Monkey Police

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Vancouver recently
had its summer fireworks. It is an occasion when the seawall gets
packed with people. This is a great time to visit this lovely city,
but these days do it only if you are prepared for a bit of humiliation…

Drinking alcohol
is illegal in Vancouver, as it is in the most of North America.
There is of course no logic behind this. Why should you not be able
to drink in public when you can as easily drink inside the pub and
even in the patio, and still walk out completely drunk? Although
sometimes fun-killer, who wants unnecessary problems with the police!

A fundamental
law of the social organisation is that any regulation, which invariably
attracts sociopaths as enforcers, is like honey that attracts bees
and will be abused and its meaning manipulated and extrapolated
to allow the enforcer derive maximum pleasure with very minimal
risks. And a fundamental law of the sociopath is that they derive
pleasure from very base instincts (showing power over others, demeaning
them, abusing the weak, etc.) and, despite the façade, they
are so timid that if only a very miniscule population resisted them,
they would go out of business.

If I remember
it correctly, ten years earlier when I first went to the fireworks
event in Vancouver, the most police did was ask anyone openly drinking
in public to pour his drink in the drain. Mostly they turned a blind
eye. They never checked bags. How could they? There was no law allowing
them to do so. And some people would not have agreed to this checking.
Could the police really arrest so many people? Or at the very least
could they afford to waste their time? Whatever the police did,
they did very politely. Most of the conduct of the police in Vancouver
is still extremely polite and civil, but in very slight ways this
is all changing, almost imperceptibly.

For the last
two years, during the fireworks days, the police have been confiscating
even capped bottles of drinks, if they think that you would later
drink them in public. Two blocks from the alcohol store, I stood
watching the drama being conducted by two policemen who looked like
monkeys. Unlike normal Vancouver Police, these had potbellies. For
sure they had been brought from outside Vancouver.

These (male)
policemen were having a compete blast, something they had clearly
been looking forward to for a year. They were launching themselves
on people's bag without even the cursory civility of asking for
their permission, going through their contents, without any racial
or sexual discrimination. I wondered if their poking their hand
in women's purses a sign of equality. They then confiscated drinks
from those with closed bottles. For an hour that I stood there,
not one person resisted being checked. Mostly they laughed it off.
In jest, some even suggested to those monkey policemen to check
for drinks in their wallets or asked if the police wanted to look
at the smaller sections of the bag. It was like a party for everyone.

In a way, this
was so much better than what would happen, in such situations in
India, where police would take you to a corner — mostly not even
that — give you a nice thrashing, empty your wallets and then if
they were still dissatisfied and unrelieved, take you to a police
station, for more beating while drinking your alcohol right in front
of you. My friend here says he detests being abused in a "civil"
way. If abused he must, he would rather be, the Indian way. I am
not sure, if he would like that experience, but philosophically,
he has a point.

Back to Vancouver…
I wish only 1% of those going through what looked like humiliation
to me from those monkey policemen had resisted, at least politely.
None did. What I saw on the street was like a mating game. The police
where learning and instilling in their worldviews what more they
could get away with, adding to this learning every year, and then
applying it with more force a year later, trying new limits of what
is publicly acceptable. The public drowned in respect for authority
is learning to give up an inch of liberty every-time, slowly, almost
imperceptibly.

A frog thrown
in hot water will instinctively jump out. A frog in cool water,
which is being slowly heated will let himself boiled to death. When
I first heard Doug Casey talking about the end of Western civilisation,
I thought he was being just a bit too harsh to drive across his
point. But, he couldn't be more right and accurate. All signs are
that North American police will, within my lifetime, start to behave
no different from those in India does. Unlike the frog, I must keep
checking the water temperature. I must emigrate again when the time
comes.

August
26, 2008

Jayant
Bhandari [send him mail]
is a Vancouver-based writer. Looking for civil life, he visited
Vancouver 10 years back and then decided to immigrate.

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