No one over sixteen has failed to have had a negative interaction with police.
Here are instances from my life:
Your bicycle has just been stolen and you flag down a cop car. You cross the street to approach the car and the idiot chides you for crossing the street against a traffic light, or something. Then they tell you your stolen bike is their business, and don’t go looking for it. They do nothing but give you a number where you can reach a kindly old retired cop who handles stolen bicycle complaints. They do nothing effective.
You are a teenager on your way to your friend’s house. The cop stops you, you get into the cop car at his command and he proceeds to intimidate you for daring to be in that part of town at night. The entire proceeding is just a cop being a thug.
Your house has been thoroughly robbed. On the cop’s second look through your house, the improperly stored firearm -according to our draconian firearms control law – is discovered in its hiding place. They take the rifle and never give it back. You have to hire lawyers to defend yourself. You make it clear to the prosecutor that there will be plenty of newspaper coverage of the fact that your door was broken down, your house robbed, and the homeowner is in more trouble than the thief who stole $20,000 worth of stuff in several trips, who has got away clean.
So do not accuse me of being soft on the constabulary. Like most of the human species, there is a strong case for eliminating the half of them with IQs below 100. But with what portion of the human species would we begin, in that case?
Yet even after a lifetime of not always happy interactions with these authoritarian twenty-five year-olds and older self-satisfied uniformed idiots, I still think they have a difficult, rough job to do.
Fred Reed has a great insight into the life of a cop at the Unz Review, called Notes from the Drains. It should be read by all who fulminate about police brutality and shooting. It describes the life of a normal well-motivated cop.
With time, your views on police brutality will become ambivalent, or not ambivalent. You will see the pretty blonde rape victim, fifteen, about due for her first prom, screaming and screaming and screaming, sobbing and choking, while the med tech tries to get a sedative into her arm. And you will hear the cop next to you, hand clenching hard on his night stick, say in cold fury, “I hope the sonofabitch resists arrest.” Yeah, you may find yourself thinking, yeah. Social theories are nice. The streets are not theoretical.
And you will find that the perps are almost always black. If you are a good liberal, you won’t like this, but after three months on the street you will not have the faintest doubt. If you are a suburban conservative out of Reader’s Digest, you will be surprised at the starkness of the racial delineation.
All cops know this. They know better than to say it. This can be tricky for black cops, especially if former military who believe in law and order.
You will find that there are white cops who knock blacks around, who humiliate them. You will think it wrong, and so will many of your fellows, but you will decide not to turn them in. You have twenty more years on the streets with them. You will discover that black cops exist who also mistreat blacks, and this will confuse you.
A more statistical approach is found in the City Journal this week. After showing that the number of citizen interactions with police has been going down in the past decade
…another series of Justice Department surveys,… ask Americans whether they have been victimized by crime. Those who say yes are then asked to identify the race of their attacker. In a 2008 survey, 58 percent of violent crime victims of identified the perpetrators as white, and 23 percent as black. That compares with a national population 74 percent white and 12 percent black. (After 2008, questions about the race of offenders disappear from the victimization data on the FBI’s website.) Police frequently point to this survey and others like it to explain that stop rates and arrest rates are higher for minorities because crime rates are higher in minority areas. Victims disproportionately identify perpetrators as minority.
The real indicator would be a significant dissimilarity between the incident rate, the arrest rate, the prosecution rate and the conviction rate. Dissimilarities would indicate that too many arrest were being made, or prosecutions initiated, relative to convictions. But there are not. Blacks fill American jails, and North American Indians fill Canadian jails, disproportionately to their presence in the population, because they engage in crime disproportionately to the population.
The notion that the thug who attacked the store owner in Ferguson, punched the cop in the police car, escaped, and charged back at the cop is some kind of innocent: it revolts me. The attempt by Obama and his more revolting – if that is possible – Attorney General Holder to divert moral judgment from the American black propensity to commit crime disproportionately to other ethnicities, and blame police, makes me ill.
It starts to make Stuff Black People don’t like look like a description of facts. Actually, it is all factual, just the selection of facts is biased.
Fred reed again, explaining the speed with which cops must make lethal decisions:
If you shoot, and the object turns out to be a cell phone, “White cop shoots unarmed teen.” If you don’t shoot, and it turns out to be a gun, your wife gets to explain why daddy isn’t’ coming back. Ever.
Cops understand this. Delicate Ivy flowers in the peat moss of the Washington Post do not.
Let’s drop the “You are a cop” narrative. Instead, let’s try an experiment. In your living room, no adrenaline, no darkness, no danger, I will turn my back on you, holding in front of me in one hand a Day-Glo yellow plastic banana and, in the other, a realistic plastic pistol. You, in calm, perfectly safe circumstances, will point a “pistol” at me. Your finger will do fine. I will turn as fast as I can with one or the other in my hand. You have to shoot or not.
You will find, no matter how many times we try the experiment, that I can turn and fire (if I turn with the gun) before you can decide whether I have a gun or a Day-Glo banana. Try it in a dark alley.