Of Broken Windows And Broken Spines

It was a dark and stormy night. But I was not swayed by the forces and the voices that commanded me to turn back from this lonely road I had set out on. For I was righteous, and I knew I was on the right path. Yea, for even though I was midway through life’sContinue reading “Of Broken Windows And Broken Spines”

Lon Fuller On The Inability Of The Judiciary To Police The Police

In The Morality of Law: Revised Edition (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1969), Lon Fuller writes: In this country it is chiefly to the judiciary that is entrusted the task of preventing a discrepancy between the law as declared and as actually administered. This allocation of function has the advantage of placing the responsibility in practiced hands, subjectingContinue reading “Lon Fuller On The Inability Of The Judiciary To Police The Police”

An Officer’s View On The NYPD Protests: Still Blinkered

Steve Osborne, proudly standing with his back to the Mayor and the city of New York, comes to tell us why the New York City Police Department has been throwing an extended tantrum that would put a toddler to shame. (Interestingly enough, the NYPD has given itself a ‘time-out’ and like harried parents everywhere, weContinue reading “An Officer’s View On The NYPD Protests: Still Blinkered”

The NYPD And The Serial Abuser’s Oldest Trick

A dozen or so years ago, a friend told me his wife’s sister was on the run, seeking shelter and safety after her abusive, drunken husband had assaulted her–and threatened to assault her young child–again. She had spent a night at her mother’s place but was considering moving on to a ‘neutral venue.’ All tooContinue reading “The NYPD And The Serial Abuser’s Oldest Trick”

Thou Shalt Know All Before Offering Critique (Of The Police)

A common argument made in the ongoing national discussion about police brutality and violence is, very roughly, “We should be careful in criticizing the police because we have little idea of how difficult and dangerous their work is.” Which reminds me: some ten years ago, when discussing the Abu Ghraib tortures and sundry atrocities withContinue reading “Thou Shalt Know All Before Offering Critique (Of The Police)”

The Deadly Self-Pity Of The Police

In 1997, as a graduate teaching fellow, I began teaching two introductory classes in philosophy at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Many of my students were training for careers in criminology and law enforcement. Some hoped to join the FBI, yet others, the New York City police force.Continue reading “The Deadly Self-Pity Of The Police”

Calling Bullshit On ‘Outside Agitators’ in Ferguson

A few days ago, a friend on Facebook posted the following as his status: Would any of you be down to help me organize a march on Ferguson, MO? Dead serious. It’s something I hope would send a powerful message to the powers that be, but I’d need help getting it all together. I mean,Continue reading “Calling Bullshit On ‘Outside Agitators’ in Ferguson”

Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars

A nation at war–an indefinite, borderless one, conducted against a faceless enemy, with little legal or moral restraint, with an endless wallet to be dipped into–will find, sooner or later, that the same inchoateness, the same vagueness, the same productive lack of definition of that conflict, which permitted its waging to be conducted secretly withoutContinue reading “Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars”

Machine Gun Men: Not Your Grandfather’s Police

It was a common sight in New York City: soldiers, paramilitary or regular in origin, wearing battle fatigues and carrying assault rifles and machine guns, standing guard in various bustling points of urban interaction–train stations and bus terminals most commonly. Typically, these were deployed after some mysterious, unspecified warning would be made public by theContinue reading “Machine Gun Men: Not Your Grandfather’s Police”

Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization

The killing–execution style–of Michael Brown, the protests in Ferguson that followed, and their policing, both rhetorically and literally, demonstrate some chilling facts about modern American life. Most obviously,  police continue to over-police, with overbearing aggressiveness and force, communities of color.  They have poor relationships with their subjects–an apt description given the asymmetry of power thatContinue reading “Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization”