Los Angeles-based political pundit Jimmy Dore’s disdain for civilian law enforcement is a thing of primal beauty. He calls them maniacs. He says they crack heads because “they fucking love it.” He’s also the son, grandson, and brother of Chicago police officers, so I have to assume he knows what he’s talking about.
As you might expect, Dore rejects the “bad apple” brand of police apologetics, and I agree, but it wasn’t until today that I stopped equivocating.
That’s because it wasn’t until today that I discovered YouTube’s bottomless pit of police recruitment videos, scores of them, many sharing one troublesome message: If you want to shoot guns, run dogs, drive fast, knock people down, blow stuff up, wear camo and be a total bad-ass, join the force. And what was that other thing? Oh, yeah. Sometimes talk to schoolkids about not doing drugs.
Unless I’ve uncovered a vast network of bait-and-switch operations, these films would seem to indicate that American police culture isn’t about serving or protecting, not fundamentally. It’s about adrenaline and testosterone, pursuit and domination, with a pro forma nod to feel-good public relations clichés. Watch at least the first 75 seconds of this from the Stanislaus (California) County Sheriff’s Office – typical of the genre – and ask yourself what role deescalation and respect for human dignity play in the recruitment and training processes.
Then ask yourself this: Where’s the war?
A few other examples …
And a ray of hope …