Fuck Tha Police! | By Andrew Douglas

As NWA said way back in 1988, “Fuck Tha Police.” This of course is the most gangsta thing on every suburban white kid’s ipod, myself included. In fact, on those days when I feel like throwing a brick through a bank window, or punching some slow walking person in the back of the head for making me late for class, “Fuck tha Police” is an integral part of my playlist. It’s certainly one of the most anti-establishment songs of the last 30 years, perhaps only rivaled in its renunciation of police racism by Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name of.”  Although both NWA and Rage denounce police forces as violent, racist, bigoted organizations, I believe that they don’t go far enough. What these artists don’t manage to suggest is that in a civil society bound by a social contract, police forces are largely unnecessary. Most of the petty crime that happens in the world could essentially be solved by rectifying two problems. With a lessening of the economic disparity in our current society, and a better mental health system, we could largely eliminate the need for traditional police forces altogether.

Thefts for the most part occur largely from an economic disparity. This is why crime is most prevalent in low-income neighborhoods. For the most part, those who steal from others do so out of necessity. People steal to support their addictions, or to feed their families, not for the most part because they covet other people’s goods. Of course there are instances of crime that occur because of greed, which is especially true of the white collar world (ie. The “Wall Street” phenomenon). Arguably when people steal from retail chains it is something that they need which they feel the retail store is charging far too much for. If you’ve ever purchased clothes from a Banana Republic you almost certainly feel robbed when you walk out of the store.

In terms of how important expanding the mental health support system is in society, it is important to note the relationship between crime and addiction. Virtually nobody gets addicted to drugs or alcohol because of some random predisposition for snorting things. People get addicted to things because they are trying to deal with some sort of mental health issue. Booze and  illegal drugs make excellent anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medications.  Addictions to prescription meds also occur largely as the result of mental health issues that are unaddressed. If the state was to provide free counseling to people regardless of their age, income, etc. addictions would almost certainly decrease. “What about organized crime?” you ask. “Who will stop the big crime bosses?” To that I would offer the suggestion that organized crime has always profited off the sale of illegal drugs, not to mention the fact that if we ended the “War on Drugs” it would also destroy the income base of organized crime syndicates.

Last, there’s a certain counter-intuitive logic to addressing crime with policing. If you’re trying to get rid of mosquitoes it makes more sense to buy some repellant and use pesticides to control the population of mosquitoes than to just buy a shit load of fly swatters.  The same is true of crime. Why not address crime at the source instead of paying a group of ill-educated people on power trips to keep it under control. I’m not suggesting that we don’t need some sort of force to keep those that fall outside the norm from harming others. But traditional policing just isn’t adequate enough to even keep crime under control, let alone address it at the source. In short, don’t just fuck the police, redirect their budget.

What do you think? Fuck tha police or maintain traditional policing? 

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  • Quentin

    I think that you present an interesting view in your article regarding policing, however I believe it is oversimplified and very idealistic.

    Your first point about theft as an action performed out of necessity is true in some cases, but you fail to recognize that theft is often performed by using force. You are basically justifying theft because an individual cannot afford the cost of living, but at the same time, another individual can be harmed in the process. To me, this is completely unfair.

    Your second point about drug abuse and its relation to ordinary and organized crime is well known. You place the blame on the lack of a functioning institutional mental-health support system for illicit drug users. This is something I agree on, however, free counseling and other resources that are already available should be considered; speaking of Canada of course.

    In short, I believe that you underestimate the broad nature of crime and also undervalue the purpose of a traditional police force. What I mean by this is that crimes of a heinous nature, such as rape and first-degree murder, is not addressed in your argument. I argue that there cannot be any substantial justification for these kinds of crimes. Furthermore, it is easy to blame the police for being corrupt or bigoted, but how about the good things they do. I am quite sure that many people find the presence of a police officer as a comforting notion, rather than one of fear. I remember when I was a little, my parents and teachers would always tell me that a police officer would be a stranger that is okay to talk to. I think that is still the case.

    “Fuck tha police.” Yes, that is a easy thing to say when you see examples of violent arrests against protestors or discriminatory practices on the news. But, when an armed individual is breaking into your house, you would not be saying that.

  • Reinos

    I can agree with the section about ending the war on drugs to uproot large-scale organized crime, as I think that the current approach isn’t working. The situation seems eerily similar to prohibition-era bans on alcohol in the U.S. But the rest of the article doesn’t offer a solution or suggest where to redistribute the budget to. I agree with Quentin’s comment about there being a lack of addressing violent crime. And also, on what grounds are police ill-educated? Power trips can and often do happen in any organization, so don’t expect that to disappear. Instead, find a way to shift power to those with proven capability and responsibility, not those who play the system for power primarily.

  • I think this attitude, from which, to be sure, we are slowly emancipating ourselves, that we must simply punish, rather than look at, and adjust the conditions which lead to punishable behaviour, ultimately, comes from religion.

    Religion, it is assumed, is perfect, and so must only be maintained, itself not in need of reformation.

    Thus society is thought of even today to be in its current state perfect, and those conditions which may lead to crime mere temptations of sin, their avoidance a simple matter of developing “self-discipline,” which could be equated with “faith,” or a belief that what may lead to crime is simply a “test” of an otherwise perfect world, in order for those who encounter it to demonstrate their faith in what is righteous.