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Archive for December 5th, 2019

You often say “Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever”, but what’s the alternative when I’ve been burgled, robbed, or assaulted?  Vigilantism?  I’m sincerely asking.

The cops do not exist to “help” you.  That is not their purpose, and the great majority of crimes are never “solved”; most of the time the cops don’t even investigate them.  On top of that, there are thousands and thousands of cases of cops showing up and either inflicting violence on the caller or their family, or accusing THEM of a crime, or both.  We hear a lot about how rape cases often result in the victim being treated like a criminal, but in reality that’s true for all crimes.  If a cop takes a dislike to a complainant, he may decide that it would be both easier and better for him to accuse the complainant of a “crime” (usually a criminalized consensual act) instead.  In the US, most prostitution charges result not from “stings”, but from cops charging victims of some crime (rape, robbery, assault, etc) with “prostitution”; in this recent example, cops ignored a violent serial killer to try to charge his intended victim.  Examples of cops hurling drug or DV charges at crime victims abound.  You honestly think it’s worth it to risk all that so you can have the faint hope that the state will inflict vicarious revenge on the one who harmed you?  “Closure” is bullshit; people who expect to gain it by seeing the one who harmed them imprisoned often fall into depression when they realize it does nothing of the kind.  Nor is it a valid argument to claim that in seeking vicarious vengeance through state-sponsored violence, you are helping other potential victims; cops generally charge whoever is handy and pressure the victim to agree with their choice instead of actually seeking the true malefactor.  More simply put, when cops act to “solve” a crime at all, they generally do so by picking someone to frame for it and torturing the “evidence” to support their choice; your misfortune may be used to feed an innocent person into the carceral machine.  In short, there are very few good possible outcomes to calling the cops, and lots of extremely bad, even life-destroying, ones; before dialing “9-1-1” or its equivalent, you might at least consider asking yourself whether you’re feeling lucky that day.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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