Sunday, September 30, 2007

Civics 101

Pretty Lady is disgusted. She is not disgusted about the self-evident racism embodied in this story; she has made her position on racism, she hopes, extremely clear. What disgusts her is the wilful, mulish, self-aggrandizing stupidity of the police department representative who could make this statement with a straight face:

“Where there are more police, expect more police action,” Major Levins said. “Some people think ‘I can just hang out with this gang member as long as I don’t do any crime.’ Well, expect to be talked to. We can’t ignore them. In fact, we kind of want to figure out the relationship between all these gang members and their associates.
Let us leave alone the fact that it is difficult to have an open, productive, informative conversation with a person who has just been seized without provocation or warning and is face-down on the pavement with hands cuffed behind his back. This point, Pretty Lady feels, has been made. Not attended to, but made.

Pretty Lady must, however, answer this officer's implied question. Gang members in a community are the community authority. It is as simple, and as obvious, as that. Members of said community must deal with this authority in the exact same way that Pretty Lady must deal with a police officer who pulls her over because she was accelerating the teensiest little bit, not having seen the 'school zone' sign. One must be agreeable, and polite, and apologetic, if one does not wish for trouble. It is a universal paradigm.

A police officer who does not understand the community in which he is policing, enough to acknowledge its obvious structure, can never be the community authority, no matter how many innocent bystanders he throws to the pavement. He is not part of the community. He will not be attended to, he will not be obeyed, he will not be respected. He has no authority.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But he in blue. He five-o. He the man. They have to attend to, obey, and respect him. They don't, he say, Book 'im, Dan-o.