Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why People Hate Police

This evening, I was dropping my girlfriend off at her dorm. As I rolled on to campus, I glanced in my mirror and noticed that there was a cop following me.

This is never a problem for me. I'm a white male,* I drive a plain car, and I always drive the speed limit for a few reasons--the strongest being that I think cops are assholes, and I prefer to avoid interacting with them. Nevertheless, I find the situation unnerving. It's as if a starving predator is eying me or--less metaphorical--the cop behind me is judging all of the driving I ever do in that single moment. One little slip of some obscure traffic regulation that wasn't mentioned in the driver's ed packet, and I'm short $100 or more.

The drop off went without a hitch, and as I was waiting to pull out of the parking lot by her dorm, I saw two cars drive by me: one, an SUV, the other, a police car with its headlights off--only some dim yellow lights in their stead. The cop that had followed me earlier was a cruiser, like this one, and he followed the SUV and pulled it over. My guess is that it was the same cop, and that bastard was out for blood, tonight.

Something about the whole situation seemed wrong--perhaps not wrong, but at the least, predatory. The fact that the cop crept up on the SUV with his headlights off--as if he needed to sneak up on his target and lunge for the kill--exceeded necessity.

Cops are frightening. When I see one, I feel the same way as if I'm passing a bees' nest; I'm not necessarily going to be harmed financially or physically, but I could be for some reason that I may not be aware of. Bees sting without any real reason other than "feeling threatened." Police pull you over using convoluted traffic regulations,"because your tail light's out," "because something dangling off your rear view mirror could obstruct your view," or "because the tint on your windows is too dark."

The only reason a cop even gets on the road is for that purpose--to find you doing something wrong. Other cars are actually going places. Cops are out to nitpick your driving and charge you for it.

To aggravate matters, cops are "allowed" to break the rules. They can conduct high-speed chases, and in a more subtle context, they can drive over the speed limit to look for and catch speeders. They can use those little laptops while driving. In fact, it seems they can text while driving too:

In an individualist society like our own, things like this piss people off. Each person is recognized as, fundamentally, having equal value to others and equal rights, but the fact that certain individuals are excluded, no matter what reason or justification, makes us mad. They're people, just like us, why should they get to do something we can't?

Despite these behaviors that make people itch, cops aren't completely to blame for people disliking them. This is how cops enforce the law, and no one has thought of a better way yet.

People's distaste for police is most strongly correlated with how they justify breaking laws. They refuse to blame themselves for bad things that happen in their lives, and any opportunity to contribute ill-fortune to an outside source is welcome.

This allows us to maintain our pride, and we like that. If a cop pulls someone over for speeding too fast, it's easy and comforting to blame the cop. He's the one who brought the bad news and gave out the ticket. After all, he didn't need to single that particular driver out. People attribute punishment to cops, not to their own illegal actions. With responsibility displaced, the punishment achieves little.

*Police do profile individuals based on race. It's deplorable, but so are most police.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree quite a bit with this post. Here in NoVa they're vicious, and frivolous.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Emperor of the Moon said...

regretfully, I'm familiar

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm visiting your school on Wednesday afternoon. Anything I should look out for on/after my tour?

Monday, April 19, 2010 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Emperor of the Moon said...

not really. the whole thing's a facade anyway. the administration pours tons of money on the schools image--notice how green the grass is and pretty the flowers are.

the best thing about a warm weekday is the cleavage. keep an eye out for it, though it's not hard to find.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 7:23:00 PM  

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