Charlie Pierce, Esquire, is alarmed by a new “pediatric health” study:
Of all the numbers in this new study, the following remains an astonishing statistic: By the time they’re 23, 41 percent of American kids have been busted for something more serious than a traffic stop… To me, it’s an indication of that something is seriously out of whack in the way we’re asking our law enforcement community to interact with our children.
Children today grow up surrounded by the police power of the state, both the soft and hard versions of it. At almost every level of their lives, they are policed, in one way or another, either by the police themselves, or by administrators and bureaucrats to whom the police and the courts have subcontracted the job. They have no Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights as soon as they walk through the schoolhouse door. They are searched. They are tested for drugs. Their rights of free expression are tightly circumscribed. Rights unexercised atrophy. We have raised, and are now raising, generations of children who are completely ignorant of the rights they have as citizens, and we are doing it through the application of the most coercive powers the state possesses…
Another triumph for the Banana Republicans! Let’s face it, the fortunate sons of the One Percenters — ask the C-Plus Augustus — have always been able to treat the police as nothing more than well-armed security guards. Cops were for keeping those people in line and away from the better neighborhoods, unless they were toting cleaning equipment or yard tools. And the bottom Twenty Percenters, give or take, knew “the arrangement” and warned their kids about the dangers. But over the last few decades, as the unindicted Watergate co-conspirators cemented their criminal takeover under St. Ronnie and the two Bush regencies, those Americans who were once fortunate enough to consider themselves “middle class” have been ever-so-slowly relegated to the ranks of barbarians-outside-the-gated-community. And the increasing militarization of School Security (because drugs! Gangs! Forced busing! Drugs! Hippies! Also Columbine! Foreigner gangs! And did we mention, drugs!) has been one weapon for reminding the rank and file that they — we — have no rights our masters can’t find an excuse to erode.