Fred Reed, Fred on Everything, December 31, 2014
It is obvious, is it not, that all of the recent problems with the police have occurred because cops keep meddling with people. If the fuzz had left Rodney King alone, Los Angeles would not have burned. If the cop in Ferguson had not stopped Michael Brown after he robbed the store, the town would not have burned. If a New York cop had not tried to keep from selling illegal cigarettes, there would be no protests. If OJ Simpson had not been prosecuted for murdering his wife, racial tension would have been less. On and on.
It is blindingly clear that nothing but trouble results when cops interact with criminals in places of high diversity. It makes no sense to meddle. It is racism. It is irresponsible. It leads to arson. It needs to stop.
And it can.
If you were a young white cop just out of the academy, and asked my advice, I would say, “When on the street, mind your own business.” For example, if you see a drug dealer on the corner peddling rock, what should you do? Nothing. Doing nothing protects you, protects the dealer, and keeps the locals from burning the neighborhood. As a police officer, it is your duty to protect.
Do nothing. Here’s why: Let us suppose that the dealer is young, weighs 290 and, when you try to arrest him, says, “Fuck off, whitey.” You are 35, 180, and haven’t been to the gym for a while. What can you do?
You could call for backup and five of you could swarm the guy, but that looks bad to the population. (“Dem white muhfuhs be gangin’ up on a brotha.”) Your other choices are try to wrestle him down, pepper-spray him, Tase him, club him, or shoot him. All of these are ugly to watch and upset the locals.
All have a chance of ending unhappily. The perp has asthma and the pepper spray does him in, or has a weak heart and the Taser croaks him.
Then here come Jesse and Al, Barack and Eric, the Four Horsemen of the Acopalypse. You will be raped in the media, lose your job and your mortgage, goodbye retirement, and face six months of media circus, death threats against your family, civil suits by the family and civil-rights charges by the feds.
Don’t risk it. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Leave drug peddlers alone. Don’t get involved.
Nonintervention, note, will please everybody. If your department really is brutal, as all are said to be, you can’t be brutal if you leave people alone. Complaints about misbehavior will diminish, pleasing blacks and liberals, and this will make your chief happy.
When you go on the street as a rookie, you will find that police incidents fall into three categories.
First, things that you encounter by chance: crack whores, bar fights, drug dealers, muggings, burglaries, the fifteen-year-old runaway being worked by her pimp, the guy breaking car windows to steal the GPS. These are the small change of police life. Ignore them. You can later say that you didn’t see anything. It is much harder for the feds to come after you for something you didn’t do than for something you did. Again, you have nothing to gain by interfering with local enterprise.
Second, hot calls: rape in progress, armed robbery in progress. You have to answer these because dispatchers record their radio traffic. They are, however, calls dangerous to you. For example, rapists often have violent tendencies. They usually do not want to go to jail. A rapist may attack you with a length of rebar, in which case your choices are to shoot him or have your skull crushed. How do you profit from either of these outcomes?
The armed robbery offers equal hazards with no rewards. Armed robbers typically are armed. In a shootout you very possibly get killed, which is not to your advantage, or the perp does. It then turns out that he was sixteen, wanted to go to divinity school, the gun was plastic or a cell phone. Brutality, extremism, overreaction, profiling, black lives matter, and here come the Four Horsemen.
But a wise cop can easily avoid these perils. Rapes don’t last long, nor do armed robberies. When you respond to the call, drive at the speed limit, stop for traffic lights, and hit the siren and bar lights well before you arrive at the scene. When you get there, the rapist will be long gone.
This is a happy ending for everyone. You are happy because you will not be charged with racially motivated murder. The rapist is happy because he will not go to jail. Businesses are happy because they won’t be looted, the locals because a brothah was not mistreated.
Be very careful of profiling beefs. Since this sin is not defined, you can never tell when you have committed it. Suppose you encounter a 2015 Beamer with the passenger-side window broken out, plates with rust stains around the bolt holes, and a nineteen-year-old driver in ghetto-bag attire who refuses to make eye contact. What do you do?
Nothing. It would be profiling. (If you saw him run out of a bank with a gun in one hand and a bag of money it the, and arrested him, it would be profiling.) Don’t risk it. The locals will appreciate your sensitivity.
Technical tip: Don’t run the tags out of curiosity. They will come back to a 2006 Camry, and you will be on electronic record as knowing the car was stolen and not doing anything about it. It isn’t your problem. The insurance company can handle it.
If you are of liberal leanings, you can think in terms of cost and benefit. Is an $80 GPS worth a man’s life? Should a rapist die because of ten minutes of bad sex? Ferguson burn over a handful of stolen cigars?
In black neighborhoods, you should do nothing at all in response to anything. This just shows a decent respect for the desires of the population, who do not like white cops, or any cops. (Chanting “What do we want? Dead cops”, would seem indicative.) Find a good bar or doughnut shop. Stay in it.
In mixed regions, arrest only middle-class whites over forty-five to avoid profiling. As for the neighborhoods of rich white liberals, they do not need police because they live in gated communities, so you probably will never be assigned there.
It is simple democracy. In regions that are almost entirely diverse, people do not want to be policed. It is unmistakable. Why force outside cops on them? It leads to chaos, arson, and armored shoe-stores. Should they not be allowed to police themselves as they choose, to the extent they choose, as towns once did? Live and let live. It is the American way.