t handle the truth would have sufficed in their minds for refusing Americans the right to defend themselves against those who would invade their homes. The Founders, after all, virtually enshrined the Castle doctrine in the United States Constitution — that quaint old relic — by way of the Fourth Amendment. Their response — the response of the Founders — would have been to start a war.

I know that, because they did.

No, Mr. Cowardly Anonymous LAPD Officer, nobody wants to see how police work is done, just like nobody wants to know how sausage is made.

We just want to know that nobody is taking a shit in the sausage, and that if they are, they are caught and duly punished. We want the police work done without you shitting all over us, and our liberty.

And when it’s not done without that, we want you caught, and duly punished.

2 comments

  1. Advocacy of a monopoly police force is a demonstration of delusion.

    For example, many folks believe cops are obligated to serve and protect them. Delusion. There is no such legal mandate. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled against such a mandate several times. But folks believe it. (That’s the power of propaganda. Remember when the sides of cop cars said “To Serve and Protect”? That sort of brainwashing is potent.)

    Why are cops becoming increasingly militaristic? Why are they so quick to shoot and kill others? Why do they rarely, if ever, apologize for their violence and mayhem?

    Here’s my theory…

    For all intents and purposes, cops are a monopoly force. They do not need to fight for customers. Moreover, countless examples tell us they seldom need to fear for their jobs when they use overt aggression and blatant violence against those who are innocent. Plus, their salaries, bonuses, etc. are paid via monies taken by force through taxation.

    Given the above, cops do not need to provide something of value – intrinsic or perceived – since the exchange for their “services” is involuntary. The transaction occurs only with the threat of violence (pay taxes, or else).

    Consider: if I visit Starbucks, it is my decision whether to trade $2.25 for a large cup of battery acid. I have a choice. The exchange is entirely voluntary. Not so with a monopoly police force. I cannot choose to not fund cops (or welfare, wars, NSA tampering etc.). I cannot opt out.

    Cops act the way they do simply because they can. There are few consequences for doing so.

  2. Advocacy of a monopoly police force is a demonstration of delusion.

    For example, many folks believe cops are obligated to serve and protect them. Delusion. There is no such legal mandate. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled against such a mandate several times. But folks believe it. (That’s the power of propaganda. Remember when the sides of cop cars said “To Serve and Protect”? That sort of brainwashing is potent.)

    Why are cops becoming increasingly militaristic? Why are they so quick to shoot and kill others? Why do they rarely, if ever, apologize for their violence and mayhem?

    Here’s my theory…

    For all intents and purposes, cops are a monopoly force. They do not need to fight for customers. Moreover, countless examples tell us they seldom need to fear for their jobs when they use overt aggression and blatant violence against those who are innocent. Plus, their salaries, bonuses, etc. are paid via monies taken by force through taxation.

    Given the above, cops do not need to provide something of value – intrinsic or perceived – since the exchange for their “services” is involuntary. The transaction occurs only with the threat of violence (pay taxes, or else).

    Consider: if I visit Starbucks, it is my decision whether to trade $2.25 for a large cup of battery acid. I have a choice. The exchange is entirely voluntary. Not so with a monopoly police force. I cannot choose to not fund cops (or welfare, wars, NSA tampering etc.). I cannot opt out.

    Cops act the way they do simply because they can. There are few consequences for doing so.

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