A musician friend of mine who is a member of Richmond’s permanently aggrieved protest community is sure that if s/he can initiate a sit-in at a police station the cops will quit being asshats. They will stop beating people up, quit arresting him for possession of controlled substances, and generally learn to behave like good socialist citizens of the PFDRUSISA, or the People’s Free Democratic Rupublic of United Socialist Independent States of Amerika.
A good cop would see you on the street with a bag of weed and offer to roll your joint for you. A good cop would wear rainbow lace somewhere on his or her uniform in solidarity with transgendered people. A good cop would have blue-tooth speakers worked into his or her uniform so he or she could blast TuPak into this shit-show world. A good cop wouldn’t hassle you about the bruises on your partner or your obvious signs of drunkenness.
A good cop would arrest Donald Trump for treason. A good cop would create safe spaces where you could get high, drink, be with people of similar gender and ethnic identities and keep out everyone who was micro-aggressive. A good cop would gather up all the right-wing Christian crazies and make them live in internment camps. Cray cray. Cray cray, please, no good cops for me, thanks.
Cray cray lives here. Cray cray gets written about and published here. We love cray cray the way a crackhead loves crack. Cray cray is good for our business.
My friend Cray cray’s solution for asshat cops seeking a problem is in my wheelhouse. Some cops are asshats. Right. I know. Out of approximately 765,000 cops in this country, just on numbers alone, you would expect 8,000 or so asshat cops. The is how this is done in the press: instead of saying that the 8,000 asshat cops represent .0025% of the U.S. population, a smaller percent than the self-identified transgender population it is spoken of as, “HEADLINE NEWS, BREAKING STORY!!! RANDOM BLOGGER DISCOVERS THAT THERE IS A CRISIS IN AMERICA!!! THERE ARE 8,000 ASSHAT COPS BRUTALLY ABUSING DOWNTRODDEN CITIZENS!!!“
Now, this space being what it is, is more likely to speak of the crisis of asshat cops because a headline like that is total clickbait and a come-in-my-shorts possible driver of traffic to this site. We don’t care at all that it is cocked-up spin made of wind & water. It sounds great stated as above. We know the headline is false and don’t care. The *story* it wants to tell is highly provocative and it is the provocation that attracts us.
My friend Cray-cray has had too much vodka spiked red Kool-Aid. He wants the crisis of 8,000 asshat cops to be true bad enough to just skip over the facts and declare it to be true. He leaps from .0025% of the population being asshat cops to all cops being asshats, from the specific to the general case. Yes, kiddies, your junior high school English teacher told you that you can’t do that. Cray-cray isn’t swayed by logic. It feels true to him so it is. That way his solution has a problem it can solve.
The news loves to publish stories of cops beating up and/or shooting citizens. We get a couple of those per year. The usual outrage and response ensues, with various government officials bloviating about how we need to solve this problem. Committees convene, investigations are performed, the usual suspects say the usual things, and lately, it turns out that the cops are not the only problem. Then we get back to our usual humdrum.
Cray-cray feels that he or she is the solution for some ill-defined problem involving evil cops. One of his or her core beliefs is that all cops are innately evil. Cray-cray is a solution seeking a problem. If there was a problem for Cray-cray’s solution, Cray-cray could feel validated, Cray-cray could get that rush he or she is hungering for.
So . . . the answer is to punch some cops in the face and accuse them of being bullies needing laws, courts, and prison time. Lock up the cops and release the prisoners. Let them have a taste of their own medicine. Serves those evil cops right, bastards.
It’s this: the choices we make, the way we choose to tell our story, both informs and narrates our behavior. Cray cray who thinks cops are evil, angry bastards who need a protest and a riot tends to find himself in circumstances which deepen his or her confirmation bias on cops. It is outrageous to him or her that s/he could change the way s/he speaks of cops and influence the story s/he is creating in his sick intimacy with bad cops. It isn’t s/him. It’s that big, bad, evil other that generates the problem needing his or her solution of a protest and a cop with a bloody nose.
There will probably be a tv-news story about my friend Cray-cray who has a solution needing a problem and believes he or she can find it at the local precinct. People like s/him won’t be talked down. S/he’ll do it and has enough friends who will also picket and riot with s/him that s/he can make it happen. I wish s/he wouldn’t. My wish won’t dissuade guys like s/him though.
If you really, truly believe that we need revolution, that the devil is in charge, the world is a shit-show, there is an answer. No, it isn’t a picket line in front of the precinct and a riot when the cops tell you to quit picketing. It is the same answer that Nazarene carpenter had a couple thousand years ago: die to live.
We have quietly lived our lives for over two-thousand years. We live by a way of live initiated by a no-account Nazarene Jew bastard who was crucified a criminal for speaking blasphemy. We are persecuted, lately by a sect of Muslims impatient for the apocalypse. Billions of us continue to follow Jesus the martyred carpenter. We have had a greater impact on world history than perhaps any other sect of dissidents. The price of membership is low: a short prayer of confession and repentance followed by weekly gatherings and voluntary contributions of 10% of your income. No protests or riots outside police precincts are necessary.
I haven’t been to church in a couple months. It’s Sunday afternoon again and I am again in that post all-night of cab driving fog that only some rest can cure. I couldn’t let go of my friend Cray-cray’s idea that his solution needs the problem of the cops to feel fulfilled. This is a house of hot messes and the best of us don’t respond well to being told not to do something. So, I wish my friend well. I hope s/he doesn’t do anything too crazy.