A former LAPD officer turned sociologist (Cooper 1991) observed that the overwhelming majority of those beaten by police turn out not to be guilty of any crime. “Cops don’t beat up burglars”, he observed. The reason, he explained, is simple: the one thing most guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to “define the situation.” If what I’ve been saying is true this is just what we’d expect. The police truncheon is precisely the point where the state’s bureaucratic imperative for imposing simple administrative schema, and its monopoly of coercive force, come together. It only makes sense then that bureaucratic violence should consist first and foremost of attacks on those who insist on alternative schemas or interpretations. At the same time, if one accepts Piaget’s famous definition of mature intelligence as the ability to coordinate between multiple perspectives (or possible perspectives) one can see, here, precisely how bureaucratic power, at the moment it turns to violence, becomes literally a form of infantile stupidity.
I’m not used to seeing people’s faces," he said. "There’s too much information there. Aren’t you aware of it? Too much, too fast.
Wow. This is an incredible story of a man who lived in the woods of Maine for nearly three decades, surviving almost entirely on things he stole from summer homes. He was finally caught, and reporter Micheal Finkel struck up a sort of friendship with him, visiting him in prison and learning about the years he spent silent and alone.