Politics & Boredom

I've been watching with interest the incidents of unprovoked police brutality against the Occupy protesters. Most people can't figure out why the police would do harm to people who obviously pose no threat to them.  But I've seen it before.  It's a trick prison guards have been using for years.

If a person feels a sharp, unexpected pain - say, a jab in the ribs with a billy club - their first instinct is to lash out at whatever is causing that pain.  Being a prison guard isn't exactly the greatest job in the world.  They're overworked, underpaid, and generally treated like crap by their employers.  There were times I actually felt sorry for them.  My sympathy usually evaporated fairly quickly, as the guards' working conditions tended to make them surly, and mean-spirited.  They would invariably take out those frustrations on us.

They were trying to provoke us into doing or saying something stupid, which would then give them an excuse to beat us down, and toss us in the hole.  I caught on pretty quickly.  Some guys never did get it.

They did this, essentially out of boredom.  It was a little excitement to break up their day.  I suspect the actions of the police are a little more politically motivated.  I think the police are actually trying to incite a riot, thereby discrediting the movement.  It is my hope the the protesters see this tactic for what it is.

There is an upside. A sort of conditioning takes effect. Consequently, I can now take a fair amount of pain, and still retain my reason and restraint.

We could always tell if an inmate was new, because whenever a guard did something senseless and mean, the new guy would always ask why.

The guard's answer was so consistent, that I actually think it's a part of their training.

When asked, "Why?"  The response was always, "Because we can."


Joe Pereira said...

Spot on Louis, I agree with your view wholeheartedly on the police tactics. Undoubtedly politically motivated response. Thanks for the insight into prison life. I´ve never been inside and don´t ever want to but am interested in what kind of people become prison guard,s or worse still, executioners. Were you inside in a state with capital punishment?

Louis Wu said...

Thanks, Joe. Yes, Arizona has a number of people on death row. Although most of the prison yards are minimum security. I'd say at least 80% of the prison population are young, impressionable kids, in for what the state deems, "non-dangerous, non-repetitive" crimes. Incarceration is big business.

The experience served it's purpose, and I learned a great deal about human nature. Still, given a choice, I would have taken a pass...