Police sure are crazy in Baltimore, huh? Trick question! Police are crazy pretty much everywhere -- including Canada, as I've previously discussed. In fact, relations between the police and the general public have gotten so out of hand that, in some ways, you could argue that it's taken on all of the major characteristics of a war. We talk about that on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
5War Doesn't Always Mean Constant Violence
When you think of war, the image that pops into your head is probably something like World War II or Vietnam, with violent battles just constantly raging all the time. On those grounds, what's currently transpiring between police and so many of the people they've been tasked with protecting doesn't really qualify. Sure, there's been unrest in a lot of areas, but it's not an ongoing event that's encompassed the entire country or anything.
That's not how every war works, though. Case in point: The United States was at war with the Soviet Union from the end of World War II all the way through to the early '90s, during what we've come to know as the Cold War.
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It ended only after a war without fighting was deemed too lame for the x-treme crowd that ruled the '90s.
We never engaged in full-scale combat, but that's only because, at the time, it would have meant massive nuclear strikes on both sides. Everyone annihilates everybody. It's called the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, and it's the only thing that kept us safe during those years.
Thanks, nuclear hellfire!
Sure, there were skirmishes that both sides had a vested interest in, like the Korean War or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but those incidents were few and far between. For the most part, it was just a constant state of mistrust between the two sides. If there was any direct fighting, it was done through espionage and propaganda.
In this context, what's happening between police and the public is very much like a war. Is there espionage? Sure, in that most of the incidents of police brutality that have made the news recently did so because someone, without the knowledge of the officers involved, was shooting video. Is there propaganda? Your answer to that probably goes a long way toward determining whether you'll buy into this idea at all. On that note ...
4There Are Two Clearly Defined Sides
What I meant by that propaganda stuff is that there are people in this world who, no matter how much video evidence they see to the contrary, will never believe that the police have become at least somewhat of a problem. Hell, even those videos have explanations. "He had a rap sheet a mile long." "He used drugs." "You don't know what police go through." "Don't run and the police won't chase you."
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
Also, no direct eye contact, please.
The list goes on and on. It's easy to chalk it up to racism, and that's a fine explanation in a lot of cases. There's more to it than that, though. Be it because they've had a personal relationship with a friendly cop, have been the beneficiaries of the type of community service police are supposed to provide, or any number of other reasons, some people are just never going to believe that an incident of police brutality was the result of wrongdoing by the law enforcement official in question.
I don't think I need to prove that with links and sources; just consult your local Facebook news feed for all the evidence you could ever need.
You'll be sad you did!
While we're on the subject, though: If you are one of those people and you find yourself constantly bemoaning the fact that public opinion is coming down against the police, remember that your favorite argument works both ways. People shouldn't run from the police if they don't want to get shot/tased/choked? Well, maybe the police shouldn't shoot/tase/choke people just because they're running. There'd probably be a lot fewer riots if they could adhere to that fairly basic rule. Handing out justice is not their job. We have an entire legal system in place for that very purpose.