How are society’s rules to be enforced? We can make sure they are backed up by threat of force (domination) or through a collective agreement in which police model the behavior desired and use threat of force as a very last resort. (You know, how security guards act in those high rise buildings of corporate America.) When was the last time you heard or saw an armed security guard in one of those buildings kill an employee?)
We do know how to enforce rules and the status quo without resorting to deadly force. So why do we have the policing system we have?
John Stewart recently provide an answer. Comedy often clarifying uncomfortable social practices. “We use the police,” he said, “as surrogates to quarantine racial and economic inequalities so that we don’t have to deal with them.”
I came to realize this early in my police career. I came to understand that I was there on the street to keep black people contained and keep them from bothering white people.
When police finally realize this uncomfortable truth, we may get them to buy into a “re-imagining” of their role in a modern, free, and diverse society.
It is a discussion long overdue. And it is a harsh realization. Time to get real. Re-think. Re-imagine — Wake up!