Digby, while talking about the recent arrest of Henry Louis Gates & its larger implications:
Now, on a practical, day to day level, it’s hard to argue that being argumentative with a cop isn’t* a dangerous thing. They have guns. They can arrest you and can cost you your freedom if they want to do it badly enough. They can often get away with doing violence on you and suffer no consequences. You are taking a risk if you provoke someone with that kind of power, no doubt about it.
Indeed, it is very little different than exercising your right of free speech to tell a gang of armed thugs to go fuck themselves. It’s legal, but it’s not very smart. But that’s the problem isn’t it? We shouldn’t have to make the same calculations about how to behave with police as we would with armed criminals. The police are supposed to be the good guys who follow the rules and the law and don’t expect innocent citizens to bow to their brute power the same way that a street gang would do. The police are not supposed wield what is essentially brute force on the entire population.
Um…you sure about that? If approaching the rest of the population in a manner akin to an occupying army ISN’T their functional point to being, then it begs the question of how they got so damn good at doing so, and why they so openly embrace the idea. There’s a reason why mercenary companies like The War Profiteers Formerly Known As Blackwater accept ex-cops right alongside ex-soldiers, y’know…
(* – Since it wouldn’t fit what followed, I’m assuming the use of “is” in the original statement is a typo until further notice)