Friday, September 28, 2012

Policed: Us vs Them.

EVERYWHERE you go in this city, you're being watched by Big Brother-  on every highway, in every intersection, in every store or gas station parking lot.  I sometimes wonder if people are watching me type this right now- certainly people are tracking what I type right now.  This is a terrifying time to be alive.  I know that every generation worries about the next, but I am truly and genuinely frightened for my children.  One look at worldwide incarceration rates will make any parent tremble:

List of countries in order of incarceration rate

We literally top the charts!  We have over 4 times as many people incarcerated here in the US than in all of China- and they have 6 times the population!  Police have tried for decades here in America to get the public to see them as heroes, and yet only a few percent of them truly are.  I can't watch TV or listen to the radio for more than a few hours without hearing an ad that describes how easy it is to "join the exciting and fast-paced world of Criminal Justice!"  Generally, policemen and women are seen by the public at large as distrustful, cynical, paranoid, overbearing, prejudiced robots that have lost faith in their fellow man because of their profession.  They often become introverts and their family and friends suffer for it at times, (the most successful police often have dysfunctional home lives and there is a 75% divorce rate with couples if one of them is a cop).  They cut ties with old friends upon becoming an officer of the law and begin to associate only with other police in the field.  We're supposed to trust in them because they are trained to see situations more clearly than those involved and see through lies- to be able to see people in the raw.  From a civilian point of view, this often fosters the 'Us vs. Them' mentality.  Why would ANYONE choose this profession???  Imagine how many friends you would lose just by getting dressed for work each morning.  I personally think I would feel petty and like less of a person.  I mean, when the President Of The United States is in trouble, who does he call on?  Well I can tell you it's not 911- he calls the military of course.  I would fell like I was in charge of a very small anthill.  I would have to counteract that by becoming a distrustful, cynical, paranoid, overbearing, prejudiced robot I guess.  Police scare us.  They drive around all day, waiting for something to happen with hyper-vigilance and when nothing is happening, they tailgate us, seemingly for the fun of it.  It's terrifying having a cop behind you, isn't it?  It seems that the police these days are armed to the teeth with weapons and technology, (that we pay for, I might add).  I wonder what would happen if the police department were more like the fire department?  They don't drive around in their trucks looking for fires to be put out, do they?  Just have the police show up if I get in a wreck or if I commit a crime, have them show up and lock me in jail for a while.  What would happen if they didn't 'police' us constantly?  Their public image would increase to that of the fire departments, that's what would happen!

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