Saturday, January 3, 2015

Today's Weirdness

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone from a piece that was posted New Year's Eve:
On a night when more than a million potentially lawbreaking, probably tipsy revelers will be crowding the most densely-populated city blocks in America, all eyes will be on the city cops stuck with holiday duty.
Why? Because the New York City Police are in the middle of a slowdown. The New York Post is going so far as to call it a "virtual work stoppage."
Furious at embattled mayor Bill de Blasio, and at what Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch calls a "hostile anti-police environment in the city," the local officers are simply refusing to arrest or ticket people for minor offenses – such arrests have dropped off a staggering 94 percent, with overall arrests plunging 66 percent.
If you're wondering exactly what that means, the Post is reporting that the protesting police have decided to make arrests "only when they have to." (Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously, take 10 or 15 seconds).
Quick and obvious tho't: "conservatives" have been warning us on social media (eg) about all the bad shit that happens if cops decide not to respond to the public's call for help etc etc etc - which of course sounds more like a threat because..well...because a threat is exactly what it fucking is, but no matter.  What makes me nuts is that these "conservatives" seem so totally oblivious to the fact that the cops are threatening to do exactly what "conservatives" are always saying is exactly what they wanna do, ie: cut back on the reach and the scope and the intrusiveness of Da Gubmint.

Back to you, Matt:
In an alternate universe where this pseudo-strike wasn't the latest sortie in a standard-issue right-versus left political showdown, one could imagine this protest as a progressive or even a libertarian strike, in which police refused to work as backdoor tax-collectors and/or implement Minority Report-style pre-emptive policing policies, which is what a lot of these Broken Windows-type arrests amount to.
But that's not what's going on here. As far as I can tell, there's nothing enlightened about this slowdown, although I'm sure there are thousands of cops who are more than happy to get a break from Broken Windows policing.
I've met more than a few police in the last few years who've complained vigorously about things like the "empty the pad" policies in some precincts, where officers were/are told by superiors to fill predetermined summons quotas every month.
It would be amazing if this NYPD protest somehow brought parties on all sides to a place where we could all agree that policing should just go back to a policy of officers arresting people "when they have to."
Because it's wrong to put law enforcement in the position of having to make up for budget shortfalls with parking tickets, and it's even more wrong to ask its officers to soak already cash-strapped residents of hot spot neighborhoods with mountains of summonses as part of a some stats-based crime-reduction strategy.
Over the last 25 or 30 years, we've grown allergic to paying for the things we want.  The Wall Streeters and the Glibertarians and that one rapid in-law everybody's got who can't stop agreeing with and then regurgitating everything he hears on DumFux News have been carping loudly about "other people's money" - which is a term of art that's very very VERY familiar to the Criminal Cronies of Commerce because they've been applying that mode of operation to their dirty little deals for as long as there's been the tiniest notion of capitalism.  But now that they've more or less captured The Commons, they're looking to complete the take-over, so they've been trying desperately to make us believe they're talking about saving us by cutting back on taxation (ie: driving down our operating costs yada yada yada), but they're really just shifting the burden.  They're taking that burden off of themselves and their very wealthy benefactors, and putting it on the shoulders of everybody else.  They've pushed for - and we've helped them achieve - a pay as you go system that's evolved to where everything "the lower classes" do on a daily basis is scrutinized to the point where nobody can go more than a coupla blocks away from home without breaking the law in some way, which means they'll be stopped and frisked and ticketed and fined - all in order to pay the cops to protect the 1% from being killed and eaten by the very people who're paying for the privilege of being badgered and extorted and generally fucked over every day.  Welcome to USAmerica Inc.

Sometimes when I hear 'cop', I think 'Sheriff'.  
And when I hear [insert name of locality here],
I think 'Nottingham'.

That one's on me - feel free to print up as many t-shirts and bumper stickers your pea-pickin' little hearts desire.

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