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Author Topic: Should Americans Fear The Police???  (Read 2921 times)

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Offline TheMusicianTopic starter

Should Americans Fear The Police???
« on: January 18, 2015, 12:35:45 AM »
Quite recently, as I'm sure many of us know, there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding excessive force used by police. Case names that come to mind are the Michael Brown case, the Eric Garner case, and the Boyd case in Albuquerque.

What all these cases have in common is an extreme lack of necessity for deadly force, yet in each instance, deadly force is used. Eric Garner WAS a big man, yes, but I think five trained police officers are sufficient to bring almost any man down. The use of the chokehold was very unnecessary. Michael Brown was an unarmed teen who was shot SIX times, once in the head.

Now, because I have seen the Boyd video, I do know that he WAS holding a knife, but he never would have drawn it had state troopers not first thrown a flashbang at Boyd, who was cooperating with them and agreeing to move from his spot up until that point. It is also horrifying to see the officers let an attack dog loose on Boyd's body, even after he had already been shot and was lying face down in the dirt.

I have also seen footage of police arresting several friends after they started filming a video on the deck of an observatory. There were no trespassing signs placed at the observation deck until after the incident. The officers also seized and damaged the victims' equipment, and removed their SD cards from their cameras. When they finally did get the cards and equipment back, it was clear that some of the more violent footage, such as two officers throwing one of the young men to the ground after putting him in a headlock, were tampered with. You can find that video at UhOhMonkeyTV's channel on YouTube.

What all of these stories seem to convey, at least to me, is that there are some (I know that NOT ALL police are like this) in the police force who undermine one of the most basic responsibilities of the justice system. That responsibility is that of the police to protect the citizens that they serve. The police are there to help us feel safe; or they should be.

As silly as it may sound to some, I actually feel very nervous whenever I'm out on the street and see a police officer. I honestly fear being the next innocent person that a supposed "Officer of the Law" will antagonize. Really, I do. And why is that?

Because in a great deal of these cases.....the offending officer is Caucasian/white. And the victim is not.

I'm not Caucasian. And I don't look Caucasian.

Again, I know it might sound ridiculous to some for me to say this. And I'm sure at least ONE person that reads this will roll their eyes and groan that I brought up race. But you can't deny that the trend is there.

As a side note, I've heard that Albuquerque has one of the HIGHEST rates of complaints about police in the country. In these eighteen days since the beginning of 2015, there have already been three police shootings.

Now, I want to know what you think. Do you feel that the police are stimulating fear in the people they're supposed to protect? Do you think that there is a continuing trend of what seems to be Caucasian white on non-white aggression between officers and citizens?


Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2015, 12:58:54 AM »
Try this as an experiment:  The next time you cross paths with a police officer, try respectfully smiling and saying a sincere hello, and see what happens.  I bet 9 times out of 10, no matter what your skin color is, the police officer will smile and say hello back.

You don't need to fear the police if you are not doing anything questionable.  Even if you are being interrogated, simply follow their instructions.  If you feel you are a victim of an unwarranted arrest, simply comply with them, and don't resist being put into handcuffs.  There is plenty of time to consult legal advice and contest the arrest later on - rather than creating a scene, which is more often than not the start of these violent encounters.  You are right, some police behaviors go way overboard, and this is inexcusable.  But as a civilian, you can also do your part to prevent it from even getting that far by not back-talking or arguing with the police.  There's a legal process for dealing with that later on.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2015, 02:42:46 AM »
I notice you didn't bring up Dillon Taylor.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58304981-78/police-taylor-lake-salt.html.csp

http://www.inquisitr.com/1412236/dillon-taylor-police-shooting/

I can't say for certain why this story didn't make the news as immensely as others, but one of the arguments I've heard is that the victim wasn't white.

http://www.killedbypolice.net/kbp2014.html has a list of 1100 people killed by the police, but I have no idea how many were of what racial background or the circumstances.  I accept the possibility that it's worse for minorities, but 4 is a very small sample size.

Even if we got statistics, we know that statistics can be misleading.  It would be a nightmare to compare and contrast each and every case, but I know that the media doesn't make national news of every egregious case because I know of at least one that didn't make huge news.



One of the things I've heard about the Michael Brown case: if he was a very tall guy, he couldn't have been shot at the apex of his head if he was standing up with his hands raised.  Another story that I've heard is that Michael Brown charged the cop like a football player

If he truly did charge at the cop, it kinda makes sense that he'd get shot.  If he didn't charge at the cop, I don't know why he'd have his head down.



