occupy-pepper-spray3Do cops have enemies? Of course they do. The problem isn’t in cops believing they have enemies. The problem lies with cops believing everybody around them is a potential enemy.

I get it, truly I do. Coming from a community of people who put their lives at risk in service of the nation (military brat, plus military proper) and from a family with four consecutive generations of such service, I actually do understand the sacrifices and realities of such things.


Where I draw the line is giving people who sacrifice for service carte blanche. When one segment of society is given literal powers of life and death over the rest (which both cops and the military have) it is OBVIOUS that these same people must be kept to FAR higher standards than the average citizen (who does not have such powers). It is OBVIOUS that these people with extraordinary powers must be monitored more closely for abuse than those who have no such powers to abuse. And when they fail to do what they’re supposed to do (serve society) it is also OBVIOUS that they must be punished and punished harshly for it.

The current anti-cop attitude of the average citizen is entirely self-inflicted injury. When cops drive around in armored vehicles and dress (and even act) like they’re occupiers in fucking Afghanistan there should be no room for surprise that they become despised rather than loved. When their default attitude when dealing with the citizens they’re supposedly serving is hostility and violence, any loathing that is thrown their way is purely an own goal.

Now another thing I get, I truly get, is that not all cops are this way. Indeed I’d go so far as to say that the majority aren’t this way. But you know what almost all cops *are* like? Clannish to the point of stupidity. “He’s one of us.” “He’s a bastard but he’s OUR bastard.” “Thin blue line.” All the usual bullshit sloganeering that is used to excuse inaction when fellow cops drag the name of the entire profession through the mud.

Perhaps if police officers want respect and even adoration again they could take a few simple steps:

1. Tone down the fucking militaristic bullshit. Don’t bring out the camo gear, the snipers, the clubs, and the shields because someone farted somewhere in a crowd.

2. Stop considering yourself separate from the community. Can the “us vs. them” bullshit attitude. If you don’t feel a part of the community you’re policing, GET THE FUCK OUT OF IT. Go live in the Rockies in a cave and STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM PEOPLE. Because you’re doing nobody, yourself included, any good by ramping up a war, in effect, on your charges.

3. Pay very close attention to the proverb: “One bad apple spoils the barrel.” Notice how it doesn’t say “one bad apple is annoying” or “one bad apple is not representative of all apples” or even “one bad apple is an inevitable byproduct of having apples at all”? That’s because the advice involved is very specific: if, as a farmer, you have a bad apple in a barrel you THROW IT THE FUCK OUT. Do the same, very visibly, very publicly, with your more metaphorical bad apples. Fuck your clannish bullshit and clean out your God-damned barrels. Perhaps then you can re-earn the respect you once had.

—Michael Richter