“If there’s any job that domestic abuse should disqualify a person from holding, it’s the one job that gives you a lethal weapon, trains you to stalk people without their noticing, and relies on your judgment and discretion to protect the abused from abusers.” —Conor Friedersdorf here, slightly paraphrased
Protecting the abused from abusers is an important role in any society — or at least a sane society. It’s the role, in fact, of government itself, especially in an exploitive economic system like our own.
Capturing the organs of protection by the abusers themselves is therefore a high priority of the abusing class. This is why Reagan staffed his administration with people who hate the protective role government played, why he put anti-environmentalist James Watt in charge of Interior and the National Parks, and anti-regulationist Ann Gorsuch Burford in charge of the EPA. (Yes, she’s related to that other Gorsuch.)
And apparently why we put cops, domestic abusers at a very high rate, in charge of protecting victims of abuse.
Cops being in charge of abuse — delivering it — is a commonplace these days. Putting cops in charge of protecting people from abuse is like putting pedophiles in charge of public safety at a grade school, or pedophile priests in charge of youth ministry (we had one of those in a parish I once lived in).
Pedophiles love those jobs, just as cops love the jobs they’ve been given. How better to commit violence than to be the only sanctioned dealers of state violence, to be licensed to kill in the name of “protecting” the abused? You even get to parade around as “heroes” for doing it.
Conor Friedorsdorf, in an Atlantic article entitled “Police Have a Much Bigger Domestic-Abuse Problem Than the NFL Does,” quotes a heavily footnoted National Center for Women and Policing fact sheet: “Two studies have found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent of families in the general population. A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24 percent, indicating that domestic violence is two to four times more common among police families than American families in general [emphasis added].” Friedersdorf’s piece is well worth reading in full.
I have anecdotal evidence of this connection. Some years ago a friend of mine was a psychiatric counselor specializing in troubled families. The bulk of her clients were cop families, where the cop was the abuser. She attributes the problem to the pathological (my word) need for control by the cop — reinforced, no doubt, by a job in which “gaining and keeping control” was both an absolute requirement of every cop-involved situation, and by supervisors who encouraged or allowed the worse abuses of that requirement.
We don’t hire pedophiles to guard grade school kids. Why do we hire violent cops to keep the peace? Is there something in us that’s perpetuating this?