I’ve been through the experience enough times in my life to know how angry and involved it can get a person into matters that aren’t worth the trouble of thinking about. Cops are generally lowlifes who are attracted to the magnet of the copshop, the cameraderie of legal gangship, and not worth not fastening one’s seatbelt to offend. However, I take the attitude that one of the legitimate ways of leaving the vehicle this lifetime is in a gunfight with cops. Preferably over some matter involving a burned out bulb on the license-tag light developing into something a lot more serious because some cop feels the need to push someone around.
It came close to that last summer when I was in deep financial doodoo and got stopped by a motorcycle cop and his compadre because the license tag had expired… they pushed me around some and towed the car … cost me $100 I could ill afford… and the cop put the word out to the wrecker driver that he was gonna “get me,” watch me and stop me every time he saw the car. He hasn’t done it, so we haven’t had a gun battle. I’m pretty much indifferent to whether he does it or not, and whether we have a gun battle as a result. It’s his choice, not mine.
The Friend: You’re literally saying that we should put our lives at risk and ruin by over-reacting to minor power abuses by people and institutions?
Ergo: No. I’m not saying what anyone “should” do, or “shouldn’t do.” What other people do is no business of mine. Instead, what I’m doing is making an observation about how people handle issues that concern them, as opposed to how humans of the past (in some quarters) believed “honor” required them to handle such issues. It’s all about personal responsibility and grinding our own axes, as opposed to employing mercenaries (cops, judges, lawyers) to grind our axes for us on condition that we submit to our own axes being ground by someone else. It’s safe and convenient and the only cost, other than the fact that our mercenaries now own us, is vaguely spiritual.
On the other hand, it follows that I probably wouldn’t be a good person to sit on a jury of my “peers.” If a person’s only crime was to kill a cop I’d have to take a close look at the circumstances before I’d vote to convict. If a person was only guilty of drug abuse or prostitution I’d vote to acquit no matter what the law says. I don’t subscribe to the notion that part of my role in life demands that I become the tool of the institutions of tyranny and punishment for victimless crimes. But I do subscribe to the view expressed by a famous frontier judge, when he hanged a horse thief, but turned a man loose who’d killed a man who was threatening his family, “There are men who need killing, but there are no horses that need stealing.” I don’t believe the definition men who “need killing” is confined to lousy neighborhoods, nor are the hiding places for such men necessarily outside the institutions of “justice.” How we approach such matters, as I’ve suggested, is vaguely “spiritual.”