As communication technologies improve, most Americans are learning that police forces include many psychopathic, murderous thugs. Videos of police committing rape, murder, mugging and other crimes under the color of the law are everywhere. It’s only a numerical minority of cops who commit most of the offenses, but the majority either abets them or look the other way. Some departments — usually in smaller jurisdictions — stay clean. Many — including pretty much all the major metro areas — do not. In the minds of a law-abiding person, cops become more dangerous than freelance criminals because they are better armed and armored, they have backup on call and the law favors them as well. Many of my friends who are police officers or sheriff’s deputies view other cops as the most serious threat to themselves and their families.
In Sprague DeCamp’s Lest Darkness Fall, a person shifted from late 1930s Rome to the 6th Century asks about police and gets this response:
In the Third World, no one interacts with police voluntarily. In the US, at least in some parts of the past, police had the benefit of the doubt. That doubt is now gone and replaced with fear and loathing. Thus far, it hasn’t been replaced with an open season on them…it’s up to the police agencies to make sure that doesn’t become the next step.
In certain areas, such as Boston, the cops are trying to protect themselves by disarming the population and by showing up in force wherever they go. Other departments are doing their best to repair their tarnished image by actually acting ethically. Guess which approach I prefer.