“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
– Martin Niemöller
It is natural, maybe even unavoidable, that one’s view of the world is based mostly on his own personal experiences. If you are white and living in an upscale suburban neighborhood, you may very well view police as friendly, professional and courteous. On the other hand, if you are black and live in a poor inner-city neighborhood, you are likely to view the police as just another dangerous street gang to fear and avoid.
The problem is not that either perception is “wrong.” The problem is that some people assume that their own experiences must match the experiences of everyone else. In middle-class white suburbia, it may usually be true that if you don’t cause trouble, the police won’t harass you (although that is becoming less and less true). So it is easy for such people to assume that if someone is being detained, arrested, or even physically assaulted by police, the person MUST have done something to deserve it. And predictably, this is the same viewpoint expressed by the well-paid, well-connected, and VERY well-controlled mainstream media.
But other people in other circumstances know and report a very different story, as many decades of rap illustrate (e.g., “Sound Of Da Police” by KRS-ONE).
However, recently there have been many stories of people who once believed in “law and order,” and who had faith in the “justice system” but have since learned the brutal reality of things. There have even been stories of black police officers being illegally harassed and detained when not in uniform.
The number of cases of police getting caught lying under oath, abusing suspects, planting evidence and falsifying reports may still surprise many, but they don’t surprise those for whom such injustice is a routine part of life. “They planted evidence!” “They got the wrong guy!” “The cop is lying!” or “I didn’t do anything!”
It’s easy for a spectator— especially one who has never been victimized by thugs in uniform—to assume that such claims are the desperate lies of criminals. But one day you may hear those words coming out of your own mouth knowing they are true, but also knowing that few people are going to believe your word over the word of those “brave men and women in blue.”
Despite the “protect and serve” rhetoric, the primary job of those who wear badges is to supply the politicians with money and power. Money by issuing citations for whatever technical infractions they can detect or fabricate, and power by punishing any who disobey the arbitrary commands of those in power.
Unfortunately, many of those who haven’t yet been victimized still imagine police to be the good guys. But how many “exceptions” make a rule? How many “bad apples” must be exposed before people recognize that the whole barrel is rotten? How many “isolated incidents” does it take for people to see the pattern?
When will people see that law enforcement is not just occasionally blemished by incidents of injustice, corruption and misconduct. Law enforcement IS injustice, corruption, and misconduct, sometimes legalized and sometimes not, but always excused and sanctioned by those who benefit from the racket. Those who have been on the receiving end of “the system” know this all too well, and the number of people in that category continues to grow.
On the bright side, this means that more and more people—even those well-off in upscale suburbia—are starting to learn the true, violent nature of government. It is not your friend. It is not your servant. It serves itself, and it does so at the expense of everyone else.
It may sound cliche, but the only way to have liberty and justice for anyone is to have liberty and justice for all. When whites stand up for blacks, blacks stand up for whites, rich stand up for poor and vice versa.
When decent people of all races, religions, cultures and backgrounds stand with each other against those who would oppress them—that is when violent oppression will end, and peace and justice will begin.
Denial is a powerful drug. It’s high time we get over the addiction.
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