Imperial Rot

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To the extent that government police have ever been effective and decent, it has usually been in the context of small, locally controlled forces in small jurisdictions.

Just as the federal cops become ever more sclerotic, and unable to perform their stated functions, as they get bigger and richer and more powerful, so it is with “local” (actually, federalized) police.

The Keystone Kops of Atlanta are a prime example. Headed by a handsome, burly chief from central casting, they first, when the murderer escaped the courthouse, “set up a command post to coordinate all the law-enforcement agencies involved.” No one from the government did anything wrong, he added, but he would, once the criminal was caught, “set up a taskforce to examine all areas of security.”The fact that the huge occupying power of police never even searched the nearby garage, or checked public transportation (the guy took MARTA), is typical. So is the fact that the man was caught thanks to a tip from a private citizen, and not because of any police work. Vast numbers of local, state, and federal cops never came close to the BTK serial killer, until he sent the cops the evidence to catch him. The Unabomber, followed by a virtual police state of cops, was only caught when his brother turned him in. And so it goes.

9:13 am on March 16, 2005