Our Abusive Relationship with the Police

The general population of the United States is in an abusive relationship with the police force. It varies city by city and state by state, but it is a nationwide problem.

I realized the direct parallel while watching the video from Sandra Bland’s arrest.

While watching the video, I could hear the voices of many of my relatives in the back of my head. “Why didn’t she just comply? Why did she have to say “fuck”? Why did she antagonize him?” And it sounded exactly like the victim-blaming that still happens in many issues of domestic violence. “Why did she provoke him?” But this kind of thinking is really dangerous. Sandra Bland knew her rights, and she stuck up for them, and she probably died for them. And this is just one case, and it goes for both men and women in their interaction with officers who are supposed to be upholding the law.

And if you think that you are safe because you are white and middle or upper class, because you only break the law a little bit when it suits you, and because you grovel whenever you do come in a contact with an officer with a gun, then you are wrong. It is only a matter of time, because people with a gun and without a conscious, people who think they are above the law, people who think they deserve the perks they get, people who feel they have something to prove even when it crosses the line into violating the rights of others will not stop their actions. Maybe you’ll just be crossing a street somewhere at the wrong place or time, or they’ll get your house number mixed up with someone else in your neighborhood suspected of dealing drugs, or a neighbor will report a supposed domestic situation and they’ll come and kill your dog. Your status in this society is worth little to them, except for the fact at this point it’s a little harder to shut you up if they do cross the line. But with the growing wealth disparity, that is rapidly becoming a null point.

I still remember seeing my father completely change character when he was pulled over for a traffic infraction, and then again when we were working various summer festivals and a group of sheriffs would come over. (Married sheriffs who were asking the 19 year old girls working behind the counter for my dad to come out and party with them after their shift, by the way.) He would become completely servile and ingratiating, and when I asked him why after the first time I witnessed him doing this, he told me “You always respect someone with a gun.” We’ve come to a point in our society that that kind of thinking won’t fly. You can respect someone with a gun the way you would respect a dangerous or rabid animal, but until we all start being more vocal about the rights for every citizen in this country, we are going to see all of our lives grow more dangerous daily. And that is a travesty.

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4 thoughts on “Our Abusive Relationship with the Police

  1. It is outrageous they questioned why she was pulled out her car, but don’t question why the Cop slammed her head on the ground and body slammed her. America need to wake up, Cops cannot do what they want; where are the protestors…?

    • There are people protesting online at least. I think we’ve all become trapped though… we have to work to support ourselves and our families so taking time off to protest is risking that security, and so little has changed in the past two decades via protesting that I think people figure “why bother?”.

      More and more people do seem to be waking up, but I do wonder what the tipping point will be. I think about that for myself – what would make me take to the streets in protest? What would actually make me try to start an actual revolution? What is the furthest point the controlling powers can go before I leave to survive off-grid somewhere with my family, completely giving up on civilization?

    • Protesting does not work. If it did, over 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement, I would think that we wouldn’t still be basically sitting at square one. The Supreme Court gutted key elements in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, essentially nullifying all the marching and protesting that our grandparents did. We carry sign after sign but why should we expect justice from the same people that are creating an atmosphere of distrust due to their actions? What can we expect to change? Absolutely nothing. And that is why after Michael Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and John Crawford and Walter Scott and Freddie Gray, we are now talking about Sandra Bland and the list, unfortunately, will grow.

      We don’t have to do anything ‘wrong’. We are somehow ‘wrong’ because we exist in America even though it is through no fault of our own.

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