…..I am not keen on what the police have become – a quasi-military gang of security for corporations and rulers seemingly given license to harass, intimidate and, in the latest oft-repeated offense, kill ‘ordinary’ people like George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Change in community policing is long overdue but 90% of the public are apathetic (until they get a speeding ticket). We care but we do not care enough to do anything about it. And the system relies on our unconscious apathy.
We (the governed) are like one-ton steers being led on a flimsy tether by a little kid (the government)who thinks he is special. That HAS to change.
Slight tangent: When I ran a medical clinic in Vancouver’s skid row, we had a policy never to call the police. There were reasons for that; chief amongst them was that they would not come! We were literally one block from the police station and, on the two occasions over five years that we really needed a strong presence to protect staff and patients and we called, they never showed up! They neither served nor protected.
The second reason was that, for the most part, most of the staff could diffuse a ‘hot’ situation with a calm and gentle approach. And we had ‘hot situations’ every day. Anything short of a person with a gun we could handle and we did. And we never had to face a gun.
The third reason was that the police always seemed to get it wrong (for the perp and the community). They would use force and scream orders at a totally zoned-out raving schizophrenic who was incapable of complying or cooperating and then that poor sap would suffer their ire to the point of being beaten up, handcuffed and arrested. None of the social services in Skid Row relied on the police. It was too dangerous for everyone – public, patients, staff.
We did not hate the police, they just could NOT do their supposed job right.
Of course there is a need for a rapid response to an escalating violence but, as a rule, two healthy, calm, intelligent, unarmed human beings can diffuse the situation and do so rather quickly. Send in the guns when some nut is on top of a building with a rifle and a bucket of ammo.
The community needs a ‘force’ but not a big one. What the community REALLY needs is more ‘social-worky-types’ that actually do the ‘day-to-day, walk-the-beat, show-the-badge policing’ and they can leave the macho-military, bullying crap to a carefully selected few. Save the tough guys for the other nutty gangs. The best part for the cities is that it would be a lot cheaper and way more civilized for everyone.
I am NOT going to go on and on about that except to use it as the intro to the observation that the larger ‘system’ is clearly breaking down. Especially in the US. Leaving aside the police problems, the whole justice system is being exposed as a farce and an injustice – especially to minorities and increasingly to the lower and middle class. So is their health care system and their education system. No one really cared all that much because the US held out the promise of ‘getting rich’ and, so long as you could stay in the game (translation: out of jail and healthy), you could maybe get rich (and remain ignorant and apathetic to the other issues).
But that get-rich system has also proven flawed. The rich are getting richer and the poor are just getting poorer. The American-style of a Capitalist economy is riddled with fraud, lies, double-standards and growing inequality. And we, in Canada, are not much better. That truth is emerging and more and more of the oppressed are coming together. Black Lives Matter marches are usually about 60% Black and 40% White with significant number of Hispanics and Asians.
So, what is the answer?
I have all sorts of answers and opinions but all of them are built somewhat on what I know of the existing system. In other words, my long-steeped immersion in the system gives me some knowledge of it but NOT any knowledge of what is OUTSIDE that system (except the newly discovered mini system of barter, in-kind payment and gifting of the off-grid community). I am still ‘in the box’ trying to think outside of it.
Nature’s answer is just to burn it all down and start again.
THAT natural crack in the BIG wall was revealed again as the Minneapolis rioters set the police Third precinct building on fire. The masses revolted and fought back in a real ‘burn it down’ revolutionary way. Of course, no one wants violence and destruction but the Governor of Minnesota pleading for peace, and the Orange president threatening to shoot the protesters and now to ‘unleash the vicious dogs’, revealed the fear in the establishment of the masses revolting.
China showed that same fear over the very peaceful pro Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Basically, the governments are giant, paper facades built on the flimsy foundation of the passive apathy and lack of unity of the masses. Plus, the bastards are armed. We live in organized gangster-land.
If the masses ever get really hungry and angry about it AND organized, look out! The result will not be peaceful.