certainly says something about the mentality of law enforcement

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The suspect in the violence at a Massachussetts gay bar is dead from wounds suffered in a gun battle with police.

The most telling part of CNN's report was this little blurb at the bottom:
Robida's neighbors have described him as a racist, who decorated his room with swastikas. Robida is a graduate of New Bedford's junior police academy, a program intended to build social skills, self-esteem and self-confidence in children 12 to 14, police said.

Sending a messed up kid to police academy to teach him social skills is somewhat akin to telling a military recruit that he will learn sensitivity along with his weapons skills. There is this idea that sending troubled kids into military/police programs will turn them around, and perhaps it works for some. But instead of delving into the roots of the kids' problems, we send them off to boot camps, and junior police programs, and then we wonder why police brutality or torture by military personnel is so rampant.

Now I am not saying every policeperson or soldier is a formerly troubled teen (well, we all have been, just maybe not to the extent of Jacob Robida), but when our method of dealing with these kids revolves around authoritarian discipline, what we risk creating is a kid who behaves on the surface (because of cohercion), but simmers underneath with their own need to possess that same kind of authoritarian power that has been lorded over them in the interests of discipline.

I guess delving into some psychoanalysis of power dynamics in law enforcement training would be a rather dry and long-winded topic, but I can't help but feel a sense of sadness that the ways we deal with troubled kids are to send them into authoritarian organizations that further emphasize their powerlessness and their need to regain power with similar violent means.

And sadly, I don't think anyone in these fields is exempt from being indoctrinated with these skewed power dynamics, troubled or not. Humans are fallible, and handing them the psychological means to justify their own brutality will not increase their social skills, but rather separate them from the very people they are ostensibly there to protect.

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