Saturday, December 08, 2007

"A Good Cop On A Bad, Or A Bad Cop ANY DAY..."

Over on Jon Schwarz's lapidary there's a story of the the tragic series of (seeming) miscarriages of 'justice' set in train by a single, (apparently) simple act of loaning your friend your car. The discussion that ensued, which focussed in no small part on the retributive aspects of the eventual conclusions of the case, prompted the following reply from me:
In the USofA, 'justice' is and always has been a metaphor implying the 'satisfactory' punishment of the malefactor. "Penology" comes from the idea of a "penalty." It is a system which now will never change, because far too many interest groups draw power from the penal structures. Too much money, too much power, too little accountability. Too many Murkins (wrongly) believe they'll never come acropper of the law.

When i was a professor, i always found an occasion and a reason to challenge my students to answer or rebut the following propositions: "Resolved: Police "keep the peace," meaning primarily they protect the interests of the propertied, monied class against all comers. They are doing what is expected of them and what they are payed to, when they treat outsiders unfairly, when they abuse their power, when they unjustly accuse, prosecute, and imprison the poor and disempowered. That is what the communities they serve WANT them to do. If it weren't true, they wouldn't do it.

"Therefore, all members of the middle and upper classes should experience, first-hand, a full-on, no-holds-barred, guns-drawn, "assume-the-fucking-position-motherfucker" bust at the hands of good cops on a bad day, or bad cops any day."
Most members of the country's privileged class have NO idea about how the cops treat people they regard as beneath them (meaning, 'beneath their employers'), except from seeing television portrayals...


Hecate said...

Derrick Jensen explains that violence only flows in on direction in this society. S'true.

Ruth said...

Actually, I've had an encounter of the dark sort in once asking a cop his name, and reaching out toward his nameplate which was obscured. I was threatened with arrest. I admit I was totally startled by such bad behavior and that in public. But do understand that I should not touch the ossifer, and he had obscured his name for good reason. When behaving badly, he didn't wish to be reported.

Anonymous said...

I've had a cop pull a gun on me. Being a teenage metalhead in a white suburban town is almost, but not quite, as "bad" as being non-white. You're just as likely to "fit the description".