There has, of late, been a spate of Internet writing maintaining that "the policeman is not your friend."
Well, a listen a what me a see. I was book shopping at Waterstone's in Cardiff, checking out the "Staff Picks" near the front of the store. I noticed a couple of security guards furtively peering out upon the public square beyond the storefront and talking on their Secret-Service headsets. This got my attention. I paid for my book and went out and took a seat in the square. I sat down and pretended to read while I watched the action. There were three 12-year-olds being plenty furtive themselves, hiding behind trees, peeking at some bicycles. (I had heard security say, "They're going to take the orange one," and there was, indeed, an orange bike, so I knew I had my "men.") I stared at the obvious ringleader and shook my head a bit. Rather than getting my message, that he'd been spotted and should back off, he stared back and said, "What the fuck you lookin' at?" I shrugged my shoulders and thought, "You, getting arrested."
A minute later, with a fairly smooth move, he used the orange bike as a lever to break its own chain, and hopped on it to ride off. Well, he was going for about 20 feet when security converged on him from three different shops. (That's how stupidly, obviously suspicious these kids were acting.) The first guy who reached the kid was about 6'2'' and 200 pounds or so. He hooked the 5'2'', 100 pound pre-teen under the chin with his arm, lifting him off the bike by his neck. Then he slammed him into the pavement. Another guy jumped on the kid's back and shoved his face against the tarmac. He then dragged the kid's hands behind his back, as if he were about to handcuff him, perhaps forgetting that, being private security, he had no handcuffs. Finally, realizing the absolute pointlessness (in terms of an arrest, anyway) of holding someone on the ground in the place-the-cuffs-on position when you have no cuffs, he and a couple of other of the "arresting officers" dragged the kid off.
It is hard for me to imagine that this kid wouldn't have had a far less violent arrest if it had been a couple of bobbies in the square instead. I suppose if you entirely ignore the behavior of private security forces, like the gangs of mercenaries that roamed the countryside in the Middle Ages, like private security in Iraq, the actions of bar bouncers, such as the one who murdered Jaco Pastorius, the drug cartels terrorizing Mexico, the Mafia, etc., etc., then you might be able to convince yourself that the problem all comes down to "the State." (Make a suitably frightening noise here.)
But if it becomes difficult to sustain this willful blindness, here, I think, is a more reasonable summary of our situation:
1) Society needs a warrior class.
2) That warrior class easily can itself become a danger to society, whether that class is paid through public or private funds. It's just the nature of the beast. These are people with a propensity for violence, after all.
Easy answers? Ain't no easy answers, not even precisely obeying the precepts of Spencer, Mises, and Hayek.
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