The latest video of a police officer shooting someone at an airport has within it a ‘tell’ I didn’t notice in previous videos of cops doing things to citizens like arresting or shooting them.
But it’s there.
It’s in every video interaction citizens have had with the police since the advent of smartphones and the mob rage of the internet. In every BLM video of a cop shooting a black man, wrestling a high school student to the floor, arresting men on day-lit streets this ‘tell’ tells us what is really going on.
Nobody else runs.
We talk much bluster. We rage against the machine-police as the pigs, as the abusive secret police, the big brother, the SS, the soft, bureaucratic manifestation of klansmen in white robes: now blue uniforms. But if we are really in a story of systematic oppression by an elite, untouchable group of the good-ol-boys or illuminati lizards, why on earth is everyone standing around them taking videos?!
The truth is: cops don’t make people feel unsafe. They (and the excessive comfort of a long-post imperial society) make us feel so safe that we show brazen impudence toward the very people we had once granted authority to keep us safe.
There was a video in St Paul.
There are videos everywhere and the judgment almost precedes the clicking of the play button.
But there was a video in St. Paul: a cop arresting a high schooler who had been asked to leave the campus on which he was no longer a student. Over the course of several hours, teachers, administrators, and then the cop, asked the kid to leave but he refused. They didn’t have the right, because HE didn’t believe he was doing the wrong thing. He had been talking to a teacher. He argued and the cop arrested him. He screamed “Help!” while simultaneously resisting the cop.
“Help” is something we yell, hoping to compel someone with greater power or authority to come to our aid. The fact that this term was circumventing the actions of a policeman and being directed at phone cameras implies that the student and (possibly) us as a society, view the mob impression of a Facebook post as a greater authority than the police officers we have traditionally established to exercise authority. Do you want that world? A jury of your facebook peers? Evidence presented in vine-short videos otherwise discarded because it won’t trend?
The irony in that video, in this current airport video, and in every one of these videos is this: a sea of onlookers who are so scared of these abusive, power-mad, racist cops but not so scared that they would scatter. They film things from close up. They’ll stay right there–the brave souls–to film, criticize, and berate the cop. Because he is just so menacing and powerful and abusive.
We don’t have a crisis of ‘abuse of authority.’ We have a crisis of ‘no recognition of authority’ growing within our society. Truth is, people stick around and videotape because they feel absurdly safe. Cops have this stuff down to a science. If we were actually scared, we’d be carving out places for ourselves in the woods. Our first reaction to witnessing such events would be to shut up and look the other way. That’s what the fearful do in the face of power-abused. The brave among us would flee the country, start militias, start revolutions, take legal action, martyr themselves for righteous causes.
Instead, we videotape. We opine:
“He’s just a kid!” “I think the officer should have diffused the situation.” “If that were my child, I would be very angry.” “There are better ways to handle these kinds of confrontations.”
We’re content to whine and demand more of our sins be forgiven by the priesthood of the state. I would suggest that you go five steps further and affirm your agnosticism toward state authority. Right now, you are the 13 year old Goth/atheist who hates God like he hates his dad but hasn’t thought to disbelieve in the existence of God so that he doesn’t look like an idiot..
If you videotape a police officer within five feet of him and tell him he’s a fascist pig, you are admitting that you don’t fear him or his authority, while simultaneously claiming he is abusing his authority and inspiring fear through his actions.
Standing up to power does occur in history, but it never looks or feels this easy. You know that the officer isn’t going to shoot you, or the other twenty people standing around him. You know that there’s a .001% chance he’ll shoot the guy he’s arresting if the guy would just put his hands up and cooperate. It’s ironic. It’s hypocritical and impudent.
And it will destroy us.
Because the only historical reaction to such widespread breakdown of society via impudence is real tyranny. Milo brings on Caesar. The plutocrats don’t mind us whining on Facebook. They’ll wait until the whining encourages a sufficient level of anarchy for them to pass better laws and empower bigger, more untouchable policemen.
And then we will actually be in danger and you better believe nobody will be videotaping anything the police do.