A few months ago, I got stopped by the police when I wasn't even in my vehicle because the vehicle had a flat tire.  They wanted to make sure that I wasn't driving it...while I wasn't even in it.  However, I haven't had nearly enough flat tires to know if that's common.



As far as outright fearing the police, I'm reminded of what Terry Goodkind mentioned as the Paradox of Power.  If someone has power, and they're ready, willing and able to use it, they rarely have to.

For example, if Chuck Norris can roundhouse kick someone into orbit and is impervious to bullets, no one is going to mess with Chuck Norris, so he'll very rarely have to roundhouse kick someone into orbit.  By contrast, Superman isn't going to use the full extent of his power to actually kill crooks, so they'll do everything they can to stop him because they have nothing to lose in the attempt.

People know the cops will shoot them if they charge the cops, which is how we have the concept of suicide-by-cop.  It's possible that they want to induce that much fear so that people will just meekly accept whatever the cops say.

If so, that's a problem, but it seems very odd that this would suddenly be happening all over the country unless it was somehow being orchestrated.  Do police all get their training from a single source?

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2015, 04:04:55 AM »
Quote from: Musician
Do you feel that the police are stimulating fear in the people they're supposed to protect? Do you think that there is a continuing trend of what seems to be Caucasian white on non-white aggression between officers and citizens?
        Yes and yes.  This stuff isn't just popping on the news out of nowhere.  Set up an organization with a sanctioned monopoly on use of force in an area, watch it fill up to some extent with macho figures who believe instilled fear is the same thing as "respect we deserve," and set them to work protecting property and most visibly, the more expensive properties owned by an increasingly small percentage of the population.  Multiply that by the fact that wealth and property have also been systematically gained on the backs of largely non-White minorities.  (Though don't entirely forget the White working class and liberal protestors, either).  And also factor in that not only property but ideas of propriety, privilege and "civility" have been marketed through notions of essentially Whiteness v. the Barbarian Tribes out there. 

Quote from: AndyZ
If so, that's a problem, but it seems very odd that this would suddenly be happening all over the country unless it was somehow being orchestrated.  Do police all get their training from a single source?
      I think it's more that it periodically "blows up" as it did in Ferguson.  The exploitation and differential treatment has been there for ages.  But we have a rather new environment now too, with a generation or two that are clearly suffering economically in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent further abuses.  The bottom is still being crunched and the numbers of potentially sympathetic and themselves financially embattled, are continuing to increase dramatically.  We also had a serious move by Pentagon sales to militarize those police forces that were open to employing more hardware of a grade and style previously employed in places like Iraq.  In addition, I suspect there's a certain critical amount of saturation by social media and a continued movement toward more and more posting of grievances on increasingly high-speed and convenient platforms like Twitter and what have you.

Offline Lustful Bride

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2015, 08:42:39 AM »
No, you should not fear the police. Despite what the media says, your average everyday police officer is not a power abusing maniac. many of them are just trying to do their job and keep people from rioting. And not every one who gets arrested is some poor little angel.

As the daughter of a police officer (in DC) I know. He has to deal with shit everyday and tries to give people the benefit of the doubt. (Though sometimes people are just a-holes and or looking for trouble.)

And pretty much like Valthazar said, if you get arrested, just behave yourself, don't throw a tantrum, don't threaten to sue, just wait for your lawyer and things will get sourted out. That's why lawyers exist. Ive been told countless times by my own father that if I ever get arrested to respond with "Yes sir, no sir" be polite and just do as the officer says, when he says it. Cause he is the official and theres a 60% chance I really am at fault, even if I don't want to admit it.

My dad dealt with all kinds of people and usually gives people a break, especially fi they don't cause him trouble or suddenly get an attitude or like they know the law better.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 08:45:44 AM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2015, 10:11:55 AM »
Generally I've been worried about the state of police since they've started referring to those they serve and protect as civilians. :\

Offline kylie

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2015, 10:33:09 AM »
Quote from: Lustful Bride
And pretty much like Valthazar said, if you get arrested, just behave yourself, don't throw a tantrum, don't threaten to sue, just wait for your lawyer and things will get sourted out. That's why lawyers exist.
     I don't get this part at all.  Don't threaten to sue over what?  If the police get some blank check to become more violent whenever people merely verbally threaten to sue, then it seems to follow they must have some idea that they're above the law.  All this evokes for me is, imagery where organizations like the National Lawyers Guild monitor everybody at protests (the police included) from a distance at least partly with an interest to see whether the supposed agents of the system are actually upholding the formal system, to begin with. 

