Wherein Officer Salvatore Rivieri of the Baltimore Police Department finds himself with half a million views on YouTube. Now, of course, the only pertinent matter in all of this — other than Rivieri’s appalling behavior — is that those kids weren’t harming anyone and didn’t appear as though they were posing an imminent threat of doing so.
He demanded, and then commanded, respect. What he was certainly able to do was intimidate, assault, and ultimately commit battery on one of the boys, then take his property; but he couldn’t force that respect he believed himself entitled to, could he? And doesn’t that respect continue to allude Officer Rivieri?
So, Officer Rivieri? How’s that working out for you? You know what? Any real man should find it the easiest, most wholesome, and rewarding experience in the world to earn the respect of teenage boys like that. Sure, there are exceptions, but I know I could have done it. It could be as simple as asking them to explain the relative merits of their transportation equipment and what makes it so special to them. You might have asked them how they go about ensuring they don’t run into and harm anyone. I’m betting they’d have been more than happy to demonstrate their competence.
This is pure pretense. Do you see it? The pretense goes to who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy; to who’s innocent and who’s guilty. The pretense is in the constitution (i.e., in how it is constituted, made up, fundamentally constructed) of the state itself. By pure "virtue" of office holding, of uniform wearing, of badge wielding, of citing writing upon scraps of paper, the State is presumed right and innocent and the one coming in conflict with its constitution is presumed wrong and guilty. But the reverse is true, and it’s true because those kids weren’t hurting anyone. Rivieri is the bad guy.
And you know why? Because if those kids were actually hurting people, it would not have required office holders, uniforms, badges, or writings upon scraps of paper to stop them. The very best thing that can ever be said about the State, at its very best (which was certainly not the case here) is that in the context of protection, i.e., of stepping in to stop and prevent clear and present harm, it’s entirely superfluous. That the best that can ever be said for it.
Update: Ok, some people didn’t get the title.