Cowardice, Sausage-Making, and Public-Mindedness

The caller who sicced the cops on Sureshbhai Patel probably didn’t know what the result of his action was going to be. Cowards don’t usually think through the consequences of their chickenshit actions. Instead of taking the time to learn who his neighbors are, risking coming into contact with a stranger, the chickenshit coward decided that the potential of violence, which was realized in this case, was needed in this situation.

How much blame do chickenshit cowards deserve for outsourcing their public mindedness to the state? Where does the arrow of causation point? Is his and many others being chickenshit cowards a reason for the ever more present notion that the only way to deal with suspicious or possibly dangerous behavior is to beg and plead for the agents of the state to intervene, or, simply, a symptom of a general decline and they’re chickenshit cowardice is really just a rational response to a different social and/or legal equilibrium?

It’s easy enough for me to say all of this, of course. I’m just some asshole on the internet. So, how much of this is just internet asshole talk? Would I call the cops because of some skinny black guy I’d never seen before happened to be walking around my neighborhood? Even assuming away that I live in a downtown area of a large city, would I call the cops if I lived in suburbia? Fuck no. I know what cops can do to black people found walking around in white suburbia. But, that’s indicative of a do-no-harm mindset. What do I do though to promote civil society, a civil society that would result in fewer (violent) police-citizen interactions?

I give money to various civil liberties causes and organizations. I record (or, at least, have my phone ready to record) cops when they interact with citizens in dicey situations. I get righteously angry at bad cops doing bad things. While (some of) those are, in my mind, fruitful(even if only by the slimmest of margins), are those just too telescopic? Would I actually go up and chat with a middle-aged Indian man walking around the neighborhood? Maybe. Would I actually talk to my neighbors and invite them over for dinner? Probably not. Would I be willing to trespass to check on an injured child? Fuck no, I know what cops do to brown people found in white people houses.

So, what do I actually accomplish? I don’t rightly know.

I’m probably just a chickenshit coward.

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