STINKIN’ BADGES: Should America’s entire police system be redefined?

Posted on December 3, 2011


This Letter to the Editor from Orange County, California’s OC Weekly in response to Marisa Gerber’s Nov. 25 article poses an intriguing idea about redefining our police system in America.


It’s not just a few bad apples—the whole barrel is rotten [Marisa Gerber‘s “Bullies In Blue,” Nov. 25]. Every officer is implicated for either brutalizing people or standing by and not doing anything while their colleagues brutalize people.

It’s not just physical brutality. Every officer is also involved in extortion and theft. Each minor infraction ticketed on the road, each peaceful person cited for having the wrong kind of vegetation in her pocket is an act of robbery backed, ultimately, by the threat of imprisonment or violence. Last I checked, taking somebody’s money by the threat of force is robbery; why should this ethical fact change if the robber wears a special costume?

It’s become clear to many people that the term “police” is a mere euphemism for armed individuals in costumes who generate revenue for governments, suppress political dissent (e.g., what we’ve seen from the Occupy Movement) and maintain unjust social relations.

They say they’re “just doing their job.” That is precisely the problem. The profession is fundamentally unjust.

Real crimes—where there are actual victims who are harmed—have been dealt with very efficiently for the larger part of human history without police departments. Modern policing is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it is both unnecessary and harmful. It has been shown to actually exacerbate crime rates. It’s time to think of saner alternatives.

AV, via