Friday, August 07, 2020

Hating the Police

Lucretius over at Chicago Boyz links to an interesting article by a sociologist about why the police are hated.

The police are not hated where I am, and I think the points are diluted in NH.  Still, even among police supporters in my experience, there are eye-rolls and "some of these guys" exasperated gestures.  And there are terrible and violent ones even here in gentle, low-crime NH.  There is no Motive-o-Meter that can tell you why a particular person is going into police work, and it is often not revealed until s/he is under pressure.  At that point, you have to start creating a paper trail to get rid of them, which gets complicated because each incident usually involves other officers, and each PD has perverse incentives of one sort or another that the poor SOB may be just trying to balance as best he can.

My thought is that there is something for and against the more common POV's here, but presented evenhandedly.  If I have a strong criticism, it is that his order of presentation implies a hierarchy that I don't think is supported by evidence, and that I suspect is not correct. However, as there are things on this list I would dearly love for liberals, especially those in journalism and academia, to at least absorb and consider, I will gladly swallow all my own objections in the interest of getting this out there.


james said...

His statement of point 2a is invidious. Police cynicism need not have anything to do with hypocrisy; it flows naturally from doing a job in which a disproportionate number of the people you meet are criminals or have mental issues. Prison guard would be an even worse job--pretty much everybody you meet professionally is a criminal and a large fraction of them are trying to con you. Penitentiaries don't seem to evoke much penitence.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Good point. The police may have bad attitudes, but we should be cautious about explaining why.

james said...

Wrt prisons, did you see Dalrymple's essay on Covid and prison? "I was surprised, working in prison, to discover that the type of person who one might imagine would find prison particularly awful was able to endure it with comparative ease, if not with pleasure, exactly. I mean people like me: doctors, professionals, and academics, who occasionally (and to my great embarrassment) ended up incarcerated."