Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cops: the Best Friends Blacks Ever Had

Charles Barkley (via Legal Insurrection):

We have to be really careful with the cops, man, because if it wasn’t for the cops, we’d be living in the wild-wild west in our neighborhoods.  I think we can’t pick out certain incidents that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad.  I hate when we do that. Think about it, you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops? [Emphasis added.]

One of the underrated movies of the 1990s was John Milius’ Geronimo, starring among others Gene Hackman as Gen. George Crook.  Gen. Crook, by all accounts a skilled Indian fighter, was also a vocal critic of government duplicity in dealing with the Indians after their defeat and surrender, even going so far as contriving a court case that led to the recognition of their habeas corpus rights.

The movie shows Crook in a conversation with Geronimo, explaining to him, in essence:  “The regular army is the best friend the Indian ever had.  The most egregious atrocities against the Indians, like the Sand Creek Massacre, were committed, not by the Army, but by settlers organized into volunteer militias.  What do you think they would do to you if we weren’t here to protect you?”

I recalled this exchange while watching the recent rioting in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere, noting with some irony that while the protestors were demonstrating their “fear” of the police by taunting them to their faces while breaking all manner of laws, the police themselves were not only conspicuously failing to protect the lives and property of Ferguson residents but busy preventing whites from defending themselves.

A case in point:  a group of former soldiers with the Oath Keepers organization volunteered to provide security to Ferguson businesses last week, stationing themselves on rooftops overlooking the street.  But the police ordered them to disperse while allowing a group of armed blacks to provide a similar service to one business.

A second case in point:  a driver attempted to drive through an intersection being illegally blocked by protestors.  He didn’t injure anyone, but the protestors surrounded his car and through a brick through his rear window.  That strikes me as a circumstance justifying the lawful use of deadly force in self defense, but the driver was arrested merely for displaying his weapon in response.

When I combine these with the George Zimmerman and Theodore Wafer cases, I  have reached the point where I am less afraid of having to deal with black criminality (I’m well-armed and a pretty good shot) than I am of what happens when prosecutors show up second guessing every self-defense decision I had to make.  It’s pretty clear that the police are neither in theory nor in fact capable of protect me, only capable of arresting me once I protect myself.

Thought experiment:  what would happen if the police disappeared?

In my own case, probably nothing.  Phi’s lily-white little burg is a disproportionate home to, um, a powerful demographic who by non-transparent means are able to issue the necessary threats and bribes and make problems go away.  Hence, our police force is able to do its job and keep our community free from aggravation by both the criminal underclass and Eric Holder.  So, if the police disappeared, more of us would carry guns, but life would likely go on as before once the word got out.

But other communities are not so fortunate.  Barkley’s “wild west” analogy is more true than he realizes.  It’s not just that blacks would start shooting each other even more than they currently do (if that is even possible).  It’s that at some threshold of aggravation, citizens would organize and arm themselves and take care of the problem.  And no, it wouldn’t be pretty, or just, or especially scrupulous about non-combatants anymore than John Chivington was.  But it would be effective in a way that our present social and law-enforcement policies are not.


Dexter said...

"Vigilantes" have always come into being when the government was unable or unwilling to do its job.

månesteiner said...

"It’s that at some threshold of aggravation, citizens would organize and arm themselves and take care of the problem."

Citizens rising up and taking care of the problem is an often heard prediction - "Just push us one more inch and watch out."

I'd agree, that would seem to be a natural reaction. Except for the fact that there's a stunning lack of evidence that middle class Americans have that instinct in them. Look at how much they've passively accepted so far, decade after decade. Why haven't they taken to the streets already? Do they even have a line in the sand?

And if things were to become uncomfortable enough that even some citizens were tempted to take matters into their own hands should we wonder whose side Homeland Security, FBI, ATF, the National Guard and SEIU Local 167 of the Amalgamated Brick-Throwers Union is going to be on?

Middle class Americans have voted themselves into this mess. Apparently they're willing to live with it.

Dr. Φ said...

Steiner: I agree. Whites haven't thrown a race riot in 70 years, or a lynching in almost as long. And even lone wolves are far more common in fiction like the Death Wish series than in real life.

There are certainly many reasons for this, not all of which I fully understand. But one of those reasons is that Whites are afraid of law enforcement (as well they should be). My point is that, take away the police, and vigilantism starts to look much more attractive to a sufficient number of Whites that it becomes a formidable adversary of Local 167.

heresolong said...

Take away the police and most communities would hire people to keep the peace. In other words, they would form a police force. So your hypothetical becomes self defeating.

Dr. Φ said...

To be specific, take away the police and some communities with means would "gate" themselves and hire private security to protect residents from outside threats. That's not the quite the same as police.

A little further down the social scale, communities without the means to hire private security would opt for the "posse" system: ad hoc groups of volunteers that would pursue the communities' interests, especially against outsiders.