Monday, October 20, 2014

Semper Fidelis

I am increasingly of the opinion that modern Western police (many police, maybe not all) exist to clean up after crimes, to beat suspicious people up (especially if they are poor and otherwise defenseless: worst-case scenario, the cop just goes nuts and starts dropping bodies), and to collect a nice pension.

Crime prevention isn't really part of the picture (unless you think those press conferences mean something useful: I suppose there might also be real utility from classes that some officers give, e.g. explaining to youngsters what they see in terms of crime in any given community and how they would advise avoiding it). One problem I consistently have is that I feel some of the onus (for preventing crime) should be on me, rather than police. I feel that modern police have too much responsibility (protect and serve me, officer! I am too helpless to do anything in the way of protecting myself) and too little liability (saving that grown-up baby's bacon required killing a few lowlifes? no prob! back on the job tomorrow, with a raise!).

Communities that work, it seems to me, are communities in which we all take turns shouldering the real burden of "serving and protecting" ourselves--rather than passing the buck to professional mercenaries (who may or may not be assholes: in my mind, that is a different problem; I suspect many of these are honorable, and many are not). People (especially people in positions of authority or aspiring to such positions) need to spend some time "in the trenches" with soldiers and police, it seems to me. One of the great problems of our time is that we have leaders and citizenry utterly blind (in practical terms) to the realities of human violence. Professors, politicians, and clergy cannot really offer a useful, practical perspective on violence if they are never confronted with it--if they never have to deal with it in real time, with life and limb on the line.

I like the old Swiss model (every able-bodied citizen spends some time in the military / police), precisely because it involves ordinary citizens learning to provide protection and service to themselves, at a realistic cost (to themselves and the whole community). The Left would probably hate me if I became mayor (or anybody with political clout), because I would want to resurrect the militia (local military and police) as something to which every able-bodied voter must contribute. You put in your time--not necessarily in the line of fire, but close enough to see it--or you forfeit your right to vote on anything that involves public defense (because you are not qualified to have an opinion: the shepherd does not take a vote from the sheep when deciding how to fend off wolves). I think this model is the only way to create police and military forces that does not ultimately incentivize corruption. Of course I remain open to counter-argument, but for now that is where I stand.

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