Let’s Talk About Cops

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Who are they?

Cops are just people, like everyone else, who have been given the task of enforcing the laws made by the State legislature. The authority which cops assume is not theirs actually, but rather belongs to the laws and those who made them – legally, cops are subject to the same exact laws as regular citizens and have no actual authority over other citizens themselves. Sure, they have fancy uniforms and guns, but that just gives them the means to hurt you, not the right.

 

What do they do?

The primary job of the police force is to protect property, not people. This is a common misconception and a deliberate one. Next time you see that motto “serve and protect,” ask yourself whom they are really protecting – why is that phrase so ambiguous? The State is a private corporation and the Police Department is a subsidiary, the purpose of which is to protect corporate property, thus the property of the State and its partners. They function as a private military meant to enforce laws for the corporate State, it’s why they’re called the “Force.”

 

The theory:

In the corporate State, the Police Department is meant to function as a league of watchdogs, not officials, who are subject to all of the same laws as the rest of the citizenry. The idea is that willing citizens can prove their worth to society (i.e. their corporate owners) by policing criminal activity – that “cops are the only good citizens” myth. We’ve all seen the grade school propaganda showing us Officer Friendly catching the bad guy and throwing them in jail for stealing all of the candy or something. And then, as we got older, they adapted to our sensibilities on television where they solve murder mysteries and catch rapists and the good cops bring the bad cops to justice. The theory is that the police will be reasonable and honest, that their single goal is to bring criminals to justice and that they will also hold one another accountable for crimes of corruption. That is the theory.

 

The practice:

Because the cops are here to “serve and protect” corporate property, rather than natural citizens, they have a very clear bias in regards to who they target as lawbreakers and who they casually ignore. Their motivation is money, because that is the State’s motivation and the State is their corporate employer. Now, legally, the only difference between your average citizen and the cops is a concealed weapon and a uniform and, legally, a cop with a gun is the same as any citizen with a gun. This means if a cop shoots someone for being black on a sidewalk, they are subject to be charged with a hate crime/attempted murder (or, you know, murder). If they beat down a peaceful protester with one of those shiny batons, they should be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. According to the theory, cops should hold themselves and one another accountable for their legal transgressions because, aside from their access to a fucking arsenal, they are legally on equal footing with us lowly commoners. This, however, is not the case. Because they are the only citizens with the official legal right to enforce the State’s laws, they can choose which cases they will and will not ignore, which criminals they can let slide and which laws they can get away with breaking. By giving them guns, bulletproof vests, tanks and, in some places in the US now, even drones, the State is equipping the cops with enough firepower to make their legal authority of little importance because their physical power to dominate and destroy is menacing – they are a military force. It doesn’t matter how much authority they technically have on paper if they have fucking tanks. The power to dominate is a power which they absolutely use and abuse. Often. The theory highlights a difference between good cops and bad cops, but this is a fallacy. There are no good cops because being a cop is bad – being a cop implies a rigid belief in an oppressive power structure that benefits a very small minority and which uses terror tactics to keep the rest of us in line.

 

What happens if a cop approaches me?

When a cop approaches, for any reason, you should ask why they are stopping you or if you are being detained (one implies the other, usually) before answering any questions. If they answer “yes, you are being detained” or otherwise explain that you have been stopped for suspicion of some crime (they are always pretty vague), ask them if you are being charged with a crime and, if so, what. You should know that you are not required to give them any information at all unless you are being detained. You should also know that, no matter what, when a cop stops you on the street, you do not have your ID on hand. If you are detained, in the state of Florida, the only information you are legally required to give is your name, birth date, and address. Any other information they can look up for themselves. Do not volunteer it. These things are important for two reasons: 1) you are showing the cop that you know your rights. Often police officers will approach people with a condescending air of asserting their imaginary authority and people will fall in line because the cop is intimidating and because they do not know their rights. You have the right not to answer a cop’s questions – exercise it. 2) By exercising your rights, you are outwardly not acknowledging the cop’s authority over you – that is, you are not allowing them to exert authority over you – and this is extremely important because it knocks them the fuck off their high horses, empowers you as a free agent, and makes the cop look (and feel) a little silly when they walk away having failed to arrest a potential criminal. Cops aren’t used to defeat because they are overpowered and have obnoxious State backing. Taking them down a couple of notches on the individual level every now and then is the very least we can do to empower ourselves in a corporate State which allots us very little power of our own.

 

What’s the alternative?

