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+2 votes
Does being a cop make someone a bad person? Obviously a lot of police do terrible things with their authority, but aren't there many other cops that actually help their communities by catching violent people (murderers, rapists, hard drug dealers, etc), deterring violent crime when they are physically present, and showing leniency towards otherwise nice people for minor infractions?

1 Answer

+5 votes
Good question. As far as i'm concerned, the defense of the slogan ACAB relies on a deeper and systemic reading. a) all cops are bastards because being a cop necessitates following rules and procedures that have nothing to do with helping people, even if that's their justification. that doesn't mean that every second of every day, cops only do bad things. b) cops are not just the people paid by the state to be cops, they're also the people who follow rules and procedures of other dogmatic sorts (not just the state's), so anyone can be that kind of a cop, including anarchists, and so we want to "kill the cop in our head" (a May, 1968 slogan from paris).

i know some cops who've been very nice in the moment to me. But in general they are forced by the system and by each other (among other things) to be horrible to people who are not cops.

there's also the reality that having specialists for dealing with the most violent and deceitful groups of people is inherently destructive to that band of specialists. i did a ride along decades ago with a cop who could only see me as a victim, because he saw me as a nice white person, and he only saw those in his job when they had been victimized. so that will make people be bastards too...

on the other hand, as with all slogans, there will always be people who take them at their most simplistic and moralist (cops bad/non-cops good style).
by (53.1k points)
I would add to this that cops might be very good people outside of their role as cops. Loving and nurturing parents, supportive members of their community, interesting and funny, even. But the role of wearing the badge and enforcing the dictates of the state is, as dot said, what makes them all bastards (yes, all).

Funny story, I was at an anarchist assembly a couple years ago when a participant brought up ACAB, handing out a flyer to the rest of us and suggested that anarchists consider the emotional impact of calling cops bastards, as her children were born out of wedlock and, thus, bastards. She suggested we replace "bastards" with "bad." I've met her children, they are bastards.
Lol, she sounds incredibly liberal...if attacking the douschey nature of cops entails so many self-imposed rules and restrictions, then why do it at all?! I mean overall i added that children born out of wedlock thing as a joke because the way people use "bastards" now adays has absolutely nothing to do with christian europe. Nobody gives a shit if you are born out of wedlock anymore lol.