To Serve and Protect … Or Harass and Collect?
by Eric Peters
What good are cops, really?
I mean to the average, non-violent citizen just trying to go about his business?
For him, cops are a nuisance – and increasingly, a threat. They don’t protect his property; indeed, they spend their days trying to take it away via enforcement of various and ever-increasing laws ranging from the minor (“speeding” fines) to the major (asset seizure for possessing or imbibing some substance the State has arbitrarily decreed to be “illegal”). Or maybe they’re out enforcing “free speech zones” and/or giving wood shampoos to the Mundanes (that’s Will Grigg’s wonderful term – full credit given here).
Libertarian writers such as Grigg, among others, have noted that most of us – very tellingly – do not feel “safe” when a cop rolls up behind us. Or when we see one in general. In fact we feel nervous and stressed – because we know instinctively that the cop is most emphatically not our “protector.” We gird our loins, grit our teeth. We hope the cop will “give us a break” – that is, decline to fully enforce the ukase he believes we’ve just transgressed. We become servile, mewling “yes sir, no sir” to some buzz-cut 24-year-old community college graduate (a few have managed to achieve the full four-year degree in “criminal justice” or some such from Turnpike Tech), hating the sound of ourselves as we grovel but knowing that we must grovel, else risk our “protector’s” largely unaccountable wrath.
Speaking of which:
Physical protection from criminal thugs is arguably the only moral service a cop can provide. But the truth is they don’t provide even this most elemental of services. Indeed, the Supremes have explicitly laid this out; i.e., cops have no duty to protect specific individuals from harm. Just “society.” That means you are on your own where it matters most; the one area where most of us would agree having some back-up would be nice to have.
Only, we don’t have it. And more, should not expect it.
There’s a great saying: I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
Another: When seconds count, a cop is just minutes away.