Quote
My dad dealt with all kinds of people and usually gives people a break, especially fi they don't cause him trouble or suddenly get an attitude or like they know the law better.
     Eh, when you have a pattern of protests being pushed along in riot gear for walking along a sidewalk, or any protest that stands still (even one single person) being banned anywhere in 100 feet of a convention hotel, then what does freedom of assembly mean?  It's not "attitude" if the police are militarizing and occupying half of downtown.  For instance.  Or it's a pretty justifiable one.  Maybe in other situations, he's correct but I hardly think the police are generally blameless if "doing their job" means tearing up the spirit of the Constitution.


Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2015, 11:52:23 AM »
Yeah. Fuck duh powleece and whatnot.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2015, 12:00:19 PM »
I don't get this part at all.  Don't threaten to sue over what?  If the police get some blank check to become more violent whenever people merely verbally threaten to sue, then it seems to follow they must have some idea that they're above the law.

If you're walking on the street, minding your business, and a police officer says you are under arrest, you shouldn't resist (even if you did nothing wrong).  Most people start throwing a tantrum, yelling that they are innocent, as if the police officer is going to somehow change his mind on the spot.

We are civilized countries with due process, and all false arrests can be overturned diplomatically down the road, if you legitimately weren't doing anything illegal.  I'm not justifying police brutality, because it does occur.  But as individuals, it's not something we need to fear, since each of us can make a choice on whether we want things to take a potentially violent turn or not.

Offline Lustful Bride

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2015, 12:33:58 PM »
If you're walking on the street, minding your business, and a police officer says you are under arrest, you shouldn't resist (even if you did nothing wrong).  Most people start throwing a tantrum, yelling that they are innocent, as if the police officer is going to somehow change his mind on the spot.

Pretty much this. Hell even when someone is caught right in the act of a crime sometimes they will still scream they are innocent and just lose their shit. @_@

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2015, 01:58:07 PM »
If you're walking on the street, minding your business, and a police officer says you are under arrest, you shouldn't resist (even if you did nothing wrong).  Most people start throwing a tantrum, yelling that they are innocent, as if the police officer is going to somehow change his mind on the spot.

We are civilized countries with due process, and all false arrests can be overturned diplomatically down the road, if you legitimately weren't doing anything illegal.  I'm not justifying police brutality, because it does occur.  But as individuals, it's not something we need to fear, since each of us can make a choice on whether we want things to take a potentially violent turn or not.
Yeah, and when that police officer arrests you for not having identification on you, something that has happened in recent years to an alarming degree.


Offline Lustful Bride

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2015, 02:02:05 PM »
Yeah, and when that police officer arrests you for not having identification on you, something that has happened in recent years to an alarming degree.

Yeah that is bad il give you that one.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2015, 02:02:49 PM »
Yeah, and when that police officer arrests you for not having identification on you, something that has happened in recent years to an alarming degree.

That's not something you should blame the police for.  Stop and identify statutes are part of the law in some states.

Offline Crimsonbella

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2015, 05:24:55 PM »
I hold a great deal of respect for the police offers that go out and do their jobs correctly. However, sometimes what one deems justifiable force others may see as wholly unnecessary. Have their been abuses of power, especially recently? You bet your ass there have been. Does that mean that police around the country behave like that? Certainly not.

If you've never been placed in a situation where you feel like your life, or the lives of others, will be at risk, you don't truly know how you'll respond. Everyone says things like "Oh well if I were that guy/lady I'd have done this!" No...no you wouldn't. It's so easy to say one thing but when stress and panic are mixing with adrenaline, that fight or flight kicks in something fierce. Officers are supposed to be trained to deal with that, but no one is perfect and you truly cannot prepare for every little scenario.

Should Americans fear the police? No. But should the police be free of scrutiny? Nope. Any instance of perceived abuse needs to be immediately and appropriately looked into. It's sad that we live in that sort of world but in reality abuse of authority figures has, and most likely will, always be around.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 07:02:54 PM by Crimsonbella »

Offline Derwaysh

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 05:33:23 PM »
I am of South Asian and Sioux descent who's spent a majority of his life in England. Surprisingly I have had less trouble in United States compared to what I usually had to go through in wee Britain. There is the impromptu/random baggage search that occurs at the airports  here but 9 times out of 10 they are always extremely apologetic and explain to me the procees in detail and exactly why its taking place before it even begins.

