Non-Statistics: Police and fear of Police

I last posted about Police and death nearly a week ago.

Statistics are powerful tools, but they are cold comfort to any person who meets misfortune.

In my own life, I've almost never feared the presence of a Policeman. Several factors helped.

My parents trained me to have a healthy respect for rule-of-law and legitimate authority. A combination of family background, education, and the use I've made of education-plus-talent has led me to a comfortable lifestyle. More importantly, I remain in a social setting which turns most criminal behavior into a low-benefit/high-risk proposition.

However, I've met a few people who do fear most interactions with Police. One of these men was M. I met M. at a religious meeting. We became well-acquainted with each other for a couple of years.

During an earlier part of his life, M. had partied hard, raced motorcycles, and consumed large amounts of alcohol. (I surmise that a DUI charge may have resulted.)

Even after his come-to-Jesus moment, M. had a deep fear of Police. When I knew him best, M. didn't have a valid driver's license and was making little effort to get one.
(All evidence I saw was that the repentance and changed life was real. But I did gather that certain events in the sinful past had resulted in a revoked driver's license, and possibly a bench warrant for failure-to-appear at a trial.)

The small ways in which this fear was manifested: M. had a network of friends and family that he depended on for transportation. He helped family members install video-recording devices on their cars, in case they ever had a chat with Officer Friendly on the side of the road. A normally lively man, M. exhibited a strange quietness whenever a Police vehicle was in sight. Even though no one was doing anything to attract Police attention.

I can imagine--distantly--a lifestyle and social settings in which the Police are to be feared. It's a little frightening to imagine a social world in which neither adults nor children are sure that the legitimate authority is going to treat them nicely. Or even treat them fairly.

When this social setting has many who care more about "the fun life" than following the rules, there will be lots of opportunity for everyday folks to be on the wrong side of an encounter with the Police. And lots of opportunity for resentment, distrust, and confusion between the People and the Police.

Regardless of the skin color of those involved.*

It's a hard problem to solve.

I have some sympathy for people in that situation; even if I think that their troubles might be the result of criminal misdeeds. But I am deeply aware that people who receive Police attention have usually done something to attract that attention.

*For the record, M. carries white skin.
Wouldn't help him if he's a witness to another crime, and gives his name to the Police...who might cuff him and book him into prison under a bench-warrant.

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