Randy said he had a good idea. He said he had a solution to the problem of bad cops doing terrible things. He said it would be better and more peaceful than cities burning.
“What if we make it easy to send the bad cops to prison,” he said. “You know, like as easy as it is to send a brutha to jail for having a bag of weed. And let the prison system be as corrupt toward bad cops as the system on the outside is corrupt toward the people the bad cops fuck with.”
“Okay,” I said.
“So yeah, say a bad cop gets caught doing some brutal shit. We make sure he spends a little time in prison. And we decide to actually stigmatize and condemn him for his brutality, like we used to condemn communists. “
Randy had a good point. Why do we condemn Bill Gates or George Soros worse than we do a brutal, murdering cop?
“And in prison, we allow the system to turn a blind eye to the bad cop getting abused.”
“Abused how?” I asked.
“He gets the shit beaten out of him. Or worse. General abuse, let’s say. Terror and humiliation. Dehumanization.”
I was afraid to ask Randy what his ‘or worse’ was, but I thought I knew.
“Unfortunately, it sounds sorta fair,” I had to admit.
“You give 5 hardened bruthas 20 minutes a day, alone with the bad cop. That’s all,” Randy said. “Let that cop feel their authority. Let him feel how it feels to be helpless. And let the rest of the bad cops know that’s what they’re gonna get as punishment if they get caught brutalizing and abusing folks.”
“Harsh sentence for a harsh crime,” I thought out loud.
“You got it,” Randy said. “Some folks love that ‘harsh sentence’ bullshit, that is until it gets turned toward their team.”
“And the warden and guards, they all look away? Pretending like nothing’s happening?”
I was shocked. How could Randy condone things so violent and inhumane? I wondered how he could condone such a violation of a person’s dignity, rights and humanity.
“Yeah. Everybody looks away, pretending like they don’t know anything. Sounds sorta familiar, right?”
“That’s harsh,” I said. “Real harsh.”
“You seen the footage? You think they’re just playing around? People have been killed for no good reason. You think that’s not harsh?”
“Guess you’re right,” I said. “Fair’s fair.”
“And it works out on the streets, so why not the inside?” Randy added.
“Sure does,” I said.
“Knowing you’re gonna get seriously fucked up if you go to prison, maybe a cop’s gonna do a better job of keeping his shit in check on the outside.”
“I’m liking this idea,” I said. “Turning a blind eye both ways.”
“Sure. Why not?” Randy asked. “Same as out in the streets. Cop beats the fuck out of somebody – even kills ’em – it sets an example – helps keep the rest of the neighborhood in line. Shows you who’s in charge. Shows who’s not to be fucked with.”
This idea had some traction.
“And there could even be an inherent incentive,” I said. “Like the inmates wanna get at the bad cop like Megan Fox in a negligee or a porterhouse from St. Elmo’s. And if the guards feed ’em the bad cop, then the inmates don’t take their hostilities out on the guards. They give the guards a pass when it comes to their wrath. It’s a win/win for the whole system and society.”
“Yeah,” Randy said. “Except for the cop. Otherwise, it’s the same as on the outside – cops, lawyers, judges keeping themselves employed. The system works for all of them. It’s win/win all around.”
I couldn’t help but agree.
“Word gets out among the cops, ‘You don’t wanna go to prison. There’s some savage shit being put on bad cops in there.’ – then things might change.”
“Maybe they clean up their act on the outside,” I said.
Quoting The Iron Sheik, Randy added, “Make them humble.”
“It’s ironic,” I said. “If the only way to get justice is to turn the corruption in your favor.”
“There’s never going to be any real justice,” Randy said. “One way or another, whoever’s on top, it’s their justice, never some arbitrary, impartial justice. That’s just fairy tales, bro.”
“And it’s strange,” I thought out loud again. “If it was terrorists or some other enemy – and their actions led to our cities burning – we’d have no problem torturing them. We wouldn’t give a fuck about their rights. It’d all be cool.”
“We’d love that shit,” Randy said. “Black hoods and waterboarding. No big thing for the browns. But we’d lose our shit playing that with the cops.”
“Waterboarding bad cops. Not a bad idea.”
“Why not?” Randy asked. “Remember, it’s not torture. And if it’s not torture, then it’s just another form of punishment, like any other.”
No doubt, he was making sense. Still, no matter the rationale, my conscience needed to play devil’s advocate. It wouldn’t give up without a final flurry.
“Violating, dehumanizing anybody, even bad cops, seems sort of unethical though. I dunno. It’s kinda brutal.”
“Killing people seems unethical too. Killing is pretty goddamned brutal too. Choking to death an unarmed man who’s subdued isn’t fucking brutal enough for you?”
I wasn’t happy about what Randy was saying. But, unfortunately, he was making way too much sense.
“It’s hard to condone violence,” I said.
“You like getting spit in the face? How long you gonna take it before you spit back?”
I didn’t have an answer.
“You gonna take the side of those Don’t Tread on Me motherfuckers? They wanna condemn violence and rioting while they’re just itching for any excuse to tear shit up themselves. How’s anybody gonna excuse dudes with rifles and military gear protesting at statehouses, then turn around and condemn us? Don’t make me laugh. Don’t fall for that shit. They can’t wait for the day the shit hits the fan. But it’s gotta hit it in their favor before they’re ever gonna support it. The shit’s got to hit the fan in their favor first. And when it does, they’re all gonna be on board for wrecking all kinds of shit. See, when we do it, we’re savages. When they do it, it’ll be noble and necessary.”
I knew that was true. I knew that almost everything Randy was saying was true. I didn’t like it, but I knew it was true.
“Even your leaders condemn the violence,” I pleaded.
“Leaders? Who? Mayors and governors? The news? What are they supposed to do, tell you it’s okay to burn their cities? They can’t. And the news. Hell, they aren’t the ones getting spit in the face, bro. We are. They wanna act like friends until shit gets real. Then they’re off around the corner making excuses.”
I had nothing left.
“The system’s crooked and it’s got your mind all fucked up,” he said. “It’s got all of us fucked up.”