Mutual aid. If my car gets broken into, I don’t call the cops. In all reality, I’d probably suspect them first. If my house is robbed, I ask my neighbors if they saw anything. My only encounters with the police are against my will, as I’m sure yours are too. Think about it – when was the last time you heard about a bike getting stolen or a house broken into and a police report was filled out and then nothing came of it? How many murderers and rapists get caught every year in proportion to how many there actually are? What good is it to rely on the cops when we know that their interests differ from ours? The alternative to a police state is a community which protects the well-being of the the people in it on their own terms. Everybody can police crime, it only requires calling it out when you see it and making it known to the community. Where the police sell their fellow citizens out to the State, a solid and free community would rather call out and communally deal with people whose crimes endanger the livelihood or well-being of others and of the community at large.

Getting up to date

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Our time at IDA came to an end a bit early, but Lucky and I got some more time in TN as we spent a couple of weeks with my mother and sister in Martin and I got to hang out with my nieces and nephews for a short while before we left for my older brother’s wedding in New Jersey.  Much of our time in Martin was fairly uneventful – for the most part, there were lots of children running around and lots of bullshit family drama which I refuse to participate in on principle.

We drove to New Jersey from West TN with my mother and two older sisters (I have five siblings).  In an attempt to make our time confined in a vehicle with three volatile personalities (fifteen hours), Lucky and I slept most of the way (or tried to).  Lucky and I shared a room in the hotel with my sisters once we got to Jersey which might have been pleasant if they weren’t constantly at each others’ throats, but thankfully they got over their differences long enough to have a good time with my brother, David, the groom.  The first night after we got to the hotel, the whole family got together for dinner with David and his bride-to-be, Kristy at a bar nearby called Pick-a-Lilly Inn.  It was pretty fucking awesome.  I finally got to meet Kristy, and my whole family with all of my siblings was together for the first time in nearly 10 years.  I had chicken parmigiana and Lucky had shrimp, there was all kinds of awesome seafood – one of our appetizers was cheesy crab bread.  It was an awesome night after such a long ride.

The wedding itself was beautiful.  David and Kristy got married at the Smithville Mansion outside in the gardens.  They wrote their own vows and the wedding was fairly progressive, but mostly it was just sweet – Kristy’s vows were super cute and super funny.  Personally, I’ve never been fond of the concept of marriage, but I do love celebrations and this was a good one.  At the reception, we got drunk on wine, ate some badass food (almost every dish had bacon) and danced to some great music played by a live band.  Of course, some shit had to go down – my cousin Jennifer got cut off because she vomited in the beer cooler and then made a huge scene when the caterers told her she was too drunk, but other than that, shit went alright.  The after party was held at our hotel in the lobby (as if my family actually needed more alcohol), and we pretty much continued what we’d started at the reception until last call.

Lucky and I had intended to continue our travels after the wedding, heading to New York to check out whatever things are being done there, but Lucky realized she was running low on hormones and we needed to head back to place the next order so we caught a ride with my little brother, Alex and his friend Marie who would be passing by our town to drop us off on their way home.  We left at 7am, prepared for a 21-hour ride south which, despite the length of the drive, was way more pleasant than the trip from TN, that is, until some shit went down.

Every Floridian knows Georgia as the unofficial toll road between the “Sunshine State”, and literally everyplace else.  That said, to make it through Georgia without a ticket, or at least without being pulled over, is a damn near impossible task, particularly if you’re driving with FL tags.  On their way up to Jersey, the Georgia highway patrol missed my brother and his companion, but they were not going to let it happen a second time.  Marie got stopped by a uniformed gang member on mile marker 1.  Exactly one mile from the Florida border.  Officer Friendly only wanted to let us know that the tag light was out and the tag was mutilated except, oops, no they weren’t, my mistake but I do have to arrest your friend because she was driving unknowingly with a suspended license.  See, initially he had stopped us for a bullshit problem that wasn’t actually a problem but was enough of an excuse for him to check us out and see if there was anything else he could get us for – and he found it.  So he kidnapped and ransomed our friend for $700 and she had to spend a night in jail because we obviously didn’t just have that in our pocket.  Alex came and stayed with Lucky and me so that he wouldn’t be too far away when he needed to turn around pick Marie up from the jail the next day, and literally made himself sick with worry but shit got figured out and they finally made it home safely, albeit indebted to a bail bonds agent.

Now, we are back home and our trip has come to an early end, but there will be more adventures and crazier trips to come.