Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / HierCon / Cops /
I just told this story the other day, but under Satire: here’s the older version, under Cop Stories.
Just out of the Army and freshly full-time at graduate school (at NYU, on Washington Square of all places) (I took my first MA courses there while in the army), I took a little place on East 4th near 2nd (The Garden of Eden it was called! Mural of the temptation and everything.) (Later, it turned out that my artist GH Rothe had painted it.) And my girl friend got an urge to own a car. Now I’m stuck having to park it and so forth. For the first time in my life I discover a side to New York City that I hate: drivers. The bedlam was part of what I loved as a pedestrian. For taxis to scream through red lights was one thing; the cops just crawled through them. At least the taxis looked like they were trying to get away; the cops smeared their contempt for the law adagio: with casual swagger.
I wrote a letter. The Garden of Eden got visited by three burly uniforms and a gray-haired sixty year old in a suit. The suit did all the talking.
“We sure loved your letter. Everyone in the department chuckled and chuckled. We even copied it to share with other departments.” (They took exception to only one thing: apparently I’d cited Oliver Cromwell as an example of uncompromising moral leadership. It had never occurred to me that in writing to the police I was writing to the Irish. They didn’t second my nomination.)
Now: all my letter asked was that the police offer leadership
“No. Sorry. Can’t do it. Impossible.”
What was I supposed to do?
Go make money and not mind.
As a rule, cops didn’t lie to other cops the way they lied to practically everyone else.
PS: 2003 03 30 As I renovate all files, coming to this one reminds me of an incident at Ivan Illich’s CIDOC, Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1972. Ivan was working on his follow-ups to Deschooling Society: Energy and Equity, Tools for Conviviality, Medical Nemesis … I’d been privileged to review his pre-pub versions and to offer comments. I sat in on one of his current CIDOC seminars: though as a non-paying visitor, however honorary, I kept my mouth (almost) shut. Ivan was proposing a universal speed limit of 15 mph. The moron post-docs in the seminar, yuppies from Yale and so forth, were biting his ankles and holding on like bulldogs. But what about police? What about ambulances?
Was there anyone besides Ivan there (besides me) who saw that if societies limited their velocity, there would be little need to build roads, have police, or hospitals? And even if societies did have police and hospitals, once you start issuing exemptions, there’s no stopping.
I for one would feel (and, I believe, be) much safer surrounded by lions and hyenas than by roads, governments, police, and doctors.
Also see the sub-module just about to follow: Essay