by Harlin Dongbetter
It was another sweltering, Venus-like day in humid Austin, portending another Long Hot Summer, I thought, as hundreds of George Floyd marchers huddled in scant shade on the Texas Capitol grounds. The speaker, a young white woman calling herself DedeZee, pulled down her black Antifa face scarf to announce over the PA:
“I have unbelievable news! The revolutionary City Council of Minneapolis has just voted to disband the whole Minneapolis police department!” After the cheers subsided, she said, “One victory doesn’t win a war, of course. But this is just the beginning. Let’s make Austin next!” More fist-pumping cheers.
I caught up with DedeZee after the protest dispersed, asking for an interview.
“You’re not with Infowars, are you?” she asked.
“No, I’m a freelancer,” I answered.
“You look like an Infowars guy,” she said, eyeing my balding pate suspiciously.
“You look like a Mussolini blackshirt, but I know the cover doesn’t tell the book.” I could tell by her expression she was somewhat befuddled by the reference. “You want to get rid of the police? All police in the whole country?”
“Yes. They have proven incapable of reform. It’s not just a few bad apples, that never get tossed out of the barrel. It’s systemic racist oppression.”
“We abolished slavery,” said her bodyguard, or boyfriend, a young black guy wearing a BLM T-shirt with an AR-15 dangling from his neck. (Open carry is legal in Texas.) “But we going to finish the job by abolishing the police.” His nom de guerre was CinqueRedux.
“If your plan included all of the CIA, our finest abroad,” I said, “and the Hoover half of the FBI — they’re not all bad — I might be with you. But who’s going to take care of the neighborhood assaults, rapes, homicides, kidnappings, mass shooters, robberies, burglaries, frauds, child abductions, animal abuse, rabid dogs, python escapes, arsons, internet scams, embezzlement, extortion, traffic accidents, vandalism, noisy neighbors, lawn disputes, and — my biggest worry — the rising abuse of corpses?”
“There will be a new Community Safety department,” said DedeZee, “focused on mental health, economic health, and physical health. That redirection of funds will dry up the wellsprings of crime. There may be a need for more physical enforcement, like for patients struggling off their meds, but they will be trained in de-escalation and will be disarmed. Like English bobbies. No guns.”
“Ditto that, sister,” said CinqueRedux, cinching his rifle sling.
“So if one of your new unarmed Community Safety officers responds to a 9-11 domestic violence call and confronts a raging 300-pound drunk Goliath hopped up on meth —“
“You mean like an NFL tackle?” interrupted CinqueRedux. “Is that what you saying? A big black buck? Mandingo the nightmare negro coming to bang your white sister? Is that what you saying?” He inched closer.
“I can’t believe he’s stereotyping like this!” said DedeZee.
“No. The offender is one-quarter African, one-quarter Caucasian, one-quarter Latino, one-eighth Vietnamese, and one-eighth Cherokee, with a few stray genes from Papua New Guinea and the Amazon. But he weighs 300 pounds, he’s drunk and energized on meth, he’s just beaten his Dreamer girlfriend to a pulp after raping her 9-year-old daughter again — there are fallen angels among us — and he’s charging you, the Community Safety Officer, like a wounded buffalo. What are you going to do?”
They pondered this for a bit before CinqueRedux said, “Judo. Like Vlad Putin. You leverage that mass against him.”
“Or Aikido,” said DedeZee. “It’s totally passive resistance and beautiful to watch too. But first I would simply sympathize with him, recognizing the pain within that’s causing all of this lashing out. I would try to understand him. I would ask about and try to understand his underprivileged childhood —“
“Ma’am,” I said, trying not to sound like Joe Friday, “If you waved the red flag of his horrible childhood to a guy in that condition, you’d be dead in a minute.”
“What are you, a cop?” said CinqueRedux.
“No, but my father was. He was shot and killed in a case just like that. Trying to save a woman and child from being battered to death.”
It was a shameless lie, but serviceable for driving the dialogue forward, so I didn’t feel too guilty. A moment of silence.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” said DedeZ, hugging me. “Of course, it’s possible that pepper spray will still be needed.”
“What if the maniac —“
“Do you have to say maniac?” she objected. “It’s such a prejudicial term, implying mental inferiority.”
“OK. What if the temperamentally challenged child rapist and woman beater pulled a gun from his pocket? I know they’re hard to come by in America, but it’s a possibility.”
DedeZee pondered this a while, painfully it appeared. “In some rare cases, and only as a last resort, the Community Safety officer may be allowed to retrieve a gun from the trunk of his car.”
“But he can’t shoot first!” said CinqueRedux.
“Right. He can’t shoot first,” said DedeZee. “He can only shoot in self-defense, after a definitive firearm provocation. And he should aim for the leg. Or another non-lethal body part.”
“How many bullets can the perpetrator fire before the Community Safety officer is allowed to fire back?”
“Depends on the caliber,” said CinqueRedux. “If it’s like 40 or 9-mill, one shot, I guess. But if it’s 380 or 22, then two or three shots. Those pussy rounds just piss you off.” DedeZee elbowed him hard in the gut. “I mean those underpowered rounds piss you off.”
“Sounds like a great job,” I admitted. “I know with the high unemployment, you’re sure to have a lot of applicants, but to get the best people, you should offer generous death benefits for the Community Safety officers’ survivors. Just a suggestion.”
I thanked them for the interview, and suggested focusing their wrath on police unions covering up for the bad cops in the ranks, not every Andy Taylor and Barney Fife in the country. And qualified immunity for prosecutors railroading the innocent is a bigger problem. Then I ducked into a bar for a cooling brew.
After a few quaffs, my editor called. He sensed my mood, and I confessed that I was feeling a little depressed. “Every time the moribund Left in this country gets a head of steam rolling,” I told him, “they sabotage it with another Pollyanna lunacy that flabbergasts and terrifies the greater heartland, driving them back into the safe, comforting arms of the GOP. First it was transgender bathroom rights, then abolish the nation’s borders and give free health care to all comers, and now this.”
“If the fringe derangement continues, if another city abolishes its police force,” I concluded, “I’m reluctantly placing all my money chips on Trump in November.”