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2015, 06:00:50 PM »
It's a fact. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. People make the mistake for seeing police officers as anything other than human beings given the power of a uniform, badge and gun. It's a mistake to think that these human beings aren't going to be affected by it. Should you be afraid of the police? If you haven't done anything wrong, no. Should the police be given systems of checks and balances to make sure that the power that they wield isn't abused? Absolutely.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2015, 08:24:22 PM »
I've followed the news pertaining Michael Brown's death for some time. I thought the side that claimed it was the teen's fault had more credibility to it. In other words the police officer acted out of self-defense.

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2015, 01:24:34 AM »
Quote from: Valthazar
If you're walking on the street, minding your business, and a police officer says you are under arrest, you shouldn't resist (even if you did nothing wrong).  Most people start throwing a tantrum, yelling that they are innocent, as if the police officer is going to somehow change his mind on the spot.

We are civilized countries with due process, and all false arrests can be overturned diplomatically down the road, if you legitimately weren't doing anything illegal.  I'm not justifying police brutality, because it does occur.  But as individuals, it's not something we need to fear, since each of us can make a choice on whether we want things to take a potentially violent turn or not.
        Not all that simple.  They demand you submit to a search where you know very well they have no reason to.  You request a badge number.  They refuse to show one.  They themselves defy any responsibility to the very system which is your only recourse, the only way you're "supposed" to get due process.  You're not allowed to get upset?  They're allowed to say any sort of insult or anger is an excuse to beat you down.

        You walk in a protest with a hundred people peacefully along a sidewalk.  Not filling the street, not charging some police line already there.  The police preemptively roll up in vans full of riot gear and deploy along the street and in the sidewalk and start thumping batons at your heels.  Oh, but it's your fault if anything turns confused or violent?

         Granted part of the problem is that the police are being given formal orders that don't follow the Constitution, with the full understanding that they will not be held responsible but instead months or years later some city population will have to pay in their tax dollars for what courts eventually find the police did illegally.  And we call that "due process."  But you think it's irrational for people to continue to protest, or to resist? 

        Or to get angry when the police appear to be killing people individually who are unarmed over and over.  And when the pop "defense," particularly of White defenders of White police is, "Oh well, it's those neighborhoods' own fault for having a high crime rate."  Surely nothing about history of slavery or divesting of urban Black communities of everything from fair rental and employment opportunites (redlining) to sewers and firefighters down to foot patrols that might actually know the neighborhood.

         I'm sure quite a few police officers are doing a fine job and would prefer to actually enforce the Constitution rather than what we have.  But expecting everyone to automatically defer to them in what we do have is just signing up for more of an authoritarian, oligarchic state.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 01:26:36 AM by kylie »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 06:17:44 AM »
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/us/georgia-toddler-stun-grenade-no-indictment/

Always, always treat the police with a grain of salt. Tell me what that kid did, please. It's easy to lose the sight of right and wrong when it's an adult like in Ferguson or New York City, but tell me what that kid did.

They don't even have to pay to replace the door when they bust into the wrong house. So always be wary of the big blue wall.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 06:18:47 AM by Inkidu »

Offline Dimir

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2015, 07:11:05 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/us/georgia-toddler-stun-grenade-no-indictment/

Always, always treat the police with a grain of salt. Tell me what that kid did, please. It's easy to lose the sight of right and wrong when it's an adult like in Ferguson or New York City, but tell me what that kid did.

They don't even have to pay to replace the door when they bust into the wrong house. So always be wary of the big blue wall.

The toddler did nothing wrong but why on earth did the adults have a playpen blocking a door?

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2015, 07:26:07 PM »
I respect authority because I have to as a normal citizen. I am very uncomfortable around cops and other people of power and a lot of it has to do with me being a black female. It might seem very irrational, but I've always had this fear.

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2015, 10:06:36 PM »
Depends on the people and neighborhood really.

Some people take advantage of their badge, some are there to actually help the citizens.

Living in the Country, I had no problem with officers. Most are friendly and will greet you in and out of stores; of course this may again depend on neighborhoods, but I never really encountered anyone that was an ass or a dick in person. I have still seen some that abuse their authority as far as running stop signs and turning on their lights to run a red light and continuing on normally.

