NEW YORK — Americans would be safer in a lawless state of anarchy than they are in the current system that arms peace officers entrusted with maintaining law and order, according to a new study from researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the average American would be safer in an anarchical state of disorder than he or she is in a system that arms local, state and federal police officers tasked with protecting citizens and enforcing society’s laws,” said lead author J. Remington Fenceworth. “Quite frankly, society is better off if all of us are just making up our own rules as we go along than it is arming the types of men and women drawn to police work and trusting them to enforce our laws as they see fit.”
The study comes on the heels of several controversial incidents involving the use of deadly force by police officers, many of which involve interactions with African American civilians. The latest such controversy stems from the death of 50-year-old South Carolina resident Walter L. Scott, an African American who was shot eight times by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager after being pulled over during a traffic stop on April 4.
For the study, published in the April issue of the American Journal of Criminal Justice, researchers compared the present-day United States to the genetic bottleneck period that came after the Toba supereruption roughly 70,000 years ago. During that bottleneck period, some scholars believe human evolution hit a snag that may have resulted from a considerable reduction in the total human population after the eruption. The decade-long volcanic winter that followed the eruption was marked by anarchy, but Fenceworth and his fellow authors theorize that those humans who managed to survive felt far safer in such desolate circumstances than present-day African Americans feel in the presence of police officers.
“Even though there are precious few of them, primitive writings from the period immediately following the Toba eruption indicate that humans slept easier and felt safer once their prehistoric systems of law and order were wiped out by the volcano,” Fenceworth said. “Sure, that especially long winter was marked by anarchy, but at least those cavemen and women knew Officer Stoneclub wasn’t going to randomly beat them about the head and neck because he’s still dealing with an inferiority complex that began when he didn’t make the varsity cave carving team as a teenager.”
Though Scott’s death came just days before the study was published, coauthor and noted criminologist Carl Givens feels the Scott shooting confirms his team’s findings while illustrating the dangers of arming civil servants incapable of defusing contentious situations without the use of firearms.
“I’m unsure why we as a society think it’s a good idea to arm these thick-necked meatheads whose crowning life achievements are, more often than not, playing minor roles on high school football teams that qualified for the state playoffs,” Givens said. “I’ve spoken to and worked with police officers all over this country, and while there are many good eggs out there, the vast majority are just insecure Neanderthals with crew cuts, badges and state-issued handguns.”
The authors’ argument for anarchy resonates with the American public, a significant percentage of which now views police officers as racist angermongers with a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.
“I don’t fear the guy behind the counter at the 7-11 who sells me my cheddarwurst when my shift ends on Thursday nights, even though he’s selling me heart disease masquerading as a filling meal,” said a New Jersey toll collector who asked to remain anonymous. “But the donut-drunk cop parked in the lot outside that same store scares the hell out of me, even though he’s supposed to be protecting and serving me.”
Such sentiments are not uncommon, and Fenceworth notes more and more Americans are recognizing the advantages of a system rooted in chaos.
“Chaos doesn’t betray your trust or abuse its authority,” Fenceworth said. “And the facts show we’re all better off rolling the dice with our own safety than we are trusting the trigger-happy simpleton in the squad car to protect us.”