To Serve and Protect

I must confess to being conflicted regarding the end game of the Boston Marathon bombing. First, let me make clear I harbor no confusion regarding the bombers themselves - evil deeds done for whatever reason are evil, and must be stopped/prevented. There's no gray area here. However, what has given me some pause is the police response.

First! I think the BPD and all involved agencies did a fantastic job in a difficult situation, and the same can be said for the local elected officials. That said, I've long bemoaned the militarization of the police, and you could see this militarization to clear affect during this past week:
This militarization comes from two "Wars": The so called "Drug War" and "The War on Terror". Each of which is in essence a tool for the powerful to control the powerless. The Drug War is especially pernicious, and was the genesis for the militarization of police forces across America. The WoT greatly added to this trend. And now we have both big and little cities with what are essentially armies, as police forces. In this particular example, it was beneficial, given the bombs.
And again, I've got no issue with the police actions of the past week. But this highlights the inherent contradiction.

Indeed, the police protect us from crazed individuals like these bombers, from psychopaths, from wacked out killers, from rapists, etc. It's necessary for a functioning society. On the other hand, the police also enforce the will of The Powers That Be. And so OWS protests will get smashed. Political protestors will get penned in and arrested. Random innocent folks will get their doors smashed in because the police think there's a drug dealer living there.

In a formula: "To Serve" - the Authorities. "To Protect" - the people. I'm for the latter, against the former. I'm anti-authoritarian, in all forms. Thus, my conflict.

And to end on a downer, as I'm wont, I ALWAYS find flag waving to be disconcerting. It's too tribal, and the only Tribe I belong to is "Matter in this Universe". Represent! However, it's hard to get upset with images like this:
Asian college students with an American flag posing with joyous (non-militarized) cops. Incredible. However, let us not mistake this:

As little more than college students finding a good reason to go party on the streets. It's justified in this case, no doubt, but oh-so closely related to the parties that happen after sports championships.

All that said, here's one image that fuses everything I was just trying to lay out:
A militarized police officer delivering milk to a family with kids trapped in their house during lockdown. Amazing.

I'll confess further, all this has left me confused.


Marmot said...

Well said.

Redshirt said...

Thanks. I coulda said it better. I'm still all conflicted.