Should Americans fear police? Depends on key factors, police are human and some will abuse their power. No one is perfect.
 
Should I fear police? Not really.

Offline consortium11

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2015, 03:38:06 AM »
Yes and no.

Politically I lean towards libertarian (emphasis on "lean towards" rather than "am") and that leaves me with a base position of seeing the state as a necessary evil but something that should not be particularly trusted or given much power. And police are the basic expression of the State. The classic definition of what makes the State the State as opposed to it being a business, charitable organization, voluntary association or anything else is the fact that is had a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a territory. And the police are the most obvious and open example of it exercising that monopoly. It's why it's always struck me as somewhat strange to hold the stereotypical left wing view of wanting more state (at least in certain areas) but less police... the two are intrinsically linked.

But I'm not a full blown libertarian, let alone an anarchist, sovereign citizen or the UK equivalent of the militia movement supporter.

To the dismay and horror of some of my more hardcore activist friends I'm also friends and acquaintances with a number of policemen and women. And, without fail, they're normal people. Some are good, decent people, some are closer to dicks but none fall into the stereotype of the power mad abusers who get off on the authority they get to wield. Some became police officers because they wanted to do good and saw it as the best way they could do it, others treat it as a job like any other.

On the other hand I also used to do pro bono work to sooth my soul when I was an evil corporate lawyer and that occasionally involved criminal work. And in doing so I've seen cases of police abuse. Not Rodney King style beatings or anything that's likely to hit the nightly news but little things that all add up. I've seen and heard the police exploit the lack of knowledge that subjects have about the law, I've seen people talk themselves into convictions and confessions under pressure, I've had to point out basic legal requirements and facts to police officers.

At the end of the day when it comes to the police we give normal people a large amount of power. And normal people aren't perfect. They screw up. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes maliciously, sometimes accidentally, sometimes with the best of intentions. But when a police officer screws up that can have incredibly serious consequences. A shop worker having a bad day and treating you badly will be an irritant. A police officer doing the same can ruin your life. It's not helped by the "brotherhood" mentality... I understand and appreciate why it occurs but the wish to sweep things under the rug to protect a fellow officer is something that should be opposed at every turn.

One can trot out the usual phrases; absolute power corrupts absolutely, whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster and if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you etc etc. I'm not sure one needs to. Instead simply think of any time you've made a mistake in your job, any time you've taken the easy route even if it hurts others because it was better for you, any time you've taken a short cut or gone against standard procedure because it made life simpler. Then consider what the consequences would be if you were a police officer and you'd done that.

Do I trust the police? I trust them to be normal people doing an abnormal job. I trust them to have the same prejudices, strengths and weakness that any normal person will. I trust them in the same way that I'd trust any stranger. I wouldn't expect them to be paragons of virtue or agents of despair. I trust there to be good police officers doing everything they can in frequently difficult circumstances, I trust there to be "normal" police officers who do their job and try to make it easier for themselves if they can and I trust there to be at least some who take advantage of their position.

Offline Silk

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 06:01:17 AM »
There should be a certain measure of fear of the police, as it ties in with their role, but it's not so much the fear of the police itself, but the fear of the police 's response. A enforcement force than runs on wagging your finger and going "tut" is not going to enforce anything, you cannot rely on everyone's sense of good will to just follow the law, that overarching sense of punishment for ones action (Kind of similar to how god works actually). But nobody is going to respect a dog with no teeth or claws. Because there is nothing in there to fear to instil that sense of respect. It's unfortunate but that's just how the human mind works, if there isn't a threat of consequence, there isn't much reason not to do it.

Offline Lustful Bride

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2015, 08:08:06 AM »
There should be a certain measure of fear of the police, as it ties in with their role, but it's not so much the fear of the police itself, but the fear of the police 's response. A enforcement force than runs on wagging your finger and going "tut" is not going to enforce anything, you cannot rely on everyone's sense of good will to just follow the law, that overarching sense of punishment for ones action (Kind of similar to how god works actually). But nobody is going to respect a dog with no teeth or claws. Because there is nothing in there to fear to instil that sense of respect. It's unfortunate but that's just how the human mind works, if there isn't a threat of consequence, there isn't much reason not to do it.

You instantly reminded me of this clip.



Even though technically in the movie id classify these guys as the  bad guys since they rip organs out of people and well yeah.  :P
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 08:12:45 AM by Lustful Bride »