Sunday, May 10, 2015

All against all

I was going to begin this by asking whether you've noticed the sharp increase in shootings of policemen against the background of hysteria about shootings by policemen, but trying to answer that question myself, I had to admit that all we can know is derived from the sensationalist coverage designed to outrage that plays out in the media.  The first news item appearing on my smart phone this morning was about the shooting of two policemen, there was another about the shooting of an FBI agent.  I was going to base this morning's post on the observation that unscrupulous entities may be trying to create a war or the appearance of a war that can only end in the degradation of the justice system and increase tolerance of mob violence and mob justice.  It's a clumsy attempt because when there is a questionable action by police and those policemen are arrested and charged with a crime, it would appear to show that the system has functioned properly but such is the need to demonize that it makes little difference.  The witch hunt proceeds with the public perception that everyone involved with the police and prosecution and defense is corrupt and murderously racist.  Everyone is stretched and trimmed into the Procrustean bed the media provide for us.

And so I can't answer my own question.  When one incident or two or three incidents in a vast ocean of possibilities is all that's needed and no statistics are provided or referenced, we just can't know.  We're made to believe that real justice comes from the mob and so when the system works, the system is still somehow at fault and more rioting is needed, more public marching and chanting.  Perhaps it would be productive to inquire after the people who benefit most and it's tempting to see a small group of disruptionists, anger mongers and distortionists making a living and making names for themselves by making sure that nothing changes, making sure that improvements are seen as failures, that progress is seen as lack of progress and that everyone is at war with everyone else.

If we somehow managed to get along, if the policeman's lot became a happy one, if petty crime and serious crime stopped being a cultural norm and violence became a faded dream, who would suffer? That's not hard to answer. What's hard to answer is the question of why we get all our information and opinions from them.

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