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16.12.08

Fuck Da Police

Canada's institutions of social control have been developing a big hard-on for the terrorist tactics of the fascisti down south, from our 'unitary executive' refusing to allow parliament to do any work this last year to our very own 'security certificates' and 'extraordinary renditions' placing terror suspects beyond the rule of law. And the cops are really starting to feel their oats, whether they're shocking confused immigrants to death and inventing a new medical condition to explain it, or curbing young women and then threatening and lying to witnesses. Here's what struck me about the cop in the latter story's statements to concerned onlookers - not the repeated lies and the bullying tone, which have become standard police procedure, but this little gem:
“You own property? Eh? You own property? Cause I own property. That means I pay police tax. If you don’t own property, you don’t pay police tax!”
And there it is in a nutshell. If you're compelled to pay for the Police by virtue of owning property (or, as this jackboot seems to fail to recognize, by renting it), you're entitled to the 'protection' of the police. Presumably, the more property you own, the more taxes you pay, the more 'protection' you're entitled to. Renters get the bare minimum; homeless people and welfare recipients deserve nothing but abuse. A protection racket, run by the state and paid for by the rich. Exactly how do my 'rights', or the 'impartial rule of law', figure into this picture again?

Of course it's an eternally repeated truism that we need semi-retarded thugs with deadly weapons and a blanket exemption from the usual rules of respect and decency. First off, we need them to protect us from all those thieves and murderers out there. Everyone hates thieves and rapists and murderers, right? There's no way we could possibly protect ourselves from criminals, catch our own criminals or punish them. They're criminals; they're vicious and violent and have no respect! If one of them confronts you, better not try to defend yourself; if one of them violates your rights, you better not try and go after them and get revenge; that only leads to blood and chaos. Obviously we need special tradesmen who are well-versed in the best techniques for catching criminals, whether they've already commited a crime or were just thinking about it. And sure, if they're going to be going after the criminals they're going to need weapons, right? But you can't have those weapons now, because it's the prerogative of the police to carry them, and anyone who's not police but wants a weapon must be a criminal. And they'll need special cars, and special uniforms, to make sure you know they're the police (except when they don't want you to know, so you'd better not take their picture). And they most definitely will need to be able to stop you on the street or break into your house if they think you're a criminal, and if they happen to make a mistake, well, they'll need to be protected from people who are just out for petty vengeance because they're The Police. They enforce the law and maintain the order. Because, you know, the rest of us just can't.

Of course, they'll follow The Rules. You have their word on it; there's no need to question whether they really do, or ask somebody to look into it. They promise, they'll only break into your house or take you away in handcuffs or gun you down if they're really really sure you're a criminal, and they can prove it too; because they're Here for Your Protection. Unless you're a criminal, in which case they're here to protect good, honest property owners from you.

Then, we need them to protect us from our own immorality, to protect us from paying for sex or being homosexual or using the bad kind of drugs. And of course, since people who do these things are criminals, dirty rotten vicious violent criminals, they definitely need to be treated as such. They need to be taken away and locked up, locked away from society so us good hard-working upstanding property-owning citizens won't be tainted by their criminality. But since no reasonable person is going to report a fellow citizen for a 'crime' that doesn't hurt them personally in the least, we need to be convinced that these horrible beady-eyed criminals are after their children and their money. We need to be convinced to just pass calmly by if we see someone being harassed the The Police, because that person must be some kind of thieving raping drug-smoking society-destroying criminal. And suddenly there needs to be more and more Police, because there are just so many criminals out there, and they need to be able to search you because you might be carrying drugs, and to go into your home or your car because you might be hiding guns, and to lie to you and entrap you because they can't just go after the criminals that people report to the any more. They need to go after all the criminals, and hell, you never know which seemingly upstanding, law abiding, productive property owners might secretly want to smoke some hash or get a blow job from a poor oppressed woman. They're tricky, those criminals are - sometimes they even pretend to be real people!

And slowly it seems like The Police are taking longer and longer to come by your house when you call them and report that someone busted in and held a gun on you and took your DVD player; that they're making less and less effort to find the guy who beat you up for looking like a fag (and you couldn't defend your self, you never bothered to learn how since that's what you pay the Police Tax for); that they're paying less and less attention to the women who are violated every day by men who know they'll probably get away with it. And it seems like they spend so much time on the easy crimes, especially the ones that pay good money, the traffic stops and the drug busts and the prostitution stings. And it seems like the vast majority of them are not too bright, that they don't really understand the laws they enforce, and can't follow an obvious chain of reasoning; almost as if people of high intelligence are systematically barred from becoming police. Which is odd, since you might have thought that people would need to be smarter than average to catch those devious, dastardly criminals, that they might need special skills and quick wits in order to catch law-breakers while obeying the law themselves. After all, that's what TV shows like Law & Order or CSI always made it look like! You start to realize that The Police are not quite the paragons of justice that you maybe thought they were. You feel it when you start to get nervous every time The Police are around, because you don't have any weed on you today but you sure do look like the kind of guy who might; when you're walking home late at night and someone suddenly shines a light in your face and demands to know where you're coming from and where you're going; when you hear about people dying in police custody and you realize you're not even that outraged anymore, because it just happens so damn often that you can't get angry every single time. You start to realize that no disorganized mob of stupid, desperate, mentally unbalanced criminals could ever be as much of a threat to you as a cadre of well-trained, well-armed thugs with the most dangerous weapon of all: the respect of society.

And now there's these terrorists, right? They're out there, terrorizing. And so The Police, and all those petty bureaucrats who suddenly seem to have powers that even The Police don't have, need to be able to go even further if they think that a criminal is also a terrorist. They need to be able to hold you without trial. They need to be able to beat you up or repeatedly shock you, whether or not you're actively resisting them. They need to be able to disperse peaceful protesters with mace and rubber bullets. They need to be able to send you off to someplace where even God doesn't know what's going to happen to them, because God doesn't have a high enough security clearance. And they need to be able to read your personal mail, and listen to your private phone calls, and videotape what's going on inside your house. And when someone busts into your house at 5 in the morning, you'd better hope it's criminals and not The Police. Because if it's criminals, and you try to defend yourself from them, you probably won't be jailed for it. Because if it's criminals, they can't kill your dog, shoot your wife, make you strip and chain you up for hours, make the whole neighbourhood think you're some kind of criminal, and expect to get away with it.

Do I think we could do without police? Not really. I think their role should be amputated, cut down to finding and establishing the guilt of those who transgress against other people so that those so violated can exercise their deserved right of vengeance. But no matter what form society takes in the future, there's going to be some form of law and there are going to be professionals dedicated to enforcing it; else it will be nothing but autarchy, and the rich and the mighty shall rule over the poor and weak by brute strength of arms. But there's always a choice. The system we live under today is little better than a criminal cartel, extorting money from responsible citizens while doing the minimum necessary to pacify those who demand the rule of law, a protection racket where the wealthy get at least the assurance that unsightly vagrants won't clutter up their nice view. Anyone who claims that The Police are servants of The People is living in a world of delusion.

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