What goes around, comes around

eric garner

The cops kill, and kill, and kill; and finally a couple of ’em get killed. There’s been much tear-shedding as a result, but my own eyes are bone dry, dry as the vertebrae of some ancient fossil reptile.

I know nothing of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the collateral damage in this case, except that they were cops. This fact strongly prejudices me against them; but prejudice is merely prejudice, and it must be disregarded. It’s entirely possible, even likely, that Wenjian and Rafael were, as individuals, dear good people; mild and harmless to one and all. New York City chews up and spits out dozens or hundreds of such good people every day. We ought to mourn them all, but we don’t: and I don’t think we should make an exception for cops. In fact I think we should bend over backwards not to.

Our poor mayor, the hapless, gormless Bill de Blasio, doesn’t agree, and so he finds himself in the hopeless position of conciliating people — namely, the cops — who seek only to make an example of him. The cops are determined to show, once and for all, that it is they who rule New York. De Blasio was insufficiently obsequious to the pork during his campaign — though he really did try — and they will never forgive him.

Indeed, even if he had tried harder, it is the nature of institutions, like tumors, to grow if they can. Not to advance is to fall back. No matter how much the mayor grovels, the cops must always press for more, more, more.

Okay, you gave us Bratton. Fuck you very much. More!

I think de Blasio must really be as big a fool as he appears, unlikely as that may seem. I do believe he really thinks there’s a line he can walk here, a difference he can split, a meeting of the minds he can somehow effectuate, if he’s only nice and sensitive enough.

His latest grovel is a pathetic appeal to “demonstrators” to shut the fuck up and go home. He didn’t say it quite that way, of course; but that’s what it comes to. He didn’t tell the cops to go home, naturally, or even suggest that it might be a good idea to shoot and strangle members of the citizenry a bit less often. No, it’s the “demonstrators” who are the problem; they’re the people who ought to go home.

Even people who are less mutton-headed than de Blasio — people I know personally! — are still hag-ridden by the fetish of even-handedness, and feel committed to the imbecility of moral equivalence. Yes, it was bad to kill Eric Garner, but it was just as bad to kill the two cops. Twice as bad, in fact, since there were two of them.

Much is left aside in this view. The cops were killed by a poor loon operating without institutional backup. The poor loon had nobody to call on the radio if the gig didn’t go down as expected; and there was no way the DA would whitewash him, as that useful police adjutant did in the case of the cops who strangled Eric Garner. The loon was at least rational enough to grasp these facts, and rational enough to remove himself from the sublunary world before he could be made an example of. You might say that he appealed to a higher court and balked the lower.

I dunno about the morality, but there’s certainly no equivalence.

I’m trying to imagine the poor loon’s frame of mind after having failed (fortunately) to kill his girlfriend. Here again he seems to have been rational enough to realize that it was all over for him; the only thing left was to choose how to play his last scene. His choices were sharply limited.

The choice he made was by no means a random one. He could have gunned down some arbitrarily-chosen people, as despairing men so often do. Or he could have lain in wait for a mayor, or a senator, or a president, all of ’em popular targets.

But he didn’t. Instead, he chose cops; and not just any cops, but New York cops, the police-state gold standard. And he made a weary drive from Baltimore to Brooklyn in order to enact his final script.

(Like a real New Yorker, I wonder: Did he take the Verrazano? Only the MTA knows for sure.)

In every madness there is a method. Demented assassins seem to go for whoever appears to be in charge — the aforementioned presidents, governors, senators, mayors, etc. But our poor loon went for the cops.

Perhaps his reasoning powers weren’t entirely unimpaired, and there’s something we — and Bill de Blasio — can learn from him, to wit: that so far as daily life is concerned — the quotidian experience of the ordinary man and woman — it really is the cops who are in charge. All the doughfaced emperors on the coinage are mere figureheads, and it’s the Praetorian Guard who are really running the show.

15 thoughts on “What goes around, comes around

  1. The moment (whenever it was) that I realized Amurricans say they want freedom but really want order, almost everything else fell into place. Not for nothing do cops, the military, the CIA, et al have free rein. And look no further at how our few actual freedom fighters are treated, and how people react when confronted with attempts to bring about real freedom.

  2. As for me, I don’t for a second imagine that the guards are running the society. Rather, I think the whole great prison-industrial complex is squarely part of the ongoing Reagan Restoration. The cops are out there doing exactly what the overclass wants em doing, IMHO.

    The only surprise I see is how overwhelmingly effective the whole soldier-cop-hero trope is among white folks. People who don’t really understand their own history or how the world works apparently REALLY like to be flattered.

  3. I’m amused that some liberals are beginning to figure out that cops aren’t their buddies. They serve the interests of the ruling elites, always have, always will. Their existence is a boot on the neck of all the rest of us who don’t belong to the right club or class.

    Fuck ’em. To paraphrase Chris Rock, I don’t advocate killing every one of the piggish motherfuckers but if someone did, I’d understand.

  4. Being an old Marxoid or Marxite, I always believed that the cops were simply an emanation or entailment of capitalist rule. That’s what you might call the classical theory. Lately I’ve begun to wonder, mostly because the level of policing we experience now in the US seems so wildly disproportionate to any need that the one-percent could reasonably feel for social control. We’re a very docile, cowed people, after all.

    • Fear of Those People is boundless, all the more when one of Them plays his assigned role. It’s a bonus when the Crazed Cop Killer is a Muslim(tm)— a two-fer.

    • I think used as a kind of shorthand Marxism right enough. Much as the Bohr atom is “right enough” for a lot of purposes. On the other hand, the actual power structure probably looks more like a lumpy mass than a pyramid. Capitalist rule obviously wants cops in case the plebes start getting restless; on the other hand the police need the law on their side for the sake of tax revenue. But it’s hard not to look at the history police in NYC since the Metropolitan Police days and not see the institution as a criminal enterprise in its own right–a kind of sanctioned mafia.

  5. I don’t usually go in for the False Flag explanations, but the timing of this “assassination” was quite propitious. Also channeling Chris Rock: I don’t go in for conspiracies, but I understand.

  6. I doubt the cops are in control, but they have been known to dig up dirt or press bullshit charges on mayors who try to rein them in. On the other hand they often function as an enforcement arm of mayors who know how to earn their loyalty. They are not quite as powerful as the Praetorian Guard, but their care and feeding is similar.

    The 1 percent are not the only ones who seem to value the cops. Even in poor black communities where cops are an occupying army, fear of crime is such that local people demand aggressive police action, even though they are often as much the victims of it as alleged criminals are. Perhaps more so.

    In poor white communities, the police behave just as they do in poor black areas but there is a lot less crime, so people tend to fear the cops more than criminals and there is an attitude of not calling the cops or involving them in problems except where unavoidable.

    The role of cops as revenue enhancement officers is not to be overlooked. According to Vijay Prashad, traffic tickets in Ferguson are the second-highest source of municipal revenue, and the police issued 32,975 arrest-warrants to Ferguson’s population of only 21,135. They pull this bullshit everywhere.


  7. The “poor loon,” according to one news report I heard, took an express bus from Baltimore. So it was most likely he arrived via the Lincoln Tunnel. For whatever that might be worth.

Leave a Reply