A Modern Fable

February 14, 2006

by Bill Foster

Imagine that the police show up - en masse - in your neighborhood. They blanket the area with handbills, hold block meetings and get on loudspeakers. They warn everyone that the residents of the green house on the corner are dealing drugs and guns.

Before you know it, the police have stormed the house, killing several children, seniors and other members of the extended family that lives there.

Still no drugs or guns are found in the house.

Eventually even the police admit this but they stay in the house claiming that the family doesn't know how to take care of itself. In order to "teach" them, the police make the remaining family members work and cook for them. They rig the electric and water meters and pirate electricity and water. They rape the women of the house and whip or kill anyone who opposes them.

Naturally, the people in the house resist. Pretty soon most of the neighborhood has come into the street to demand that the police get out and be brought to justice for their crimes.

Right at this time, when the people are getting closer to stopping the police violence, some "famous" outside personalities arrive on the scene. Some have the reputation (earned or not) as opponents of police violence and others are running for office in the name of the people.

These famous personalities are given a bullhorn by the police and in one voice they tell the neighborhood: "We know you are mad about this police murder and robbery. We too think it is quite possible that the police lied about 'drugs and guns.' We demand an investigation."

And, even as we continue to hear the cries of people being tortured inside the house, the famous "opponents" of police violence continue: "But the demand for immediate withdrawal is impossible. Now that the police are there, they have to stay or else there will be chaos."