A former LAPD officer turned sociologist (Cooper 1991) observed that the overwhelming majority of those beaten by police turn out not to be guilty of any crime. “Cops don’t beat up burglars”, he observed. The reason, he explained, is simple: the one thing most guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to “define the situation.” If what I’ve been saying is true this is just what we’d expect. The police truncheon is precisely the point where the state’s bureaucratic imperative for imposing simple administrative schema, and its monopoly of coercive force, come together. It only makes sense then that bureaucratic violence should consist first and foremost of attacks on those who insist on alternative schemas or interpretations. At the same time, if one accepts Piaget’s famous definition of mature intelligence as the ability to coordinate between multiple perspectives (or possible perspectives) one can see, here, precisely how bureaucratic power, at the moment it turns to violence, becomes literally a form of infantile stupidity. — David Graeber, Dead Zones of the Imagination (via antoine-roquentin)
Draws into sharp focus the fucked up role(s) that police have (un)knowingly took on.
Conversation at Car Repair Shop
- A little background: today was the second day in a row I was at the mechanics with my two kids in tow. As I was finally getting my car back (i.e. donating a few non critical organs) this happened.
- Car Dude (CD): So, you're Mr.Mom, huh?
- //Although his friendly attempt at banter was innocent enough, my defenses immediately came up//
- Me: Not really, just Mr. Dad. (I probably sound like a prick a little here). I'm with the kids all summer until I teach again in the fall. (probably too much over sharing here).
- CD: man I can't handle being away from work that long. After a week of vacation I go crazy.
- //Yeah, this guy is trying to hard, or not at all//
- Me: This isn't a vacation.
- //I sign the slip and we are out//