Another day, another SPD scandal.
There have been several in the past few months, but for the most part, I’ve tried to just ignore them. Nothing can be done, really. There’s little probability of change. There’s little support for change.
John Diaz remains Chief of Police, and Mayor McGinn … a mayor I used to support … is stubbornly, weirdly, inexplicably, resistant to change. Even after the Department of Justice released its shocking report stating that the SPD violates the Constitution 20% of the time they use force.
In the latest video, we can see a restrained suspect being beaten, because while being choked … he spits.
And the cascade of understanding for the officer has already begun.
“He deserved his beating,” we’re informed, “because he resisted the officer.”
Each time a Seattle Police Officer uses excessive force, the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild predictably comes out, and excuses the officers. We’re told, every time, that the officer is not to blame. They police have hard jobs, we’re informed. They have adrenaline. Adrenaline that makes their anger difficult to control when facing a stressful situation.
Many people accept this explanation. Perhaps most people accept it. If you read the comment section of any corporate media source … The Seattle Times … King 5 … you will see it quickly fill up with people taking the side of the police officers.
“The suspect deserved a beating, he didn’t obey”, “the suspect deserved to die, he resisted”, etc, etc.
There appears to be a very widely held belief in this part of the country that police officers, and only police officers have adrenaline.
Badges don’t release hormones, though. Neither do uniforms. Hormones are released by glands. Glands with names like pituitary and adrenal. The release of hormones is, usually, involuntary, and it’s almost always impossible to stop once its started.
What has always fascinated me, is that people, regular human beings, routinely impart a higher expectation of self-control on untrained civilians, than they do supposedly-highly-trained police officers. It’s a curious position.
You see, we, the people, the civilians, the everyday Joes, the people of Seattle … we have adrenaline too. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. As impossible as it may sound, we also have human instinct. Said instinct has been, at least somewhat successfully, developed over millions of years of evolution.
Of those instincts, one has repeatedly proven to be stronger than all the others. The instinct of self defense. The “fight or flight” response.
When the body is confronted and challenged, it begins releasing enormous amounts of adrenaline, norepinephrine, and a host of other hormones. These hormones, and adrenaline in particular, trigger this “fight-or-flight” response. This response is overwhelming, and is very, very difficult to control.
Sometimes, we, the civilians, understand this “fight-or-flight” response. We understand that it is completely normal. This is why, when we see a police officer administer one more kick … one more punch than absolutely necessary … we tend to understand. I know I do. It’s not reasonable to expect people to turn off their adrenaline on command. Not even highly-trained officers of the law. After all, they’re only human.
What about civilians, though?
Are they human too?
Do they also have instinct and adrenaline? Should civilians really be expected to exhibit more control over their basal instincts and hormones than law enforcement officers? Should they be beaten and killed, simply because they cannot control it?
“But, but, but, they DISOBEYED ORDERS!”, some will counter. “They were RESISTING ARREST!”, others will claim.
And … they’re absolutely right.
Why would we expect anything else, though?
See, there is nothing more normal, more physically and mentally healthy, than “resisting arrest”. Resisting arrest is human instinct. It’s survival. It’s inextricably hard-coded into the DNA of every healthy person. Thank God that it is, for were resistance to arrest not instinct, neither you nor I would be here right now. Without the fight-or-flight response, the human species would have long ago ceased to exist.
The fact that something like “resisting arrest” is against the law, is beyond absurd. It’s a catch-all charge designed to allow the police to arrest anyone, regardless of whether or not that person has committed an actual crime. It’s what nearly every innocent person is accused of when they are taken to jail. That, or a similarly nonsensical and abused charge like “obstructing” or “disobeying an officer”.
That’s right, in the USA, “disobedience” is now a crime. Even when it injures no one. Even when it causes no damage. The mere act of showing disobedience to the state … is illegal. The mere resistance to the (rightful or wrongful) attempts by a heavily-armed agent of the state to the seizure of your person … is a crime. Self-defense is illegal, when the aggressor is the state.
Even when you are in fear of physical injury, or in fear for your life, it is still illegal to act upon that fear in any manner other than full submission. You may not defend yourself. Even if that defense is minor, subconscious, and instinctive. The mere act of pulling your hand away from an officer who is trying to shackle it … a natural and instinctive reaction … is a crime.
The police are allowed to hurt, injure, and even kill when they fear for their safety … a right they often exercise … but when you are panic-stricken with fear of multiple, heavily-armed men … men who have been repeatedly been shown on camera harming other citizens … your only … ONLY legal option is to ignore your fear, ignore the adrenaline coursing through your veins, ignore your human instinct, and immediately submit. On the spot. Your only legal option is to surrender every impulse that makes you human, and exhibit dog-like obedience.
Absolute, 100%, unequivocal, dog-like obedience to the agents of the state.
Tyranny which a great many of the people support. They support it, because the victim is someone else. They support it because the suspect is black or male or poor or ugly or stupid or a Democrat or all of the above. They support it, because the only thing that frightens people more than tyranny, is freedom.