Everywhere is Hostile Territory

It’s not just the cops: 

But it seems to me that the first thing we need to do is get the mindset out of our police departments that they are conducting counterterror operations in hostile, foreign territory.  Ferguson, Missouri is not Fallujah, The whole thing, the training, the surplus military gear given to police departments, the us vs them mentality where cops think the people they are sworn to protect and serve are The Enemy, that needs to be ripped out from these departments.

The barriers between the “good” neighborhoods and the “bad” ones are high where I live. I mean, they might as well be, ten feet high and four feet thick and topped with barbed wire. We march on either side of it and act like it means something, and we talk about it as if the people on the other side aren’t human.

As if they don’t want to go to school or work or to the park or take their kids to the zoo, as if they have ways that are strange to us. We allow ourselves to be separate, and we don’t think that anybody else lives how we live. We don’t go over there, and if they come over here, well, we give them the side-eye pretty hard when we’re not arresting or shooting them.

That distance makes it easy to make them the enemy. I don’t know how you get around that with the police, when even residency rules just lead to cop and firefighter ‘hoods where racial segregation is still strictly if unofficially enforced. I don’t know how you get around it with anybody, when you can just keep moving westward and westward, away from the city, because anywhere farther in you run the risk of seeing a black dude on a train.

All I know for sure is that we’re not getting any less scared, on either side of the dividing lines. We’re not getting any stronger or smarter or better, and we’re certainly not getting any safer no matter how many tanks we buy to patrol that wall.




4 thoughts on “Everywhere is Hostile Territory

  1. I’ll submit that this fear, suspicion and hatred didn’t “just happen.” There are powerful forces in our society that work very hard to keep people alienated from one another, make sure that we’re properly atomized, each of us scrabbling to hold onto what we have and fearful that someone else (if you know who I mean) is going to take it away from us.

    It will take an effort at least as concerted as that being expended by the hatemongers. We will have to learn to ignore the shrill voices keening that any advance by someone else means we’re falling behind. We’re going to have to recognize that our status as economic serfs is a better identifier than white, black, city, country, east, west, north, south, and that our interests are far more closely aligned with those we’ve been taught to fear than with the overlords setting at one another’s throats.

  2. Even the same place can be divided. Just read an article that the St Louis Police have two police associations. One white. One black.

  3. I think the APC part of the militarization may be self-correcting (if the gubmint withdraws fully from the adopt-a-tank program). These machines need constant maintenance and a supply of specialized replacement parts. If access to these are denied, the cool toy suddenly becomes a white elephant. Eventually, they’ll be sold off to doomsday preppers and Cliven Bundy supporters, where they will become the equivalent of an old boat – a hole in the water into which one throws money.

Comments are closed.