police brutality: to discourage reprisals?


S.R. wrote: “Almost every time I go on Facebook I see a video or story about police brutality or a cop abusing their power. At first I was overwhelmed with how much corruption there is today, but it raised a question in my mind. Is there more police brutality today than in the past, or do we finally have the technology and the means to prove it?”



JR wrote:

Cops just enforce laws. In 1780, that meant that they enforced the laws of slavery. In 1840, they enforced the laws to make sure that Native Americans were removed from their homelands.

I think there is much less brutality today since you have more SWAT teams and huge imbalances of firepower. In prior times, it was a regular thing for people to be treated savagely by the police. The intimidation was much less effective, so there was much more resistance.

In some parts of the world, the savagery continues today. In the US, there is immense wealth and privilege relative to most of the world.


B.R. replied:


  • If you honestly believe that cops only enforce laws, I’m not sure what to say. Police forces should exist to protect the citizenry, not to bend its will to the government. Intimidation is not how a police force in a free country should treat itscitizens. “Huge imbalances of firepower” is exactly what allows the government to impose its will on the people with no fear of reprisal. If you’re saying that we don’t have anything to complain about relative to other parts of the world, I guess we’ll just wait until they start rounding up and exterminating a specific group because we’re still “better off” than somewhere else.
     “Much less brutality” doesn’t really jibe with heavily armed, militaristic SWAT teams.
    J.R. replied further:

    To clarify, “much less” could mean much less frequent brutality. In places like Iraq or Ukraine or Palestine, there could be fatal violence between civilians and government squads on a daily basis.
    I have heard gunfire several times in my life. In some places, it could be typical to hear not just gunfire but bombs several times a year or several times an hour.To B.R. in particular, note that people complaining is a distinct issue. S.R. simply asked about the frequency of police brutality. She said “almost every time I go on Facebook,” there is a mention of police brutality (I could assume that she meant in the US).
    As for complaining, some people of course will complain about brutality. Some people will demand more of it. Some will complain that there is too much.

    As for “start exterminating,” I wonder how familiar are you with the history of Native Americans? I understand being scared today though. That could be a sign of intelligence, right?

    Also, consider that the only reason that governments would ever be brutal is because of a fear of reprisal. They clearly seek to discourage reprisal. The brutalizing of natives, slaves, and other populations is to terrify the targets, to terrorize, to coerce, to bully, to intimidate, to govern, to regulate, to influence, to manage the human resources).

    Killing is a simple thing. Brutality can be very complicated. Brutality is about discouraging reprisals without (necessarilly)  killing the targets.


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