I’d rather be among criminals

Anthony is taking the week off, so we’re re-running this column from 2007.

When I’d been in Minneapolis four or five years, I got a flyer that said, “ATTENTION!!! WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM!” There had been a gun fired across the street; young people would cut through the back yard, knock on a side window, enter through the front door, and leave after a few minutes; strangers would peek in the windows at all hours, so—CRACK HOUSE!

The pamphleteers wanted to do two things: have a meeting—this was Minnesota, after all—and send a letter to the father and son living in the house up for discussion, “offering help and demanding a cease to dangerous activities.”

The married couple who lived next door were incensed because the police hadn’t managed—by any means necessary, even if they were bogus—to get the young man who lived there out.

I am astounded at the number of people who expect the police to protect them from their neighbors and who are not only willing to put up with incessant police presence but actually want more cops around. The gun-control people are no help without including government agents. Morally restricting the threat of violence to the government leads only to more oppression.

If I were king, there would be no career cops. You could be a cop only a little while, maybe a year or two, and then you’d have to go back to whatever you were doing before. Anybody who wanted to be a cop would be unqualified.

I would draft cops, the way we used to draft soldiers. Local, temporary police. Some people long for the old days of the cop on the beat, but those days were better because the cop was part of the neighborhood, not because there were a lot of cops around. Cops who don’t live in the neighborhood are just mercenaries, like Blackwater, liable to turn on you at the drop of a dime.

My Minneapolis neighbors railed about zero tolerance for guns and drugs and gangs and illegal activity in general. When did tolerance get to be a bad thing? We tolerate cops with guns, why not other people? We all have the same right to defend ourselves, don’t we?