Posts tagged Dave Grossman

How cops see themselves (#2). National Police Memorial Week and El Monte, California.

Continuing in the vein of GT 2009-05-07: Occupying forces, GT 2009-03-28: It doesn’t take much imagination, and GT 2008-09-25: How cops see themselves, see also this all-too-earnest article by Robert O’Brien, in POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (2009-05-13): National Police Memorial Week: Never Forget, written in honor of Washington, D.C.’s annual drunken police riot, in which we are informed, along the way, that Law enforcement deaths could easily weaken our profession’s resolve [sic] to protect and serve. However, the exact opposite is true. Instead of weakening us, our thin blue line strengthens into a solid steel band of brothers. We may bend, but we will never break.

I’m not sure how many solid steel bands of brothers bend without breaking. However, the important upshot of this purple-blue prose is this:

As Lt. Dave Grossman says, you are society’s sheepdogs, and you willingly and selflessly protect your flock–with your lives if necessary.

— Robert O’Brien, POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (2009-05-13): National Police Memorial Week: Never Forget

Cops believe that they are like big dogs corralling a flock of sheep (for their protection). Guess who’s the sheep?

And then what follows:

You are our nation’s domestic warriors and heroes. And I thank you for your continuing dedication and service.

— Robert O’Brien, in POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (2009-05-13): National Police Memorial Week: Never Forget

Meanwhile, in Kicking Up a Stink Over California Incident (the incident was a cop kicking a prone man in the head after he had already surrendered, and then high-fiving his buddy-cop after; hence the cutesy title), Dean Scoville is outraged by the outrage, and openly longs for the good old days of you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride:

There is one thing the cop is unquestionably guilty of: Working in the wrong era.

There was a time when post pursuit ass-kickings were obligatory. Cops knew it, suspects knew it, and there are enough old timers on both sides of the fence that will verify the assertion when I say that what this officer did was NOTHING compared to what would have happened in another place and time. This might account for why back in the day punks thought twice before running. Nowadays, they’ll flip off a cop and run for the hell of it with little fear of reprisal (unless, perhaps, it’s El Monte PD doin’ the pursuin’).

— Dean Scoville, POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (2009-05-15): Kicking Up a Stink Over California Incident

Scoville is disgusted by simplistic arguments that all life–however vile, wicked, or inconsequential it might actually be–is valuable. He believes that it’s impractical for them to be expected not to inflict extrajudicial punitive rage-beat-downs on Suspect Individuals:

… I am forced to ask if we’re being practical.

Perhaps matters of practicality shouldn’t even be considered in a profession that embraces terms like war on drugs, war on organized crime, and war on gangs, but is not allowed the means to fight them as such. These are our domestic Vietnams. They are wars we could win, if only we could really fight them.

— Dean Scoville, POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (2009-05-15): Kicking Up a Stink Over California Incident

Cops believe that they are domestic warriors, a class separate from mere civilians like you and your neighbors. They are fighting a battle in your hometown’s streets, as part of an ongoing occupation of hostile territory. They believe that they are in the midst of several Wars, wars which are like the United States government’s occupation and counter-insurgency campaign against South Vietnam, and that they need to be freed from restraints on the tactics that they can use in order to really fight like a military force engaged in total war. (Complete, no doubt, with the usual free-fire zones and strategic hamlets.)

Who gives a damn about Posse Comitatus, or about whether or not the Army patrols American cities, when the local police forces already patrolling them are already indistinguishable from an the Army in self-conception, attitude, tactics, arsenal, personnel, and just about everything else except the cut of the uniform?