Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gore Vidal's anti-police essay

I wouldn't normally pay any attention to this sort of vitriol. But Gore Vidal is known as one of America's "great novelists" and he is putting this disjointed, hate-filled, ignorant essay out there for all to read. And the problem is, people agree with him! Since this whole Gates/Crowley police thing, there has been a rash of anti-police rhetoric across the blogosphere, and recent news backs it up (three police officers in one day were killed in the US this weekend, and a border patrol agent was killed last week)...in fact, while crime is down as compared to the '90s, police slayings are up quite a bit.

This attitude is pervasive in our culture. It used to be that no matter how criminal you were, killing a cop was something hardly even thought about. Now even bloggers [in poor taste] joke about it, as was seen here by one comment: "...My philosophy in dealing with the police is simple: stay out of my way and I will stay out of your way. But if you step on my toes, better hope you kissed your wife buh-bye when you left for work that day because I don't put up with any shit from anyone. Especially a cop." I was floored by this comment. I mean, talk about crossing the line.

Here are some excerpts from Vidal's essay, America The Great ... Police State:

...Every municipality is complaining about local police forces run wild. And no one does anything about it. And our masters are armed to the teeth and would seem more likely to fire at us instead of at the troublemakers. I can’t think of any civilized country that would allow this, from the look of these bulky guardians of the peace, to whom no right-minded person would allow even a slingshot to be given.

So, we are a weirdly militarized citizenry governed by the worst elements in the United States, and something is bound to blow up, as I have felt for some time now. In my wanderings around the U.S., I talk to people without money, without power, ordinary voters, as well as nowadays, people maimed by war, or time, or life or whatever, and I am convinced more and more that this is a vicious country in which the police are allowed to run amok, absolutely independent of anyone, and that is why from time to time they are allowed to get away with murder. One surprisingly knew that a wrinkle has been discovered in the seamless surface of our troubled state. Policemen are seldom tried for their crimes, or indeed, held responsible for what they do, which disturbs the peace and causes distress among the orderly.

So, we are a weirdly militarized citizenry governed by the worst elements in the United States, and something is bound to blow up, as I have felt for some time now. In my wanderings around the U.S., I talk to people without money, without power, ordinary voters, as well as nowadays, people maimed by war, or time, or life or whatever, and I am convinced more and more that this is a vicious country in which the police are allowed to run amok, absolutely independent of anyone, and that is why from time to time they are allowed to get away with murder. One surprisingly knew that a wrinkle has been discovered in the seamless surface of our troubled state. Policemen are seldom tried for their crimes, or indeed, held responsible for what they do, which disturbs the peace and causes distress among the orderly...

...Anyway, the president has not done what he should have done, which is to have reminded us that the United Kingdom—a more livable nation than the United States, let me say with first-hand experience of both—has disarmed its police. There are no angry men wandering around carrying guns over there. This is a lesson to us, but we’ve armed practically every grange house in the United States because our regular guys just want to swagger around.

Let us accept the facts staring us in the face—that demonstrably we are no longer a republic. We are no longer governed by laws, only by armed men and force. This is just like the days of Billy the Kid. You have an armed man going down a dusty street and that is authority. And it has come to this for us...

And so Vidal goes, decrying police and wanting to disarm them, because they are all criminals in his mind, based upon some encounter he had in the '40s.

Not to mention that police corruption is at all-time lows, so much so that when an isolated incident does happen, it makes national headlines.

Not to mention that Police Officers are shot at as a part of their jobs.

But let's take away their guns and tasers. Let's send them out there like UN Peacekeepers without guns. Let them just ask criminals to be nice. I'm down. Let's do it. I'm sure those criminals, armed with uzis, shotguns, and knives, will be more than happy to oblige a uniformed, unarmed person. I'm sure crime will go down, and utopia will be the norm of the land again.

We'll start the unarmed policemen with Gore Vidal's hometown.

3 comments:

bluepitbull said...

Gore Vidal, a great? In his own mind, maybe. He can get in the Hindenburg with Vonnegut and fly east and hope a cigarette doesn't land near the gasbag. Of course he might be producing the gas to fly...

Try some real classics: Paine, Verne, Wells, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Rand.....Malkin has a new book out. Pretty sure it doesn't rag on cops.

dmarks said...

Gore Vidal has long been a rather intolerant and unintellectual fellow who is given to airing very whacky conspiracy theories.

dmarks said...

And looking at Gore's essay, when it comes to facts, he is hitting the mark 1% or 2% of the time.