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Archive for October 3rd, 2014

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 7th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

As I’ve previously explained, a large part of the process of writing my blog consists of scanning Twitter (and emails from readers) for likely stories:

The majority of sex work-related items end up in my weekly “That Was the Week That Was” [TW3] news summary, which normally appears on Saturday; other interesting stories appear in my weekly “Links” column, which normally appears on Sunday.  Some are worth quoting in a longer discussion, and others aren’t noteworthy enough to get any coverage in my work at all.  But every once in awhile a story comes along which is so interesting, funny, horrible, odd or whatever, that I like to analyze it at length.

complex Venn diagramWhen I feature a story in a TW3 column, it appears under a subtitle which refers to an earlier, topically-related essay (and contains a link to that essay for further reading).  But sometimes I find a story which defies categorization; usually this is because it contains so many different elements that I’m not sure what heading to file it under, so I end up just picking the one I feel is the most important and perhaps noting the others via links.  However, I recently discovered an item for which the sheer number of overlapping, intersecting areas of interest constituted a story in itself.  Rather than quote the mainstream media’s parrotlike repetition of what the police claim happened (which is itself one of the points I wish to make), let’s instead look at the more objective way it was reported by Elizabeth Nolan Brown in Reason:

…Florida resident Bobbey Jo Boucher went with her 10-year-old daughter to a neighbor’s barbecue and left the girl there when she headed to work, instructing her to go back home when it was over.  When the girl didn’t return within a few hours, her grandmother called the…Sheriff’s Office, which called Boucher at work.  When the line was somehow disconnected—Boucher says accidentally, police say she hung up—Boucher wound up arrested for obstructing justice.  The daughter was fine…she was going to play at church with some neighborhood kids….[who] had left from the barbecue and were riding there on the church bus when police stopped it…Officer Nicholas Carmack…”[reported that another cop claimed that Boucher]…stated ‘I have to get on stage’ and hung up the phone”…a 10-year-old girl who maybe lied to a bus driver to go play with friends at church, who has been out of her working mother’s sight for all of about 2.5 hours, and on whom a missing person report hasn’t yet been filed…[was quickly located by the cops]…and that should be that.  But, no, someone must be punished.  Officer Carmack really wanted to…take a trip down to [the strip club where Boucher worked] for more information…and he was obstructed by them finding the “missing” child perfectly safe and nearby first…The whole report just oozes with so much condescension …that I feel a little bit slimy reading it.  At every point where it’s possible, the cops assume Boucher is a bad, unconcerned mother…Boucher…was eventually arrested, taken to…Jail, and charged with resisting without violence and obstruction.  No matter how it shakes out, she already had to miss work, post bond, and owes $78 in “investigative costs recovery”…

The very first point that needs to be made here is that there is no situation, no matter how mundane or extreme, that the police cannot make worse; it is therefore an extremely bad idea to call them for any reason whatsoever, because once they are called they cannot be uncalled and there is a very high likelihood that some innocent person or animal will end up harassed, beaten, tased, pepper-sprayed, arrested, caged, robbed, charged with felonies, murdered or all of the above.  In the situation at hand, if the grandmother had heeded this simple principle the child would have eventually come home, possibly been fussed or punished for going off without permission, and the family would not have lost the money the cops’ violent pomposity has already cost them and will continue to cost; Boucher and the child are both very lucky the cops didn’t decide to assault them.

Next, Boucher belongs to not one but three separate groups upon whom American society in general and the police in particular are wont to pour derision:  black people, single mothers, and sex workers.  Any one of these would probably have resulted in Boucher’s having a harder time with the cops than (for example) a white, married teacher would, and the combination is so likely to lead to evil from the twisted minds of government thugs that one must wonder whether the grandmother was entirely in her right mind when she picked up the phone to call them.

safe childrenFurthermore, we have recently seen the rapid growth of a dangerous trend of the state involving itself in what used to be considered the province of the family; police and other official busybodies now routinely insert themselves between parent and child, and in the past few months we’ve seen a rising number of cases in which police (especially in Florida) arrest mothers for failing to keep their children under a level of surveillance and restriction of movement more appropriate to a prison than to an ordinary neighborhood.  It’s impossible to know where this will end, but it’s rapidly reaching the point where the only sane and reasonable course of action will be to refrain from having children at all.  This, however, won’t keep the police away; criminalization of ordinary parental decisions with which any fatuous imbecile with a title disagrees is only a subset of the larger problem of universal criminality.

Finally, there’s the issue I referenced before the quote:  the mainstream media no longer question anything the police say, no matter how stupid or self-evidently biased.  The New York Daily News credulously parroted the police report, adding insult to injury via editorial inanities like “jiggle joint”, and everyone else obediently fell in line behind so as to generate pageviews at the expense of yet another victim of our terminally-bloated police state.  And it’s a safe bet that the majority who read such pap really believe that they, as “good parents” and non-sex workers, are totally safe from the djinni they have allowed to escape his bottle with the promise that he’s only going to go after the “bad people” they don’t like.

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