The Last Man in the World You Want to Deal With
The last man in the world you want to deal with is a police officer. That is as it should be.
I’ve been saying for several years now that the entire point of a free public education in this country is to provide individuals with the capacity for self-rule. That’s what the nation was founded on, the principles of liberty which said you own yourself. And so a government was formed that retained sovereign powers but constrained them to a reasonable minimum through divided government. While it is true that any of the three branches have now accumulated enough power to make a hash of any liberty, the principle of self-rule and self-determination still applies to American citizens.
My brother Doc, the police officer, mentioned something to me the other day. 911 is what you call when you have nowhere else to go. 911 is what you call when you are completely helpless to do anything for yourself. 911 is for the crisis. When the pooch has not only been screwed but gang raped and bludgeoned. When your world of talent, ability, luck, discipline, education, know how, can do, get up and go and blessings of the Almighty have completely been exhausted, who do you call? You call the cops.
You call the cops at your wits end, but you still really don’t want to. You wonder how the hell you got into the situation and you’re mad as hell, confused and scared. Everything has gone wrong in your world and you can’t handle it. What could be worse?
Few things piss off people than the image of a fat, sloppy, lazy, bored police captain listening to you puke your guts out in a complete state of panic while he’s eating his donuts and coffee, looking for a sharpened pencil for filling out your report. 911 will put you on hold. But nurses in reception do the same thing when your leg is broken and you’re bleeding from your eyeballs. Tech support does the same thing when your screen goes black. City Hall does the same thing when your kid gets hit by a car at the intersection where you’ve been begging for a traffic light. FEMA does the same when your house is flooded with effluent from the river that the Army Corps was supposed to have diked. The White House does the same when your diplomat is shot in the head in Benghazi.
Are you sensing the pattern?
If you had been able to handle your own business, if you had stopped eating chocolate fudge brownies for lunch, if you had slapped that little knucklehead when he was 12 and sassed you.. you wouldn’t be waiting in line to vote for a bureaucracy of public services for you to wait in line for and handle things for you that rich, powerful people don’t have to worry about. Take a number. Wait your turn. Shut up. Be patient, and don’t try this at home. We’re the experts and you are not. Need to know basis and all that.
Some of you sad, horrified and miserably disappointed folks thought waiting in line for dubious public service is the way of the world. It is. The world of incompetents and suckers for Progress. But you thought. Yeah. You thought that society was supposed to protect you. You thought that when you got insulted, that somebody bigger, stronger, smarter with official sanction and a red white and blue super suit would come and rescue you from your grievous situation. You thought your grievance had merit.
It does. With you. What are *you* going to do about it?
Well, you’re going to take the law into your own hands. Which by all accounts would be just fine if you hadn’t spent the rest of your life putting the power of the law into the hands of the government. But now, of course, taking the law into your own hands is against the law. It didn’t used to be when there was a bit more principle and a lot less law. If you would have learned how to birth your own baby, you wouldn’t have to wait for Blue Shield to approve your pregnancy care.
Now you lament that nobody told you that you would be on your own? No. You just assumed that you weren’t, that the people who made the Afterschool Specials were actually everywhere. You assumed that society worked for people like you. No. People like you work for society, because you’ve bought into its promises of emergency services and crisis interventions. Hell, you even volunteered to pay more taxes to help people closer to crisis situations than you. Lord knows you volunteered my taxes to pay for more.
And now you look in the face of the man with a gun and a badge and you’re not so sure any more, are you? Are you awake now? Do you get it?
Originally published at cobb.typepad.com on June 15, 2015.