Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cops: The Changes Over the Years

You know, the more I deal with today's law enforcement "professionals," the more grateful I am that I got out twenty years ago. These days, between the birthers, Sovereign Citizens, "patriots," tax protesters, Redemptionists, Oath Keepers, militias, "minutemen (1, 2)," tea partiers, anti-immigrationists , right-to-lifers (most of whom, inexplicably, are also rabidly in favor of capital punishment), Christianists, Dominionists, and just general racist assholes, I don't see how any member of any minority group -- which apparently includes people not believing that Palin and bush are gods -- could possibly expect fair treatment from the cops.

After all, police officers are the ones we expect to uphold the law and protect the weak. But, instead, we have cops claiming for themselves the exclusive right to function as judge, jury, and executioner, threatening to "cap your ass" if you don't support their twisted, Beck-inspired version of the Constitution.

The cops these days are completely out of control.

We have cops "mistaking" their sidearms for their Tasers (yeah, right).

They demand blind adherence to their every command, while blatantly violating the laws themselves.

When I was a kid, cops were respected and looked up to; now they're feared and despised... and for good reason, too.

How the hell can anyone respect them today?


  1. Uhm, you apparently weren't around during the 60's, when cops were called "pigs". Or a minority during the 50's, when cops were tools of the repressive apartheid regime who regularly went "nigger-knocking" in sweeps through black neighborhoods to "keep the niggers in their place". Cops have always been a tool of the establishment to keep the remainder of the population "in their place", and have always been feared and hated by the population that was being kept "in their place". It's just that when we were younger, "the establishment" was a much larger place, rather than being the 1% of the population that has sucked up over 3/4ths of the assets of America as their own personal property... and the population being kept "in their place", terrorized and fearful, was minorities, not, well, us.

    If you want to understand changes in cops, you must understand changes in American society. If cops are acting like jackboots towards ordinary Americans today, what does that say about American society and the place of regular people in today's America? Not anything I'm optimistic about, I'm afraid...

    - Badtux the History Penguin

  2. Well, yeah, I was around in the 1960s, in NYC, yalling at the pigs, protesting our involvement in Vietnam, and all that other DFH stuff we did (like waving my copy of Mao's little red book). At least on the East Coast, by the mid-70s, things had improved somewhat, as a result of the Great Society initiatives, etc. (Also, when I started in the 70s, I was on a smaller department that didn't have much in the way of minorities in the area).

    In the 80s, when I went onto a much larger, urban department, things were getting a little tense, with the beginnings of crack, gang warfare and the emergence of what later became gangster rap.

    I'm not totally oblivious, and I know my former profession had a lot of problems, but by going in -- and leaving -- when I did, I feel I was there for the high points of American law enforcement, when we really did our best to "protect and serve."

  3. Right, and I'm just saying that the changes were primarily changes in society as a whole, not in the profession of policing as such. Policing has always been about protecting and serving, it's just been a case of *who* it was protecting and serving. In your day it was the general public as a whole. Today... not so much. This reflects a shift in society as a whole, where the general public is no longer in charge, the people in charge are the Ken Lays and Lloyd Blankfeins of the world. If you want to know what happened to policing, look at society as a whole, which has become in general meaner, poorer, and more vicious, and there's your answer.

    -- Badtux the Sociology Penguin