By David Tulis
Police in Chattanooga are chasing after a white Ford Focus along lamp-lit city streets after dark two days after a carjacking at UTC. Inside are three men, aware that a cruiser is behind them. They’d seen it make a U-turn and come up behind them. Anxiously, they leave Orchard Knob Avenue behind them and are off — disregarding stop signs.
The drivers race past other motorists, their haste adding potential charges against them. Blue lights flash. The chase gets earnest.
The driver races up the ramp toward Interstate 24, heading toward Atlanta. The flashing lights follow them over Missionary Ridge. Desperate to pass, they fling their car along the tire-changing lane.
[State control of pollution leads to bizarre contradictions. The U.S. regulates coal fly ash emissions from utility smokestacks, but pours the same material into the sky in the war on global warming – and all in secret. — DJT]
On an exit ramp at South Moore Road, they hit two cars waiting at a red light, but the hatchback has had enough and quits.
“Several other police officers responded to the scene,” a TV report says, “to try to apprehend the suspects,” who are banging through darkened residential areas, with calls dialing into the police department phone line indicating residents are disturbed at hubbub outside.
Near midnight, police receive a suspicious person call near McBrien Road and Anderson Avenue in East Ridge, and arrest Antonio Evans, 21, who is discovered to have been wearing a GPS ankle bracelet required of probationers.
Mr. Evans tells a fib in an alibi, and is said to be a sworn member of a gang, police tell reporters. He sits today in the Hamilton County jail.
Did we need the cops?
Would Mr. Evans have been arrested had the city not had a police department? Would he have been brought to bar for his risky deeds by car and his operating outside the terms of his probation?
Short answer is yes. The day is ahead when Chattanooga will shut down its police department for its costs, its militarization, its damage to the public, its service to the state and the bad feeling it creates as an enforcer of laws.
Residents will get to the post-police Chattanooga thanks to digital innovations and growing resentment against this apparatus of the modern nation-state. Policing professionalizes a duty that is in inherent in local economy, if Americans would only realize. The technological innovation, I hope, is ahead, in the form of an app that will let the marketplace slowly take on responsibilities not given to police departments.
Inherent in the idea of local economy is personal responsibility as opposed to limited liability under a corporate status or special state favor.
Your personal safety and protection of women and children in your proximity is your responsibility. I’d say it’s your responsibility even if your town operates a police department, and even if your county has a sheriff’s department. (Every Tennessee county has a sheriff, whose office is of ancient and common-law Anglo Saxon origin.)
The technology that could enable this development is that developed in several industries. Uber and Lyft use servers, software and apps to create a ride-sharing economy that eliminates centralized service providers — namely taxis. Airbnb promises to wreck the hotel industry with its centralized structures in favor of homeowners and travelers getting together to rent rooms by the night or the week in one’s house. Crowdfunding lets donors and venture capitalists gather on Web platform to raise money for projects, companies, causes and emergencies. Payment is made through the apps for a convenient experience.
Cops vs. ‘peace-sharing’ service
Pretend that cops are fading and losing political and cultural support, unable to lobby their way back to the front as monopolies of coercion and violence.
Chattanooga has an Ubercop system, instead. Civic-minded men (and a few women) sign up as service providers. Every member of the public with the ubiquitous smart phone signs up as customer of this safety-sharing program. Homeowner, business owner or motorist. These are customers. Some are providers.
Many civic-minded men who are inclined toward police work and enjoy the thrill of the chase or the case sign up as officers. They receive training in various aspects of peacekeeping: forensics, accident scenes, traffic management, crime scene control and other topics. All on their own time, and on their own dime (unless city council grants a subsidy).
Just as Uber drivers self-select, Uber cops self-select. They have the assets they’d like to monetize. Not for the purpose of earning money. Money is secondary. Primary is goodwill and a testosteronal yearning for action, an appreciation of danger, mystery and masculine excitement.
Visitors to Chattanooga for an hour or a day can sign up through middlemen, who seamlessly let passers-through enter the platform in case they need help.
Mr. Evans flees, but Uber cops flock after him and affect an arrest. The cops are part-timers, thrilled for a role in making news, promoting public safety, keeping the peace, protecting women and children.
The picture is one of local economy and people in it taking care of themselves. They act apart from a military apparatus that is involved in violence against members of the public and continuing humiliation of certain classes of people who come to view themselves at war with police.
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