I have friends on the police force. I have lived in neighborhoods where we were glad to hear approaching sirens because it meant someone who robbed us, or who’d threatened to rape us, or who was turning some poor soul into hamburger in an adjoining apartment, was about to go away in cuffs. Hell, I even named a cat of mine after a cop whose beat often brought her to our building, where she typically left with some swearing asshole learning the hard way that certain women hit back hard.
I know, from my friends and personal observation and experience, that police officers have the hardest job in the world. More than anyone outside the military – and statistically the numbers may even be higher than theirs – the people who populate the Thin Blue Line are those most unlikely to return alive from an average day or night at work.
I realize that my friends in blue might never come back home one night because some dude with a high-powered rifle and a grudge had decided he had nothing else to lose.
Which is why I have to ask you, American police officers:
What the fuck are you thinking?
When you gather from several states around to go bash in Indian skulls at Standing Rock, what the fuck are you thinking?
When you close ranks to protect officers who falsify evidence on camera, what the fuck are you thinking?
When President Bully-Boy makes a ha-ha about slamming people’s heads into car doors, and you laugh – on camera – what the fuck are you thinking?
When you protect literal Nazis from the people they would gleefully destroy, what the fuck are you thinking?
When one of your own tweets “ha ha love this” after an out-of-town racist plows his car into a crowd of innocent people, killing one and sending dozens to the ER, what the ever-loving fuck are you THINKING?
Because I don’t get it.
Occupy. Berkeley. Sanford. Ferguson. Standing Rock. Trump rallies. Charlottesville. As of last night, Seattle. And that’s just a short list of obvious incidents off the top of my head.
By all that’s holy, people, THINK HARDER.
The current situation is not in your best interests. Nor in ours. Nor in the best interests of the country as a whole.
This shit puts your lives even more at risk. It draws targets on you, and on your fellow officers, and on my friends who know they’re doing the right thing by standing up for the innocent against crime.
When your union backs a racist, rapist narcissist, that marks you. When Captain Klanhood says, “Go beat in Injun skulls,” and you say yes, it marks every cop alive. When that guy next you in the squad room makes a nigger joke and you smile, when that detective plants drugs on someone who “Don’t look right,” and you let her do it, when traffic stops become death-sentences, when your partner or your friend or even that guy you don’t especially like but hey he bleeds blue just like you do… when he grabs a hippie and shoots pepper spray in her eyes from less than a foot away, it marks you as the enemy to the rest of us.
Because I don’t want to be your enemy.
I don’t want to feel I need to hang around the scene of a car accident, with my cell phone out, if one of the folks involved isn’t white, because I’d like to at least believe they’ll make it home alive after you show up at the scene. [*1]
I don’t want to have to worry about my friends in blue.
I want to recall my relief when Officer Van Landingham pounded on the door of our abusive shitstain neighbors with her nightstick, not wonder if she was coming for us instead. [*2]
I want to hear from my friends who protest a Seattle Nazi rally that you shot tear gas and grenades at the Nazis instead of at them.
I want to believe that you’re protecting the innocents from the criminals, not the other way around.
And right now, I can’t think that.
Not because I’m a long-haired Left-Coast liobtard, but because the actions of police officers across this country, again and again and a-fucking-gain – on camera, on record, on twitter and the news – they all show me I can’t trust you.
I’m a white-ish dude [*3], middle-aged and of apparently middle-class means, and yet I’m fucking scared of you. I’m fucking furious with you. I don’t trust cops anymore, and maybe I never really should have but I know too many cops and too many criminals to think it’s all as simple as “every cop is a criminal.” And I’m not scared of you because I’m guilty, or because I “believe the media elite,” or because I think all cops are just the same. I know better than that.
I’m scared of you because when I see a blue uniform, or a cop car, or one of the ever-growing number of fucking police-force tanks showing up to protect corporate interests from citizen protests… when I know that my Black friends wonder whether they’ll die in a fucking traffic stop for the crime of being the wrong color in the wrong cop’s eyes… when I fucking watch you laugh as a man who’s in the White House instead of behind bars – where, under our supposed “rule of law,” he belongs – makes funnies about your loyalty to him, I have to wonder, with regards to those police officers, What the fuck are you thinking?
Because in a land where cops and citizens all paint targets on one another’s backs, the law is a joke, nobody’s safe, and no one – regardless of the color of skin or badge or blood – really makes it home alive.
We deserve better than this. And so do you.
For yourselves, for your families, for your brothers and sisters in blue, for all of us, for our nation, think harder. Please.
1: For the record, yes, I DO feel I have to keep an eye on this sort of thing these days…. and so I do.
2: My former home, dubbed Domestic Abuse Central, was filled with white folks. The only non-white people in that building were a Black medical student who kept very far away from all the madness, a Native American guy who got into lots of fights, and my Lakota-ancestry now-former wife. The racial element that’s so goddamned common in the news right now was essentially absent in that time and place because almost everyone on all sides of those situations was white. That’s not the situation in the post-9/11 Land of Trump, however. Not at all. Hell, it certainly wasn’t the situation in Richmond, VA, during the late 1980s, either, but at least our police chief at that time was Black and he kept a fairly tight rein on the bigger bigots under his command.
3: New York Sicilian, actually, and we have our own history on both sides of the law… but you can’t tell that from looking at me on the street or your computer screen.