An Open Letter to Politicians

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Whenever revolutionary change appears in the world, whether for good or for ill, there are always certain groups of people who fail or refuse to recognize how much things have truly changed. One can find many examples of this phenomenon in the business world, when entrepreneurs who fail to appreciate new market conditions get tossed aside by their competitors before they even know what hit them. By the time they realize that they have made serious forecasting errors, it is often far too late for them to catch up. Similar examples abound in the academic and athletic worlds, where scholars and coaches who fail to appreciate radically new conditions in their disciplines or sports find themselves quickly surpassed by their rivals and colleagues.

A similar situation appears in the realm of law enforcement in the United States, because police officers and their political bosses seem to be oblivious to the fact that the American economic and political landscape has profoundly changed over the last three years. They continue to humiliate, bully, assault, taser, jail, and shoot Americans (and their dogs) as though the American populace will forever tolerate such abuses. Police officers strut around cities and towns barking orders at people as though nothing in the world could ever take away their ability to intimidate and demean. Similarly, politicians and police chiefs continue to defend their officers’ actions, no matter how barbarically or blatantly they may have misbehaved.

In so doing, these police officers and politicians are demonstrating their inability or refusal to recognize how much America has changed.

It is important for these police officers to quickly recognize that the United States is no longer populated primarily with happy, rich people unconcerned with the world outside their new houses and cars. All of that was washed away in the explosion of the Federal Reserve’s credit bubbles, beginning in 2007. Now, Americans have been finally forced to recognize that they are not even close to being as rich or as happy as they thought they were. Many have lost their homes, and still more will lose their homes. Many have lost their jobs, and still more will lose their jobs. Many have found that their college educations are worthless, and still more will learn this lesson. Many have lost a son or a brother or a husband in a pointless war, and still more will lose their husbands, fathers, and sons. Many have lost their life savings, and so will many more. In other words, a huge and growing number of Americans are homeless, jobless, fatherless, poor, and angry. They have a lot less to lose than they did before. These are not people amenable to being humiliated, bullied, assaulted, tasered, or shot.

Americans are not in the mood for this kind of s__t right now.

The effects of the actions of brazen and clueless police officers are compounded by the fact that there are not that many of them in the United States relative to the rest of the population. There’s a reason they are referred to as the thin blue line. As such, they must recognize the revolutionary changes that have occurred over the past three years, and not provoke a group of people that far, far outnumbers them. It was one thing for police officers to beat and shoot Americans when the vast majority of them were too distracted by their new houses and IKEA furniture to notice, but all of the distractions are now gone, and many of these people are angry and devoid of hope. There must not be violence from "ordinary" Americans, who are, after all, armed, nor against them.

Police officers need to shed their arrogant self-assurance that the American people will always tolerate being humiliated, beaten, assaulted, tasered, or shot by a tiny group of people with badges. There is a breaking point for all people, and it is foolish beyond belief to toy with that breakingpoint. Police officers, stop courting disaster for America. Join the civilized world where we don’t humiliate, beat, assault, taser, and shoot other human beings.

Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.

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