Yesterday I posted an essay about the recent failure of police to potentially prevent the murder of a young woman in Boston. A police detective did not pursue a previous assault complaint by another woman last year against the chief suspect in the case. The chief suspect has an extensive record of violence and an extensive record of avoiding incarceration.
This morning I got a joking response from a friend in an email. He suggested that I may get more attention from police than I bargained for as a result of my post. Many a truth is spoken in jest.
The post-traumatic psyche of the media since September 11, 2001 has sewn a basic fear in the U.S. public. The obsession with violence and fear of it has simply fostered more fear. Violence has not stopped by any means. In fact, U.S. cities are dangerous places, compared to other cities in the so-called developed world. The omnipresence of legal and illegal firearms, a burgeoning drug trade, crime syndicates associated with illegal immigration and drug smuggling, an so on.
Peaceful and nonviolent citizens have good reasons to be fearful. When a 911 emergency call yields no response for any reason, the safety net of our municipal environment is weakened. If a person lives in a poor neighborhood, the likelihood of this is greater. Good police work seems to be a privilege of wealth in many cities.
All of this contributes to a subtle social intimidation of those with less economic influence. This intimidation fuels suspicion of law and police. An unfortunate spiral, aided by poor public education, develops in certain communities prone to this intimidation. Anyone who cooperates with the police is considered untrustworthy by the populace. Witnesses to crime do not come forth. The effected neighborhoods become less safe and the darkness of fear deepens to the advantage of the violent and criminal.
My outrage over the recent case of police negligence stems from being raised by an ethical policeman, my father. My outrage is informed by his life as an honest cop surrounded by corruption and malfeasance. My outrage will not be extinguished by fear of those whose job performance is not worthy of my respect.